In 1941 a Group of Americans Arranged a Hex Party to Kill Adolf Hitler by a Voodoo Spell

Revelers make their way to a "hex party" in the Maryland woods, 1941.
Revelers make their way to a “hex party” in the Maryland woods, 1941.

On January 22, 1941 a group of young idealists went to a cabin in the Maryland woods to put a voodoo spell on Hitler. Black magic or not, these Nazi-haters knew how to party. According to LIFE magazine, the party featured “a dressmaker’s dummy, a Nazi uniform, nails, axes, tom-toms and plenty of Jamaica rum,” and was inspired by a book by occultist and writer William Seabrook that was popular at the time: Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today.

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Physical Contact over the Internet

Scientists at the MIT developed a Dynamic Shape Display. Named inFORM, the technology can allow interaction with the physical world, for example moving objects on the table’s surface. Remote participants in a video conference can be displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a distance.

– via tangible.media.mit.edu

Smooth Moves of a 66-Year-Old Chinese Figure Skater

Jack Wilkes—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Jack Wilkes—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

In the forties during the winter, this bearded 66-year-old Chinese man named Wu Tang-shen used to skate on the ice pond near the Forbidden City in Beijing. In February of 1946 LIFE photographer Jack Wilkes discovered and photographed Mr. Wu while he was executed his pirouettes with the ease of an accomplished figure skater of the old school.

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In 1951, Children Could Buy DIY Nuclear Reactor Kit

GilbertAtomicSet

You don’t see toys like this around anymore. Who wants the kid next door to create his own Manhattan project in the backyard? The Atomic Energy Lab set was available from 1951 to 1952 and sold for a whopping $50.

“The set came with four types of uranium ore, a beta-alpha source (Pb-210), a pure beta source (Ru-106), a gamma source (Zn-65?), a spinthariscope, a cloud chamber with its own short-lived alpha source (Po-210), an electroscope, a geiger counter, a manual, a comic book (Dagwood Splits the Atom) and a government manual “Prospecting for Uranium.””

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In Lapland, Finland Reindeer Antlers Glow

raindeer

In Lapland, Finland reindeer antlers are sprayed with the light reflector to reduce traffic accidents. Reindeer are not hunted in Finland, but while they roam freely for most of the year, they are owned like cattle. The antlers glow only in car headlights so it’s not like wolves are scanning the forest with searchlights for flashy reindeer. In addition to danger they pose on the roads as they do not fear vehicles, the herders have an economic incentive to keep the stock alive.

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One in Four Americans is Unaware that Earth Orbits the Sun

sun-orbits-earth-poll

The National Science Foundation (NSF) published an unexpected poll result: around 25 percent of Americans don’t know that the Earth orbits the sun. Perhaps this is just an anomaly; a statistical error? However, another outcome of the same poll appeared recently concluded that the majority of young Americans think astrology is a science.

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The German Hair Force: A Failed Military Experiment

Hairforce

For almost year and half during the 1970s, German army, the Bundeswehr, permitted its soldiers to wear long hair, reflecting the new cultural trends. During the Cold War this decision annoyed the country’s NATO allies and earned the military the derogative nickname of the “German Hair Force.”

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Life Expectancies Around the World

life_expectancy

Visual journalist Marcelo Duhalde has created an infographic that displays life expectancies around the world. According to his research, a person born in 2013 in Monaco has the highest expected life span — an average of 90 years — while Chad has the worst with an average of just under 50 years.

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