Chilling Photos Reveal Eerie Stories Of The Past
By Sophia Maddox | June 27, 2023
Marcel Marceau was a French mime and member of the French Resistance during the German occupation. Using his acting skills, he helped smuggle Jewish children from a French orphanage
More often than not when we look back on history we're doing so through the lens of nostalgia. While we like to remember heartwarming moments of the past, it's also denying the existence of some truly chilling stories from the past that are as fascinating as they are dark.
When you take a closer look at history through rare photos and stories you'll see that not everything is as sunny as the history books portray. Even when a photo claims to show something that's beautiful, if you look closer you'll see how spine-tingling history really is.
Each of these uncovered photos from history shows a new side to old stories, but they're not suitable for all audiences. You've been warned, now are you ready to look closer?
It sounds like something out of a movie. An internationally renowned mime and performance artist helping Jewish children escape from Nazi occupied France, is it too good to be true? No way. The only thing that needs to be corrected is that Marseau wasn't a mime yet, he was just a teenager when he was helping the French Resistance.
Born Marcel Mangel, he changed his last name to Marceau to avoid detection by the Nazis and helped children at a Jewish orphanage escape to Switzerland. He performed this dangerous duty three times and saved hundreds of orphans. His cousin, Resistance commander George Loinger said of Marcel's courageous work:
The kids loved Marcel and felt safe with him. He had already begun doing performances in the orphanage, where he had met a mime instructor earlier on. The kids had to appear like they were simply going on vacation to a home near the Swiss border, and Marcel really put them at ease.
Shirley Temple may seem like the child star who lived a golden life, but there's a dark undercurrent to her career that shows just how harrowing it was for a young person in the entertainment industry before there were rules set in place for working with children.
Temple was only three years old in 1932, the year she signed her first Hollywood contract. Her first film was a hyper sexualized "comedy" called the Baby Burlesks that saw her dressed as a prostitute in an oversized diaper who trades kisses for lollipops. It's absolutely insane that this was a film someone wrote and filmed. On top of that, the working conditions were abysmal. Historian John Kassan explained how director Charles Lamont would punish his actors:
To threaten and punish uncooperative child actors, the director, Charles Lamont, kept a soundproof black box, six feet on each side, containing a block of ice. An offending child was locked within this dark, cramped interior and either stood uncomfortably in the cold, humid air or had to sit on the ice. Those who told their parents about this torture were threatened with further punishment.
It's telling that out of all of Elvis' co-stars it's Ann-Margret who he had the best onscreen chemistry with. The two appeared onscreen with one another in Viva Las Vegas and by all accounts - including Ann-Margret's - they began a salacious relationship that they tried to keep under wraps to little avail.
The relationship began when the duo recorded their songs before the production got under way. By the time they were on set sparks were already flying. They made eyes at one another in camera and everyone could feel the heat even though Elvis was still married to Priscilla Presley. Ann-Margret said of the heat between the two them:
We experienced music in the same visceral way. Music ignited a fiery pent-up passion inside Elvis and inside me. It was an odd, embarrassing, funny, inspiring, and wonderful sensation. We looked at each other move and saw virtual mirror images. When Elvis thrust his pelvis, mine slammed forward too. When his shoulder dropped, I was down there with him. When he whirled, I was already on my heel.
A mother once called into PBS, asking if Mr. Rogers could send an autograph to her daughter who was set to have brain surgery. When Mr. Rogers heard about it, he flew thousands of miles to see her in the hospital, bringing his puppets along.❤️
It's always horrific when children are tasked with facing down life ending medical problems. Children should have a chance to live an idyllic youth, not spend their early years in a hospital bed. When a young girl named Beth began suffering violent seizures she was sent from doctor to doctor but no one knew exactly what was happening with her.
The only thing that kept Beth from seizing was the soothing half hour of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. After she was finally diagnosed with Rasmussen's encephalitus, a rare neurological disease that only affects one hemisphere of the brain that still has no cure she was booked to undergo a terrible surgery. Doctors were going to remove one half of her brain.
Before undergoing surgery, Beth's family reached out to Rogers and asked for a signed copy of a photo for the girl. An hour later his secretary called and asked if they'd be open to a phone call from the man himself. According to Beth, Rogers didn't just ask her how she was doing, he put on an entire show for her complete with puppet voices. On February 4, 1987, she underwent a 12 hour surgery and slipped into a coma. Beth later told WUSA9:
Mr. Rogers would call the hospital every day to check up on me,” said Beth. “When he found out I wasn’t improving, he decided to make a trip.
He gave Beth a private show with the one request that no press be informed of his visit. He left his puppets for her so she wouldn't be alone when she woke up, and she did shortly after he left.
Anne Patterson's life could have been different if it weren't for the "Crazy Bob" of it all. She was made famous by her time at the Ziegfield Follies, known far and wide for her role in Show Boat and as Miss United States, she married a man named Joseph Bandler and moved into a multi-million dollar home in Bel-Air.
After marrying, Patterson gave birth to sons Robert and Joseph and seems to have settled down. Sadly, Robert became a trouble as he got older. It's believed that after Robert went to Vietnam he suffered from PTSD and alcoholism. Neighbors started calling him "Crazy Bob" after he was involved in multiple scuffles with the LAPD, something that proved to be his undoing.
In 2013, "Crazy Bob" pulled a shotgun on an employee of the local gas company and the police showed up around 3:30 am to investigate. After Bob brandished a shotgun police opened fire and that was the end of the Patterson family in Bel-Air.
There was a cruel irony in the way in which the life of John F. Kennedy Jr. ended. The son of one of the most beloved presidents of all time, who was assassinated at the height of his powers, also lost his life in an accident that no one saw coming.
On July 16, 1999, Kennedy, his wife Carolyn, and her sister Lauren were flying to Massachusetts from New Jersey for a wedding when their small Piper Saratoga crashed into the water. It was a horrific end of a life that played out in public from a young age. Kennedy was only three years old when his father was assassinated, and from that day forward he became an American obsession. Following John Kennedy Jr's death, Kennedy biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli told ABC:
You can't really imagine what it would do to a young person to have both his father and his uncle murdered in the same way. For John, I think that it made him feel that you can't waste you know, a moment… because he didn’t know how long he was going to be here.
Adam Rainer may have died a giant, but he was born a dwarf. Born in 1899 in Graz, Austria, Rainer was dwarf until he was 21 years old. Up until then he stood just over four feet tall. His parents were both of average height, but there was something else that was strange about Rainer's body.
While standing only 4' 8", he wore size 10 shoes, and two years later his shoe size increased to size 20. That's not just large for someone under five feet tall, it's large for anyone. When Rainer turned 21 years old he started growing quickly. By the time he was 33 years old he stood an amazing 7' 2".
What caused this extreme growth? It's likely that he suffered from acromegaly, an ailment that causes the pituitary gland to produce too much growth hormone in adulthood. Even after surgery on the gland he continued to grow and his health worsened by the day. He suffered from hearing loss and he went blind in his right eye. He passed away at the age of 51 on March 4, 1950.
Salvador Dali made a career out of creating strange and often confrontational work. Whether he was painting, making films, or creating off the wall sculpture he was doing it in an extremely strange way. He's basically the opposite of Raquel Welch, one of the most beautiful women of the 20th century.
Putting these two together is odd enough, but having Dali paint a beautiful women as a series of splotches has to be off putting if you're not into kooky modern art. So why is Dali painting Raquel Welch? Perhaps it's not a surprise that this was made as a promotion for 1966's Fantastic Voyage. Twentieth Century Fox hired Dali to create this abstract portrait of Welch in a bikini while in his room at New York's St. Regis Hotel as part of the short promotional film, Salvador Dali's Fantastic Dream. In 2017 the painting sold for more than $57,000.
When we think of the Bubonic Plague we often picture villagers in the middle ages covered in boils and quarantining in huts, not the people of a major city in the 20th century. But in 1900 there was an outbreak of the plague in San Francisco's Chinatown, likely brought on by a passenger on the S.S. Australia.
The first victim of the sickness was Wong Chut King, a longtime resident of the city who owned a lumber yard. Doctors initially believed that he was ill with gonorrhea. By March 13, 1900, it was clear that the plague was in San Francisco. Chinatown was cordoned off by the city and California's governor Henry Gage denied the existence of the plague in the city specifically because he worried that it would bring down tourist numbers.
As the federal government attempted to get to the bottom of Gage's denial the plague continued to worsen. By the end of the outbreak in 1904, 119 people had died from the plague and Gage continued to deny its existence. He left office in 1903 and practiced law in Los Angeles until his death.
This photo isn't just a snapshot of a young man violating an incredibly racist rule -it shows a young Black man putting his life in danger to show that he won't be held down by systemic racism. He knows that the world is changing, but it's still so amazing to see someone break the Jim Crow laws that people were killed for.
Taken in 1956 after a trip spent photographing the segregated beaches of South Carolina for Jet Magazine. The photo was snapped at a gas station that was closed at the time, and it was one of the last photos taken by the stringers for the magazine. Cecil went on to photograph some of the most important moments in the civil rights movement and has seen his work exhibited by across the country.
These absolutely horrific visual doesn't show a group of burn victims, well not technically. This shot from 1925 is actually the aftermath of a fire that broke out on March 18 at Madame Tussauds wax museum in London. The fire melted some of the most famous people in the world, or at least their lookalikes.
Thanks to all the wax in this fire, the entire building went up in flames destroying most of the top floor, leaving the museum closed for years. It took three years for the museum to come back from the brink of destruction. Today, visitors wouldn't even know just how horrific it looks when the creatures inside the museum fall apart under pressure. Hot, hot pressure.
No rock star has been as enigmatic as David Bowie. As an artist he danced and sashayed through personas, always leaving them behind before they wore out their welcome. It seems that he treated life in the same way, celebrating his 69 years on Earth by capping them off with one of the best albums of his career and then leaving the planet forever.
No one knew that Bowie was on his last legs when this joy filled photoshoot happened, even the photographer Jim King thought that the singer was just in good spirits. He said of the shoot:
That’s the message that I sent. Why is this man so happy? Is it because it‘s his 69th birthday or that he has released his 28th studio album today and it’s a corker? Who knows, but we’re sure you’ll want to join us in congratulating him on both. Many happy returns of the day to David Bowie and Blackstar.
Bowie left us on January 10, 2016, two days after his birthday and the release of his final album but his legacy will always remain.
Much of what we know about the nervous system today dates back to the strenuous and often underhanded work done on cadavers in the 18th and 19th centuries. More often than not medical students were forced to gain access to bodies through less than legal means and learn what they could from the rotting body.
In 1925, medical students L.P. Ramsdell and M.A. Schalack were tasked with dissecting an entire human body in order to completely track an entire nervous system. Without any modern tools at their disposal the two students had to get fairly messy while performing this amazing feat. Jason Haxton, director of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine at A.T. Still explained the elaborate preservation process to Live Science:
After they cleared each nerve, they rolled them in cotton batting soaked in some kind of preservative. So, as they worked their way down, there was just a mass of little rolls of cotton.
Spiral staircase in an abandoned palace in Poland
The beauty of an abandoned building isn't simply in the architecture, it's in imaging the lives lived and the worlds that disappeared within its walls. In many cases photos of abandoned buildings make us want to visit these places, but without knowing eactly where they are we have to seek them out on our own.
Photographer and teacher Patrycia Makowska is one person who seems to know where all of the far out, empty and burned out buildings are in Poland, but while speaking with CNN she explained exactly why she refuses to give the addresses of the places she posts online:
Places reflect our soul, tell the forgotten story of love, disaster, war, as well as ordinary life. Everything passes, even the power of past times is often forgotten. And that's why I don't give any addresses, because often these places are destroyed and devastated, it's better for them to have been forgotten.
A worker paints the Golden Gate Bridge orange, which was chosen to help the bridge stay visible in the fog, 1956
It's rare that a bridge stands out in our minds so sharply as does the Golden Gate Bridge. Why do we think so fondly of this San Francisco bridge rather than say the Brooklyn Bridge or the Ha'Penny Bridge in Ireland? It's not the suspension cables and it isn't the location, it's the color and the unfortunate use that many people have found for it.
Painted bright orange initially as a primer, the U.S. Navy wanted the bridge painted blue and yellow to increase visibility, but the bridge's consulting architect felt that "International Orange" was a far more pleasing color than blue and yellow. Aside from the striking color, the Golden Gate Bridge is known as one of the most famous suicide bridges in the world. More than 2,000 people have leapt to the deaths since the bridge was constructed in 1933.
One survivor of a Golden Gate suicide attempt spoke to WECT in 2020. In their conversation they explained what was going through their mind as they leapt, and how the unique wildlife of San Francisco saved them:
The millisecond my hands left the rail, it was instant regret for my actions... In four seconds, you’re falling at 90 miles an hour—nearly the speed of terminal velocity is what you reach before you hit the water. It is a 220-foot drop. That’s 25 stories... I bobbled up and down in the water and I said ‘God please save me. I don’t want to die. I made a mistake.’ I didn’t want to die that day. I didn’t want to die. A sea lion literally circled beneath me, keeping me afloat until the Coast Guard arrived.
Suitcases of people sent to concentration camps located at the Poland, Gdańsk, World War II Museum.
Putting the vast amount of death and destruction that devastated the Jewish people during World War II in perspective is nearly impossible. How does one even begin to fathom the kind of evil it takes to commit genocide? The suitcases on display at Poland's new Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk, Poland, try to put this indescribable evil in perspective and looking at it is like a kick in the gut.
During World War II, Poland lost 17 percent of its population with the lives of millions of children lost in this horrendous display of terror. Each suitcase on display here belonged to Jewish prisoners of concentration camps, packed because they were told that they were going to an internment camp and not death.
Freddie Mercury with his one-time fiance and lifelong friend, Mary Austin.
Real love doesn't always look the way we think it will. When Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin split after he came out to her, the break of this engagement would have spelled the end of a relationship for anyone else, but not these two.
Mercury and Austin remained intrinsically entwined for the rest of the singer's life. Not only did he buy her a house next to his, but she worked with Queen and travel with Mercury. She was even by his side when he passed away from complications related to HIV. Mercury always spoke well of Austin, at one point he told the press:
All my lovers asked me why they couldn’t replace Mary, but it’s simply impossible. The only friend I’ve got is Mary, and I don’t want anybody else. To me, she was my common-law wife. To me, it was a marriage. We believe in each other, that’s enough for me.
Here's a 12,000 year-old Mammoth tusk found in Siberia.
Humans may think that they're the apex predators on the food chain, but thousands of years ago mammoths were walking the planet like giant monsters. While it's not likely that mammoths were stomping on people all day long, it's amazing to imagine that creatures like this were once all over the Earth.
Even stranger than their existence is the idea that regular people have just been able to discover these bones. One such discoverer was 12 year old Quinton Barnes who discovered a mammoth leg bone in the ground near the Nigiliq River in Nuiqsut, Alaska. He didn't go on a dig or even start hunting for a piece of history, he just picked up what he thought was a rock. He explained:
I thought it was a rock and then I got closer and saw what I think is a dinosaur bone. I just picked it up and started walking with it. So not a dinosaur, but still very cool.
Caroline Kennedy and Kerry Kennedy hiding under the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office of their father and uncle, President John F. Kennedy, Washington, DC, 1963
There's something unsettling about seeing these two girls, both of whom would lose their fathers in disturbingly similar ways within a few years of this photo being snapped. They may both be members of American royalty, but they've both experienced an immense amount of tragedy.
While speaking about the effect of JFK on the world and what it was like to grow up without her father, Caroline Kennedy explained that his spirit and ideals were kept alive by his supporters which made life somewhat easier:
I miss him every day of my life. But, growing up without him was made easier thanks to all of the people who kept him in their hearts.
Here's the Drexel Institute of Technology Girls' Rifle Team in 1925.
Today there are teams for everything and for everyone, but when Drexil founded their women's rifle team in 1922 it was a sea change in the American university system. Most of the young women in the program had never shot a gun before, let alone held one. That changed under instructor Captain J.P. Lyons.
Because this was an all female team, there wasn't a huge budget for the to travel but they won the few matches they played - especially against the University of Pennsylvania. Between the 1930s and '50s Drexel regularly placed in the top five spot of the National Women’s Rifle Championship.
Of course, the women were subject to sexist behavior. Articles about the team focused on their looks rather than their skill, with one writer reporting, "Without exception, all of the varsity members are attractive."
David Parker Ray was one of America's most prolific and grotesque serial killers despite the fact that he was never convicted of a single murder.
One of the most disturbing serial killers of the 20th century isn't Jeffrey Dahmer and it isn't Ted Bundy, it's David Parker Ray otherwise known as the Toy-Box Killer. Between 1950 and 1999, Ray let his sexual proclivities and desires lead his way as he kidnapped women from bars before drugging them and torturing them until he tired of them.
Once Ray hit his peak (if that's what you want to call it) he had an entire trailer dedicated to holding women captive and "brainwashing" them in between bouts of sexual assault. Whenever his victims were alone Ray had a tape of his voice playing to remind them of what he had done. The few women who survived his horrific treatment were unsure if what had happened to them was real or a nightmare due to the cocktail of drugs given to them during their time with Ray. That is, until the FBI contacted them after the word got out about Ray.
While it's believed that Ray carried out more than 60 murders with the help of his accomplices (one of them his daughter), he was never actually convicted of murder. His accomplices all received some form of retribution for their crimes, and Ray was convicted on several cases of sexual assault, torture and kidnapping in 2001. One year later he died of a heart attack.
The pandemic of 1918 hit the world harder than anyone expected. People had been through illness and plagues before, but not in the modern era. Whenever a massive illness like the flu takes over the world in the way it did in 2020 and in 1918 it's a shock. It feels like something like this shouldn't happen in the modern era.
Between 1918 and 1919 more than 50 million people died across the world, and 25% of the British population were wiped out. In England 228,000 people lost their lives to the flu, and it's believed that almost 20% of the world's population was affected.
The one thing that kept the flu from spreading further? Masks. Just like in 2020 there was a push for people to mask up and keep their germs to themselves.
Civil War veterans from the Union and Confederacy shaking hands at Gettysburg, 1913.
The last thing that anyone expected following the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil is for the survivors of the Civil War to meet up on a legit battle ground and shake hands like it was all one big game of capture the flag.
Nearly 50 years after the end of the Civil War the roads to Gettysburg were filled with men in the grays and blues. Close to 50,000 veterans decamped for the Great Reunion to celebrate the 50th anniversay of the Battle of Gettysburg, held from July 1-3.
Upon arrival, many of the men sought out places on the battlefield that held a specific meaning to them. Maybe it was a place where they lost a friend, or maybe it was just something they remembered. Some soldiers kept old grudges, others listened to the myriad speeches given over that week. It was noted that even President Wilson was unable to stir the hearts of veterans.
Colorized photo of an Oglala warrior named Red Hawk sitting on a horse that is drinking from a small pond in the Badlands of North Dakota, 1905
Much of the Native way of life was lost throughout the 18th and 19th centuries as America moved west to claim all of the land up to the Pacific Ocean. It's a sad side effect of manifest destiny, and one that we're still reckoning with today.
One of the people who attempted to commemorate the indigenous way of life was Edward Curtis, a photographer who was set on creating a collection of images that showed the old way of life even while it was being destroyed.
Red Hawk is believed to have been born in 1857 on land belonging to the Ohlala Lakota. He saw action at Little Bighorn alongside Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, and after the fighting was finished he did his best to help lead his people through one of the most painful transitions that the world has ever seen.
It's hard to believe that this beautiful piece of scenery is close to the sight of what was known as "Death Railway" during World War II. Meant to supply troops and weapons in the Burma campaign of World War II between 1940 and 1944.
In order to build the 415-kilometer set of tracks the military engaged in forced labor practices that put between 180,000 and 250,000 civilian laborers and more than 60,000 Allied prisoners of war through back breaking work. At least 90,000 Southeast Asian laborers died while building the tracks and thousands of POWs lost their lives here.
Close to 500,000 tons of weaponry and tools were transported across the lines before the train fell into Allied hands. Shut down in 1947, there has been conversation about reopening the line but so far it remains closed.
Nicholas II and the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana with Russian officers. (1914)
The Romanov family is one of the most intriguing group of royals of the last few hundred years, but at the onset of the 20th century these beloved Russians fell out of favor with their people and found themselves at the center of an assassination play by the Bolshevik secret police.
Nicolas was never truly prepared to rule Russia, a country that was restless by the end of the 19th century. He launched the country into a war it wasn't ready for and in 1905 he ordered the death of 100 unarmed protesters. After the country entered World War I in 1914, the population was horrified with the more than three million deaths sustained by both the military and civilians.
In 1917, Nicolas stepped down from the throne only to have his family taken by the Bolsheviks and shuffled from town to town. On July 17, 1918, the Romanovs were were awoken early by their captors. As they tried to escape they were shot and beaten in what looked like a crime of opportunity when it had in fact been planned all along.
A Native American Sioux woman named Zitkala Sa, 1898
The lives of so few Native Americans were properly written or journaled about in the early days of the country that it's incredibly rare to know about the true stories of many of the people who came about with the land. Zitkala-Ša has the interesting designation of being born at the tail end of the 19th century, when the world was opening up, and receiving a scholarship to study the arts at a real deal university.
After studying at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, Zitkala-Ša moved to Boston where she focused on the violin at the New England Conservatory of Music before taking a teaching job at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1899. As she attempted to find more students for the school she discovered that many members of her tribe were in poor health and their homes were in disrepair.
Even though she was one of the foremost indigenous teachers in the country she still had to deal with racism on a day to day basis, which formed the foundation of the opera, The Sun Dancer, that she completed in 1913. She continued to compose while heading the National Council of American Indians until she passed away in 1938.
Here's an antique steam-powered elevator in St Petersburg, Russia.
Elevators feel like a thoroughly modern invention, but in the 1800s there was steam powered elevator installed in the Winter Palace to replace the "imperial chair" that once held its place. In 1826, inventor Ivan Kulibin created this steam powered elevators that looks like something from a sci-fi movie.
Unlike elevators that we use today this steam powered elevator has a seat that looks like it belongs in a corner booth at a restaurant so riders could use it in style. As Russia was built up, elevators like these were installed in buildings as a way to show prospective renters and buyers that they were moving into a luxurious space.
The Ifaty Teapot tree in Toliara, Madagascar is thought to be 1,200 years-old
Known as baobab trees, these majestic and ancient wonders of wildlife live for thousands of years. Each of these trees can grow to hold 55 cubic meters of wood and have hollow trunks. Their brances resemble plant roots that rise into the sky, but recently scientists have noticed that many of these trees are dying out.
Researchers have no clear way to determine exactly what is killing these incredibly old trees, but while using carbon dating as a way to trace their age scientists came to the conclusion that the changing African climate is a contributing factor to the declining health of these magnificent trees.
Inside the original GameStop, originally named Babbage’s, before they re-branded and launched with 30 stores across malls in the late 1990s
It's doubtful that the folks behind Babbage's the one stop shop for gaming from 1984 to 1994 knew that one day their store - albeit under a different name - would create one of the biggest uprisings in the history of the stock market. Initially started as software retailer in Dallas, Texas, the store started carrying Nintendo games in 1987 and by 1991 games were accountable for two thirds of the company's sales.
The rebranding as GameStop didn't come until after they were purchased by Barnes and Noble and merged with Funco. In 2000, GameStop was born and the gaming industry was never the same. You may remember visiting a Babbage's if you were a mall walker in the early '90s, back when you could buy a Super Nintendo for about $199 (or less if you were getting it used). Those were amazing days when you could just walk through the mall and pick up a game and some chili fries from Corn Dog 7, but those days are gone.
A young Algerian woman from the Ouled Naïl tribe, 1905.
While members of the Ouled Naïl tribe can be found in Algeria, they're a nomadic people whose ancestry is traced to the Banu Hilal of Hejaz in Saudi Arabia. Sometimes living in fortified but temporary villages and sometimes living in red and black striped tents, they routinely survive the cold and dry weather of the regions they occupy.
The tribe is known for their nomadic cattle rearing as well as the possibility that they either invented or popularized the style of belly dancing that westerners know today. Women trained in the art of song and dance from a young age, with many young women leaving their tribes to settle in nearby villages to make their wages as entertainers.
Kids sneaking up on a policeman with snowballs behind their backs in Chicago, 1959.
Was the mid 20th century the last time that kids were genuinely allowed to have fun? There's absolutely no way that a photo like this could be taken today, and it probably wouldn't. Kids sneaking up on a police officer with something behind their backs takes on a completely different tenor in the 21st century.
What once seemed like harmless fun now takes on a chilling tone. And it's not just the propensity for young people to sneak up on cops that have changed. Many young people at the time were dealing with OCD and ADHD that went undiagnosed. The one positive that came out of this was the creation of antipsychotic drugs and advancements in health care caused a decrease of institutionalizations by 92 percent between 1955 and 1994.
Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, and the surrounding mountains.
This picturesque spot on the lake has a dark history. During World War II, Beniti Musolini (the leader of Italy's National Fascist Party) made the area the capital of the Italian Social Republic in 1943. While there he regularly communicated with Nazi Party members occupying Northern Italy.
For the rest of the war this beautiful tourist spot was essentially the backup lair of the Axis of Evil. That doesn't mean that Mussolini was living it up, quite the opposite. The Italian leader lived in seclusion while surrounded by the German military. He called the villa where he was ensconced as a "dark and gloomy place."
The villa was secured by the Allies on May 2, 1945, and afterwards the ownership of the home was passed to the Feltrinelli family who used the home as a way to promote their political propaganda but today the villa is one of the most beloved tourist spots in Italy.
Remote learning over the radio in Chicago during the polio epidemic in 1937.
It may feel like the pandemic of 2020 has upended much of every day life, from going to work to sending our kids to school, but it's not the first time that an unforseen disaster has required Americans to think outside of the box.
When a polio outbreak threatened to upend the lives of millions of students in 1937, the Chicago school system used the radio to make remote learning happen when the start of the school year was pushed back by three weeks.
More than 300,000 children in grades three through eight were enlisted in this experiment with class schedules printed local papers and 15 minute classes to keep things simple for everyone. Teachers may not have been in the homes of their students but they were available by phone, with more than 1,000 calls logged on the first day of "school."
This innovative solution helped students stay up to date on their education while doing everything possible to remain easy and breezy. This just shows that everything that happens will happen again.
22 year-old Shirley Slade was one of about 1,100 chosen for a group of all female pilots, called the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during WWII.
During World War II more than 1,000 women were brought into the U.S. military where they were given a seven month course to become the first female pilots to ever fly for the Air Force. Due to pilot shortages, the Air Force had no choice but to bring women into the air for non-combat related functions. Known as WASPS, or Women Airforce Service Pilots, their lives were no less in danger than their male counterparts.
Even though many of these women lost their lives in service to their country they weren't seen as equals to the men in uniform. In fact, the women were essentially seen as civilians in spite of their daring work for the U.S. government. The families of the 38 women who died during World War II were refused the same privileges of their male counterparts including burial or the American flag draped over their coffins.
The WASPs were finally given full military status on November 23, 1977, after decades of fighting with the U.S. government. In 2010 the surviving women were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their bravery.
Prisoners in a concentration camp were put on death marches through Eastern Europe
The cruelty that it took to murder millions of Jewish people for not fitting into the ideal of the aryan race is impossible to wrap one's head around. From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany filled more than a thousand concentration camps with Jews, Slavic prisoners, and Spanish Republicans, as well as Romani people and anyone that Hitler and his ilk deemed lesser than.
Once in the prison camps men and women were worked to death in brutal conditions before being sent to gas chambers or just being killed on the spot. In many instances prisoners were starved and put on "death marches" to camps in interior Germany. Henri Kichka was only 19 years old when he was marched out of Aushwitz with the intention of dying on his death. He weighed 85 pounds as he was marched barefoot through the snow of Eastern Europe. In 2020 he told the BBC:
I was 90% dead. I was a skeleton. I was in a sanatorium for months and in hospital... Why make enemies of the Jews? We have no guns, we are innocent. I don't understand why people hate us so much.
Here's the 75-story MahaNakhon Tower in Bangkok
It looks like something out of a dream, or maybe a nightmare if you suffer from Trypophobia, but it's definitely real. The MahaNakhon Tower, or King Power Mahanakhon if you prefer is one of the tallest buildings in Thailand and you can live inside its dreamy structure if that's something you're into.
To give the building a pixelated look, architects designed the building in the shape of a spiral, and built out from that concept, providing various balconies and shadowy interior rooms. It's a place that one can get lost inside even if you have a map. With floors dedicated to retail space, restaurants, and even condos, it's a strange building to call home but one that will surely fascinate viewers for years to come.
A couple gets into their BMW Isetta, 1950
This tiny German car may look like a death trap but it actually saved BMW upon its release. The car company was close to bankruptcy in the 1950s and with nothing left to save it they went forward with the Isetaa, also known as the "bubble car." It fit two people and not much else.
Built between 1955 and 1962, the single-cylinder car sold 161,728 units. At the time Europeans were hungry for affordable, no frills transportation that could get them from Point A to Point B. The Isetta performed that function dutifully if not without some minor set backs along the way.
The Isetta was definitely minimalist. There were only three wheels on most models, and there was only one door that was mounted on the front that, when opened, took the steering column along with it. With no reverse gear (once again: minimalist), some drivers were supposedly locked in their cars when parking in their garages. This bad boy was specifically meant for street parking.
About 150 Amish men and boys building a barn in only one day for neighbors who lost theirs in a fire, Mascot, Pennsylvania, 1964
Amish barn raisings may look like the work of a collection of group think guys in overalls and old timey straw hats, but it's actually as close to a party as you're going to get with these folks. Whenever it's decided that someone needs a new barn, whether it's because there's a new farmer out there or an already standing barn becomes to dilapidated to hold, the Amish get together and sort out the problem together - but that doesn't mean this isn't dangerous.
While Amish engineers have figured out how to use their community to put a fantastic barn together with ease, the job comes with a series of dangers. Men have fallen from the barn, been impaled on the woods, and even died creating these amazing structures.
It's not often that something so awful happens, the Amish aren't out here building without safety protocols in place, but without using modern safety requirements you never know what's going to happen.
Aerial view of Copenhagen.
From the top, Copenhagen looks like one of the most picturesque places that could ever exist. Is it really the dreamland that it looks to be? The place where Hans Christian Andersen found mermaids and stories of snow queens and match girls is as amazing as it seems but it has a darkness too.
In April 1940, Denmark was occupied by the German military. The country's government knew that they couldn't outlast the Nazi machine in battle so they folded under heavy bombardment. After allowing the occupation, the country went on as normal as possible, only now there was a secret resistance to the evil army that encroached on the once peaceful country.
By 1943, Denmark was awash in unrest as the Geran military attempted to shut down the country's military leading to a fight between the two countries. One year later, Germany dissolved the Danish police and essentially turned the country into a rundown squat. All of its beauty was flushed out in favor of German imperialism. It wasn't until May 4, 1945, that German troops surrendered to the combination of the Danish military and resistance.
Aerial view of the province of Enna in Sicily, Italy.
This beautiful view of Italy provides one of the most distinct and astounding views of the old countryside, but it didn't begin as a place to have a tasty glass of wine while looking out over the mountains. Enna is known as the "lookout of Sicily" thanks to its position as the highest capital of an Italian province.
In 135 BC Enna was founded as a Roman stronghold against the Saracens who spent 20 years trying to take the city. The same thing happened when the Normans attempted to overtake the area. Each time, Enna proved to be impossible to tackle. In the 13th century the town was even more fortified, no longer leaving the city alone on top of a mountain. It was these additional walls that kept Enna an unimpeachable stronghold. Today it's a palatial spot to have an espresso but that came from its place as the perfect spot for waging war.
Winona Ryder photographed on the set of Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Herb Ritts, 1992.
Winona Ryder has been at the heart of many of the most beloved films of the '80s and '90s (and let's not forget her triumphant return in Stranger Things), but it hasn't been all wine and roses for the star. During the filming of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Ryder was put under intense working conditions by director Francis Ford Coppola.
Ryder explained that during one scene the director shouted, "You whore! You whore!" before getting the male cast of the film to join him in order to get her to look visibly upset. She said that in anoter scene the director tried to get actors Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins, and Richard E. Grant to shout at the then 20 year old actress. She said:
To put it in context, I’m supposed to be crying. Literally, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu… Francis was trying to get all of them to yell things that would make me cry. But Keanu wouldn’t, Anthony wouldn’t… the more it happened, I was like [she crosses her arms like a sulky teenager and frowns]… It just didn’t work. I was like, really? It kind of did the opposite.
Anger Transference illustrated by Richard Sargent
This illustration of anger transferance is more than a kitschy reminder of art in the 1950s, it's also a way to show the way that people redirect their feelings at someone else. Anger can begin with two people who are completely unrelated arguing with one another, and then it turns to someone focusing that anger on their loved ones.
You don't just have to transfer anger. The same thing can happen with love or jealousy. In some instances it can even happen to people who are in therapy. It's believed in some circles that by using transference that patients can get to the bottom of their fears of intimacy. That being said, if transferance isn't checked by someone professional a person can take out everything that's weighing on them on someone else.
Ashtrays and coin-operated “Tel-A-Chairs” in a Greyhound bus terminal, Los Angeles, 1969.
The 1960s were a time when everyone thought space age design was setting the table for humanity's move to outer space, hence these miraculously designed tele-chairs. When this photo was taken there were 160 Tel-a-Chairs in Southern California, with 49 of them in the Los Angeles Greyhound Bus Terminal at 6th and Los Angeles.
For the weary traveler who just wanted to smoke a cigarette and watch some TV all they had to do was drop a time in the slot for ten minutes of vieweing, while a quarter earned you a half-hour of viewing.
After they were installed the Tele-Chairs became one of the most beloved parts of the station for many people who hung out in the station. In fact, guards were tasked with keeping people from sleeping in them - apparently they were incredibly comfortable.
Beachgoers at Daytona, Florida back in 1904.
Hitting the beach in the early 20th century was a lot like hitting the beach today. You and your friends dressed in your finest apparell and brought your carts out to the sand to watch the waves, of and if you showed even a little skin you were thought of as completely immoral.
At the time that this photo was taken anyone who stripped down to a swimsuit that would be considered conservative by today's standards would either be ticketed or just sneered at like a bedraggled hussy. Within a few decades this overly clothed and buttoned up idea of beach going had gone the way of the Dodo, but throughout the 1900s the beach was basically an Amish paradise.
Betty White on a boat in 1957.
Betty White is one of the most beloved icons of the Golden Era of Hollywood, and as she ages she continues to dominate pretty much every comedy in which she appears. Even though she's been working steadily in the entertainment world, first on the radio and then on television and film since she was 18, it wasn't always clear if there was a place for her in the industry.
Still, she stuck it out and forged her own path in an industry that rarely rewards women over the age of 30, let alone actresses who continue to work into their 90s. So how does she keep a level head and continue working? Through her own personal passions. She told Al Roker:
Everybody should have or cultivate a passion. Don’t be afraid to really get hooked on something, because that will refurbish your energy. It will refurbish your interest.
Blaise Hamlet cottage in Bristol, England
It's rare that something so beautiful that's been around for so long remains untouched throughout the years. In the 19th century Blaise Fair was created as a way to look back at the medieval era of England. Constructed just north of Bristol, the estate was commissioned by a banker in the area who wanted to preserve a beautiful moment in history.
The "mini village" is fully operational and remains a throwback to the middle ages, complete with its own village pump for water and a green that looks the way it would throughout the medieval era. Even though they look vintage to a T, the insides of the homes are homes completely modernized so anyone staying there can post selfies in this truly picturesque area.
Bob Dylan posing with children before his concert in Liverpool, 1966.
In 1966, Bob Dylan was trying something new. It just so happens that this "something new" meant going electric and for his fans and just about everyone in the folk community it was a sign that the man they saw as the savior of the acoustic guitar had turned his back on them.
Whenever Dylan plugged in his Fender Strat things got ugly, especially when he toured England. That year he toured the U.K. and his shows all had the same arc - he would play some songs on his acoustic guitar to rapturous applause and when the amps came out the audience wanted blood.
On May 27, 1966, someone in the audience shouted "Judas!" at Dylan, meaning that he thought the singer was selling his soul to the industry. Dylan's response was to turn to his band and instruct them to "play f*cking loud," and that they did.
Bridesmaids at St Peter’s Church in London, 1928
Has there ever been anything as cruel as the bridesmaid dress? No matter the age or the era these outfits seem to be specifically designed to make their wearers look frumpy at best and goofy at worst. It's fascinating to see that there was no difference in the 1920s or in England, a country obsessed with keeping up appearances.
These outfits are particularly rough looking what with the aviator inspired head gear that goes with the shapeless dress that adorns each of these women. It's nice to see that some of the women are making the best of it, but we can't imagine a worse indignity than having to parade around in this get up.
Cesar Romero makes his debut as 'The Joker' on the TV show Batman in the episode The Joker is Wild (1966)
Before the Joker was a gritty, violent agent of chaos loose on the streets of Gotham he was the Clown Prince of Crime (who was also on the loose on the streets of Gotham). In the first version of Batman that came to the screen, Cesar Romero took on the iconic role and portrayed him as a criminal always on the hunt for a laugh.
This shot shows Joker getting ready to escape from prison via spring-loaded pitchers mound (natch), which shows just how inventive this original series was. While speaking about the series Romero was always quick to say how much he loved getting to throw on the grease paint and green hair, even if he never really got to get one over on Batman:
Oh you can't win! The villain can't win. We always win on Wednesday night. At the end of the show on Wednesday night we're winning. But then comes Thursday night and we lose. Sure, it's a lot of fun. We have a lot of fun doing this show, and we had a lot of fun making the movie. It's a part that you can do everything that you've always been told not to do as an actor. In other words, you can get as hammy as you like and go all out. It's great fun, I enjoy it.
Children in New York City licking a block of ice during the hot summer temperatures. (1912)
This is something that would never happen today. Even without the pandemic looming in our minds the modern era of helicopter parents, germaphobes, and anxiety issues would keep children from hanging out on the streets of a major city and having fun with giant blocks of ice.
It's not just that our sensibilities have changed since the 1910s, but our expectations of fun are totally different. In 1912, people were purchasing large blocks of ice to keep their meat and perishables cold and it was something that many people found incredibly exciting. Ice had to be specially delivered to the city and it was a magical item. Today, we can cool our items and get things delivered without ever having to see another person.
Children photographed wearing straw capes on their way to a New Year's event in Niigata, Japan by Hiroshi Hamaya in 1956.
It may look like these children are simply dressed for the winter weather as they travel to a New Year's celebration, but they're actually in character. These straw capes, known as minos are a part of the costume of the Namahage, or a demon-like being in Japanese folklore.
During New Year's celebrations men will dress as the Namahage and go from house to house armed with wooden versions of deba knives while shouting things like "Are there any crybabies around?" If any parents narc on their children then the men admonish them for their bad behavior. It's sort of like the Krampus but on New Year's and in February. Still, it's incredibly freaky.
Children walking to school in Vermont, 1950.
This motley crew is just something that you don't see anymore. It's not just the clothes or the rural setting, or even the red farm house that makes this photo feel like it's from so long ago. It's the fact that these kids have been left to their own devices and that they were trusted to get to school.
The freedom that these children are experiencing not only wouldn't happen today, it just wouldn't be allowed without at least one parent or guardian and a handful of cell phones. It's amazing to think that children in the '50s were not only trusted but expected to get to school by themselves while kids today are practically treated like the Boy in the Bubble.
Duchess of Hamilton streamliner train, 1938.
This beautiful streamliner is a look back at the golden age of railway travel. Throughout the 19th century, railway travel was the way to get somewhere relatively quickly, but by the early '30s people were able to travel by road almost as easily and quickly as they could by rail and the railway companies knew they needed to act.
Railway companies doubled down on design and created a series of gorgeous art deco trains with all of the modern amenities to entice travelers to ride in style, and the Duchess of Hamilton was the crown jewel of the lot.
After the Duchess of Hamilton was shipped to America for the New York World's Fair it inspired a number of designers to make their own art deco railway trains as it reminded people of better times before the economy crashed.
Grace Kelly photographed with her dog in 1954
Whenever we look back on the Golden Age of Hollywood our eyes are always drawn to Grace Kelly. There are actors with larger filmographies, and actors with more hype, but Kelly always seemed to be enjoying herself on screen and her work always felt effortless.
So it was shocking when she left Hollywood behind to become an actual princess in 1956. Kelly enjoyed the life of Princess of Monaco for nearly 30 years, but before she was even well into her 50s her life was tragically cut short thanks to a mysterious car accident.
On September 13, 1982, Kelly was driving along one of Monaco's beautiful winding roads when her car careened off the road. The next day it was announced that she suffered two strokes causing her to lose control of the car, but that didn't line up with the Grace Kelly that her friends knew. Kelly despised driving, and not only that but she had a chauffer. Why was she behind the wheel? When a rumor was floated that her daughter Stephanie was actually driving she spoke to the press saying:
I was not driving, that's clear. In fact, I was thrown around inside the car like my mother, who was catapulted onto the back seat... The passenger door was completely smashed in — I got out on the only accessible side, the driver's.
Maybe Kelly and her daughter were arguing when the car went off the road, or maybe she actually had a stroke. There's no way that we'll ever know.
Here's a Sony Portable Videocorder advertisement from the 1960s.
There's something sketch about this ad that looks like it shows a guy using his early camcorder to film someone while he hides in a tree. He's clearly filming a nest of baby birds, but it's almost like the folks behind this ad are saying we know what you're going to get up to with this camera.
The first commercially available video camera was the 1965 VCC-200 with a reel to reel tape recorder and a mini CR monitor to use due to the fact that there wasn't a viewfinder. The version of the camera in the ad comes with a view finder but it still required a reel to reel set up to film chicks, we're of course speaking about baby birds.
Here's an Art Nouveau-style storefront designed by Albert Pèpe in Douai, France back in 1906.
The beauty of this storefront design is both admirable and somewhat disheartening. Hot only does it show that true art can be used to make anything, regardless of whether it's a shop or something that can be found in a museum. We often think of art as something untouchable and out of reach to the common person, but this shows that it can be anywhere.
This design also shows that if we're lucky the things we create exist long after we escape this mortal coil. It's impossible to ignore that no matter how hard we try to stay immortal through our work that once we're gone we may not be remembered for anything other than making strange buildings in small French towns.
"Japanese Landscapes" by photographer Michael Kenna.
Michael Kenna has been visiting Japan for decades, all with his trusty camera. In that time he's focused on capturing the eerily stark nature of the country's landscape. Many of Kenna's photos are captured in black and white with long exposure times, some of them lasting up to 10 hours at a time.
Rather than walk through an area and snap a shot of a landscape, Kenna says that he takes photos with a calculation that's been lost in the world of digital photograph. Kenna explained:
[My photos are] visual haiku poems, rather than full length novels... [I don't] steal an image... [I} acknowledge that a photograph is being made.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
While it may be one of the most picturesque places in Eastern Europe, Lake Bled hasn't always been one of the most sought after travel destinations. During the middle ages, Slovenia was a country that was constantly being split up and rearranged thanks to its place between Austria, Hungary, and Italy.
For a while Slovenia was a major concern to the Holy Roman Empire, but by the end of the Middle Ages the Slovenian economy bottomed out following a series of raids by the Turkish army and shortly afterwards a peasant revolt broke out and turned into a series of bloody battles that darkened the history of the country.
New York City in 1955
The 1950s were a golden era for New York City. It was the last time that the city was the bustling, vibrant place that audiences knew from films like Breakfast at Tiffany's and West Side Story.
As economic turbulence overtook the country, New York City was hit the hardest. The city's unemployment rate rose to astronomical proportions, and hundreds of thousands of people fled to the suburbs leaving the area a ghost town inhabited by addicts and people who were just struggling to hold on. It was a dark and confusing time that remained in place until the city began to recover until the 1990s.
Positano, Italy, home of the mythological sirens
Long believed to be the place where Odysseus resisted the call of the Sirens on his lengthy journey home after the Trojan War, this seaside Italian town has undergone numerous changes since it played host to creatures of Greek mythology, and it's still changing today.
In the 2010s the town was attempting to redefine itself in the face of a tourism boom that many believed could turn around its economy. But according people on the island working to make it a beautiful space not everyone is on board. Raffaele Cuccurullo, the town’s council member responsible for tourism, told the New York Times:
There is still much work to be done. There are still people who are convinced that we don’t live off tourism, so they don’t care if the town is dirty.
Today, the Edinburgh area is one of the most beautiful and welcoming places in western Europe. You can just as easily go to a pub as you can an art show or university, but that wasn't always the case. There's a dark history at the heart of Edinburgh that dates back to 16th century fear of witchcraft.
Even though Scotland is a fairly small country, its zeal for hunting and harming supposed witches reached a fever pitch in 1590 when King James believed that he and his wife, Anne of Denmark were cursed by a coven of pagans while sailing to the country. He didn't believe that the dark and choppy water was simply the work of something as inconsistent as the weather, he knew the truth - witches cursed his travel.
The witch craze went off the rails when a businessman accused his maid, Geillis Duncan of leading the attack on King James. Duncan was tortured and questioned until she admitted under durress that she was a witch and named her accomplices. After giving up this "information" she was strangled and burned.
Telling ghost stories around a fire used to be a Christmas tradition until Halloween took over.
This chilling photo isn't proof of ghosts visiting the well dressed people of Vicotorian London. In fact, it shows just how forward thinking and technologically advanced the photographers of the era really were. This is all thanks to some good old fashioned double exposure.
As far as Victorian ghost stories are concerned, during Christmas time families would gather around the hearth to tell spooky stories about misty intruders and foggy nights. As time went on that tradition faded into Halloween, but the tradition still survives in some parts of the British Isles - especially those where a lonesome traveler is apt to be welcomed into a home in the middle of the night.
The 17th century (dated 1675) building which is now the Bridge Tea Rooms in the historic town of Bradford-on-Avon was previously an antique shop
Located in the heart of Bradford-on-Avon, the Bridge Tea Rooms date back to 1502 when the building was originally a blacksmith's cottage. However, the town dates all the way back to when Romans were settling the area. The only trace of that civilization is a mosaic located on the playing fields of St. Laurence School.
The town grew up even more when it the Normans took over the area and added a stone bridge as well as a series of arches. The town has continued to be built up over the centuries, but it's only been in the last few decades that the area has become a tourist destination as travelers and locals alike attempt to find the beauty in a time long gone by.
The Gamwell House was built in Bellingham, Washington in 1892.
While this majestic Victorian home may look like something out of a gothic ghost story, it's actually a marvel of architectural design standing in the Pacific Northwest. In 1890, Roland Gamwell commissioned a series of architects from Boston to design and construct a home that overlooked the Bellingham Bay.
With a stringent eye for detail, Gamwell was insistent that his architects use only the finest materials in its construction. The inside of the home is so specifically designed that it took a solid two years to complete. Gamwell was fervent in his demand that the house be finished before his wedding, but with an impatient bride to be in his stead the couple married in Boston before returning to Washington to live in a hotel until the home was ready.
The Gooderham Building in Toronto.
There's nothing quite like the look of a flatiron building in gloomy weather. Built on top of a pre-existing building that shared the same shape (it would have to unless the city wanted to rip up an entire block), the Gooderham Building in Toronto is one of the remaining vestiges of the 19th century that still remains in the city.
Constructed in 1892, the building served as a set of offices for the Gooderham and Worts distillery until the mid 1950s when it was sold and partially restored. A historical site for good reason, the Gooderham Building maintains the chilly air of a time gone by even in the middle of a modern metropolis.
This is the oldest house in Hamburg, Germany, which was built in 1524, and demolished in 1910. Photo was taken in 1898
It's hard to keep history alive, especially in an era that's all about new new new. The hungry chase for the pristine and new isn't just something that occurs today, it was also happening at the turn of the 20th century.
In 1510, the house at Pferdemarkt 28 was constructed to hold the clergy of St. James' Church. For a period of time its exterior depicted the first visitors following the birth of Christ. The building stood tall in the face of the harsh German weather for hundreds of years until its black and cracking timber were knocked down in 1910.
Today, the building could be a fascinating tourist site, or maybe it could hold a new clery. Instead it's just gone.
Tom Blake with his collection of self-made surfboards at Waikiki in 1929.
Surf's up. Like, really really up. The guy in this photo isn't just posing for a cool snapshot, he's one of the athletes responsible for bringing surfing to the masses after its gestation period on the islands of Hawaii. If these boards look wild to you just know that you're not alone. Their length makes these boards unwieldy, but that's just how it was done in the early days of the sport.
In the 1930s it became clear that something had to be done with surfboard technology. The heavy wooden boards made them too unwieldy for really choice waves. Blake helped designers come up with hollow boards that cut the weight down on a surfboard from 60 pounds to 40 pounds, which is still massive compared to today's standards.
Troops from Germany and Britain during the Christmas truce of 1914 in Belgium.
World War I was nothing like anyone had ever seen. Sure, there had been wars before, but nothing on such a large scale had occurred for more than a hundred years. The men who went to battle on every side of the fight were young and they had to grow up quickly as blood was shed on the battlefield.
On Christmas Day 1914, the firing stopped for a brief period time on the Western Front as German soldiers and the Allies put down their rifles to take part in a truly strange celebration. The men sang songs, exchanged gifts of cigarettes and pudding, and there were even a couple of soccer games during the day.
It wasn't all fun and games for the soldiers. While some men kicked back and forgot their troubles for a few hours, others were tasked with retrieving the bodies of their comrades who were killed in "no-man's land" between enemy lines. Merry Christmas?
Truckload of bananas in Bahia, Brazil. (1980)
You wouldn't think that bananas could cause so much trouble for the people of the world, but in the early 20th century people were slaughtered to keep the flow of these potassium rich fruits unfettered.
The United States began sending the military into Central America in 1898 in order to squash rebellions from workers that threatened to stop the flow of produce into North America. The workers wanted a fair wage for their work, but the United Fruit Company wanted to keep its costs low in order to increase their profit margin. Rather than working out a deal they called on the American Army to come in an crush skulls.
The Banana Wars continued until 1934 when the Good Neighbor Policy was put in place, but in that time hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives in the name of big business. One man, a veteran named Smedley Butler, who fought in this war once said of his work in Central America:
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period, I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
Turquoise blue-colored ice formations on Lake Baikal in Russia.
Russia's Lake Baikal is such a massive body of water that on first viewing many people believe that it's a part of the sea. In fact, it's actually the biggest fresh water lake by volume and it's absolutely magnificent.
Often referred to as the "Sacred Sea," Lake Baikal can be found near the Mongolian border and despite it's technically in Siberia the area around the lake is much warmer than the rest of the region.
The clarity of the water comes from the ice that melts off of the Siberian mountains in the summer. On a perfect day you can see up to 130 feet down into the water, something that's nearly impossible anywhere else in the world.
What likely began as a riverbed 25 million years ago, this stunning piece of Russian topography was likely formed as the Earth's crust shifted and widened the area, first developing a series of lakes before eroding into one massive underwater area.
White Cliffs at Beachy Head in East Sussex, UK
It's hard to comprehend how some place so beautiful can be a place of such carnage. Located in East Sussex, as Beachy Head extends nearly two hundred meters above the sea offering views of beautiful vistas and extremely Instagrammable sights it's also a place where at least 20 people a year leap to their deaths.
There's no fence and no barrier to keep people from diving into the great unknown, but the authorities have installed a "hot-line telephone box with a direct connection to suicide support center" although it's unclear if the telephone box has helped anyone or if it just serves as a grim reminder of Beachy Head's unintended use.
Women getting ready for a night out, 1900.
It must have been absolutely exhausting to be a woman in the days of corsets, giant dresses and silk gowns. Not only were there extreme expectations placed on these women, but they had to keep up appearances whether they wanted to or not. Those aren't exactly the best circumstances to get dressed.
Getting dressed in 1900 was a massive chore. There were complicated outfits that required multiple people to get into one outfit. More often than not women hired help to specifically get them dressed. With parties, tea, and gentleman callers, getting dressed could be a huge undertaking every week.
Anyone who was anyone in this era traveled to Paris in order to buy the most expensive of clothes at least twice a year. If you didn't do that then you might as well have dressed in a sack.
Workmen painting the Eiffel Tower in 1932
It's hard to imagine a job that's harder or more dangerous than painting the Eiffel Tower in an era without safety restrictions. In 1932, men who were hired onto this mind boggling project put their lives into their own hands when they strapped in and climbed up the tower to keep it in shape for all the love birds who travel to see it every year.
As dangerous of a job as this is, it's not a monument known for its deaths aside from seriously insane stunts. The most upsetting occurred in 1912 when Frantz Reichelt jumped from the tower in a home made parachute before plummeting to his death. Following Reichelt's death the folks in charge of the Tower refused any more parachute jumps until 2005 when a Norwegian man attempting to parallel Reichelt's jump also fell to his death.
Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair magazine in 2015.
In spite of their decades long friendship, Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews are at opposite ends of thought when it comes to their most famous work The Sound of Music. On one hand, Julie Andrews absolutely loves that she was able to play Maria in the film, while Plummer would rather that no one ever brought it up to him again.
Even though he'd like for the world to stop mentioning Captain Von Trapp, he admits that it's one of a kind film that people don't get to see anymore. He told Vanity Fair:
As cynical as I always was about The Sound of Music I do respect that it is a bit of relief from all the gunfire and car chases you see these days. It’s sort of wonderfully, old-fashionedly universal. It’s got the bad guys and the Alps; it’s got Julie and sentiment in bucketloads. Our director, dear old Bob Wise, did keep it from falling over the edge into a sea of treacle. Nice man. God, what a gent. There are very few of those around anymore in our business.