Watch the World’s First Underwater Film Footage, Which Features a Shark and a Dead Horse

Journalist and documentarian J.E. Williamson descends into a photosphere to film underwater footage.
Journalist and documentarian J.E. Williamson descends into a photosphere to film underwater footage.
Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

An eerie video recently unearthed by Popular Science senior video producer Tom McNamara pretty much proves that people have been obsessed with shark attacks since long before Discovery Channel launched Shark Week in 1988.

The short clip below is the climax of an hour-long documentary filmed by J.E. Williamson in 1914 and presumed lost until McNamara discovered it in the Netherlands’s EYE Filmmuseum collection. In the video, a dead horse is suspended in chains below the ocean surface, a shark approaches, and Williamson stabs it with a knife. He recounts the entire endeavor in his memoir 20 Years Under the Sea, which provides more background as to how Williamson, originally a journalist, came to film the dramatic scene.

In the early 1900s, Williamson’s father, a sea captain, built an underwater windowed chamber that he could climb into through an iron tube and better observe opportunities for deep sea scavenging. Williamson improved the design, which he called a “photosphere,” by enlarging the chamber and adding a lamp, enabling him to sit in it with a video camera.

To fund his ventures, Williamson promised investors that he would capture an underwater battle between a man and a shark on film. He then set sail for the Bahamas on a barge named the Jules Verne. The plan was never for Williamson himself to fight the shark: He paid a number of experienced divers to accompany him on the barge, and, after the dead horse had successfully lured hungry sharks into the territory, two divers each attempted to kill one. The first triumphed—but off-camera. The second diver panicked when a shark approached and he hid behind the massive horse carcass. “As a shark fighter he was an utter wash-out, but as a comedian he was a riot,” Williamson wrote. “But we wanted to film drama, not comedy.”

Williamson decided he’d have to duke it out with a “sea tiger” himself, without any protection or even a shirt. Against all odds, as you can see in the video, it actually worked. People came to know the film as Terrors of the Deep, though it was originally called Thirty Leagues Under the Sea (you’re probably sensing a theme here). Williamson would even go on to shoot underwater footage for the film adaptation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 1916.

For more shark-tastic stories and trivia, check out this episode of The List Show.

[h/t Popular Science]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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A Wily Fox With a Passion for Fashion Stole More Than 100 Shoes From a Berlin Neighborhood

The smirk.
The smirk.
Brett Jordan, Unsplash

In Berlin, Germany, a fox has embarked on a crime spree that puts Dora the Explorer’s Swiper completely to shame.

CNN-News18 reports that residents of Zehlendorf, a locality in southeastern Berlin, spent weeks scratching their heads as shoes continued to disappear from their stoops and patios overnight. After posting about the mystery on a neighborhood watch site and reading accounts from various bewildered barefooters, a local named Christian Meyer began to think the thief might be a fox.

He was right. Meyer caught sight of the roguish robber with a mouthful of flip-flop and followed him to a field, where he found more than 100 stolen shoes. The fox appears to have an affinity for Crocs, but the cache also contained sandals, sneakers, a pair of rubber boots, and one black ballet flat, among other footwear. Unfortunately, according to BBC News, Meyer’s own vanished running shoe was nowhere to be seen.

Foxes are known for their playfulness, and it’s not uncommon for one to trot off with an item left unattended in a yard. Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife explains that foxes are drawn to “things that smell good,” which, to a fox, includes dog toys, balls, gardening gloves, and worn shoes. And if your former cat’s backyard gravesite is suddenly empty one day, you can probably blame a fox for that, too; they bury their own food to eat later, so a deceased pet is basically a free meal.

The fate of Zehlendorf’s furriest burglar remains unclear, but The Cut’s Amanda Arnold has a radical idea: that the residents simply let the fox keep what is obviously a well-curated collection.

[h/t CNN-News18]