CLOSE
Original image
iStock

Come to Our Super Fun Trivia Show This Weekend!

Original image
iStock

If you couldn’t tell from the exclamation point in the title, we’re really excited to be partnering with Barnes and Noble on a page-to-screen trivia show this weekend. (Click here for times and locations.)

It’s funny—while I was researching books and movies for the event, I started reminiscing about my first job out of college, when I worked at an independent video store. It was the sort of place that was beloved by the community but also thoroughly confusing in its whimsical organization. A row of flicks from Portuguese directors might jut out from an alphabetized section of of slapstick Westerns, which not only made no sense, but also made the clerks indispensable since you needed them to find everything. One of the most fun parts of working there was that we were allowed to take Post-its and write goofy notes and recommendations on the video boxes. When my fellow clerk and I stickered every Jean-Claude Van Damme “film” with a starburst that read “As seen on Masterpiece Theater!”, my manager just laughed and shook her head. But what was perhaps most distinctive about the place was its feel: the way people strolled through the place and chatted and lingered, it always felt more like a beloved book shop to me than a video store.

This weekend’s event is part of Barnes and Noble’s Get Pop Cultured Month—a celebration of books in movies and pop culture. And working on it made us smile: from thinking about which Roald Dahl story made for the best movie (I’m partial to Fantastic Mr. Fox), to blurting things like, “did you know Cheaper By The Dozen was actually based on a book?” The whole thing reminded me of my days in that old video store. Anyway, that’s all to say: if you love trivia, movies and books, you should definitely check it out. Our event is running at stores across the nation, and our research editors Sandy Wood and Kara Kovalchik are even hosting one of the shows in Michigan.


If you want a taste of some of the ridiculous trivia being offered, be sure to check out these book and film quizzes we’ve been running on the site all week:

The “Before They Were Famous Authors” Quiz!
*
Who Did It: Dr. Seuss or a Dr. Seuss Character?
*
Hunger Games Character or Poisonous Plant?
*
A Quiz About Shel Silverstein
*
Classic Goosebumps Book or Horror Film?

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