List 29: Wikipedia Wanderings

List 29: Wikipedia Wanderings
The story of Jeremy Bentham's "auto-icon" memorial was the oddest find from my Wikipedia wandering. (His actual skeleton is in there.)

Do you ever let yourself wander Wikipedia? You start out looking for information about some very specific thing. Then you see an interesting link, so you click it. Then that page has an interesting link so you click that. Sure, you need to be wary about information on Wikipedia because it may have questionable sources, but it is a great site for setting your curiosity free and wasting a few more hours than you planned.

Last week I wanted to review some details for my  Book of Mormon vs. Yo Gabba Gabba! Live post, so I went to the Book of Mormon page on Wikipedia. There I spotted an interesting fact, and I clicked to the next page to learn more about it. Then I decided to see where I would end up after 40 clicks. The original click is item one below. Keep reading to see the wide variety of things I found during my Wikipedia wanderings and where I ended up. Click the links to learn more about each fact and to do some wandering of your own.

  1. The character General Butt-Fucking-Naked in The Book of Mormon (musical) is an allusion to a real General Butt Naked.
  2. General Butt Naked was spiritual adviser to Liberian President Samuel Doe.
  3. President Samuel Doe was captured, tortured and killed by Prince Y. Johnson who was videotaped sipping a Budweiser as Doe's ear was cut off.
  4. After a trademark dispute the rights to the Budweiser name were split among three companies including Budweiser (Anheuser-Busch) in North America.
  5. One of Budweiser's North American marketing campaigns features the Budweiser Clydesdales.
  6. The Budweiser Clydesdales were introduced in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition. One of their first deliveries was to New York Governor Al Smith.
  7. Although he remained uncorrupt, Al Smith was indebted to the notorious Tammany Hall political machine.
  8. The name "Tammany" in Tammany Hall comes from Tamanend, a Native American leader of the Lenape.
  9. In the late 1700's, Philadelphia and Annapolis held annual Tammany Festivals on May 1, which replaced the European tradition of May Day.
  10. May Day celebrations are related to the Germanic spring festival Walpurgis Night.
  11. Act Two of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is titled "Walpurgisnacht."
  12. Uta Hagen played Martha in the original cast of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  13. Uta Hagen was on the Hollywood Blacklist, partially because of her relationship with Paul Robeson.
  14. Paul Robeson traveled to Moscow and met poet Itzik Feffer.
  15. Itzik Feffer was executed as part of the Night of the Murdered Poets.
  16. Those killed on the Night of the Murdered Poets were all member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee.
  17. Another member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was scientist Lina Stern.
  18. Lina Stern did pioneering work regarding the blood-brain barrier.
  19. Some early observation of the blood-brain barrier is credited to the dye experiments of Paul Ehrlich.
  20. There is is crater on the moon named after Paul Ehrlich.
  21. The Ehrlich crater is north of the Parsons crater.
  22. The Parsons crater is named after rocket propulsion specialist Jack Parsons.
  23. Jack Parsons was also an occultist and a member of Ordo Templi Orientis.
  24. Ordo Templi Orientis was originally modeled after Freemasonry but was transformed into a new religion by Aleister Crowley.
  25. Aleister Crowley was married to Rose Edith Kelly.
  26. Rose Edith Kelly's brother was portrait painter Gerald Kelly.
  27. The Tate Gallery holds seven of Gerald Kelly's works.
  28. The original Tate Gallery was at the former site of Millbank Prison.
  29. Millbank Prison was originally planned to be built as a panopticon, a unique circular design which allows a watchman to observe inmates without them knowing if they are being watched.
  30. The original panopticon design was created by social theorist Jeremy Bentham.
  31. When Bentham died he had his skeleton and head preserved in a lifelike "auto-icon" display (pictured above), which was originally kept by his follower Thomas Southwood Smith.
  32. One of Thomas Southwood Smith's granddaughters was social reformer Octavia Hill.
  33. Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Alice toured Octavia Hill's homes for the poor.
  34. Princess Alice's daughter Princess Alix married Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
  35. At the beginning of what would become World War I, Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany exchanged a series of letters with is sometimes called "the Willy-Nicky Correspondence."
  36. The term Willy-Nicky comes from the title of a book by Herman Bernstein.
  37. Herman Bernstein was one of the people who sued Henry Ford for libel over his anti-Semitic publications.
  38. Henry Ford's only child was his son Edsel.
  39. Edsel Ford helped finance Admiral Richard Byrd's expeditions over the North Pole and to Antarctica.
  40. Admiral Richard Byrd is a descendant of Pocahontas (and her husband John Rolfe, not John Smith like the Disney movie insinuates).

So that's the chain. I started with The Book of Mormon's connection with the real General Butt Naked and ended up with Admiral Byrd and Pocahontas. Plus, I found out a lot of interesting tidbits along the way.

How far has Wikipedia taken you? What's the oddest thing you've found on the site?

If you enjoyed this you may enjoy my lists of unique Pinterest boards, super smart people or fascinating documentaries.

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    I'm a McSweeney's girl in a Buzzfeed world. I'm a playwright with a master's degree in information security. I have two kids and too many ideas. I'm a Big Apple born Steel Town girl living in the Windy City and loving it. Contact me at kimZdale [at] gmail [dot] com.

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