History is a vast subject to be sure. And with so little time to cover it all, plenty of things get swept aside in favor of the bigger stories like World War II and the Louisiana Purchase. Those things are certainly interesting stories, but they’ve got nothing on these wacky facts we dug up.
1. Albert Einstein could have been president of Israel when it was formed, but he declined.
2. Before dentures were invented, teeth were pulled from the mouths of dead soldiers for use as prosthetics.
3. Roman Emperor Gaius, also known as Caligula, made one of his favorite horses a senator.
4. There’s a giant mushroom in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest with a root system that covers over 2,200 acres, making it the largest living organism in the world.
5. In 1929, researchers at Princeton University claimed that they had turned a living cat into a telephone.
6. Heroin was once a perfectly acceptable medicine prescribed by doctors for everything from coughs to headaches.
7. While Pope Gregory IX was in power, he declared that cats were to be associated with devil worship and had them exterminated in droves.
8. It’s believed that the disappearance of those cats cats helped rats spread the bubonic plague, or Black Death, that killed hundreds of millions of people in the 1300s.
9. Russian dictator Joseph Stalin often had photos retouched to remove people who had died or been removed from office.
10. Chinese women used to painfully bind their feet to make them appear smaller and more feminine.
11. The shortest war in history was the Anglo-Zanzibar War. It lasted just 38 minutes.
12. Former North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il was said to be a great lover of music and composed six operas while he was in office.
13. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was actually never straight to begin with. The foundation began to sink when they started on the second floor.
14. Ronald Reagan is best known for being President and acting in numerous films, but he was also a prolific lifeguard, who saved 77 people from drowning.
15. Researchers believe that the famous Guanajuato Mummies’ terrible expressions are the result of the victims being buried alive.
16. Klerksdorp spheres are strange objects that have been dug up near Ottosdal in South Africa. The spherical objects are billions of years old and no one has been able to fully explain the markings on their sides.
17. A famous native American named Blackbird was said to have loved his horse so much that he was buried sitting on top of it.
18. 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.
19. The largest bird ever to exist had a wingspan of almost 20 feet. It lived 60 million years ago.
20. Russian mystic Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin reportedly survived being poisoned, shot, and stabbed numerous times before he was finally drowned in the Volga river.
21. This mysterious ancient monument bears the inscription “DOUOSVAVVM.” Some believe it was left by the Knights Templar as a means of finding the Holy Grail.
22. People in Spain used to employ a form of torture called the Spanish Donkey. Victims had to sit high up, straddling a board while torturers tied increasingly heavy weights to their legs. Ouch!
23. Speaking of torture, the Mayans used to sacrifice people by pulling their still-beating hearts out of their chests.
24. The use of the word “hooker” as a term for a prostitute actually originated with Civil War General Joseph Hooker, who brought prostitutes along on campaigns for his men.
25. Like many ancient royalty, King Tut’s parents were related. They were actually brother and sister, according to DNA taken from his mummified body. He was also disabled and probably had malaria.
26. Winston Churchill famously loved cigars. How much? About 10-a-day-much.
27. During the Great Depression, people often made clothes out of potato sacks. Seeing this, distributors made their sacks more colorful to help people remain at least somewhat fashionable.
Even if you’re a history buff, I bet you didn’t know most of these bizarre facts. Makes you wonder what other secrets the past holds!
Share these weird historical facts with your friends below, and see how many they know!