By Russell Miller
The Cone Shell Mollusk (of which there are hundreds of types) is a snail that can actually fish for its dinner. Using a tongue-like organ that contains a poisonous “harpoon,” the Cone Shell darts its victims with incredible speed. Tough ligaments hold the barbed harpoon fast to the Cone Shell as it “reels in” its prey. So potent is the venom of this little animal that some can kill humans in a few minutes. Collectors have been known to pay thousands of dollars for a single Cone Shell.
ODDLY ENOUGH … The Cone Shell Mollusk is blind. It senses its meals by tasting the water while hiding in rocks or sand.
Most court-ordered decapitations were carried out using a sword, and unlike most movie versions, the prisoners were either standing or kneeling. The velocity brought to bear by the flying blade was remarkable. In 1645, for instance, a felon who raised his hands at the last moment not only lost his head, but both of his hands were cleanly nipped off at the wrists as well.
ODDLY ENOUGH … A swordsman by the name of Charles-Henri Sanson made such a ferocious and clean cut of one victim that his head remained perfectly balanced on his neck. It is reported that Sanson mumbled, “Shake yourself — it’s done.”
Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King.