A Japanese soldier in WWII, Hiroo Onoda, held out for 29 years, and refused to quit fighting until he was convinced the war was over… in 1974 (article)
On December 26th, 1944, Onoda was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines. His orders from his commanding officers, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, were simple:
You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand. It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we’ll come back for you. Until then, so long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead him. You may have to live on coconuts. If that’s the case, live on coconuts! Under no circumstances are you [to] give up your life voluntarily.
Onoda first saw a leaflet that claimed the war was over in October 1945. When another cell had killed a cow, they found a leaflet left behind by the islanders which read: “The war ended on August 15. Come down from the mountains!”2 But as they sat in the jungle, the leaflet just didn’t seem to make sense, for another cell had just been fired upon a few days ago. If the war were over, why would they still be under attack? No, they decided, the leaflet must be a clever ruse by the Allied propagandists.
Again, the outside world tried to contact the survivors living on the island by dropping leaflets out of a Boeing B-17 near the end of 1945. Printed on these leaflets was the surrender order from General Yamashita of the Fourteenth Area Army.
Having already hidden on the island for a year and with the only proof of the end of the war being this leaflet, Onoda and the others scrutinized every letter and every word on this piece of paper. One sentence in particular seemed suspicious, it said that those who surrendered would receive “hygienic succor” and be “hauled” to Japan. Again, they believed this must be an Allied hoax.
Leaflet after leaflet was dropped. Newspapers were left. Photographs and letters from relatives were dropped. Friends and relatives spoke out over loudspeakers. There was always something suspicious, so they never believed that the war had really ended.
A German U-boat mysteriously disappeared in 1945 and the sole survivor of its crew, who missed the voyage due to illness, found out about the fate of his shipmates in 1999 by watching a NOVA episode about the submarine (article)
NOVA: What did you feel upon seeing the film about U-869?
Herbert Guschewski: I must say that I can’t bear to see it anymore. I am so agitated inside that I can hardly stand it. I had a vision of the bones of my body lying right there, if I hadn’t been lucky enough to miss that voyage on U-869. I was able to live another 55 years, and I thank the Lord for that.
NOVA: And really you should have been among them.
Herbert Guschewski: If I hadn’t been so lucky I would now be immortalized here as well, and my skeleton would be in the wreckage off America, too. Of course, I am glad to have been able to live another 55 years, good years and bad years. I have children and a wife who takes care of me. I can be happy. All my comrades didn’t have that. So I thank the Lord that I can stand here, even being myself on the verge of death because of my age.
NOVA: Is that a burden for you that you are the surviving one?
Herbert Guschewski: No, not at all. I don’t think it is a burden. I see it as a mercy that I was allowed to live that long. I think that that is good and well, and I will pass my wisdom to my grandchildren and nephews so that they will live with my memories so that such a thing will never be repeated.
Tim Allen got caught bringing 1.4lbs of cocaine in a U.S airport in 1978. He snitched out other dealers to reduce his sentence from life imprisonment to 7 years
Honeybees in Japan will defeat an intruding Hornet not by stinging, but by engulfing it in a mass off bodies and warming the internal temperature of the Hornet, cooking it alive
It is almost certain that the astronauts survived the initial Challenger explosion, and died on impact with the water. At least three of the crew’s emergency oxygen tanks were manually switched on after the crew’s capsule broke apart from the rest of the shuttle. (article)
Most people have never actually seen how the crew sits inside the shuttle. Most people think everyone sits on one deck and has view of the windows- it’s not like that. It’s actually 3 decks tall and the crew sits on the upper and mid decks. (Image) Because of this set up if you’re seated on the mid deck you have no windows and no view. When Challenger broke apart (it did not explode, it broke apart. If you watch the video of the incident you will actually see the crew cabin shoot out of the debris field before falling down. (Image) Electricity was immediately severed as was communications. Those sitting on the mid deck were immediately sent in to darkness with no ability to communicate and with no idea what was happening. One second they’re riding a rocket and a spit second later they’re in darkness and tumbling.
The free fall before hitting water was 2 minutes and 45 seconds.When the cabin hit the water it did so at 207 miles per hour and the deceleration exceeded 200g. When the bodies were recovered they had been in the water for nearly 10 weeks and were in an almost completely liquified state. Some body parts were later identified and returned to the families. The vast majority of the remains could not be identified and were buried together at the Challenger Memorial in Arlington.
After a millionaire gave everyone in a Florida neighborhood free college scholarships and free daycare, crime rate was cut in half and high school graduation rate increased from 25% to 100% (Article)
In Spanish, “esposas” means both “handcuffs” and “wives” and it is not a coincidence
When Beethoven was challenged to an improvisation duel by one of his rivals named Steibelt, Beethoven took a piece of Steibelt’s music, turned it upside down, played it, then improvised on that theme for over an hour. Steibelt simply left halfway through.
One of the last compositions Beethoven arranged before his death. Some call it incomprehensible, the work of a lunatic. Others consider it a work of technical genius. One things for certain: it’s absolutely insane:
James Cameron made the movie Titanic to get a dive to the shipwreck funded by the movie studio; not because he particularly wanted to make the movie (article)
CAMERON: I made Titanic because I wanted to dive to the shipwreck, not because I particularly wanted to make the movie. The Titanic was the Mount Everest of shipwrecks, and as a diver I wanted to do it right. When I learned some other guys had dived to the Titanic to make an IMAX movie, I said, “I’ll make a Hollywood movie to pay for an expedition and do the same thing.” I loved that first taste, and I wanted more.
The “Harlem Hellfighters” were the first African American regiment in WWI who were assigned to the French forces. None were captured, never lost a trench, or a foot of ground to the enemy. They returned to the U.S. as one of the most successful regiments of World War I
In Japan, houses are considered depreciating assets. Half of all homes are destroyed by the time they are 38 and rebuilt. There are 4 times as many architects and twice as many construction workers per capita as the US. There is no home equity LOC and virtually no home improvement industry. (article)
Salvador Dali would avoid paying his tabs by drawing on the checks he wrote, making the checks a valuable piece of art
Dali loved money and the finer things in life…this was no secret to anyone. However, it was said that during his later years, Dali created interesting ways to keep his excessive lifestyle afloat. One clever way that Dali avoided paying for things was by scribbling on restaurant checks. He was known to take huge parties of friends and students out for dinner and then when the bill came, he would write a check for the entire meal. However, as the waiter watched, Dali would quickly sketch something on the back of his check. Knowing that the restaurant owner would never cash such a valuable piece of art, Dali basically wrote his own money, and cleverly avoided a large dinner bill. Whatever became of these checks? They remain one of Dali’s many mysteries.