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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What our history teachers tell us isn't always accurate. For example, I remember being told that Henry VIII executed all of his wives. Now, I've seen Six the Musical and know better, and while that show SLAPS, it's sad when I learn more from Broadway musicals than I did in history class. Looking at you, Hamilton.
Whether by pop culture, the media, or just our own research, sometimes we learn that our school curriculum was kind of BS. Here are some tales from history class.
Let’s start out with some more weird ones, shall we?
That was a good Simpsons episode.
That Edison was a brilliant inventor.
Edison was a cheat, a thief and a con and TESLA DESERVES JUSTICE.
And took credit for Homer Simpson's automated hammer.
Australia is wack, man.emus GIF Giphy
The Great Emu War wasn't the only war that Australia lost to the Emus.
They also lost the Second Great Emu War.
Ok, now that we got our token Simpsons reference out of the way, let’s get angry.
That does get played down a lot.
That "The Japanese mistreatment of POWs was exaggerated, what it is that they fed them the same ration their own soldiers got and that was not an adequate diet for the larger Americans."
I had a teacher in highschool who actually said that! Tell that to the guys who somehow survived captivity by the Japanese! The guys marched for hours in sweltering heat and marched right past wells that they were forbidden to drink from and were beheaded on the spot if they drank from them anyway.
BTW, they did not feed the POWs the same ration their own men got, not even close!
Sooo many kids were misinformed.
That Christopher Columbus discovered America. How the hell do you "discover" a place that already has over six million people living there?
I'm not sure if the lie about Columbus "discovering" America is worse or is it the sanitization of Columbus' monstrosity. We start our children out with these lies and complete fabrications around the first Thanksgiving and Columbus and it makes it easier for them to fall for lies about slavery, American empire, the purpose behind wars, ongoing racial issues, etc..
My teachers definitely said this.Martin Luther King Jr Mlk GIF by Identity Giphy
That Martin Luther King ended racism in America.
"Once upon a time white people were awful to black people for hundreds of years, and then one day MLK gave his 'I Have a Dream' speech and was shot, and then there was no more racism.
The freed slaves in America were given 40 acres of land and a mule. No, they did not. But it's still talked about as if it happened...
Those were white freed slaves in states with a charter. Virginia and Pennsylvania are two of them. The slaves were transported criminals and indentured servants who were sold to colonists for a fixed period of time. When that time was up they were granted "40 acres and a mule".
That charter did not extend to black slaves.
No, we definitely existed.
LGBT+ people are a new thing and didn't exist in history. (they absolutely did exist, but homophobic/transphobic historians do all in their power to cover it up).
"Homosexuality is a modern 'issue'". Tell that to a kinky queen who lived almost 2,000 years ago.
A lot of these cases, however, are just plain misinformed.
You mean Hamilton lied to me?King George Broadway GIF by Hamilton: An American Musical Giphy
This is a fact that a lot of us Americans like to deny, King George didn't tax us just to be an a**hole. We technically were at least one of the reasons the French and Indian war and by extension at least part of the 7 years war happened. King George put taxes on us because he wanted the people who caused the war to pay their debts.
Also George Washington's army was not completely made up of white people, native americans and free black men were a part of the army too and the guy who turned George Washington's ragtag group into an effective fighting force was a gay man. Also only 1/3rd of the colonists actually wanted independence, the rest were either loyalists or didn't care. Also we would not have won the war without help from the French and the Spanish.
Very similar to recent events.
Although I consider myself a liberal I actually grew up in a conservative family and I was taught growing up that Reagan was one of the greatest presidents America ever had. As I grew older and did more research on him I came to realize how destructive his policies were and how much damage he did to liberal ideology. He pushed the Republicans to the far right and the Democrats pushed themselves further right as a result.
He also had the most corrupt administration in US History. 138 people were either indicted, convicted or had to resign due to involvement in one of the many scandals his administration had. That's right his administration was more corrupt than the GW Bush or Trump administration.
All notable tidbits.
Native people couldn't build boats, and the underestimation of the trade network between them. If they were just like us who says that they couldn't do those things? Polynesian artifacts have been found in California.
And this isn't a lie but there was a Chinese voyage that basically described the coast of California and the local flora and fauna. There's also those Japsnese people that sailed to South America after a volcano erupted, seriously, there's genetic evidence.
And speaking of Asian people, Asians were present in the west when it was a Mexican territory. There was a Filipino presence as well. They all just didn't show up when we needed people to build the railroad.
There is, or there was, I don't know if they're still there, a noticable Jewish population in Charleston. The oldest synagogue in America is there I think. I don't know why they chose Charleston though, but hey.
It’s amazing how much actual history is neglected in history class.
Not how that works.Oh My God Omg GIF by CBC Giphy
That lack of sunlight is why humans in Europe developed white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes.
One, all those things developed at different time periods for different reasons
Two, sunlight or lack thereof had nothing to do with skins turning white. Europeans were still mostly black / dark skinned in 10,000 B.C....this is after they had already been living in Europe and its lower sunlight levels for 35,000 years.
That the parties in the USA switched.
People portray it as the Republicans becoming evil and the Democrats becoming the good guys, but it was more of a relative switch. The Republican positions basically stayed consistent in absolute terms and the Democrats finally got over the Civil War and went really far to leave their past behind. It's an unpopular opinion, but just look at the platforms now vs. today. Some examples:
Republicans back then: free trade, small government, and cut taxes (Coolidge), segregation is bad, women and minorities should vote, buy American (Mckinley's protectionist tariffs), National Parks & strong military (Teddy Roosevelt). Those are all still pillars of the Republican party today.
Democrats back then: segregation is good, states rights from federal power, and the KKK. Compared to the nowadays Democratic party that favors a bigger federal government over state powers, seeks out voter suppression like a hawk, and is largely supported by minorities.
I'm no Republican, but you'd have to be trying not to notice that one party was more consistent while the other just changed a lot from it's awful past. This isn't to mention issues that both parties moved on like prohibition and gay marriage, for example.
Not sure if this counts because I already knew the correct version of history when she tried it, but my 10th grade world history teacher gave a long winded presentation about how the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.
It was about how no matter what it looked like, it was actually the Germans who were 100% to blame for the tragedy. It was a confusing week for my entire graduating class.
Regrettably a few of them weren't quite as capable of agency as others and took her misgivings for facts and the rest is small mid-west town history.
Ummm who is teaching this?horrible histories gym GIF by CBBC Giphy
Cavemen had to fight dinosaurs.
I was 10 when I found out dinosaurs were long gone when the cavemen arrived.
Well, I hope you all learned something today. And hopefully in the future we won't get all of our historical facts from Hamilton.
Goes to show that a lot of school curriculums are really misguided, and hopefully with future generations of teachers, that will be fixed.
When you're at a team-building event, it's best to come in locked and loaded with a great fact. Let's face it, some ice breaker is going to come along and you're gonna need something juicy.
But you--and everybody else suddenly thrown into their 11th icebreaker activity that year--have likely had enough of the usual interesting scientific facts.
You're trying to turn heads.
For a little help, look no further than a recent Reddit thread.
Redditors gathered to swap the most horrifying facts they've ever heard. These are the unnerving truths we'd rather never have discovered, but now that we did, we cannot stop thinking about them.
Commit a few to memory. You may be the star or the weirdo at the next team-builder, but at the very least you'll be memorable.
DaKoolAidMAN422 asked, "What is a scary or horrifying fact that shouldn't be true, but is?"
A good amount of Redditors opted to share the brief tidbits that still manage to pack a punch. These facts are not at all fun, but they do come in small packages.
So Which Is More Toxic?
"There is more actual lemon juice in lemon-scented Pledge spray than there is in Country Time Lemonade." -- jackof47trades
"So that's why it tastes better" -- Omny87
"instructions unclear. Drinking lemon pledge" -- lawnscribe
"When you have scurvy, all your old scars and wounds open up, due to the vitamin needed to maintain scar tissue. So for me for example, I had my jaw dislocated and my gums cut open from check to check to remove wisdom teeth. If I got scurvy I would bleed uncontrollably from the inside of my mouth out."
"What would be your most horrifying scar?"
Light Speed Lunch
"Something is eating the Milky Way galaxy - no, it isn't the plot for a Star Trek episode, it's really happening."
"In 2009, researchers found a cluster of galaxies moving at an extraordinary speed towards a small patch of sky between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela. Some unknown force is tearing away chunks of the galaxy, and astronomers still have no clue what exactly is causing it. It's been named 'Dark Flow.' "
"There is something big out there, far bigger than anything in our known universe. Such a behemoth would impose a kind of 'tilt' on the universe, causing matter to move in one particular direction – as observations of the dark flow suggest. Could be anything - upto and including another universe."
A Taunting End
"An unbelievable number of people who die of dehydration do so with a fair amount of fresh water in their possession." -- Casual-Notice
"Yep, knew somebody that died this way due to horrible headaches (caused by an undiagnosed brain tumor found during her autopsy) that were so painful she threw up to the point of severe dehydration and died in her apartment right next to the sink." -- __Pause__
Feel Free to Pause Here Or Whatever
"The actual scientific cure for hiccups is anal massaging...and it works." -- zenithsmomma
"That's not terrifying. That's useful information!" -- knittykitty26
"Currently massaging anus. I don't have hiccups now, but doing it for future possible cases." -- theuniversalsquid
Each Worse Than the Last
- "Long-dormant bacteria and viruses, trapped in ice and permafrost for centuries, are reviving as Earth's climate warms"
- "Gamma-ray bursts can kill all life on earth without any warning"
- "Asteroids can mess earth up"
Laying in Wait
"You could have mad cow disease for 12 to 50 years before symptoms start showing." -- OhManOk
"That's just great. I was in England in 2008 and I thought I was in the clear." -- endorrawitch
"A lone pilot was flying in Australia in 1978. He reported to air traffic control that he was accompanied by an aircraft above him."
"When asked to identify the aircraft, he replied 'It isn't an aircraft.' His plane disappeared, and was never to be found again."
Others kept their facts confined to the animal kingdom. With so many creatures all containing such minute differences in body and behavior, there are plenty of horrors to go around.
Just a Rotten Situation
"A single female tiger killed 432 people in India." -- RaykelVeillette
"It's a pretty sad story. She was severely injured by a poacher who failed to kill her, and to try to survive she went after easier prey: humans. She didn't inherently have a taste for us, she was just opportunistic and hungry." -- Drakmanka
They Are FAST
"in the NT (Australia) I remember seeing a government warning that crocodiles inhabit the area. Among the few bullet points of advice on the sign, the last one read 'If they see you, it is already too late' "
"Snails have thousands of teeth." -- leaf-sauce
"And apparently there's one who can grow their body back after decapitation" -- Makaveli3k
"They're not teeth exactly. More like lil spikes on their tongue they can use to scrape things. Think rough cat tongue but more determined." -- ShiraCheshire
"There is a parasite that will eat your brain. It's called Naegleria fowleri and it lives in warm water lakes in the sand and silt in the shallows. It will swim up your nose and proceed to eat your neurons and your brain."
"Usually symptoms occur around 4 hours after infection and include headache, sensitivity to light and nausea. If you experience any of these after swimming in a lake you need to go to the hospital ASAP. If undiagnosed, you'll be dead within 24 hours."
"To diagnose it, you'll have to get a spinal tap and pray the tech working knows what to look for."
Just Imagine It All
"Whatever the sh** is at the bottom of the ocean"
"Seriously we know so little about this place and we've seen so much murderous sh** down there that we've only scratched the surface on how much nightmare fuel is actually down there."
Others brought up shocking examples of the things human beings do to one another. We ourselves, sometimes, are the most shocking fact there is.
All For a Chance
"Some monks used to endure a spiritual practice whereby they eliminated all their body fat through diet and exercise, ate wood lacquer tea to kill off internal bacteria, then sealed themselves in a tomb holding a string attached to a bell."
"A year after the bell stopped ringing, the tomb was opened and if the monk's body was found to be uncorrupted they were revered as a saint; if not, they were re-buried."
"The process took years and as they continued the monks required more and more help from their brothers until they entered the tomb."
"And the whole time you'd hear bells ringing from the nearby tombs as the monks inside slowly wound down the last days of their lives, voluntarily poisoned, starved, and buried alive for a chance at sainthood."
"one of the experiments the japanese did during ww2 at unit 731 was cutting off limbs of living, waking people without anethesia and sowing those limbs onto other prisoners."
What Secrets That Person Must Possess
"In 2009 a paralyzed Belgian awoke from a 23-YEARS-LONG coma, and it was discovered he was fully conscious and could hear everything around him the entire time."
"Like.. What. The. Actual. F!?!? Just imagine lying there not being able to move for two decades but also being aware of your surroundings. That's all kinds of messed up nightmare fuel right there."
If Not Dead, Where?
"Every single year, there are thousands of people in the US alone who disappear. Most of them show up again; usually the next day but sometimes a few days, a few weeks or even a few months later."
"However, out of these thousands of people, there are roughly 150 people - every single year - who disappear and... simply never appear again. Nobody knows what has happened to those people. They might be dead, they might not be, we simply don't know."
So jot these down, put them in your phone, or memorize them in your head if you have to. You never know when you'll want to whip one of these suckers out to freak a circle of people out.
When we think about learning history, our first thought is usually sitting in our high school history class (or AP World History class if you're a nerd like me) being bored out of our minds. Unless again, you're a huge freaking nerd like me. But I think we all have the memory of the moment where we realized learning about history was kinda cool. And they usually start from one weird fact.
Here are a few examples of turning points in learning about history, straight from the keyboards of the people at AskReddit.
Let’s start off with some super weird facts that you probably never even considered. These are the best.
Trees are honestly really effing cool.
For 60 million years trees didn't decay.
When they died the just fell over and laid there.
For 60 million years trees existed before the enzyme that broke them down when they died.
So tons of massive trees in the oxygen rich environment just laid on the ground. Until they burned. That's how we have coal.
Did they believe her though?disney bambi GIFGiphy
In 1726 there was a woman called Mary Toft who tricked doctors into believing that she gave birth to rabbits.
There was another woman who would take the eggs from her chicken, etch "jesus has come" into them and shove them back into the chicken who would then lay it again and people actually thought the chicken was a prophet.
A whole river.
Some time in around the beginning of the 1500's Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli conspired to try to steal the Arno river.
They both lived in the city of Florence and at the time there was hostilities with the city of Pisa which was nearer to the mouth of the Arno river and controlled trade on it. Da Vinci came up with the plan to create a canal to divert the river so it no longer flowed to Pisa which would allow Florence to dominate the whole region. Da Vinci drew up the plans and Machiavelli put them into action. However Da Vinci didn't oversee the project and instead the engineer who did decided to do it his own way which would take longer and need more people. In the middle of the project war broke out and the project had to be scrapped due to attacks from Pisa so it never came to be. Still a great historical footnote though.
Some of the most stunning facts come from assassinations for some reason. Especially the ones that survive.
Roosevelt was shot in the chest during a speech and just continued on like nothing happened.
He was shot just before his speech and he knew it hadn't pierced his lung since he wasn't coughing up blood, so he bandaged it and went to give his speech.
In another timeline, things might have been different.John F Kennedy Democrat GIFGiphy
It is very possible - and some consider likely - that JFK could've survived the assassination had he not been wearing a thick, girdle-like back brace that kept him stiffly upright when in public.
Kennedy had terrible back problems since serving in WWII that were continually worsening. The back brace began as early as JFK met Stalin for the first time and wanted to appear tall and strong since it was at the height of the Cold War, however his pain was so bad he often walked around the WH hunched over and looked decrepit.
JFK continued to wear the brace to keep himself upright and portray the strong youthful image he crafted. When the first shot was fired, the brace made it nearly impossible to move, much less crouch down in the back seat to get out of the line of fire.
He was then struck with the infamous shot to the back/throat which rendered him more immobile and finally the headshot that killed him. Parkland doctors testified to the Warren Commission how surprised they were at the size and tightness of the brace and how long it took to get off. One remarked it likely made him a "sitting duck" because of how immobile it would've rendered him.
Good to know before she was beheaded.
When King Henry VIII was still married to Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard(his future fifth wife) was one of Cleves' ladies in waiting. They were close, even after Cleves' divorce. With all the tragedy and abuse from the men in her life, I'm just glad that she at least had one friend to trust.
Here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for- the facts about famous animals. You’re welcome.
The student teaches the teacher.
Benjamin Franklin had a pet squirrel. As a little girl, I dressed as him, with a squirrel beanie-baby on my shoulder. My teacher had to look it up on the internet to check if I was right. She was amused.
Sounds on-brand for Jackson.happy dr pol GIF by Nat Geo Wild Giphy
When Andrew Jackson died they had to remove his pet parrot from the funeral because it couldn't stop swearing.
He also had a comically large cheese wheel.
Lastly, we gotta shout out the presidents. Sometimes they actually did weird sh*t.
I guess we’ll never know.
Abraham Lincoln once gave a speech which was so good that all of reporters forgot to take notes, still to this day we don't know what exactly he said.
Well-portrayed in the Hamilton musical.
That George Washington was known as this Really Talented Dancer, and was very in tune with the dances at the time of his being... Idk why I just never woulda thought this at all but it's dope to hear that dancing/socializing was always a thing!
Like from the passage I read it seemed like Whenever George was in attendance at the function, everyone knew he was gonna cut a rug and tear the house down.. and the ladies considered themselves lucky to be his dance partner.
As for me, my favorite weird historical fact is that Anne Boleyn had an extra finger. That fact is frequently overlooked in favor of her identity as Henry VIII sixth wife. I could go into that, but they already made a whole musical about it.
Anyway, I hope this made history a little more fun for you. It's not all memorizing dates- sometimes you never know what you'll find in a history book
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 :)"
"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."
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."
"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."
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"
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."
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"
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."
"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."
"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."
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"
"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."
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
"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."
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."
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.