September 23, 2018
WE’RE all familiar with secret agents living double lives in spy novels, superheroes with their secret identities, serial killers who everyone described as “such a nice, quiet guy.” And yet no matter how many times we encounter the concept, we are drawn time and again to the duplicitous figures, who appear to be one thing while secretly being something far, far different.
September 23, 2018
ON August 23, 2010, police found the body of a naked man in the bathtub of his flat in Pimlico, London, zipped inside a red North Face bag which was padlocked shut from the outside.
September 22, 2018
Among scientific and skeptical types, clowning on flat-earthers is a pastime as old as Washington Irving. But the fun isn’t just in the myriad ways that you can prove that the Earth is round (er, a roughly spherical ovoid). It’s also in imagining what life would be like if the Earth was actually flat. The problems start with the simple issue of gravity.
September 22, 2018
Magnets, how do they work? Modern day philosophers Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J of the Insane Clown Posse were mercilessly mocked for that line back when their song “Miracles” came out in 2010.
September 22, 2018
It’s not unusual to feel patriotic hearing the name of your home country. But what does that name actually mean? It might not be quite as regal as you’d expect.
September 21, 2018
IN 1966, over 300 children and staff from a Melbourne school reportedly witnessed multiple UFOs silently flying through the sky before landing in a nearby field.
September 19, 2018
That evaluation came from the man who is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records for the longest continuous monster hunting vigil on the shores of Loch Ness. Have his standards been lowered, is he getting desperate or is a photograph taken by a 12-year-old tourist really one of the best Loch Ness monster photos of all time? More importantly, is it the Loch Ness monster?
September 18, 2018
A new book by Bob Woodward, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post writer and co-author of All the President’s Men, is making the rounds and numerous passages are being quoted, debated and disputed. One that was particularly intriguing claimed that the current president believes there are ghosts in the Oval Office, particularly the spirit of President Lyndon Johnson who likes to knock papers on the floor. It turns out the story is not in Woodward’s book (it was traced to a fake Twitter site) but there are plenty of people who claim to have seen, heard, felt or feared ghosts throughout the White House ever since it was built. There are plenty more than just the spirit of Honest Abe prowling his old bedroom.
September 17, 2018
IN 1980, Portugal was shocked by the story of Maria Isabel Quaresma Dos Santos, a 9-year-old girl who had spent her entire childhood in a chicken coop, deprived of any human interaction and affection. Because of the effects growing up with chickens had on her behavior, Isabel became known as the “Chicken Girl”.
September 16, 2018

THE Smithsonian’s Cullman Library holds a gorgeous 1602 edition of Ulisse Aldrovandi’s De animalibus insectis, a pioneering book on insects illustrated with detailed woodcuts.