Some fun facts to ensure you have the upper hand at (virtual) pub quizzes!
Together again at last
Sir Walter Raleigh, a favourite at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, who died in 1603, met an inglorious end when he was beheaded in 1618 for conspiring against King James I. Raleigh’s decapitated head was presented to his wife, Elizabeth, who is believed to have kept it in a red leather bag until her own death 29 years later. The head was then interred with Sir Walter’s body in his tomb at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster.
It’s a wonder
When asked to name The Seven Wonders of The Ancient World most of us begin with The Hanging Gardens of Babylon and continue with ‘…er…er…’ So here’s a seven Wonders refresher, the other six were: The Colossus of Rhodes, The Lighthouse of Alexandria, The Temple of Artemis, The Stature of Zeus at Olympia, The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and The Great Pyramid at Giza. Now, the next time you’re asked you can confidently reel off the complete answer, and for a bonus point you might even add that the Great Pyramid, of course, is the only remaining wonder of those Seven Ancient Wonders.
Still hot ice
The diamond-studded Irish Crown Jewels, stolen from a Dublin Castle in June 1907, were valued at around £30,000 at the time. Some reckoned the theft was an inside job, as the jewels were being kept temporarily in an office safe before being transferred to a newly constructed strong room. Despite extensive police investigations they have never been recovered. Today’s value would put the missing sparklers at several million smackers.
That makes sense
Think we humans have just five senses? Then think again. Of course there’s the big five – vision, smell, taste, touch and hearing, but many scientists agree that there may be up to fifteen more including nociception (the ability to feel pain) chronoception (the ability to feel the passing of time) and equilibrioception (the sense of balance).
The King and I
Thirty-five minutes before Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, his mother gave birth to a twin brother, Jesse Garon, who was stillborn. Throughout his life, ‘The King’ believed that his brother was a spiritual guide, referring to him as his ‘original bodyguard.’ Elvis’s daughter, Lisa Marie, gave birth to twin daughters in October 2008.
Though extremely difficult to believe, it’s an absolute fact that Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Joseph Stalin, were all nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Hitler’s appearance on the list of nominees caused outrage before the Swedish politician responsible for his nomination, Erik Gottfrid Christian Brandt, a committed antifascist, revealed that it had all been meant ironically. The nomination was cancelled and unsurprisingly that year no prize was awarded for peace. The year in question? 1939. Stalin, meanwhile, was nominated for the prize twice, in both 1945 and 1948, and perhaps most surprisingly of all, Mahatma Ghandi never received the Nobel Peace Prize, despite being nominated five times, including in the year of his death, 1948.
The Write direction
Charles Dickens always carried a compass with him so that wherever he was he could find north. He slept facing north and he wrote facing north as he believed it helped his creativity. Virginia Wolf, however, wrote standing up, while Edith Sitwell would have a little lie down in an open coffin before getting down, or up, to her day’s writing.