The 10 Best Wikipedia Black Holes For Curious People (Who Have No Impulse Control)

There’s a Mindy Kaling quote that goes, “The Internet also makes it extraordinarily difficult for me to focus. One small break to look up exactly how almond milk is made, and four hours later I’m reading about the Donner Party and texting all my friends: DID YOU GUYS KNOW ABOUT THE DONNER PARTY AND HOW MESSED UP THAT WAS? TEXT ME BACK SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT!” I’m no stranger to this phenomenon, my friends joke that about once per month they get 3-4 emails from me in the middle of the night progressively becoming increasingly distraught over something like missing time or unsolved abductions. It’s a weirdly pleasurable experience to get lost inside a deep, juicy Wikipedia k-hole. Here’s the best ones I’ve found so far. Click at your own risk.

1. List of reportedly haunted locations in the United States

The Stanley Hotel, Hustvedt
The Stanley Hotel, Hustvedt

Let’s start off with a particularly juicy list. Who DOESN’T want to read about all the haunted houses in the U.S.? One of the reasons this list is so great is because there are SO many articles within it, each fascinating on its own. For instance, did you know that Kathy Bate’s character on this season of Coven is based on a real person, Delphine LaLaurie? Her mansion really is in New Orleans. Fun fact: Nicholas Cage bought her house in 2005. God, I love the things Wikipedia teaches me.

2. 2000s missing person cases

I am obsessed with missing people. I don’t understand how they can vanish without a trace. With all the forensic technology and cameras everywhere, how can we simply not know what happened to people? This Wiki list includes everyone from 2010 on that was a high profile missing persons case. Example: Maura Murray who left her college after emailing her professors about a family emergency (she was lying) and then packed up her belongings, bought $40 worth of alcohol and drove up north. None of her friends or family have heard from her since. Where are you Maura!?!?

3. D. B. Cooper

Have you ever woken up one day and thought “I would like to be an expert on D.B. Cooper? I have, at 3am. Navigate to Wikipedia, pour yourself a cup of coffee and mission accomplished!

D.B. was a hardcore badass. He hijacked an airplane and got 200k in ranson before parachuting to freedom. Or his death. In either case there may or may not be $200k in a briefcase lying around in the pacific northwest woods somewhere.

4. Mondegreen

Mondegreen is the phenomena where you listen to a song and hear an entirely different word or phrase than the one being sung. For example, does this sound familiar?

She’s up all night to pet dogs
I’m up all night to pet dogs
We’re up all night to pet dogs
We’re up all night to pet puppies

or:

Hold me closer, Tony Danza

It’s nice to FINALLY put a name to a familiar situation.

5. Richardson family murders

We always think of Canadians as a nice, polite bunch but up in Alberta a 12-year-old girl, Jasmine Richardson, fell in love with a “300-year-old Werewolf” (aka goth loser 23-year-old Jeremy Steinke) and together they planned and carried out the murders of Jasmine’s mom, dad, and 8-year-old brother. How can something so tragic NOT cause you to lose sleep over how a 12-year-old girl gets to that place, mentally? I know I’ve read up on it as much as possible, trying to figure out what went wrong.

6. List of cognitive biases

So, you think you make all your decisions based on how rational and logical you are? Nope. There’s lots of little tricks to the way your brain works, that have nothing to do with rationality. There’s a giant supercaldera underneath Yellowstone and no one will plan for a disaster because we have a normalcy bias that tells us “it won’t happen” because it’s so out of the ordinary– but that thought isn’t based on whether the evidence is or is not there. Read up, and be prepared to question yourself forever.

7. List of Animorphs books

Okay, I get it, I am a huge nerd. I read constantly when I was a kid and I still get flashes of deja vu about a plotline in some book I can’t remember. When I discovered this list, I think I sat at my computer for an hour straight reading through it. It summarizes the plot of all of the 54 books in the Animorphs series, it was pure nostalgic bliss reliving the hours I spent reading the series in the 90s.

8. Death-related lists

This one is a double gift: a list of lists. If you’re through with that entry level shit and you want to REALLY waste some time, this is a great place to start.

9. Aurora (astronomy)

Frank Olsen, Norway
Frank Olsen, Norway

The northern lights are, what I would argue, the most beautiful natural phenomena. Part of the intrigue is that they aren’t something you can plan to see, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. I love reading about them and different historical theories about what creates the effect. There’s also some gorgeous photos collected on this particular article.

10. List of paraphilias

So, you know how you saw on a reality show where some people get sexually aroused by wearing adult diapers? It gets weirder. Browse this list of paraphilias at the risk of your own sexual appetite. TC mark

I asked women to be honest about their Instagram photos

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This is the reality of Instagram...

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