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The Quick 10: What the Descendants of 10 Dictators Have Been Up To

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If you took my Scents and Sensibilities Quiz, you already know that Svetlana Stalin had her own line of perfume. And if haven't already taken my quiz, now you can be sure to get at least one right. If this seems like a surprising fact, wait until you see what the descendants of other dictators have been up to"¦

alessandra1. Alessandra Mussolini, the daughter of Benito Mussolini's son and his first wife, Anna Maria Scicolone (who also happened to be Sophia Loren's sister). Alessandra has been all over the place "“ she's been a Playboy model, an actress and a singer. The album was only released in Japan, though, and is apparently quite the collector's item. She was also the leader of a right-wing political party and kicked the minister for equal opportunities on a talk show. It happens at about 43 seconds into the linked video, if you're interested.
2. Svetlana Alliluyeva, Joseph Stalin's daughter, defected to the United States in 1967. Sometime in 1970, she was contacted by Frank Lloyd Wright's widow, who believed that Svetlana was a reincarnation of her daughter, who died in a car crash in 1946 (her name was also Svetlana). The widow Wright (the widow Lloyd Wright?) wrote Svetlana letters encouraging her to come visit Taliesin West, and when she did, she was promptly introduced to Wes Peters, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's apprentices"¦ and also the widower of Svetlana #1. Is this making sense? It's quite the tangled web. Basically, the widow Wright arranged for the "reincarnation" of her daughter to remarry her husband only three weeks after their introduction. The marriage lasted only 20 months.

3. Valentin CeauÅŸescu, Nicolae Ceausescu's adopted son, is a nuclear physicist.

4. Marko Milosevic, Slobodan's son, basically seems to be a thug. He was one of the most-feared people involved in his father's regime and ran a nightclub called Madonna and a theme park called Bambiland. He was charged with threatening a demonstrator with a chainsaw in 2001, but by the time the charges were brought up, he had fled to Moscow. He gave an interview in 1991 and said, "I have to have a girl and music and a car and gun. I would like guns to remain my passion." So that's"¦ good"¦

zury5. Zury Rios Sosa, the daughter of Guatemalan dictator General Efrain Rios, married Illinois Congressman Jerry Weller. Her father presided over some of the wedding and added his wisdom to the proceedings, including "the husband is the brains of his woman ... who should be loved like the church loves Christ." Zury Rios Montt Sosa de Weller still serves in the Guatemalan government and fully supports her father, saying, "My father is my inspiration."
6. Alina Fernandez, Fidel Castro's estranged daughter, is a commentator for CNN. Her specialty, of course, is Cuba and Cuban politics. She also hosts a radio show in Miami and has released a book called Castro's Daughter: An Exile's Memoir of Cuba. It has been optioned for a film by the producer of Crash, The Black Donnellys and Million Dollar Baby.

7. Faisal Wangita, the son of Idi Amin (one of 43 of his children), is in prison. Go figure. In 2007, he was convicted for being part of a gang in North London that stabbed and bludgeoned an 18-year-old man to death. The man was part of a rival gang. Wangita was cleared of murder charges, but found guilty of conspiracy to wound, conspiracy to possess offensive weapons and violent disorder.

borgy8. Ferdinand Martin "Borgy" Manotoc, the grandson of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, interns for Manolo Blahnik. I'm kidding. He's a model and celebrity, kind of famous for being famous, as far as I can tell. And looking at this picture, all I can think is "Blue Steel."
9. Ayesha Qaddafi, the daughter of Muammar al-Gaddafi, is a lawyer who served on Saddam Hussein's defense team. Her brother, Saadi, played professional soccer for Libya and Perugia for a while, but it seems to have run its course: his 2006-2007 season with U.C. Sampdoria didn't give him a single second of playing time during a game. He has since tried to pursue the movie business and approached Harvey Weinstein about filming a movie about Hannibal in Libya, but Weinstein abruptly cut him off, saying that Libya would have to recognize Israel before Miramax would do any business with them. Saadi laughed about his first Hollywood encounter, saying, "The first touch was a very hot touch." Another brother, Moatassim, was caught trying to buy tanks and short-range missiles for her personal army. Moatassim said his father was pretty amused by that and admonished him with, "These are very aggressive weapons and you are still young, maybe when you get a bit older."

10. Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the self-elected Emperor of the Central African Republic, lived a lavish life that included gold-plated beds and spent the equivalent of his country's gross national product on his coronation ceremony, apparently left behind 62 children who are now destitute. After the French government overthrew his administration in 1979, the government instituted a ban on displaying anything having to do with Bokassa. His children and grandchildren now live on the grounds in outhouses because the main building is too rundown to serve as proper quarters. They've petitioned the government to restore the grounds, saying that the palace might serve as a good tourist attraction.

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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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