The World’s Strangest Phobias

We are all afraid of something, aren’t we? Personally, I constantly worry about my trousers falling down in a public place. Even that isn’t so bizarre compared to the world’s strangest phobias around.

Lleguminophobia – Fear of Baked Beans

The World's Strangest Phobias

The guy in the photo is called Rob Griffiths. He has a secret to confess. He is scared of tinned baked beans. This sensitive chap wasn’t just unlucky in this respect. Oh no, he was doubly cursed. He ended up getting a job as a chef. This meant that he sometimes had to heat up the hideous “orange devils” as he calls them. Thankfully, there was a happy ending. He quit his job and now cleans windows for a living.

Coulrophobia – Fear of Clowns

Strange Phobias

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the fear of clowns is that it isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Among the celebrity sufferers of this weird phobia is Johnny Depp. So, it’s ok to inflict a guy with scissors for hands and a headless horseman on the world, but a cheerful guy with a painted smile is something to be afraid of?

Selenophobia – Fear of the Moon

Bizarre Phobias

Are you afraid of the moon? If you are then you suffer from a strange phobia called selenophobia. If you suffer from shortness of breath, weakness of knees and intense sweating while looking at the moon, then you probably suffer from selenophobia.

Xanthophobia – Fear of the Colour Yellow

Strangest Phobias

Yellow; it’s not a bad old colour, is it? Some would even call it mellow. Sure, it doesn’t have the same gripping image of purple, the cutting edge danger of red or the broad appeal of blue. But, it’s certainly not something to be afraid of.

Metrophobia – Fear of Poetry

Unusual Phobias

It is time for me to make a confession; I find poetry insufferably boring. Why would anyone want to spend hours and hours of their life writing or reading this nonsense? However, I’m not sure if I’m physically afraid of it. Actually, if you sat me down with a bunch of stuff from Wordsworth or Shakespeare, then I might very well break out in a cold sweat.

Genuphobia – Fear of Knees

Weird Phobias

Aren’t knees just the scariest thing ever? If you answered yes to that question, then you probably suffer from the strange phobia known as genuphobia. Seriously dude, why are you so scared of knees? They’re only knobbly things that stop our legs from collapsing.

Papaphobia- Fear of the Pope

Bizarre Phobias

What’s the Pope ever done to harm you? I could maybe understand people having papaphobia in the days of religious persecution and the Spanish Inquisition. But, Pope Francis isn’t really likely to harm you, is he?

Geniophobia – Fear of Chins

Strange Phobias

Can you imagine what life would be like if you had an intense and irrational fear of chins? Even shaving would become a dark and mysterious business that led to tears every time.

Ergophobia – Fear of Work

Weird Phobias

If you are a feckless, work-shy lay about, then don’t admit this to anyone. Especially don’t admit it to your boss. Instead, claim that you have ergophobia . You’ll get a lot of sympathetic looks and probably won’t even get fired.

5 Unusual Requests From Death Row Inmates

What would you do if you somehow found out that you will die in a week, a month or a week? What would ask for if you knew that this might be your last day on Earth? Although death is a natural part of life, many people refuse to think about it. When you are about to depart this world, things as trivial as a dinner or spending time with your family become the most important part of life. What would you like to have for dinner, if it were your last on the world? As macabre as it may sound, hundreds of people are faced with this decision due to various reasons. We were curious to see what those at the end of their rope crave for in their last day on Earth. Here are 5 unusual requests from death row inmates.

1. Odell Barnes Junior

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As you may very well know, prisons are not as tight as they used to be. Many inmates manage to obtain forbidden stuff such as cigarettes, exquisite food and even drugs. There is also a prison catering staff and outside sources used for unusual requests, but not even they were ready for what Odell Barnes Junior was about to ask. Irrespective of the fact that he had beaten to death, murdered a woman and burgled in the cruelest way possible, he decided that, before the end, he wants world peace with a side of equality and a sprinkle of justice. Obviously, nobody could fulfill his wish, so he got the normal rations before going to his death.

2. Robert Madden

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Another interesting case is that of Robert Madden. He was convicted for the gruesome murder. In spite of the fact that he murdered in cold blood his last wish was for his food to be donated to a homeless person. The funny thing is that the prison staff turned him down for absolutely no good reason. There were no winners in this situation, but the act of Robert Madden motivated other death row inmates to do the same. The good news is that their requests were carried out.

3. James Edward Smith

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From here on out the unusual requests from death row inmates just get creepy. James Edward Smith departed from this world in 1990 (he was convicted of murder and robbery). Smith became famous only after his death, because he requested a lump of dirt as his final meal. Supposedly he wanted to us it for a voodoo ritual. The dirt was not approved on the menu and he had to make do with yogurt.

4. Lawrence Russell Brewer

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The next unusual request on our list is that of the erratic Lawrence Russell Brewer. This guy will forever be remembered as the one who actually got what everybody else wants. Apparently Brewer ordered an incredibly luxurious feast of chicken fried sticks, with onion and gravy, a large meat and vegetable omelet, half a loaf of bread, a pound of barbeque meat, feast pizza, three fully loaded fajitas, three sodas, ice cream, peanut butter fudge and three triple cheeseburgers. Interestingly enough the food was brought to him but he didn’t even eat one bite. The Texas police decided to eliminate last meal requests in September 2011 because of this.

5. Thomas Grasso

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Thomas Grasso’s last meal request quickly became known around the world. Similar to Lawrence Russell Brewer, he requested a huge meal (and probably hoped that the cholesterol would take him first). Anyway, his last meal consisted of a double Burger King cheeseburger, spaghetti with meatballs, half a pie, whipped cream, 24 cooked mussels, a mango and a giant milkshake. He was not satisfied with this meal, and accused the prison staff of serving him canned spaghetti.

‘I did not get my Spaghetti-O’s. I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this!” is part of his last speech, which travelled around the world.

5 of the Most Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

The days of circus freak show acts are long gone, which is no bad thing really. However, it is very interesting to look back at some of the incredible old-time circus acts that once took people’s breath away and made them recoil in horror in the past.

James Morris and His Elastic Skin

Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

This guy was known as the India Rubber Man or the Elastic Skin Wonder due to the fact that he could pull his skin and stretch it so far out. He was said to be able to pull the skin from his neck over his ears, which is a pretty cool thing to be able to do when you think about it. He joined the Barnum circus and earned a living from this bizarre ability. As with most of the famous circus freak shows acts from the past, there is a sensible scientific explanation for it. In this case, Morris has something known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Mary Ann Bevan – The Ugly Woman

Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

This woman became a widow at the start of the First World War and took on a farm labouring job near London while disguised as a man. To be fair, it probably didn’t take that much of a disguise going by this photo. She was talked into entering a beauty contest and, perhaps unsurprisingly, didn’t win. However, her lack of beauty led to her being offered the chance to join travelling fairs, billed as the Ugliest Woman in London. Her fame then grew and she travelled all over the world in shows. She seems to have been happy enough, calling her ugliness “a blessing”.

Josephene Myrtle Corbin and Her Extra Legs

Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

It’s pretty clear why this lady became famous. Doctors in the 19th century called her a “dipygus dibrachius tetrapus” and even a “monster by fusion”. However, to put it in simpler terms, she had 4 legs. She could move the two inner legs but they were said to be unsuitable for walking on, as they were too weak. At 13 years of age she joined circus shows as the Four Legged girl from Texas. In later life her condition didn’t stop her from having children of her own.

Madame Clofullia – The Bearded Lady

Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

The bearded lady is one of the classic circus show freak acts and Madame Clofullia (born in Switzerland as Josephine Boisdechêne) was one of the most famous. By the time she was 8 she had a 2 inch beard and before long she was touring Europe to show off her unusual looks. She was given a giant diamond by Napoleon III and then went on to tour in the US with Barnum. She ended up in court; accused of being a man in disguise but it was proven that she really was a woman. At one point her beard measured 6 inches.

Ella Harper – The Camel Girl

Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

At first sight Ella Harper might not look like she has much to offer a circus but just look at those legs. The bizarre ability that she had was that of being able to bend her knees forwards and walk around on all fours like. She became the Camel Girl for a few years before seemingly giving up the freak show circuit to go to school. The medical term for her condition is now known as congenital genu recurvatum.

African Leaders Vote to Give Themselves Immunity from War Crimes

A few days ago, on Friday, 27th of June 2014, the leaders of African countries reunited at a summit in Equatorial Guinea. What they voted for should give us all the chills. The leaders, some of which are in trouble with various courts for their involvement in war crimes and human rights violations, voted to give themselves and their allies immunity from war crimes. Two sitting presidents and one ousted president of the African continent are currently facing charges at the International Criminal Court. This ruling is surely not a minor detail of how the initiative for this vote was taken.

Immunity from War Crimes

The news of this outrageous decision only seems to have hit the Western World today. All the major voices have expressed concern for this turn of events. Amnesty International, which is the NGO most equipped with studying problematic issues and charged with reporting to the UN, has called the vote “a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights”. Indeed, there’s plenty of reasons to feel outraged when a bunch of politicians by this sit down meeting. They’ve voted to give themselves immunity against war crimes and the international community can’t remain indifferent.

What makes the matter even more concerning is the continent’s recent history and inter-ethnic conflicts that too often ended in downright massacres. Without meaning to imply anything inappropriate about Africa and the capacity of its peoples to peacefully govern their territories, there have been enough problems to make the matter worrisome. Leaders voting to give themselves immunity from war crimes would chill the blood in anyone’s veins no matter where he or she is from (and we surely do have our own part of troubled history). In a place as ripe with conflict and tension and Africa is, this seems all the more dangerous.

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When a massacre like the recent South Sudan attempt at ethnic cleansing ensues, the only thing the UN and a few NGOs can do is watch helplessly and try to offer a bit of comfort and basic shelter to the survivors. Intervening military in such a situation would be both difficult and problematic. One thing the rest of the world can do in order to prevent such atrocities and help the troubled areas achieve greater stability is impose regulations and preventative measures. Such a preventative measure includes making sure the laws and the courts have a firm grip on the rest of the country. But, this recent vote basically rejected any kind of accountability for even the most serious violations. Giving themselves immunity from war crimes is equitable to a defiance of basic human kindness. It shows a lack of respect for human life for their own people. It’s a shame such news are able to tarnish the image of the African areas that are actually peaceful and doing just fine.

The vote was held especially because the international community is currently struggling to set up an African Court for Justice and Human Rights. Netsanet Belay of Amnesty International declared that the vote to give these leaders immunity from war crimes is undermining the integrity and capacity of this court even before it can become operational. On a more optimistic note, others (namely, Simon Allison of the South African Institute for Security Studies) argued that even if the vote to give the leaders immunity from war crimes is undoubtedly a drawback, it could also prove to have some utility on the long run. In his words, the newly gained immunity could prove to be some sort of incentive for those leaders to not hinder the activity of the court and perhaps even be willing to collaborate more with it since they would feel safe from its rulings. In any case, the matter remains a heated source of debate and discomfort for the rest of the world as well. We eagerly await more reactions and truly hope things won’t remain like this for long.

5 Unusual Jobs You Never Knew Existed

Complaining about one’s job seems to be everyone favorite activity, at least if you look mainly at socializing networks and the status updates posted there. If people aren’t complaining about their work or their bosses, they’re complaining about how much they hate Mondays. We previously published a story about a few horrible jobs to have, in the hopes to make everyone appreciate what they have. We also wanted people to realize there’s no reason to whine so much. Today we will follow up witha story about some of the most unusual jobs out there. These are the jobs that you probably never even knew existed. We’re not saying they’re either good or bad. We’ll let you be the judge of that instead.

5 Unusual Jobs You Never Knew Existed

Human Statue

If you think we’re referring to those painted up performers at fairs and whatnot which stand in the street as still as possible waiting for people to give them some money or interact with them in some way, you’re wrong. Being a human statue is way weirder than that. It truly deserves to have the entry position in a top of the most unusual jobs out there. Basically, it consists of spending your time in the window of a high-end clothing store dressed up with their clothes. You know, just like a mannequin. Except, they prefer using a live one. The pay is around $100 an hour and it would definitely give you the funniest stories to tell at social gatherings for the rest of your days.

Odor Judge

Perhaps you’re not aware of this, but there are actually body odor competitions being organized. The winner is the one with the most “natural” armpit smell. Needless to say, there’s an odor judge who sniffs out all the competitors in order to deem a rank to each one. The job usually pertains to a female odor judge. If this isn’t the most unusual job you could ever think of, we don’t know what is.

Body Part Models

You know those images from watch catalogues or nail polish commercials or shoe advertisements where you can’t fully see the person modeling them but only the hands or feet, depending on the product marketed? Well, imagine that the people featured there are actually body part models! That means that they get hired for only one part of their body which is particularly attractive. It probably makes for some pretty weird and Frankenstein-like business cards.

Paid Internet Commenter

This is an official position which is offered to some people seeking employment in China. Apparently the government there is paying people to comment all over the internet and to cast a positive light on the ruling Communist Party. These paid commenters are tasked with penetrating all the popular layers of the web community: chat rooms, news forums, bulletin board systems and so on. These people are called “wumao”.

Professional Cuddler

To finish the list of 5 most unusual jobs you could ever imagine, why not bring up one which awkwardly blurs the limits of what we call privacy and intimacy in a novel way? The job is that of a professional cuddler. It seems to be popular in Japan right now. The “hikikomori” (“crippling loneliness”) that plagues much of Japan’s society today apparently found some relief with these cosy cafes where one can go cuddle with a stranger and maybe even sleep next to them. The people reporting this for CNN swore that cuddling is really all that happens.

Ok, so maybe some of them aren’t horrible. Maybe one or two could even be appealing if you’re open minded enough, but you’ll probably admit that these were some of the most unusual jobs you ever heard of. We’re wondering how exactly these employees first break the news to their families about what they do for a living. Not that we’re judging such brave souls.