Queen Marie of Romania's Heart Will Find a New Home

George Grantham Bain collection, Library of Congress via Wikipedia // Public Domain
George Grantham Bain collection, Library of Congress via Wikipedia // Public Domain

In early November, the heart that once beat inside Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938) will be transferred from the Bucharest National History Museum to the castle in the Carpathian mountains where she died, according to The Guardian

Queen Marie, a granddaughter of Britain's Queen Victoria, was the wife of King Ferdinand I, who ruled Romania from 1914 to 1927. Before her death, she asked that her heart be interred in a chapel in the town of Balchik near the Black Sea, where her family had a castle that was the queen's favorite summer home. However, Balchik was returned to Bulgaria in 1940, and the heart then moved to Bran Castle near Transylvania.

The organ didn't rest easy there either: Marie's descendants say the chapel at Bran Castle “was desecrated during the communist regime," which is when the heart took up its place at the National Museum of Romanian History. (It appears to have been kept in storage in the basement, and not on public display.) The family later requested that the organ be moved to a place with closer ties to the royal family, and officials decided on Pelisor castle in the Carpathian mountains, where Maria died in 1938, as the new location. The heart will be transferred during a formal procession on November 3, then placed inside a small silver casket that will rest on a pedestal behind the couch where Maria died.

Strange as it may seem, the practice of burying a person’s heart separately from the rest of them goes back to the Crusades, and it was a not-uncommon request from European royalty for centuries. Famous examples include Richard the Lionheart, Robert the Bruce, and Anne Boleyn, as well as dozens of popes (their hearts are now kept at a church in Rome). Famously, the Romantic poet Percy Shelley had his heart (or what his friends believed to be his heart) removed from the flames during his cremation on an Italian beach. The organ was given to his wife Mary Shelley, who kept it until she died.

Queen Maria’s isn't the only famous heart to have been moved recently. In 2014, scientists took the heart of Romantic composer Frédéric Chopin from its place in a crystal urn inside a pillar at the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw for a top-secret midnight examination. Their aim was to make sure the alcohol surrounding the heart hadn’t evaporated, although other scientists have been hoping to study the organ for insight about the composer’s cause of death. The heart was later returned to the pillar, where it still rests; meanwhile, the rest of Chopin is at Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

[h/t The Guardian]

The Reason Why a Puppy in North Carolina Was Born Bright Green

Anastasiia Cherniavskaia, iStock via Getty Images
Anastasiia Cherniavskaia, iStock via Getty Images

When a dog owner in Canton, North Carolina, first saw her new puppy, she knew exactly what to name him. Hulk the infant pup is much smaller than his namesake, but like the comic book character, he's green from head to toe.

As WLOS reports, Hulk was born with a coat of fur the color of avocado toast. He is one of eight puppies in a litter a white German Shepherd named Gypsy delivered the morning of January 10. Even though one came out lime-green, it was healthy, normal birth, according to Gypsy's owner Shana Stamey.

Hulk's unique coloration isn't a sign of any health issues. Meconium—or the matter in the intestines of a fetus—is mostly made of water, but it can also contain something called biliverdin. This chemical makes bile, and when it gets into the amniotic fluid of a birth sac, it can stain a puppy's fur green. This is especially noticeable when the newborn's fur is white, as in Hulk's case. You can see the rare phenomenon in the video below.

After a few weeks of baths and licks from mom, the meconium stains will eventually fade to reveal his natural white coat. But while he won't be green forever, Hulk gets to keep his colorful name for life.

[h/t WLOS]

Not-So-Fancy Feast: Your Cat Probably Would Eat Your Rotting Corpse

Tycson1/iStock via Getty Images
Tycson1/iStock via Getty Images

Cat enthusiasts often cite the warmth and companionship offered by their pet as reasons why they’re so enamored with them. Despite these and other positive attributes, cat lovers are often confronted with the spurious claim that, while their beloved furry pal might adore them when they’re alive, it won’t hesitate to devour their corpse if they should drop dead.

Though that’s often dismissed as negative cat propaganda spread by dog people, it turns out that it’s probably true. Fluffy might indeed feast on your flesh if you happened to expire.

A horrifying new case study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences offers the fresh evidence. The paper, first reported by The Washington Post, documents how two cats reacted in the presence of a corpse at Colorado Mesa University’s Forensic Investigation Research Station, or body farm, where the deceased are used to further forensic science for criminal investigations.

The study’s authors did not orchestrate a meeting between cat and corpse. The finding happened by accident: Student and lead author Sara Garcia was scanning surveillance footage of the grounds when she noticed a pair of cats trespassing. The cats, she found, were interested in the flesh of two corpses; they gnawed on human tissue while it was still in the early stages of decomposition, stopping only when the bodies began leaching fluids.

The cats, which were putting away one corpse each, didn’t appear to have a taste for variety, as they both returned to the same corpse virtually every night. The two seemed to prefer the shoulder and arm over other body parts.

This visual evidence joins a litany of reports over the years from medical examiners, who have observed the damage left by both cats and dogs who were trapped in homes with deceased owners and proceeded to eat them. It’s believed pets do this when no other food source is available, though in some cases, eating their human has occurred even with a full food bowl. It’s something to consider the next time your cat gives you an affectionate lick on the arm. Maybe it loves you. Or maybe it has something else in mind.

[h/t The Washington Post]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER