Hitler had a very smelly problem
Documents uncovered from World War II show that Hitler had a severe issue with flatulence, forever leaving smelly farts in his wake. The German dictator had a chronic digestion disorder which led to frequent bouts of flatulence, leaving his subordinates constantly breathing in his nose-pinching fumes.
The Great Pyramid matches the Earth’s measurements
It sounds impossible – and, in theory, it should be. But the Ancient Egyptians somehow managed to make The Great Pyramid perfectly reflect the Earth’s dimensions. The structure is essentially a scale model of the planet, with a ratio of 1:43,200, further adding to the mysteries of the impossible structure.
Ketchup was once used as medicine
Imagine going to the doctor and being prescribed ketchup instead of any actual medicine. That was the reality for those living in 1834, with Dr John Cook Bennett believing that the condiment could cure ailments such as diarrhea, jaundice and indigestion. Thankfully, medicine has come leaps and bounds since then.
Abraham Lincoln is in the wrestling hall of fame
Although he’s best known for his achievements in office, Abraham Lincoln was also successful within the wrestling ring, being thought to have only experienced one loss out of his 300 matches. In 1992, Lincoln was officially recognized by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as an Outstanding American in the sport.
A Great Dane once stopped a bomb from going off
Believe it or not, but a dog was awarded with the Blue Cross Medal. The Great Dane, named Juliana, extinguished an incendiary bomb – purely by peeing on it! This put out the rapidly burning fire, preventing it from spreading. The canine was awarded yet another medal years later when she alerted her owners to a house fire, saving their lives.
The shortest war in history lasted 38 minutes
The Anglo-Zanzibar War was wrapped up fairly quickly – in just 38 minutes, to be precise. With a sultan holding himself up in his palace – refusing to accept a new ruler, the British open fired. It didn’t take long for the sultan’s defenses to crumble, with the sultan himself fleeing two minutes after the start of the bombardment.
The University of Oxford is older than the Aztec Empire
The University of Oxford is so old that it predates the Aztec civilization by more than 200 years. Nobody knows the exact date the University’s doors opened, though records show attendees as far back as 1096. The Aztec Empire, meanwhile, was founded in 1325.
Pineapples were once a symbol of status
In 18th century England, the fruit you can now pick up at the supermarket was once highly sought after. The rich would carry pineapples around with them, flaunting their wealth, status, and power. They’d even decorate their clothes and home with the fruits, with each pineapple being estimated to cost around $8,000.
The invention of alarm clocks put many people out of work
Before the invention of smart phones and alarm clocks, people were employed to walk the streets and wake people up for work. These employees would wake people up by any means necessary – knocking on their windows with long sticks, hammers, or rattles, with some even by firing pea shooters.
Roman gladiators were heralded as celebrities
Before the time of television and social media, Roman gladiators were seen as the hottest topic. They endorsed products, had children play with figurines made of clay in their image, and were shouted at with admiration in the streets. Women even collected the gladiators’ sweat to use as a skincare product.
King Henry VIII had bathroom-based servants
In what’s possibly the worst job ever, King Henry VIII had servants who sole responsibilities were to wipe his bottom after he’d been to the toilet. These workers were given the rather apt title of Grooms of Stool, and King Henry ensured that he knighted them all over the course of his reign.
The Titanic sinking was predicted in an eerily-accurate novella
14 years before the Titanic met its doom, a novella by Morgan Robertson penned a spookily similar event. In his tale, the ship was called Titan, which hit an iceberg in the Northern Atlantic. Spookier still, the ship was short on lifeboats, resulting in thousands of deaths.
Ancient Romans used urine as mouthwash
As gross as it may sound, urine is actually a powerful cleaning agent, mainly due to the ingredient ammonia. The Ancient Romans cottoned onto its powerful cleansing properties, constantly using it to keep their dental hygiene in tip-top condition. The product became so popular it was eventually taxed.
Forks were considered sacrilegious
What the fork? Once upon a time, the use of these innocent utensils was considered as being blasphemous and an offence to God Himself. The reasoning behind this strange decision was that they were seen as being artificial hands, and therefore weren’t created in God’s divine image.
97% of history has been lost over time
It’s a fact that keeps most historians awake into the early hours of the night – we simply don’t know most of our planet’s long-reaching history. Written accounts of human history only started roughly 6,000 years ago, whereas “modern” humans walked the planet 200,000 years ago – leaving much of our history lost in time – no matter how deep we dig.
The guillotine was an invention of equality
Although it brought death, the French invention of the guillotine was originally proposed as a means to bring equality in death. Punishments like being drawn and quartered were brutal – but extremely common. The guillotine, meanwhile, was supposed to be a swift end that was fair to all.
A plague caused people to dance to death
The Dancing Plague of 1518 may sound like the stuff of legend, but it was very much true. Residents of Strasbourg were taken by the sudden and uncontrollable need to dance, unyielding until it caused death. The plague claimed around 400 victims, and historians are still unsure as to what caused the strange phenomena.
Slaves could win their freedom through lawsuits
In Colonial America, some slaves were able to win their freedom through the courts. There was a very low chance of success, but winning meant that the slave would soon become a citizen. Since slaves were rarely given names, the judge would grant the new citizen the surname of Freeman.
WW2 soldiers almost built an aircraft carrier made of ice
Project Habakkuk was a plan by the British to create an aircraft carrier out of a mix of wood and ice. The plan would’ve seen the creation of the world’s largest ship ever, coming in at 600 meters. Eventually, the project was shelved due to the ever-increasing costs.
Turkeys were once worshiped as Gods
These days, turkeys are known for being the main event during Thanksgiving. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, however, the Mayans held turkeys in high regard, believing that they were the messengers of the Gods themselves. The clucking critters were seen as being highly powerful, able to influence humans through their dreams.
All British tanks are equipped with tea-making facilities
There’s little that comes between a Brit and their tea – even a war. After World War II, the British Army designed special kettles to be installed in tanks to provide soldiers with their much-loved beverage, helping to alleviate the woes of being stuck in such cramped conditions.
In Ancient Greece, wearing skirts was considered manly
These fashion items weren’t just considered to be stylish in Ancient Greece, but they were also thought to be a key indicator of masculinity. The manliest of the manliest men donned an item called a chiton, a simple garment that’s similar to today’s knee-length skirts.
Vikings discovered America before Columbus
Although we’re taught that Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover America, that fact isn’t entirely true. Archeologists discovered several Nordic sites in the States that date from 1000 and 1400, suggesting that the fierce warriors set foot on the land around 400 years before Columbus.
Only six people died in the Great Fire of London
The Great Fire of London did irreparable damage to the city, wreaking havoc upon thousands of buildings and homes. Despite the tragedy, only six deaths were ever recorded from the historic event. However, many historians believe that the actual death toll was much higher – in the hundreds – with the blaze leaving no evidence of life behind.
The Statue of Liberty used to be a lighthouse
Now used as a tourist trap, the Statue of Liberty once served an entirely different purpose. Gifted to America by the French, the statue used to serve as a lighthouse, being used as a beacon from 1886 until 1901. Its light could be seen by ships up to 24 miles away, though it was eventually closed down due to operational costs.
The last letter added to the alphabet was J
You’d think that the alphabet was created in chronological order, with the last letter of creation being Z. Alas, the actual last letter was J. It’s no coincidence that I and J sit next to each other – they were originally the same letter, with J being a typographical embellishment. It wasn’t until 1524 that the letter was given it’s own sound and meaning.
Tablecloths were originally used as one big communal napkin
Once upon a time, tablecloths were used as mere decoration. In the Renaissance period, however, its use shifted, being used as one large communal napkins, with all dinner guests using the fabric to wipe their dirty hands. Don’t try this one at your next dinner party – it may raise a few eyebrows.
Count Dracula was inspired by a real person
The blood-sucking fiend Dracula wasn’t entirely fictitious. In fact, it’s believed that he was based on a real person – Vlad the Impaler. The fierce leader is thought to have been born in 1431, in what is now known as Transylvania. Vlad the Impaler was a brutal and sadistic figure, as his name suggests, believed to be responsible for more than 80,000 deaths.
The Eiffel Tower was originally meant for Barcelona
It’s hard to imagine the Eiffel Tower being anywhere else but Paris, with the landmark being synonymous with the city of love. The structure’s creator originally pitched it to be placed in the beautiful city of Barcelona, though officials turned down the offer out of fear it would be an eyesore on the landscape.
Britain once banned Christmas
It’s hard to imagine a world without Christmas, but if Brits in 1647 had their way, that’s exactly how it’d be. Parliament passed an ordinance on the festivities (also banning Easter celebrations), out of fear that the celebrations were of a Pagan origin. Officials even fined the public for non-compliance, before the ban was lifted 20 years later.
A Pope once declared war on cats
Pope Gregory IX sought to purge all cats from the land, believing that the fluffy creatures were satanic in origin. The Pope ruled the Papal states from 1227 to 1241, most of which he spent ordering the deaths of the innocent creatures. It’s thought that this mass culling eventually lead to the spread of the Black Plague.
The T. rex is closer in time to us than it is to the stegosaurus
When we look back on history, it can be easy to group every era together, losing a sense of perspective. In fact, the lifetimes of dinosaurs stretched far and wide throughout the Earth’s history, with the stegosaurus roaming the planet between 156 and 144 million years ago. The Tyrannosaurus rex, meanwhile, lived 67–65 million years ago, making the creature closer in time to human life.
The Olympics used to award medals for art
When you think of the Olympic games, you tend to think of sprinting or pole vaulting. From 1912 to 1952, however, medals were given out for an array of artistic feats, including architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture. This practice was eventually abandoned as artists were considered to be professionals, while athletes were required to be amateurs.
Richard Nixon was a great musician
The 37th president of the United States isn’t just known for his time in office, but also for his musical ability. Nixon was a multi-instrumentalist who could play the piano, saxophone, clarinet, accordion, and violin, with a particular enjoyment of jazz and classical tunes.
Antarctica was once a rainforest
Around 90 million years ago, Antarctica was a very different place. Instead of icebergs and glaciers, it’s believed that the continent was a sprawling rainforest, teeming with life. It’s thought that millions of fossils from the period could still be trapped beneath the ice, just waiting to be discovered.
Cleopatra is closer in time to the iPhone than the construction of the pyramids
Cleopatra is thought to have lived between the years 69 b.C. and 30 b.C. The Egyptians, however, built the pyramids around 2550 b.C – a whopping chunk of time away from the birth of the famous Egyptian leader. As we know, the first iPhone appeared in 2007, making Cleopatra nearer to the digital age than the creation of Egypt’s most iconic landmark.
A Native American Chief allegedly lived for 137 years
13 decades sound like a very, very long time to spend on the planet, but, supposedly, a Native American Chief managed to accomplish the feat. Chief John Smith – known as The Old Indian to the local white people – reportedly died of pneumonia at the age of 137. He had two wives and one adopted son.
The loudest sound in recorded history was from a volcano
In August, 1883, an eruption from an Indonesian island of Krakatoa produced what’s widely believed to be the loudest sound on the planet, coming in at 310 decibels. It caused two thirds of the islands to collapse, triggering tsunami waves across the Indian Ocean that rocked ships all the way in South Africa.
Dinosaurs went extinct before Hawaii even existed
There are no fossils to discover on the islands of Hawaii, purely because the islands didn’t exist when the creatures roamed the Earth. The volcanic upwelling that formed the land mass occurred around 40 million years ago, whereas dinosaurs only lived until around 66 million years ago, making them untouched by the fearsome beasts.
Egyptian Pharaohs used their slaves as human flycatchers
Pharaohs are hardly known for their kindness. One of the more obscure things they did was ordering their slaves to serve as human flycatchers, coating them head to toe in honey. The honey would attract swarms of the insects, keeping them away from the ever-demanding leaders.