O is for Felice Orsini

A revolutionary this week in the shape of Italian nationalist Felice Orsini whose attempt to assassinate Napolean III had political repercussions throughout Europe.

Orsini was born in the small city-state of Meldola but from the age of nine, he was put in the care of his uncle, Orso Orsini, in whose care he received a strict religious education. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Awkward: The makers of commemorative tat are gearing up for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle but poor Harry has been replaced by another famous ginger in this plate available on Etsy.

Never fade away: The Troxler effect, named after a Swiss doctor in 1804, describes the optical illusion that an image can vanish before our very eyes. Read more ›››

N is for Nicolas Notovitch

Nicolas Notovitch

One of the essential elements of a successful hoax, apart from a credulous public, is to create a story that just might be true.

In 1894, the Russian journalist Nicolas Notovitch published La vie inconnue de Jesus Christ which purported to reveal that Jesus has spent many years as both teacher and scholar at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

April Fool: The BBC fell hook, line and sinker for the Observer’s Brexit emojis story as you can see from this clip. Other pranks included a spoof BBC report on the sighting of a Kraken on the Thames, Virgin Australia introducing the first in-flight spin classes, news that the European Parliament has decided to change the colour of Euro passports from burgundy to dark blue and Carabao’s Donald Trump-inspired mandarin energy drink. Read more ›››

M is for William Chester Minor

This week’s subject is William Chester Minor, the man who made the greatest contribution of quotations for the Oxford English Dictionary from his cell in Broadmoor Lunatic Asylum where he was serving a life sentence for murder.

Minor was born in Ceylon in 1834, the son of missionaries from New England. At the age of fourteen, he returned to America and later studied at Yale Medical School, graduating in 1863. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Love a duck: Widespread panic in households across the country after researchers found that rubber ducks and other bath toys can contain ‘potentially pathogenic bacteria‘. And speaking iof hygiene, here is why gyms can be unhealthy places.

Groundhog day: Punxsutawney Phil is wanted by the police in Pennsylvania for deception after failing to predict the end of winter. Read more ›››

L is for Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was one of the great Hollywood stars of the 1930s and 1940s but behind the glamour, she led a secret life as the inventor of the technology that we now use in wi-fi and Bluetooth.

Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna in 1914, the daughter of a successful bank director. Read more ›››

Scroll Up