Monday, February 18, 2019

Orb Spiders On Monday Mysteries...!

Not many critters in all of nature's collection are as mysterious as spiders. The very idea of spiders can cause many of us to get chills down the spine and shudder at the very thought of this scary creature. No matter what we feel about the spider, some things about them are very mysterious, as shown in this article from Listverse.

Orb Spiders Of Madagascar

The orb spiders of Madagascar are known for their unique ability to create gigantic webs. Their webs are so massive that they can wrap around a Volkswagen Beetle. Despite this, orb spiders are smaller than the thumb of an average adult.

There are two reasons why the orb spiders of Madagascar are extraordinary. First, their silk is stronger than that of other species. Second, they build their webs over running water like streams and rivers, which is something that baffles scientists. There are several theories but no conclusive data as to how they are able to do this.

In addition, scientists are perplexed as to why orb spiders build such massive webs. Does this mean that their prey is also gigantic in size?

I would like to know why they build such massive webs as well, but I'll just wait for the guys that study that sort of thing to let us know..'cause I certainly ain't gonna get that close to one of those ugly things.

Coffee out on the patio this morning, if that's alright.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Another Item Having "Supernatural" Powers...!

Yesterday's post was about a mummified hand, and today we cover the item known as the "Witches Ladder". I had no idea that our ancestors were such a gullible bunch! Here from Listverse is the story about this strange piece of string.

The Witch’s Ladder

Photo credit: England: The Other Witin

In 1911, the widow of a famous anthropologist donated items found in an attic to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. The objects included four brooms and a piece of string. The string was around 1.5 meters (5 ft) long, with a loop at one end. Feathers had been poked into the string along its length.

This was the only known example of a genuine witch’s ladder. The ladder was said to have belonged to an old woman, and thus a suspected witch, and was thought to be used for “getting away,” or stealing, the milk from her neighbor’s cows.

Unfortunately, nothing is known about how this worked, and though there is still speculation about the purpose of the ladder, aspiring witches today will probably find a trip to the supermarket a bit easier.

Folks had some strange ideas back then, but I reckon that years from now we will have people saying the same about us.

Coffee out on the patio again today!

Friday, February 15, 2019

A Very Spooky Hand...!

According to those that believe in such things, this mummified hand is good for many uses. From the folks at Listverse, there is even a recipe for making your own version.

The Hand Of Glory

Photo credit:

Whitby Museum in Yorkshire, England, holds the mummified remains of a human hand, known as a Hand of Glory. The Whitby Hand was discovered in the early 20th century hidden inside the wall of an ancient thatched cottage, and it is thought to be the last example in existence.

Supposedly formed from the pickled right hand of a convicted criminal, cut from the gallows while the body was still fresh, the Hand of Glory can be used as a candle by burglars, with the fingers being dipped in special wax and set alight. If a finger refused to catch fire, it meant that someone in the household was awake. The light cannot be extinguished by water or pinching but only by being doused in blood or blue milk. And where are you going to find blue milk?

The hand was not only a perpetual source of light, but it was also cheaper than paying a lookout, which could be useful.

If you fancy making your own Hand of Glory, and you have the right arm of a recently executed felon at hand, you will need to wrap the hand in a winding sheet, squeeze out the blood, and put it in a clay pot, adding saltpeter, salt, and pepper (for flavor, presumably). Leave it for two weeks, and then expose it to the sun “in the dog-days.” If you are not experiencing dog-days, you could dry it in an oven lined with ferns. Next (and this bit might be tricky), you need to make the candle wax from the fat of a hanged man, virgin wax (not from an actual virgin), and Lapland sesame (an oil from a plant now extinct).

Oh well. You could always use a torch.

I really don't care what you call it, I don't want that thing anywhere close to me, thank you very much! I will simply use a flashlight instead.

Coffee out on the patio again today, where we can catch a little sunshine.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

This Cocktail Has WHAT...???

At times we can come up with some very strange names for alcoholic drinks, but I reckon that is the nature of the beast. However, one of the strangest has to be from the Yukon according to the folks over at Listverse.

Human Toe Cocktail

Photo credit: The Guardian

Bars are known for alcoholic creativity. However, one cocktail is hard to beat. To order the sourtoe cocktail, one must travel to Yukon territory in Canada. The next step is to find the Sourdough Saloon in Dawson City.

Ask for this particular drink, and the bartender fills a tumbler with spirit (often whiskey). The final ingredient—a mummified human toe—is then plonked inside.

The drink comes with one rule. Your lips must touch the toe. When that happens, the saloon hands over a certificate. So far, over 100,000 people have earned their certificates.

The drink’s history is just as weird. It was born in 1973 after an entrepreneur found the frostbitten toe of a rum smuggler. The digit had been kept in the smuggler’s shack since the 1920s and was around 50 years old upon discovery.

The entrepreneur started the drink as a way in which people could prove themselves as worthy Yukoners. The original toe was swallowed in 1980, but several frostbitten toes have taken its place since.

This is one of those things you might have to be drunk already before trying, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Better Hold That Baby More...!

Ever wonder if you are holding a baby too much? According to this study, the more we handle a baby the better it is for them.

Holding a baby can change its DNA. Studies show children who have low physical contact as infants end up with DNA cells that are less mature than usual, which can result in delayed growth and development. This means the effects of denying physical affection to babies aren’t just behavioral- they’re genetic.

Interesting, don't you think?

Coffee out on the patio for a change this morning!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Hey, Ladies Can Duel Also...!

We often think of dueling as something done by "gentlemen" to prove their honor, but there have been a few duels in which women took part. From Listverse, here is the tale of one such duel.

Lady Almeria Braddock And Mrs. Elphinstone

Photo credit:

Dueling was not confined to gentlemen. Sometimes, gentlewomen got in on the action, too. In 1792, it was reported in Carlton House Magazine that Lady Almeria Braddock and Mrs. Elphinstone were taking tea when insults were said to have been exchanged. Mrs. Elphinstone had the temerity to tell Lady Braddock that she “had been” a beautiful woman.

Lady Braddock took exception to the past tense and took greater exception when the indiscreet Mrs. Elphinstone questioned the lady’s stated age, saying she was nearer to 60 than 30. Lady Almeria demanded satisfaction, to which Mrs Elphinstone is said to have replied, “Name your weapons. Swords or pistols?”Lady Almeria responded, “Both!”

On the morning of the duel, Mrs. Elphinstone put the first shot through Lady Almeria’s hat, which incensed the lady further. They set upon each other with swords, and Mrs. Elphinstone took a blow to her arm before the ladies judged honor to have been satisfied and ceased hostilities.

Seems to me that sometimes the "gentlewomen" of that time were anything but gentle. Nice to know that the settlement of disputes could be done without any killing being done.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Murder Dolls...!

Sometimes it seems as though a mystery almost refuses to die. Long after a mystery is solved and almost forgotten, a reminder pops up and brings the whole thing back to mind again. That's the case in this article from Listverse.

Burke and Hare Murder Dolls

In the late 1820s, two men in Edinburgh, Scotland, began a grisly cottage industry. William Hare (who owned a boarding house), and William Burke were Irishmen who became friends. When a tenant at Hare’s house died, the pair sold his body to Ediburgh University. They quickly realized they could make a pretty penny doing this, but unfortunately bodies were in short supply. So they decided to create some of their own. All told, they killed 16 people, mostly by smothering, and sold their wares to a Dr. Knox at the University. One day, a tenant at Hare’s boarding house found a body and went to the police. They managed to dispatch with the corpse before the police arrived, but Burke & Hare’s crime spree was over.

Hare turned over on his accomplice in exchange for his freedom. Burke’s fate would mirror that of his victims; after his execution, he was dissected in public. Hare vanished, never to be seen again.

But the story doesn’t end there. Shortly after the murder spree, a young boy playing in a cave in Edinburgh came across a collection of carved wooden dolls in a cave. There were 17 in all, about the size of a finger, each secreted in its own tiny coffin. It didn’t take long for people to realize that the dolls greatly resembled the victims of Burke & Hare in both number and appearance. DNA tests on the macabre toys against the remains of Burke yielded no results. Only 8 of the 17 are still known to exist; they can be seen at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Just who created these morbid effigies, and what they were meant to represent, will never be known.

We could discuss a mystery like this one 'till the cows come home, but I doubt we would ever figure it out. Still, nothing like a good old fashioned mystery to get the brain cells working, right?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning...OK?