There have been a few Wikipedia entries that have really stuck in my mind. There was the one about Henrik, the Prince Consort (aka husband of the Queen) of Denmark, which mentions the scandal that erupted when it was revealed that Henrik, who is President of the Danish Dachshund Club as well as Prince Consort, ate dog when living in Vietnam as a youth. So many potential sausage dog jokes to be made!
And the one about biodynamics which revealed to me that this practice is actually a series of crackpot farming rituals invented by Rudolf Steiner, that involve burying cow horns in paddocks on full moons and stuffing deer bladders with blossoms and leaving them in the summer sun. I’ve never quite looked at my biodynamic yoghurt the same way again.
Or the one about the Port Arthur Massacre, which is both extremely long and extremely upsetting, and left me with a completely different perspective on the events of that awful day. The unadorned Wikipedia facts are in a way much more affecting than any editorial opinion or commentary you could read.
And then there is the one about trichophagia, a disorder where the sufferer compulsively eats hair (their own, or sometimes of others), creating an enormous hairball (trichobezoar) in their intestine. As Wikipedia says:
Rapunzel syndrome, an extreme form of trichobezoar in which the “tail” of the hair ball extends into the intestines, can be fatal if misdiagnosed. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the mass; a trichobezoar weighing 4.5 kilograms (9.9 lb) was removed from the stomach of an 18-year-old woman with trichophagia.
I will let you decide whether or not you want to see what one of these trichobezoars looks like. If you do, click here. It’s pretty damn gross, but it’s also utterly amazing. You may never again be able to clean the hair out of your shower drain without thinking of that hairball lining a stomach. Bluurrrgh.