We really should pay closer attention in History class, or at the very least, every once and awhile we should watch a program on the History channel. At first glance the past merely seems like a boring, overstuffed cavalcade of useless information. But when you look closer you realize the past is a fascinating onslaught of entertaining tales and shocking facts. There are some things you learn when you dig a little deeper that will leave you gobsmacked.
Redditor u/pygmypuffonacid wanted to compare notes about what we all know when it comes to history by asking.... What is your favorite random historical fact?
One of the most famous and important mathematicians and logicians in history, Kurt Gödel, developed a crippling obsessive fear of being poisoned. He would only eat food that his wife prepared. When she ended up being hospitalized for six months, he literally starved himself to death.
In 1814 when the British marched into Washington DC, they didn't burn everything down right away.
First they sat down to eat the freshly prepared presidential meal at the White House and then they made a bunch of presidential proclamations like better training for American troops and freedom for all the slaves.
Charles Darwin ate every animal that he studied.
I'm suddenly uncomfortable that he wrote a book called The Descent of Man.
The Romans celebrated a festival known as the Lupercalia. This involved priests sacrificing a goat, briefly anointing themselves with its blood, cutting off strips of its flesh for use as whips, and running naked around the Palatine hill whipping anyone they encountered, laughing as they did so.
Typically women would attempt to get themselves whipped as this supposedly ensured fertility and a safe childbirth.
The mongols waited until the winter to start their invasion of Russia.
This doesn't surprise me. Mongolia is very, very, cold. It's capital city, Ulaanbaatar, is the coldest capital city in the world. The average high temperature in January is 3.9 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average low of -14.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Compared to that, Moscow's balmy.
Wearing kilts was illegal in Scotland after the failed Jacobite Uprising of 1745-6. However, there were very few British troops in the remote Highlands and islands, so the more bold Scotsmen would wear kilts when they were near home. On the island of Seil, then, there was an inn called "Tigh an Truish," or "House of Trousers," where those men would change from a kilt to pants when they were going to the more tightly controlled mainland (and vice versa).
During the siege....
During the siege of Tenochtitlan, cortez's conquistadors build a trebuchet that fired one shot. It fired straight up, and the projectile destroyed the trebuchet on its way back down.
Good Ole Abe...
Abraham Lincoln visited a friend often at his farm. They were sharpening knives for some reason, Lincoln used it last and the man couldn't find the whetstone for several years until Lincoln returned. When asked where Lincoln had left it, he walked over to the post they were next to when using it, and picked it up off the top of it, where the man couldn't see just a foot out of sight.
In 1956 a man named Tommy Fitzpatrick stole a small plane from New Jersey for a bet and then landed it perfectly on the narrow street in front of the bar he had been drinking at in Manhattan. Two years later, he did it again after someone didn't believe he had done it the first time.
Everyone loves Mickey....Giphy
Hitler loved Disney movies, and did some watercolours of Bashful and Doc. Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1579629/Did-Adolf-Hitler-draw-Disney-characters.html
Ben Franklin used to go through his morning routine butt naked. He called them "air baths."
I'm gonna use this the next time someone asks me to shower.
Richard's the Bomb!
King Richard's troops catapulted live bee hives as "bombs" during the Third Crusade.
Richard the Lionheart was truly fascinating. He pretty much steamrolled his way to Jerusalem before realizing, "Wait a second... hmm okay, so if I lay siege to the city, I'd be pinned down if enemy reinforcements arrive. And even if I take the city... well heck, I'm the King of England.
I can't just stay in Jerusalem for the rest of my life, and I can't leave my entire army behind to hold the city either. And if I leave a small force to hold the city... crap, they'll be left hugely outnumbered and get massacred once the rest of us are gone. Okay yeah, um, let's call it a draw."
Not to mention the fact that he got killed trying to suppress a small peasant uprising that had taken up residence in a small keep. And by a random schnook with a crossbow no less, all because he decided to ride around with no armor on and yell at the archers up on top of the walls.
The first man to fly an airplane and the first man to step foot on the moon lived at the same time.
Orville Wright died in 1948, and Neil was born in 1930.
I think the bigger thing when looking at these dates is Orville Wright witnessing the advancement of war with aircraft. Bombing (Conventional and Nuclear), Air-Raids, Parachute Drops.
Children of God
The Children of God cult was so controlling that they had rules for how many squares of toilet paper members could use.
Otherwise, Mike the Chicken was a headless chicken that survived for about a year and a half after his accident.
The average ww2 solder saw 10 days of combat a year. In Vietnam, it was 240 days.
You mean an average WW2 American soldier, right?
Because both the Soviets and the Germans definitely did not have enough reserves to rotate units so much. And they were in constant contact on a very long front.
The Dutch Forget.
There once existed an alleged theoretical state of war that lasted 335 years and 19 days, and was between the Dutch and an archipelago off the coast of southwest England called the Isles of Scilly.
What's more, there were no casualties (because the Dutch forgot that they were at war with the Isles).
It wasn't until a Scilly historian contacted the Dutch about the "war" in 1985, and received the information that the "war" was still technically ongoing, that a peace treaty was signed in 1986.
"Stinky Horse Blanket"
There once was a Lakota warrior whose name meant something like "fights so hard he doesn't even take time to care for his own needs." His name in English due to translation errors was "Stinky Horse Blanket."
The Allied powers...
Not sure if this has already been shared, but here's one of my favorites:
In WW2 in an attempt to fool the allied powers, Germany built a small airbase and filled it with wooden mockups that were made to look like aircraft so they could make it seem that they had more aircraft then they really had. The British then rolled up and dropped a single wooden bomb on it soon after.
Smallpox could've been completely eradicated, but two samples were kept. One for the US CDC and one in Russia. Then Russia made 2000 tons of smallpox bioweapon that disappeared after the Cold War.
They kept the samples in case we ever needed to make more vaccine, because there's always the chance that there's some tiny pocket of it out there that was overlooked through which it could come back.
King Tut wasn't some great King. He was severely physically deformed, and didn't reign that long.
Ironically, he was so mediocre that his tomb was left alone by raiders. For this reason, his tomb was discovered later by historians untouched, making him the most famous Pharaoh of all time!