Strange Historical Events You Won’t Read About in History Books
Some events aren't deemed "significant" enough to occupy chapters of a history book, but that doesn't mean they aren't fascinating! After all, weird things are always happening. From the Middle Ages to as recent as the 2000s, there are strange historical events happening all around the world. So, Reddit decided to recount the best of them. Did you know that molasses once flooded the streets of Boston? Or that North Carolina was almost obliterated by accident? Plus, there are illnesses that are a lot stranger and more mysterious than the Black Plague, but nobody talks about them! Thankfully, all those weird things that school didn't cover are still out on the internet. Here are the strange historical events that history books gloss over!
Let's start...with Domino's Pizza, of all things!
In the 1980s, Domino’s Pizza introduced a mascot named The Noid. Its main goal: stealing pizzas and making your pizza delivery late. The slogan: “Avoid the Noid.” Unfortunately, there was a man with paranoid schizophrenia named Kenneth Noid who thought this whole campaign was created to mock and persecute him, due to the mascot’s name. So one day, Noid entered an Atlanta Domino’s location and took two employees hostage. –buckyhermit
Ah, the cruel irony.
During the 5-hour standoff, he got hungry. So he ordered the employees to make him some pizzas. Of course, he didn’t pay for any of them – thus inadvertently living up to The Noid’s tendency to steal pizzas. He was eventually apprehended and spent some time in a mental institution until his death in 1995. Meanwhile, Domino’s retired the mascot due to what had happened and it was never mentioned again. –buckyhermit
The story of a pioneer surgeon:
I’ve heard the story, but had to look it up to retell it: In 1809 Jane Todd Crawford rode on horseback from Greensburg, KY to Danville, KY (60 miles) at the age of 44. She needed an abdominal tumor removed. The surgery was performed on Christmas day by Dr. Ephraim McDowell on his Kitchen Table, without anesthetic. A part of the Fallopian tube (along with 22.5lbs of “stuff” – the tumor) was removed. After 25 days, she returned home (via horseback so the story goes) on the same path. It was considered the first successful intentional opening of the abdominal cavity to remove something. She died at 78. –PhesteringSoars
Here's a crazy Titanic survival story!
I mean this wasn’t an “event” per se but it is one of my favorite stories. When the Titanic was sinking the head chef aboard knew the ship was going down, so he decided to take as much wine as he could and drink it. His logic was it was going to the bottom of the ocean anyway so why not. Anyway, so he gets pretty tipsy and continues to eat all the food he can find because lord knows how long they would be out there. The man also filled at least one lifeboat with food and drinks but decided not to get on yet. –AlkalineSoul
And then he ended up in the water.
So the boat is starting to do that iconic tilting into the air and the head chef decides to climb onto the railing and walk across it since it was basically a walkway at that point. Gets to the propellers just as the boat breaks in half and he rides it down he gets to the top and spends as much time he can out of the water by riding it down before being submerged into the ocean. He then waited for the lifeboats to come back and was one of the few people who survived while being in the water that night. –AlkalineSoul
This conflict was incredibly deadly, yet so obscure.
The Taiping Rebellion of 1850 to 1864 was the second most deadly singular conflict in history. At 25 million deaths. Only beaten by the Second World War. –Baronnolanvonstraya
Think about the day-to-day implications of that!
That’s just under 5k deaths per day… every day… for 14 years… that’s a lot of dead people, especially for that time… there was only about 1.2 Billion people total on earth. To put that in perspective, that is about 2.1% of the TOTAL global population eliminated… with today pop of 7.7 Billion, a war that eliminated 2.1% of the total pop would kill over 160 Million (today almost 7500 people a day die just in the USA) –Dredly
On August 6, 1915, undead Russian infantry successfully defended Osowiec Fortress against German forces despite being heavily outnumbered. I should explain that “undead” bit. The German forces consisted of (and Imma just quote wiki, because it’s a bit of a list) “14 battalions of infantry, one battalion of sappers, 24–30 heavy siege guns, and 30 batteries of artillery equipped with poison gases.” Russian forces were less than 1,000, and roughly half were militia, not regular infantry. The Russians were determined to hold the fortress, and did a remarkably good job of it, right up until the Germans flooded the entire structure with chlorine gas. –The_First_Viking
Chlorine gas can't stop angry Russians.
For those of you unaware of what chlorine gas does, basically your eyes, throat, and lungs dissolve in a slurry of disintegrating tissue. Russian gas masks did not protect against chlorine gas, and the fortress had no defenses that would protect the inhabitants. The Germans waited for the gas to dissipate and strolled right in. The Russians counter-charged. A band of men, their skin sloughing away, dead on their feet but too stubborn or angry to stop, charged the Germans. The Germans broke at the sight, ran, and were gunned down. –The_First_Viking
Um, this is a very strange artistic era.
There was a period in the middle ages of knights fighting giant snails in paintings, no one knows why. –SuicideBomberEyelash
That time the Mongols realized they didn't actually have to kill everyone.
When the Mongols at their height of power conquered China, they were still in their phase of killing all the people and burning their cities, to turn it back to pasture for their horses. Huge swaths of Central Asia had already been treated so, laid to waste. There was one guy, I don’t remember what his name was, a northern tribesman who’d fought against the Mongols but been captured and joined them. When they were deciding what to do with China, he convinced the Mongols there was more profit in leaving as it was and levying taxes, with which the Mongols could buy whatever they wanted. Apparently that hadn’t occurred to the Mongols before, but that one guy definitely saved millions of lives. –dxrey65
Woolpit, England carries a strange legacy.
The legend of the green children of Woolpit concerns two children of unusual skin color who reportedly appeared in the village of Woolpit in Suffolk, England, sometime in the 12th century, perhaps during the reign of King Stephen. The children, brother and sister, were of generally normal appearance except for the green color of their skin. They spoke in an unknown language, and would only eat raw broad beans. –chinguetti
Eventually, they learned to eat other food and lost their green pallor, but the boy was sickly and died soon after he and his sister were baptized. The girl adjusted to her new life, but she was considered to be “rather loose and wanton in her conduct”. After she learned to speak English, the girl explained that she and her brother had come from Saint Martin’s Land, a subterranean world inhabited by green people. –chinguetti
Was this just...an errant Biblical plague?
In 1794, it rained toads in Lalaine, near a French city called Lille. This event was witnessed by soldiers. –TophCookie
Something not in American history books:
Most Americans don’t know about the Thirty Years’ War which was an unbelievably complicated clusterf*** that killed 20 percent of the German population. –LonelyPauper
We almost tried to use "bat bombs" in WW2.
That time a dentist got pissed at Japan because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor so he declared war on Japan and suggested making bombs using bats, and the U.S. military actually went through with attempting to make them. They only stopped making their bat bombs because they developed the nuke. –DrBlowtorch
Also, here's the weird logic of it:
Their reasoning was that bats roost in attics and towers, so they would go to roost, detonate flammable material and light everything on fire. A pretty ingenious idea if you are attempting to burn down entire cities of civilians. –Dredly
Only in Canada...
Canada had a heist of nearly 3,000 tons of maple syrup in 2011/2012. They stole it from a cartel that controls 77% of the global maple syrup supply. –thoughtful_human
Some countries have drug cartels, but Canada has SYRUP cartels.
They specifically stole from the ‘strategic reserve’ of syrup that’s used to price fix the global market. It was millions in syrup that was taken! Absolutely wild. –Resentful_in_Dayton
Well, we dodged a bullet!
The Carrington Event, a solar event so strong that if it happened today it’d probably send most of the world back to the Dark Ages. –osi_layer_one
WHOA. This is a crazy coincidence.
Robert Lincoln (Abraham’s only surviving son) was pushed into the path of an oncoming train and was subsequently saved by Edwin Booth–John Wilkes Booth’s (aka Abe’s killer’s) brother). It isn’t super significant, just a silly twist of fate. –kellirosp
Remember the Halifax Explosion?
The Halifax Explosion. In 1917 a munitions ship detonated, creating the largest non-nuclear manmade explosion in history. Thousands died, thousands were injured, and the ship was burning long enough to attract enough attention that the detonation blinded even thousands more. Boston participated heavily in responding to the disaster. To this day, Nova Scotia donates the Christmas tree that is displayed publicly in Boston every year. –DrunkByDesign
The days when every town was like, "Nah, we operate on our own time tables, thanks."
There was a span of time where Clocks were already a thing but were too luxurious for the average citizen. But most cities had one on their church or something, and since the day starts a little bit different everywhere, every city had its own time zone. It had to be generalized over the globe because of the industrial revolution and railroads getting more popular, but it still took a very long time for every village to be convinced that it would be better to adapt. –shinyPave
A bold move from the Florida Keys!
In 1982 the Florida Keys seceded from the union, called themselves the Conch Republic and declared war on the US for all of one minute. –jorellh1
The WEIRDEST competition ever.
The Great Stork Derby. A Toronto financier left a part of his estate to whatever woman in the city could produce the most children in the decade following his death. –grannyluvsdeathgrips
There's a female Paul Revere, and she's awesome.
Sybil Ludington rode 40 miles to her town to gather 400 troops and warn them that the British were coming to attack. This happened in 1777 and she is often overshadowed by Paul Revere. Sybil was a 14-year-old girl who was on her horse Star, when she did this in the middle of the night, waking troops by banging a stick on fence posts and other objects. There is currently a sculpture of her in New York, but Paul Revere is often recognized first. –MarsBars_SnickersCar
The Boston Molassacre?
There’s Boston’s Great Molasses Disaster of 1919, which saw 21 people dead and 150 injured! Yeah, and it’s not like the molasses moved slowly. It moved like a rush of water and was denser that water; it was harder to evade and get out of than water would have been. –aero_girl
That's a LOT of garbage.
In the late 1800s into mid-1900, it was common for there to be so much pollution in the Cuyahoga River in Ohio that it would regularly light on fire. At least 13 fires have been reported on the Cuyahoga River, the first occurring in 1868. The largest river fire, in 1952, caused over $1 million in damage to boats, a bridge, and a riverfront office building. –Dredly
Kodak and the government got up to some shady stuff.
Kodak found out about nuclear detonations by using corn silk to pack their film, which would be messed up due to the radioactive fallout and the gov’t used their film… so the US Gov’t began telling Kodak when they were detonating nukes, and where, so that they could ensure they did not use radioactive corn silk to pack their film… They never told the US Public that they were eating irradiated food, though. –Dredly
Call of Duty was RIGHT!
Call of Duty: zombies group 935 is based on a real Japanese unit that performed bio/chem experiments on humans during WWII. I thought I knew all about WWII until I stumbled on this gory nugget. –cliffy348801
So, North Carolina was almost wiped off the map.
A B-52 with a payload of thermonuclear bombs broke apart and crashed near Goldsboro, North Carolina in 1961. One of the bombs nearly detonated; three of its four arming mechanisms had activated. –TheSanityInspector
NASA got a ticket!
In 1979 the US space station Skylab was de-orbited. Some of the debris that survived re-entry landed in rural Australia, and they jokingly gave NASA a 400$ fine for littering. The fine was unpaid for 3 decades until a US radio host raised the money. –Delta5-6
Never underestimate the Russian demand for Pepsi!
Thanks to Russia wanting Pepsi, and being unable to pay for it with cash, Pepsi was briefly the sixth-largest naval power on the planet due to being paid in Russian naval vessels. They sold the ships for scrap, but imagine if they’d kept it. –Stargate525
The shortest war in history was REALLY short.
The Anglo-Zanzibar War – a military conflict that was fought on August 27, 1897, between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate that lasted approximately 45 minutes, making it the shortest war in history. –VictorBlimpmuscle
This woman is an amazing survivor!
Juliane Koepcke was on a plane that crashed over a rainforest in the early 70s. She was the sole survivor of the crash, surviving a 10,000-foot fall strapped into her seat, managing to adapt to her new environment after living in the jungle for a while as a child. She wandered for 11 days before being found, and is now works in the biology field in Peruvian jungles! –eggsas Which of these historical events do you think is the strangest? Share this story with your other history buff friends!