Friday Fun Facts - 2/10/2012

Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts. I hope you enjoy them! I'm having a lot of fun picking out my favorite bits of OUTLANDER trivia to share with all of you.

1) What was Claire doing on July 4, 1776? She was in Wilmington, NC, picking a gemstone (a chrysoberyl, to be precise, like the one shown below) out of Young Ian's nostril with a pair of tweezers.  (This is presumably not the sort of thing most people have in mind when they fantasize about traveling back in time and possibly witnessing momentous historical events. <g>)

By the way, here's an extra bit of trivia for you:  The "nose-picker" scene (ABOSAA Chapter 115) came about as a result of a writing challenge on Compuserve in 2004, in which the participants had to write a scene about nose-picking "where said nose-picker comes across in a sympathetic manner". So Linda Grimes gets the credit for inspiring that one. <g>

2) Brian Fraser's mother (Jamie's paternal grandmother) is listed in the Fraser family tree in the OUTLANDISH COMPANION, p. 218, as one Davina Porter. <g> Yes, she's named after the narrator of the unabridged OUTLANDER audiobooks.  I've always thought that was a lovely tribute to a very talented lady.

3) In AN ECHO IN THE BONE, we learn that Andrew Bell printed the first edition of his Encyclopaedia Britannica in Edinburgh, using Jamie Fraser's printing press (chapter 74, "Twenty-Twenty") According to Wikipedia, "The Britannica is the oldest English-language encyclopaedia still in print. It was first published between 1768 and 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland as three volumes." Between 1768 and 1771....when Jamie was in America, and his printing press just happened to be entrusted to Andy Bell's care in Edinburgh? <g> I love this bit, because of the way it sort of obliterates the line between fiction and historical fact.

Here's a picture of an 18th-century printing press similar to Jamie's.

4) Electric eels, like the one pictured below, can produce an electric charge of up to 500 volts (!) No wonder Lord John had such a severe reaction to being shocked by one. And if you haven't read Diana Gabaldon's novella, "The Custom of the Army", where that scene appears, I highly recommend it. (Look here for more information about the story.)

5) Jocasta occasionally smokes marijuana to ease her glaucoma symptoms.
"There's a bittie parcel in there of an herb ye might find of interest."
I found it immediately--by smell.
"Where on earth did you get that?" I asked, halfway amused.
"Farquard Campbell," she replied matter-of-factly.  "When ye told me what the difficulty was with my eyes, I asked Fentiman if he kent anything that might be of help, and he told me that he'd heard somewhere that hemp might be of use. Farquard Campbell has a field of it under cultivation, so I thought I might as well try it. It does seem to help. Would ye put it in my hand, please, niece?"
Fascinated, I put the parcel of hemp and the little stack of papers down on the table beside her, and guided her hand to it. Rolling carefully onto her side to prevent the poultice falling off, she took a good pinch of aromatic herb, sprinkled it down the center of the paper, and rolled as tidy a joint as I had ever seen in Boston.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 110 ("The Smell of Light"). Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Here is an article from the Glaucoma Research Foundation about medical marijuana being used to treat glaucoma. According to the article, it does provide some short-term relief, but not enough to offset its side-effects.

If you enjoyed these, look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts.

And be sure to stop by here next week for more!


Mary said...

The photos really enhance the "facts." And I like the background information, as well. Can't wait until next Friday.

Christiane KYPREOS said...

Thank you once more Karen ! very interesting. F.F.F. are great. Looking forward to the next one ! from Christiane KYPREOS

Anonymous said...

I think they get better each week Karen! Thanks for the Friday Fun!


Juliazun said...

Again, great job Karen! Love the pics too!

Elaine said...

Hi Karen - thanks for the photos. I especially loved seeing the printing press. One of my favourite scenes is the reunion in Voyager when Claire first sees Jamie bent over a printing press with his back to her!

├ůsa said...

Lovely Karen! Keep up the good work:)

Karen Henry said...

Thanks, everybody! And Elaine - that's exactly what I think of, too. :-)


Trish said...

I'm loving this series, thanks SO VERY MUCH for doing it, Karen!!! Such interesting and esoteric information...interesting to almost SEE Diana's eye lighting up at some trivia and it ending up in one of the books...

Mari said...

Absolutely wonderful job Karen! I don't think I would have picked up the eel, it's so ugly, but then Lord John is quite a brave man. Keep going, I don't want to miss the next FFF!

Karen Henry said...

@Trish - Thanks so much! I agree, I think lots of times she includes things like this in the books just for fun.

@Mari - Thank you! Keep in mind that Lord John didn't touch that eel voluntarily, he was more or less forced into it. And I think he's very lucky to have survived! If he'd tried that with the sliver of metal from "Haunted Soldier" still in his chest, I think Lord John would have been electrocuted right then and there.

I'm going to keep this up as long as people are still interested. Delighted by the reaction so far!


Anonymous said...

i dinna remember the nose picking part, what book is that in?
i do enjoy your facts!

Karen Henry said...

ABOSAA Chapter 115, "Nosepicker".


Griffin said...

This is a little late to the party, but if you're ever in Bermuda, there's a printing press of this vintage (I couldn't say if it's exact but going on looks it appears close) in Mitchell House in Old Town St. Georges. We took our summer camp there and a lovely gentlemen helped the children operate it and print out pages - sooo cool.

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