Unfolding history can often reveal very strange facts and weird stories that can both fascinate and stun. Discover weird historical facts, weird people in history, historic oddities, strange but true stories and other bizarre stuff in history from around the world that makes it more intriguing and puzzling.

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  • In 1838, Edgar Allan Poe wrote the book called “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”. The book didn't enjoy a very positive critique from the public and specialists, yet it was a real source of inspiration for Melville or Verne. However, the book surprises through something else. Poe confessed that the story is based on real stories and partially this was the truth. In his book, four survivors of a shipwreck, not having anything to eat, cast lots in order to establish who is going to be killed and eaten. The youngest one loses, his name being Richard Parker, the cabin boy. Still, the real story that inspired Poe didn't happen. At least, not when Poe wrote the book. 45 years later, in 1884, a yawl called "Mignonette” founders and four persons are struggling to survive. In a very dramatic scene, they do the same thing Poe's characters did. The youngest was chosen to die and his name was ... Richard Parker.
  • Read full article | 12 Oct, 2010
  • Weird Jobs in History Weird Jobs in History

    Sometimes, we all have more stressful moments when we feel like our job is the worst in the world. This is rather normal as in times of crisis, pressure increases. However, if you have a decent job you should at least be happy and grateful for not being obliged to do some of these next jobs that can easily be considered as some of the weirdest in history.

    We all have problems waking up in the morning, especially on Monday mornings or when having to work late. In this situation, the alarm clock seems to be rather useless. However, if there was a knocker-up to wake you, you would certainly not be late for work. This was a popular job in England and Ireland in the early days of the industrial revolution when no one had an alarm clock. A knocker-up, or “knocker-upper”, had to walk around carrying a long stick and knock on people's windows.

    Funeral clown
    Well, this is no joke. A funeral clown had the main job obligation of going to funerals dressed as the dead person. Moreover, he also had to mime his gestures, walking and favorite expressions. During the funeral process, the clown ran all around the coffin together with other clowns in order to make the grieved relatives laugh. In Ancient Rome people thought that this type of ritual could comfort the spirits of the dead and bring joy to the living. There were also famous and very valuable clowns who had the opportunity to mock the emperors at their funeral. Macabre clowns were very well payed, historical sources saying that they gain even better than gladiators.

    Read full article | 06 Oct, 2010
  • Weirdest Taxes in History Weirdest Taxes in History

    Sometimes, governments tend to come up with such nonsensical taxes that people have to pay. Well, if you think you need to pay ridiculous taxes, take a look to some of the weirdest taxes in history. However, looking to our present situation, we are not too far from introducing a tax on the air we breath or on sunshine.

    Candy tax
    In 2009, the state of Illinois in the US decided to apply a tax for candies higher than the one applied to other foods. The representatives of the department that are dealing with collecting the taxes explained that if a product contains flour or it needs to be refrigerated it is not considered as being a candy and it will be taxed as the other foods. This legal explanation classifies yogurt-covered raisins as being candies, while pretzels with yogurt cream are considered as being food. Moreover, Baby Ruth bars as candy, but Twix bars as food, Milky Way Midnight bars as candy, but original Milky Way bars as food.

    Hat tax
    The hat tax was adopted by the British Government between 1784 and 1811, being applied to all hat wearers. First introduced by Prime Minister Pitt the Younger, the tax was a simple method of raising money for the government according to every person's prosperity and wealth. They presumed that rich people had a very big number of expensive hats, while poor people had less hats or none. Every man’s should have a stamp sowed into its lining showing that it was a legal hat. In any hat shop or hat maker also had to have a licence in order to sell legal hats. In London this was £2, while outside London, a hat trader had to pay 5 shillings. Those who were not paying the tax received huge penalties, whether they were merchants or hat wearers. This method became so widespread that it finally led to government amendments to the legal definition of a hat in 1804.

    Cowardice tax
    The tax for cowardice, or scutage, was a special law applied to people who refused to fight for their king. However, cowardice was not the only reason that entered under the incidence of this special law. The rule was given under the government of Henry I (1100-1135) and at its very beginnings it was quite low, being considered more as a symbol of warning. But King John (1167-1216) raised the tax with 300% and started applying it to every knight. The tax was collected even in those years of peace, when there were no wars, which meant he transgressed a bit from its original purpose. This law partially lead to the Magna Carta. The tax was kept for about 300 years and it was replaced by other methods of raising funds from the military.

    Read full article | 04 Oct, 2010
  • Interesting Facts about Perfumes Interesting Facts about Perfumes

    We all have and wear our own perfume that is a small part of our personality. It is true that perfumes always had this amazing characteristic of fascinating people, but how well do you know these magic potions? Take a look to some interesting facts about perfumes.

    Did you know that the word "perfume" comes from the Latin "per fumum", which means "through smoke"? Here is a part of the amazing history of perfumes.

  • The first chemist is considered to be a woman. Her name was Tapputi, a perfume maker, who was mentioned in a cuneiform writing in Mesopotamia.

  • Perfumes sources coming from plant extracts, but also from animal sources. However, animal sources are not so common today. For example, sperm whale, an inflammable substance, which is the base for amber, found in the digestive system of the cachalot, was a common animal extract used in perfumes. Other aromas are obtained from beavers or bees, while musk is obtained from the glandular secretions found in a gland of the male musk deer.
  • Archeologists discovered that ancient civilizations produced perfumes or fragrant oils, while the oldest relics in this sense have about 4,000 years. The perfumes bottles were found in Pygros, Cyprus. Moreover, other important discoveries in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Palestine, Rome, and Greece revealed all the aspects of the entire making process, as well as the ingredients used to make a perfume. Perfumes were first used by the aristocratic class and only after wards they became accessible to the masses.

  • In Europe, and especially in France, the industry of perfumes developed under the influence of Rene, the personal perfumer of Catherine de Medici, queen of France. However, perfume recipes from 1221 belonged to monks of Santa Maria delle Vigne in Florence, Italy.

  • Read full article | 24 Sep, 2010
  • 10 History Curiosities 10 History Curiosities

    There are small pieces of history that seem to be lost in time. These next 10 history curiosities represent an important part of our past.

  • Despite the fact that it was called the Spanish Golden Age, having a bronzed skin was considered as being a big mistake those days. In order to keep their skin as porcelain, young women ate clay, even though this sometimes caused anemia or chlorosis. At the end of the 18th century, women at the Court of France, an even Marie Antoinette, were obsessed of having a white, flawless skin. Their solution consisted in applying thick layers of white powder, made from anything, from white graphite to grind bone talc, mixed with wax, whale oil or vegetable oil.

  • In AD 74, Roman Emperor Vespasian reintroduced an urine tax on public toilets. When his son Titus criticized him for the disgusting nature of the tax, Vespasian told him that “pecunia non olet”, meaning “money does not smell”.
  • In 1938, Time magazine had chosen Adolf Hitler as “man of the year”. In the same year, the fuhrer took control over the German army, announced that he was planning to destroy Czechoslovakia, he increased his influence in Austria, and exiled 12.000 Jews from Germany. The cover depicted Hitler playing “his hymn of hate in a desecrated cathedral while victims dangle on a St. Catherine's wheel and the Nazi hierarchy looks on.”

  • The shortest war in history was that between Zanzibar and United Kingdom in 1896 and it lasted approximately 45 minutes.

  • The longest war in history was the one between the Netherlands and Scilly Islands with a duration of 335 years. The war started in 1651 and peace was finally declared in 1986. However, it seems that the war extended for 335 years due to the lack of a peace treaty, but without a single shot being fired.
  • Read full article | 14 Sep, 2010 Page: 1 2 Next »

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