The Euphonia, a mid-19th century gadget that could simulate human speech by pumping bellows-fed air over an artificial tongue set in a chamber of weird plates and valves. It had a woman’s face and coils of hair in ringlets, and spoke in a “weird, ghostly monotone."
By pumping air with the bellows and manipulating a series of plates, chambers, and other apparatus, including an artificial tongue, the operator could make it speak any European language. It was even able to sing the anthem God Save the Queen. The Euphonia was invented in 1845 by Joseph Faber, a German immigrant. A little known fact is that this machine greatly influenced the invention of the telephone.
Ten Terrifying Sleep Disorders:
- Exploding Head Syndrome: People suffering from this are awoken an hour or two after falling asleep by a loud noise from their mind. Ranging from a gunshot to a scream, researchers still aren’t sure what causes it.
- Kleine-Levin Syndrome: This rare disease that causes sufferers to oversleep for up to 20 hours a day has been linked to appetite. There is no known cure.
- Sleep Paralysis: While either waking or falling asleep, the sufferer feels completely unable to move. Linked to anxiety disorders, narcolepsy, migraines, and obstructed sleep apnea, they often feel as if someone menacing is hovering over them or physically holding them down.
- Fatal Familial Insomnia: This extremely rare version of insomnia is fatal, as the name suggests, for those suffering. Death usually occurs within six to 32 months after symptoms arise. This condition impairs the thalamus in your brain and can also cause hallucinations and loss of motor function. It is hereditary, children of sufferers being 50 percent more likely to develop the disorder.
- Sexsomnia: Similar to sleep walking, those suffering from this disorder are able to perform sexual activity without realizing it while still asleep. It is more common in those already suffering from sleep walking.
- Non-24-Hour Sleep–Wake Disorder: Sufferers of this disorder feel as if they are in a constant state of jet lag, constantly feeling “out of it.” They are dealing with a longer circadian rhythm which causes a 25 or 26 hour sleep/awake cycle and is common among the blind.
- Narcolepsy: This disorder is caused by an autoimmune destruction of hypocretin-producing neurons in the brain disrupting the regulation of a person’s sleep/awake cycle. As a result, they are prone to falling asleep without warning at any time of day.
- Somnambulistic Eating: A nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder, sufferers don’t realize they’re spending their evenings eating second and third dinners until the eventual and unexplainable weight gain.
- REM-Sleep Behavior Disorder: Occurring during rapid-eye movement when your dreams are most vivid, this causes the sufferer to unconsciously physically act out what is happening their dreams. This type of parasomnia is thankfully treatable.
- Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome: This phenomena of literally sleeping yourself to death occurs mostly in young men and is more common in Southeast Asian areas. The cause is unknown, but some believe the victims’ hearts skip a beat and never start back up.
Miyakejima is a Japanese town on a small island notorious for volcanic activity. After a devastating volcano eruption in 1940, the island was temporarily evacuated. When people were allowed back, everyone was required to wear gas masks, as the high levels of sulfur leaking from the ground made the very air around them dangerous.
Even though to this day the people of this island are required to carry gas masks with them wherever they go, they don’t need them. If something was to happen, sirens would go off warning the people to put on their masks.