In 1893, five years after Jack the Ripper disappeared from London, someone began attacking and raping women and girls in the Swedish city of Norrköping.
He struck in the early snowy months, all over Norrköping and always after dark, alarming the city, which came to know him as Långrocken, “the Longcoat.” As many as 18 undercover policemen patrolled in women’s clothes in an attempt to trap him, to no avail.
The attacks stopped suddenly in the spring. The crimes have never been solved.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous poem “Kubla Khan” (“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan/A stately pleasure-dome decree”) is considered a high point of Romanticism, but it’s incomplete. Coleridge said he had seen the entire course of the poem in a dream, but was interrupted while writing it down:
On awakening he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved. At this moment he was unfortunately called out by a person on business from Porlock, and detained by him above an hour, and on his return to his room, found, to his no small surprise and mortification, that though he still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone has been cast, but, alas! without the after restoration of the latter!
To this day no one knows the identity of the “person from Porlock” or what his business was, but he left Coleridge with only 54 lines.
How frail is man–how short life’s longest day!
Here lies the worthy Potter, turned to clay!
Whose forming hand, and whose reforming care,
Has left us full of flaws. Vile earthenware!
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Jan. 15, 1831
Giraffes sleep only two hours a day.
FBI age progression of D.B. Cooper, who ransomed 36 airline passengers for $200,000 in 1971, then ordered the plane into the air again and jumped out somewhere over southwest Washington.
No trace of him has ever been found. It’s still the world’s only unsolved skyjacking.
Heights of famous females:
Don’t rush to get to the St. Burchardi church in Halberstadt, Germany. The performance there of John Cage’s work “As Slow As Possible” will take 639 years.
They would have made it longer, but the organ is expected to fail in 2640.
In 1994, 17-year-old Boy Scout David Hahn decided to build a nuclear breeder reactor in his backyard shed in Michigan. He gathered radioactive material from smoke detectors, camping lanterns, clocks and gunsights, hoping to transform them into fissionable isotopes in a hollowed-out block of lead.
He should have stuck to homework. The experiment started to emit toxic levels of radiation, and he was trying to dismantle it when the police found him and brought in the FBI and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. To his mother’s dismay, her property was declared a Superfund hazardous materials cleanup site, and the shed was moved to Utah and buried as low-level radioactive waste.
On the bright side, Hahn made Eagle Scout.