Kidnappers don’t always target humans. On Feb. 8, 1983, a group of men abducted the Irish racehorse Shergar, winner of the 1981 Epsom Derby.

A local radio station received a ransom demand for £1.5 million, but the horse was never recovered, and to this day his fate is still unknown.

03/04/2018 UPDATE: In 2008, Telegraph reporter Andrew Alderson found the answer. (Thanks, Paul.)

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

Wallabies aren’t unique to Australia — not anymore. There’s a been a colony of wild red-necked wallabies living in England’s Peak District since World War II, descended from animals in a private zoo.

The wild colony numbered as many as 50 at one time, but a severe winter in 1962-63 cut them down. Some believe the last one died in the late 1990s, but then a sighting was a claimed in 2000. Keep your eyes peeled.

“A Battle on Stilts”

“In the year 1748 the great Marshal Saxe, who was travelling through the Low Countries, came to the town of Namur in Belgium. There the citizens did everything in their power to make his stay pleasant and to do him honor, and among other things they got up a battle on stilts. These inhabitants of Namur were well used to stilts, for their town, which has a river on each side of it, lay very low, and was subject to overflows, when the people were obliged to use stilts in order to walk about the streets. In this way they became very expert in the use of these slim, wooden legs, and to make their stilts amusing as well as useful they used to have stilt-battles on all holidays and great occasions. …

“Things are different in this country. It is said that in 1859 a man walked across the rapids of the Niagara river on stilts, but I never heard of any of his taxes being remitted on that account.”

— Frank R. Stockton, Round-About Rambles in Lands of Fact and Fancy, 1910

“Georges Le Gloupier”

Victims of Belgian “entarteur” Noël Godin, who flings cream pies at the self-important:

  • Microsoft CEO Bill Gates
  • French novelist Marguerite Duras
  • Choreographer Maurice Bejart
  • French anchorman Patrick Poivre d’Arvor
  • French politician Nicolas Sarkozy
  • Filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard
  • Philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy

Godin told The New York Times he’s trying “to function in the service of the capitalist status quo, without really using his intelligence or his imagination.” Touché.

Ambitious Cryptid

For an imaginary creature, the Popo Bawa of Zanzibar seems pretty eager for publicity. According to legend, the creature — described as a one-eyed dwarf with batlike wings and sharp talons — seeks out men who deny its existence, sodomizing them for up to an hour and threatening longer, and repeated, attacks unless they tell their friends and neighbors about the experience.

Strangely, the creature’s attacks are said to rise and fall with the local election cycle. Maybe it’s campaigning.

Beauty and the Beast

Last year Sharon Tendler married a bottle-nosed dolphin.

Tendler, 41, first became captivated with the animal during a dolphinarium show in Eilat, Israel. She visited him regularly for 15 years (“The peace and tranquility under water, and his love, would calm me down”) and finally approached the trainer for permission for an unofficial ceremony.

On Dec. 28, 2005, Tendler walked down the dock in a white silk dress, kissed the dolphin, and whispered “I love you” into his blowhole (video). They had to make some concessions, of course: Instead of rice, the crowd threw mackerel.

Surviving Mammoths

Mammoths generally died out with the last ice age, but some survived on Russia’s Wrangel Island until 1500 B.C., around the same time Stonehenge was built.

Reportedly the Soviet Air Force spotted a group of mammoths in Siberia during World War II but subsequently lost them.

A Freak of Navigation

En route from Vancouver to Australia on Dec. 30, 1899, the captain of the S.S. Warrimoo spotted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. At midnight, he stopped the ship at the intersection of the international date line and the equator.

At that moment, the ship was straddling two different hemispheres, days, months, years, seasons, and centuries, all at the same time. By passing between the bow and the stern, passengers could stroll between winter and summer, north and south, and the 19th and 20th centuries.

The downside: For the Warrimoo, Dec. 31 disappeared entirely.

(Roberto Casati points out that if you return to this point on June 21 and lie down on the deck, at midnight your left hand will be in summer, your right hand in spring, your left foot in winter, and your right foot in autumn.)

“The Spectre of the Brocken”

A gigantic figure haunts the Vosges Mountains, known by the name of “The Spectre of the Brocken.” The ignorant peasants were, in former times, in great fear of it, thinking it a supernatural being, and fancying that it brought upon them all manner of evil. And it must be confessed it was a fearful sight to behold suddenly upon the summit of a lofty mountain an immense giant, sometimes pointing in a threatening attitude to a village below, as if dooming it to destruction; sometimes with arms upraised, as if invoking ruin upon all the country; and sometimes stalking along with such tremendous strides as to make but one step from peak to peak; often dwarfing himself to nothingness, and again stretching up until his head is in the clouds, then disappearing entirely for a moment, only to reappear more formidable than before.

But now the Spectre of the Brocken is no longer an object of fear. Why? Because men have found him out, and he is nothing in the world but a shadow. When the sun is in the right position, an ordinary-sized man on a lower mountain will see a gigantic shadow of himself thrown upon a cloud beyond the Brocken, though it appears to be on the mountain itself, and it is so perfect a representation that it is difficult to believe it is only a shadow. But it can be easily proved. If the man stoops to pick up anything, down goes the spectre; if he raises his hand, so does the spectre; if he takes a step of two feet, the spectre takes one of miles; if he raises his hat, the spectre politely returns his salute.

— Frank R. Stockton, Round-About Rambles in Lands of Fact and Fancy, 1910