Bizarre Pieces Of History They Didn't Teach In School
I actually paid attention in history class, and I didn't know most of these! Here, we've gathered some of the most interesting historical nuggets that you probably didn't learn about in school (or anywhere else for that matter). Sources are listed below individual points. Enjoy!
1. A modest proposal.
In the early 1900s, the US Congress came within one vote of importing hippos and turning them into a native species. Why would they want to do that? Two reasons.
Firstly, hippos would eat invasive water flowers that had been killing off fish. Secondly, they actually wanted to use the hippos as food. There was a livestock shortage at the time, and newspapers began referring to hippos as "lake cow bacon."
Can you imagine is there were just herds of hippos running wild across American rivers today?
2. Pretty fly.
The number of aircraft destroyed during WWII is greater than the number of aircraft that currently exist in the entire world today. Just let that sink in.
3. Cats: the necessary evil.
After Pope Gregory IX associated cats with devil worship, cats throughout Europe were exterminated in droves.
This sudden lack of cats led to the spread of disease because infected rats ran free. The most devastating of these diseases, the Bubonic Plague, killed 100 million people.
4. You *are* history.
If you are 25 years old you have lived through more than 10% of the history of the United States of America.
5. Right to bear arms.
At the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, the 222nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish 2nd Corps had a lot of ordinary Polish men fighting in their ranks. But they also had one very special member of their unit. (continued...)
Keep reading on the next page!
He was a bear named Wojtek that would bring artillery shells to forward gun positions.
Let me repeat that. A BEAR would fetch them artillery shells.
6. Sacrifice is a big part of many cultural and religious histories
Sacrifices were a huge part of a lot of cultures (including Christian, Jewish, Aztec, Mayan, Egyptian, etc).
Two little interesting "sacrificial" facts:
The Aztecs made human sacrifices to the gods. In 1487, at the dedication of the temple in Tenochtitlan, 20,000 people were put to death.
The Mayans also made sacrifices. The most common involved pulling a still-beating heart out of a victim's chest.
7. Yo ho ho.
If you worked for the Royal Navy in the 17th Century, you were working a horrible job. This is a classic pirate origin story!
You would work in disgusting, stupidly dangerous conditions, had more than a 50% chance of dying, and after three years of this they would find an excuse not to pay you at all.
This is why a lot of them became pirates. There was a saying that the only difference between prison and the navy, is that in the navy you might drown too.
8. Don't dare this guy.
A bit more recent history, but in 1956, on a bet and while completely drunk, a man stole a small plane from New Jersey, then landed it perfectly on the narrow street in front of the bar he had been drinking at. But that's not the end of the story. (continued...)
Keep reading on the next page!
Two years later, he did it again after a man didn't believe he had done it the first time. The fact that this guy stole TWO planes when drunk and landed them perfectly blows my mind.
The stunt was so awesome that the guy he stole the plane from refused to press charges.
9. Being buried alive used to be pretty common
People were buried alive so often in the 19th century that inventors patented safety coffins that would give the "dead" the ability to alert those above ground if they were still alive.
10. Old school.
Oxford university is older than the Aztec civilization; Cambridge university is older than the Easter island heads.
11. There's a reason why Alexander was known as Great
Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of the Persian Empire, the largest empire in the world at the time, by meeting them in the field in open combat. And he did it twice. In the first battle, he was outnumbered 7 to 1. In the second battle, he was outnumbered 10 to 1. And he decimated the Persians.
12. Let God be the judge
In Medieval times the accused often faced a trial by ordeal," where they were forced to stick their arm into a vat of boiling water. If their arm emerged unscathed, it was believed God protected them, thus proving their innocence.
13. Made in China.
The Romans and the Chinese knew about each other, and actually communicated semi-regularly. The Chinese called the Romans "Daqin" and envisioned them as a kind of "mirror-China" on the other side of the world.
Keep reading on the next page!
14. Pius but not pious.
The Tale of Two Lovers, an erotic novel, was one of the best-selling books of the 15th century. It was written by Pope Pius II before he assumed the papacy.
15. Family fights are the worst.
That at the same time the U.S. Civil war was going on, which killed about 600,000 people and served as probably America's greatest national tragedy, China was in the throes of the Taiping Rebellion. The Taiping Rebellion is the largest civil conflict in human history, and best estimates put the death toll somewhere north of 20,000,000. Really reminds you of just how many more people live in China. And how little we pay attention to the rest of the world.
16. The Wright stuff.
They took a piece of the Wright flyer to the moon with them on Apollo 11.
Also, the picture taken of the Wright flyer during the infamous first flight was taken by someone who had never seen a camera before that day. That was the first photo he had ever taken.
17. Planet shmanet, Janet.
Pluto didn't even get to complete one orbit around the sun between the time it was discovered and the time it was declassified as a planet.
18. We all kind of won the lottery.
It is believed that the human population dipped as low as one thousand people about 70,000 BCE because of a huge volcanic eruption. We could very well have been a few stillbirths or sabertooth maulings away from extinction.
When reduced to such low numbers, the survival of a species truly teeters on a knife's edge. It's a difference of a handful of births. Too few and you dip below minimum viable population. Our survival could have come down to something as trivial as some tribe finding a spring or gazelle in the nick of time.
19. Not the Minnesota ones...
What is estimated to be the first written record of an encounter with Vikings essentially goes like this: (continued...)
Keep reading on the next page!
"There are some small ships approaching our little island with a monastery on it. I wonder who it will be! Their boats looks different than ones I've seen before.... Hello friends welcome to our -- AHHHHH!!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!! .... Everything is gone. We're all hurt. The buildings are burning. And they didn't even speak to us…"
20. Kids are always to blame.
In the late 1800's, writers complained that "young adults are losing touch with reality, instead of sitting at the dinner table with family they have their noses buried in a magazine." Also, in the late 1800s, music paper producers claimed that illegally copying sheet music would destroy the entire music industry.
21. The Revolution Strikes Back.
The last execution by guillotine was after the first Star Wars movie came out.
22. Food for thought.
The way we eat today, particularly the variety, is completely unheard of historically.
The main thing I like to remind people is even 100 years ago you'd go to your local market and buy and eat the plants that are in-season.
Imagine if you went to get a cheeseburger and they told you they didn't have tomatoes because it's "not tomato season" you would look at them like they were out to lunch.
But if you did the same thing during most of human history, and demanded a crop that was out of season, they would like at you like YOU'RE the one who's out there.
23. Shakespeare did it first.
The first person to use the phrase 'What the Dickens?' was William Shakespeare.
Keep reading on the next page!
24. Everybody wants to be a cat.
Persian leader Cambyses II used cats to defeat an Egyptian army. He had his soldiers paint cats on their shields and brought hundreds of cats and other animals that the Egyptians held sacred to the front lines. The Egyptians refused to fight the "cat army" and were easily defeated because of it.
25. I sentence YOU, Cow, to death by hamburger!
Animals were put on trial in medieval times and routinely sentenced to death.
26. We've lost our memory.
Humans have been around for about 200 thousand years, but we only have written records dating back 6 thousand. 97 percent of humankind's history is lost.
27. Not much of a celebration.
Not only did John Adams and Thomas Jefferson die within hours of one another, it was on July 4th - the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
28. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Before the mid-19th century dentures were commonly made with teeth pulled from the mouths of dead soldiers.
29. There goes the neighborhood.
Stalin, Freud, Hitler, Tito and Trotsky all lived within a few miles of each other, in Downtown Vienna, for a brief period in 1913. WW1 began a year later, catalyzing the trajectory of these five to fame - and infamy. Imagine if they had bumped into each other at the time, the imagination of these five being friends makes my mind run wild.
30. Just a spoon full of morphine
In the 19th century a popular medicine for kids, "Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup," included morphine.
Those who grew up between the '80s and early 2000s have a long memory of items and experiences that either went out of style or disappeared completely.
From early PC games to Blockbuster to favorite snacks, there's a lot to miss from childhood.
But the odd thing is how quietly some of these things went away, and how few people seemed to notice.
Feeling nostalgic, Redditor lukiiiiii asked:
"What quietly went away without anyone noticing?"
"ROFL (Rolling on the Floor Laughing) dropped off of the face of the planet, and now we just go straight from LOL (Laughing Out Loud) to LMAO (Laughing My A** Off)."
"I've been using it way more lately because of this. ROFL; can't let the classics die."
Save Those Box Tops!
"Actual toys in cereal boxes and Cracker Jack boxes."
The Early Facebook Years
"Facebook 'Poke' wars."
How the Times Have Changed
"People calling them 'camera phones.'"
"When you turn off the TV, how the image would shrink to a dot before slowly fading away."
"When you turn off the TV and then you run your finger on the screen and hear the crackle and feel the static on the glass."
Positive Environmental Change
"It was a huge environmental issue in the late 70s through the early 90s. Rain was acidic and damaged fertile areas among other things."
"In the US, there was much research done, and eventually industrial regulations were put into place. Companies were allowed to decide what approach they chose to take as long as the results showed the appropriate amount of reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions."
"Unfortunately, positive news doesn't sell, so news outlets did not do justice to reporting this success. As we went into the 2000s, hardly anyone remembered what was done."
Can We Say, 'Nom Nom Nom'?
"McDonald's all-day breakfast menu."
"The pandemic killed a lot more than just people. I really miss McDonald's all-day breakfast."
"And being able to go to Walmart at 2 AM."
The Days of Landlines and Cords
"I live in a rural area and have to pay for landline service to have internet. Since I have to pay for something so stupid, I figured I'd have to get something stupid."
"...So I got the hamburger phone from the movie 'Juno.'"
"Not gonna lie, the landline has come in clutch a few times, and holding a hamburger to your ear is amusing every time. 10/10 would recommend."
Late-night Grocery Runs
"I think people have noticed now but at the time, nobody noticed it was happening: the closing of 24-hour stores. I live in a major city and we don’t have a single 24-hour grocery store ever since the pandemic."
"In a World Where..."
"Movie trailers with that deep voice guy [Don LaFontaine] doing the voiceovers."
"SoBe. I think the last time I had one was at Quizno's."
"[cue 'X-Files' Music]"
Gizzard the Taco Bell Dog
"Taco Bell used to have a chihuahua as their mascot. Little dude just disappeared one day, and anyone born after 2000 probably doesn't even know what I am talking about."
"Google+ was the only social media our school forgot to block on our laptops, so I used it a lot. RIP."
Some of these really brought back some deeply-engrained memories for the '80s to '00s kids, and it's true that many of them blipped out of existence quietly.
But if this teaches us anything, it doesn't mean that "out of sight, out of mind" also has to mean "out of heart."
And let's have a moment of silence for the vocal stylings of Don LaFontaine and Gizzard the talking Taco Bell dog.
We all know that the human body is very complex.
But even with all the recorded and available science, there are certain things about our bodies that continue to elude us, and medical experts can still get stumped about how the human form reacts unpredictably.
Curious to discover some of the mystifying yet unsettling truths about our anatomy, Redditor Hot_Banana_Ice-cream asked:
"What is a creepy fact about the human body?"
Now, observe this.
"If you wear glasses which vertically inverts your vision long enough, your brain will correct it, and you'll see things normal. But when your take those glasses off, everything will look upside-down again until brain recalibrates again."
"Our brain filters out a lot of what we see along with just straight making sh*t up based on extrapolation."
"My favorite is the blind spot at the center of each eye, where the optic nerve is."
"A lot of people don't even know it exists, and even if they do, it is bigger than people often think."
"And it's also really easy to demonstrate to people if you know how. It's one of my favorite bar tricks - all you need is a pen and a napkin to draw a cross and a dot."
Alternate demo: https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chvision.html
"Edit: If it doesn't work, you're doing something wrong - not getting close enough, the image is too small on your phone, you're not closing the correct eye or not keeping your gaze fixed on the cross."
"It isn't because you don't have a blind spot. Unless you're a squid, you have a blind spot. All vertebrates have them."
The workings of our innards are out of this world.
The intestines are covered by a double "fleece" of peritoneum. See it like a blanket.
When your intestines get damaged for whatever reason, this blanket starts moving out of itself and crawling upwards towards the place which has the injury. It will stay there until the injury is recovered. And then move on again.
Maybe not the most creepy fact, but definitely interesting in my opinion.
Do Do That Doo-Doo
"We don't just have one anal sphincter. When poo comes along it passes another inner sphincter which isn't under voluntary control."
"Sensory cells can detect whether you're about to pass gas or solid. From toddler age on, you can decide to go or not to go. If the time isn't right (e.g. at a friend's house or no toilet nearby), the inner sphincter can push the poo back and store it there for later."
"That's why sometimes if you need to do a number two but don't go, the urge goes away after about 20 minutes later. (But seriously, go if you can. Constipation risk.)"
"Gas can't be pushed back so easily, so we sometimes toot by accident when moving or engaging the core."
The Same Lining
"The inside of your cheek and your rectum are lined by the same type of tissue."
You don't always have control of your body.
Taste Of Curiosity
"The front of your tongue is curious, constantly patrolling, and autonomous. It chases the dentist around your mouth and you aren’t even aware of it. So embarrassing and weird/creepy."
"In dental school, I learned this fact when practicing taking impressions on each other. My buddy’s tongue kept licking my finger. I asked him to quit licking me, and he was like 'I can’t help it!' And then we switched places and my tongue wouldn’t leave him alone.And for those of you that don’t think your tongue does this: some of you are right. But the majority of you just think your tongue is behaving, but it is all over the place without you even knowing."
Dancing With The Dead
"Bodies will move as they’re coming out of rigor. I’ve been bumped by a few (I’m a coroner). Bodies can also make sounds as the remaining air/ gas leaves… 2am in the morgue and I thought I was in COD zombies."
Wonder of wonders.
The Only Way Out
"When you get laser tattoo removal the ink doesn’t disappear, you pee it out."
"Your body’s immune system breaks down the pigments of ink and it flows in your blood stream, gets processed through your kidneys, then you pee out the ink."
Our soul-containing vessel is a mysterious wonder unique to us.
We should do whatever it takes to take great care of it because it's the only one we've got.
If we don't, they might turn on us.
When the global pandemic hit in march of 2020, countless companies saw themselves going under.
Sadly, some companies, from a wide variety of businesses, simply couldn't adapt to working under the parameters of social distancing, or couldn't adapt in time, resulting in them permanently closing their doors.
Many people were sad to see these companies close, while many others were even sadder that some companies managed to pull through and stay open.
Indeed, long before Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the world, some companies and corporations people felt were actually detrimental to society would be doing the world a favor by going out of business.
Redditor param_T_extends_THOT was curious to find out which companies people fell into this less than prolific category, leading them to ask:
"Which company could go out of business tomorrow and it would be to the betterment of this world?"
Nothing Express About It
"Express Scripts."- BadDadJokes
Wildly Different, Yet Equally Unnecessary
"Glitter manufacturers."- Sped-Connection
Where To Even Begin?
"The church of Scientology?"- dipshipsaidsochurch building GIF by South Park Giphy
Beware The Pyramids
"Any MLM bullsh*t."- Work-Alone
Taylor Swift Would Probably Agree
You Really Want To Trust Them With Your Money?
"HSBC, one of the largest banks in the world, is a criminal enterprise:"
"In 2012, the bank paid $1.9 billion to settle charges brought by U.S. authorities that it had failed to prevent money laundering by Mexican drug cartels."
"In 2013, HSBC was fined $1.92 billion by US and UK regulators for its role in the manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a benchmark interest rate."
"In 2014, the bank was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating sanctions against Iran, Sudan, and other countries."
"In 2018, the bank was charged by the US Department of Justice for violating the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering regulations."
"Also, Nestle."- alecsputnik
"Joel Osteen's ministries."- ststevegJoel Osteen Highwire Live GIF by Volcano Live! with Nik WallendaGiphy
Maybe All Big Pharma?
'Seems like the general consensus is Nestle, but I’ll be weird and say DuPont."
"They’re the reason every living human on the planet has Forever Chemicals running through their bloodstream."-poppidypoppop
"Blinded By The Light"...
"Everyone one that makes blindingly bright low beam bulbs."- RetinaMelter9000s
One Bad Experience Can Ruin It Forever
"Mark's plumbing."- GreenieMachinie93Rockos Modern Life 90S GIFGiphy
"Oh The Wells Fargo Wagon Is A Comin' Down The Street..."
"Wells Fargo."- Itchy_Focus_4500
Honestly, Can't Agree With This One
"F*cking TurboTax."- camilofl20
"Dirty mercenary army with soldiers for hire."
"They have caused chaos where ever they have gone."
"Syria, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Libya, Venezuela, mali, Mozambique and a few other places, they have no desire to see a peaceful world as that would financially cripple them as a organization."
"Look at what they are doing to the Ukrainian people."
"Despicable organization and they have zero moral compass."- Weary_Violinist_3610
Maybe all Credit Reporting?
"Experian, Equifax, and/or Transunion."
"Leeches on America."- compusmackSmiley Face Thumbs Up GIF by Tier One CreditGiphy
Can't Help But Say It, Did She Really Think "goop" Was An Appealing Name?
"Comcast & goop."- celeresaharano·
Be it poor customer service, questionable business practices, or just plain fraud, it's hard not to agree that any or all of these companies would not be missed should they close their doors.
After all, when a health and wellness brand openly tells you that some or all of its products may not actually improve your health or wellness, that just about says it all.
...even if Shakespeare in Love remains a romantic gem...
Even if society as a whole seems to become more tolerant with each passing year, bullying still remains an ever-growing problem.
Particularly at schools.
Some might say bullying has only gotten worse, as social media often means children are no longer safe when they're out of school hallways and in the comfort of their own homes.
What is perhaps most disturbing and perplexing about bullying is there is never a justifiable reason for people to behave so appallingly.
Often, children bully other children to make them seem cool or powerful in the eyes of others.
Most of the time, they will also pinpoint a certain thing about their helpless victims as a feeble excuse to justify their bullying.
"What were you bullied for?"
Trying Too Hard
"I was socially awkward."
"I also was greatly motivated to be liked."
"I did a lot of sh*t trying to be liked that in hindsight, made me unliked."- EVEseven
Health Conditions Beyond Their Control
"Eczema which often affected my face."- Puffs01
Name Calling? Seriously?
"I was called a biscuit head, because my head was shaped like a biscuit."- cerakaz
It's Not Like They Chose It.
"My name."- maximus12121
Only Cowards Don't Pick On People Their Own Size
"Being the small kid."- occamhanlon
Picking On People For Keeping To Themselves? Just Cruel.
"For being the quiet kid."- actuallyjohnqmind
No Reason Whatsoever
"To this day, I really don't know."
"Something happened in the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade that made a bunch of people decide that they didn't like me anymore, including my best friend.'
"I only had two friends left until my family moved away in the middle of 7th grade."
"Bullies would follow me home most days and my mom finally had to verbally super-saiyan a few parents down the street to get them to take it down a notch."
"I finally asked one of them what I ever did to them, and they said 'you were born'."
"How do you even respond to that statement."
"I just got a sharp pang after seeing that phrase again."- msprang
Ignoring It Is Enabling It
"I was bullied from age 6 to age 13 every day for my surname (a word for a hunchback in my language) , my looks, my nature, me knowing English, reading, drawing and just existing overall."
"I f*cking hated middle school."
"My mom tried standing up for me, but no one cares in Slavic countries and the teachers didn't give a sh*t even though they saw everything, it's all part of growing up."
"My father ignored my constant tears and the terror I experienced in those years."
"I was attacked, beaten, and targeted whenever i would leave my flat."
"I was stabbed with screwdrivers and dull knives, chased around the neighborhood by kids on bikes while they threw rocks at me."
"I was only invited to birthday parties so that the kids would have someone to terrorize and gang up on."
"I always hated birthdays, but my mom though maybe the children would be kinder to me out of school."
"But that's that."
"Once I began high school I was around all new people, and I decided to play as a tough girl and stood up for myself on the get-go."
"But it turns out art school mostly brought other bullied kids together and I had the 4 best years of my life there with other kind and loving people who just wanted to make friends and have fun."- Cropalitet
Knowing They Wouldn't Fight Back
"Being easy to walk over."
"I had a really hard time asserting myself."
"So being 'too nice'."
"But really, just very insecure."- idolovehummus
"And my mom smoked continuously so being poor and smelly."
"Kids are brutal."
"For those that can relate I'm wishing you all the best for where you are now."
"We are a product of where we came from but that doesn't define who we are today."
"For those that can't relate, I'm so glad you had a different childhood and also hope you are doing well."
"And for those that find this is their moment to continue to bully, I hope kindness finds you and helps you with whatever you need to have a brighter day."- Evil-ish
Red Hair Is Beautiful, And Don't Ever Forget It
"Glasses, red hair, and freckles."
"Opie, Howdy Doody, and red-headed step child jokes all the way through school."- espifer
"Having red hair."- DeplorableKurt
In Other Words, Just For Being Yourself
"As a black kid, in a predominantly black area:
"Wearing glasses and having braces."
"Wanting to be a Pilot (influenced by the Anime I liked the most)."
"But guess what?"
"I'm a f*cking Pilot now."- ApacheOc3lot
Perhaps the saddest, or most infuriating, cases of bullying are when people bully others for sharing likes or interests they have themselves.
Case in point, and true story: being bullied constantly through 2nd and 3rd grade for liking Mighty Morphin Power Rangers."
Only to see several of the people who bullied you express their excitement at the release of the 2017 film version of Power Rangers on Facebook.
Some children are just, plain cruel...