I wanted to be James Bond as a kid. The suits, the cars, the women… it all seemed so cool. If the life of a spy meant jet setting around the world and saving the day, I was all for it.
But the years went by, and no one ever told me that becoming a spy is a real job that you could apply to. Instead, it became a lost part of my childhood. I often wondered if I missed out on working as a spy when I”m awake late at night.
Well, after reading these curiously interesting tidbits about the lives of real spies, I have to say the answer is a resounding YES!
1. Meet Wilfred Biffy Dunderdale, the real life inspiration for James Bond. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond books, knew him and even used some of his real stories in the books.
2. Funny or sad? The CIA spent millions to teach Felix here to spy on the Soviets in the 1960″s. But a car ran over him almost immediately. Ouch.
3. Many short wave radios started appearing around the globe following WWII, all sending a series of codes. Oddly, they”re still beeping today…
4. Back in the day, film from spy satellites had to eject, fall to Earth, and be retrieved mid-air by special planes to avoid enemy recovery.
5. Sarah Edmonds was a Canadian-turned-Union spy in the Civil War. She managed to infiltrate a Confederate fort as a black man, stole countless documents, and burned the fort to the ground.
6. As the only dog during WWI promoted to Sergeant, Stubby saved his regiment countless times from mustard gas, spies, and also comforted the wounded.
7. Roald Dahl, the famous writer (and lesser known British WWII spy), slept with countless American women during the war. This was his specific job to gather intelligence from their husbands.
8. Saddam was right when he thought any nuclear inspectors were spies for the US.
9. Lollapalooza, the music festival name today, meant something different during WWII. American soldiers would use it in the Pacific to identify Japanese spies who would mispronounce it “rorrarooza”.
10. Since North Korea has little exposure to the outside world, they”ve kidnapped around 485 South Koreans, French, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysians, and Italians to force them to teach languages at their spy schools.
11. Kim Philby, the head of MI6″s anti-soviet operation during the 1960s, turned out to be a Soviet spy himself.
12. Spies have a method to log keystrokes by audio alone, no software needed.
13. During the early 1800s in Hartlepool, UK, a monkey was the sole survivor of a shipwreck. The town put him on a (lengthy) trial and hanged the monkey as a French spy. Seriously.
14. At age 19, Gevork Vartanian, a Soviet Armenian spy serving in Iran, stopped a Nazi plot to kill Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill when they met in Tehran.
15. George Koval may be the most important spy in recent history. Serving the Soviets, he infiltrated the Manhattan Project and single-handedly stole all key documents, allowing the Russians to develop the atomic bomb. This was first discovered in 2002.
16. We learned in 2009 that Ernest Hemingway was a failed KGB spy.
17. During WWI, Germans put up a fake 25 foot iron tree to spy on the Allies. To do this, they cut down a tree at night while guns fired around it so Allies wouldn”t hear the axes.
18. Chevalier d”Eon passed as a woman to everyone in France for his entire adult life. In fact, he was a French spy and was never discovered until after his death in 1810.
19. Germany sent a spy to Canada during WWII, but the spy liked the country so much that he turned himself in. Canadian officials set him free, and even live in Ottawa, because he didn”t do any damage to his new homeland.
20. British spies used to act like bumbling idiots and walk around with sketches of leaves and butterflies… which also contained secret information.
(via eBaum”s World)
Wow. Hemingway was a spy, and a failed spy at that. If you saw that coming, then you may be a master spy. But you wouldn”t tell me, would you…?