First News
Volume:7, Number:39
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FUN FACTS
THIS WEEK

Origin of Lynching

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As often believed, lynching did not start in the old West or during Reconstruction. It actually started during the American Revolution. A justice of the peace and farmer in Virginia before the war, one colonel Charles Lynch, led a band of vigilantes to “bring to justice” British supporters and outlaws. Hanging someone without a trial became known as “lynching” after this particularly enthusiastic patriot. Nearly 3,500 African Americans and 1,300 whites were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968, mostly from 1882 to 1920.

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Whale Sperm Ice Cream Flavor

Once one of the favorite early ice cream flavors was ambergris. That is a substance produced by sperm whales from their gastrointestinal tract. Historically, it was found washed-up on beaches or occasionally inside dead sperm whales. Yes it does sound disgusting. But ambergris, when allowed to age, develops a sweet and earthy scent. This made it rare, but useful, so rich people loved it. They used it to flavor fancy, exclusive foods, and before the invention of mechanical cooling, ice cream was very expensive. Basically, ambergris was like saffron today.

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Deities Who Could Become Monsters

In Aztec mythology, a tzitzimitl is a deity associated with stars. These deities were depicted as skeletal female figures wearing skirts often with skull and crossbone designs. The Aztec believed that eclipses could harm unborn babies and end pregnancies. The tzitzimitl, visible when the sun was in eclipse, were often benign figures. But when the sun was covered the tzitzimitl became monsters. Pregnant women stayed indoors during eclipses to prevent the tzitzimitl harming them or their unborn child.

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