– Marlene Dietrich was a world-famous actress in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. She despised the Nazi Party and despised what it did in her beloved Germany. Marlene managed to slip out of Germany despite a direct order from Hitler to stay. He later issued a personal mandate to immediately return to the “Father Land.” The actress ignored that “invitation.” In 1939, Miss Dietrich became a citizen of the United States.
– The Cullinan is the largest diamond discovered on earth thus far. Uncut, the precious stone weighed an unbelievable 3100 carats. Found in South Africa (1905), the Cullinan was cut into several stones. All Cullinan gems are part of the British Crown Jewels. I have seen them at The Tower of London. Inquiring as to whether any of the stones were for sell, I was politely discouraged. Honestly, it was a bit of a bluff as I likely could not have afforded any of the stones.
– In 1959, eight men and two women began a hike towards Otorten Mountain in Russia. All expedition members were experienced outdoor enthusiasts. One of the men became ill and returned to base camp alone. He would be the only one to survive the ordeal. All the others were found weeks later clawed, half nude, frozen and dead. There were lots of forensic clues, but to this day the mystery is unsolved. One more strange twist: Kholat Syakhl is the local name of the mountain and Kholat Syakhl means “Mountain of the Dead.” The case of the nine dead hikers is officially closed, but some amateur and professional investigators still occasionally visit and search the area for answers.
– Anne Boleyn was a queen of King Henry VIII. She seems to have lost favor with her rotund husband. He ordered her beheaded and refused to allot funds to be spent for her coffin. She was interred in a wooden box that had contained arrows intended for combat.
– In 1955, a talent scout named Arthur Godfrey produced a nationally- televised show (on CBS) that featured new talents in show business. He gave Elvis Presley an audition, but detected no hope for “Swivel Hips.” Mr. Presley was sent home.
– Lake Michigan is owned by Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Perhaps it is comforting to read that all of Walden Pond is owned by the state of Massachusetts. A reasonably healthy person can walk around the famous 61 acre tarn in 40 minutes, weather permitting. No charge. One caveat – so many people have used the once-pristine water as a bathroom that one park ranger purportedly suggested the name be changed to Golden Pond. Have a great day.
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.