The 99 Most Interesting Facts From The Worlds Of History, Science, And Beyond

Published August 4, 2021
Updated September 16, 2021

From the original color of the Egyptian pyramids to the surprising story behind Hawaiian pizza, these interesting facts will blow your mind.

Interesting Facts

Stephen Wiltshire/FacebookA British autistic artist named Stephen Wiltshire can draw entire cities from memory — even if he’s only seen them for a few minutes.

Peruse the 99 interesting facts below to learn some of the most fascinating stories about humans, nature, and life itself.

1. In the rowdy days of the Wild West, a Black lawman named Bass Reeves patrolled all 75,000 square miles of Indian Territory. His exploits were so daring that one historian believes that he inspired the Lone Ranger.

2. In 2019, more than 3,000 years after he was laid to rest, King Tut’s outermost coffin was removed from its tomb. Researchers wanted to restore the coffin before the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in 2020 — which was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. There’s a road in New Mexico — on a stretch of Route 66 — that plays “America the Beautiful” whenever cars drive across it. But there’s a catch — drivers must be going the speed limit, 45 miles per hour, to hear the song.

4. An Australian businessman forked over $500 million to build a replica of the ill-fated Titanic. The new ship will be called Titanic II, and it will likely set sail in 2022 (complete with modern-day safety features).

5. Before he became the frontman of Queen, Freddie Mercury was named Farrokh Bulsara. Born in Zanzibar in 1946, he was called “Freddie” at boarding school and later picked “Mercury” after the Queen song “My Fairy King.”

6. Several countries around the world, including Poland, South Korea, and Indonesia, punish pedophiles with chemical castration.

7. Weighing up to six ounces with a leg span of nearly a foot, the Goliath birdeater is the biggest spider in the world by mass. But even though its venom is deadly to small creatures, it’s not able to kill a human.

8. For over 30 years, a Black pianist named Daryl Davis has convinced hundreds of white supremacists to leave the Ku Klux Klan.

9. Before becoming a celebrity chef with a taste for French food, Julia Child was a spy. During World War II, Child worked for the precursor to the CIA and even developed a recipe for shark repellent to protect U.S. Naval officers.

10. In 2014, McDonald’s admitted that they’d engineered bubble-gum flavored broccoli. But kids didn’t like the snack, so it never took off. Even McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson admitted, “It wasn’t all that.”

11. The Japanese spider crab boasts a leg span of up to 13 feet and a weight of 40 pounds. Another interesting fact about this gigantic crustacean is that it can live to be 100 years old in the right environment.

Japanese Spider Crabs

Wikimedia CommonsOne interesting fact about the Japanese spider crab is that it’s one of the oldest living species on Earth.

12. In 1971, a 17-year-old named Juliane Koepcke fell 10,000 feet from an airplane after it was struck by lightning. Incredibly, Koepcke not only survived the fall but also managed to stay alive for 11 days alone in the Peruvian rainforest until she was finally rescued by locals.

13. Scotland has over 400 words for snow, including “sneesl” (to begin to rain or snow) and spitters (small drops or flakes of wind-driven rain or snow).

14. World champion boxer Muhammad Ali once stopped a stranger from dying by suicide. After hearing that the man was about to jump off a building near his home, Ali rushed to the scene and convinced him to come inside.

15. Although age has turned the Egyptian pyramids the same color as the surrounding desert, they were once a stunning white thanks to limestone.

16. The nightmarish Goliath tigerfish can grow to the size of a human adult. Another interesting yet terrifying fact about this creepy creature is that it has teeth that are about one inch long.

17. Smoke from the 9/11 terror attacks billowed so high and so wide that astronauts on the International Space Station were able to see it.

18. Although Paul Revere’s “midnight ride” is a well-known story from the American Revolution, a teenage girl named Sybil Ludington rode twice Revere’s distance to warn American colonists of the British invasion.

19. The oldest-known dildo is thought to be 28,000 years old.

20. The man who invented the Super Soaker water gun is a Black entrepreneur and former NASA engineer named Lonnie Johnson. His famous creation eventually grossed over $1 billion.

21. As partially transparent animals, glass frogs have see-through bellies — which means that humans can see most of their organs with the naked eye.

Interesting Facts About Glass Frogs

Wikimedia CommonsOne interesting fact about the glass frog is that it’s one of the only transparent land animals on Earth.

22. Near the end of World War II, Japan plotted to infect Americans with the bubonic plague by dusting the United States with plague-infected fleas. Luckily for America, this plan never came to fruition.

23. The longest word in the English language is 189,819 letters long and it would take over three hours to say it out loud. This word is a type of protein, which is normally referred to by its nickname: “Titin.”

24. Teddy bears were invented after President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear tied to a tree. His successor, William Howard Taft, tried to copy the teddy bear craze with possums, but ultimately failed.

25. Giant tarantulas co-exist peacefully with tiny frogs, whom they rely on to protect their eggs from ants. In exchange, the frogs enjoy the protection that the spiders provide from larger predators such as snakes.

26. James Doohan, aka Scotty from Star Trek, was once dubbed the “craziest pilot in the Canadian air force” for his brave feats in World War II. In 1945, he flew his airplane between two telephone poles just to prove that he could.

27. To make his wife Joanne laugh, Fred Rogers — aka Mister Rogers — would fart at boring events. “He would just raise one cheek and he would look at me and smile,” Joanne recalled with a laugh.

28. Because Abraham Lincoln shared a close relationship with his former roommate, Joshua Speed, some historians have speculated that he was gay. Writer Carl Sandburg even wrote in 1926 that Lincoln and Speed’s relationship had “a streak of lavender, and spots soft as May violets.”

29. The heart of a blue whale is five feet long and weighs 400 pounds. It’s so big that a human could likely stick their head inside the whale’s aorta.

30. The Annabelle doll made famous in horror movies really exists — and it’s rumored to have put curses on skeptics who doubt its power.

31. Salvador Dalí had pet anteaters that he often walked in public. And once, he even brought one of them onto a late-night talk show.

Interesting Facts About Salvador Dali

RedditOne interesting fact about Salvador Dalí is that he was willing to take his pet anteaters just about anywhere.

32. Back when divorces were difficult to obtain, Englishmen sometimes opted to sell their wives instead. The practice of wife-selling in England started in the 17th century and lasted up until the mid-19th century.

33. One of the biggest bats in the world, the giant golden-crowned flying fox has a wingspan of five and a half feet. But while this “megabat” might look terrifying, it’s completely harmless to humans.

34. Alongside building pyramids and constructing elaborate tombs, the ancient Egyptians were also interested in dentistry. Archaeologists have even uncovered evidence of dental work on a 4,000-year-old mummy.

35. Although best known as an impressive inventor, Nikola Tesla succumbed to a number of strange obsessions in his old age. He became enamored with the numbers 3, 6, and 9 and once declared his love for a pigeon.

36. The Centennial Bulb switched on in 1901 — and it’s still going strong.

37. Before he became a killer who terrorized America, the Unabomber — Ted Kaczynski — was a math prodigy who went to Harvard.

38. Queen Elizabeth II has owned more than 30 corgis in her lifetime.

39. An autistic British artist named Stephen Wiltshire can draw entire cities from memory — even if he’s only seen them for a few minutes.

40. In 1975, Charlie Chaplin entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest — and came in third place. The judges may have been confused by his blue eyes, which they couldn’t see in black-and-white movies.

41. During World War II, George H.W. Bush narrowly avoided being eaten by Japanese soldiers. His plane was shot down and he was able to swim to safety, but his fellow soldiers were captured — and some were cannibalized.

42. A Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon, is the last Blockbuster store left in the entire world — and it continues to survive against all odds.

43. During the Civil War, a Union soldier named Jacob C. Miller was shot in the forehead. He miraculously survived — but he bore the bullet wound for the rest of his life until he died at age 88 in 1917.

Jacob C Miller

Flickr/Cassowary ColorizationsJacob C. Miller, who survived being shot in the face during the Civil War.

44. Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

45. Hawaiian pizza wasn’t invented in Hawaii — or by a Hawaiian. It was created by Sam Panopoulos, a Greek immigrant living in Canada who made the bold choice to put pineapple on pizza in the 1960s.

46. The first known female tattoo artist in the United States, Maud Wagner, was a circus performer who wowed audiences during the early 20th century. Although tattoos were often associated with venereal diseases at the time, Wagner wore hers proudly and gave tattoos to curious audience members.

47. The atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II were so powerful that they burned the patterns of women’s kimonos into their skin.

48. The popular shoe brands Adidas and Puma were founded by brothers-turned-rivals Rudolf and Adolf Dassler — who initially started a shoe company together in Nazi Germany.

49. Before becoming an actor, Tim Allen was a low-level drug dealer who got arrested in a Michigan airport with more than half a kilo of cocaine.

50. According to scientists, it takes somewhere between 252 and 411 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

51. While stationed in Antarctica in 1961, a doctor named Leonid Rogozov realized he urgently needed an appendectomy — but there was no one there to do the surgery for him. So, he performed it on himself.

52. Although they were struggling after being forced to travel the Trail of Tears, the Choctaw Tribe in Oklahoma donated $170 (over $5,000 today) to the Irish during the Potato Famine. And in 2020, people in Ireland raised millions of dollars for Native American tribes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

53. In 1986, the nuclear power plant disaster at Chernobyl devastated an entire region in modern-day Ukraine. But in 2007, scientists discovered that strains of fungi were eating the radiation in a process called radiosynthesis.

54. A Japanese diplomat stationed in Lithuania during World War II saved as many as 6,000 Jewish refugees by giving out free travel passes. Chiune Sugihara was later punished for his actions and dismissed from his job.

55. An 11th-generation Lincoln named Ralph Lincoln bears a striking resemblance to his ancestor, the 16th president of the United States.

Ralph Lincoln

Ralph LincolnRalph Lincoln, shown next to his ancestor Abraham Lincoln.

56. One interesting yet strange fact about the human body is that our noses and ears never stop growing — no matter how old we get.

57. Native Americans weren’t guaranteed the right to vote in every state in the United States until 1962.

58. One World Trade Center in New York City — built after the 9/11 attacks destroyed the Twin Towers — stands at a symbolic 1,776 feet tall.

59. A man once spent nearly six months in jail for a murder he didn’t commit — until footage from the TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm gave him an alibi.

60. The olm salamander can remain completely motionless for thousands of days (the record is 2,569 days) and can live to be 100 years old.

61. An up-and-coming starlet named Dolores Hart gave up fame and fortune to become a nun in 1963. Her decision shocked Hollywood, especially since Hart had once starred opposite Elvis Presley.

62. After learning that civil rights icon Rosa Parks had been robbed and assaulted in 1994, Little Caesars’ founder Michael Ilitch decided to pay Parks’ rent. He did so for over a decade until her death.

63. Scientists have identified a mysterious deep-space radio signal that repeats every 157 to 161 days. Bursts like these are known as fast radio bursts, and scientists still aren’t entirely sure what causes them.

64. In 536 A.D., a mysterious fog blanketed much of the world in darkness for 18 months. Scientists believe that this creepy phenomenon may have been caused by a powerful volcanic eruption in Iceland.

65. An American dog named Sergeant Stubby became famous in World War I for his ability to comfort wounded soldiers and sniff out poisonous gas. He once even allegedly captured a German soldier. The most decorated dog of World War I, Sergeant Stubby later met three American presidents.

Sergeant Stubby

Wikimedia CommonsGeneral Pershing awarding Sergeant Stubby a medal in 1921. While he wasn’t the only canine honored after the conflict, one interesting fact about Sergeant Stubby is that he was the most decorated dog of World War I.

66. Although it’s been called one of the worst countries for women, Afghanistan was once a fairly liberal place. Women in the 1960s attended college and wore miniskirts before years of war tore the country apart.

67. A 2,000-year-old Chinese mummy named Xin Zhui, or Lady Dai, is so well-preserved that she still has blood in her veins.

68. Ancient Egyptians rocked socks with sandals.

69. Although famous astronauts are primarily white and male, their accomplishments are due in part to Black women like Katherine Johnson. In the 1950s and 1960s, Johnson’s mathematical work — later immortalized in the film Hidden Figures — helped put the first American astronauts in space.

70. The bullet-ridden 1934 Ford where Bonnie and Clyde were killed by police is now on display at Whiskey Pete’s Hotel and Casino in Primm, Nevada.

71. The famous “giant head” statues on Easter Island also have enormous bodies that are buried deep underground.

72. One Japanese soldier kept fighting World War II for 29 years after the conflict ended. Since he believed the war was still ongoing, Hiroo Onoda didn’t leave the jungle of the Philippines until 1974, when his commanding officer-turned-bookseller told him to lay down his arms.

73. On a barroom bet, an amateur pilot named Thomas Fitzpatrick successfully landed a plane on a busy New York City street. And when another drinking companion didn’t believe him, Fitzpatrick did it again.

74. Using measurements from the Venus de Milo, a 1908 study at Harvard named swimmer Annette Kellerman as the “Perfect Woman.” But Kellerman was far more than her supposedly perfect proportions — one interesting fact about her is that she publicly defied restrictive rules about women’s fashion and once even designed a swimsuit that got her arrested for “indecency.”

75. The “Aryan” poster child used in Nazi propaganda was actually a Jewish girl named Hessy Levinsons Taft. The photographer who took Taft’s picture secretly submitted it to a magazine’s Aryan beauty contest as a joke.

Hessy Levinsons Taft

Wikimedia CommonsHessy Levinsons Taft, portrayed as the “perfect” Aryan baby.

76. Theodore Roosevelt was known for his unstoppable energy and his can-do spirit. But he was nothing compared to his daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth. One interesting fact about her is that she sometimes carried a snake, a dagger, and a copy of the Constitution in her purse.

77. The world’s tallest and heaviest horse was named Sampson. He stood over seven feet tall and weighed more than 3,000 pounds.

78. A female Soviet sniper named Lyudmila Pavlichenko killed more than 300 Nazis alone during World War II.

79. While operating his gas station restaurant — a precursor to KFC — Colonel Sanders once angrily shot a rival gas station owner in the shoulder.

80. Scientists in Israel used 2,000-year-old seeds found near the Dead Sea Scrolls to grow date trees — and it actually worked.

81. A New York hotelier named George Boldt once built an elaborate castle on an island for his wife, Louise — and even blasted the island itself into the shape of a heart. But when Louise unexpectedly died, he abandoned the project entirely, and Boldt Castle sat empty and decrepit for decades.

82. To demonstrate the “danger” of Nikola Tesla’s “alternating current” electricity, some of Thomas Edison’s supporters electrocuted a number of animals, including dogs, calves, and even a horse.

83. Female samurai, or Onna-bugeisha, were just as fierce and powerful as their male counterparts — and they fought until the 19th century.

84. Global warming is slowly melting the snow and ice on Mount Everest and revealing more bodies of hikers who died there years ago.

85. An Austrian-born tailor named Franz Reichelt tried to show off his new “flying suit” by jumping off the Eiffel Tower in 1912. It didn’t work, and Reichelt tragically plummeted to his death.

Franz Reichelt

Wikimedia CommonsFranz Reichelt showing off his (fatally designed) flying suit.

86. After 67-year-old Mary Reeser was found dead in an apparent house fire, some suspected that she had actually died of spontaneous human combustion instead. Although Reeser’s body was almost completely destroyed, the rest of her apartment appeared relatively undamaged.

87. Sixty million years ago, a fearsome snake called Titanoboa terrorized the jungles of South America. The enormous serpent could grow up to 50 feet long and likely weighed about 2,500 pounds.

88. When he was just 32 years old, Alexander the Great suddenly became ill and died. But since his body didn’t decompose for six days after his death, one scientist suspects that he wasn’t dead yet — and actually suffered a paralyzing and eventually fatal bout of Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

89. Bruce Lee could throw a fast punch — some sources even claim that he punched at the speed of 118 miles per hour. True or not, Lee’s punches were so fast that he actually had to slow them down for film cameras.

90. Chicago isn’t called the “Windy City” because it’s gusty; in reality, it’s the 12th windiest city in America. The moniker was popularized after a fierce competition between Chicago and New York City to hold the World’s Fair, with Chicago being dubbed “windy” since it had a lot of blowhards.

91. The tallest person ever recorded was an 8’11” American man named Robert Wadlow. His height was caused by hyperplasia of the pituitary gland, which sparks rapid and excessive growth.

Interesting Facts About Robert Wadlow

PinterestA figure of Robert Wadlow with Shaquille O’Neal. One interesting fact about Wadlow is that he was nearly two feet taller than the famous basketball star, who is 7’1″.

92. As the Titanic began to sink, many third-class passengers were stuck below deck. They were held there by stewards awaiting instructions, and most of the lifeboats had left the vessel by the time they were released.

93. Black Americans in the 1960s were often barred from sharing swimming pools with white Americans. So, television personality Mister Rogers decided to make a statement by sharing a kiddie pool with his frequent guest star “Officer” François Clemmons on his show in 1969.

94. The doctor who performed Albert Einstein’s autopsy stole his brain. Not only did he photograph it and study it, but he also sliced it into 240 pieces — and sent those pieces to other curious researchers.

95. Women in Wyoming had the right to vote a full 50 years before the passage of the 19th Amendment. In fact, when Wyoming became a state in 1889, legislators refused to give up women’s suffrage, saying: “We will remain out of the Union 100 years rather than come in without the women.”

96. America’s youngest World War II veteran enlisted in the United States military when he was just 12 years old. Calvin Graham apparently tricked officials by speaking in a deep voice and shaving.

97. No one knows exactly what happened to Amelia Earhart, who disappeared over the Pacific, but some experts think she was eaten by coconut crabs. In 2007, scientists left a pig carcass on the beach where many suspect Earhart crashed — and the crabs tore the pig to bits.

98. During World War II, a British musician named Anthony Pratt developed the murder mystery board game that would later become “Clue” to pass the time during England’s wartime blackouts.

99. The world’s longest beard belonged to Hans N. Langseth. It stretched an impressive 17 feet and six inches, and was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution about 40 years after Langseth’s death.

After reading these 99 interesting facts, check out Peter Freuchen, who may be the most interesting man in the world. Or, keep on learning with these 100 interesting facts about the world.

Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Fraga, Kaleena. "The 99 Most Interesting Facts From The Worlds Of History, Science, And Beyond.", August 4, 2021, Accessed June 24, 2024.