Mark Twain was born in 1835, a year in which Halley’s comet was visible from earth. In 1909, he wrote, “I came in with Halley’s comet…and I expect to go out with it.” Indeed, he did. When he died on April 21, 1910, the comet was again visible in the night sky.
China is the birthplace of the first seismograph. Built in 132 AD by a man named Cheng Heng, it consisted of eight metal dragons holding eight carved balls over eight frog figurines. If an earthquake made the ground vibrate, the dragon facing the quake’s source would drop a ball into the mouth of its corresponding frog.
Poet and pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rosetti loved his wife, Elizabeth. How much did he love his wife, you ask? Well, after she died of a laudanum overdose in 1862, he buried her with the only existing copy of his unpublished poems. Seven years later, however, Rosetti found himself suffering from a really bad case of writers’ block, so he dug up her body and retrieved his poems. They were published in 1870 and were well received by critics, but he never forgave himself for pilfering them from her grave.
A large percentage of the budget for Monty Python and the Holy Grail was donated by members of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.