Wikipedia is a truly phenomenal resource that is thoroghly deserving of its place on the list of seven wonders of the World Wide Web. Sure, you can never be quite sure whether what you’re reading is 100 percent factual, a load of bunkum, or somewhere in between thanks to manipulation by the editors. Even so it’s still an insane amount of information available to all, and totally for free.
Most people approach Wikipedia as they approach Google: they head there with a search term already in mind. But that approach may mean you miss out on much of what Wikipedia has to offer. It boasts entries that are obscure, odd, offbeat, and unlikely to be seen by more than a handful of people. Welcome to the world of weird Wikipedia.
What follows is a list of six people with their own Wikipedia entries. They have been chosen for being interesting, intriguing, and (relatively) important. You may well have heard of some of these people, but I doubt you’ll have heard of them all. Each one has a fascinating background and will likely lead you further down the Wikipedia rabbit-hole.
John Titor is the name of a man claiming to be a time traveller from the future. Titor posted to Internet forums at the beginning of the millenium, outlining future events from the year 2000 to the year 2036, which is the time he claims to have travelled from.
Titor detailed the state of affairs in his timeline, outlined the basic elements of his time machine, and made predictions for the coming years. Those predictions were not accurate, leading many to totally trash the claims. But it’s a fascinating story nonetheless.
Stanislav Petrov is someone humanity should collectively thank. Without him it’s very possible that none of us would be alive today. This is due to Petrov preventing a possible nuclear war by correctly judging that the satellite warning system of the Soviet Air Defence Forces was malfunctioning.
In 1983, Petrov decided not to report an incoming missile launched from the U.S. to his superiors, correctly judging that the report was erroneous. Had he not made this judgment call a missile could have been launched on the U.S. in retaliation, and an all-out nuclear war would have begun.
Natasha Demkina is a rare breed, as she has the ability to see inside the bodies of other people. In other words she possesses X-ray vision that allows her to diagnose people with illnesses. This is all just alleged, of course, but interestingly no one has been able to disprove her claims.
Demkina’s amazing ability manifested when she was around 10-years-old, and people have been seeking out her help ever since. Demkina has travelled around the world demonstrating her extraordinary ability, but now works at the Center of Special Diagnostics of the Natalya Demkina (TSSD).
Roy Sullivan is either the luckiest man who ever lived or the unluckiest man who ever lived, depending on your point of view. Being struck by lightning on seven separate occasions is insanely unlucky, but he survived them all without any serious injury, which is amazing good luck.
Rather unsurprisingly this makes Sullivan the holder of the Guinness World Records record for the most lightning strikes, with his occupation as a U.S. park ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia contributing greatly. In an ironic final twist Sullivan ended up taking his own life at the age of 71.
Wolfe+585, Senior is otherwise known as Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, Sr. But this is just a shortened version of his full name… Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Apollo Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffvoralternwarengewissenhaftschaferswessenschafewarenwohlgepflegeundsorgfaltigkeitbeschutzenvonangreifendurchihrraubgierigfeindewelchevoralternzwolftausendjahresvorandieerscheinenwanderersteerdemenschderraumschiffgebrauchlichtalsseinursprungvonkraftgestartseinlangefahrthinzwischensternartigraumaufdersuchenachdiesternwelchegehabtbewohnbarplanetenkreisedrehensichundwohinderneurassevonverstandigmenschlichkeitkonntefortplanzenundsicherfreuenanlebenslanglichfreudeundruhemitnichteinfurchtvorangreifenvonandererintelligentgeschopfsvonhinzwischensternartigraum, Senior.
This is, as you may have guessed, the longest personal name ever recorded, comprising of 746 letters. Wolfe+585, Senior was a German immigrant to the U.S., where he became a typesetter. He died in 1985, and is likely to forever be the record holder as the category no longer exists.
Guy Goma is an ordinary man. In fact, he may be just about the most ordinary man you have ever read about online. However, he gained international fame when he was accidently interviewed on BBC News after being mistaken for someone else. The video of the incident is embedded below for your viewing pleasure.
Goma was a Congolese business studies graduate who had applied for a job in the IT department of the BBC. While waiting to be interviewed for the position he was wrongly identified as technology expert Guy Kewney and interviewed live on air about the court case between Apple Computer and Apple Corps. His reaction to the mix-up was priceless.
I don’t know about you but I feel thoroughly enlightened after learning (more) about six people who I was previously either unaware of or only vaguely familiar with. And if you, like me, clicked on some of the links spread liberally throughout the Wikipedia entries for these people then you’re still discovering new things as we speak.
These are just six of the amazing people whose lives are outlined on Wikipedia, but there are many more. If you have your own to share with the rest of the MakeUseOf readership then please leave a link and related response in the comments section below.
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