Jousting and Hastilude

Jousting

Jousting wasn’t just something knights did in between wars. In fact, when jousting developed into the sports-like event popular culture depicts it as, there weren’t many wars to fight.

Jousting began as an exercise in medieval combat tactics. However, when the crusades ended and knights had no more wars to fight, jousting quickly became a hastilude, the medieval name for a combat-themed sport. Popular hastilude events included the pas d’armes (passage of arms), in which a knight had to fight his way through a group of challengers, and melee, in which a group of knights were divided into two teams that fought each other on foot.

Surprisingly, jousting was seldom the main event—usually the melee was the center of attention.

Odd Compulsion to Drink Urine

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Meet Carie, a 53-year-old woman who drinks her own urine. She might as well use it to brush her teeth, take a bath in, and wash her eyes out with, too. In fact, you guessed it, she actually does. Carie drinks around 80 ounces of her own urine a day and even uses it in a neti pot for nasal irrigation. She’s in a fight against cancer and believes that drinking her own urine helps her to cope with the disease.

Chocolate-coated Heroine

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In 2009, agents at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York stopped Edny Barzo, because of a large amount of chocolate bars in his luggage. Upon closer inspection, they realized it was actually a bunch of heroin hidden in realistic-looking chocolate bars. What a passing glance might see as a nice snack was actually $400,000 of drugs. Unfortunately for Barzo, officers in New York are highly trained to identify cases “of deep concealment methods.”

Death By Hot Water (Hopkinsville, Kentucky)

Death By Hot Water Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Death By Hot Water
Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Belle Coleman, a disturbed woman who had attempted suicide before by shooting herself in the chest, was an inmate of Western Lunatic Asylum (later Western State Hospital). Her reported mania to suicide might have been the result of severe depression. On May 17, 1899, despite being watched by attendants, she managed to sneak into the bathroom. In those days, bathroom water heaters were essentially oversized kettles with no safety features. Belle turned on the faucet, stuck her head underneath, opened her mouth, and let boiling hot water pour down her throat and scald her body until she lost consciousness. She died in agony from her injuries shortly afterward.

Suicide by Corkscrew

Suicide by Corkscrew

Suicide by Corkscrew

In March 1899, while the steamer Puebla chuffed across the Pacific after stopovers in Japan and the Philippines, the captain noticed something wrong with John McKenna, his chief steward. McKenna had enjoyed heroic drinking binges in Nagasaki and Manila, and after a few days out at sea, began suffering delirium tremens. The captain ordered him confined to his quarters under the supervision of the ship’s surgeon. A little while afterward, the attendant left in the corridor to wait on McKenna noticed blood seeping under the door, which he forced open. He found a demented McKenna savagely stabbing himself in the throat with a corkscrew. When the corkscrew was taken from him, McKenna tore at the deep wounds with his fingers. He died the next day, likely from blood loss.