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25 Delicious Facts About Nutella

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Few snacks inspire quite as much passion as Nutella. The Italian-born hazelnut and chocolate paste is so precious, one designer even found a way to lock the jar against thieves. Here are a few things you might not know about the gooey spread.

1. NAPOLEON AND HITLER ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WORLD'S NUTELLA ADDICTION.

Back in 1806, Napoleon tried to freeze out British commerce as a means to win the Napoleonic wars (and take over the world). The result was a disastrous continental blockade that caused the cost of chocolate to skyrocket and left Piedmontese chocolatiers in the lurch. Ever resourceful, chocolatiers in Turin started adding chopped hazelnuts to chocolate to stretch the supply as much as possible. The ensuing deliciousness was a fateful paste dubbed gianduja.

Over a century later, chocolate again became expensive and scarce due to rationing in Europe during World War II. An Italian pastry maker named Pietro Ferrero once again turned to the mighty hazelnut for salvation in 1946 and created Pasta Gianduja; three years later he altered the recipe to make the treat spreadable. In 1964, Pietro’s son Michele tweaked the recipe slightly and renamed it “Nutella.”

2. ITS PREDECESSOR WAS NAMED AFTER A CHARACTER FROM ITALIAN COMMEDIA DELL'ARTE.

The chocolate and hazelnut substance was named after Gianduja, a smiling Piedmontese peasant with a three-point hat who rides around town on a donkey clutching a duja—which in the Piedmontese dialect means “container.” The duja was said to hold wine ... but could have just as easily held a few pounds of that chocolatey hazelnut goodness, no? Gianduja masks are sold all over the Piedmont region of Italy, and his face was plastered all over early Nutella advertisements.

3. IT ORIGINALLY CAME IN THE FORM OF A LOAF.

Ferrero originally made his chocolate-hazelnut paste into a loaf designed to be sliced and placed on bread, kind of like a chocolatey version of American cheese slices. 

4. IT SPREADS FAR AND WIDE.

Not only is it available for purchase and consumption in 160 countries, all of the Nutella sold in a year could be spread over more than 1000 soccer fields.

5. NUTELLA TAKES UP A LOT OF THE WORLD’S HAZELNUT SUPPLY.

Ferrero buys about a quarter of the world’s hazelnut supply every year. That’s more than 100,000 tons. Thanks to Nutella, hazelnuts have become trendy, driving up prices and encouraging farmers in regions that have never produced the nuts, like Chile and Australia, to give it a try. The company contends that two years’ worth of its hazelnut supply could fill the Roman Colosseum, and in 2014, Ferrero bought the world’s leading hazelnut supplier, the Otlan Group. 

6. EACH JAR CONTAINS 52 HAZELNUTS.

There are 52 hazelnuts in every 14-ounce jar of Nutella, according to its advertisements. Hazelnuts make up about 13 percent of the product. 

7. IT’S BIG BUSINESS.

Michele Ferrero, who perfected his father Pietro’s recipe and created Nutella, became Italy’s richest man in 2008, with an estimated $11 billion in wealth. Ferrero died in February 2015 at the age of 89. 

8. IT’S IN THE FAMILY. 

Ferrero’s CEO is Giovanni Ferrero, the son of Michele and grandson of Pietro. His brother Pietro shared the title of co-CEO until his sudden death while cycling in 2011. 

9. ITS SISTER COMPANY MAY SOUND FAMILIAR. 

In addition to chocolate brands Ferrero Rocher and Kinder, Ferrero also owns Tic Tac. The Italian company released the little orange and mint candies as “Refreshing Mints” in 1969—only a few years after the 1964 debut of Nutella. 

10. NUTELLA-RELATED CRIMES ARE ON THE RISE.

In 2013, the chocolate-hazelnut spread made headlines in Germany, where thieves pulled off a $20,000 heist, stealing 5 metric tons of the sweet stuff from a parked truck. Several weeks earlier, Columbia University found itself at the center of “Nutella-gate,” an expose smearing the school for spending $6000 per week on the spread for one of its dining facilities, where students were allegedly snarfing 100 pounds of it per day.

11. IT’S NOT HEALTHY (SORRY) …

In 2012, the company that makes Nutella, the Ferrero Group, settled a class-action lawsuit over misleading advertising of the delicious spread. While the spread is about as nutritious as chocolate frosting (the first ingredient is sugar, followed by palm oil), it was often advertised as part of a nutritious breakfast, misleading some into thinking they could eat chocolate on toast and call it a healthy meal.

12. … BUT EATING IT ALL DAY CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT—IN THE WORST WAY. 

In April 2015, a misguided Vice writer decided to go where surely no Nutella enthusiast had gone before—he vowed to eat only Nutella for a week. He weighed himself every day, and he actually did end up losing six pounds, but only because a diet consisting only of sugary palm oil flavored with hazelnuts and chocolate made him violently sick after just one day. He pressed on for the full week, though, and discovered that the spread makes a great addition to a cup of coffee. 

13. WORLD NUTELLA DAY HAS BEEN A BIT OF A ROLLER-COASTER.

Two bloggers in Italy decided to take their love of Nutella to the next level in 2007, and created a worldwide day of celebration dedicated to the addictive substance. Thus, every year February 5 is a day for eating Nutella, sharing Nutella recipes and memories, and looking at photos of Nutella food-porn. In 2013, Nutella manufacturer Ferrero tried to shut down World Nutella Day before reconsidering. But as of 2015, at the request of Nutella Day founder Sara Rosso, Ferrero took over the holiday.

14. NUTELLA CAFES ARE A SORE SPOT FOR THE COMPANY.

In 2015, Ferrero slapped a rogue Nutella cafe scheduled to open in Brooklyn with a lawsuit. First, the restaurant was to be named the Nutelleria, but changed to Nuteria over legal concerns. Unfortunately, Ferrero still thought the Nutella-themed restaurant had too similar of a name to its own brand, and filed suit. The cafe closed in May 2015, as did, presumably, dreams of Miami and Los Angeles outposts. However, the New York location of the Italian market Eataly does have a  Ferrero-approved Nutella bar.

15. NUTELLA HAS A SMEARED REPUTATION.

Nutella became so popular in Italy that Italian markets began to offer free “smears” of Nutella to any kid who showed up with a piece of bread. The phenomenon was referred to as “The Smearing,” and while it could potentially double as the name of a horror flick, was a highly successful marketing strategy. No wonder we're all addicted.

16. IT HAS CAUSED AN INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL SQUABBLE 

In June 2015, the French environmental minister Ségolène Royal decried Nutella consumption on French television, on the grounds that it’s made with palm oil. The World Wide Fund for Nature notes that the palm oil trade often destroys the habitats of endangered species like rhinos and tigers, though Ferrero has committed to sustainable palm oil sourcing. The Italian environmental minister, Luca Galletti, however, was not pleased over this attack on Italy’s prized export, and demanded an apology, as did another Italian politician. Royal later tweeted in French (as translated by Twitter), “Thousand apologies for the controversy over #Nutella. Agree to highlight progress.”

17. AN ITALIAN POLITICIAN ONCE FORMED A PRO-NUTELLA FACTION. 

In 2010, an Italian politician created a “Hands off Nutella” committee in opposition to a proposed European Union regulation that would require more readable nutritional labels on packaging. Food producers balked at the idea that they would have to effectively slap warning signs on their sugary, fatty products. However, Nutella later said it already followed these guidelines, and there was no threat to Italy’s de-facto national snack. 

18. NEEDLESS TO SAY, ITS FANS ARE UNUSUALLY DEDICATED.

In celebration of Nutella’s 50th birthday in 2014, Ferrero launched nutellastories.com, a blog where people could share memories involving their favorite chocolatey snack. A fair amount of people wrote in (or submitted pictures of themselves eating Nutella), including people who bonded with their future spouse for the first time over Nutella, who have named their pets after Nutella, and who have incorporated Nutella into their family traditions. Not all of the passion for Nutella is so heartwarming: In September 2015, a Costco shopper punched another shopper in the face over samples of Nutella waffles. 

19. SOME CONTEND THE AMERICAN VERSION IS NOT AS GOOD AS THE ORIGINAL. 

North America’s Nutella is made in Canada, but you can also find the imported version from Italy in specialty shops (you can tell it’s from Italy by the glass jar). Despite the same list of ingredients, many Nutella aficionados claim that the stuff made in Ontario tastes sweeter and less hazelnutty than the European version. In 2014, a Washington Post correspondent dove into the debate with the help of a pastry chef, and came to the conclusion that the difference in taste could be the result of trans fats in the European version. Yum yum. 

20. ITALY’S SO PROUD OF NUTELLA, IT PUT IT ON A STAMP. 

To commemorate Nutella’s 50th anniversary in 2014, the Italian Postal Service created a Nutella-themed stamp, emblazoned with the brand’s signature jar of hazelnut goodness. 

21. IT ACTUALLY IS THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS.

According to Guinness World Records, Nutella's 40th anniversary breakfast celebration in Germany in 2005 earned the title of “Largest Continental Breakfast.” A total of 27,854 people gathered in Gelsenkirchen to enjoy a meal that consisted of bread, orange juice, yogurt, and Nutella. No word on how they felt afterward. 

22. THE COMPANY LOVES SPORTS.

Ferrero gifted members of the Italian national cycling team giant jars of Nutella personalized with their names just before the 2014 UCI Road World Championships. The company has also been a sponsor of its home country’s World Cup soccer team. 

23. BUT THERE’S A NUTELLA CURSE. 

In 2004, Nutella began using up-and-coming young players for Germany’s national soccer team in its advertisements. The problem? Once becoming the face of sweet hazelnutty goodness, these players tended to not live up to their potential as future all-stars. Many of them got booted from the team in what began to be called Nutella fluch, or the Nutella curse. 

24. YOU CAN’T NAME YOUR CHILD AFTER IT…

At least in France. In January 2015, a French court banned a couple from naming their daughter Nutella, on the grounds that it would only “lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts.” (They went with Ella instead.) However, you can name your racehorse after it. 

25. … BUT YOU CAN LOCK IT DOWN.

In response to a friend who bemoaned his children’s habit of filching his favorite snack, furniture designer Daniel Schobloch invented a lock to fit over the lid of a Nutella jar. The idea proved so popular, Schobloch began selling them on eBay.

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18 Smart Products To Help You Kick Off Summer
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iStock

Whether you’re trying to spiff up your backyard barbeque or cultivate your green thumb, these summertime gadgets will help you celebrate the season from solstice to the dog days.

1. ROSÉ WINE GLASSES; $60

Rosé Wine Glass
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Wine not? When the temperature rises and beer isn’t your thing, reach for the rosé. Riedel’s machine-blown SST (see, smell, taste) wine glasses will give the sparkly stuff ample room to breathe, making every refreshing sip worthwhile.

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2. NERF N-STRIKE ELITE SURGEFIRE; $25

Nerf SurgeFire
Hasbro

Why It’s Cool: The N-Strike Elite SurgeFire (say that five-times-fast) sports a pump-action rotating drum for maximum foam-based firepower and holds up to 15 Nerf darts in its arsenal.

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3. BUSHEL & BERRY PLANTS; $34

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Amazon

Why It’s Cool: You don’t need to have a green thumb to create a brag-worthy garden this summer. Besides producing snackable mid-season berries, these open-growing bushes can be planted immediately for easy set-up to make you look like a botanical pro.

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4. INFLATABLE DONUT; $17

Doughnut float
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: When the only dunking you’re doing is taking a dip in the pool, a 48-inch inflatable donut is the perfect way to stay afloat.

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5. STAR SPANGLED SPATULA; $21

American flag spatula
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: O say can you see by your grill’s charcoal light / Meats so proudly we cooked ... with a star spangled spatula. Depending on the specific model, these all-American grilling tools (designed in New Jersey and made in Chicago) are made of a combination of walnut and stainless steel or nylon. As an added bonus: 5 percent of the proceeds go to the Penn Abramson Cancer Center.

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6. MLB HOT DOG BRANDERS; $8 AND UP

MLB San Diego Padres Hot Dog BBQ Brander
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Why It’s Cool: Take your hot dogs, sausages, brats, and more out to the ballgame without ever leaving your grill. These branders from Pangea Brands are dishwasher-safe and made of ceramic-coated cast iron.

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7. UNA GRILL; $139

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MoMA Shop

Why It’s Cool: This portable charcoal-heated grill is as efficient as it is stylish. The compact size lets you cook at the park, after hitting up MoMA, or anywhere in between.

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8. HAMBURGER GRILLING BASKET; $21


Why It’s Cool: Made of steel and finished with a non-stick coating, this grilling tool flips four burgers at once and maintains perfect burger proportions to guarantee nobody stays hungry for long.

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9. COPPER FIRE PIT; $121

metal fire pit
Amazon

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10. BENDY STRAW POOL NOODLE FLOAT; $10

Bendy Straw Inflatable Pool Float
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Inflatable pool floats shouldn’t be boring, and this bendy straw float definitely does not suck. This unique spin on traditional pool noodles is sure to make for some cheesy jokes, but at least you’ll be comfortable floating in the pool or at the beach.

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11. GRIDDLER DELUXE; $111

Cuisinart GR-150 Griddler Deluxe
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: If you’re looking for some serious panini power, this griddler offers up a versatile lineup of six cooking options in one. And with dual-zone functions you can sling burgers while searing filets and sautéeing vegetables all at the same time.

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12. VINTAGE SNOW CONE MAKER; $30

Vintage Snow Cone Maker
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: With its old-timey design, dual cone shelf, and endless flavor options, this snow cone maker is guaranteed create a cool treat.

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13. DACHSHUND CORN ON THE COB HOLDERS; $7

Dog Corn Holders
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: While meat-lovers will inevitably scarf down a lot of hot dogs this summer, vegetarians who happen to love another kind of dog will be smitten with these stainless steel, Dachshund-shaped corn on the cob prongs. They’re a fun spin on a summer grilling favorite.

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14. ICE CREAM SANDWICH MAKER; $16

Ice Cream Sandwich Maker
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Why It’s Cool: Four sandwiches are better than one, especially when they're of the ice cream variety. Make four ice cream sandwiches at once with this homemade spin on a classic cold treat.

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15. UE WONDERBOOM; $68

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Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Besides delicious food and great company, some memorable tunes are required for the quintessential barbeque. This portable bluetooth speaker offers up some booming sound in a small package, and with a battery power of 10 hours on a single charge you can keep the party going all night.

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16. ROLLORS GAME; $38

Rollors Backyard Game
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: When you’re sick of bocce, hate horseshoes, and you’re over cornhole, you might want to take up “rollors,” a family-friendly game that combines your favorite traditional backyard festivities into one game for people of all ages.

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17. HAMMOCK; $174

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Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Rest easy knowing that this 100 percent hand-woven and hand-dyed cotton hammock contributes to artisan job-creation in Thailand.

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18. VSSL SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS; $59

Emergency Survival Tent Outdoors
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Compact, convenient, and durable, the VSSL Shelter can come in handy when things don’t go quite as planned. The device—which features a lightweight emergency shelter all within the handle of a compact, weather-resistant aluminum LED flashlight—is designed to keep you safe under the worst conditions.

Find It: Amazon

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11 Things You Might Not Know About Johann Sebastian Bach
Illustration by Mental Floss. Image: Rischgitz, Getty Images
Illustration by Mental Floss. Image: Rischgitz, Getty Images

Johann Sebastian Bach is everywhere. Weddings? Bach. Haunted houses? Bach. Church? Bach. Shredding electric guitar solos? Look, it’s Bach! The Baroque composer produced more than 1100 works, from liturgical organ pieces to secular cantatas for orchestra, and his ideas about musical form and harmony continue to influence generations of music-makers. Here are 11 things you might not know about the man behind the music.

1. PEOPLE DISAGREE ABOUT WHEN TO CELEBRATE HIS BIRTHDAY.

Some people celebrate Bach’s birthday on March 21. Other people light the candles on March 31. The correct date depends on whom you ask. Bach was born in Thuringia in 1685, when the German state was still observing the Julian calendar. Today, we use the Gregorian calendar, which shifted the dates by 11 days. And while most biographies opt for the March 31 date, Bach scholar Christopher Wolff firmly roots for Team 21. “True, his life was actually 11 days longer because Protestant Germany adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1700,” he told Classical MPR, “but with the legal stipulation that all dates prior to Dec. 31, 1699, remain valid.”

2. HE WAS THE CENTER OF A MUSICAL DYNASTY.

Bach’s great-grandfather was a piper. His grandfather was a court musician. His father was a violinist, organist, court trumpeter, and kettledrum player. At least two of his uncles were composers. He had five brothers—all named Johann—and the three who lived to adulthood became musicians. J.S. Bach also had 20 children, and, of those who lived past childhood, at least five became professional composers. According to the Nekrolog, an obituary written by Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, "[S]tarting with Veit Bach, the founding father of this family, all his descendants, down to the seventh generation, have dedicated themselves to the profession of music, with only a few exceptions."

3. BACH TOOK A MUSICAL PILGRIMAGE THAT PUTS EVERY ROAD TRIP TO WOODSTOCK TO SHAME.

In 1705, 20-year-old Bach walked 280 miles—that's right, walked—from the city of Arnstadt to Lübeck in northern Germany to hear a concert by the influential organist and composer Dieterich Buxtehude. He stuck around for four months to study with the musician [PDF]. Bach hoped to succeed Buxtehude as the organist of Lübeck's St. Mary's Church, but marriage to one of Buxtehude's daughters was a prerequisite to taking over the job. Bach declined, and walked back home.

4. HE BRAWLED WITH HIS STUDENTS.

One of Bach’s first jobs was as a church organist in Arnstadt. When he signed up for the role, nobody told him he also had to teach a student choir and orchestra, a responsibility Bach hated. Not one to mince words, Bach one day lost patience with a error-prone bassoonist, Johann Geyersbach, and called him a zippelfagottist—that is, a “nanny-goat bassoonist.” Those were fighting words. Days later, Geyersbach attacked Bach with a walking stick. Bach pulled a dagger. The rumble escalated into a full-blown scrum that required the two be pulled apart.

5. BACH SPENT 30 DAYS IN JAIL FOR QUITTING HIS JOB.

When Bach took a job in 1708 as a chamber musician in the court of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, he once again assumed a slew of responsibilities that he never signed up for. This time, he took it in stride, believing his hard work would lead to his promotion to kapellmeister (music director). But after five years, the top job was handed to the former kapellmeister’s son. Furious, Bach resigned and joined a rival court. As retribution, the duke jailed him for four weeks. Bach spent his time in the slammer writing preludes for organ.

6. THE BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS WERE A FAILED JOB APPLICATION.

Around 1721, Bach was the head of court music for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen. Unfortunately, the composer reportedly didn’t get along with the prince’s new wife, and he started looking for a new gig. (Notice a pattern?) Bach polished some manuscripts that had been sitting around and mailed them to a potential employer, Christian Ludwig, the Margrave of Brandenburg. That package, which included the Brandenburg Concertos—now considered some of the most important orchestral compositions of the Baroque era—failed to get Bach the job [PDF].

7. HE WROTE ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST COFFEE JINGLES.

Bach apparently loved coffee enough to write a song about it: "Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht" ("Be still, stop chattering"). Performed in 1735 at Zimmerman’s coffee house in Leipzig, the song is about a coffee-obsessed woman whose father wants her to stop drinking the caffeinated stuff. She rebels and sings this stanza:

Ah! How sweet coffee tastes
More delicious than a thousand kisses
Milder than muscatel wine.
Coffee, I have to have coffee,
And, if someone wants to pamper me,
Ah, then bring me coffee as a gift!

8. IF BACH CHALLENGED YOU TO A KEYBOARD DUEL, YOU WERE GUARANTEED TO BE EMBARRASSED.

In 1717, Louis Marchand, a harpsichordist from France, was invited to play for Augustus, Elector of Saxony, and performed so well that he was offered a position playing for the court. This annoyed the court’s concertmaster, who found Marchand arrogant and insufferable. To scare the French harpsichordist away, the concertmaster hatched a plan with his friend, J.S. Bach: a keyboard duel. Bach and Marchand would improvise over a number of different styles, and the winner would take home 500 talers. But when Marchand learned just how talented Bach was, he hightailed it out of town.

9. SOME OF HIS MUSIC MAY HAVE BEEN COMPOSED TO HELP INSOMNIA.

Some people are ashamed to admit that classical music, especially the Baroque style, makes them sleepy. Be ashamed no more! According to Bach’s earliest biographer, the Goldberg Variations were composed to help Count Hermann Karl von Keyserling overcome insomnia. (This story, to be fair, is disputed.) Whatever the truth, it hasn’t stopped the Andersson Dance troupe from presenting a fantastic Goldberg-based tour of performances called “Ternary Patterns for Insomnia.” Sleep researchers have also suggested studying the tunes’ effects on sleeplessness [PDF].

10. HE WAS BLINDED BY BOTCHED EYE SURGERY.

When Bach was 65, he had eye surgery. The “couching” procedure, which was performed by a traveling surgeon named John Taylor, involved shoving the cataract deep into the eye with a blunt instrument. Post-op, Taylor gave the composer eye drops that contained pigeon blood, mercury, and pulverized sugar. It didn’t work. Bach went blind and died shortly after. Meanwhile, Taylor moved on to botch more musical surgeries. He would perform the same procedure on the composer George Frideric Handel, who also went blind.

11. NOBODY IS 100 PERCENT CONFIDENT THAT BACH IS BURIED IN HIS GRAVE.

In 1894, the pastor of St. John’s Church in Leipzig wanted to move the composer’s body out of the church graveyard to a more dignified setting. There was one small problem: Bach had been buried in an unmarked grave, as was common for regular folks at the time. According to craniologist Wilhelm His, a dig crew tried its best to find the composer but instead found “heaps of bones, some in many layers lying on top of each other, some mixed in with the remains of coffins, others already smashed by the hacking of the diggers.” The team later claimed to find Bach’s box, but there’s doubt they found the right (de)composer. Today, Bach supposedly resides in Leipzig’s St. Thomas Church.

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