Historical Head-Scratchers: Discover These Bizarre Stories From The Past

By Jack Ripley | April 22, 2024

London’s Great Stink of 1858 Was a Time When the Thames Turned Toxic

Today we're taking a look at 20 historical events so bizarre, weird, and wild that many of them are beyond belief. The following records illustrate a collection of lesser-known, often whimsical, and sometimes downright bewildering moments in time. Many on this list remain notably absent from the standard history texts.

Buckle up for a twisty ride through these frequently odd, totally unconventional, and downright strange historical accounts. These 20 peculiar narratives below are assured to unearth a truly elusive side of history.

 

 

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Imagine the iconic River Thames becoming the source of unbearable fumes that could be sensed from the heart of London. The Great Stink of 1858 was an event of such foul conditions that it overwhelmed virtually the entire city. During a particularly hot summer, the smell emanating from the sewage-laden waters was so powerful that it permeated the Houses of Parliament, disrupting government business and compelling lawmakers to soak curtains in chloride of lime for relief. This olfactory catastrophe spurred public action. The event catalyzed a major investment in London's sewage system, led by engineer Joseph Bazalgette. The crisis ultimately revolutionized urban sanitation and transformed the Thames into the cleaner waterway that it is today.


 

The Disappearance of the USS Cyclops, 1918

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In March 1918, the USS Cyclops, a massive Navy collier ship, set out on a routine voyage from the West Indies to Baltimore and sailed into the annals of maritime mystery. The Cyclops was last sighted near the area now infamous as the Bermuda Triangle, a region purportedly plagued by unexplained disappearances. Intensive searches yielded no concrete answers, and speculation swirled around possible explanations, including severe weather, enemy activity due to World War I, mutiny, and even paranormal forces. The loss of the Cyclops represents the single largest non-combat loss of life in U.S. Naval history. Her fate remains an unsettling question, a chilling reminder of the sea's unfathomable depths and the mysteries that may be concealed within them.