Facts So Romantic

Mystery Solved: Who Cracked the Cabinet of Curiosities?

cabinet_FSR_HERO
Jonathon Rosen

Last week, we challenged Nautilus readers to name a whole cabinet-full of freaky, weird, and wonderful objects. It was a difficult challenge, but now is the time to end your agonizing wait and reveal the secrets of our wunderkammern, our “cabinet of wonder.” Here are the answers:

  1. Pompeii wall art
  2. Dinosaur coprolite
  3. Shroud of Turin
  4. Marilyn Monroe autograph
  5. Shrunken head
  6. Great white shark tooth
  7. Emu egg
  8. Rock sample from Mars
  9. Gutenberg Bible
  10. Black-footed ferret
  11. Galileo’s telescope
  12. Mechanical Songbird
  13. Dodo
  14. Typewriter

Out of all the entries we received, one stood out from the rest: Colm Coonagh impressively identified of 11 out of the 14 curiosities. A graphic designer based in Dublin, Ireland, the 29-year-old Coonagh shared a little of the secret to his success with Nautilus.

Congratulations, Colm! Did you think it was likely you would win?

I wouldn’t have said I had got that many right. It was good fun though, and I took a lot of wild guesses!

It can’t have been total guesswork though…

I tried to get the family and friends interested as well. Like the Shroud of Turin—I was looking at it for a while, but then my friend took one look at it and in a second he had it. And the Marilyn Monroe signature—my girlfriend is the one who got it. She had a poster of Marilyn Monroe on her bedroom wall when she was a kid and it had the signature at the bottom of it. And then there were things I googled, of course. But hey, that’s not against the rules!

The hardest ones were the rocks and that egg thing. I don’t think I got either of those ones…

You didn’t actually—the two rocks were dinosaur coprolites (fossilized feces), and the egg was from an emu, an ostrich-like bird that lives in Australia. Your guess, the elephant bird, was close though! I’m most impressed that you got the Pompeiian wall art.

As I said, there were a lot of wild guesses involved!

So, how did you find out about Nautilus in the first place?

I came across Nautilus on another website called It’s Okay To Be Smart. They had a link to a story on your site I think, and it was the illustration that drew me in. I suppose one of the first things I saw was a quote from Carl Sagan at the top of the page. I am a huge fan of Carl Sagan, and basically I hadn’t come across anything like Nautilus.

Is there anything about Nautilus that you think is unique?

I think the most unique thing is the combination of art and copy. The way the same amount of time and effort goes into the illustration as well as to the story itself. That appeals to someone like me. It makes me want to pick up and read it like I would spend time reading a book. It’s always very exciting when there is a new chapter to read!

Just as well you will now have a year’s worth of our quarterly journal to have and to hold!

Yes. It looks fantastic, and the cover art is beautiful. You guys cheated yourselves out of €70 though, I was ready to subscribe regardless! But I am very pleased to have got it. I can’t wait to see it.

And with that, the mystery of our cabinet of curiosities is finally solved. Even if you didn’t manage to win the competition, you can still subscribe to the quarterly journal by visiting our store. It comes complete with exclusive and original content, as well as some of the best stories from the website, produced in high-quality print. Think of it as a wunderkammern of your very own, brought to you by us. Happy reading! 

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