60 Bizarre Photos And The Chilling Stories Behind Them
Many photos of the past present everything prior to the modern era as stoic and well mannered. The photos collected here turn that concept on its head by showing some of the more candid moments from history that didn’t make it into the history books. Each new picture offers you the opportunity to see something real from the past rather than an oversaturated moment that’s been talked about ad nauseam.
This trip through the most intriguing moments in history will take you behind the scenes of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, one of JFK’s pre-presidency vacations, and you’ll even get to see how Kiss rocker Gene Simmons is around kids. Prepare for adventure behind the scenes of history.
Jackie taking an early version of a selfie with Ethel, herself and John Kennedy in 1954. 📷🤳🏼
Even though Ethel and Jackie married into the Kennedys within a few years of one another they look like they could sisters. The two met on Saint Patrick’s Day 1953 at one of Ethel’s annual parties, and throughout their tenure as stateswomen Ethel filled in for Jackie any time that she wasn’t feeling up to hosting in the White House.
This photo, taken only a year after the dream wedding of JFK and Jackie, this look at one of America’s fairy tale families shows that they were just as quaint as any other family in the United States. However, there’s something about Jackie and John’s style that sets them apart, don’t you think?
A day of shopping in Los Angeles, 1960. (Photograph by Allan Grant. Colorized by Kostas Fiev.)
Life in Los Angeles in the 1960s was a halcyon moment full of fun in the sun and days spent walking up and down the Sunset Strip in search of a good deal and a good time. At the time LA was experiencing a boom that was unprecedented for the era. The Dodgers had just moved to the city in 1958, and the town was growing at a remarkable pace, the city was a tree waiting to be picked.
It’s clear that some things never change in spite of the era. The sun is still a harsh mistress in Southern California, and friends are always going to have a great time on long, summer walks throughout the city. The only real question is where does someone find those shorts? They’re so groovy.
Here's a young Prince Charles standing between his grandmother (The Queen Mother) and aunt (Princess Margaret) at his mother Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953. 👑
Born in 1948, Prince Charles has lead one of the most royal lives in the history of the monarchy. Not only was he born inside Buckingham Palace, but he was baptized in the Music Room of the palace by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He became the heir apparent and Duke of Cornwall in 1953 when his mother ascended to the throne, along with her sister Princess Margaret.
While that’s a lot to put on a young boy, it’s nothing compared to the spotlight that he had to deal with when it was announced that he’d be the first member of the Royal Family to attend school rather than learn from a private tutor. He later said of his schooling:
I am lucky in that I believe it taught me a great deal about myself and my own abilities and disabilities. It taught me to accept challenges and take the initiative.
Here's a pole climbing class for telephone electricians back in 1918. 👨🏼🔧
These students from the Army Training Corps at the University of Michigan are learning how to climb telephone poles, which isn’t really a life skill that many people think about but it makes sense that there would be a class for something as important as climbing phone poles.
These students were learning how to climb poles and repair phone lines at the tail end of World War I, a time when it was important for people to be knowledgeable about setting up phone lines as well as making sure methods of communication could stay open. How long do you think these students were posing?
A Sikkimese woman carrying a British man on her back, West Bengal, India, circa 1900.
From 1858 to 1947 England ruled over India, making the entire country a part of the British kingdom. Many British colonials moved to the jewel of England and made lives for themselves. They got married, had kids, and even stayed long after England disconnected themselves from India. At the time of the take over, the British Empire believed that they were spreading liberty.
Obviously, there were many drawbacks to British imperialism, specifically the way the Victorian era men treated the natives. Even though England and India separated in ’47, the two countries still have a tense relationship - which is understandable after nearly 100 years of acrimony.
Pasta drying out on the racks outside of a pasta shop in Palermo, Italy. (1865) 🍝🍷
It’s an understatement to say that pasta plays a large part in the diet and income. Long before pasta was mass produced in factories it was made by hand and dried out in the open. Even though it was (and still is) incredibly inexpensive to manufacture, pasta was a part of everyone’s diet - not just the poorer sects of the country.
One of the reasons that pasta was so popular in Italy was because of the country’s strict Catholic beliefs that forbid meat on certain days. Pasta became the perfect dish when Italians were looking for something filling but that wasn’t going to get them in trouble.
13 year-old Melanie Griffith at home with her family pet Neil the lion in 1971. 🐾
Before she starred in the movie Working Girl with Harrison Ford, she was living with her superstar mother and her pet lion “Neil.” After Griffith’s mother - Tippi Hedren - made a film about big cats in the 1970s, she was encouraged to take a lion home with her, something that’s hard to imagine happening today.
Photos from the time show that Neil lived like a member of the family. He slept under the blankets with Griffith and lounged around the living room with Hedron. Even though no one was hurt Griffith later said that owning a lion was “stupid beyond belief.”
The house where Edgar Allan Poe wrote the Raven in 1844, near the current day intersection of West 84th Street and Broadway in New York City.
Could Edgar Allan Poe have written “The Raven” in any other house? The gothic structure certainly looks like it’s ready house a spooky author, and while he was authoring the poem in this house his then wife and mother-in-law were living in a farmhouse owned by Patrick Brennan. It’s likely that Poe needed the space to work out his ideas about language and logic that fills the piece.
The house has since been demolished, and where it once stood only sits a plaque that lets passers by know of the location of the literary landmark. It seems that any ravens looking to escape a midnight dreary will have to go rap tap tapping on a different chamber door.
Mary Wallace was the first female bus driver for Chicago Transit Authority in 1974. 🚍👩🏾💼
It wasn’t easy to become the first female bus driver for the Chicago Transit Authority. According to Mary Wallace, she had to essentially berate the CTA into hiring her. In spite of their excuses she finally got the job and looked cool doing it. She said:
I used to work for the Planning & Placement Center when I was going to college, and we had job orders for CTA bus drivers. So I decided I wanted to check this out for myself, and I did. I went for three years, and they kept saying no, we can’t hire women, we don’t have facilities for women, so you have to do something else. I said I don’t want to do something else. I want to drive a bus. After three years of harassing them, they finally sent me a letter saying they would consider (not saying hire) me. They wanted me to come down and take some test, and I did not hear from them for about three or four months, and then I got a another letter saying I would be hired as a driver. After that, the rest is history.
A 6-year-old Michelle Obama, 1970.
Long before she was the First Lady, Michelle Obama nee Robinson was growing up in a South Shore bungalow in Chicago, Illinois. Her father was a city-pump operator, and while that didn’t afford the family a lot of money, it was enough money for the Robinson family to survive. Everyone in the Robinson family, but especially the Michelle was intelligent, and she ended up skipping the second grade before studying French and biology.
Growing up, Robinson’s father fought through multiple sclerosis, something that inspired her to focus on her studies and stay out of trouble. She went on to study at Chicago’s first magnet school before moving onto Princeton.
A couple posing for the camera in the 1860s. 📷
Taking a photo in 1860 was nothing like snapping a quick pic on a smart phone today. Photographers couldn’t just pull up portrait mode and start clicking, they had to set up a camera’s aperture and exposure in order to perfectly capture their subjects. The long exposure time that it took to take the photo made it impossible for people to smile - if they did everything would come out blurry.
Early photo technology explains why this couple looks so dour in their photo. It’s likely that they were told to sit still in these positions for as long as necessary to capture the photo.
This divorced couple was ordered to divide up their Beanie Babies collection, valued between $2500 to $5000
Regardless of which ‘90s craze spoke to you the most, Beanie Babies inspired the most rabid fandom of them all. Collectors hoarded their gaggle of stuffed animals, increasing the bubble until the prices on these pieces were astronomical. After this Las Vegas couple separated they went to court over their Beanie Baby collection.
According to the Huffington Post, the duo couldn’t agree over who got which Beanies in the nearly $5,000 collection. The collection had to spread out on the floor and divided one by one by Family Court Judge Hardcastle. Hopefully the couple were able to sell their collection before the bubble burst.
A Himalayan tahr is a type of wild goat found climbing mountain slopes, in mountain forests and alpine pastures around the Himalayas in Tibet, India and Nepal.
If you’re traveling through the Himalayan countryside some time soon you’ll notice a wizened old goat sitting atop a mountain - that’s a Himalayan tahr. While these creatures are similar to goats that can be found in America, they have shorter legs, smaller heads, and they live at a higher elevation in order to avoid predators.
This species of tahr can weigh up to 200 pounds. They’re a relatively peaceful creature, and they do most of their feeding and moving near dusk or sunrise in order to stay out of the way of animals that might want to put tahr on the menu.
Fashionable ladies in France, 1908. 😘
France has always been the focal point of fashion, and in the early 20th century the country was definitely flexing its style muscles with this gorgeous outfits. The early 1900s were known as the Belle Epoch (the beautiful era) and every gal had an eye for being the most opulent creature to walk along the Siene.
During this time women wore a dense amount of frills, bustles, and any other kind of adornment that would put their outfit over the top and make them the most noticeable person in France. In order to get such extravagant outfits women traveled to Paris during March and September in order to find the perfect outfits in the city’s many shops.
Cute photo of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher from 1959.
It’s not rare that a mother and daughter have such a close relationship. However, it’s not every day that a relationship like this plays out across the tabloids. Fisher was open about her tense relationship with her mother during her formative years, telling Oprah:
The family is organized [around] the parents, [whereas] normally the family is organized around raising the child.
Although the two were often at odds, in 2011 Reynolds spoke about how she loved her daughter even more so after Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She said:
My lowest point in Carrie and my relationship was probably when we discovered that she was ill, or that she had this mental health problem, and that it was going to be with her forever. That was very hard. How is she going to get along in life? How can I help her in life? All I could do is love her, and always shall.
It took decades for Fisher and Reynolds to reconnect, but by the end of their lives they were extremely close, with Fisher saying that she was fearless because of her mother. Both women passed away within a day of one another in 2017.
This lion, bear, and tiger were inseparable after being rescued together 13 years ago. The lion recently passed due to illness. (Noah's Ark Sanctuary, Locust Grove, GA.)
As unlikely as these pals may seem, they’ve been through thick and thin together in their long and strange lives. Rescued from a drug baron in Atlanta, Georgia Baloo the bear, Leo the lion, and Shere Khan the tiger were extremely malnourished when they were discovered by the authorities, so much so that their chances for survival were slim.
After these three animal buddies were brought to the Noah's Ark Sanctuary in Locust Grove, Georgia they were able to live somewhat normal lives and play together in harmony. In 2016 Leo passed away, and in 2018 Shere Khan joined him in the great beyond. Baloo is the final member of the trio, but he’s surrounded by plenty of friends at Noah’s Ark Sanctuary.
Coal miners coming up after a long day of work in Belgium. (1920s) ⚒💎
America isn’t the only country that’s had a long dependence on coal. Belgium’s economy in the late 19th century and early 20th century relied heavily on the mining industry, and the ore these men dug out on a daily basis was a major part of the country’s economy. Much of the mining happened at the sillon industriel, or “industrial valley” near Wallonia.
Much like their western counterparts in West Virginia, the miners would descend into the mines for a long and dangerous day of work before returning above ground to wash off and get ready to do it all over again.
Coco Chanel, 1910. 😘
Born in 1883, in France, Coco Chanel’s start was different from what many of the people who wore her fashions could imagine. Rather than grow up in a lavish estate or in the heart of Paris’ fashion world, Chanel was raised in an orphanage after her mother died at the age of 12. She was abandoned by her father who either couldn’t or didn’t want to take care of her.
Chanel was taught to sew by the nuns who raised her, something that would come in handy for the rest of her life. Before she turned to fashion, Chanel briefly worked as a night club singer in Vichy and Moulins were she was referred to as “Coco.” She opened her first shop on Paris’s Rue Cambon in 1910 where she sold hats. By the 1920s she was in international superstar.
Little girl walking with penguins- the zoo director let the penguins walk through the city in order to attract people to the zoo in Edinburgh, Scotland. (1950)
How do you get people to visit your zoo? By letting the animals roam throughout the city, of course. According to Lynda Burrill, the Animal registrar and former bird keeper for the zoo, the penguin escape wasn’t exactly meant to boost business, but once the tuxedoed birds started waddling through the Edinburgh streets the zoo didn’t exactly go out of their way to stop them.
The penguins actually received a police escort through the city to make sure that the birds were minding their business and that the locals weren’t feeding them too much fried food. What a day for these peculiar birds.
Gene Simmons hanging out with young KISS fans in the 1970s. 🆒
While Kiss had been kicking around since the early ‘70s in New York, they weren’t an international sensation until the release of “Alive!” in 1975. The landmark live album strapped a rocket to the band, turning them into the most recognizable group in the world. While many of their songs were about partying hard and rock n’ roll, their theatrical look attracted gobs of young fans.
Kiss fans young and old have always been total die hards for the group, so it must have been a thrill to see Gene “The Demon” Simmons up close and personal. Hopefully he didn’t try to breathe fire during this appearance.
Known for its loyalty, the Giant Tibetan Mastiff was bred primarily as a livestock guardian dog.
Now this is a fluffy little pup. Or rather, a big fluffy pup. This massive dog breed was created in Tibet centuries ago to be used as a guard dog for livestock. The males of the species can grow up to three feet in height and they can weigh up to 160 pounds - imagine that jumping on your lap after a long day at work. Ouch.
Tibetan mastiffs are still bred today and while they’re still guarding livestock, they’ve also been domesticated and can be found in just as many homes. They sure look like they’re fun to cuddle with, but when it comes to bathing them that’s going to be a hard pass.
McDonald's in 1974.
Imagine walking into a McDonalds and spending less than five dollars on a meal. Back in 1974 that dream was a reality. A hungry diner could pop into a Mickey Ds and dump out the change in their pockets for something tasty.
McDonalds got its start in the late ’40 when it was started by the McDonald brothers, but after they were bought out by Ray Krock in 1961 the company went global and began serving burgers internationally. By the 1970s there were more than 40,000 restaurants across the world. In 1974 McDonalds was still specifically a lunch and dinner fast food restaurant, but all of that would change one year later with the introduction of the Egg McMuffin.
Kiowa girl with a lovely smile in 1894. 👩🏽😃
When you think of Native Americans living in teepees and hunting bison, you're thinking of the Kiowa. By the early 19th century the Kiowa people were living full time in the Great Plains after generations of traveling from the states like Colorado and western Montana. The name Kiowa is believed to be a take on the group’s name for themselves, the Kai-i-gwu, which means “principal people.”
They were definitely an important group in the social structure of indigenous people, specifically when it came to forming relationships with tribes that have gone down in history for being aggressive. The Kiowa were close friends with the Comanche, Arapaho, and Southern Cheyenne, and since the late 1800s they’ve shared reservation space with the Comanche.
A giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox Bat, found in the Philippines, is one of the largest bats in the world.
When you think of bats, this is the creature of the night that you think about. But don’t worry, these giant bats aren’t looking to drain your blood while you sleep, they’re actually just a large species of fruit bat and unfortunately they’ve become endangered in the modern era. These megabats grow to a ridiculous size, with their wingspans extending to anywhere between 4 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 7 inches. That’s longer than most people.
These bats live secretive lives, but they’ve been known to fly 25 miles in one night to eat, and during they day they choose to stay hidden in the forest. They’re rarely seen even in their native Philippines because they really don’t like to deal with humans. If you see one of these big guys hanging around don’t be scared, just toss it an extra fig.
A married couple begs for the husband to not be deported to Germany in 1936.
Long before World War II was underway, the Jewish people were fleeing Germany and its surrounding countries as fast as possible. However, at the time no one knew just how monstrous Hitler was being and almost every country to which they migrated didn’t want them there. In 1936 America was still in the middle of the Great Depression, and many citizens believed that an influx of refugees would place a strain on the economy to which we could never return. Philosopher Hannah Arendt described the plight of the Jewish refugees as such:
The refugees] were welcomed nowhere and could be assimilated nowhere. Once they had left their homeland they remained homeless, once they had left their state they remained stateless; once they had been deprived of their human rights they were rightless, the scum of the earth.
Four generations in this family photo from New Guinea, 1970. 📷
Even though westerners have been traveling to Papua New Guinea since the late 19th century, with Italian naturalist and explorer Luigi Maria d'Albertis leading the way, there’s still so much that remains a mystery about the tribes in the area. Many tribespeople in the area believe that outsiders bring evil spirits along with them, so it’s a wonder that these four generations of men would allow themselves to be photographed.
The tribespeople of New Guinea still hunt with bows and arrows, and their practices are passed down from generation to generation, and they’re not afraid to point their weapons at outsiders who’ve yet to establish themselves as peaceful people.
“The more I know about people, the more I like my dog.” (Mark Twain)
Mark Twain was one of America’s most brilliant minds. His witticisms still charm readers today, and he was a major advocate for domesticated animals, especially the world’s canine population. It’s telling that one of the few poems that Twain ever attempted was written for his deceased dog Burns. Shortly after the dog’s passing Twain wrote the simple lines: “She lived a quiet harmless life in Hartford far from madding strife.”
Throughout his life Twain had a large collection of pets, many of them with ridiculous names that only he could dream up. His animals went by names like Pestilence and Famine, Sackcloth, Billiards, and Prosper.
In 1997, Tom Petty took this picture at Jim Morrison's grave site, which shows Jim's ghostly image in the background.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts you have to admit that this photo is very spooky. While traveling through Paris in the late ‘90s singer-songwriter Tom Petty snapped this photo of journalist Brett Meisner, and supposedly the strange image in the background is none other than the spirit of the Lizard King himself. When Meisner saw the photo he was understandably upset. He wrote:
What I uncovered tonight has made me rethink my theory about 'the monster in the closet.' I didn't believe in ghosts or other ‘super-natural' things before tonight. While compiling my photo archives for some upcoming projects, my assistant produced a photo of me at Jim Morrison's gravesite in France that was taken several years ago. I looked at this photo before, but I never noticed what I noticed tonight. In short, I am now very confused and possibly scared...
A bird’s eye view of the magnificent Niagara Falls.
The majestic beauty of Niagra Falls is something that can’t be denied. The Falls straddle the American-Canadian border, and the State Park offers so much more than just that classic new of the majestic falls. While you can’t go over the cliffs on a barrel anymore, you can go hiking throughout its miles of hiking trails.
Aside from just being straight up gorgeous, the Falls provide the country with hydroelectric power. The flow from the Falls moves at an astounding rate at 2,400 cubic meters per second and it peaks in early summer. So if you’re traveling to upstate New York in June or July you’ll see the Falls at the peak of their power.
A 21 year-old Winston Churchill in 1895.
At the spry age of 21 Winston Churchill was already a trained military man who was ensconced with the Army. However, he didn’t agree with all of England’s dictates at the time. Before he joined up with the 4th Hussars for a tour of India he wrote to his mother disparagingly about his trip to South Asia:
I look upon going to India as useless and unprofitable exile. I feel that I am guilty of an indolent folly that I shall regret all my life. It is useless to preach the gospel of patience to me. Others as young are making the running now and what chance have I of ever catching up.
A utility pole worker gives artificial respiration to a co-worker after electrical shock, the man survived. (1967)
While electricity powers our homes and pretty much every modern appliance that doesn’t mean that electricity is our friend. This photo of utility worker J.D. Thompson giving mouth-to-mouth to his co-worker Randall G. Champion was taken on July 17, 1967 by Rocco Morabito and became known as “Kiss of Life.” According to Thompson, the day this photo was taken was like any other until his co-worker grabbed a live wire on accident. He told NBC:
He got a hold of the hot wire with his four fingers and [the electrical current] came out his – I think it was the left foot. And it blew a hole where it came out his foot.
Morabito, a newspaper photographer at the time, just happened to be in the area and had his camera on him. It’s a good thing he did because he won a Pulitzer Prize for his work.
The battleship USS ARIZONA sinking after being hit by Japanese air attack on Dec. 7,1941, "A Date Which Will Live In Infamy."
Built in 1916, this Pennsylvania-class battleship had a long life before it exploded during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941. During World War I the Arizona monitored the eastern shore of Britain and boasted its prowess as one of the few oil burning ships of the time. In 1929 the Navy updated the ship with deck armor, boilers, turbines, guns and fire-control.
When Pearl Harbor was attacked the Arizona was hit with a bomb that detonated a powder magazine, sending the entire ship down in flames. 1,177 officers and crewmen lost their lives aboard the Arizona that day, and the wreckage still sits at the bottom of the harbor.
A rural mail carrier in his winter uniform in Sweden, 1900.
Before 1861, people living in Sweden had to travel to the post office to pick up their mail. Not only could this lead to a backlog of envelopes and packages as the Royal Mail, but was a major pain for people who weren’t spry enough to travel. 15 years later, the occupation of Rural Mailman was put into place. These brave souls traveled throughout the countryside to deliver the post to people who weren’t on a normal route.
Initially rural mailmen made their deliveries on foot, and anyone using a horse and cart had to do so out of their own pocket. But by 1900 the rural post office carriers were using bicycles as a means for transportation. It’s not clear whether or not this fellow could fit on a penny farthing.
Bunda Cliffs, Australia/ End of the World
These beautiful limestone cliffs are a gorgeous natural landmark and one of the most isolated places in Australia. The cliffs are the world’s largest exposure of natural limestone, with 77,000 square miles of bedrock open for the eye to see. The area was formed millions of years ago when Australia disconnected from Antartica.
Aside from featuring an impressive and gorgeous view, the cliffs are home to Australia’s longest section of straight road at around 90 miles. That has to make for a gorgeous road trip, just make sure you’ve got enough gas in your car or you’ll be enjoying the view on foot.
American troops treat a wounded dog on Orote Pennisula, Guam. (1944)
Troops serving in Guam during World War II spent nearly 20 days fighting the Japanese in order to gain control of the island after it was taken from them in 1941. It wasn’t just American men fighting to take back Guam, but there were American dogs putting paws on the ground too. First Lieutenant William R. Putney acted as both the commander of the Dog Platoon and the veterinarian for all war dogs on Guam.
Dog platoons were deployed to find snipers and traps on the island along with searching out foxholes and delivering messages for their human counterparts. During the Guam operation there were 350 war dogs in the territory, and when American forces took back the island 20 dogs were wounded and 25 lost their lives.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and the late President George H. W. Bush enjoying the snow at Camp David in 1991.
In 1991, Arnold Schwarzenegger was on top of the world. Aside from being the Terminator he was one of - if not the - top grossing action stars of the 20th century and he was hanging out with the President of the Unites States. Was there anything he couldn’t do? Sledding apparently. In January 1991, President Bush attempted to teach the action star how to sled and it didn’t end so well. Schwarzenegger remembers:
I was only used to sledding down with Austrian sleds, which you direct kind of with your feet. So we went down totally out of control.
The two ended up crashing into First Lady Barbara Bush and breaking her leg, which definitely left a lasting impression on the family.
A British soldier reads a sign erected by British forces at the entrance of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Germany. (1945)
Following the end of German occupation of Europe, British forces erected signs at the entrances to concentration camps that not only displayed the prowess of British forces but also explained the devastation that the Germans brought to the area. When British troops came upon the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15, 1945 they were completely unprepared for what was waiting for them.
They discovered 38,000 prisoners who were clinging onto life with no food, water, or lavatories. In an overflow camp there were 15,000 more prisoners waiting for the British troops. The liberation of the camp was the first of many triumphant moments for the British Army.
The beautiful Valley of the Ten Peaks is in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies.
This beautiful view coming to you from Alberta, Canada is one of the most fascinating natural spots in the world. These ten peaks overlook the pristine Moraine Lake and if you can find the right vantage point you can see all ten mountains reflected in the placid surface of the water. One of the more interesting things about this area are the glaciers that can be found hanging nearby.
One of the ten peaks is actually the third highest peak in the Rocky Mountains, which makes the area a must see for climbers around the world. Even if you’re not going to scale the peak tourists still visit just to bask in the gorgeous scenery.
A group of samurai in front of the Sphinx, Egypt, 1863.
While on a trip to France in order to secure foreign trade in 1863, 34 Samurai known as the Second Japanese Embassy to Europe stopped off in Egypt to take part in a bit of tourism, and with views like this who can blame them? During the mid 19th century in Japan all of the country’s ports were closed, which meant that Japan was literally an island unto itself.
In order to open up the country they needed to establish a trade relationship with Europe, so this group of samurai traveled throughout France and Egypt in the name of making their country a better place. Unfortunately, the samurai technically failed in the mission, but they got this amazing picture out of the deal so it wasn’t all bad.
Eleanor Roosevelt with the .22 Smith and Wesson she frequently carried in lieu of Secret Service protection.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was not someone who you wanted to mess with. Aside from being fiercely outspoken and independent, she was also packing serious heat. During her tenure in the White House First Lady Roosevelt drove the Secret Service up a wall with her outspoken nature. Not only was she always carrying a concealed weapon, but she insisted on driving her own car.
Because she wasn’t under the same microscope as the President, Eleanor Roosevelt was allowed to be as outspoken as she wanted, TIME recalled:
She spoke fiercely and freely about racism, poverty, and sexism in a way that would have been impossible for a sitting president at the time.
A library inside an abandoned 19th century Victorian mansion.
Urban Victorian homes became more prevalent when an influx of money appeared in England. While everyone wasn’t getting rich, there was a lot more nouveau riche in the country and that meant that people were building houses. Since space was an issue, the newly wealthy built large homes that could accommodate all of the rooms of a country estate.
One of the most important rooms was the library. Inside, a Victorian library featured bookshelves carved into the walls, or shelves that were so heavy that they wouldn’t be moved even long after their owner had passed. It’s clear that this home has seen better days, but think about all the great literary moments that happened in these walls.
Heart-warming photo of Steve Irwin with his daughter, Bindi.
When Steve Irwin passed away in September, 2006 in a freak accident where he was stabbed in the chest by stingray off the coast of Queensland, Australia, his daughter Bindi was absolutely devastated. She was only eight-years-old at the time of her father’s passing, but now she’s following in her father’s footsteps as an animal conservationist. In 2018 Irwin discussed her loss and her future with the Sun:
It was devastating for us as a family to lose our superhero. We are so blessed to get to carry on his footsteps, and make sure that everything he loved carries on into the future.
Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne born on this day, December 3, 1948.
Is there anyone who’s managed to both horrify and enthralling audiences the way that Ozzy Osbourne has? This bat biting rocker got his start in Birmingham, England, in 1948. The town was essentially a factory town after World War II, and his father worked nights as a toolmaker while his mother worked days, which meant that Ozzy had to fend for himself when he was young.
Osbourne’s home life was terrible, and he dropped out of school at the age of 15 with designs on being a rock star. He spent time as a failed burglar, worked in a factory, and did a stint in jail until getting together with Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Bill Ward to form Black Sabbath. Rock on Ozzy.
Here's what 4.5 megabytes of data in 62,500 punched cards looked like in 1955.
Before all of your information could fit in the palm of your hand, data was a beast to be wrangled, it was something to way in tons. Herman Hollerith invented punch card computing for use in the 1890 census, and that same card program existed with minor tweaks throughout the mid 20th century. When processing applications via card, no computer was required. Instead, the cards were run through a tabulating machine in order to count key punches.
These data cards had to be kept in a strict order. If anything was changed or lost it could ruin years of work and cause a massive headache for whoever had the fix the error. Thankfully, we’ve moved beyond such cumbersome means of calculation.
Enjoying Belgian beer in 1971.
When traveling to Belgium for the first time a tourist will be faced with one major question over and over until they cross the country’s borders and head home; what would you like to drink? When in Belgium, there are over 1000 beers available for the discerning hop head, and each beer is lovingly crafted which means that it would be a shame to waste taste buds on a lesser brew. But how does one choose what to drink?
The gentlemen pictured have gone the classic and noble route of simply ordering a lot of beer to quench their thirst. Belgium is a walking country and its streets are sure to work up a thirst. These gentlemen are truly traveling with gusto.
Barber shop chart from 1890.
For men, getting a hair cut in the 19th century was just as easy as it is today, albeit with many more options for the face. Until long beehive beards come back in style it’s likely that no one’s going to be walking around with a styled mound of hair streaming off their face unless they’re a member of ZZ Top.
In the late 1800s the first school for barbers was opened in Chicago. That was the first time that a more streamlined process of hair care entered the modern world, and it also simplified the job of cutting hair.
Posing with an ostrich in Paris, 1910.
Opened in 1794, the Ménagerie is one of the oldest zoos in the world, and it's played host to everything from ostriches to elephants. By 1910, Edwardian era frivolities had gone mainstream and affected the western world. Why simply look at an ostrich when you can ride one? It’s fascinating to think about how long this ostrich had to sit still with someone on top of it in order to get a good photo.
Either is is one of the most well behaved birds in Europe, or it’s focus was drawn elsewhere at the time. Or maybe it’s a bit of trick photography. Whatever the case this photo is an enduring piece of whimsy.
A logging family stands by the 1,300 year-old, 330 foot-tall sequoia tree known as 'Mark Twain' in 1892.
To bring down a tree of this size a lumberjack needs more than the right tools, they need pure grit, gumption, and a lot of help. In order to fell this massive tree loggers took eight painstaking days in 1891 to bring it down. The sequoia wasn’t just brought down by a mighty saw and a couple of guys, the loggers also had to dig trenches around the tree to make sure that it broke evenly once it was felled.
Once it was felled, parts of the tree were taken from Big Stump Grove, Kings Canyon National Park to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and to the British Museum in London - both pieces are still in existence to this day.
A lovely photo of an Apsaroke (Crow) mother and child in 1908.
The Crow People, also known as the Apsáalooke, Absaroka, and Apsaroke people, were some of the most skilled horsemen in North America. Throughout the 1700s the Crow People moved across the Midwest from the Yellowstone River Valley to the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, and then to the the Devil’s Lake region of North Dakota. They finally settled in Montana where they lived in large teepees made out of buffalo skin.
The men of the Crow tribe were wonderful hunters, but while the men were out the women stayed at home in order to decorate the tribe’s clothing and homes with homemade dye, porcupine quills and beads.
A portrait of Bob Ross. (1983)
While there are more accomplished and respected painters, there hasn’t been an artist that allowed people to feel comfortable with themselves and their own artistic abilities since Bob Ross. While hosting The Joy of Painting on PBS from 1983–1994, Ross became a welcome member of many households. Raised in Orlando, Florida, Ross only completed one year of high school before joining the United States Air Force.
It’s while he was stationed in Alaska that he picked up painting in the early 1960s. In an interesting turn of events, Ross picked up the technique that he used the most - called wet on wet - from television painting instructor Bill Alexander while watching PBS. It's always fascinating when a life comes full circle.
Actor George Clooney in 1990.
George Clooney has always been a heart throb, but in 1990 he looked more like Fabio than he did the salt and pepper hunk that he is today. At the time Clooney was appearing on a show called Sunset Beat as motorcycle riding cop Chic Chesbro (seriously) who busted criminals while wearing a leather jacket and rocking some serious locks.
But Clooney wasn’t just a Harley riding cop on the show, his character also played lead guitar in the band Private Prayer when he wasn’t fighting crime. If you’re wondering why you’ve never seen the show it’s because it was canceled after two episodes. Chic Chesbro we hardly knew you.
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah and is famous for the largest collection of hoodoos—the distinctive rock formations at Bryce—in the world.
When entering Bryce Canyon National Park you’ll be struck by its distinct beauty, and the aura of an untouched grace that’s rare in this part of the world. The park is filled with hoodoos, or irregular rock columns, and while these formations exist across the world Bryce Canyon boasts the largest collection on Earth.
Sitting on the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, Bryce Canyon was established on June 8, 1923 to preserve the “unusual scenic beauty, scientific interest, and importance.” While the rock formations are the most famous part of this park, it also has gorgeous pine trees and fir-spruce forests to explore.
Cavalryman taking the path less traveled at Camp Wheeler, GA. (1918)
Well that’s one way to go down a hill. Georgia’s Camp Wheeler was the site of the National Guard’s mobilization in 1917 following the United State’s entrance into the first World War. Wheeler was where National Guardsmen were given preparation before they were integrated into the Army, making it one of the last stops that many men saw before heading to Europe.
In order to get the camp up to code, it cost the U.S. $4 million to renovate the 21,480 acres of land. Following the end of World War I the camp became a demobilization center before it was shut down. The camp was permanently closed in January 1946.
Colorized photo of a car crash in Washington D.C. around 1921.
Car accidents are no laughing matter, and this gorgeously colorized photo makes it seem that no one was hurt in this crash, but it’s hard not wonder about what the people of the early 20th century thought about an accident like this. At the time car ownership was slim, and there wasn’t an established set of rules for taking a jalopy out for a spin.
Without signs, signals, or so much as a rule book for these Sunday drives, it’s miraculous that more people weren’t hurt when after drivers started speeding around towns with their fancy new rides. Hopefully this driver had insurance.
Galileo’s drawings of the moon, 1610
It’s miraculous that Galileo was able to create an accurate depiction of the moon with such little technology at his fingertips. He only had a simple telescope and his own mind at his disposal to create these gorgeous water color paintings. Each section is dedicated to a different rotation of the moon during its cycle, and it was painted while he was finishing up his role as a professor of geometry, mechanics, and astronomy at the University of Padua.
His drawing of the moon was created while viewing the celestial body through a telescope during the fall, how do you think it would have looked if he decided to work during the summer?
Gorgeous autumn colors of the Cave of Kameya in Chiba, Japan.
Look at those colors, it’s as if the trees around this cave are a Van Gogh painting come to life. To find this gorgeous foliage tourists have to travel east of Tokyo, and while that may sound like a trek it’s actually on a well traveled route. Japan’s busiest airport is located in Chiba, which means that it’s easy to take a trip through this cave as soon as you set boots on the ground in Japan.
Make sure to bring a camera if you end up visiting this lush cave, worn out by generations of water flow, you never know what kind of colors are going to be blossoming all around the rocks.
Lamplighter in London, 1930s.
In the 18th century lamps went up all around Victorian London. These reflector lamps were filled with fish oil and wicks and by using silver-plated copper reflectors they shone light all around the city streets. But lamps don’t light themselves, and in order to make sure they stayed lit and clean teams of lamplighters were hired to maintain the structures.
Each night the lamplighters would take to the streets and make sure the lamps were burning brightly, and in the morning they would once again go on their route to make sure the lamps were put out. It was a lonely life, but something about it seems romantic.
Clint Eastwood feeding a squirrel on the set of the film "Coogan’s Bluff" in 1968.
Coogan’s Bluff follows Clint Eastwood as Walt Coogan, and Arizona sheriff who tracks a killer to the mean streets of New York City. Filmed in 1968, Eastwood made a cool $1 million for his role in the film - a price tag that took up most of the production budget.
Much of the final action of the film takes place in Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, an area that has a particularly arresting view of the Hudson. It’s likely at Tyron where Eastwood met his squirrel friend and relaxed during long takes. Eastwood and director Don Siegel continued working together on and off for the next decade, it’s unclear whether or not Eastwood kept in touch with the squirrel.
Photochrom print taken of local girls on Marken Island, Holland in 1890.
The process of Photochrom is used to colorize images from black and white negatives through a direct transfer onto a lithographic printing plate. The Photochrom process came about in the 1880s thanks to printing firm employee Hans Jakob Schmidt. This photo is just one piece of a collection that shows what life was like in Holland at the turn of the century.
The girls in the photo are dressed in a style that most people closely associate with Holland, and as young people working on the wharf they’re either working in the fish trade or scrubbing something down. Whatever the case it’s a fascinating look at another time.
Sorvagsvatn, the lake above the ocean, Faroe Islands.
In a marvelous optical illusion Lake Sørvágsvatn, the largest in the Faroe Islands, looks to be held hundreds of feet above sea level. When looking at the lake it’s as if the large body of water is straddled high above the ocean, waiting to tip into the lower depths either by earthquake or by a heavy rain that causes its insides to spill out across the shore and fall what must be hundreds of feet into the ocean.
That’s not the case, in actuality the lake is only 98 feet above the ocean. It’s the intense elevation changes in the surrounding hill that make the lake look like it’s sitting so high above the ocean.
The western staircase leading to the roof of the Temple of the Goddess Hathor, Dendera, Egypt.
Each temple of ancient Egypt is an ornate and beautiful look into the past. While many of the temples and pyramids have been destroyed of desecrated in one way or another, the Temple of Hathor has suffered no such fate. As one of the most well preserved temples in Egypt it acts as a time warp to an era when people worshipped the gods and destroyed their bodies to construct monuments to their rulers.
The temple features a myriad of rooms and complex hallways built in the honor of Hathor, an Egyptian goddess who ruled the sky while looking over lovers, mothers, and newborn children. Each room was painstakingly created, but the staircases are steep and some of them require you to get on your knees to make your way around the temple.
Alfred Hitchcock in 1920.
In 1920, Alfred Hitchcock was hardly the master of horror that he’s thought as now, then he was only working as a title-card designer for Islington Studios in Poole Street, Hoxton. While working on title-cards for silent films Hitchcock was allowed the freedom to his hand at whatever parts of the film industry that interested him.
At the time he was working on silent films and he was able to try out writing, art directing, and production managing while still maintaining his original job. It would be another seven years before Hitchcock directed his first feature film The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog.
Jimi Hendrix promoting his album in 1967.
Jimi Hendrix is so cool that he can make this Santa Claus get up work for him, and honestly wouldn’t you rather have the god of rock coming down your chimney for milk and cookies than regular old Saint Nick? This advertisement for “Axis: Bold As Love” appeared in the December 23, 1967 issue of Record Mirror and it’s weird that more artists didn’t do this.
Wouldn’t it be great to see Mick Fleetwood donning a Santa costume, or Jimi Page dressed like the Easter Bunny. Obviously those shots never would have happened, there are too many serious people in the rock n’ roll world, but Jimi never took himself too seriously.