Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

10 Absolutely Bizarre Wikipedia Articles

Whenever I get writer’s block, I hit wikipedia.  It’s arguable if it’s better or worse to fall down an internet k-hole by reading every single serial killer article you can find on wikipedia, but my hope is that I’ll eventually mine all of this for a good reference to throw in a story.

Here’s a short list of wikipedia articles that I’ve read recently that are truly bizarre:

  1. Banana equivalent dose – The amount of radiation you absorb by eating one banana.  (Yes, you absorb radiation from eating bananas.  Helicopter parents: let’s ban them!)
  2. Berners Street Hoax – Two men had a bet that one of them could turn a random address the most talked-about address in London in a week; antics ensue.
  3. Ota Benga – The Bronx zoo had a human as an exhibit.  In the 20th century.  This is a truly fucked up and sad story.
  4. FedEx Express Flight 705 – Want to read about one of the most demented hijacking schemes ever?  Here you go.
  5. Self-surgery – If you ever read alt.tasteless, you already know where I’m going with this one.
  6. Dyatlov Pass incident – When hikers wander off for no reason barefoot in heavy snow in the Ural mountains and are later found with fractured skulls, missing tongues, and no signs of struggle, a serious WTF situation occurs.
  7. Human Interference Task Force – How do you tell people for the next 10,000 years not to screw around with a buried crypt of radioactive waste?  The US government formed a task force of scientists, anthropologists, and science fiction writers to brainstorm this.  One linguist proposed creating a religion based on radioactive waste, that would create myths and legends surrounding the spent fuel rods, which would be handed down from generation to generation and eventually produce some asshole that would take people’s money to build a water park.
  8. New Swabia – Did you know Nazi Germany still has a territorial claim on Antarctica? You do now.
  9. Phineas Gage – My favorite story of a railroad worker having a metal spike drilled through his skull by an explosion and surviving.
  10. List of unusual deaths – This one is the god damned mother lode.  You could kill an entire day reading this.

Happy reading, and let me know your favorites, too.