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Strange but true

(1) During the Viet Nam War, the U.S. expended 39,424 pounds of ammunition per fatality at a cost of $2,436,657 per each enemy death. Now, there's an example of American know-how at work!

(2) An Egyptian teenager who complained of stomach pains was found to have his underdeveloped twin fetus lodged above his abdomen where it had been slowly feeding off him for the past 16 years. Doctors found an 18-cm long fetus weighing two kg with a head, an arm, a tongue and fully-formed teeth when they operated on Hisham Ragab, 16. An X-ray had shown a swollen sac had been pressing against his kidneys. Medical examination of the teeth found in the fetal mouth cavity revealed that they were those of a 16-year old, indicating that the fetus had been feeding off Ragab's cells for survival.

(3) The Curse Of Tutankhamun is believed by many to have caused misfortune to several individuals who worked on the excavation of the ancient king's tomb. The first death belonged to Lord Carnarvon, one of Howard Carter's patrons, who suffered a mosquito bite that became infected when he nicked it shaving. It developed into pneumonia and he died one month after the opening of the tomb. Then other deaths began piling up: professors Breasted and LaFleur died after visiting the tomb, as did the American millionaire George Jay Gould. Carter's assistant A.C. Mace was stricken with fever and eventually died. Another assistant, Richard Bethell, died at the age of 45. Lord Carnarvon's nurse died, even younger, at 28. In all, death claimed some 23 people linked to the tombs, while many others suffered various misfortunes. Of course, the greatest argument against the concept of a curse is the fact that Howard Carter, the leader of the expedition, himself suffered no ill effects.

(4) Anne Boleyn is proof that having an extra finger on one hand (and three breasts) is no handicap. She became a queen, the second wife of King Henry VIII. But when she failed to give him a male heir (producing only Elizabeth I), he got rid of her. He charged her with adultery - with her own brother among others - and had her beheaded in 1536, three years after the marriage. Her uncle and father concurred in the sentence. If the king's charges against her of adultery and incest had failed, he had intended to use the sixth finger and third breast to accuse her of being a witch.

(5) The real-life Dracula was born in 1431 in Transylvania and was given the name Prince Vlad Tepes. His father was called Dracul -- meaning "the devil" -- because he was a fearsome warrior. His son adopted the name "Dracula" -- meaning "son of Dracul". Vlad's usual method of killing was impalement with a spear or large stake. Typically, he preferred that the victim be impaled through the rectum and out the mouth. His victims were then hoisted high into the air so all could see. But Vlad added variations and specialized in his sadistic art form. He impaled from the front, back and side . . . through the stomach, navel, breast and groin. He impaled from above while his victims hung upside down . . . and with rounded-off stakes to prolong the torture. He had the stakes arranged in geometric patterns and at different heights. The Bishop of Erlau, a papal legate who had no reason to exaggerate, reported that Vlad Tepes authorized the killing of over 100,000 people in his lifetime.

(6) In 1297, the Scots, led by Sir William Wallace, rebelled against English rule and, for a short time, managed to defeat the English forces. However, in 1305, Wallace was captured and charged with treason. Wallace was found guilty and condemned to death with the sentence being carried out on the same day in the most inhumane way possible. He was dragged through the streets of London to a gallows erected in Elms in Smithfield. Where after being hanged for a short time he was taken down still breathing and his bowels torn out and burned. His head was then struck off, and his body divided into quarters, the punishment known as 'hanged, drawn and quartered'. His head was placed on a pole on London Bridge, his right arm above the bridge in Newcastle, his left arm was sent to Berwick, his right foot and limb to Perth and his left quarter to Aberdeen where it was buried in what is now the wall at St. Machars Cathedral.

(7) At the time the guillotine was invented, scientists were fascinated by whether any of the executed continued to feel after their heads were removed. When Charlotte Corday, who killed revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat, was executed, the executioner's assistant Francois le Gros picked up her head by the hair and slapped her cheek. Several eyewitnesses saw not one but both cheeks flush red, as though in anger. And so for the next 200 years French doctors devoted a lot of time and effort to researching whether the head lived on after it was cut off. This involved such scientific endeavors as shouting loudly in the ears of decapitated heads and watching to see if there was any flicker of recognition on their features, and pumping blood from a living dog through a three hour old head and watching its eyelids flicker.

(8) Non-dairy creamer is flammable.

(9)Stewardesses and reverberated are the two longest words (12 letters each) that can be typed using only the left hand.

(10)The longest word that can be typed using only the right hand is lollipop.

(11)Skepticisms is the longest word that alternates hands.

(12)A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

(13)In the 1940s, the FCC assigned television's Channel 1 to mobile services (two-way radios in taxicabs, for instance) but did not re-number the other channel assignments. That is why your TV set has channels 2 and up, but no channel 1.

(14)The underside of a horse's hoof is called a frog. The frog peels off several times a year with new growth.

(15)The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments

(16)The "save" icon on Microsoft Word shows a floppy disk, with the shutter on backwards.

(17)The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways. The following sentence contains them all: "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

(18)The verb "cleave" is the only English word with two synonyms which are antonyms of each other: adhere and separate.

(19)The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.

(20)Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order (a,e,i,o, and u), as does arsenious, meaning "containing arsenic."

(21)The shape of plant collenchyma cells and the shape of the bubbles in beer foam are the same - they are "Orthotetrachidecahedrons".

(22)The word 'pound' is abbreviated 'lb.' after the constellation 'libra' because it means 'pound' in Latin, also 'scales'. The abbreviation for the British Pound Sterling comes from the same source: it is an 'L' for Libra/Lb. with a stroke through it to indicate abbreviation. Sames goes for the Italian lira which uses the same abbreviation ('lira' coming from 'libra'). So British currency (before it went metric) was always quoted as "pounds/shillings/pence", abbreviated "L/s/d" (libra/solidus/denarius).

(23)Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.

(24)Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

(25)The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat," which means "the king is dead".

(26)Pinocchio is Italian for "pine head."

(27)A camel's milk does not curdle.

(28)In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.

(29)An animal epidemic is called an epizootic.

(30)Murphy's Oil Soap is the chemical most commonly used to clean elephants.

(31)The United States has never lost a war in which mules were used.

(32)Blueberry Jelly Bellies were created especially for Ronald Reagan.

(33)All porcupines float in water.

(34)"Hang On Sloopy" is the official rock song of Ohio.

(35)Did you know that there are coffee flavored PEZ?

(36)The world's largest wine cask is in Heidelberg, Germany.

(37)Lorne Greene had one of his nipples bitten off by an alligator while he was host of "Lorne Greene's Wild Kingdom."

(38)Cat's urine glows under a blacklight.

(39)If you bring a raccoon's head to the Henniker, New Hampshire town hall, you are entitled to receive $.10 from the town.

(40)St. Stephen is the patron saint of bricklayers.

(41)The first song played on Armed Forces Radio during operation Desert Shield was "Rock the Casba" by the Clash.

(42)The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.

(43)The airplane Buddy Holly died in was the "American Pie." (Thus the name of the Don McLean song.)

(44)Texas is also the only state that is allowed to fly its state flag at the same height as the U.S. flag.

(45)The only nation who's name begins with an "A", but doesn't end in an "A" is Afghanastan.

(46)The names of the three wise monkeys are: Mizaru: See no evil, Mikazaru: Hear no evil, and Mazaru: Speak no evil.

(47)When opossums are playing 'possum, they are not "playing", They actually pass out.

(48)The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.

(49)Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history. Spades - King David, Clubs - Alexander the Great, Hearts - Charlemagne, and Diamonds - Julius Caesar.