December 18, 2023 | Miles Brucker

Bizarre And Scandalous Historical Facts


Humans have a natural predisposition to be fascinated by the shocking and the bizarre. Psychologists have likened the phenomenon to the appeal of scary movies: we get a kick out of experiencing things that could harm us (physically or otherwise), without actually putting ourselves in danger. Rollercoasters and first-person shooters have a same appeal.

So it might be useful to think of this article like a rollercoaster. Sure, the practical side of your brain could be saying, "Stop! Why are we doing this???" But the thrill here is in exploring the far side: the things that we just don't see every day. We've collected history's most scintillating stories, so you don't have to yourself.

Read on, brave soldier. Go boldly where no one ought to go at all.


1. The Path to Righteousness

Princess Olga of Kiev’s husband, Igor, was liquidated by an Eastern Slavic tribe. Olga took over the Kievan Rus’, a federation of East Slavic tribes known as the Drevlians. Not wanting a female ruler, they sent her a group of suitors.

Olga, still furious about her husband’s liquidator, had the suitors carried by her servants on a boat to the courtyard of the castle. The suitors were then dumped into a giant hole and buried alive.

She told the Drevlians that she had accepted a suitor and organized a party in a bathhouse. After the guests arrived, the doors were barred shut and the bathhouse was burned to the ground.

After the memorial to the people who passed in the bathhouse, a party was held, and the guests got inebriated. Olga’s royal guard proceeded to liquidate all 5,000 of them that night.

When the Drevlians requested her forgiveness, Olga asked her tribesmen to give her three pigeons and three sparrows from each home. When they arrived, she had hot coals tied to their legs and sent them back home. As the city burned to the ground, the fleeing people were either liquidated , enslaved, or extorted into Olga’s army.

Somehow, Olga is now a saint in the Eastern Orthodox church.

bizarre facts

2. The Love of Contraception

Ancient Romans had an effective natural contraceptive: a plant called silphium. And you could say it was... relatively popular. The Romans harvested so much silphium it went extinct. That's right: the Romans literally loved a plant to demise. They so obliterated the population, today we’re not even sure exactly what type of plant it was.

But while it lasted, Silphium made a massive impact on Western culture. It's even thought that the shape of the seed is where we get the traditional heart shape we recognize as a symbol of love.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikipedia

3. Head of the Army

Goujian was a Chinese ruler of the Kingdom of Yue, in around 400 BC.  The man was known as a skilled politician... and an equally brutal warlord.

One of Goujian's alleged tactics involved placing a row of convicted criminals at the front of his army... who were then forcibly beheaded before a battle, in order to intimidate an enemy army.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikipedia

The Bronze Sword of Goujian, King of Yue State.

4. Little Foot

Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was a Russian man with a bizarre fascination: he dreamed of creating hybrid animals.

As early as the year 1910, Ivanov was working on the theory behind his ultimate goal, which was to create a human-chimpanzee hybrid. His method for doing so involved artificial insemination, which he believed would be more viable than forcibly mating members of each species (thank God).

Ultimately, Ivanov was unsuccesful... but it wasn't for lack of trying. By the time of his passing , in 1932, he was still working on his "Humanzee".

Scandalous Historical FactsPixabay

5. Mad as a Hatter

Boston Corbett, the man who shot John Wilkes Booth, was not a stable man.

In his early years, Corbett worked as a hatter (a man who made hats). One problem though: back in those days, being a hatter meant handling a helluva lot of mercury. Indeed, that's the logic behind the Alice in Wonderland character!

Anyway, all that mercury exposer had unfortunate effects for poor ol' Boston. The man was just not right. Case in point: Years prior to hitting Booth, he calmly castrated himself with a pair of scissors, and (allegedly) no anesthetic.

Scandalous Historical FactsFlickr

6. Uncontrolled …

The female adult toy was created to treat Hysteria. Why? Doctors were taking too long to manually stimulate women. Shortly after it’s invention, it became the largest selling household appliance.

Scandalous Historical FactsGetty Images

7. Rebel Party

When the Russian Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government and stormed the Winter Palace in 1917, their revolution was halted for a few days because the Bolsheviks got ridiculously inebriated in the Winter Palace after finding the grape booze stores.

Catherine the Great factsEkaterina (2014– ), Amedia

8. Dear Diary…

The Diary of Anne Frank was edited by her father because, quite rightfully, he didn’t want some of the stuff she wrote published. He edited out writing about her period, discovering herself, learning about boys from a guy that was staying with them, and her father’s infatuation with gas jokes.

Anne Frank Hideout Reconstruction Is Presented At Madame Tussauds Berlin.Getty Images

9. Keep it in Your Pants, Mr. President

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an incredible president... and a complicated man. Like many of us, he had a darker side.

Roosevelt kept multiple mistresses throughout his life, at one point including his wife’s social secretary.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt.Getty Images

10. Horror Souvenirs

During WWII, propaganda created to dehumanize the Japanese was so successful, some American marines in the Pacific kept body parts of Japanese army men as souvenirs.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikimedia Commons

11. Whoops…

During WWII, the Russians trained dogs to run under German tanks with explosive strapped to their backs. Unfortunately, the tanks the dogs were trained to run under were Russian, so they ended up running under the Russian tanks and blowing them up instead.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikimedia Commons

12. Too Lustful to Trust

The FBI ignored compelling evidence of the attack on Pearl Harbor because Hoover didn’t trust the Serbian double agent Dusan Popov, who was apparently a gambling, lustful inebriated . His nickname was tricycle because of his love of threesomes. He was one of the inspirations for Fleming’s Bond.

Scandalous Historical Facts

13. Shocking Facts about Edison?

Thomas Edison electrocuted a lady circus elephant to end.

The elephant had endedthree men over the years, including an abusive trainer. Over a thousand people came to watch her pass, and Edison recorded it on video.

 Strongest peopleWikipedia

14. The Angel Of Demise

Josef Rudolf Mengele, known as “The angel of demise,” took Jewish kids and did experiments on them. He had two twins sewn together by the length of their spines, and the mother later ended them because they were in constant agony. He even took a baseball bat to a child’s leg, and right when the broken bone was about to heal, he broke it again. He did this repeatedly until the leg gave up on healing.

Photo of a Shocked GirlKoolShooters, Pexels

15. This is Sparta!

Spartan society focused heavily on conflict. Part of the reason they were able to do so was a heavy reliance on slavery. Because every single Spartan male was a soldier, every other job had to be done by slaves.

The Spartans beat their slaves... by law. To clarify, we don't mean the law allowed them to beat slaves. The law required it. Most horrifically, as a sort of coming of age holiday, there was an occasion every year where young Spartan men would sneak around and liquidated as many slaves as they could.

Queen Olympias factsShutterstock

16. X-Rated Creation

There’s an Egyptian creation myth that states that the universe was the result of the climax of the god Atum.

To honor Atum, some Pharaohs would ceremonially climax into the Nile.

Egyptian Pharaohs factsWikimedia Commons

17. Claim Your Gone

Mongols used to light the fat of the enemies they ended on fire, and proceeded to shoot it with their catapults onto other enemies.

Evil People Who Made History factsMax Pixel

18. Half-Blind Leading the Blind

A Byzantine emperor, Basil, captured 15,000 Bulgarians in battle and blinded 99 of every 100, leaving the 100th guy with one eye. He then sent them all home.

Byzantine emperor, Basil soldiers one eyeUnknown Author, Wikimedia Commons

19. Mad as a Bandit

When Al Capone was taken into custody for tax evasion, he was found to have syphilis. Capone refused treatment because he was afraid of needles. After 11 years in Alcatraz, the disease had eaten away at his brain so much that he could no longer resume his life of offence. Before his passing , he was often spotted casting a fishing rod into his swimming pool.

Scandalous Historical FactsFlickr

20. Et Tu, Caesar?

Marcus Brutus’ mother was Julius Caesar’s lover.

Scandalous Historical Facts

21. Vlad the Impaler

Vlad earned his name by impaling his enemies through the torso with large stakes and erecting these stakes in the ground. Sometimes thousands of prisoners would be impaled at the same time, and many victims lived in agony for days.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikimedia Commons

22. Years Before Elmo Wanted Tickles…

Foot tickling was used in the Muscovite palaces and courts for centuries as a means of arousal. Many of the Czarinas (Catherine the Great, Anna Ivanovna, and others) loved it. In fact, it was so popular that eunuchs and women were employed as full time foot ticklers.

While the ticklers performed their task, they often told bawdy stories and sang obscene ballads. This was done to get the ladies into the mood for liaisons with their husbands or lovers.

Catherine the Great in blue dressUnknown author,  Wikimedia Commons

23. The Rubber Authorities

In the 1880s, Anthony Comstock started confiscating people’s adult and other toys in the United States. He referred to them as “immoral rubber goods,” and in 1882, he confiscated 64,836 pounds of illicit material.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikipedia

24. Early, Condemnable Pimping

Christopher Columbus prostituted pre-pubescent native American girls.

Portrait of a Man, Said to be Christopher ColumbusWikipedia

25. Armenian genocide

During World WI, the Muslim Ottoman government systematically ended of 1.5 million Armenian Christians in the Ottoman Empire and its successor state, the Republic of Turkey.

Creepiest Things Kids Have Ever Said or Done FactsPixabay

26. Foundinger

Ben Franklin visited brothels almost every night. Also, in 1998, while renovating his home into a museum, ten bodies were discovered in the basement. This led to speculation the Ben Franklin may have been a liquidator of many , but further analysis has revealed this is likely not the case: the bodies were more likely cadavers used for the anatomical studies of William Hewson, one of Franklin’s friends.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikipedia

27. Unit 731

There was a biological and chemical conflict research facility called Unit 731 that undertook lethal human experimentation during the occupation of China.

They specialized in vivisection, germ conflict, and arms testing on prisoners. The researchers didn’t even refer to the Chinese people as humans: they called them “logs” and often bragged about how many logs they had cut that day. After WW2, the leaders of the unit gave the United States their research data in return for amnesty. Many of previous members of Unit 731 became part of post-conflict politics, academia, business, and medicine.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikipedia

28. A + B = Demise

The mathematician Pythagoras, who discovered the Pythagorean theorem, ended people who didn’t agree with him or disproved him. He convinced people that facing the sun when you urinate is a punishable sin. He also didn’t believe in fractions, or decimals.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikipedia

29. Malcolm XXX

Malcolm X was bi. He was also adult worker for almost ten years.

Malcolm X In Oxford.Getty Images

30. Get That Sheep

In medieval England, the animals involved in zoophilic activities were deemed equally responsible. The offence was punishable by execution. So buggering a sheep put both you and the sheep in grave danger.

Scandalous Historical FactsPixabay

31. The Saw

In the middle ages, one of the punishments for being gay saw brutality . The offending person was hung by his ankles and sawed in half.

Scandalous Historical FactsPexels

32. The Romans

Romans emperors frequently had young boys as concubines. Some even hired toddlers, from their parents, to nibble at their inner thighs while they bathed.

Creep Gut FactsPublic Domain Pictures

33. Horror Inspires Horror

The United States sterilized over 10,000 people against their will for promiscuity, feeblemindedness, having children out of wedlock, being physically unfit, and many other things. Adolph H. actually based his eugenics laws on a Supreme Court ruling in Virginia that supported the United States eugenics program.

Oliver Cromwell factsGetty Images

34. The My Lai Liquidation 

Approximately 400 unarmed civilians were ended during the Vietnam by United States army men. 26 army men were originally charged with offenses. One served time. He was given a life sentence, but in the end, he served less than four years of house arrest.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikipedia

Monument of the My Lai 

35. Thank You For That, Mr. President.

Lyndon Baines Johnson’s nicknamed his Johnson “Jumbo,” and there are several reports of him waving it around during White House meetings and bragging about its size.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikimedia Commons

36. Got Milk?

The Milky Way supposedly got its name because it was formed when the Greek goddess Hera sprayed her chest milk into the sky.

Physics FactsPxhere

37. Filthy Composition

Mozart was surprisingly obsessed with  waste and bathroom humor. Two of his songs actually talk about anlingus. He also wrote letters to his family members where he described his farts in great detail.

Scandalous Historical FactsGetty Images

 

38. A Recipe for Compliance

During WWII, the Russians would have “barrier army men ” that would be set up behind Russian army forces and shoot those army men that were trying to desert from the front line.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikimedia Commons

39. An Eye for an Eye

In rural America in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, citizens would settle disputes with gouging: an incredibly violent form of wrestling where opponents would try and gouge out each other's eyes. How far we've come... now we settle disputes by people on Photoshop.

Scandalous Historical FactsShutterstock

40. Royal Audience

On his wedding night, future King William of Orange consummated his marriage while Charles II watched from the sidelines and shouted encouragement.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikipedia

 

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


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