Early Greek and Roman physicians believed the only way to grow a good crop of basil was to scatter the seeds while cursing and stomping their feet.
In the old days, playing music that contained augmented 4th chords in any key was avoided because it was thought to invoke the Devil.
Anacletus II, who was elected Pope in 1130, was the greatgrandson of Baruch, a successful Jewish businessman who had served as an adviser, financier, and steward to Pope Benedict IX.
There's a temple in Sri Lanka dedicated to a tooth of the Buddha.
The Seven Deadly Sins are represented by the characters in Gilligan's Island: Gilligan, sloth; the Skipper, anger; Mr. Howell, greed; Mrs. Howell, gluttony; Ginger, lust; the Professor, pride; and Mary Ann, envy.
William Blake, Winston Churchill, and John Lennon were all ordained druids.
During the First Crusade, one band of religious hysterics who meant well but were quite desperate marched behind a goose they believed was filled with the Holy Spirit.
It's bad luck to reloop a belt if you missed it in the first place.
The origin of the modern day confessional box comes from the Middle Ages. Before then, prostitutes who visited priests to confess their sins were often sexually assaulted.
According to one radio evangelist, King James was very clever indeed. When other theologists of his day would talk about bible, James would say "As it is written in the bible," and would display a printed copy of his version of it.
The human aura cannot be photographed through polyester.
In ancient Egypt, when a cat died, it was manadatory for its owner to shave off his eyebrows to show his grief.
According to Matt Groening, a dog with seven toes can see ghosts.
Sitting Bull thought that the telephone was too heavy magic.
Some saints in the Middle Ages were dirty because they thought it would bring them closer to God. St. Anthony never washed his feet; St. Abraham never washed his hands or feet for 50 years; St. Sylvia never washed any part of her body except her fingertips.
The Aetherius Society believes Jesus is alive and well on the planet Venus.
One superstition to get rid of warts involves rubbing a peeled apple and giving it to a pig.
The Fijiian god Matawaloo has eight stomachs and is always eating.
It's bad luck to get married when the fish aren't biting, according to the custom of some fisherfolk.
The dunce cap of schoolhouse fame originates from a paper cone that was placed on the heads of accused witches during the Middle Ages. When Joan of Arc was martyred, she was wearing one of them.
They used to have public trials and convictions of animals for witchcraft (they even hanged cows)
According to an old tradition, men must carry women over the threshhold to protect them from getting possessed by evil spirits that hang around in doorways.
Belief in the existence of vacuums used to be punishable by death under church law.
Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in Ireland.
David Koresh once submitted bass drum logo designs to David Seven, drummer for the Los Angeles band Radio Free Europe. Cult second-in-command honcho Steve Schneider tried to lure the band into the Branch Davidian cult with promises of free recording time, equipment, and an all-expenses-paid vacation to Waco.
The "live long and prosper" sign by Star Trek's Mr. Spock is actually the sign that Jewish priests (Cohenim) used while saying certain prayers.
A Native American tribe in Wyoming once worshipped a giant wagon wheel. I think it's still there, near the city of Basin, in the Big Horn Mountains.
In 1654, Bishop Ussher of Ireland, having analyzed all the "begats" in Genesis, concluded that the planet Earth had been created at 9 a.m. on October 26, 4004 B.C., a Thursday.
St. Cassian was a schoolmaster whose pupils stabbed him to death with their pens.
St. Jerome, who was responsible for translating the Bible into Latin, taught that the irregular surface of the earth was evidence's of God's anger with human sin. He also taught that fossils were the remains of "the flood," a belief that went uncontested for years.
By one account, there were originally 399,920,004 angels in heaven. However, as onethird joined Lucifer and were then cast into hell, that means that only 266,613,336 are left.
There is no mention of Adam and Eve eating an apple in the Bible.
In East Anglia, England, they used to mummify cats and place them in the walls of their homes to ward off evil spirits.
According to one statistician, the chances for oil that would light a lamp for one night to last eight nightsthe basis for the Jewish holiday of Chanukahwould be one in 3,000.
Early American folk medicine used a "madstone" to treat bites. The stone was usually a stone-like substance taken animals such as a gallstone. The stone was seeped in warm liquid and then applied to the wound. When the stone no longer clinged, the poison ws believed to be gone.
One mariner's tale of the 15th century held that men who tried to sail south of Morrocco would be transformed into Negroes.
Amber (fossilized pine resin) was thought by some in ancient times to be solidified sunshine and by others to be the petrified tears of gods.
Legend has it that after he was beheaded, St. Dennis, the patron saint of Paris, France, carried his head around and walked for quite some distance before finally setting it down.
Domesticated cats are never mentioned in the Bible. Dogs are mentioned 14 times, lions 55 times.
According to Mexican folk doctors or curanderismo, mal de ojo is an illness to which all children and adults with "light blood" are susceptible. Sweeping the patient with an unbroken egg in the sign of the cross is considered the treatment of choice.
According to one amateur theologian, when St. Lawrence was being martyred upon a hot gridiron, he reputedly said, "Turn me over. I'm done on this side."
According to the ancient Chinese, swinging your arms cures headache pain.
In the Mass of the Independent Catholic Church of Malta, God is referred to as "Allah."
The ancient Celts believed that rivers were the urine of goddesses. Many European rivers (Seine, Severn, Danube, etc.) were named after these urinating Celtic deities.
There are dinosaurs in the bible.
Pliny believed that the souls of the dead resided in beans.
Good facts surrounding the number 13 and Friday the 13th
According to one statistician, due to the mathematics of the calendar, the 13th of the month is more likely to fall on a Friday than on any other day of the week.
According to one Texas superstition, a bag filled with 13 sow bugs tied around a child's neck will cure the child from the thrash, or sores in the mouth.
Richard Wagner liked the number 13 because he was born in 1813 and composed 13 operas.
Ziegfeld liked 13: he preferred to sail on the 13th open his shows on the 13th.
Woodrow Wilson once had 13 guests to dinner. This was met with a lot of protest by his guests, but he declared the number to be lucky.
There were 13 colonies, which led to 13 stars, bars, and an eagle with 13 tail feathers that was holding 13 darts. E Pluribus Unum has 13 letters.
Bad facts surrounding the number 13 and Friday the 13th
French Lick Springs, Indiana once passed a law requiring all black cats to wear bells on Friday the 13th.
Some Texas superstitions about Friday:
* It is bad luck to take ashes out on Friday.
* Never cut any kind of garment on Friday. If you do, it will never be completed.
* Jaybirds go down to the devil's house on Fridays to tell all the bad things that have happened during the week. Jaybirds who remain on Friday are checking up on what people are doing.
* Old Port Lavaca supersition that if more than 13 blackbirds land on a fence, it's a sign of a norther about to blow in.
Biblical reasons why Friday and 13 are bad.The Last Supper had 13 people there. Jesus died on a Friday. Adam was created on a Friday. Eve tempted Adam with apple on Friday. Adam and Eve died on a Friday. The flood Noah's Ark began on Friday
Greek philosophers called 13 an "imperfect" number.
According to Norse mythology, there were 12 gods present when Loki stormed the banquet at Valhalla hall and murdered the much beloved Balderso there were 13 present. The Norse also have a myth about journeying on a Friday.
Friday was a common day for people to be hanged. Thirteen pence halfpenny was at one time the wage paid to the hangman.
Holidays and Celebrations
Mistletoe represents a god's testicles.
The first person to set up a retail lot to sell Christmas trees was Pennsylvanian Mark Carr. In 1851, he hauled two ox sleds loaded with trees from his land in the Catskills to New York City. The type he brought, balsam fir, remained the most popular Christmas tree until 1955 when Douglas fir and Scottish pine took over the market.
They eat watermelon for Christmas in Australia.
In Germany, the parents of bad little boys and girls would receive whips and lumps of coal delivered by St. Nick's bud Knecht Ruprecht (Servant Rupert) at Christmas.
In 1864, General William Sherman sent President Abraham Lincoln a telegram in which he announced his Christmas gift to the presidentthe city of Savannah, Georgia.
About 1597, William Shakespeare gave The Merry Wives of Windsor to Queen Elizabeth I for Christmas because she wanted to see a play that featured Falstaff in love.
In Japan, a country in which less than one percent of the population is Christian, Christmas is celebrated due to the fact that on Dec. 24, 1955 the government proclaimed that the postwar period of shortages and privitization had come to an end. Initial celebration was reserved to males only and included excessive libation, but in the 1960s it was expanded to include their families; men, who previously went to bars after work on that day, began stopping by bakeries to pick up special Christmas cakes for the family.
The Persians used to give eggs to each other as a symbol of the beginning of life at the beginning of every year.
For Christmas in 1909, President William Howard Taft got all of his secret service men silver knives and to one of his White House aids, he game a silvermounted pin cushion.
An old custom in Holland explains why we have piggy banks. At the beginning of the year, children were given pigshaped earthenware containers (known as "feast pigs") to save their pennies in. The following Christmas, they got to open them up.
According to an old Egyptian text, a delicate nerve runs from the fourth finger of a person's left hand to their heart, thus explaining the origin why that finger is the "wedding finger."
On Christmas night, railroad robber baron Jay Gould would give all of his guests a box of candy.
According to one source, in Great Britain, friends and clients of Rolls Royce look forward to receiving crystal reproductions of English water jugs, wine glasses, or decanters at Christmas.
The celebration of Valentine's Day can be traced to the ancient Roman holiday of the Lupercal, which honored Lupercus the Lycaean, who protected flocks of sheep from wolves.
Valentine's Day was originally associated with the mating season of birds.
On one New Near's Day, Queen Elizabeth I receieved black silk stockings at the time, a very rare gift indeed. Until then, she had worn only cloth hose, but from that point on, she never wore cloth again.
Mr. Smarty Pants gets his information from books, magazines, newspapers,
the internet, radio, and television. He also includes facts he has overheard at parties.
All contents--Copyright 2008 Smarty Pants Productions