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27 Weird Historical Facts You Probably Didn't Learn in School

Historical Facts | May 9, 2016

From a Roman horse senator to a war that only lasted 38 minutes, here are some facts in history that didn't turn up in your text books.

1. On November 17th of 1952, following the death of Israel's first President, then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion offered Albert Einstein to be their country's president. Einstein declined saying he "lacked the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people" to do the job. Source

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2. In the 19th century, people wore dentures made from teeth of dead soldiers. These dentures were called "Waterloo Teeth" as many of the teeth were from fallen men of the Battle of Waterloo. Source

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3. Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula), made one of his favorite horses a senator. Source

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4. A giant mushroom in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest has a root system that covers over 2,200 acres. It's considered the largest living organism in the world. Source

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5. In 1929, Princeton University researchers claimed that they had turned a living cat into a telephone. Source

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6. Heroin was once a legal medicine prescribed by doctors to treat coughs and headaches. Source

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7. While Pope Gregory IX was in power, he declared that cats were associated with the devil, so he had them exterminated. Source

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8. It’s believed that the disappearance of those cats cats triggered the spread of the bubonic plague, or Black Death, that killed millions of people in the 1300s. Source

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9. Russian dictator Joseph Stalin often had photos edited to remove people who had died or been removed from office. Source

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10. Chinese women used to painfully bind their feet to make them appear smaller and more feminine.

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11. The Anglo-Zanzibar War was the shortest war in history, which lasted just 38 minutes. Source

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12. Former North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il was believed to be a great lover of music. He allegedly composed six operas while he was in office. Source

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13. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was never straight to begin with. The foundation started sinking when they started on the second floor. Source

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14. Ronald Reagan is best known for being President and a Hollywood, but many doesn't know that he was also a prolific lifeguard who saved 77 people from drowning. Source

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15. Researchers believe that the famous Guanajuato Mummies’ terrifying expressions are the result of the victims being buried alive. Source

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16. Klerksdorp spheres are have been dug up near Ottosdal in South Africa. These strange spherical objects are billions of years old and no one knows what the markings on their sides are for. Source

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17. A famous native American named Blackbird was believed to have loved his horse so much that he was buried sitting on top of it. Source

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18. Before there were alarm clocks, there were “knockers-up,” hired to shoot dried peas from a blow gun at people’s windows in order to wake them up in the morning. Source

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19. The largest bird to ever exist had a wingspan of almost 20 feet. It lived 60 million years ago. Source

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20. Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin reportedly survived being poisoned, shot, and stabbed multiple times before he was finally drowned in the Volga river. Source

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21. This mysterious ancient monument has the inscription “DOUOSVAVVM.” Some believe it was inscripted by the Knights Templar as a means of finding the Holy Grail, but no one really knows what it means. Source

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22. People in Spain used to empley the Spanish Donkey torture technique before, where victims had to sit high up, straddling a board while torturers tied increasingly heavy weights to their legs. Ouch! Source

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23. The Mayans used to sacrifice people by pulling their still-beating hearts out of their chests. Source

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24. The use of the word “hooker” as a term for a prostitute originated with Civil War General Joseph Hooker, who brought prostitutes along on campaigns for his men. Source

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25. Like many ancient royalty, King Tut’s parents were related by blood. They were actually brother and sister, according to DNA taken from his mummified body. Source

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26. Winston Churchill loved cigars. How much? About 10-a-day-much. Source

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27. During the Great Depression, people starting making clothes out of potato sacks. Seeing this, distributors made their sacks more colorful to help people wear something at least more presentable. Source

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