In 1828, a 16-year-old boy appeared in Nuremberg, claiming that he’d spent his whole life alone in a dark cell. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow the short, sad life of Kaspar Hauser and ponder who he might have been.
We’ll also revisit the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, encounter some self-landing planes, and puzzle over why a man would bury 15 luxury cars in the desert.
Sources for our segment on Kaspar Hauser:
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Lost Prince: The Unsolved Mystery of Kaspar Hauser, 1996.
Martin Kitchen, Kaspar Hauser: Europe’s Child, 2001.
Links from listener mail:
Being in the Shadow, Australian psychologist Kate Russo’s site about the psychology of eclipse chasing.
A 1997 NTSB report regarding a Piper PA-24 that “landed itself” after the pilot passed out due to a carbon monoxide leak.
The “cornfield bomber,” a Convair F-106 Delta Dart that landed in a Montana farmer’s field in 1970 after the pilot ejected. When the local sheriff arrived, the jet’s engine was still idling.
This week’s lateral thinking puzzle is from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale’s 1994 book Great Lateral Thinking Puzzles. Corroborating links are here and here (warning — they spoil the puzzle).
You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.
If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at email@example.com. We’re off next week — Episode 30 will go up on Oct. 20. Thanks for listening!