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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You never really know the people you meet.
Sound a little too much? You'd be surprised.
Who was the most dangerous person you've meet?
You can meet people randomly, anywhere, who might possess more than what's on the surface. Either their past, or their present, dictates their capabilities, and if you say or do the wrong thing, they could lash out at you at any moment.
Say More Right Now!
"My ex. He was handsome and charismatic and very charming. Like a monster in beautiful sheep's clothing. Suddenly after a few fingers of Brandy, he made Charles Manson look inviting. It took 4.5 years, a hostage situation, a SWAT team, and me changing my name and moving 5 states to get away."
"Some people need warning labels."
Needing Something To Help Change
"A guy who I knew for a long time, was extremely friendly and overall a nice guy, we used to live in the same building but didn't hang out often."
"Time passed and I didn't see him for years, though he headed back to the state his family lives at, pretty far from where I live, instead, I learned after he got released that he went to prison for 7 years for drug dealing and [selling] illegal guns, turns out the guy was kind of a big shot in organized crime [around] the area, never suspected a thing."
"Now days he did a completely 180°, his daughter was born and he's working in a honest job, I'm glad things are looking better for him, still kinda weird, I used to play soccer with the guy and thought I knew him well, when in fact I knew nothing about him..."
Not Full Of It
"So seems like everyone is naming off various criminals. I was in the military (not me or any of my close buddies, I was a mechanic). One of the instructors in my training company was a sniper with many deployments and a slew of confirmed kills. Sometimes instructors like to hype themselves or fellow instructors up to scare recruits. Well I ended up running into him a few years later on deployment and turns out he was indeed not full of sh-t. He was about to board one of birds to go out on a mission. One that ended being "successful". Also, outside of boot camp, he was a very calm and genuinely nice guy. Unless you were the enemy of course"
"I once met a violent felon from England who had just been released from prison. My cousin took me to a random house party, I started a conversation with the other person that seemed awkward there. Turns out they had just been released from prison recently for violent offense. To make matters worse, instead of flashing him the peace sign as I left, apparently I made a vulgar gesture and I had to get to the vehicle quickly."
It's always the ones you least expect, right? The ones who are maybe a little too quiet, or maybe a little too nice, who reveal themselves to be the most deadly.
A Lot For Someone Under 18
"Grew up with a kid on my street in a small town. He was a few years older than kinda a punk as a kid, but we all were. Used to skateboard, rollerblade and he would show me Explicit music when I was too young to get it myself. Come high school time we never really associated because he had gotten heavily into drugs. Got into a bad meth deal and went back and blew their heads off a few blocks from our houses… After the whole story came out, it turns out they had tied him to a chair and burnt him with cigarettes repeatedly. Obviously killing someone is wrong but, I'm fairly certain a child doesn't deserve full punishment for killing 2 men who tortured him. I'm pretty sure he got life in prison before he even turned 18"
Almost Hired Them
"We had a young carpenter come to our home to discuss a remodeling job when we had young children."
"Very soon afterward there was an article in the newspaper about him - how he had been accidentally released from prison. He had murdered a small child, and was sent back to jail."
"I've always wondered what could have happened if we had hired him, and our children had been rambunctious and annoyed him....."
Not Where I'm Supposed To Be
"Some guy I met in county jail. GP was filled up, so they put me on the psych floor. I figured he was just there for a minor thing because he didn't seem like a bad guy. Turns out he killed two people over a drug deal gone bad. Dismembered their bodies then just left them like that in an open field to send a message."
"Why were you in the same pod as them? What crimes were you in for damn"
"Warrant for unpaid speeding tickets. Back then, county was so full, they just put you wherever there's space to fit a new body. They didn't care."
You Think You Know Someone...
"The security guard at my office building was the nicest guy. Always greeted everyone by name, always remembered little details about people, like, "Hey, how is your dog doing? Did everything check out at the vet?" And so on. Told me he was patrolling the lot, and noticed the air in my tires was getting a bit low, and to be careful."
"One morning, he came in, was telling jokes, smiling as always."
"Later that evening found out he had killed his wife and young son the night before, and came into work like nothing happened!"
Never Let Age Or Stature Indicate Capability
"Something similar happened to me. This girl I wouldn't say was scary in the sense of stature or physically scary at all, though she was pretty weird. So I worked at phone store a couple years ago and she came in with her mom, she's probably high school aged if I recall correctly, so they come in and this is the 2nd time in a week or so so I help them out again, they buy 2 phones and 2 smart watches and finance it all on their account, both happy as can be laughing and making conversation."
"I show up to work the next day and my manger is talking about something in the news, apparently [Insert girls name] had taken her best friend out into the woods and shot her in the back of the head the day before she came in and bought some stuff from me. I spent probably a good 2 hours with her. Pretty crazy stuff."
Dungeons & Dragons & Murder
"Similar - A guy I used to play D&D with ran the game from his basement. He told us one week to move our stuff from the table to a shelf if we were going to leave it there because he was going to do "spring cleaning" in the late summer. The room looked clean but what ever. He "forgot" to do it that week and had us to it the next week (2nd friday). Then the third friday when we gamed again he got a call from the cops asking if he knew anything about his ex from 10 years ago that was missing. He told us all he had nothing to do with it. That following monday he was swated, the cops searched his house and took his truck. A month later they found an odd stop on his trucks GPS. After checking that stop they found her body."
"The entire time he was acting like his normal self other then "being tired from cleaning". He is now sitting in jail. I wrote him once. He acts like nothing is wrong and that he will be out "soon" even though its been a full year. I hope he rots."
You never know who you're talking with.
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Humans can connect with everything.
Which fictional character's death made you cry?
Let's get the notable ones out of the way, the ones that hit us as kids that we've never truly gotten over.
Feeling That Real World Connection
"Sirius Black; I sobbbbbbed my first read through of Order of the Phoenix ."
"As someone who's parents are dead and who's uncle became the parent by default, I can't agree more with this. I watched his death while running on the treadmill the other day and had to stop because I was crying from all orifices"
The Song Is Called "Married Life." You're Welcome.
"Ellie from Up! "
"Gets me every time"
Gotta Watch Them Bees
"Too many to count but I remember crying my eyes out at the end of My Girl when I was like, seven or eight watching it on VHS, probably the first character death that made me cry"
"His glasses! He can't see without his glasses." Gets me EVERY time"
Just When You Think There's Only One To Deal With...
"Tara from Buffy"
"Also Joyce, I bawled my eyes out"
"I'm showing Buffy to a friend for the first time and Joyce's death basically just happened. Buffy's reaction is so heartbreaking. We watched Once More With Feeling last night so Tara's death is only a few episodes away now. I'm dreading it."
Maybe it's the nature of the death, or how we feel a character didn't deserve their untimely fate, that resonates with us the most. "They didn't deserve that!" we'll scream to no one because we're in a theater or at home, watching Netflix at 3 in the morning.
You Know There's Only Going To Be One
"Ali in squid game"
"I actually cried"
"There are other scenes that made me cry in the show, but Ali's is the only one that's literally so goddamn hard for me to watch."
I'm Tired, Boss
"John Coffey from The Green Mile."
"Ughhh. It's "Don't put me in the dark boss, I'm scared of the dark" gets me every time. That and hanks grabbing his hand."
That's Somehow Worse Than Crying?
"Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia"
"I didn't cry, but I still remember vivid dreams about trying to find her in a search party on more than one occasion."
And then there's these, characters who sacrificed everything for the ensuring safety of their friends, family, and loved ones.
Men Are Imperfect
"Borimir, he died with honor, you wanna make a man cry show him a gripping scene of a man restoring his honor and being strong in the face of great adversity at the cost of his own life. The scene with him as he dies holding aragorns hand asking forgiveness and receiving it, im tearing up rn f-ck."
"Disappointing how far I had to scroll to find this response."
"Boromir was a true representative of mankind. An extremely complex character that was good at heart, but was overcome with desperation. He didn't know what would happen with his community and acted how he thought was right."
"At the end of the day, he did the right thing when his friends were in danger."
"One of the best characters ever to be created. He causes such internal strife for me every time I watch the movies. Depending how my life is at the time, I will agree with different aspects of his actions. But at the end of the day I will always respect him and cry when he dies."
He Might Have Been Your Father...
"Since I watched it again last night, Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The Ravager funeral always gets to me, especially Kraglin's reaction to it."
"He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn't your daddy!"
"My wife had a six year old daughter when we met. She'd gone no contract with the father when my step daughter was 2 because he was unstable and had violent tendencies. My step daughter tracked him down when she was about 14 and started rebuilding their relationship. He'd gotten mental health treatment in the twelve years since my wife met him, so we were okay with this and she even went live with him for a while. That didn't last because he didn't have the patience to cope with the unique challenges of being a parent to her (she has her own mental health issues) and she came back home, saying that she was glad to have gotten to know him but that I was her real dad."
"Yeah, I ugly cried in the theater when Yondu died."
You Can Rest, Now
"Tony Stark, he was the first hero I watched in high school. By the time he died, I realized I'd known the guy through movies for over 10 years at that point. I had graduated college, grad school, and started a new job. All those memories of my friends learning how to play the iron man theme song were some of the best years."
"This one was harsh. I was not expecting it."
"And then you start thinking about his kid and Pepper who he left behind. Damn, I'm going to get choked up thinking about it."
I'm not crying.
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Show me the money, if you've got it! Growing up wealthy is something most people only dream about. And children who grow up with money don't immediately realize the meaning of rich or the differences between their lives and the lives of their friends. And that moment can be quite the culture shock.
Imagine being six and you attend your first party. And much to your surprise one of the people from the household answers the door and you're thinking... "Where is your butler?"
Talk about a sharp look into how the other half lives.
Redditor u/itsohsodemi wanted to hear all about the times people accepted that they had financial privilege, by asking:
People that had rich parents growing up. When did you realize you were rich?
I grew up poor so I can only remember being shocked by friends having all the toys I had been asking for in duplicate. That was fun to witness. That was when I learned rich people were real and not just characters on "Dynasty."
LUCKYY!!mickey mouse 80s GIFGiphy
"When I started talking in school about the pros and cons of Disney World vs Disney Land, and people were like "YOU'VE BEEN ON VACATION?! LUCKYY!!"
"Apparently it wasn't normal to go on holiday once a month."
"It's doable if you lower your standards and you're a family of 1. I made 45k and went on mini vacations every 3 weeks. Motel 6, spirit airlines, and public transit. $200-250 was all it cost me to fly away for the weekend. Not everything needs to be $800 flights to Cancun with $400/night luxury hotels!"
"I had a knee injury and was limping around everywhere ~14 years old. My parents told me they did not have the money to see the doctor. When I repeated this to my soccer coach he was in shock and pissed. Told me, "Do you know how much money your parents make?" I think he had a strong word with them and my parents took me to the doctors. Found out they were Multi Millionaires and my Dad was a CEO. My meniscus was torn."
Paycheck to Paycheck
"My parents were wealthy, but since they were good ol' Midwestern folks, they also wanted my siblings and me to work early and work hard. I got a job at 14 at a local sandwich shop and had a co-worker who was around the same age. I just assumed that she didn't need to work and was only doing it for the "character building" aspect like I was. I asked her what she was going to do with her first paycheck."
"Assuming it would be something fun, and she told me she was going to give it to her parents because they were really struggling and needed help with the bills. I was shocked. I had never met someone who needed to help their parents with bills at only 14-15. She was a really sweet girl. I hope she and her family are OK."
Free!Student Loans Corona GIF by INTO ACT!ONGiphy
"My friends talk about their student debt. I graduated debt free with my Masters Degree."
Ah to be debt-free, to have health insurance, and to be able to visit Disney World anytime you wish... the luxury of it all. How can I get adopted by some of these people?
We're FineI Am Rich Nene Leakes GIFGiphy
"When the 2008 recession had absolutely no effect on us and we still had tons of music lessons and other expensive hobbies and still went on vacations. Also when my parents bought me a horse. Not a pony, a full sized American Saddlebred (though I was a horseback rider and still was up until I was in college). We still have him too. :)"
"When my dad's friend lost his job and lost his house in a divorce, my did casually went out and bought him a new house, replaced his car and gave him a monthly "salary" for his friend to go and live his life on so he can remember that life can also be amazing. It was also the time I realised my dad (and mum) are freaking incredible. Miss that man. He was one of the good ones to get lucky with money. The man wore the same jeans every day but bought his friend a house."
"When a kid in my class (who as it happened didn't live that far away from us) bragged the day after Halloween that he and his friends had gone trick-or-treating on our street "where all the rich people live." I had always known we were well-off, but would not have described us as rich because a) we didn't have live-in staff b) our property was not fenced off and c) my parents always drove themselves. I.e., we didn't live like Richie Rich."
I am the boss.
"Dad came home late from work and I had been eagerly waiting for him for a reason I don't remember now. I do remember clearly him coming up the stairs and me asking him why did he take so long, didn't his boss allow him to leave on time? His answer was: What are you talking about? I am the boss. It suddenly hit me that the hundreds of people he had around him all day weren' t exactly his pals."
The DeedHome Luxury GIF by The Pozek GroupGiphy
"Dad owned a financial advisory company. never knew I was rich because since he was so financially literate, he just invested a lot and didn't splurge. When we moved into a new house I accidentally found the paper for the house listing and saw that the house we were moving into was a million dollars."
The house, the opulence of a home is the first dead giveaway. The limo is the other. Be rich, have fun with it. I just wish everyone was more humble though and knew how to use their financial freedom for the greater good.
Don't shy away from the truth.
This oft ignored lesson could be why there are individuals who think the worldwide pandemic is "over," but it's one that gets ignored more often than you might think. Things can be hard to stomach or accept, so often people will not listen to these truths, choosing to believe something else.
Can't escape facts when they're staring right at you in the mirror.
What is a hard pill to swallow for most people?
Life can feel like it's working against you sometimes.
It's not. It's just the way things go sometimes.
Starting Out With A Tough One...
"That doing your best does not mean you will succeed"
"Also sadly, not everyone's "best" is good enough for what they're trying to accomplish. We are not all physically, mentally and intellectually equal, and we all have different strengths."
What Are You Going To Do?
"How you react to situations shapes your reality more than the situation itself"
"This is one that I have become consciously aware of the older I have gotten. Oftentimes it is my reaction that defines the way in which the happening of an event will be categorized. So, I have been trying to train my brain not to react and instead process first as to allow me to have a rational reaction whatever that might be."
Just. Not. Into. You.
"If someone isn't into you as much as you are into them, there really isn't much you can do about it. Even just waiting is often bad for you in the long run."
Turns out the hardest lessons are the ones you need to apply to yourself.
They Come, Stay For A While, Then Move On
"not all friendships were made to last. that doesn't make you a bad person, or a bad friend, it just means it's time for you to find someone better, even if it doesn't seem like there is. (currently trying to swallow this one)"
Work For You And You Alone
"looking for others to validate your sense of worth will always end in ruin."
"Yes, stop trying to impress others or always do them favors to gain respect. Respect yourself. It gets you nothing. If the person like you before (s)he will respect you. If the person before didnt, then you're being taken advantage of."
Sometimes the harshest facts we can face are connected to ourselves, how we view ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves. If you want to face the harshest facts then you need to look inward.
I'm Sadder Than You Are
"Your suffering is only unique unto you. The fact that you suffer is universal to all life it shouldn't be a race to bottom. Which for most people it absolutely is."
"and suffering competitions are insufferable"
"Sometimes you're the toxic one in the relationship."
"This one is true, and most of the time you don't even know you are the toxic one."
"I was aware of this from the start. I'm in therapy for it now. I'm at least catching the smaller sh*t I've been doing. Like don't get me wrong I'm always sweet and try to make sure they are looked after but there are toxic things I do."
It'll Happen. Be Ready.
"That life isn't fair, you will face heart-breakingly tragic things that are beyond your control. Some more than others, but everyone has something, be kind."
Deal With Yourself
"Sometimes you are the one holding yourself back."
The world can feel like it's out to get you, to ruin everything going on for you personally.
With a little insight, a gaze into your own self-worth, you'll see that's not the case, and usually the one stopping you from succeeding is you.
Talk to someone, if you can.