The Exorcism Of Marthe Brossier: The First Exorcism With Scientific Controls

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King Henri IV himself ordered Marthe Brossier’s exorcism. He had some of the highest priests in the country gather around her, sprinkling her with holy water and reciting scriptures in Latin while the demon in Brossier, tormented by the Holy Scriptures, screamed in agony and pain.

But what Brossier didn’t know was that her exorcism was a sham. The holy water was just ordinary water, and the Latin books the priests were reading were nothing more than an old poem by Virgil.

Her exorcism was a science experiment – the first time in history that a demonic possession was systematically put to the test . Brossier failed – and in the process, revealed some incredible things about the human mind.

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]

Heart Wrenching Letters Reveal the Traumatic Life of Miwnay, A Sogdian Woman in China 1,700 Years Ago

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History rarely remembers the little people. Our history books are full of stories of kings, queens, and conquerors; of influential men and wealthy people who lived in gilded castles. But the rest of us are forgotten.

The lives of countless ordinary people — people who loved and lost and struggled and died – have been completely forgotten. To them, their lives were the most important thing in the world; but today, no one even remembers their names.

That’s what makes a box full of 1,700-year-old letters found in the Chinese town of Dunhuang so incredible. Because in that box are two letters written by an ordinary woman named Miwnay.

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]

3,300 Years Ago Ancient Egyptians Collected and Revered Ancient Fossils Now Known as the ‘Black Bones of Set’

Some of the first people ever to stumble upon prehistoric fossils lived in Egypt 3,300 years ago. Their story likely started with a sandstorm. Some strong wind rose up and blew the desert sands away, exposing a secret hidden underneath: the hard, pitch-black bones of what looked like a gigantic monster.

We can only imagine what must have gone through the minds of the men who found them. They didn’t write a word about it – or, if they did, it’s been long lost to the decay of time.

All we know is what they left behind: a tomb filled with prehistoric fossils, some of them as much as two million years old, hidden until 1922 AD.

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]

10 Incredible Things Accomplished By Women Disguised As Men

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Women, throughout most of history, haven’t shared the same opportunities as men. They’ve been relegated to their homes, with the doors that lead to the great deeds that get one’s name written into history firmly closed. At best, their names are remembered only by virtue of being somehow connected to a famous man.

But throughout those thousands of years of repression, there have been women bubbling with abilities and ideas who’ve refused to stay shut out. In a world where only men were allowed to succeed, they cut their hair, put on pants, and accomplished things their brothers refused to believe could ever be done by a woman.

[Read the full article at Listverse.]

10 Ways Sacha Baron Cohen Gets People To Humiliate Themselves

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So far, on Who Is America?, Sacha Baron Cohen has convinced a member of the Georgia House of Representatives to pull down his pants and try to touch people with his butt, yelling, “I’ll make you a homosexual!” and “USA! USA!”

He’s gotten a reality show star to say she saved 6,000 people in Africa from a violent warlord. And he’s even managed to convince a former senator to make a full video teaching three-year-olds how to fire a gun, complete with a musical number that teaches kids: “Aim at the head, shoulders, not the toes, not the toes.”

It’s baffling trying to imagine how anyone could be duped into doing such obviously humiliating things on TV, but there are some very real psychological reasons that people fall for Baron Cohen’s jokes. Behind the scenes, he’s using well-established psychological tricks to manipulate his guests—and they might be harder to resist than you’d like to think.

[Read the full article at Listverse.]

10 Strange Facts About The Mysterious Death Of Rasputin

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On January 1, 1917, the body of Grigori Rasputin, the advisor to the rulers of Tsarist Russia, was found trapped under the frozen surface of the Neva River. He’d been shot three times and horribly mutilated; his killers, it seemed, had even gouged out his right eye.

Everyone was a suspect. Rasputin was seen as a sorcerer and a corrupting influence on the tsar. He was hated by the Tsarists and the Bolsheviks alike. Even outside Russia, he’d made powerful enemies. Prince Felix Yusupov took the credit for Rasputin’s death, claiming that he and four co-conspirators had killed him together. And to this day, Yusupov’s story is the one that usually appears in the history books.

But Yusupov’s confession didn’t fit a single one of the facts. Every single detail in his story contradicted the autopsy and the evidence—and to this day, no one really knows for sure how Grigori Rasputin met his grisly end.

[Read the full article at Listverse.]