30 Weirdest Random History Facts You Won't Believe
By Jack Ripley | October 4, 2023
Before Alarm Clocks, People Would Pay "Knocker Uppers" To Wake Them Up
Prepare to have your mind blown as we journey through the unbelievable truths of history! In this captivating collection, we'll explore a series of historical facts that sound so absurd, you might think they were made up. But rest assured, these peculiar tidbits are indeed real and will leave you in awe of the fascinating tapestry of human existence.
Did you know that in the 11th century, facts were actually considered sacrilegious? It's true! The notion of presenting truth as something to be questioned or examined was seen as a challenge to religious authority. Imagine a world where the pursuit of knowledge was met with skepticism and even hostility.
As we embark on this extraordinary journey, it's important to acknowledge the knowledge and curiosity of our readers. So, don't miss out on this incredible exploration of historical oddities. Continue reading and let yourself be astounded by the remarkable truths that history has to offer. Prepare to challenge your assumptions, broaden your perspective, and uncover the unbelievable secrets that lie beneath the surface of the past. Your next adventure awaits!
Before the invention of alarm clocks, people would pay "knocker uppers" to wake them up. Knocker uppers were individuals who used a variety of tools such as sticks, peashooters, and even rattles to make noise outside their customer's windows. This service was incredibly popular in England during the 19th century, but it wasn't only limited to Europe; knocker uppers were also employed in India, Japan, and Australia. It may seem like something out of a fairy tale, but these knocker uppers were often professional and reliable—in fact, they could be found in many cities until the 1970s! While this method of waking people up may seem outdated today, it is still an interesting piece of history that can't be forgotten.
In The 19th Century Ketchup Was Considered A Cure For An Upset Stomach
Ketchup has come a long way since the 19th century! Back then, it was believed that ketchup could be used to cure an upset stomach. This strange idea originated in England and quickly spread throughout Europe. The recipe for this concoction included anchovies, mushrooms, walnuts, spices, vinegar, and of course tomatoes. It was thought that these ingredients had medicinal properties which would help settle an unsettled stomach. While we may not consider ketchup as a remedy today, there is something special about knowing its history and how far it's come over the years.
Mary Shelley Kept Her Dead Husband's Remains In Her Desk
Mary Shelley, the renowned author of Frankenstein, was known for her creativity and imagination. But did you know that she kept a piece of her late husband's internal remains in her desk? It's true! After Percy Bysshe Shelley died in 1822, Mary collected his ashes from the funeral pyre and found a portion of his remains among them. She kept it as a memento and even wrote about it in her journal. To this day, the small ivory box containing the remains is on display at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England. This incredible story reminds us that sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction.
In 1799, George Washington's Distillery Produced Nearly 11,000 Gallons Of Whiskey
It's hard to believe, but it's true: in 1799, George Washington's distillery produced nearly 11,000 gallons of whiskey. The first President of the United States was a savvy businessman and entrepreneur who owned one of the largest whiskey distilleries in America. His distillery used rye, corn, wheat, and malted barley to make its signature product - an impressive feat for the time period. Although he may not have been able to predict the future success of his distillery, Washington likely knew that producing whiskey would be profitable. Today, we can look back at this amazing accomplishment with admiration and appreciation for our Founding Father's business acumen.
Peter The Great Kept The Head Of His Wife's Lover In A Jar In Her Bedroom... Maybe
Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia from 1682-1725, was known for his ambitious and eccentric leadership. He had a wild streak that extended to his personal life, where he kept an unusual memento in his bedroom: the head of his wife's lover! The story goes that when Peter learned of his wife's affair with one of his courtiers, he ordered the man beheaded and then presented his wife with her former lover's severed head in a jar. It may sound like something out of a horror movie, but it is indeed true—a fact that has been documented by historians since the 1700s.
President Zachary Taylor Died From A Cherry Overdose
It's hard to believe, but it's true: President Zachary Taylor died from a cherry overdose. On July 4th, 1850, the 12th President of the United States attended a public ceremony in Washington D.C., where he consumed an excessive amount of cherries and iced milk. The combination of these two foods caused severe digestive issues for him, leading to his death five days later. This is one of those historical facts that sounds too strange to be real, but unfortunately it is. It's a reminder that even though our presidents are some of the most powerful people on earth, they're still human and can succumb to the same ailments as any other person.
President Johnson Conducted Meetings While Sitting On The Toilet
It's almost too hard to believe, but it's true! President Lyndon B. Johnson was known for conducting meetings while sitting on the toilet. This quirky habit began in the 1950s when he was a Senator from Texas and continued all the way through his presidency. It's said that LBJ would often call members of Congress into the bathroom with him, so they could discuss policy and legislation while he sat there doing his business. Although this may seem odd, it actually worked quite well for him as many of his colleagues respected his no-nonsense approach and willingness to get things done. So next time you find yourself needing to make an important decision, remember that even presidents have their own unique ways of getting things done - even if it means taking care of business on the throne!
In 1386, A Pig Was Executed In France For The Crime Of Murder
In 1386, a pig in France was put on trial and found guilty of murder. The story is so unbelievable that it sounds like something from a fairy tale... except it's true! This remarkable event happened in the French village of Savigny-sur-Etang where a sow had killed a child while roaming freely through the streets. After much deliberation, the court declared the pig to be guilty and sentenced her to death by hanging. Despite its absurdity, this historical fact serves as an important reminder that animals can sometimes be held accountable for their actions just like humans.
Spanish Spy Juan Pujol García Received The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross By The Nazis And The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire During World War II
Juan Pujol García was an unlikely hero of World War II. An unassuming Spanish businessman, he became a double agent for both the British and Germans during the war. His most remarkable feat? He managed to convince the Nazis that he was their spy in Britain while simultaneously convincing the British that he was their spy in Germany. To top it off, his efforts were so successful that he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross from the Nazis and the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire from the British! It may sound like something out of a movie, but this incredible story is true - Juan Pujol Garcia really did receive two awards from opposing sides during WWII.
Tug Of War Was Once An Olympic Sport
Tug of War was once an Olympic sport, and it's hard to believe that this game of strength and strategy could have been taken so seriously. But from 1900-1920, teams of eight competed in the Summer Olympics for a chance to take home gold! The rules were simple: two teams pull on opposite ends of a rope until one team is pulled over the center line. It required immense coordination and physical prowess to be successful, as well as a good strategy - after all, you had to outsmart your opponents just as much as overpower them. Although tug of war isn't part of the modern Olympics anymore, it remains a beloved classic backyard game enjoyed by people around the world.
Chicago Was Physically Raised Six Feet In The 19th Century
It's hard to believe, but it's true! In the late 19th century, Chicago was literally raised up by six feet! This incredible feat of engineering was accomplished by a team of workers who worked tirelessly for two years to raise over 4,000 buildings in the city. The process involved digging out basements and foundations, jacking up entire structures, and then filling in the gaps with dirt from nearby Lake Michigan. It was an ambitious project that transformed the skyline of Chicago forever. Today, visitors can still see evidence of this amazing endeavor as they tour the city’s streets and landmarks.
Russia Ran Out Of Vodka Celebrating The End Of World War II
It's a fact that seems too wild to be true, but it's actually real: Russia ran out of vodka celebrating the end of World War II. On May 9th 1945, after Nazi Germany had surrendered, Russians celebrated with such enthusiasm and vigor that they drank all of their vodka reserves dry! It was an incredible display of jubilation from a country that had endured so much suffering during the war years, and one that will never be forgotten. The celebration also marked the beginning of a new era for the Soviet Union, as they emerged victorious in the conflict and began rebuilding their nation. So next time you raise your glass to toast a special occasion, take a moment to remember this remarkable historical event - when Russia ran out of vodka celebrating the end of WWII!
King Tut's Parents Were Probably Siblings
It's hard to believe, but it's true: King Tutankhamun's parents were likely siblings. This fact is one of the most fascinating discoveries in ancient Egyptian history. While this may sound like a wild conspiracy theory, DNA evidence from 2010 confirmed that Pharaoh Akhenaten and his chief queen, Nefertiti, were indeed brother and sister. It was also revealed that Tutankhamun had been born with several physical deformities due to his family’s close blood ties. Despite these shocking revelations about his parentage, Tutankhamun went on to become one of Egypt's most famous pharaohs, ruling for just ten years before dying at the age of 19. His legacy lives on today as a reminder of the power of royalty and the mysteries of the past.
Tablecloths Were Originally Intended To Be A Giant Napkin
Tablecloths were once an unexpected form of dining accessory. While today they are a staple in many households, tablecloths were originally intended to be used as one giant napkin! It was first popularized by the French aristocracy during the 17th century. The wealthy would use large pieces of fabric draped over their tables and then wipe their hands on it after meals. This trend quickly spread throughout Europe and eventually the rest of the world. Though it may seem like a strange concept now, this is how tablecloths came into existence. They have since become a timeless part of our culture and can be found in homes across the globe. Who knew that something so simple could have such an interesting history?
Thomas Edison Created A Baby Doll And It Was Super Creepy
Thomas Edison was one of the most prolific inventors in history, but what many people don't know is that he also created a baby doll. This creepy creation had an eerie resemblance to a real life infant and even made noises when its arms were moved. It was powered by electricity and featured a wax figure with a cloth body, glass eyes, and real hair. The invention was meant to be used as a teaching tool for mothers on how to properly care for their children, however it quickly gained notoriety due to its uncanny appearance. Although this bizarre invention may seem too strange to be true, it's actually part of the incredible legacy left behind by Thomas Edison.
In 1945, A Balloon Bomb Was Dropped By Japan On The Only Casualties Who Died On U.S. Soil
It may seem impossible that a balloon bomb could be responsible for the only casualties on U.S. soil during WWII, but it's true! On May 5th 1945, a Japanese Fu-Go balloon bomb was dropped in Oregon, killing six people and injuring several others. The balloons were designed to fly across the Pacific Ocean using air currents, and they carried explosives with them. This incident marked the first time since the Civil War that civilians had been killed by enemy action on American soil. It's amazing to think that this obscure event is part of our nation's history - and a reminder of the power of war.
In 1929, Professor Ernest Glen Wever and his assistant Charles William Bray conducted an experiment on a cat at Princeton University - The Cat Was Turned Into A Telephone
In 1929, Professor Ernest Glen Wever and his assistant Charles William Bray conducted an experiment that seemed too unbelievable to be true - they turned a cat into a telephone. This incredible feat was achieved by surgically implanting electrodes in the auditory nerve of the cat's ear. The sound waves from the phone receiver were then converted into electrical signals which stimulated the cat’s inner ear, allowing it to hear conversations over the phone line. Although this experiment may seem far-fetched, it actually happened and is remembered as one of the most remarkable scientific achievements of its time.
In The 11th Century Forks Were Considered Sacrilegious
In the 11th century, forks were considered sacrilegious and a sign of greed. It was believed that God had provided us with hands to eat with, so using any other utensil was seen as an affront to his will. This belief lasted for centuries until it was finally overturned by the Italian court in 1071. That’s right, the first recorded use of a fork dates back almost 1000 years! Despite the initial shock and disapproval from religious authorities, forks quickly became popular across Europe and remain an essential part of our dining experience today. So next time you sit down to dinner, take a moment to reflect on this ancient custom and how far we have come since then!
President Andrew Jackson Owned A Swearing Parrot That Attended His Funeral
President Andrew Jackson was a man of many talents, and his pet parrot Poll was no exception! A beloved companion to the 7th President of the United States, Polly was known for her colorful language and even attended Jackson's funeral in 1845. As a testament to their close bond, it is said that when Poll died two years later, she was buried alongside her owner at The Hermitage - Jackson’s home in Tennessee. While it may seem like something out of a fairy tale, this incredible story is true, proving that sometimes truth really can be stranger than fiction!
Pope Gregory IX Believed That Cats Were Evil
The strange and often unbelievable historical fact that Pope Gregory IX believed cats to be evil is one of the most fascinating tales in history. This belief was so strong that he even issued a papal bull in 1233, declaring them as agents of Satan. The pope's reasoning for this decree came from his own superstitions; cats were associated with witches, who were seen as servants of the devil. Despite its strangeness, this belief has been documented throughout the centuries and still remains an interesting part of our past.
Ancient Romans Used Their Own Urine As Mouthwash
The Ancient Romans sure had some interesting ways of keeping their mouths clean! Believe it or not, they actually used their own urine as a mouthwash. While this may sound strange to us today, there is evidence that suggests the practice was quite common in Ancient Rome. Urine contains ammonia, which has antiseptic properties and can help kill bacteria and germs. So while it may seem gross, it was actually an effective way for the Ancient Romans to keep their mouths healthy and fresh. This just goes to show that sometimes historical facts that seem too odd to be true are actually based on real-life practices from long ago.
Mary Had A Little Lamb Was Based On A True Story
Mary Had a Little Lamb is one of the most beloved nursery rhymes of all time, but did you know it was based on a true story? That's right - Mary and her lamb were real people! The original Mary was Mary Sawyer, who lived in Sterling, Massachusetts. She had a pet lamb that followed her to school every day. When her teacher saw this, he wrote down the now-famous words as an ode to Mary and her little companion. To this day, Mary Had a Little Lamb remains a classic children's song, bringing joy and nostalgia to generations of listeners.
Albert Einstein Refused To Be President Of Israel
Albert Einstein was one of the most influential scientists and thinkers of all time. He made groundbreaking discoveries in physics, mathematics, and philosophy that still shape our understanding of the universe today. But did you know that he also refused to be president of Israel? In 1952, after being offered the position, Einstein declined due to his belief that he lacked the necessary experience for such a role. Despite this, his legacy continues to live on in both science and politics. His refusal to accept the post shows us how even someone as brilliant as him can sometimes make decisions based on modesty rather than ambition. It's an inspiring reminder that no matter who we are, it's important to stay true to ourselves and our values.
Heroin Was Used As A Children's Cough Remedy
Heroin is a drug today that is known for its highly addictive properties and potential to cause serious health issues. However, it wasn't always this way - in the late 19th century, heroin was actually used as a children's cough remedy! It was marketed as a non-addictive alternative to morphine and even sold over the counter without a prescription. Although it was thought to be safe at the time, we now know that it can lead to addiction and other dangerous side effects. Despite this, there are still some people who remember when it was considered an acceptable form of medicine for young children.
Woolly Mammoths Were Still Alive When The Pyramids Were Constructed
It's hard to believe, but it's true - woolly mammoths were still alive when the Pyramids of Giza were being constructed! Dating back to around 2560 BCE, these ancient monuments are one of the oldest and most iconic structures in history. But at the same time, woolly mammoths were roaming the Earth, having survived for thousands of years after their extinction was predicted. It's amazing to think that such a large creature could have lived alongside humans during this period, and even more incredible that they managed to coexist with us until so recently. Truly an astonishing fact about our shared past!
There Was A Massive Syphilis Outbreak In Europe In The 15th Century
In the 15th century, Europe was struck by a medical crisis that changed history forever. A massive syphilis outbreak swept through the continent, infecting millions of people and leaving an indelible mark on our collective memory. It's hard to believe this actually happened, but it did! The disease spread like wildfire, with devastating consequences for those affected. Symptoms included rashes, fever, aches, and pains, as well as more serious complications such as blindness and paralysis. Although treatments were available at the time, they weren't always effective in combating the infection. This tragic event serves as a reminder of how far we've come in terms of medical advances since then - and also of just how powerful and unpredictable diseases can be.
Dentures Were Once Made From The Teeth Of Fallen Soldiers
Dentures have been around for centuries, but did you know that they were once made from the teeth of fallen soldiers? This unbelievable fact is true! During the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, dentists would scavenge battlefields to collect human teeth and use them to craft dentures. It was a gruesome practice, but it kept many people from having to go without their missing teeth. Thankfully, today's denture-making practices are much more humane and modernized, so we no longer need to rely on such a macabre source for our dental needs.
Boston Was Once Drowned In Molasses
It's hard to believe, but it's true - in 1919, Boston was literally drowned in molasses. On January 15th of that year, a massive storage tank containing 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst open and sent an immense wave of the sticky goo rushing through the streets at 35 miles per hour. The disaster killed 21 people, injured 150 more, and caused millions of dollars worth of property damage. It took months for the city to clean up all the molasses, and today it remains one of the most bizarre natural disasters in American history.
King Don Pedro Of Portugal Made His Subjects Worship The Corpse Of His Former Love
King Don Pedro of Portugal was a man who lived life to the fullest. His reign in the 1300s was marked by his passionate and wild nature, and one of his most bizarre acts was making his subjects worship the corpse of his former love. It's almost too strange to be true, but it is indeed an actual historical fact! During his lifetime, King Don Pedro had a tumultuous relationship with Ines de Castro, whom he eventually married after her death. He then ordered that all of his subjects bow down before her remains as a sign of respect for their union. This unusual act has been remembered throughout history and serves as a reminder of the power of love and loyalty.
Alexander The Great Was Accidentally Buried Alive
Alexander the Great was one of the most influential figures in ancient history, conquering much of the known world by the age of 32. But what many don't know is that he almost didn't make it to his 33rd birthday - because he was accidentally buried alive! After a night of drinking with friends, Alexander fell into such a deep sleep that those around him thought he had died. In order to honor their beloved leader, they hastily prepared a funeral and proceeded to bury him alive. Fortunately, someone noticed signs of life just as the dirt started to pile up and quickly uncovered Alexander before it was too late. It's a wild story that sounds like something out of a movie, but it's true - an incredible testament to Alexander's strength and resilience.