12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up – But Aren’t

Mitch
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Welcome, history enthusiasts and skeptics! You might think you’ve seen it all, heard it all, and read it all when it comes to the past. But trust us, buckle up — you’re in for an unexpected ride. We’re about to excavate 12 treasure troves of bizarre occurrences from the vaults of bygone eras – events so implausible, you’ll be shouting “balderdash” at your screens.

The 1904 Olympics Marathon in St. Louis Was a Total Mess

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
via Wikimedia Commons

Picture this: scorching temperatures, a dust-choked route, and participants guzzling rat poison (a misguided attempt at performance enhancement). One runner, Fred Lorz, hitched a car ride for 11 miles and was initially declared the winner until his ruse was discovered. Meanwhile, a South African entrant, Len Tau, was chased a mile off course by wild dogs.

But the real star was Thomas Hicks, who, despite nearly succumbing to the rat poison, made it over the finish line with some help from egg whites and strychnine injections. Yes, you read that right, strychnine. Who needs energy gels when you have good old-fashioned poison?

Tsutomu Yamaguchi Survived Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki Blasts

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
Photo: © alexlmx via canva.com

This reluctant ‘celebrity’ had the dubious distinction of surviving not one, but both of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. First, on August 6th, while on a work trip to Hiroshima, he was caught in the deadly fallout of the “Little Boy” explosion.

Badly injured but alive, he crawled to safety and took the train home—to Nagasaki. And then, just as he was recounting his harrowing experience in Hiroshima to his boss on August 9th, the “Fat Man” atomic bomb detonated over Nagasaki. Yamaguchi survived again. Now that’s a story to tell at parties!

In the 1950s, Guests Visiting Las Vegas Could Enjoy Atomic Bombs Being Tested

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1950s, Las Vegas took the concept of “dinner and a show” to an unprecedented level. As part of America’s nuclear testing program, the government had set up a site in the Nevada desert for atomic bomb tests, a mere 65 miles away from Las Vegas.

The city, always keen to capitalize on unique entertainment opportunities, marketed these tests as must-see events. Hotels hosted “dawn parties” for visitors to witness the detonations at daybreak, and “Miss Atomic Bomb” beauty pageants were all the rage. Talk about betting big!

Robert Gibbon Johnson Proved That Tomatoes Were Not Poisonous

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
Photo: © grafvision via canva.com

You might find this hard to believe, but our friend, the tomato, was once an outlaw in the United States. It took a fearless man named Robert Gibbon Johnson to debunk this culinary myth. Johnson, a brave soul and a tomato aficionado, rose to the challenge in 1820 and publicly downed an entire basket of tomatoes on the courthouse steps in Salem, New Jersey.

The crowd gasped, expecting him to keel over any second, but Johnson merely wiped his mouth and walked away, forever discrediting the notion of killer tomatoes. History doesn’t record whether he followed this with a slice of bread and a sprinkle of salt, but we can dream. 

President Andrew Jackson’s Pet Parrot Swore at His Funeral

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
Photo: © Peerajit via canva.com

You’d think a state funeral would be a solemn affair, right? Not quite so with President Andrew Jackson’s send-off. The headline act wasn’t a statesman or a relative, but his pet parrot, Poll. This pet was no ordinary bird; it had a penchant for profanities, thanks to Jackson’s sailor-like vocabulary.

At the funeral, Poll was so vociferous and vulgar in its use of expletives that it had to be escorted out. Yes, you read that right. The bird was evicted from the funeral for turning the air blue. How’s that for a rib-tickling, yet weirdly heartwarming, slice of history?

Ancient Romans Pee-Rinsed Their Teeth

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
Photo: © Tharakorn via canva.com

Believe it or not, our friends from ancient Rome treated their pearly whites with something that’s definitely not minty fresh. That’s right, urine! In their infinite wisdom (or perhaps due to a lack of toothpaste commercials), the Romans utilized human urine as a mouthwash.

The ammonia in urine was thought to disinfect mouths and whiten teeth. It was so popular that urine from Portugal was actually imported as it was believed to be particularly potent. I guess you could say their oral hygiene routine was truly ahead of its…pee-rs?

The Polish Army Had a Bear Among Its Ranks During WWII

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
Pouazity3 via Wikimedia Commons

Wojtek – an adorable, honey-loving bear – was adopted by Polish soldiers when they found him as a cub in Iran. This unlikely private, known for his love of beer and cigarettes, didn’t just spread cheer among the troops.

When the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps was in the thick of the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, Wojtek lent a paw, carrying heavy artillery shells to the frontline. He bravely continued his supply duties, never dropping a single shell. His gallantry earned him a promotion to corporal, making Wojtek the most beary impressive soldier of WWII.

At One Point, Pepsi Had the 6th Largest Military in the World

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
Photo: © Martin Péchy from Pexels via canva.com

There was a brief moment in history when Pepsi could have potentially settled for nothing less than world domination. Back in the early 1990s, a barter deal between the Soviet Union and PepsiCo went south when the Soviets were unable to come up with the greenbacks needed to pay for their soda fix.

Instead, they offered Pepsi a fleet of submarines, a cruiser, a frigate, and a destroyer. Accepting the deal, Pepsi momentarily became the 6th largest military power in the world by sheer number of diesel submarines. It was a memorable moment when the bubbly world of soft drinks bizarrely crossed paths with military might.

Violet Jessop Survived the Sinking of the Titanic and the Destruction of Both Its Sister Ships

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
Anonymous via Wikimedia Commons

Talk about being on the wrong ship at the wrong time! Violet Jessop should have probably stayed away from boats altogether. This iron-willed lady not only survived the notorious sinking of the Titanic but also lived to tell the tales of her sister ships’ unfortunate fates.

The Britannic wasn’t much luckier than the Titanic, hitting a mine during World War I and sinking in the Aegean Sea. And before both these disasters, the Olympic, the first of this ill-fated trio, collided with a British warship. Despite these harrowing experiences, Violet continued to work on ships, earning her the nickname ‘Miss Unsinkable.’

Khutulun Refused To Marry Unless Her Suitor Could Beat Her in a Wrestling Match

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
Photo: © cyberhawk via canva.com

This Mongolian warrior princess was not about to be wooed by riches or power; oh no. She laid down a challenge that would leave potential suitors trembling in their boots. Khutulun demanded that any hopeful must defeat her in a wrestling match to win her hand in marriage. Yes, a wrestling match! If the suitor lost, he would have to forfeit horses to her.

Needless to say, Khutulun ended up with quite the equine collection. Quite possibly the earliest recorded instance of “bridezilla” behavior, but who could blame her? She was, after all, a woman ahead of her time.

Robert Liston Performed an Operation With a 300% Mortality Rate

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Talk about a killer performance! This 19th-century Scottish surgeon was infamous for his need for speed in the operating theatre, which was probably not the best thing when you consider that anesthesia was pretty much hit-or-miss back then. But Liston’s most astounding feat is probably a surgery that boasts a shocking 300% mortality rate.

How’s that even possible? Well, in his rush, Liston managed to not only kill his patient but also accidentally slice off his assistant’s fingers and a spectator’s coat. The patient and the assistant later died from sepsis, and the spectator was so scared that he had been stabbed that he died of shock!

The Halifax Explosion Was the Largest Man-Made Explosion in the Pre-Atomic Era

12 Unusual Historical Happenings That Sound Made Up - But Aren't
Ross Dunn via Wikimedia Commons

Halifax, Nova Scotia, was the site of such an event on December 6, 1917, when a French munitions carrier packed with high explosives destined for the battlegrounds of World War I, collided with a Norwegian vessel. The resulting blast obliterated nearly everything within a 1.6-kilometer radius, killed approximately 2,000 people, and injured 9,000 more.

This calamitous event, known as the Halifax Explosion, remains one of the most disastrous episodes in the history of wartime maritime catastrophes.

The 12 Weirdest Ideas In History That Somehow Came True

The 12 Weirdest Ideas In History That Somehow Came True
Provided by Frenz via canva.com

Welcome, dear reader, to a whirlwind tour of the bizarre, the unexpected, and the downright mind-boggling. Let’s stroll gently through the annals of history, where invention often danced hand in hand with insanity. Brace yourselves for a gallery of the 12 weirdest ideas in history that, against all odds—or perhaps because of them—somehow came true.

The 12 Weirdest Ideas In History That Somehow Came True

5 Best Quiet Blenders of 2024

5 Best Quiet Blenders of 2023
Photo: © Canva.com

Do you want a blender that won’t disturb your quiet? If so, you’re in luck! In this post, we will be discussing some of the best quiet blenders on the market. These quiet blenders produce minimal noise by design, so you can blend without fear of disturbing those around you. 

We’ll also be talking about some of the features you should look for when shopping for a soundproof blender. So whether you’re looking for a new blender or want to know more about Quiet Blenders, read on!

5 Best Quiet Blenders of 2024

11 Times People Disregarded Orders And Changed History

11 Times People Disregarded Orders And Changed History
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What’s more thrilling than a historical yarn about rebellion and defiance? When someone steps back, squints at the orders they’ve been given, and with a shrug, says, “Nah.” Buckle up, dear reader, because we’re about to analyze 11 instances where individuals tossed the rule book out the window and, in doing so, rewrote history itself.

11 Times People Disregarded Orders And Changed History

20 American History “Facts” That We’ve Been Fooled Into Believing! Turns Out, They’re Actually Not True

20 American History “Facts” That We’ve Been Fooled Into Believing! Turns Out, They’re Actually Not True
Provided by Frenz via canva.com

You might think you’ve got your history down pat, 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 true? Hold onto your tricorn hats and let the unraveling of American history myths begin!

20 American History “Facts” That We’ve Been Fooled Into Believing! Turns Out, They’re Actually Not True

Mythbusters: Unraveling the Truths and Misconceptions of Social Security in America

Mythbusters Unraveling the Truths and Misconceptions of Social Security in America
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In the words of Mark Twain, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” This quote rings particularly true when we broach the subject of Social Security – an intricate conundrum that remains shrouded in misconceptions, despite its monumental role in the lives of millions of Americans.

Mythbusters: Unraveling the Truths and Misconceptions of Social Security in America

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  • Mitch

    A computer science enthusiast with a keen interest in technology and games, Mitchelle (Mitch) contributes a cutting-edge perspective to the Frenz Hub writing team, integrating her academic knowledge with her personal passions

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