Dylan Ebs

Written by Dylan Ebs

Modified & Updated: 16 Jun 2024

Source: Arc.unsw.edu.au

Ever wondered about the quirky side of history? Well, you're in for a treat! History isn't just about wars, treaties, and revolutions; it's also filled with oddities that'll make you go, "Really?" From rulers with peculiar habits to unbelievable laws that once existed, history is brimming with facts that seem too bizarre to be true. OhMyFacts brings you 20 of these head-scratchers, proving that truth can be stranger than fiction. So, buckle up for a rollercoaster ride through history's most astonishing and downright weird moments. Ready to have your mind blown by the past's most jaw-dropping oddities? Let's dive into the annals of history and uncover these gems together!

Key Takeaways:

  • Animals were once put on trial in medieval times, just like humans, and even executed for their "crimes." This bizarre practice shows the strange and surprising aspects of history.
  • From a pope writing an erotic novel to a country changing its name for a day, history is full of weird and fascinating facts that can surprise and entertain us.
Table of Contents

When Animals Were Put on Trial

In medieval times, animals could be tried and punished for crimes, just like humans. This might sound like fiction, but it's a historical fact. From the 13th to the 18th century, animals, including pigs, cows, and even insects, were brought before courtrooms, given legal representation, and sentenced for their "crimes."

  1. In 1386, a pig was executed in France for the murder of a child. The pig was dressed in human clothes and publicly executed.

The Great Emu War

Australia once waged war against emus in 1932. This conflict, known as the Great Emu War, was a result of emus invading farmland in Western Australia. Farmers, struggling with the birds eating their crops, sought government assistance, leading to military intervention.

  1. Despite using machine guns, the soldiers failed to significantly reduce the emu population, leading to the "war" being declared a failure for the humans.

A Pope Wrote an Erotic Book

Before becoming Pope Pius II, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini penned an erotic novel titled "The Tale of Two Lovers." This work, written in the 15th century, is a stark contrast to the religious duties he later assumed as pope.

  1. The book became one of the bestselling books of the 15th century, showcasing the diverse background from which the pope came.

The Shortest War in History

Wars typically last for months, if not years, but the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896 holds the record for the shortest war in history.

  1. Lasting only 38 to 45 minutes, this war was fought between the United Kingdom and the Sultanate of Zanzibar on August 27, 1896.

Cleopatra's Time Was Closer to the Moon Landing Than to the Construction of the Great Pyramid

It's easy to lump all ancient history together, but the timelines can be surprising.

  1. Cleopatra VII reigned from 51-30 BC, closer in time to the first moon landing in 1969 than to the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza around 2580-2560 BC.

The Original "Bunny Ears" Photo Bomb

Long before smartphones and social media, a practical joke involving bunny ears existed.

  1. In 1900, a woman named Mary Dillwyn took one of the earliest known photographs of someone giving another person "bunny ears," proving that some forms of humor transcend time.

A Tsar Bomba Too Big

The Tsar Bomba, detonated by the Soviet Union in 1961, remains the most powerful nuclear weapon ever tested.

  1. With a blast yield of 50 megatons of TNT, the bomb's shockwave circled the Earth three times.

When the Eiffel Tower Was Almost Demolished

The Eiffel Tower, now an iconic symbol of France, was originally intended to be dismantled after 20 years.

  1. Constructed as a temporary exhibit for the 1889 World's Fair, public appreciation and its usefulness as a radio antenna saved it from demolition.

The Invention of the Sandwich

The sandwich, a global staple, owes its name to an 18th-century aristocrat.

  1. John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, is credited with inventing the sandwich because he wanted to eat without leaving his gambling table.

A President's Deadly Speech

William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States, delivered the longest inaugural speech in history in 1841, in cold weather without wearing a coat or hat.

  1. He caught a cold that day, which developed into pneumonia, leading to his death just 31 days into his presidency, making his the shortest presidency in U.S. history.

The Color Purple Was Once a Royal Exclusive

Purple dye was so rare and expensive in ancient times that it became the color of royalty and nobility.

  1. Produced from the murex snail, thousands of these snails were needed to create just one gram of Tyrian purple dye, making it worth more than its weight in gold.

The First "Computer Bug"

In 1947, a computer at Harvard University malfunctioned, and upon investigation, a moth was found trapped in one of its components.

  1. This incident led to the term "computer bug" being coined, marking the first recorded instance of a bug causing a computer to malfunction.

Napoleon Was Once Attacked by Rabbits

History often highlights Napoleon Bonaparte's military genius, but not all his encounters were so dignified.

  1. During a hunting party, a group of rabbits was released for him to hunt. However, the rabbits charged at him aggressively instead of running away, leading to a hasty retreat by the former emperor.

The First Item Sold on eBay Was Broken

eBay, one of the world's largest online marketplaces, had a humble and quirky beginning.

  1. The first item ever sold was a broken laser pointer for $14.83. When the buyer was informed it was broken, he replied that he was collecting broken laser pointers, highlighting the diverse interests of online shoppers.

A Law Against Dying

In the small town of Longyearbyen, Norway, dying is technically illegal.

  1. Due to the permafrost, bodies do not decompose, leading to a law that prevents people from being buried there. Instead, terminally ill residents are flown to the mainland to spend their final days.

The Voice Behind Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Were Married in Real Life

The iconic characters of Mickey and Minnie Mouse have been a part of childhoods worldwide.

  1. Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor, who voiced Mickey and Minnie Mouse respectively for many years, were married in real life, adding a charming layer to their on-screen romance.

An Emperor's Golden Touch

Roman Emperor Caligula is known for his eccentricities, one of which involved his horse, Incitatus.

  1. Caligula loved his horse so much that he gave it a marble stall, an ivory manger, and even planned to make it a consul, showcasing the unpredictable nature of his rule.

The London Bridge Is in Arizona

London Bridge, a historical landmark, was dismantled in 1967 and relocated to Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

  1. Purchased by Robert P. McCulloch, the bridge was carefully reconstructed, brick by brick, in Arizona, where it stands today as a popular tourist attraction.

A Country That Changed Its Name for a Day

In 1995, to promote the release of the movie "The Flintstones," the town of San Serriffe in the South Pacific changed its name to "San Stonestone" for a day.

  1. This quirky promotional stunt highlighted the lengths to which some places will go to attract attention.

The World's First Known Author Was a Woman

Contrary to the male-dominated narrative of ancient history, the world's first known author was a woman.

  1. Enheduanna, a priestess in ancient Sumer, wrote hymns and poems 4,300 years ago, making her the first author in history whose name is known.

A Peek into History's Curious Closet

History's not just about dates and treaties. It's a treasure chest brimming with stories that make you go, "Really?" From emperors throwing parties for their horses to laws about wearing hats, these tales show us just how quirky our ancestors were. They remind us that, at heart, humans have always been a bit odd, a bit inventive, and endlessly fascinating. So, next time you're thumbing through a history book or scrolling through OhMyFacts, remember: behind every historical fact is a story, sometimes weird, always worth knowing. These snippets from the past enrich our understanding of human nature, proving that history is anything but boring. They invite us to look at our own times with a bit more humor and a lot more curiosity. Who knows what future generations will find bizarre about us?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do people find historical facts weird or unbelievable?
Well, folks often find historical facts weird or unbelievable because history is full of surprises! Sometimes, what happened in the past seems too strange to be true, especially when it's very different from our current experiences. Plus, some stories from history are just plain bizarre, making you wonder how they could have possibly happened.
Are all the facts in the article verified?
Yep, every fact listed has been checked for accuracy. We've dug through reliable sources and historical records to ensure that what you're reading isn't just hearsay but actual events that took place. However, remember, history can sometimes be a game of telephone, with details changing over time.
Can these facts change my view of history?
They just might! Learning about the odd and unexpected parts of history can give you a more nuanced understanding of how people lived, thought, and acted in different eras. It's like adding color to a black and white photo; the picture becomes more vivid and interesting.
How often do historians discover new "weird" facts?
Historians and researchers are constantly uncovering new information as they dig through archives, artifacts, and other historical sources. So, it's not unusual for new "weird" facts to come to light now and then. History is a field that's always evolving as we learn more about the past.
Where can I find more bizarre historical facts?
If you're hungry for more, there's a wealth of resources out there. History books focused on peculiar topics, documentaries, and even reputable history blogs and websites can be gold mines for the strange and unusual. Libraries and online academic databases are also great places to start.
How do I know if a historical fact is true or just a myth?
Good question! To figure out if a historical fact is true, look for information from credible sources like academic journals, reputable history books, and trusted websites. Cross-referencing facts can also help you weed out the myths from the truth. When in doubt, consider consulting a historian or an expert in the field.
Why is it important to learn about the weird parts of history?
Learning about the weird parts of history is important because it helps us understand the full spectrum of human experience. It shows us that history isn't just about dates and big events but also about the quirky, odd, and sometimes inexplicable moments that make up human life. Plus, it's a lot of fun!

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