Today We Learned
Darius McCollum, a New Yorker diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, has been arrested over 30 times for impersonating transit employees, stealing trains and buses, and driving their routes – complete with making safety announcements and passenger stops.
- Darius was stabbed at school when he was 11-years-old and started to ride the subway near his home for days on end, only coming up for something to eat. He was obsessed and even locking him in his room couldn’t stop him riding trains.
- He became friends with Metropolitan Transit Authority staff and would unofficially cover shifts for workers after being given a uniform at 15 years-old.
- He was first arrested in 1981 but kept on going, keeping detailed notes on how to drive trains, take care of tracks and other official train staff duties so he could easily blend in with other train staff.
At a 1915 auction, Cecil Chubb bought Stonehenge as a gift for his wife, but she hated it because she had sent him to buy a set of chairs. 3 years later, he gave it to his country on the conditions that the entrance fee would never cost more than a shilling and the locals could have free access.
- Cecil Chubb paid £6,600 for the monument at an auction in Salisbury when the notion took him but his wife was raging as all she wanted was some new furniture. That’s £680,000 in today’s money the guy spent on some big stones.
- Chub then gifted thesite to the UK and Prime Minister David Lloyd George gave him a knighthood to say thanks.
Robin Williams was offered, and accepted the role of The Joker in the 1989 film, “Batman.” Warner Brothers had only made the offer to bait their first choice, Jack Nicholson, into signing on, which he eventually did. Williams was furious, and demanded an apology from the film studio,
- Jack Nicholson wasn’t thrilled about the project, and turned it down. Meanwhile, Robin Williams had been actively campaigning for the role.
- Robin Williams was also offered the role of The Riddler in Batman Returns. Some say Williams turned them down due to still being annoyed about his treatment. Williams said, during a later interview with Empire Magazine, that he felt he was robbed of the Riddler role as well, and that it was taken away from him and given to Jim Carrey.
Ghost ships, ships found abandoned with no sign of the crew, still occur even with modern methods of rescue, safety and communication. The last recorded ship to be found with no sign of life was in January 2021.
- The Yong Yu Sing No. 18 is a fishing vessel used for longline tuna fishing. Built in 2001, it is 29.6 metres (97 ft 1 in) long and carries a crew of 15.
- In January 2021, The Yong Yu Sing No. 18 was discovered adrift near Midway Island with all crew and a lifeboat missing, and with damage from what appeared to be a collision.
Donald Duck has a twin sister named Della. First mentioned back in 1937, she did not make her animation debut until 2017. She is actually the mother of Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
- She is a core member of the Disney Duck family, as the niece of Scrooge McDuck, the younger twin sister of Donald Duck and the mother of his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck.
- Della Duck was first mentioned in Donald Duck comic strips in 1937 as “Cousin Della”. The second time, and first mention on screen, was in the animated short “Donald’s Nephews” (1938) as “Sister Dumbella”. Prior to her animation debut in the 2017 DuckTales reboot, Della never appeared in any animated film or television series
- Della’s first speaking appearance was in the season 1 finale of 2017’s DuckTales. Paget Brewster voiced Della in the episode before joining the DuckTales cast as a recurring cast member – she was Kathy in season 4 of Friends (she was Joey and Chandler’s cheating girlfriend).
Disney World is legally allowed to build a nuclear plant in Florida under a 1960s law.
- Currently, there is no nuclear power plant at Disney World. However, this could change in the near future. In 1967, Florida passed a bill which would allow Disney to build their own nuclear power plant.  Walt Disney understood that the park was going to be large, and wanted the rights to build a nuclear power plant if needed.
The surgeon August Bier tested a form of anaesthesia consisting of injecting cocaine directly into his assistant’s spine to check how effective it was. He stuck a needle in his leg, hit him in the shins with a hammer, ripped off his pubic hair and even squeezed his testicles.
- The subject was fully conscious during the operation, but felt no pain. Two hours after the operation, the subject complained of nausea, vomiting, severe headache, and pain in his back and ankle. The vomiting, back and leg pain improved by the following day, but the headache was still present. Bier performed spinal anaesthetics on five more subjects for lower extremity surgery, using a similar technique and achieving similar results.
The boy whose exorcism was the inspiration behind The Exorcist grew up to be a NASA engineer. His work contributed to the Apollo mission in the ’60s.
- The boy, previously known as Roland Doe, underwent exorcisms in Missouri, in 1949
- Ronald Edwin Hunkeler died last year after suffering a stroke at home in Marriottsville, Maryland. He was a Nasa engineer whose work contributed to the Apollo space missions of the 1960s and who patented a technology that helped space shuttle panels withstand extreme heat.
- Born in 1935 in Cottage City, Hunkeler began experiencing paranormal activities at 14 when he reported knocking and scratching sounds from his bedroom walls. The Rev Luther Schulze wrote to the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University in March 1949 and explained how “chairs moved with [Hunkeler] and one threw him out [of it.] His bed shook whenever he was in it.” The family eventually sought the help of William Bowdern, a Jesuit who conducted more than 20 exorcisms on Hunkeler in the span of three months. Writing in his diary on 10 March 1949, Bowdern noted how Hunkeler entered a trance-like state as witnesses watched during one of his exorcisms.
The British had a POW camp called Trent park during WWII. They would take prisoners of war and let them live in luxury, while secretly bugging the house. The program gave the allies lots of intel, such as the location of a V2 rocket facility.
- Nearly 60 captured Germans were held at Trent Park, their conversations secretly recorded. There were microphones hidden in trees to catch their exchanges as they strolled through the park.
- German speakers working for British intelligence were called “listeners” and monitored the conversations of prisoners of war.
Cinemas in Iceland, Switzerland, Egypt, Turkey and India have an intermission in the middle of the movie. It lasts around 10 minutes, which allows customers to hit the concession stalls or use the restroom.
- The Batman lasted 176-minute runtime; No Time to Die was 163 minutes; and Avengers Endgame was longest, at 181 minutes.