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Before Radar, Great Britain Uses Ridiculous Sound Mirrors to Detect Enemy Planes

They may look ridiculous now but these sound mirrors were Great Britain’s greatest defense against incoming enemy planes!


World War I saw the use of airplanes during the war but their role during the time was mostly for surveillance and observation. It wasn’t until World War II that airplanes took on an offensive role wherein they could drop bombs and shoot at other planes.

At the end of World War I, Great Britain needed a method to know when a plane was approaching. One of the most important means they developed of detecting an oncoming plane was the “sound mirror.”

This is one of Great Britain's sound mirrors.

Source: Greg/Flickr
Their aim was to detect incoming enemy planes.

Source: Greg/Flickr
They may seem rudimentary but they were an important means of detecting the direction of a plane.

Source: Paul/Flickr

The Royal Air Force used these listening posts around the coasts of Great Britain in otder to amplify the noise of approaching enemy planes. By reflecting the sound waves off their curved surface and focusing them onto a focal point, they could easily detect the direction of the approaching plane.

This is one of the sound mirrors found in Denge.

Source: Paul/Flickr
This sound mirror is the largest of them all, standing at 8 meters and spanning 60 meters.

Source: Paul/Flickr

By the late 1920s, the first sound mirror was set up at Hythe, on the south coast of England. This area was within the flight path of commercial aircraft heading to France, which would then be a great way to test the mirrors. These sound mirrors were made of steel and concrete, and stood at six to nine meters. By 1930, the sixth and last mirror was set up, and it stood at 60 meters in length and 8 meters in height. It could hear sounds from up to 20 miles away.

Now they stand as monuments to the defense tactics employed by Great Britain in World War I.

While they may never be used again, they are still historically significant.

Source: HJSP8/Flickr

However, in 1935, radar or Radio Detecting and Ranging had been developed, leaving these huge concrete marvels obsolete. Until today, they still stand in Denge, in Kent, and there’s even one in Malta, the only one of these structures outside of England.


In Medieval Times, Weighing Scales Are Used to Weigh Suspected Witches

Will you pass the Heksenwaag witch weigh-in?

Back in the Medieval Ages, goods for trade and sale that entered different markets across Europe were weighed in weigh houses to determine the tax levied upon them. Traders weren’t the only ones required to have their products weighed, however.

In the Netherlands, weigh houses also had another purpose.

To weigh witches.

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The Bizarre Reasons Why People Are Scared of the Number 13

The mystery behind the ‘cursed date’ goes back to ancient times.

We’ve all heard about the slasher flick 'Friday the 13th' but do you know where did this fear about the said date even come from? How did this superstition begin and why do many people consider it unlucky?

To accurately answer that, we need to understand why people often associate the number 13 with bad luck in the first place. This fear is called ‘Triskaidekaphobia’ and is not exclusively associated with Friday the 13th but in all things involving the number. This is the main reason why many buildings do not have a 13th floor!

In Christian history, Catholics teach that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ – the most significant event in the religion – occurred on a Friday the 13th.

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The Mystery of the Great Bell of Dhammazedi, The Largest Bell Ever Cast

Its been hundreds of years but this massive bell still remains missing.

The Great Bell of Dhammazedi was created in the late 15th century during the rule of King Dhammazedi of the Burmese kingdom Hanthawaddy. It was presented to the Shwedagon Pagoda of Dagon, which is present day Yangon, Myanmar. The bell was made of copper, gold, and silver, and it is said to have weighed nearly 300 tonnes making it the largest bell ever cast.

Shwedagon Pagoda of Dagon where the Great Bell of Dhammazedi was presented.

Twenty four years after its creation, the Portuguese warlord and mercenary Felipe de Brito e Nicote sacked the pagoda and seized the bell. He wanted to melt it down to create cannons for his ship.

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