Sorry I Accidentally Bought a Skeleton
Happy HumpDay! Another week and another HumpDay Newsletter. Perk up your week with some fun facts and interesting stories! As always, check out the HumpDay website at HumpDayNewsletter.com and follow the official HumpDay Instagram!
Baseball is America’s past time. Most people think that means that baseball is Americans’ favorite sport (it’s actually second to football) but the phrase really means that it has been a fun thing for Americans to do for a long time. Like a really long time…
The game of baseball was officially created 175 years ago in New York City and has remained largely unchanged since the original rules were written down. Players still hit a ball and run around four bases while fielders try and get the runners out. Not all rules have stayed the same as the original sport of baseball though.
One of the most bizarre rules in the original game of baseball was that the batter (or batsman as it was known back then) could request where the pitcher threw the ball and the pitcher had to throw where he wanted. According to the rules, the batter was allowed to request a “high ball” or a “low ball” depending on the batter’s preference. In addition, the pitcher had to pitch the ball underhand like throwing a horseshoe rather than throw overhand, which was illegal until 1883. That is why we call baseball pitchers “pitchers” rather than “throwers”.
Imagine if professional baseball players today could request where the balls could be thrown. The crowd in the outfield would need helmets for all the homeruns that would be crushed out of the park.
Yesterday was the Tuesday after the first Monday of November (confusing) also known as election day. Since 1845, Americans have flocked to the polls on the national election day to vote for local, state, and federal officials but why do we elect our politicians on a Tuesday? For most people Tuesday is a work day so Americans are forced to leave work to travel to their local polls and cast their votes. Wouldn’t it be easier to just have elections on the weekends?
After the signing of the U.S. constitution, only white landowners were allowed to vote in U.S. elections. Since most white landowners were farmers, it wasn’t practical to hold elections during the harvest season (late summer early fall). To accommodate the farmers, the elections were held in the first week of November after the harvest was complete and all the crops were in.
At the beginning of national elections, Christianity was the most prevalent religion in the U.S. and people were expected to be in church every Sunday. Since early elections were held in large cities and transportation was limited to walking, riding on horseback, or driving a horse drawn carriage, people in rural areas needed a full day to travel to the polls. Sunday couldn’t be a travel day because the sabbath requires Christians to attend church and then rest. The next possible travel day had to be a Monday, which makes the earliest possible election day a Tuesday. Our modern election day is the Tuesday after the first Monday in November because it was the earliest possible election day after the first available travel day in November.
Now-a-days we can mail in our ballots and drive to a local polling station in just a few minutes so there isn’t a need for a travel day. Still, would you rather spend your weekend voting or would you rather have an excuse to duck out of work early one day a year to vote?
Film & Television
Halloween has come and past but spooky season continues with horror movies and scary tv shows still dominating the airwaves. A staple of Halloween season movie marathons is the 1982 horror classic Poltergeist which featured the iconic scene of a young girl sitting in front of a static tv screen saying “They’re here”. Fans of film know it for the scary little girl that communicates with evil spirits but there is one scene in the movie that was horrifying for not only the viewers but also the actors.
In one scene of the movie, a woman is trying to escape the haunted house and accidentally falls into the family’s mud filled inground swimming pool. While in the pool, she is suddenly attacked by skeletons swimming in the murky water. The woman screams and tries to escape as more skeletons surround her before finally climbing out of the pool and running to safety. The skeletons in the pool scared audiences plenty but they scared the cast and crew even more when it was discovered that the skeletons weren’t elaborate props but rather, real human skeletons.
Today prop skeletons can be found at any party or Halloween store but in the early 80’s plastic skeletons weren’t being mass produced and were fairly difficult to find. The prop skeletons on the market were expensive and the film’s tight budget wouldn’t allow the filmmakers to spend so much money on such a short scene.
To meet the budget, the film’s prop master contacted a company called Carolina Biomedical that provides human skeletons to research facilities and medical schools. The production company struck a deal with Carolina Biomedical to purchase multiple human skeletons to use in their film. The props seemed very realistic on screen because they really were the skeletons of dead people.
The actors and the director weren’t made aware that the skeletons were real until after shooting for the scene had finished. Even worse, the people whose skeletons were featured in the scene were not included in the films credits.
This Week in History
On this week in 1925, British Archeologist Howard Carter discovered an untouched Egyptian tomb that had not been raided by grave robbers like most other tombs. The tomb belonged to the boy pharaoh King Tutankhamen (King Tut) and inside was all of the treasure that King Tut had been buried with. Unfortunately, the tomb was said to be cursed and Howard Carter and his partner Lord Carnarvon began experiencing strange things. Carter saw demon dogs lurking in his room at night and Carnarvon suddenly died of disease after exploring the tomb. The treasure within King Tuts tomb is world famous and has been a part of museum exhibits all over the world.
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