Henry Darger

When he died in 1973, Chicago janitor Henry Darger left his own monument: a 10-volume novel entitled The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion.

Discovered by his landlords, the fantasy manuscript, illustrated with hundreds of drawings and watercolor paintings, totaled 15,145 single-spaced typed pages. It may be the longest novel ever written.

The Mutilated Chessboard

Take an ordinary chessboard and cut off two diagonally opposite corners. Now: Is it possible to tile the remaining 62 squares with 31 dominoes?

This calls for inspiration rather than trial and error. Most people see the solution immediately or not at all.

Click for Answer

“Vegetable Fungus”

At the beginning of the present century Sir Joseph Banks, of London, had a cask of wine which was too sweet for immediate use, and it was placed in the cellar to become mellowed by age. At the end of three years he directed his butler to ascertain the condition of the wine, when, on attempting to open the cellar door, he could not effect it in consequence of some powerful resistance. The door was cut down, and the cellar was found completely filled with a firm fungus vegetable production — so firm that it was necessary to use an ax for its removal. This had grown from and had been nourished by the decomposed particles of the wine. The cask was empty and touched the ceiling, where it was supported by the surface of the fungus.

— Frank H. Stauffer, The Queer, the Quaint and the Quizzical, 1882