Everyday people encounter things that can’t be explained. What that statement means can be interpreted in a lot of ways, however. A UFO in the sky is an unexplained phenomenon to most of us. On the other hand, if you’ve never seen a vacuum before, that would be a baffling phenomenon as well. Everything in nature probably has an explanation, even if we’re not aware what it is. That said, the world seems to be full of things that have no logical explanation at first glance.
10. Poets Die Younger Than All Other Writers
The world of writing can be quite diverse. You can write nonfiction, you can do technical writing, you can be a screenwriter, and of course you can still be a poet. Once upon a time being a poet was quite a revered profession. Shakespeare was a poet, after all. But poetry isn’t all red roses and blue violets.
As it happens, poetry is something of a dangerous profession. Compared to all other writers, poets die much younger. It’s been speculated this is in part because poets are self-destructive by nature. The stereotype of the tortured poet didn’t come out of thin air after all.
It turns out that writers of all stripes die younger than people in other occupations. However, poets are on the bottom rung of that short-lived ladder. Any number of factors could contribute to this, but it seems to be a cross-cultural phenomenon. In a study of novelists, playwrights, nonfiction writers, and poets taken from the United States,Turkey, China, and Eastern Europe, poets had the shortest lifespan of all with no obvious reason attributed to it.
9. The Mariko Aoki Phenomenon
If you have never heard of the Mariko Aoki phenomenon, then you’re in for a treat. This condition, which no one can confirm is even real but has certainly been reported more than once, is named for the woman who first wrote a letter to a magazine in Japan describing it.
To put it bluntly, the Mariko Aoki phenomenon occurs when you go to a bookstore and then have an inexplicable urge to poop once inside the bookstore. In her 1985 letter, Aoki revealed she had realized the urge came upon her any time she entered a bookstore. It sounded utterly absurd, and you’d think one had nothing to do with the other until more people wrote to the magazine with similar stories.
The letter became an article in a later issue as they explored this phenomenon. The reason, of course, remains unclear. There’s been much speculation ranging from the smell of books having some kind of relaxing effect on one’s bowels, while others heading the more Pavlovian route and suggesting that if you read on the toilet, your brain will tie these events together and force the urge upon you.
Naturally, many people question if this is real at all or just a bunch of people trolling, but at least one Texas gastroenterologist has had to deal with patients claiming to suffer from it and believes it’s a real, albeit psychological, condition.
Have you ever speculated about what alien life might look like if it were to come to Earth? Obviously, pop culture has settled in on the small gray aliens with colossal heads and bug eyes look. But if evolution on Earth is any sign, we should at least consider that aliens are going to look like crabs. That’s because of the phenomenon known as carcinization. Carcinization is the name we’ve given to the phenomenon of distinct life forms evolving into crabs. It’s happened at least five times on Earth.
Turns out not everything you think is a crab is actually a crab. For instance, the king crab, which is favored by many at seafood buffets, isn’t a real crab at all. From an evolutionary standpoint it’s what’s known as a false crab. Its ancestors didn’t look like crabs, but it evolved into the same shape as what you think is a crab.
Porcelain crabs and hairy stone crabs are two more creatures that look like crabs now but evolved from non-crab ancestors. Scientists aren’t even sure how many times this might have happened, but we have a handful of confirmed cases. As to why it happens? That’s up in the air, as well. Clearly there is some reason, maybe an evolutionary advantage we don’t understand, but it’s all speculative.
7. Terminal Lucidity or Rally
Patients who have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and related conditions will get worse as the disease progresses. Often these conditions can degrade a person’s cognitive function so badly that they are no longer themselves in the end. However, there is a phenomenon known as terminal lucidity that affects many patients with these conditions although it’s hard to say exactly how many.
Terminal lucidity, sometimes called rally, or paradoxical lucidity, occurs shortly before the patient dies. It could be as far out as a week or even on the day of death. But the patient seems to recover many of their cognitive functions and clarity. They may be like their old self again, able to speak or even remember some details of their past and personality in ways that they had not been able to for a long time.
It’s not just dementia patients either, as terminal cancer patients who have lost the ability to speak or express themselves coherently may also show signs of this. The reasons for the change in these patients is not very well known or studied, however.
6. Formaldehyde Hunger
Have you ever seen a movie or TV show in which a coroner is doing an autopsy and they have a sandwich sitting on a table near them? This kind of thing is played for a joke showing off how morbid this person must be if they can stomach eating while working on a corpse. Turns out that this is actually based on real world observations. Many people who work with cadavers have reported something that is known as formaldehyde hunger. it may just be anecdotal, but is extremely well known in medical fields.
It’s not that coroners, medical examiners, and med students are necessarily ghouls. It’s just that, at least according to commonly held beliefs and firsthand observations, the smell of formaldehyde can trigger a hunger response in some people.
There’s no actual science behind this phenomenon, there’s nothing that specifically says formaldehyde triggers this reaction in the human brain, and in part that’s because no one is really bothered to study it. It’s not groundbreaking science that’s really pressing on anyone’s mind. But that doesn’t discount anecdotal evidence either. These are doctors after all sharing their own observations and if it makes some people truly hungry, then clearly something is going on.
5. Windshield Phenomenon
When was the last time you went for a drive down the highway? When you got home, do you remember thinking anything unusual about your windshield? Specifically, was it clean or was it covered in splattered bug carcasses?
The windshield phenomenon posits that the world is losing bugs. We can observe this every time we go for a drive and come home with a fairly clean windshield when compared to how things used to be in the past. The idea is that, back in the day, if you went for a road trip, you would have bugs splattered all over your car by the time you got home. And according to the phenomenon that doesn’t happen anymore.
As bizarre as this one might sound, there’s evidence to back it up. Research has shown that the number of bugs that end up splattered on somebody’s car is as much as 50% less than it was 15 years earlier. We really are running out of insects, in what some have called an insect apocalypse. Why is it happening? Everything from habitat loss to pesticides and climate change can be factors.
4. Marketing Placebo Effect
Do you buy name brand food at the grocery store or the store brand? Does it make a difference? For many people, the more expensive option tastes better. This has actually been proven through experiments with wine. If you put the exact same wine in a more expensive bottle and give it to people to sample, most people will say that the more expensive wine was better tasting even if it’s the same thing. That’s the marketing placebo effect.
Interestingly enough, the phenomenon works in reverse too. For instance, if you’re selling something like an energy drink and then offer it at a discount, shoppers will think it must not be very effective because it’s so cheap.
During the wine experiment, the brains of the participants were actively studied in an MRI which proved that your brain reacts differently when you perceive something as more expensive and therefore higher quality, even if it’s not true.
3. Latchkey Incontinence
Latchkey incontinence is not a pleasant name for a phenomenon and you have to assume it’s going to be something at least a little unpleasant. The condition it describes is related to the urgency you feel to go to the bathroom the closer you get to a bathroom. It may start with just the normal acknowledgment that you do have to go, and as you get closer and closer to the washroom that urge builds to the point of being almost unbearable.
Before you get close to a washroom, you’ll probably be perfectly fine doing any number of tasks. However, once you’re within range, it’s like the floodgates are open. This is most noticeable when you’re on your way home and you have to use the washroom and then the moment you get to the door, it feels like you’re about to lose control completely. There may be physical or psychological reasons for this to occur.
2. The High Place Phenomenon
Have you ever heard of the Call of the Void? This is also known as the high place phenomenon and it is as weird as it is potentially deadly. This phenomenon can grip you when you are at the edge of a cliff or a tall building looking out over the world and get the urge to jump off. It can also happen in any other dangerous situation where you can easily make a terrible choice and hurt yourself. For instance, if you’ve ever been taken with the urge to jump on the tracks in the subway, or swerve into oncoming traffic.
These bizarre urges have been reported in many people and they don’t necessarily have anything to do with one’s mental health. There’s been plenty of speculation as to why you might have these quick urges that most people will never follow through on, but the exact reason for this phenomenon is not known and is not well studied.
1. The Great Male Renunciation
What exactly makes an article of clothing men’s clothing versus women’s clothing? We absolutely have an idea in our heads in the bottom world of what that means. Have you ever looked at how men dressed hundreds of years ago? High heeled shoes were not uncommon. Bright colors like purple and pink were certainly not abnormal. And we need only look to Scotland and the kilt to see that jeans or dress pants were not always the standard for men.
At the turn of the 19th century something dubbed the Great Male Renunciation occurred. This shift in men’s fashion got rid of flamboyant attire – things like frilly cuffs and bright colors. It ushered in dark suits in gray and navy and, as one psychologist put it, men abandoned their claim on being beautiful and focused instead on being useful.
Part of this came from the idea that men were supposed to be rational while women were not, so men had to be more plain and acetic in their dress. In many ways it was the groundwork for the idea of alpha male mentality and manliness, by rejecting the frivolity of old.