When we are in school, we are taught all about Christopher Columbus, the World Wars, and even the Titanic. But with so much controversy going around, teachers try their best to hide specific facts about these things. And sometimes omit certain events altogether. However, we stand with the internet. Let's face it, you want to hear about even the most taboo effects, events, and people. This is after all the world we live in.
With a bit of dirty, a dash of blood, and a smidgen of disgusting, here are thirty pieces of history you won’t be able to keep to yourself!
The idea of using dogs for combat is as old as you can imagine. But the most famous usage is when Spain decided to conquer the Moors. They would send out giant mastiffs who were 200+ pounds to fight for them. The dogs’ jaws were so strong that they could rip through leather, crush bones, and sever arteries. There was even one famous, most deadly one called Becerrillo who was owned by the explorer Ponce De Leon. Becerrillo was known for the number of victims he tortured and killed.
What’s funny (or not so much) is that Becerrillo’s pup belonged to Vasco Núñez de Balboa, another “great” explorer!
Unfortunately, school massacres happen on a regular basis. We can name a few off the top of our head that we think are the deadliest. But the truth is, you don’t even know how deadly they get. In 1927, a man named Andrew Kehoe perpetrated not one, but a series of attacks on the Bath Township Elementary School. No one knows why he did it, though his loss as city Clerk and raised taxes are speculated to have been the cause.
But what happened was he went home one day, killed his wife, bombed his farm, detonated a bomb he placed at the school, then killed himself. He ended up killing 38 kids, six teachers and injuring 58 other people. This makes it the deadliest school massacre in history.
Let me hear your guesses. What did Andrew Jackson collect? Beer bottles? Seashells? Rifles? Nope! Here’s a hint: Jackson was a dirty racist who hated Native Americans. Because of this, he collected mutilated body parts. He preferred scalps and ears most of all. And they say that it was the Natives who were savages, but who really scalped someone? The Seventh President of the United States, that’s who.
Remember that Native baby he adopted? He adopted him because he killed his family!
You may know him as Vlad the Impaler, or Vladimir Dracula, but do you know who he really was? There’s a reason everyone thought he was a real vampire. He was born in Transylvania but was imprisoned in Turkey when he was 12. When he got older, he became a prince and soon started getting his revenge on the Turks by impaling his victims with a spike. Those spikes weren’t stabbed through flesh but rather threw a conveniently-placed body cavity. The spike was shoved all the way through the body and often up through the mouth.
The thing is, despite all of this, even monks said he was a “just ruler,” simply a harsh one when you did something wrong.
Have you ever heard such a thing as the “Congo Horrors” that took place in the late 1800s? It happened when the king of Belgium ruled what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The atrocities that took place under his rule included disease, famine, and a low birth rate. All due to his harsh treatment of the natives who were seen as slaves under his rule. It is believed that during this time about 15 million people died in the country because of the slavery he had created.
It was all for profit as he wanted the natives to collect rubber for him. Today, the Belgian Congo Disaster is seen as a genocide led by King Leopold II.
You hear all about John Wilkes Booth, the man who killed Lincoln, but do you know who was sitting next to the president at the Ford Theatre? His name was Henry Rathbone, a healthy, and sane young man. He tried to stop Booth from killing the president and was stabbed in the process. Nevertheless, he caused Booth to break his leg before he escaped. Soon after, Rathbone’s wound healed, but his mind did not. He convinced himself his wife was cheating on him, so he attacked his children, killed his wife, and was sent to a mental hospital to live out his remaining years.
That’s right, back in the 1490s, there was an outbreak that led to what modern-day people would call the creation of zombies. It began with a syphilis outbreak. Yes, the STD. At the time, it wasn’t called syphilis though, because no one wanted to claim the scandalous sickness. It was so deadly that it’s the reason smallpox is called small box as syphilis was called Great Pox.
It began with genital ulcers, then a fever, a rash, and joint and muscle pains. Then when all of that was gone, you thought the sickness was over, but it wasn’t. Large abscesses developed all over the body that were foul-smelling and extremely painful. They would eat straight through to the bone, along with destroying lips, nose, and eyes that didn’t have any bones! At that time, when the sick went out, the streets looked like a video game such as Fallout. Though the noble men wore masks to hide their rotting flesh, some preferred to let their jaws show clean through.
Perhaps you recognize the last name as that of a certain witch from Harry Potter. But this man was no witch. He was the first man hanged in Plymouth, and the first minor sentenced to death in the USA. His sin? ”Buggery with a mare, a cow, two goats, divers sheep, two calves, and a turkey.” Buggery as in relations.
The animals were one by one killed (as they were unclean now) before him and thrown into a pit of disposal before he was hung to death. He was sixteen at the time.
Yeah, yeah, you think you know about Anne Frank and everything she went through. But you’ve only grazed the surface. For fifty years, no one knew her entire thought process. When the diary was published in 1947, no one knew that her father had edited it intensely.
The unedited version speaks of relations that Anne had with an older man. Relations that her friends teased her about having, “at her age.” She even told about her first monthly cycle and her fascination with genitalia. She wanted to get to know her own anatomy and did just that. She had no trouble talking about such things with her boyfriend Peter either. Not to mention her father’s fascination with flatulence. The diary is full of teen girl drama, a drama that is now available to the public for purchase.
Do you really know why confession booths were invented? It isn’t due to some confidentiality thing, but to make sure that the priests don’t get too intimate with female confessors. Not that they believed the priests would actually sleep with the women, but they wanted to prevent temptation. People who go to confessionals are rather emotional and could easily get caught in the moment. Sacred.
Back in the day, when Mayan youth that were well off reached adolescence, their parents gave them a gift. The parents searched through the lower class to find a man to teach him a few things. This male on male contact was their first sexual encounter before marriage. When missionaries visited, they agreed that the Mayan’s biggest and most frequent sin was sodomy.
This may sound silly, but the original purpose of corn flakes was to curb your appetite. Not for food, but something seen as taboo. To get the picture, the man who invented Corn Flakes, John Harvey Kellogg, never slept with his wife. As in, ever! He was so against sex that he created Corn Flakes to prevent it. He believed it would cleanse your body and help you abstain from pleasure. He thought that purity began with the physical body. Did it work? Do those who eat corn flakes abstain? We don’t know. Studies haven’t been conducted on the matter.
When you think about Pearl Harbor, you think about bombings and sunken ships. But there is one tale that is hidden from most students. The ships that sunk didn’t sink fast but sometimes took weeks to flood. For the sailors who were trapped in the ships without food, they didn’t drown…they starved. The worst of it is that they banged on the hull, trying to get people to rescue them. But everyone just assumed it was debris rattling around.
The reason the people outside know it was over two weeks is that there were marks that crossed out 16 days on the wall in red pencil. For decades, no one knew about this as the officials didn’t want anyone to tell the families who had already been told they had died immediately.
In 1944, nine pilots were shot down by the Japanese during World War II. The young men tried to escape but were not fortunate. Eight of them were beheaded and eaten by surgeons on the island they landed on. Their livers and thighs were turned into gourmet cuisine. Only one man escaped the fate by landing some ways offshore and was eventually rescued by a US submarine.
The story is grotesque, but the insane part comes years later. Fast forward to 1989, and that survivor becomes the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush.
Today, killing an animal when it’s not hunting season is against the law 90% of the time. Kill a dog, and you’re going to jail. But in 1939, during the Second World War, there was a food shortage. In the end, 750,000 pets were massacred to feed the UK. Don’t worry; they didn’t eat them, they just didn’t want to feed them. The pamphlet actually said, “If you cannot place them in the care of neighbours, it really is kindest to have them destroyed.”
We don’t know what “destroyed” means, but the pamphlet was handed out with an advertisement for a pistol.
You all know Joan of Arc as the heroic battle hero from the 1400s. But did you know her best friend, Gilles de Rais? Some of you do, and you know him as the man who was a serial killer (the first known serial killer) who preyed on children and later inspired the tale of Bluebeard. It isn’t known how many children he killed, through trickery no less, but it is known that it was in the hundreds.
Don’t worry, Joan of Arc had no idea he was moonlighting and would have killed him herself had she known.
In 1912 Paris, the Paris Orphanage decided they needed to raise money. To do this, they created Loterie de Bebes or the Baby Lottery. The proceeds of the raffle were divided among several charitable institutions. It seems so cruel that they left it out of most history books, but in actuality, each bidder went through a background check. So we assume that they went to good homes. Or maybe we just hope! It did give the children homes that normally would have lived their whole life in the hospital (which is what they called it at the time).
Antonio Lopez is best known for conquering the Texas rebels at the Battle of the Alamo, as well as becoming Mexico’s president. But something very strange happened after The Alamo. During the battle, his leg was severed, leaving him an amputee. But two years later, he decided to have an elaborate funeral for the now rotting flesh.
He traveled to Mexico City and buried it himself. The funeral had your standard salvo, poetry, and the works. When a riot broke out years later, rioters dug it up and drug it through the streets of the city yelling, “death to the cripple!”
Once upon a time, there was one elephant in the Berlin zoo. But this was during the World War II bombings, and what do you know, the first bomb dropped on Berlin landed nearly directly on the elephant. The zookeeper watched in horror as it happened, with little he could do but hear the elephant’s traumatizing screams. He wasn’t the only animal killed, as many more met their dark fate that day, including their last giraffe. But the elephant was the only one who made direct contact with the bomb.
This happened in various countries at various points in history. The practice of watching the bride and groom do the deed during the Middle Ages was quite common. Martin Luther and Katherina were a famous couple to be witnessed, but they weren’t the only ones.
The actual process is called a bedding ceremony. In England, the tradition began by the priest blessing the bed, but in other parts, different rituals would take place. In general, it was a positive thing, but sometimes it was done because the townsfolk wanted “proof of unity.”
Now she was one woman you don’t want to mess with. She is known for burning down a city and burying people alive that she didn’t like. When she was young, she married Prince Igor, but soon after, he was killed due to his greed. When some men said that his death wasn’t all that bad, she had them buried alive. When her men tried to send her suitors, she locked the suitors in the bathhouse and set it on fire. She must have really loved Igor to have gone so violent after he passed.
It is said that years later, she repented her sins and became a Catholic. But after all of those murders, how can she be regarded as a saint to this day?
Have you ever wondered where the heart shape came from? Well, it isn’t because two hearts put together make the shape. There are many theories as to when it first was created, but the most common of these is a certain plant. Not just any plant, but one called silphium. The pods of these seeds were (need I say) used to prevent pregnancies. They were used so often that they went extinct. Lot a love going around! However, they were so loved that coins were made in their honor, and so was the heart-shape used as a symbol of love.
While many people have been called Angel of Death in history, only a few stand out. Such as Jolly Jane Toppan whose goal was, ”to have killed more people — helpless people — than any other man or woman who ever lived” or the many nurses who have poisoned patients. Such as the nurse responsible for the death of over 400 patients in the mid-1900s. Plot twist! That guy is still alive. Spoopy.
Though there are more, none is more deserving of the Angel of Death title than our next lady from the 1940s. She was a Japanese midwife who murdered over 100 infants during her reign. Her reason? The parents were “unsuitable” so she thought the babies’ best bet was death. To this day, she’s killed more people than any other Japanese person in history.
During the Civil War, soldiers did their best to distract themselves from the horrors going on between brothers. Prostitution was at its highest rate in history during this time, and so were “adult photographs.” Because of this, one of the first movies was an adult movie. Mild for us, but gold for them.
This was all fine for the people of the 1800s, until the outbreaks. It turned out that just less than half of all soldiers in the Civil War had an STD, many dying from it. You don’t read about that! The truth is often covered with smallpox stories.
Today, the thought of someone tickling your foot is annoying. No one wants to be tickled; laughing doesn’t equal enjoyment. But back in the 1700s, it was everything for Russian housewives. Their husbands would often hire professional foot ticklers to “get them in the mood” for them. It was reserved for eunuchs and women so there would be no attachment to the ticklers. Their job wasn’t just to tickle, but tell the wives erotic stories as well. Sometimes sing naughty songs.
This reminds us of Catherine the Great, who had rooms liken to Christian Grey’s, only with more armchairs. And probably foot ticklers.
You know how a long time ago, people who had done wrong were sentenced to spend time in The Stocks and get tormented by townsfolk? They would throw things at them and spit on them, yes. But they’d also do something far more sinister. Both men and women would often sexually harass those held. When done from behind, there was no way of knowing who was “tormenting” you. Many prisoners would often ask family members to be on watch during their captivity so no one would assault them at night.
Can we just talk about how dirty Mozart could be? He seemed to be obsessed with nether regions and bathroom habits. We hear all about his Sonatas and Symphonies, but let’s dig a little deeper. One of his nastiest songs would be, “Leck mich im Arsch,” while others include “Bona Nox” and “Difficile Lectu.” We can’t tell you what they’re about, but you can Google them! They are great for parties, or so Mozart thought.
Contrary to popular belief, the first breast implants weren’t so you could look like the women in magazines. It was actually a spur of the moment decision by a doctor who had just removed a tumor from a woman’s chest. He wanted to give her old body back, so he improvised with something he had lying around. Word is it was metal bowls, but it could have been an early form of silicone.
The trend caught on and by the 60s, cosmetic surgery was the new thing for those who could afford it.
This is a word that should be in everyone’s vocabulary. It’s an act that was popular in the Middle Ages and involved drilling holes in people’s heads to release evil spirits. It was common practice for hundreds of years and was done when people started acting crazy, turning against their religion, or having symptoms such as headaches or seizures. Maybe it’s best to not mention that migraine that’s been distracting you all day or else you’re in for a real headache.
As you may know, cats were a big deal in ancient Egypt. They were worshipped like gods! When they died, they were mummified just like pharaohs. The owners were so mournful and into the funeral that they would then shave off their own eyebrows. They knew when to stop mourning when their eyebrows grew back completely.
Cat burials were so popular that once a tomb with 80,000 cat mummies was found! Now that’s a feline frenzy!
Charlie took to the written word like a fish takes to water. That is to say; they found themselves immersed in literature from before they were born. They've been known to tell their friends how they can still remember the passages their parents read to them when they were in utero - Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, and a bit of Hunter S. Thompson thrown in to balance it out. Charlie keeps their feet wet, whether they're whipping up pithy one-liners to tease your brain or busy working on their second novel (the first one is available on Amazon under a pen name they refuse to disclose). You’re sure to get a kick out of giggle-worthy explanations and outrageous hints, and still come away feeling like you’ve just expanded your knowledge base.
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