Thursday, 15 September 2016

History Fun Facts September 15th


On this day in history in 1254, Marco Polo was born.
Marco Polo was, of course, the creator of the much loved game, Marco Polo, and the mint with the hole.
Legend tells that Marco was blind, incompetent at navigation, lived his entire life in a swimming pool, was very needy in trying to find friends, really wanted to be a bat, and had really bad breath.
Thus came the creation of the game, where everyone jumps into the swimming pool, one person is "Marco" or "It", and the other players are "Polo".
The person who is "It" closes their eyes and trundles around the pool shouting "Marco", imitating the call of a bat in their echo-location, trying to find their friends. When the friends, or fellow players, hear the shout "Marco" they must respond with "Polo, for crying out loud stick a polo in your mouth and suck, your breath stinks of donkey poo."
Or something along those lines.
In reality, no one is quite sure as to the origins of the game, or why it is named after Marco Polo, a famous 13th century merchant traveller. It didn't really take off as a game until the 1960s in America. But it seems to be an offshoot of Blind Man's Bluff, which is played on land, rather than in a swimming pool, and dates back to the 1500s.
On this day in 1890, Agatha Christie was born.
Agatha Christie was an English novelist, specialising in crime and mysteries, and also a Dame. Not the panto kind, the real kind.
The Guinness Book of Records lists Agatha Christie as the best selling novelist of all time, selling over 2 billion copies, mostly to my grandmother, who really loved them. Every time she went to a car-boot sale, my gran would pick up a Hercule Poirot novel or Jane Marple novel, even if she had bought one the previous week. Yes, my gran was bat-shit crazy.
Much like Agatha Christie.
But, unlike my grandmother, Christie was nutso-whacko because she had been kidnapped by aliens who had stripped her naked before taking her. Or she was taken by a giant wasp and Doctor Who.
I kid you not.
In 1926, Agatha Christie's husband had asked for a divorce. It probably has nothing to do with it, but I thought I'd mention it nonetheless.
December 3rd 1926, after a huge argument, Archie stormed out the family home to go spend the weekend with his new love, Nancy Neele. That night, Agatha left the house leaving behind a steamy dump on her husband's favourite dressing gown, and a letter for her secretary telling of her plans to spend the next few days in Yorkshire.
Agatha Christie's car was found perched above a chalk quarry at Newlands Corner. Inside was an expired driving licence, and her clothes.
Her Alien Abduction caused a massive public outcry. Even the Home Secretary got involved, pressurizing the police to launch a massive manhunt which included over 1000 police officers and 15,000 volunteers.
When they realised Agatha was a woman, they changed it to a woman-hunt. A newspaper also offered a £100 reward.
They didn't find Agatha Christie, despite the fact Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got involved, approaching a medium to help in the search.
Ten days later, Agatha was found at Swan Hydropathic hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, under the name Mrs Teresa Neele (the name of her husband's bit on the side). She claims to have no memory of those ten days, or how she got to Yorkshire.
That's because the Aliens mind-wiped her before returning her to Earth after all the probing.

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