CLOSE
Original image

10 Memorable Moments From Our Trivia Show

Original image

Note: We're coming to San Francisco next! Get your tickets now!

While I generally think of myself as a polite person, I am THE WORST at writing thank you notes. This is embarrassingly true: Sometimes I’ll write a thank you note in my head after opening a gift, obsessing over it for a few days, but then, for one reason or another, I’ll never actually commit it to paper. Worse, when I do write up a thank you note (like the note I wrote Jason English when he sent my kids a bunch of bedtime reading books and a collection of Richard Nixon paper dolls), I’ll often forget to mail it. And when I finally remember to drop it in the mail, I feel like it needs an accompanying apology note because now it’s so belated, so then I never send anything out.

See? I told you I’m the worst.

But today, I’m doing the unthinkable (for me). I’m writing you, the 150 or so people who came out to the Mental Floss Trivia Show in New York’s Flat Iron Room last week, to thank you for making it such a super fun night.

Here are some of the things I didn’t expect to happen, but really made me happy:

1. We raised over $2000 for John and Hank Green's Project4Awesome charity! (All the ticket sales from our 3-city tour are being donated, and we might even add some more locations as we go.) Thank you for helping us use our Trivia Powers for good!

2. We ran out of space! It was so packed that even NY1’s Pat Kiernan had to patiently waiting in line. (Also: thank you for coming Pat Kiernan! You’re the best!)

3. Some of you are very talented dancers. Specifically, I did not expect this Flosser to get on stage and do The Spongebob, a dance I only learned about a few weeks ago.

4. This guy won some delicious cupcake flavored toothpaste, and shared it with his table after indulging in the free apps. He shared it with me too! (It tastes suspiciously like icing. I had seconds.)

5. Not only have several of you seen Space Jam, you actually remember specific quotes from it. (For updates on the Space Jam movie, you can visit the official site here.)

6. For some reason, this painting was on the wall. (If I had the option, I would have this painting travel with us so each of you could bask in its genius as well.)

7. The Roving Typist, who I’d actually wanted to commission a story on because I love what he does so much (he totes his typewriter around the city and writes stories for people he meets), came to the event and ended up on stage! I only realized he was there when I was looking back at pics from the event today.

The Roving Typist from Mark on Vimeo.

8. We gave out a lot of prizes. (And food and drinks, too!)

9. Mike Rugnetta from PBS’ Idea Channel was there. He is terrific. You should subscribe!

10. I think a generally good time was had by all. Thank you to everyone who came out to support the show and the Project4Awesome. If you enjoyed it, and you’ve got pals in San Francisco or Chicago, we’ll be in those cities on June 18th and July 30th respectively. Tell them to come see the show so we can ply them with bad jokes, booze, oh, and some really great trivia.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
Original image
iStock

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.

Original image
iStock
arrow
fun
How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
Original image
iStock

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]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios