Historical Events  Books
Historical Events  Books

Did sunlight kill Dracula in the novel?

MMDE: Sunlight killed Dracula in the novel

Current: Sunlight did not kill Dracula in the novel

Most everyone knows how Dracula in the movies flees sunlight. In many, he and other vampires are killed by it and his body is shown crumbling away to dust.

Not many people realise this is entirely a fiction introduced in the movies only, and was not present in the original novel.

In fact it is even possible to pinpoint which movie introduced this. It was the 1922 Nosferatu, which, whilst a classic in its own right, was widely regarded as a Dracula clone in all but name due to copyright reasons. It's not the only deviation from the novel either - a swarm of rats is brought in with his ship, which spreads a plague in the town. This is entirely missing from the novel. 

Historical Events  Books
Snow White

In the original story, how old was Snow White?

MMDE: 14

Current: 7

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was made famous when the Brothers Grimm published it, as part of a set drawn from traditional fables, in 1812. The story became more and more popular the world over before Disney made their famous cartoon in 1937.

It tells of how the young Snow White was befriended by the seven dwarves and her battle with the vain Queen.

The issue here is just how young was she? Most people familar with the story from the cartoon assume she was in her teens,  or early twenties at the most. It turns out that her age in the original novel, "Little Snow White" comes as quite a shock to many people: she was 7.

Even Disney thought they were being careful by doubling her age to 14 in their movie, but clearly by modern standards this is still disturbing. 

Historical Events  Books
Bermeja Island

Charlies Dickens Scrooge based on a British MP?

MMDE: Ebeneezer Scrooge was not based on a real person

Current: Ebeneezer Scrooge was based on a real person

There is strong evidence to suggest Charles Dickens character Scrooge, from A Christmas Carol, was based on a real person, which comes a quite a surprise to many people who were sure he'd been totally invented by the Victorian author. Even more confusing is the name, because it turns out the name is from a real - but different - person to the one we're all familiar with.

The story of the name is that Dickens was in Edinburgh, Scotland when he happened upon a cemetery with a grave for Ebeneezer Lennox Scroggie. The writing was worn, but appeared to him to read "He was a mean man", when in fact it said "He was a meal man", describing his work. This stayed in Dickens mind when he came to write A Christmas Carol. It's ironic that in all probability, Mr Scroggie was a kind person because he delivered meals to people.

The character is just as interesting. John Elwes was actually a British MP who inherited two separate fortunes, but refused to spend any of it which was in accordance with the way he had been brought up.

Historical Events  Books
Around the world in 80 days

Around the world in 80 days novel: Prominent mode of transport?

MMDE: Hot air balloon

Current: Hot air balloon not used at all

You might be able to do it in 80 hours nowadays, but going round the world was once such a fantastic idea that the Victorians were blown away by Jules Verne describing such a journey in his famous 1873 novel Around the World in 80 days.

There was a movie made of it in 1953 which, err, took a few liberties and might well be contributing to this one.

The question is - in the book, what was the prominent mode of transport they used? If you thought it was a hot air balloon, you might be experiencing a Mandela Effect, because it wasn't used at all. It was briefly described, but that's all

Historical Events  Books
Science fiction

World's first science fiction story?

MMDE: 1818

Current: 2AD

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein might seem like a stereotype to some today, with it's monster and mad scientist ideas having been done to death many times since it first appeared in 1818. This is misleading, however, because at that time the concepts were truly original and shocking; so much so that the first notion of science being at the heart of fiction in a story created an entirely new genre - science fiction.

Brian Aldiss claims Frankenstein represents "the first seminal work to which the label SF can be logically attached".

The Frankenstein story contributes to the widely popular narrative of science fiction originating in the victorian era, with further works from Jules Verne and HG Wells etc reinforcing this. This means the idea that the true origins turn out to be a couple of thousand years earlier is quite a shock to them.

Historical Events  Books
Mickey Mouse Suspenders

"Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well"

MMDE: In Hamlet

Current: Not in Hamlet

It's a really famous line from a really famous play, so do you remember "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well" being in Shakespeare's Hamlet?

It turns out the actual line is very different, in fact it is "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio".

The original text is:

Let me see. (takes the skull) Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?

Historical Events  Books
Three little pigs

Three little pigs: "I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house ___"?

MMDE: Down

Current: In

The story about the Big Bad Wolf trying to blow down the three little pigs house was first published in the 1840's, but it's thought to be much older than that.

Ask people to complete the line, and you may be in for a surprise. If they answer "Down", they may be experiencing an MMDE, because all references today show it as "In". 

The fable continues to the modern day, with the pigs appearing in the Toy Story and Shrek movies and they even feature in a full production stage musical. There's been some controversy over the years regarding their names, but the consensus today seems to be Browny, Whitey and Blacky.