24 Ridiculously Weird Historical Facts That Are Surprisingly True

Not all historical events make it to the headlines. Many stories are swept aside to make way for the bigger ones such as the moon landing and WWII. But as we continue to discover more about our past, we begin to find these then insignificant stories making their way to the front page. And when they do, we learn that the past may be just as weird (and a bit scary) as the present.

1. Heroin was once a perfectly acceptable medicine. Doctors prescribed it for everything from coughs to headaches.

Source │ Image: Top Tenz

2. Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel on November 17, 1952, following the death of Israel’s first President, Chaim Weizman. He declined, saying he lacked “the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people” to do the job.

Source │ Image: www.discovery-zone.com

3. While in power, Pope Gregory IX declared that cats were to be associated with devil worship and had them exterminated. He issued the papal bull, Vox in Rama, which “is the first official church document that condemns the black cat as an incarnation of Satan, and consequently it was the death warrant for the animal.”

Source │ Image: www.wga.hu

4. Some believed that the disappearance of those cats helped rats spread the bubonic plague or Black Death that killed millions of people in the 1300s.

Source │ Image: Wikimedia Commons

5. In 1929, two Princeton researchers claimed they have turned a living cat into a telephone.

Source │ Image: Headlines In History

6. Before dentures were invented, teeth were extracted from the mouths of dead soldiers for use as prosthetics.

Source │ Image: katetattersall

7. Russian dictator Joseph Stalin often had photos retouched to remove people who had died or been removed from office.

Source │ Image: via Boredom Therapy

8. Chinese women used to bind their feet to prevent further growth. The painful custom became popular as a means to display social status and was also a symbol of beauty in Chinese culture.

Source │ Image: Alpha History

9. Rome’s most tyrannical emperor, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, also known as Caligula, made one of his favorite horses a senator.

Source │ Image: Wikipedia

10. The Anglo-Zanzibar War (August 27, 1896) is the shortest war in recorded history. The war, which was between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate, lasted only 38 minutes.

Source │ Image: Wikipedia

11. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was never actually straight to begin with, and the design was flawed from the beginning. The foundation, set weak on an unstable soil, began to sink when they started on the second floor.

Source │ Image: Fine Art America

12. Researchers believe that the Guanajuato Mummies’ terrible expressions are the result of the victims being buried alive.

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13. Former North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il was said to be a great lover of music. He composed six operas while he was in office.

Source │ Image: slate.com

14. Klerksdorp spheres are strange 3 billion-year-old rocks that have been dug up near Ottosdal in South Africa. Up to now, no one has been able to fully explain the markings on their sides.

Source │ Image: NCSE

15. The great Omaha Indian Chief Blackbird was said to have loved his horse so much that he was buried sitting on top of it.

Source │ Image: Pinterest

16. Before there were alarm clocks, there were “knockers-up”, who were hired to shoot dried peas from a blow gun at people’s windows in order to wake them up in the morning.

Source │ Image: Pinterest

17. The mysterious 18th-century Shepherd’s Monument in Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire, England, bears the inscription “DOUOSVAVVM”, (the eight letters ‘OUOSVAVV’ is framed by the letters ‘DM’). Some believe it was left by the Knights Templar as a means of finding the Holy Grail.

Source │ Image: Wikipedia

18. President Ronald Reagan was also a prolific lifeguard who saved 77 people from drowning.

Source │ Image: www.reagan.utexas.edu

19. Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, a Russian mystic, reportedly survived being poisoned, shot, and stabbed numerous times before he was finally drowned in the Volga river.

Source │ Image: via Wikimedia Commons

20. Winston Churchill typically smoked between eight and 10 cigars per day.

Source │ Image: www.churchillsocietyofedmonton.com

21. During the Great Depression, people often made clothes out of flour sacks. Distributors would make their sacks more colorful to help people remain at least somewhat fashionable.

Source │ Image: via Boredom Therapy

22. The largest bird ever to exist had a wingspan of almost 20 feet. It lived 60 million years ago.

Source │ Image: via Boredom Therapy

23. Like many ancient royalty, King Tut’s parents were related. According to DNA taken from his mummified body, his parents were actually brother and sister.

Source │ Image: Pinterest

24. The use of the word “hooker” as a term for a prostitute originated with Civil War General Joseph Hooker, who brought prostitutes along on campaigns for his men.

Source │ Image: Wikipedia

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