Welcome to another edition of Wait, What?! Wednesdays!
So the first few weeks of 2021 were uhh…well actually, pretty normal by 2020 standards I guess. But given the COUP ATTEMPT in the United States, we thought it was (metaphorically) fitting to start with house fires.
If your house catches fire, how long do you have to escape?
According to one expert, once a fire starts, you only have 3-5 minutes. In an article that breaks down the sequence of events in a typical kitchen fire, they noted that it did not used to be so dire so quickly - 30 years ago, you had 14-17 minutes to escape. But homes have become more flammable due to more synthetic materials in the house, open floor plans, bigger rooms, and higher ceilings (all of which make it easy for flames to spread). Yikes.
When and why did fingerprinting come into use for identification?
Yeah, those are two different people. In 1903, at Leavenworth Federal Prison (in Kansas) William West and Will West were both inmates. And according to the Bertillon Measurement System which was still used to identify people at the time, they were...the same person. Not great Bertillon, not great. This was one of the driving factors to adopt fingerprinting (and ditch the old system). Check out the full history of fingerprinting here.
How can a dream solve a murder?
Ask Ann Marten. In the early 1800s, Ann had frequent dreams, or rather, nightmares. In her sleep, she had visions of her stepdaughter, Maria, buried under a barn floor half a mile from where Ann and her husband lived. Her husband checked it out and unfortunately for Maria, Ann’s dreams proved true. Maria’s new husband had killed her. (Always the husband, guys, always. So don’t believe in love I guess is the moral here. Or maybe it’s don’t go to an abandoned barn with your new spouse. Idk)
How did a dog save their blind owner from certain death?
Lassie! Okay, no its name wasn’t Lassie. But this yellow lab, Samantha, certainly made some Lassie-esque moves. Her blind owner fell into a brook and became stuck. And what did Samantha do? She dominated of course, barking up a fury and eventually leading officers to the scene, saving the man from hypothermia and likely death. Good pup!!
Do you have any mysteries or crimes or unknowns you’ve come across this week? Let us know and we’ll cover them in next week’s WWW!
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