5 unbelievable yet genuine facts

19 Apr 2024

The world is full of fascinating surprises, and sometimes, the most unbelievable stories turn out to be true. Today, we're diving into a collection of incredible and strange facts that can be found lurking around our world.

Fact 1: Forget left and right, a single shoe once fit both feet 

Imagine a world where your left and right shoes are identical! Believe it or not, that's exactly how things were until the early 1800s. Shoes back then were more focused on function than fit, designed to protect feet from the elements rather than offering individual comfort. As manufacturing techniques improved, shoemakers began noticing the subtle differences between left and right feet. By the 19th century, the concept of a dedicated left and right shoe became the norm, a change that probably brought a sigh of relief to tired toes everywhere.

1-shoes.jpg?format=webp@Impractical shoes/vam.ac.uk

Fact 2: Can beavers be considered fish? The Catholic Church says yes (sort of)

Here's a fact that will leave you scratching your head: beavers were once classified as fish by the Catholic Church. Why? This unusual decision stemmed from the desire to allow Catholics to eat beaver meat on "meatless" days during religious holidays. Since beavers spend a considerable amount of time in the water, the Church deemed them aquatic enough to fall under the "fish" category. While this classification is no longer in effect, it's a reminder of the creative interpretations that can arise in matters of faith and dietary restrictions.

3-beaver.jpg?format=webp@When Beaver Met Salmon: How Fish-Friendly Flow Devices Keep Their Relationship Moving Forward/wwf.ca

Fact 3: Ireland: A land free of slithering villains (thanks to St. Patrick?)

Have a fear of snakes? Look no further than Ireland! This emerald isle boasts a unique distinction – it's completely devoid of any native poisonous snakes. Legend attributes this absence to St. Patrick, who is said to have banished all snakes from the island during his mission to spread Christianity. While science leans towards the lack of suitable habitat preventing snakes from ever reaching Ireland, the legend adds a touch of whimsy to this fascinating fact.

3-saint-satrick-battles-with-snakes.jpg?format=webp@There were no snakes in Ireland when Saint Patrick arrived, so he couldn't have banished them/mythicalireland.com

Fact 4: Leap year, leap proposal: The Irish tradition of women popping the question

Tired of the traditional gender roles when it comes to proposing? In Ireland, February 29th is traditionally considered the one day when women can propose marriage to men. This tradition is known as "Bachelor's Day" or "Ladies' Privilege" and traces its roots back to the legend of Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid. According to the legend, Saint Brigid complained that women had to wait too long for their suitors to propose. Eventually, Saint Patrick agreed to a compromise, allowing all women to take the first step once every four years.

4-ireland-prop.jpg?format=webp@Leap Year Day - why it's traditional for women to propose to men on February 29/chroniclelive.co.uk

Fact 5: Lost in translation: The different worlds of sign language

Sign language may seem universal across borders, but did you know that sign language in Britain and the USA is as different as their accents? While both countries use sign languages to communicate, the vocabulary, grammar, and even hand gestures can vary significantly. This can create communication barriers between deaf individuals from these countries, highlighting the fascinating diversity that exists even within a seemingly universal language form.

5-signing-Image.jpg?format=webp@What are the different types of sign language?/signsolutions.uk.com