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Many people found high school history class exceptionally boring. There was so much reading, the years-old scuffles and cultural trends seemed far away in time as well as geography.

Add a boring teaching into the mix--if you were so unlucky--and you can forget it. That whole class period was a snooze fest.


But you also probably remember the occasional bolt of lighting that woke everybody up. The teacher, with a weird grin and twinkly in their eye, was excited to share a truly bizarre occurrence from the period in question.

Finally, the class was interested. Something just petty, grotesque, or inexplicable enough had been mentioned, and history was fun, if only for a fleeting moment.

Some Redditors recently gathered to toss around those bizarre events.

inmyelement asked, "What historical event from way back is just plain bizarre to you?"

A good amount of people found themselves most attracted to the inexplicable. They focused on the stories of people, groups, and even animals that behaved in a way that doesn't quite add up in our head.

Some of those old events even triggered a sense of spookiness. But most just left people feeling entirely bewildered.

A True Soldier

"Wojtek the Bear."

"He was a bear taken in by the wojska lądowe (polish army in ww2) and he helped move ammunition. his favorite thing to drink was beer and he was taught to salute when greeted."

"edit: he also liked to smoke and eat cigarrettes. there is also a statue to him in kraków :)"

-- plate-noodles

Continental Boogie

"One of the weirdest historical events was the dancing mania that happened in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. People suddenly started to dance and couldn't stop."

"It could be up to thousand people just dancing and not stopping. They danced until they got exhausted and just collapsed. No one is sure why this happened."

-- lookingforfreedom90

A Persistent Corpse

"Dimitri, the Tsar of Russia, was killed, mysteriously reappeared, killed, mysteriously reappeared, killed, then mysteriously reappeared, then killed, then reappeared, then killed before they finally decided that he was really dead and no one after that could possibly be Dimitri."

"I might be exaggerating a little, but only by one death and reappearance."

-- TruthOf42

Still Uncertain

"The lost army of Cambyses. Around 524 BCE the Persian king Cambyses II sent an army of 50,000 men out into the African desert to subdue a rebellious outpost resisting the king's conquest of Egypt and surrounding areas."

"The army supposedly encountered a massive dust storm, which completely engulfed them and covered them with fatal dunes of sand. They were never heard from and never found."

"In modern times some archeologists have claimed to find remains but their claims are not universally accepted by their peers."

-- Finnsparrow

Other people gave their attention to singular historical figures.

After all, when we survey all the people who've lived over the past hundreds--even thousands--of years, we're bound to encounter some truly compelling biographies.

All About Personality 

"Rasputin's whole life. The idea that this scraggly wizard/priest/maybe not even a real priest was able to influence the Russian royal family is just so wild to me" -- booboogriggs7467

"Kinda but also kind of completely normal for a celebrity to be attracted to nonsense. I.E. Carl Lentz, Gwyneth Partlow, Scientology." -- Upstairs_Past

"What is wild to me that for a smelly, unattractive, weirdo had so much game. He was sleeping around all over St Petersburg. NGL He is in the top 5 of my historic figures I would hook up with." -- lisasimpsonfan

Gluttony All Around 

"A Swedish king killed himself by eating to much pudding..."

"...and a French noble had to be removed from his own court because he couldn't stop master baiting for more then a half hour"

-- Vexonte

When You Just Can't Let Go 

"The Cadaver Synod in 897, when Pope Stephen VI put on trial the corpse of his predecessor, Pope Formosus, who by then had been dead for about 7 months."

"The body of Formosus was found guilty of perjury - it was declared he had never truly been Pope so all his acts could be annulled instantly."

"Though that didn't help Pope Stephen much as the bizarre event helped spark a popular uprising that deposed him. He was eventually strangled in his prison cell."

-- Madeline_Basset

A Historic Boss 

"Michelangelo, the man's whole life was him being a bada**. He was literally like an Italian cowboy with the profound ability to create mesmerizing sculptures." -- nNoodl

"So that's where Spaghetti Westerns originate." -- HotelMemory

An Incredible PR Turnaround 

"A man named Diego Maradona scored a goal using his hand, even though that's an illegal move on Football, it was counted, and his reputation around the world escalated immensely after that move which would be called 'The Hand Of God' "

"I mean rest in peace Diego but c'mon that was illegal"

-- oh_no_its_alive

When Scientology is Only Half the Story 

"L Ron Hubbard, the creator of Scientology, was big into black magic and used to hang out with Aleister Crowley and his whole crew."

"He had a weird battle of egos with Jack Parsons, a rocket scientist, and they all performed the Moonchild ritual to summon the antichrist. And the details of the ritual came to pass."

"After performing the ritual a 'scarlette woman' was supposed to appear and give birth to the antichrist. The next day a random red-headed woman showed up at their place insisting she be involved in their magical/sexual escapades."

"Coincidence or not that she was there, they knocked her up thus fulfilling the requirements of the ritual."

"Then Hubbard, Parsons and his wife banded together to flip yachts for a profit. Hubbard stole the investment money and Parsons wife and disappeared to start Scientology later on."

-- Andyrootoo

Wedding Crashers

"The Bal des Ardents,' or 'The Ball of the Burning Men/Man.' "

"Charles VI of France (1368-1422) and some of his friends crashed the 3rd wedding of his wife's lady in waiting by wearing suits made of tar-soaked linen and strands of dried hemp."

"Unfortunately, Charles's own brother, drunk as ever, brought a torch into the ceremony, which had been forbidden. One of the men went up in flames before it spread to almost every single one of them, apart from Charles."

"Charles, seeing his friends go up in flames, hid underneath his 15 yr old aunt (Joan II, Countess of Auvergne)'s dress. 4 of the other 5 dancers died, save one who managed to jump into a barrel of wine in time to save himself from being too badly burned."

-- Pale_Draft9955

Total 180

"The presidency of Chester A. Arthur. This was a man neck deep in the political corruption machine back in the day. Every step of his career was built on the spoils system of the time, including how he became vice president."

"He enjoyed it too, building fabulous wealth during his time at the New York Custom House and giving favors to his associates as Vice President."

"You would think that this man would only continue this as President, but NO!"

"In his very first address to Congress, he specifically requested civil service reform. He wanted to dismantle the very machine that got him his wealth and power."

He was perfectly happy doing favors as a VP and being the recipient of other favors, but the second he became the big man he wanted to change the whole system for the better."

"In a little under two years after Garfield's assassination, Arthur signed the reform bill that mandates government positions are awarded based on merit."

-- czechtheboxes

And finally, with so many wars occurring throughout time, there are plenty of military events to choose from.

With so much at stake, when coincidences or strange circumstances struck in these situations, one can't help but wonder how different things could have been if just one or two variables were different.

All About the Angles 

"Not really bizarre but more amazing was the Siege of Vicksburg by Grant during the civil war. The fortifications on the Mississippi River were damn impressive..."

"...but they didn't take into account that if you got close to the river's edge, the guns angle couldn't reach that far down, so by hugging the edge of the river closest to Vicksburg, grant essentially had a free shot at the city and allowed him to take out the last heavily fortified city on the Mississippi."

"The siege lasted like a month"

-- SerDire

Wrong Turn

"The Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated almost by accident. His killer had missed him earlier."

"Then, when the Archdukes car made a wrong turn, the assassin was sitting in a cafe when he happened to come down the street. Unfortunate history unfolded."

-- Dr_Talon

Plenty of Choices

"The fact that there are multiple incidents answering to the name 'Defenestration of Prague.' " -- KamilDonhafta

"The Prague Yeet!" -- OldElPasoSnowplow

"Other countries: Angry debates, violent fights, etc."

"Bohemia: Y E E T" -- ButterLander2222

Rough Waters 

"It's not a single event, but it's amazing to me how much trouble people used to have crossing the English Channel."

"Starting with William the Conqueror and effectively ending with John, English kings held lands in both England and France."

"But even for royalty, it was difficult and risky to cross the Channel. And when they did cross, they were never quite sure where on the coast they'd land."

-- e_t_

Bizarre, No Wait. Totally Believable. 

"I thought that the Petty Coat Wars were bizarre when I learned about them in high school..."

"...but now I know that some politicians are just children with a lot of power, so of course a president fired most of his cabinet because their wives wouldn't sit with someone else's wife."

-- Minaowl

Undoubtedly, there are bizarre historical events happening as we speak in some part of the world. You don't even have to look far, just hopen the paper.

Who knows which of the strange events of modern times will make the kids of the future perk up in their chairs.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

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