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The mystical relationship between bells and the NFL

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THE BELL: Big Ben

NAMED FOR: Sir Benjamin Hall, the commissioner who played diplomat between the architect and clockmaker; some believe it was named after Ben Claunt, noted boxer

WHERE IT RESIDES: The Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster

CORRESPONDING NFL FIGURE: Ben Roethlisberger, you know, Big Ben

MOMENTS OF INTERSECTION:

  • In Mars Attacks!, Big Ben was bobliterated by Martians; post-Superbowl XL, Ben Roethlisberger was perhaps not dissimilarly maligned in the imaginations of the Seattle Seahawks
  • In June of 2006, Big Ben's "Quarter Bells" were down for four weeks; In June of the 2006, Ben Roethlisberger was in a serious motorcycle wreck, suffering--among other injuries (he rode sans helmet)--a broken jaw and nose; but he was back in action for preseason games.

THE BELL: The Liberty Bell

NAMED FOR: Liberty wrought from the Revolutionary War (though it was originally referred to as the Independence Bell, the State House Bell, the Province Bell, or Ol' Yankee's Bell)

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WHERE IT RESIDES: Liberty Bell Center, Market & 6th, Philadelphia

CORRESPONDING NFL FIGURES: Philadelphia Eagles RB Brian Westbrook & former NFL-er Tevita Ofahengaue

MOMENTS OF INTERSECTION:

    The Liberty Bell has cracked twice, though there's controversy over exactly when; Brian Westbrook suffered a cracked rib in 2004

    In April of 2001, Mitchell Guilliatt struck the bell four times, shouting "God Lives!"; he got nine months in jail & had to pay $7,093 in damages; In April of 2001,Tevita Ofahengaue was the last (246th) pick in the NFL draft, becoming that year's "Mr. Irrelevant"

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THE BELL: The Great Bell of Dhammazedi, fabled to be one of the most massive bells ever constructed

NAMED FOR: Dhammazedi, the 9th Mon King of Myanmar; while being transported by Portuguese looters in 1608, it sank to the bottom of the Dawpone River

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WHERE IT RESIDES: Lodged deep in the mud off Monkey Point; there have been plans to recover it, but as of now it remains buried.

CORRESPONDING NFL FIGURE: Mike Ditka, coached amazingly with the Bears (even though he was eventually fired) and perhaps was lodged in Monkey Point with the Saints. Any other intersections up for grabs.

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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fun
How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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