14 Weird Historical Events Almost Too Bizarre To Believe
Everyone learns about historical events that shaped the world in history class. But most teachers tend to leave out the weird historical events. It turns out that some weird historical moments need to be taught. These events are vital to the planet’s growth, society, and life. Understanding history and these events aid us today in avoiding past mistakes.
Of course, some errors will happen again anyway. Positive historical moments lead to groundbreaking changes, such as the election of a benevolent President, walking on the moon, or getting the right to vote. On the other hand, it’s just as important to understand the horrible moments such as world wars, assassinations, and catastrophes. While these events are all important, history teachers tend to leave out the weird side of history, so here’s a look at 14 weird moments in history.
14 Weird Historical Events Almost Too Bizarre To Believe
1. The Brief History of New Atlantis
On July 4, 1965, Leicester Hemingway took his boat out to sea eight miles from Jamaica in International waters. Out in the ocean, he established the micronation of New Atlantis. The younger brother of iconic writer Ernest Hemingway, Leicester’s goal was to study democracy and the Caribbean sea around him.
He declared himself President and claimed the water around him belonged to New Atlantis. Despite being a bamboo raft in the ocean, New Atlantis and Leicester made headlines around the globe. Leicester had big plans, but strong winds destroyed the micronation of New Atlantis.
2. Christmas Ban in New England
During the Middle Ages, Christmas or winter celebrations had become commonplace in Europe. However, Christmas in 17th-century America didn’t resemble the modern-day Holiday season about spirituality, family, and presents. Instead, it was more like a carnival atmosphere all about drinking, eating, and sex. Christmas’s out-of-control and wild nature led New England to ban the celebration in the 17th century.
It remained banned in New England for several years until the end of the century. Into the 18th century, several Puritan colonies still discouraged the Christmas celebration. However, the traditional and modern version of Christmas became mainstream in New England by the 19th century as it spread across the globe.
3. Marie Marvingt Disguised Herself as a Man To Fight in World War I
Born in France in late 1800, Marie Marvingt was a world-class athlete who dominated winter sports and was proficient in swimming, fencing, and rifle shooting. With years of experience, Marvingt became the first woman to climb the French and Swiss Alps mountains. Unsurprisingly, she was eager to join the effort during World War I. However, she had to disguise herself as a man because women weren’t permitted to join the army.
With the help of a French infantry lieutenant, Marvingnt disguised herself as a man and made it to the front lines. However, it only lasted ten days before someone noticed she was a woman. Undeterred, Marvingnt joined the Italian army as a surgical nurse, pilot, and air ambulance.
4. Napoleon Wrote a Romance Novel
Move over Danielle Steel; there’s a new steamy romance writer in town. By the late 1800s, Napoleon Bonaparte had become the Emperor of the French. Historians consider him one of the greatest military commanders. However, he’s also an author of love stories.
In 1795, Napoleon wrote the novel Clisson et Eugénie. The story is a fictionalized version of Napoleon’s romance with Eugénie Désirée Clary. It tells the story of a soldier who falls in love with a beautiful woman in a doomed romance.
5. The Rise of Monopoly During the Great Depression
Many historians consider Black Tuesday in October 1929 as the start of the Great Depression. The stock market crash was an eye-opening event for those that enjoyed the excess of the roaring 20s. Well, the dirty 30s were the polar opposite. In the early 1900s, a woman named Lizzie Magie created The Landlord’s Game to demonstrate the benefits of individual wealth as opposed to the wealthy hoarding all the money. It included two sets of rules, one with less capitalist taxation.
After learning about the game in 1932, Charles Darrow attempted to steal and sell the idea under the title Monopoly. Parker Brothers purchased the copyright from Darrow only to realize he didn’t invent the game.
In 1935, Parker Bros. paid Magie $500 for the rights to the game. It became a massive hit during the Great Depression, making the company millions. Ironically, they didn’t include the second set of less capitalist taxation rules.
6. The Stealing of Albert Einstein’s Brain
There isn’t a person in the world who hasn’t heard of the iconic and eccentric Albert Einstein. Einstein was a brilliant scientist, mathematician, and one of the most intelligent people in history. He knew that his brain would be in demand after his death. Therefore, he left detailed instructions to cremate his body and not to allow any brain examinations.
When Einstein died in 1955, Thomas Stoltz Harvey conducted the autopsy. Despite the family not granting permission, Harvey stole Einstein’s brain and took it to the University of Philadelphia to study it. Eventually, Einstein’s family permitted Harvey as long as he published the finding in a scientific magazine.
7. Ronald Reagan Loved Jelly Beans
The 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, served from 1981 to 1989. As a former actor, he made the easy transition to politics. With an intense career in Hollywood and then politics, Reagan developed the nasty habit of smoking. To kick the habit, Reagan developed a love for jelly beans.
Also known as Dutch, Reagan’s snacking on jelly beans helped him quit smoking. Reagan would snack on jelly beans for the rest of his life and even once had 3.5 tons of jelly beans delivered to the White House.
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8. Julius Ceasar Demanded a Higher Ransom Price for Himself
The leader of the Roman Republic and brilliant general, Julius Ceasar, is one of history’s most fascinating figures. He’s most famous for creating the Julian Calendar and his infamous assassination. However, he always lived a life of danger.
In 75 B.C., in his early 20s, Caesar was already an accomplished captain. However, pirates kidnapped Caesar and held him for ransom. There was only one problem. Caesar was furious, but not because they abducted him.
Caesar told the pirates to demand a higher ransom because he was worth more. Despite the kidnapping, Caesar remained in control and was friendly with his captors. At one point, he even joked that he would raise a fleet, return, and get revenge on the pirates once they freed him. After being set free, Caesar raised an army, returned, and killed his captors.
9. Healthcare in Ancient Egypt
The progress made during Ancient Egypt had a profound impact throughout history. Most people assume Egyptians used slaves to build the remarkable pyramids, but they actually used skilled workers. Evidence suggests these workers each had the first ever documented health care plan. In addition to their pay, they benefited in several different ways.
For instance, they each got paid-sick days since they spent weeks away from home. Also, they had access to an early form of a walk-in clinic for checkups. While the walk to work and the construction were brutal, they were treated well and received fair treatment.
10. A Head Injury Changed Henry VIII
In his younger days, King Henry VIII was good-looking with an impressive physique and long flowing hair. With his charm and good looks, he was quite the ladies’ man. He was athletic and loved competing in jousting events. Ascending to the throne when he was 18, Henry was involved in a severe jousting accident in 1536.
Scholars believe Henry suffered a brain injury that had a prolonged effect on the King. He began experiencing erratic behavior with bouts of severe depression. Furthermore, Henry became bloodthirsty, executing family, friends, and ex-wives. He also gained substantial weight and possibly weighed as much as 400 pounds. Rumors suggest that Henry was so overweight that a crane was required so he could get on his horse.
11. Lost Gold of the Civil War
Lasting from 1861 to 1865, the American Civil War centered around the Confederacy or South, expanding slavery into other parts of the U.S. Opposing them was the Union Army, or North, who fought to end slavery. After the North’s victory, they wasted no time rebuilding the entire country. It was a costly war, so the American government hoped to use the Confederacy’s famed gold treasure.
Rumors suggest that as the Union Army invaded New Orleans, the Confederates moved large quantities of gold and jewelry to Atlanta. During the reconstruction phase, the Union demanded access to the gold, but the treasure mysteriously disappeared. There are numerous theories as to what happened to the gold. Some speculate the Confederates buried it to use one day when they would return to retake America, or that they kept it hidden so the Union would never have access to it. Whatever they did with the gold, it has never been recovered.
12. Christopher Columbus Never Set Foot In America
Starting in the 18th century, the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus became a mythical hero for discovering America. However, positive opinions began to shift as evidence of his cruel treatment of the indigenous population became publicized. Furthermore, Columbus actually never discovered North America.
His famous 1492 voyage led him to the Bahamas and later expeditions to parts of South America. His discoveries led to other explorers uncovering parts of America and Canada, with experts believing that the Norse discovered North America almost 500 years before Columbus set sail.
Additionally, many scholars believe Columbus was confident that he landed on the coast of Asia. Even on his deathbed, he still thought he had found a new passage to Asia. Regardless, Columbus never landed in America or found a route to Asia.
13. Clogged Toilet Sinks Submarine During World War II
During World War II, the German submarine U-1206 joined the war in early April 1945. Commander Karl-Adolf Schlitt proudly captained the crew into battle. However, they forgot one crucial weapon in their war with the Allied forces, a plunger.
At that time, the British submarines would store the excrement on board and dump it once they returned to land. German submarines were far more advanced and had a complicated toilet system that would shoot waste into the sea.
After being at sea for a few weeks, the submarine’s toilet system malfunctioned, leading to a smelly problem. The situation soon became dire as seawater and sewage poured into the sub and began mixing with the ship’s battery. With no choices left, Schlitt ordered the submarine to resurface immediately. Unfortunately, they resurfaced near Scotland and caught the attention of the nearby British Royal Navy. Within moments they were attacked and killed.
14. George Washington’s Sudden Illness
George Washington’s death might be one of the weirdest events in American history. First and foremost, Washington survived numerous near-death experiences and diseases. For example, he survived smallpox, tuberculosis, malaria, and pneumonia. Additionally, Washington endured the burning and massacre of Fort Necessity and a near-drowning. However, that makes his death from acute bacterial epiglottitis more perplexing.
As the story goes, he was riding around his estate in rainy weather. He refused to change out of his wet clothes until after dinner. He developed a horrible sore throat that required doctors to drain 40% of his blood.
On death’s door, Washington did everything he could to survive, including gargling a mixture of butter, vinegar, and molasses. He was so desperate he even ate beetles. But it was not to be. Three days after getting sick, Washington died.
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