One of the most viewed displays at the International Life Cast Museum of Boston is the “Inconnue de la Seine” (the unknown woman of the Seine). She wears an enigmatic smile that inspired a lot of poets, novelists, and artists for many decades.
Her smile is enthralling but her backstory is more fascinating. In the 19th century, a lifeless body of a young woman was pulled out from the Seine River in Paris. During that period, every unidentified body was placed on a marble slab then put up against the morgue’s window for public viewing. This morbid and eccentric method was once a form of entertainment for Europeans.
Her beautiful face and Mona Lisa smile inspired the pathologist to have her face molded on a plaster cast.
The mask became a popular fixture in various fashion shops of Paris and Bohemian homes across Europe. Many stories and poems were written to give her a distinct identity.
Her lovely face was the inspiration behind the 1900 novella of Richard Le Gallienne “The Worshipper of the Image”. In 1936, the German movie “Die Unbekannte” was based in the untold story of the mask.
She is the face of Resusci Anne, the female doll that is used for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation training.
Asmund Laerdal, a Norwegian toy maker was commissioned by Dr. Peter Safar to make a training tool for the CPR technique. The Austrian doctor pioneered in the first-aid method of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Laerdal wanted to create a realistic medical aid.
He used the face of the “Inconnue de la Seine” for two reasons – his son had a close-death experience due to drowning and second, he wanted to make a memorial for the unnamed lady.
“Because she has no name and remains an enigma, we can never reach her and taint her … we project our own dreams on to her.”
The authenticity of the face becomes a continuing puzzle over the years.
Chief Brigadier Pascal Jacquin, the head of Brigade Fluviale that has the responsibility to rescue drowned bodies from the River of Seine said it was a surprise to see what the face has become in the aftermath of the intentional act or unexpected incident.
“Everyone we find in the water, they never look so peaceful. They’re swollen, they don’t look nice.”
Paris-based molder workshop owner Michel Lorenzi believed that it was molded from a live lady.
“I think she was a professional, a very good model.”
She might be alive or not when the plaster cast was made but the fact remains that “Inconnue de la Seine” is the most-kissed lady in the whole world.
Rare 17th Century Coin That Stopped Police From Shaving Your Beard Found In Russia
The ‘beard tax’ token is said to be “priceless”!
If you think maintaining a beard is expensive these days, you might consider yourself lucky compared to 17th century Russians. Archaeologists have discovered a rare 300-year-old coin that was once used to prove the holder had paid for beard tax. The "beard kopek" is only the second known example of the coin and is considered priceless.
The coin was discovered in the remains of a 17th-century building in the western Russian city of Pskov. It was one of over 5,000 coins recovered from the site. The kopek is made of copper and features the image of a beard and a mustache. The words "Money Paid" is written above the mustache.
The copper token was reportedly minted in 1699.
7 Astounding New Discoveries Involving Ancient Horses
#7 is definitely mind-blowing!
Horses have always played an important role in our history. Our ancestors spent centuries trying to domesticate the animals before horses became a part of human civilization. Without horses, great empires would never exist. Yet, we continue to learn astounding things about these magnificent creatures every day.
Our ancestors have been riding horses for thousands of years. However, saddles may have been invented for a different animal. Scientists recently found the remains of a donkey with molars that had the same damage as horses that have to wear bits. The skeleton was dated back to around 2700 BC, which is at least 1,000 years before horses were brought to the Near East. Here are seven astounding archaeological discoveries that involved ancient horses.
1. The First Horse Tamers
Behind Mankind’s First Step on the Moon is a Woman Celebrating Her 100th Birthday
She’s an inspiration to women of all ages and races.
Katherine Johnson, NASA’s “human computer” responsible for the computations needed for mankind’s first step on the moon, turns 100! Working behind the scenes, Johnson hand-crunched the numbers for NASA’s first-ever manned space flight involving the famous Neil Armstrong and his team.
This lady mathematician is a legend in NASA’s ranks. Being given the impossible never-before-done task of sending a manned spacecraft to the moon, Johnson stepped up to the challenge and made the missions successful.
Katherine Johnson was born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia on August 26, 1918.