WTF Fun Fact 13428 – Montana Principal Horses Around

A Montana principal got an equine surprise thanks to a loophole in the law that some students decided to exploit as a senior prank. It involved a group of horses and a solemn duty to make sure they got fed.

Pranking the Montana principal with horses

What makes this story heartwarming is the unique blend of mischief and reverence for their rural roots. The graduating class of Conrad High School decided to give a nod to their cowboy culture. They swapped out the traditional senior prank with something far more creative – and far less destructive.

This merry band of seniors decided that the best way to celebrate impending graduation was by saddling up their horses. Then they took the 4 mile journey to class.

Twelve seniors at Conrad High School took advantage of what they believe is an old law. It mandates that if kids ride their horses to school, the principal has to care for them. The law remains unconfirmed, but the principal played along anyway.

“Montana has an old law saying if a student rides their horse to school, the school principal has to feed and tend to the horse throughout the day,” the school district said. “It looks like Mr. DeBruycker has his work cut out for him today,” noted the Charlotte Observer.

Just horsing around

The school’s principal, Raymond DeBruycker, was surprised by the unusual sight when he arrived to find these seniors had decided to carry wander in like cowboys. Far from being irritated, DeBruycker took the horseplay in stride.

Rather than meting out punishment, DeBruycker saw the humor and chose to honor the spirit of camaraderie and tradition. Clearly, he know it wasn’t causing any harm. In fact, it was connecting students to a facet of Montana’s cowboy culture in a fun and memorable way.

Even in the face of this unconventional situation, DeBruycker’s response was a testament to the tight-knit community at Conrad High School. It was clear that everyone wanted to honor the historical customs.

Whether or not there is a bona fide law permitting students to ride horses to school, one thing is certain. This tradition is becoming an endearing prank at a few different Montana schools.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Students ride horses to school, and Montana ‘law’ means principal has to care for them” — Charlotte Observer

WTF Fun Fact 12815 – Is A Hammer Used When a Pope Dies?

The death of the pope is a pretty big deal to the 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. But there’s lots of mystery surrounding the traditions that take place when the pope dies. One common belief is that Vatican staff bumps him on the head three times with a silver hammer to ensure he’s dead and not just taking a really solid nap. But is it true?

Is it really such a strange question?

Ok, first let’s dispense with the joke of it all. While it may seem silly, the Catholic church has many millennia-old rituals that they carry on simply for the sake of tradition.

At the start of the papacy, it’s not totally out of the question that there would be some sort of way to guarantee a man that important was truly dead.

And, frankly, we wouldn’t put it past some papal dynasties (we’re looking at you, Borgias) to use the hammer to *ahem* ENSURE someone was dead (even if they didn’t start out that way).

All we’re saying is that who knows what people were doing in late antiquity and the Middle Ages? But this doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.

Do we know what happens when the pope dies?

So, we’re not surprised that there’s a ritual to ensure the pope is truly dead. But what is it?

These days, we’re pretty sure technology is employed to make sure there is no brain activity in the body. That’s what we do for almost everyone else.

Even Snopes – the revered fact-checkers and rumor-killers – took on the task of trying to find out if this is all bologna or not. And they couldn’t make a determination.

Investigating the legend

According to Snopes (cited below): “Disagreement exists as to whether such a procedure is part of the parting process. We do know that once a Pope appears to have left this world, a pronouncement is made in Latin that he is dead, with this news certified by a physician. The camerlengo (chamberlain) calls out the pontiff’s baptismal name three times over the corpse in an effort to prompt a response. Failing to get one, he defaces with a silver hammer that particular Bishop of Rome’s Pescatorio (Ring of the Fisherman), along with the dies used to make lead seals for apostolic letters. The pope’s quarters are then sealed, and funeral arrangements are begun by the camerlengo.”

Ok, so here’s where we get the silver hammer part. The ring and his seals are destroyed to avoid any fraud on behalf of the dead pope. That makes sense, even if there are now better ways to render these pieces of metal unusable.

The rumor that the hammer then meets the forehead appears to have been popularized by Stephen Bates, a journalist who wrote an article in The Guardian on rituals associated with the pope’s death.

But here’s the kicker. There’s only one source that fully denies the rumor is true. It’s a correction from The Guardian a few weeks later, stating:

Yet The Guardian ran the following correction a few weeks later:

“The article below included the assertion that the corpse of a Pope is ritually struck on the head with a silver hammer to ascertain that there is no sign of life. According to the Vatican, this is a myth.”

There’s no identification of the source at all.

Since the so-called denial, which is impossible to check, there have been more articles asserting that the ritual is real. Or, at the very least, it was up until the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

But who knows? The Vatican isn’t one to share its secrets – that’s why people keep writing books about them.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Is a Deceased Pope Tapped with a Silver Hammer to Verify He’s Dead?” — Snopes

WTF Fun Fact 12411 – The Green Man

The urban legend of the Green Man, also known as “Charlie No-Face,” was partly made up to scare kids. But many people who tell the tale of a man without a face walking the highways at night have no idea that the story is based on a real man.

Raymond Robinson wasn’t green, but he was missing most of his face.

On June 18, 1919, the 9-year-old was playing with friends behind his parents’ home when the boys decided to climb the poles of some nearby railroad tracks. And you can probably imagine all of the horrible ways that could have ended.

Robinson had no idea the equipment was electrified. Alas, when he hit an electrical line, he was gravely injured. The boy survived, but not only was his face massively disfigured (he lost his nose and eyes), he also lost an arm.

He didn’t want to let the accident ruin his life, so he tried to live as normally as possible and enjoyed taking walks near his home in Western Pennsylvania along State Route 351. Some locals tried to get a peek at him, and people knew of his disfigurement, hence the stories.

Robinson took up weaving and continued to spend time with his family, even going out in the daytime (sometimes with and sometimes without big glasses).

His nephew said: “He never discussed his injuries or his problems at all. It was just a reality, and there was nothing he could do about it, so he never spoke about it. He never complained about anything.”

Some locals accepted him, but others would pick him up and drop him in random locales, beat him, and even hit him with their cars. But he never let that stop him from taking his beloved walks. – WTF Fun Facts

Source: The Legend Of The Green Man: Raymond Robinson Had No Face, Friends — History Daily