Bruce Felton's Collection of Fun and Bizarre Trivia Part 1

A collection of random facts and fun trivia from oddity hunter Bruce Felton including the most unusual play, fuel, and suicide.

THEIR BEST--A POLL OF LEADING ODDITY HUNTERS

Bruce Felton's 10 Best Oddities

Bruce Felton, with Mark Fowler, is coauthor of Felton & Fowler's Best, Worst, and Most Unusual and Felton & Fowler's More Best, Worst, and Most Unusual. Together, the two volumes comprise a miscellany of achievements, blunders, oddities, and curiosities.

1. Most unusual fuel: Researchers at the Texas Dept. of Highways, in Fort Worth, recently investigated the feasibility of recycling cow burps and found the following: Each year, the bovine population of the U.S. burps some 50 million tons of valuable hydrocarbons into the atmosphere. If these hydrocarbons could only be captured and efficiently stored, say the researchers, the accumulated burps of 10 average-sized cows could keep a small house heated adequately, if indelicately, and its stove operating for a year.

2. Worst editing of a film: A movie theater manager in Seoul, South Korea, decided that the running time of The Sound of Music was too long. He shortened it by cutting out all the songs.

3. Most unusual play: The most unusual play ever penned is Breath, by Samuel Beckett. First performed in 1970, it has no characters, no dialogue, and lasts 30 seconds.

4. Most unusual method of abortion: Until the early years of the 20th century, Muslim peasant women in Upper Egypt still believed it was possible to terminate an unwanted pregnancy by lying face down on the railroad tracks and allowing the next scheduled train to pass over them. Conversely, a woman who had difficulty conceiving would lie on her back on the tracks and allow the passing train to impregnate her.

It wasn't only in Egypt that the steam-driven locomotive was considered the embodiment of the male propulsive force. In India years ago, women desirous of impregnation would rush to the tracks as a train approached and as it passed, they would lift their skirts high in the hope of becoming pregnant.

5. Most unusual home run: "Doc" Cutshaw, who played infield for a variety of National League teams in the early years of this century, hit a sizzling ground ball at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field in 1913 that struck the outfield fence and rolled eerily up the fence and into the grandstand for what was then scored as a home run. Some years later, during a game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Senators, Babe Ruth hit a screaming line drive that, according to observers, passed between the legs of Washington pitcher Hod Lisenbee and soared over the center field fence.

6. Most Unusual suicide: In 1971 William G. Hall, of Shrewsbury, England, killed himself by drilling eight holes in his head with an electric power drill.

Not all suicides are so efficient. A woman in Prague, Czechoslovakia, threw herself from a third-floor window after learning that her husband had been unfaithful to her. She landed on her husband, who was entering the building at that moment. He died instantly; she survived.

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