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Otters Oddities

Illustration for article titled Otters Oddities

So, if I didn’t fart, and you didn’t fart, and we’re the only two here, and we both agree it smells like fart, then that can only mean one of us is lying.


Now, I know that I’m not lying. And I can tell by the look on your face that you’re going to claim that you’re not lying. But that’s impossible. One of us has to be lying.

Well, since I’m the leader of the Turco-Mongol horde and you’re not, that means by default, you’re the liar.



To be honest, in my mind that story ends with Mr. Squinty-face walking away after the beheading, pausing to lift a leg and rip a juicy room clearer, saying “The rules clearly state that he who smelt it, dealt it!”


And who, exactly, is Mr. Squinty-face? Why, it’s none other than Timur The Lame.

Yes, that was actually his title.

History knows him as Tamerlane.

Anyone ever heard of him? Anyone? (I’m not doing that joke from that 80's movie).


Let me just give you a quick refresher on who he was and what he did.

Tamerlane was bad-ass. I mean, like, totally bad. Ass. He was the Chuck Norris of his time. Except no one joked about it. Because if Timur was coming, you were, pardon my French, fucked.


He was the ruler of a horde of conquering muslims back in the 14th century. Although ‘conquering’ might not be the right word. There really wasn’t an army that could stand up to him and his horde. Wherever he went, he killed and conquered. His empire stretched from Europe, through the Middle East and into Asia. He never conquered the Ming Empire in China, but that’s only because he died on the way there.

But there wasn’t an army that didn’t tremble when they heard Timur was on the way. Heck, he hadn’t even reached the Chinese border and the Ming emperor had already sent a negotiating team to talk peace.


So, how awful was this guy? Well, you have to remember he ruled from 1370 to 1405, and this is just the very beginning of the use of firearms in battle. In fact, it’s not until 50 years after Timurs death that guns were considered to be a deciding factor in battle. Even so, it’s estimated that Timur led his army and they were responsible for the deaths of 17 million people. That was 5% of the worlds population at the time.

Now, there are modern leaders who have been responsible for more deaths, (I’m looking at you Mr. Stalin), but they had access to more....efficient methods of human disposal. Considering the methods Timur had to use, his body count is impressive.


But, he felt it was his duty, his fate even. Timur considered himself to be the descendant of Genghis Kahn. He wasn’t, but he decided he was, and are you going to tell him differently? Yeah...I didn’t think so....

So, Timur The Lame was a bad ass.

When he died, he was buried in an elaborate tomb in Samarkand. Which happens to be part of Uzbekistan. And it’s there that our story now takes us. Because so far, this has all been history. Nothing really odd about it.



Archeologists have long been known to rob the graves of long dead people. It makes no difference who they were. Thy like opening up their tombs and rooting around to see what they can find. And they like to pull the bodies out to examine them to learn as much about them as they can.


And Timur was no different.

Except, Timur was the leader of a vast Islamic army, and he was buried in a traditionally muslim country. And the rulers weren’t too keen on allowing some meddling scientists to disturb the eternal rest of one of their historic heros.


So, Timur’s tomb went undisturbed for almost 500 years. But one archeologist decided he really wanted to know what was in the tomb. And he really wanted to examine Timur’s bones. So he went to the leader of the country to get permission. And the leader became curious as well, so permission was granted.

The reason it was granted is because the leader the archeologist asked wasn’t the local muslim leaders. Nope, he went over their heads to the big kahuna. He went to Joseph Stalin. And not even the local leaders were going to go against Uncle Joe. I mean, Joe was known for removing people for any reason he felt like.


So on June 20th 1941, archeologists opened the tomb of Timur The Lame.

As was the custom at the time, there were fearsome inscriptions in the tomb. When they first entered the tomb, they saw the inscription “When I rise from the dead, the world will tremble”. And when they opened the casket, inscribed on the lid was “Whomever shall open my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I”.


On the morning of June 22, when anthropologist Mikhail Gerasimov began exhuming Timurs body so he could take it back to the lab, something else was taking place hundreds of miles to the west. But Mikhail had no way of knowing about it, so he dismissed the curse and went on with his work.

What was the other event taking place that morning?

Operation Barbarossa. The invasion of the Soviet Union by Hitlers forces. You may have heard of it. I mean, it was only the largest invasion in world history.


Hahahaha you’re laughing now. Nice coincidence Otter. But a coincidence doesn’t make an oddity.

Well, how about these apples?

On November 19th 1943, Timurs body was returned to his tomb. He was reinterred with a full Islamic ceremony. On the same day his body was returned? The Russian army closed the pocket, fully encircling the German 6th army at Stalingrad. The Germans were surrounded, and 3 short months later, about 150,000 Germans surrendered, ending the battle for Stalingrad.


And the defeat at Stalingrad was pretty much the end of any hope Germany had for conquering Russia. It was all retreating from that point on.

So, remove Timur and the Germans invade. Replace Timur and the noose closes around the Germans ensuring their defeat.


I told you, Timur was a bad ass. Don’t mess with Timur The Lame.

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