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

By | 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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