With a few thousand years of existence under our belts, human beings have endured plenty of crazy stuff by now. Truly, we've had the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Today, we talk about the ugly.
We're all familiar with the big wars, despots, and ideological movements throughout our time. Wikipedia power users may even have some military history or archaeological know-how under their belts.
But a recent Reddit thread gathered people to share some very niche events and incidents from a time.
The kicker? People were prompted to share the most devastating, often unmentioned moments of our time. Strap in for a close look at us at our worst.
For many, the intense, overwhelming power of mother nature was the driving force of the event. Simply put, human beings don't stand a chance against the undulating forces of our planet.
A Light From Space
"In 1859, solar flares hit the earth causing an aurora borealis effect to be seen all over the world. It lasted for several days, during which time it was reportedly bright enough to read by at midnight."
"Telegraph operators reported receiving shocks and burns from the devices, and in some cases removed the batteries powering the telegraphs, as signals were being disrupted by the geomagnetic storm. After removing the batteries, the telegraphs still operated, in some cases better than they had when powered."
"It wasn't particularly devastating at the time, but it's estimated that if a similar storm were to hit us today, it would cripple the entire planet for potentially decades. The estimated repair cost in the US alone is measured in the trillions."
"In 2012, a similar storm missed the earth by nine days."
"I'm not really a proper historian but I feel the need to mention the Bronze Age collapse. It's not as though nobody talks about it at all but considering how catastrophic it was, it doesn't get nearly enough attention."
"At this time civilisations were still pretty scarce but the eastern Mediterranean was full of them. We can't pinpoint an exact reason but at some point it all fell apart."
"The Myceneans? Gone!"
"The Hittites? Gone!"
"The Minoans? Gone!"
"The Egyptians? Barely clinging on and having serious problems."
"There are many things that happened around that time in that general area that could be the culprit: Volcanoes, earthquakes, drought, famine, war and invasions from 'foreigners that came by boat' that historians have named the Sea People because we have basically no idea where they came from. In reality, it was probably a combination of some or even all of them."
"Again, I'm not a proper historian by any means but this is what I heard. Actual historians, feel free to correct any mistakes or mention something I missed."
Of Course, Man Plays a Part
"The Johnstown Flood of 1889. The deadliest civil engineering disaster on US soil, it killed 2209 people. After a dam collapsed it swept up rail cars, passengers, trees, an entire town of 10,000, then swirled it around and ejected the debris downriver into a bridge where it all caught fire."
"Destruction beyond belief, and all so that some rich steel magnates up the mountain didn't maintain the dam they used to keep their fishing reservoir."
Set Back Years
"Galveston, Texas was once considered to be one of the most important commercial ports in the United States and was referred to by several fantastical names such as the 'Queen City of the Gulf' and the 'Wall Street of the West.' "
"All that changed when it suffered a near-direct hit from a devastating Category 4 Hurricane in 1900, the deadliest natural disaster in American history. Pretty much the entire city was destroyed by a storm surge and anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 people died."
"Galveston was rebuilt but it never truly regained its status; Houston became the state's commercial center in the storm's wake, in addition to other factors."
Other people noted the terrible things human beings do to one another. Genocide and war, unfortunately, have been around for as long as we have.
A Ceaseless Slaughter
"Cambodian Genocide. They killed so many kids that the life expectancy was 18" -- SoLongFarewell2019
"I visited the school converted to a prison and the killing fields when I went to Cambodia and it was horrifying. Besides the killing tree, the most heartbreaking thing was at the school they had pictures of all the people killed."
"There was one little boy who looked so terrified but you could tell he was trying to be so brave. It is astonishing how cruel people can be." -- sensualoctopus
The Living Dead
"Leprosy colonies of Hawaii. People who were diagnosed with leprosy were forcibly banished to Kalaupapa to live out the rest of their lives - they were dug graves, had to stand in them, while their families and friends basically had a 'living funeral' for them where they had the dirt thrown on them; they were then pronounced dead to the world and no longer part of the community."
"This continued through 1969 even after Hawaii officially became a state."
TEN MILLION +
"Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan."
"Put simply, it was an upsurp Kingdom in 1850's China that directly and indirectly led to the deaths of millions (maybe ten million+) of people through massacre and famine."
"Hong Xiuquan believed he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ and pursuaded enough people to follow along and start a civil war."
"Check out Gods Chinese Son by Jonathan Spence."
"The Highland Clearances. Over a period of about 150 years between the 18th and 19th centuries, English and Lowland Scottish landlords evicted thousands upon thousands of highland Scots from their ancestral homelands and replaced them with sheep."
"It's hard to classify as a historical event because it went on for so long and is usually interpreted as an ambiguous series of largely isolated incidents. There were attacks on villages in which the landlords would burn their tenant's houses to the ground to get them to leave, and burned their land so that nothing could grow. Multiple people were caught in the fires and died."
"During the Glencoe massacre, 30 members of Clan MacDonald were murdered by Scottish government forces for supporting the Jacobite uprising. The Irish potato famine also affected the highland scots who grew potatoes, and many people starved or were forced to leave as well."
"As a result, there was a series of mass migration in which scots travelled to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., and largely lost their language and culture. It's very sad, and all that is basically why highland culture and language has largely been lost."
"The disease outbreaks that hit the Americas with the arrival of the Europeans."
"You hear about a 90% death rate and it sounds made up, but whatever the actual number was, entire civilizations were literally wiped out. Cultures that had existed for thousands of years are just gone, with barely a record left. You have stories of people coming across whole villages of corpses."
"These people died never even having seen the Europeans, never knowing what was killing them and their loved ones and totally helpless to do anything about it."
"BHC = British Home Children"
"Poor British children were taken from their families and sold to Canada as indentured servants/farmhands. Many of these children were never checked on, were not paid, educated, fed, or clothed properly, and endured cruel and unusual treatment. Some died, but most ran away."
"The assassination of James Garfield. He was a known advocate for racial equality. He appointed black men into his cabinet and tried expanding public education into the south to get more African-Americans an education."
"He tried to fight for racial equality but died four months into his presidency which fu**ed it up."
"Asked my history studying friend about this, she said there's A LOT of events that people don't talk about. For example, there was a lot of countries involved in the Balkan conflict who knew about the massacre of Srebrenica but still allowed it to happen."
"So many historical events are just so grim and depressing when you read about it, we knew bad things were happening but didn't stop until it was too late for many people."
A Recent Case
"The Rwandan genocide has got to be one of these events. I watched Shake Hands with the Devil here awhile ago and highly recommend it. Unspeakable acts of brutality inflicted. Still gives me chills." -- GartSnart52
"One of the worst parts to me is how easily it could have been prevented. Roméo Dallaire, the general in charge of the UN forces on the ground said at the time that with a few thousand peacekeepers the genocide could have been prevented. UN analysis after the fact agreed with his assessment. Can you imagine if 3,000 soldiers could have prevented the holocaust, but the international community didn't want to spare the troops?" -- MichaelMyersResple
Finally, some people opted to share the bizarre. They outlined those freak accidents or wild tragedies that seemed to come out of nowhere.
They Just Wanted Toys
"The Victoria hall disaster. All because kids were being kids in a death trap:"
" 'The disaster started when about 1,000 children in the audience of a variety show were told they could get free toys. Kids began pouring down the aisles to get the toys, blocking the exits and piling on top of one another. In the end, 183 of them were crushed to death.' "
"Vietnamese boat people. Absolutely crazy and literally can't believe this happened. And nobody fu**ing ever talks about it."
"Think about this, it's the Vietnam war, and you are Vietnamese and obviously want nothing to do with it. Many saw their only way out was by sea, due to tensions with neighboring countries. So hordes of people tried to escape the country in little boats."
"Now here's the kicker, it's estimated that up to 400,000 of them drowned. Everything got stolen. People got sick and starved. Pirates kidnapped people."
"Absolutely horrible. That wiki page makes me feel bad for ever having complained about anything"
"The Khodynka tragedy. Was supposed to be a celebration of the crowning of Nicholas II as emperor. Around 500,000 people gathered in a field where they would receive free food."
"Rumors spread that there wouldn't be enough food for everyone leading to a panic and everyone rushing the field. 1,389 people were trampled to death."
"Nicholas II responded by going to a party that night."
The worst thing? There are probably countless examples out there that weren't even mentioned in this list. Perhaps you even know a few.
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When looking at a resume, it's easy to understand how prospective employers will assume someone is very intelligent based on their education and past experience.
But one shouldn't only assume someone's intelligence based on what they read.
More often than not, one can tell rather quickly that someone possesses above-average intelligence, based on how they speak, how they behave, or other telling details.
Redditor PadWanKenobi was curious to hear what people felt were the tell tale signs they were in the company of a possible genius, leading them to ask:
"What’s a sign of extremely high intelligence?"
"Ability to intuitively and quickly understand complex systems and how lots of parts relate in a coherent whole."
"Like I work with some people who just keep tons of concepts in their head and easily integrate new information into their understanding of those concepts."
"They immediately know what questions they should be asking to better understand."
"And these are things they're currently working on, not like things they spent time studying in school over years."
"They just have a very strong ability to synthesize new information into their understanding."
"I sit in meetings distracted and confused having forgotten what we talked about in the previous meetings, and these folks just consistently have a solid handle on everything."- Ok-Control-787
Innate Problem Solvers
"They know when not to solve a problem."
"This took me a while to understand but the smartest people I know do this."
"It could be a really simple thing like ignoring emails from people asking for help."
"The supervisor or boss might have a quick and easy solution for the situation but instead of just handing it to the person that asked they let them figure it out on their own."
"They know who they can do this with and when to do it."
"If they did that with all of their underlings it would just create a mess."
"Another example that I can think of is planned chaos."
"Some people can predict exactly where things will go wrong and they could fix it before it creates a problem."
"They don't because nobody ever notices what's going on in the background when things are working perfectly."
"Once things fails then everybody notices and if you are the one person that fixed it you become the hero."
"They can also use then chaos to reach a goal they couldn't get before if things were working correctly."
"There's many examples of this in every day life that I didn't see before until I realized what was happening."- atapesGiphy
You know what they say about people with small hands
"If your hand is smaller than your face."- FallofTheKnight
The all knowing glow.
"When someone asks you a question and you push your glasses up while light comes out of it and covers your eyes for some reason."- JonEregor
Those giveaway behavioral quirks
"Wearing glasses and saying things like 'ah yes', and 'I see' while you pensively rub your chin."- iuytrefdgh436yujhe2Thinking Reaction GIF by ABC TV + IVIEWGiphy
"When they explain something they make the people around them feel smarter, not dumber."- redkat85
Being one step ahead.
"The capacity to understand complex things, see patterns where regular people don't."- Ostepop234
"They have this tendency to make you go 'Ohhh, why didn't I think of that?' when listening to them talk."- did_it_forthelulzWhy Didnt I Think Of That Cillian Murphy GIFGiphy
An endless love of learning
"A passion for knowledge and expanding understanding of complex concepts."
"The plumber can be just as insightful as the scholar."- KatatoniK94
Of course, one shouldn't always be fooled by what they see.
As many people are masters at appearing much smarter than they are.
In fact, one important sign of super intelligence is being able to separate those who appear smart, from those who actually are.
With each passing year of a marriage, couples will often discover that while they don't love each other any less than they once did, that spark their relationship used to carry has faded.
This will often lead these couples to look for ways to spice things up a bit.
Among the more popular experiments is inviting a third member to their bedroom.
Enticing as this prospect is, however, it's also easy to be intimidated by the reality of it, or even the mere suggestion of it.
"Men, what advice do you have for men whose wives want to bring a third into the bedroom?"
Make sure you want to do it.
"You need to be completely honest with yourself, ask if this is something you want and could live with."- Dame87
Proceed with caution
"It’s like frolicking in a mine field."
"You both better be SUPER into the idea, you can’t have one person who’s reluctantly agreed to go along with it."
"And established rules."
"A threesome sounds like fun and games until you’re watching your partner make faces and sounds that you only thought were for you in your most intimate moments together, and a burning jealousy comes out of nowhere and breaks your heart."
"I’m not saying it’s automatically a bad idea and I know people do polyamory successfully, but dear god be careful."- coleosis1414
Make sure you're an active participant
"I had an ex that was adamant that she wanted to be a swinger or whatever."
"The one time I decided to roll with it, I hit it off immediately with the other dude's girlfriend and had a blast hanging out with her all night."
"The other dude was a total creep, though."
"Also, my ex could not handle the fact that someone else was giving me the slightest bit of attention."
"So, needless to say, that didn't go anywhere."
"Turns out she didn't want to be a swinger, she just wanted to have sex with other people behind my back, which she had no problems whatsoever with."- Ted_Denslow
Look out for ulterior motives
"Just remember that if you bring this up and your husband is against it, that could be the beginning of the end of your marriage."
"For a lot of people their partner saying 'I am seriously considering having sex with other people and I'm checking with you if it is ok', is a deal breaker."- gamerplays
Consider a test run?
"Go to a bar together separately."
"Watch them flirt/interact with someone else."
"If you get jealous, it's probably a bad idea to bring in a third."
"If it turns you on, go for it."- SinSlayer
Query people with experience.
"It’s something my wife and I have talked about."
"We both agreed that opening the Pandora’s box is not the way we want our relationship to go."
"While it sounds fun, we have seen way to many relationships derailed because of it."- DarthDujo
Consider going whole hog.
"Bring a 4th."- xxemrgmi
Evaluate your relationship first.
"Make sure you and your partner are secure in your own relationship before having another person join."
"Have boundaries, and no secrets."
"From my experience it doesn't usually work out in the end."- Thick-Procedure455
"Don't do it."
"For a long time, my ex harbored a fantasy of watching me have sex with another woman."
"Hey, who knows why any of us are wired the way we are?"
"After contemplating the idea together for a while, we decided to approach one of her more attractive co-workers, who had made a series of flattering comments along the lines of "you're so lucky" and "he's so good-looking'."
"She enthusiastically agreed."
"Our first meet-up was of course awkward, but the second, third and following were pretty good."
"In fact they got progressively hotter, as we all got more comfortable with each other's boundaries, erotic likes and dislikes."
"However, over a few months these occasional kinky weekends transitioned into the co-worker asking more frequently and aggressively to be invited over."
"We tried to explain that we had intended these threesomes to be rare and exotic highlights in our sex life, not regular occurrences, but she didn't take the message to heart and instead became increasingly insistent, bordering on smothering."
"After being turned down one Friday, that night she unexpectedly showed up at our door anyway, carrying a weekend bag and wearing nothing but a raincoat, stay-ups and heels."
"While that was quite a sight, it definitely creeped us out, as it made us finally realize the whole arrangement was descending into 'play Misty for me' territory."
"My ex and I agreed that her unexpected and unwelcome appearance signaled the end of future three-ways, at least until we were able to cool our own selves down, reassess, and perhaps later find a less demanding and insistent third."
"Things subsequently got very sticky at work for my wife, as her co-worker, with whom she had to interact closely, strongly resented being permabanned, and kept demanding to know 'what she'd done that was so awful'."
"Coworker eventually asked to be transferred to another office, but by the time that process was over and done, the discomfort / guilt / pressure / confusion my ex was suffering both at home and at work had begun to take its psychological toll."
"I must confess it didn't help that our own sex life was simultaneously going through a rough patch."
"Long story short, we ended our decade-long relationship less than a year after breaking off the threesomes, chiefly due to trust issues and growing sexual incompatibility, both perhaps triggered by our experimentation."
"Ever since, I've regretted agreeing to that first three-way."
"If I hadn't been so damned eager to take a bite of forbidden fruit, we might have kept our relationship intact."
"But I guess this can also be put down as what sometimes happens when you ignore that old advice, 'don't sh*t where you sleep'."- theartfulcodger
When venturing into the unknown, it's always wise to gain some first hand experience, to hear a variety of pros and cons of what you're possibly getting yourself into.
That way, deciding whether or not it's for you will become increasingly clear.
It's also important to remember, that it is always ok to say "no".
People Share Their Best 'You Either Die The Hero Or Live Long Enough To Become The Villain' Experiences
"You either die the hero or live long enough to become the villain."
Though not necessarily a universal truth, all of us have witnessed unfortunate moments in our lives where we've seen this saying become a reality.
Be it seeing our favorite public figures take a serious fall from grace, someone we know and admire eventually disappointing us in a devastating manner, or even seeing ourselves turn into someone we promised we'd never become.
One Redditor was curious to hear people's examples of this saying coming to light, either from a personal experience or seeing it happen to a well-known, public figure, leading them to ask:
"Who is your example of 'you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain'?"
"He originally stood up for civil rights when it was really unpopular."
"Was hospitalized and accidentally placed in the black ward."
"When the doctors found out, they tried to move him, but he refused."
"Then he became a cult leader and used his power and influence to end the lives of a thousand people."- Crvsby
Earning a position of power
"Working in restaurant kitchens."
"You either burn out young, or become the boss that everyone hates."
"There's exceptions, but that's the rule."- grandpas_old_crow
"Henry Heimlich, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver."
"Made up a bunch of untested uses for it, treating people having asthma attacks, and drowning victims were the two I remember that he publicly talked up."
"Later, he funded an experiment that involved injecting people with Malaria to see if it would treat other conditions.
"The experiment was found to be unethical by American review boards, so he conducted them in Ethiopia." - User Deleted
"In WW1 he led the French to victory at Verdun, one of the worst battles in human history."
"In WW2, after France was beaten, Petain was the head of state of Vichy France."
"Guy went from the Lion of Verdun to the biggest Nazi collaborator in France."- arthuranymoredonuts
"Every organ until it gets cancer."- SuperBaconjam
"He had the whole country behind him here in Ireland at one point bar people who thought combat sport is grotesque."
"He was witty, original, backing himself up and having a Hollywood like rise to stardom."
"Now he's someone who the whole country is ashamed of, goes punching old men, clearly sleeps around on his wife while she's at home with the kids, just a walking caricature of himself."
"He didn't listen to his own advice."
"Get out."- StephenPigot2020
Turning into our parents
"My dad used to annoy me by calling my Pokemon cards 'Pokey-Mans'."
"Now my kids have them and I do the same thing and it annoys the sh*t out of them."
"Thanks for the (Pokeyman) gold!"- rumpel4skinOU
"Almost died during the revolutionary way, if I recall correctly, and if he had he would have been remembered a huge hero, and a martyr."
"Instead he lived and changed sides, and is remembered only for his being a traitor."- uniqueperson22
Be it someone we knew quite intimately, or someone we admired from a far, it is always heartbreaking to see someone evolve from someone we love, to someone we utterly hate.
Sometimes we do things that have to be done.
And some of those things live in life's gray area of right and wrong.
What comes as a surprise to some is when we don't care if we're wrong.
We may still technically be in the right.
But morally and ethically, there may be some issues.
But still, many people don't care.
Redditor BirdyPizzawanted to see who would fess up about some of the worst things we're responsible for but have no shame.
"What is the darkest thing you have ever done and don’t regret?"
I've stolen from department stores that overcharged. I was arrested. I didn't care. So there...
"Five years ago my dad suffered a catastrophic stroke. Left paralyzed and robbed of his speech and ability to communicate he was a shell of the once vibrant, charismatic man he once was. He was moved into skilled nursing where he lived for nearly two years, he was miserable."
"On my last visit I told him it was okay if he wanted to leave us, that we would miss him but he should go. A week later I received the call that he had passed. Instead of immediate grief I felt relief. Relief that he was finally free. The grief came later and I still miss him every single day."
"Got into a car accident and had to stay with my mom for a couple days to figure out what to do. Went back to my apartment (I had two roommates) and everything was missing from my room. Long story short one of my roommates had everything hidden in her room."
"I called and told her the things were missing from my room and she came up with a lie that a couple girls came to look at my room (I was moving out bc of the accident, long story) and that they must have taken my things. She had everything I owned. Including my grandmothers perfume bottles, stuffed to the back of her closet, under her bed, behind her dresser etc."
"So I packed all of my stuff up. Then took a giant black garbage bag and stuffed as much of her closet in it as I could. Took it to the middle of nowhere, dug a hole and burnt it. She called screaming at me that her stuff was missing. I told her the two girls must have come by and taken her stuff too."
"I hit my uncle left right and center when he was trying to choke my father to death. I was 16 years old at that time, a very skinny girl. I beat his face neck and every part of him that I could target with so much intensity that my knuckles turned blue the next day. I had an animalistic rage that day trying to help my father get away from his death grip. I hate my uncle even today."
"I got anger issues because of growing up around him. And I don't regret beating him that day at all. He was physically abusive to his wife as well. One fine day, his wife retaliated by beating him blue with a stick. And he stopped being physically violent towards her post that."
"A neighbor like 10 years ago was neglecting their dog badly in the heat. The dog escaped often and ended up at the shelter a lot. One day she jumped the fence and got her tie-out cable stuck on the fence. (She was not in danger of choking.) Neighbor put her on a 3-foot-long cable tied to a doorknob, no water, 90 degree day. I let some kind folks steal her, watched the whole thing and said nothing to stop them."
"When my father was dying and in pain I was the one who told the doctors he had been through enough and we couldn't see him suffer anymore. Doctor injected him with something, I assume a morphine mega dose and he passed peacefully moments after. Euthanasia may not be legal in UK but compassionate doctors know what's what. I don't regret it because my pa made me promise I would have his back when he got sick or old. I'm sad he got sick and never got to get old."
That is a lot of mess. But sometimes we have to do what we have to do.
"One of my ex best friends in high school was a real narcissistic lunatic. Had so many egotistical fantasies about what he deserved but I remained his friend because we met through my close friend (his girlfriend). As I started realizing what a terrible person he was I convinced him to go after his fantasy of a harem by asking to add a 3rd to their relationship, that led to a fight between his gf."
"I called her about it and asked how she felt about him adding someone to their relationship and about him sleeping with her. She said she knew nothing about that and started crying because he cheated on her. I basically helped orchestrate their breakup and have no regrets. She is happy with her first child now and he is in a toxic af relationship with 3 kids, 2 of which aren't his and his partner is 8 years older than him."
"Had to make the choice to take my dad off of life support after he got Covid this year. He was sedated for a couple of weeks and one of his lungs collapsed and I couldn't watch him fall apart anymore. My dad was a bulky dude. Constantly did a lot of outdoor work and to see him bone skinny and have no muscle left killed me and I knew even if he somehow got through it, he would have been so miserable and depressed in that state he was in. I don’t regret it. I think it was the right thing to do by him. I’ll never not miss him though. That was my buddy."
"Turned a close friend into the fish and game. He would poach mountain lions and bears. His whole family would literally shoot them and leave them. He would brag about it. I couldn’t stand it and felt that I needed to stop him. He’s in prison and so is his uncle. I know I ruined his life but he was literally killing so many mountain lions and bears."
"In middle school, there was this group of boys that would corner me in the hallway and try to scare me. I was the perfect target for these little b**tards. I was short, skinny, and had (and still have) and anxiety disorder. One day I just had enough, and asked a friend if I could have an extra pencil, sharpened it as much as I could, and when I saw one of them in the hallway, I stabbed the hell out of his leg. Sh**head got what he deserved."
Wow... we really are a dark and secretive people.