“Walking Blindfolded”

Dennis Hendrick, a stone mason, sometime ago, for a wager of ten guineas, walked from the Exchange in Liverpool, along Deal-street to the corner of Byrom-street; being a distance of three quarters of a mile, blindfolded, and rolling a coach wheel. On starting, there were two plasters of Burgundy pitch put on his eyes, and a handkerchief tied over them to prevent all possibility of his seeing. He started precisely at half past seven in the morning, and completed his undertaking at twenty minutes past eight, being in fifty minutes.

Curiosities for the Ingenious, 1825

See Other Sign

Pity the sign makers in this Welsh village:


That’s the longest place name in the United Kingdom. It’s Welsh for “St. Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St. Tysilio of the red cave.”

That doesn’t take the prize, though. The longest place name in an English-speaking country belongs to a hill on New Zealand’s North Island:


It means “the summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who traveled about, played his flute to his loved one.”

The Appraisal

Suppose I show you two old coins. One is dated 51 B.C., and the other is marked George I. Which is authentic?

Click for Answer

Forward in Reverse

Excerpt from the St. James, Mo., Leader, June 4, 1931:

Plennie L. Wingo, a man walking around the world backwards, stopped in St. James long enough to get some new toe taps for his shoes. This was the 4th pair he had wore out. He started from Fort Worth, Texas, April 15th, and has been walking ever since. He wears periscopic eyeglasses, fastened over his ears like regular spectacles, which enables him to see where he is walking. He will continue on 66 to St. Louis then on Highway 40 to New York where he will secure passage to Europe. Wingo expects to complete the trip in about four years. He depends entirely on the sale of postcards for his expenses. He averages about 20 miles per day.

Wingo had covered 8,000 miles by October 1932, when Istanbul authorities denied him a visa and he gave up and went home.

His wife had divorced him in absentia.

“Monster of Monsters”


Declaration made before a stipendiary magistrate at Dale Street Police Court, Liverpool, by the captain and crew of the British barque Pauline, July 1875:

We the undersigned, captain, officers, and crew of the barque Pauline, of London, do solemnly and sincerely declare that on July 8th, 1875, in latitude 5° 13′, longitude 35° W., we observed three large sperm whales, and one of them was gripped round the body with two turns of what appeared to be a large serpent. The head and tail appeared to have a length beyond the coils of about thirty feet, and its girth eight or nine feet. The serpent whirled its victim round and round for about fifteen minutes, and then suddenly dragged the whale to the bottom, head first.



Suppose the earth were a perfect sphere and you fitted a belt around its equator.

The belt would be 40 million meters long. If you now increased its length by a mere 5 meters, how high would it ride above the earth’s surface?

The answer, surprisingly, is 0.8 meters — well above the current limbo record.