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

By Jack Ripley | May 6, 2024

The Great Moon Hoax, 1835

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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library of congress

The Great Moon Hoax of 1835 seized the public's imagination when "The New York Sun" newspaper published a series of articles detailing the supposed discovery of life on the moon. Famed astronomer Sir John Herschel was erroneously credited with these findings, which claimed he had observed lunar flora and fauna, including bat-like winged humanoids, through an advanced telescope. The articles described fantastic landscapes and exotic creatures in vivid detail, captivating readers and increasing the newspaper's circulation. The new story accounts caused rumors of moon dwellers amidst otherworldly vegetation, all supposedly visible from Earth to spread like wildfire. As fascinating as the reports were, they were pure fabrication, likely intended as satire on the more outlandish scientific claims of the era. The Great Moon Hoax is a quintessential example of how the media can fabricate wild narratives that enthrall the masses and blur the lines between science fiction and reality.

The Disappearance of the USS Cyclops, 1918

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public domain

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.