10 Wikipedia rabbit holes to fall down instead of doomscrolling

It’s not a credible source, but Wikipedia is many other things.

It’s an effective way to waste time, the first thing you click on when you Google something, and above all an infinite font of weird, fascinating minutiae. Thanks to people all over the world who have contributed to the crowd-sourced encyclopedia, we can click from topic to topic, descending deeper and deeper into a tunnel of information known as the Wikipedia rabbit hole.

But with all of Wikipedia at your fingertips, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our favorites to get the ball rolling. Happy landing!

Did you know that stretching before exercise doesn’t actually reduce sore muscles? Or that Velcro wasn’t invented by NASA? If you’re looking for a conversation starter, or you just have an innate desire to prove people wrong, read on.

For decades, marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions have been appointed to help in missions like rescues and acting as lookouts for enemy divers. Bonus: the “See Also” section includes a movie called The Day of the Dolphin, which is about, wait for it, a dolphin trained to assassinate the president. Enjoy.

Image of military person working with a dolphin

Brb, watching “The Day of the Dolphin.”
Credit: Wikipedia Commons / Pierre G. Georges

From 1956 to 1971, this FBI program’s mission was to liberal political groups through any means necessary, including assassination. Learning about COINTELPRO is a crash-course in U.S. history, that provides important context for the origin of Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Abolish ICE, and other socio-political movements that exist today.

He’s best known as a healer for Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra’s hemophiliac son, Alexei, which inadvertently contributed to the downfall of the Russian empire. But even before the Romanovs, Rasputin lived a crazy life. Reading about the OG cult leader will take you to some weird places that range from Russian history to mysticism. 

Black and white image of Rasputin surrounded by a group of mostly women

Rasputin surrounded by his followers.
Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Any attempt to summarize what this page is about would turn into a dissertation on European history. Just know that its history of public scandal, murder, corruption, incest, power struggle, etc. goes back centuries.

The next portion of this list includes some of the most intriguing Wiki entries if only because of their sheer existence. This page reads like horror movie bingo, and will definitely remind you of some childhood sleepovers. 

Image of front page of Roswell newspaper reporting on a UFO siting

UFO sitings in Roswell, New Mexico are the stuff of urban legend.
Credit: Wikipedia / Commons

Many of these conspiracy theories are just that — theories — so stay sharp and browse with your media literacy antenna up. With that said, it feels increasingly important to understand how conspiracy theories develop and why. 

Image of JFK in parade shortly before he was assassinated

The JFK assassination is one of the most famous conspiracy theories of all time.
Credit: Wikipedia Commons / Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News

This one checks all the boxes of a good a Wikihole. True crime? Check. Conspiracy theories? Check. Bizarre stories that keep us up at night? Check. Any one of these subpages will get under your skin.

As the page points out, micronations are not to be confused with microstates or unrecognized states which have actual geopolitical significance. Instead micronations are “self-proclaimed entities,” typically established for some outlandish reason. Whether, it’s the interplanetary exploration of “Aerican Empire” or the student-led political simulation of “Reunion,” there’s lots to learn about the origins of society.  

Image of red and white flag with a smiley face in the middle of it

The official flag of micronation “Aerica”
Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The motherlode of all Wikipedia rabbit holes is the list of lists. It ranges from genuinely useful information about geography, religion, history, all the way to the mundane (“List of pairs”). Whatever it is, there’s something pleasing about knowing that people out there are trying to organize the world’s information.

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