12 Historical Events We Can’t Believe Really Happened

Ephraim Obare
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Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a wild ride through the annals of history! Yes, you heard it right – we’re about to embark on a journey that stretches the limits of your belief. From the utterly bizarre to the downright confounding, these 12 historical events will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about our past.

So grab your time-travel helmets, and let’s plunge into the time vortex because history, my friends, is anything but boring.

Emu War (Australia, 1932)

The Great Emu War of Australia
CraigRJD via canva.com

No, you didn’t read that wrong. Australia declared war on emus. That’s right; the flightless birds were allegedly destroying crops in Western Australia, so the military was dispatched with machine guns. It’s even more ridiculous when you realize the emus won!

The Great Molasses Flood (Boston, 1919)

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bhofack2 via Canva.com

A large molasses storage tank burst and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph, killing 21 people and injuring 150. The event was so bizarre it’s sometimes called the Boston Molassacre.

Dancing Plague (France, 1518)

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image credit: Anna.Massini via Wikimedia Commons

Around 400 people took to dancing for days without rest, and for about one month, some of those affected collapsed or even died of heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion. The exact cause remains unknown, making it a real-life Footloose… minus the happy ending.

According to Britannica, imagine this: the dancing plague of 1518, an event that shook the very foundations of Strasbourg. Hundreds of citizens were caught in an uncontrollable dance, moving unwillingly for days. The mania lasted two months before fading away, leaving a baffling enigma behind.

Pig Trial (France, 14th Century)

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Animals were tried for their crimes in medieval times, and yes, even pigs weren’t immune. Two herds of pigs were dressed in human clothes, tried for murder, and publicly executed.

According to History Today, a French monastery witnessed a shocking incident on a fateful day, September 5, 1379. Two herds of seemingly ordinary pigs were seized by an unusual agitation that led to the unthinkable: the demise of a man named Perrinot Muet. In a rare display of justice, even by the standards of the time, these unsuspecting swine—the ones directly involved and even those that had silently observed—were subjected to a trial for a crime. Ultimately, a sentence of death was passed, forever marking this bizarre chapter in history.

Toledo War (1835-1836)

Shocked Man
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A border dispute between Michigan and Ohio almost led to war. No shots were fired, but the bizarre conflict led to Michigan’s statehood.

According to Michiganology, while not deemed an official war as no lives were lost and damages remained minimal, the battle for this small piece of land, Toledo strip, held immense significance. The coveted Toledo Strip promised the potential of transforming the city of Toledo into a bustling commercial port, driving both parties to fiercely compete for its development.

The War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739-1748)

Men shocked
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

A war between Britain and Spain that started because a British captain, Robert Jenkins, exhibited his severed ear in Parliament and blamed Spanish coast guards. Talk about holding a grudge!

Coca Cola’s New Coke (1985)

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In a move that baffled the world, Coca Cola changed its century-old recipe to compete with Pepsi. The backlash was immediate, and the company returned to its old formula within three months.

Medium states that against all odds and defying conventional wisdom, Coca-Cola made a daring move. They dared to tinker with their cherished secret formula, loved by millions, all in an attempt to create a sweeter version that could rival Pepsi. With great anticipation, the world witnessed the grand arrival of “New Coke” in April 1985. Little did anyone know, this audacious decision would soon transform into a colossal blunder, leaving everyone stunned and disappointed.

Operation Acoustic Kitty (1960s)

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The CIA spent $20 million to train cats to spy on the Soviets. The first mission failed when the cat was hit by a taxi.

According to Wikipedia, Victor Marchetti, a former CIA officer, spilled the tea on Project Acoustic Kitty. Get this, it cost a whopping $20 million! Their first mission? Eavesdropping on two shady characters by the Soviet embassy in Washington, D.C. They even had a cat on the case! But hold your breath, the poor kitty got caught in the crossfire and supposedly met its demise by a rogue taxi. Intriguing, right?

The Cadaver Synod (897)

The Cadaver Synod (897)
Pope Formosus and Stephen VI by Jean Paul Laurens via Wikimedia Commons

Pope Stephen VI had his predecessor Pope Formosus exhumed, dressed in papal vestments, and put on trial. It was a literal posthumous trial!

Britannica states that in a chilling Roman synod, famously known as the “Cadaver Synod,” orchestrated by Pope Stephen VI (VII), the political adversaries of Formosus carried out a macabre spectacle. They exhumed the corpse of Formosus, merely nine months old, and placed it on a throne, subjecting it to a grotesque mock trial. Adding to the bone-chilling ambiance, a deacon answered in place of the lifeless body.

Tulip Mania (Netherlands, 1637)

Tulip Mania (Netherlands, 1637)
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Tulips became so popular in the Netherlands that their prices shot up, and at the peak of the mania, a single tulip bulb was worth more than a house. The market eventually crashed spectacularly.

London Beer Flood (1814)

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A huge vat of beer ruptured, causing other vats to burst and resulting in a 15-foot wave of beer that flooded streets and houses, killing eight people. As tragic as it was, it’s hard not to see the irony in the situation.

Great Fire of London (1666)

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The Great Fire of London destroyed four-fifths of the city and left tens of thousands homeless. Surprisingly, only sixteen people lost their lives in the actual fire.

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15 Astounding History Facts That Are So Unbelievable, We Couldn’t Fabricate Them Even if We Wanted To

15 Astounding History Facts That Are So Unbelievable, We Couldn’t Fabricate Them Even if We Wanted To
Own work via Wikimedia Commons

Are you ready to embark on a roller-coaster ride through the annals of history, where facts are stranger than fiction? Buckle up because this piece dissects into 15 astounding historical facts that are so unbelievable that we couldn’t fabricate them even if we wanted to.

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You might think you’ve got your history down, but you’re about to have your world rocked — or at least your understanding of the past. Are you ready for a rollercoaster ride through the labyrinth of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and downright doozies that we’ve all been fooled into accepting as accurate? Hold onto your tricorn hats and let the unraveling of American history myths begin!

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Author

  • Ephraim Obare

    Ephraim Obare is a versatile member of the Frenz Hub writing team, bringing a rich background in economics to his work. An avid swimmer, reader, and cyclist, Ephraim blends analytical insights with his diverse interests.

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