Teach Your Children Well

Safety lessons for young people, from The Book of Accidents (1831):

“Horses are very dangerous, but most useful animals. To be kicked by them is almost certain death.”

“Careless children, in spite of warning, often run across the street when carts and carriages are near, and are knocked down and run over.”

“Many children delight in teazing dogs, and without caution go too near them, by which they get miserably torn and mangled.”

(More to come.)

“Sucked to Death by a Bear”

Aftermath of a bear attack, Dhaka, Bengal, recounted by a Captain Williamson in The Terrific Register, 1825:

We found her husband extended on the ground, his hands and feet, as I before observed, sucked and chewed into a perfect pulp, the teguments of the limbs in general drawn from under the skin, and the skull mostly laid bare; the skin of it hanging down in long strips; obviously effected by their talons. What was most wonderful was, that the unhappy man retained his senses sufficiently to describe that he had been attacked by several bears, the woman said seven, one of which had embraced him while the others clawed him about the head, and bit at his arms and legs, seemingly in competition for the booty.

“We conveyed the wretched object to a house, where in a few hours, death relieved him from a state, in which no human being could afford the smallest assistance!”

All Relative

The world’s largest family tree belongs to Confucius — his descendants have been carefully cataloged through 2,500 years and more than 80 generations.

This year will see the first published update since 1937. It contains more than 2 million people.

On the Go


Say goodbye to tedious, time-consuming showers with this “simple, economical and portable sanitary bathing apparatus,” patented in 1913.

Just fill the bag with soapy water, jump in, and pull the drawstring. Now you can hop a bus, eat succotash, even conduct eulogies while attending to your personal hygiene.

Bonus: “By alternate crouching and rising in the bag or by rolling with the same upon a bed or floor on the part of the bather … the liquid in said bag … may be made to surge in simulation of sea waves and thus afford gratification to said bather.”

The Dyatlov Pass Incident

In February 1959, a search was organized when nine Russian ski hikers failed to return from a trek in the northern Ural Mountains. After six days, their abandoned camp was found in a mountain pass.

All the hikers were dead. Two were found on the opposite side of the pass, near the remains of a fire; three others had died closer to camp, apparently trying to return; and the remaining four were found only three months later, under 4 meters of snow in a nearby stream valley.

Apparently the victims had fled the tent suddenly on the night of Feb. 2, tearing their way out from the inside and running down the mountain. Though the temperature had been around -25° C, all were inadequately dressed, some wearing only underwear. Though the bodies had no external wounds, one showed severe skull damage and two had major chest fractures. One woman’s tongue was missing.

In the end, Soviet investigators could conclude only that a “compelling unknown force” had caused the hikers’ deaths. That’s all that’s known.

Discount Travel


When 5-year-old May Pierstorff asked to visit her grandmother, her parents had no money to buy a rail ticket.

So they mailed her.

On Feb. 19, 1914, May’s parents presented her at the post office in Grangeville, Idaho, and proposed mailing her parcel post to Lewiston, some 75 miles away. The postmaster found that the “package” was just under the 50-pound weight limit, so he winked at their plan, classed May as a baby chick, and attached 53 cents in stamps to her coat. May passed the entire trip in the train’s mail compartment–and was duly delivered to her grandparents in Lewiston by mail clerk Leonard Mochel.

“The Candle-Fish of British Columbia”

There is found, in some of the rivers of British North America, a species of smelt so rich in oil that it may when dried be used as a candle or torch. … At certain seasons the fish swarms up the rivers from the sea, and is then caught by the natives in wickerwork traps. … When a candle is required a dried fish is stuck, tail upwards, in a lump of clay or in a cleft stick; a light is applied to the tail, which instantly flames up, and the fish burns steadily downward, giving a light superior to that of the best quality of ‘dips.’

The World of Wonders, 1883