Operation Acoustic Kitty! The CIA was rigging up a cat with cameras and microphones to spy on the Soviet Union during the 1960s. It cost about $20 million. When they sent it out in DC to “test it out” it was immediately hit and killed by a taxi.
The dancing plague of 1518, so from what I remember about what I learned, a few people randomly just started dancing in the town center for no apparent reason, even seeming a bit distraught not really having fun, well randomly people started joining seemingly against their will, I think it was reported that nearly 400 people were eventually involved and danced for literal days without stop, this event was apparently well documented and a few people even died from literal exhaustion, pretty much ended like it started too, everyone just kinda stopped.
In 1920, President Paul Deschanel of France fell through the window of the train while traveling on the Orient Express. He stumbled up to the nearest signal box in his pajamas and told the signalman that he needed help and that he was the President of France. The signalman reportedly replied ‘And I’m Napoleon Bonaparte.’
I know it’s not very old, but it still amazes me that a science fiction author can talk about wanting to create a fake religion and then proceeds to create a fake science fiction religion and it somehow has actual followers???
During the siege of Tenochtitlan, the conquistadors built a trebuchet. However, the conquistadors, being an exploratory expedition, had not brought any military engineers with them. So they winged it. Surprisingly, they did build a trebuchet, which fired exactly one shot, directly upwards, which promptly came down and smashed the trebuchet. This event is chronicled in both the journals of the conquistadors present as well as the Aztec records.
I can’t believe i haven’t seen the siege of Weinsberg in 1140 after so much scrolling. It was negotiated that the women would be allowed to leave unharmed with whatever they could carry on their shoulders (with the intention that the men would continue to be sieged and ultimately killed/arrested). So the women carried out the men. Conrad III wasn’t even mad, he actually applauded their deception and allowed it.
The Erfurt Latrine Disaster of 1184 where a bunch of nobles met in a church, where it turned out the wooden floor couldn’t hold their weight, so it broke and they tumbled into the latrine in the cellar, and about 60 people drowned in poop.
The Battle of Pelusium the persians straight up attached cats to their shields so the egyptians couldn’t attack the shields or fire arrows at them
Alexander the Great named (or renamed) 70 cities after himself. Some still have the name or derivatives of it – Alexandria in Egypt being the most obvious, but also Iskandariya in Iraq and Kandahar in Afghanistan.
During WW1, English and German troops stopped the fighting for one day on Christmas Eve and played a game of football, exchanged gifts, and held conversations..only to go back to killing each other the next day
The Cadaver Synod – In AD 897, Pope Stephen VI had his dead rival Pope Formosus exhumed and put on trial. Stephen had a deacon speak on the dead pope’s behalf. Naturally, Formosus was found guilty. Stephen ordered that two fingers Formosus used for blessing people cut off and his corpse thrown in the Tiber river.
The astronomer Tycho Brahe had a pet moose that he used to get drunk with. One time he brought it to a dinner party at a friend’s house. But sadly the moose did not survive the night. Once again the poor moose got drunk on beer and died from a nasty fall down a set of stairs. Tyco Brahe also lost his nose in a duel, so he wore a prosthetic nose made out of metal. Some sources say brass, others say it was a gold/silver alloy. He was also employing a small court jester named Jepp that he believed to be clairvoyant.
The life of Zheng Yi Sao, a prostitute that became the most successful pirate lord in history, commanding 500 ships at the height of her power and battling Empire of China to a stalemate. She negotiated her surrender with honors and died peacefully at old age.
The Halifax Explosion. 100 years ago two ships did a sh**t job of passing each other while entering / leaving Halifax Harbour, in Nova Scotia. One of them was LOADED with explosives destined for WW1. They collided and one of them burned for a while, then exploded. The blast was a ~2/3 again larger than the one we saw in Beirut last year.
Thousands died or were blinded by shattering windows. There was a local tsunami (which followed a brief moment where the seabed was exposed to air), and then a monster snowstorm covered the relief effort in snow.
Largest human-made explosion even until the nuclear bomb, and I think it remains the largest maritime accident ever.
Battle of Tsushima in 1905.
Russian Baltic fleet sails the long way (16k miles and 7 months) started by them opening fire on British fishing boats mistaken for Japanese vessels in the North sea…. sank their own ships while conducting target practice, then were destroyed by the Japanese fleet upon arrival (they mistook the Japanese ships for Russian and signaled them instead of firing).
The Great Molasses Flood, Jan.15, 1919. Massive wave of molasses from a broken tank flooded the area. It killed 51 people and injured 150. 2.3 million US gallons.
When Teddy Roosevelt was shot before he was supposed to give a speech.
The bullet was slowed down by the folded up 50-page speech, so it did not kill him. The bullet was inside him and he was bleeding, but he still went on and gave the speech, which was 84 minutes long.
He started it off with “It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose” and showed the crowd the speech with the hole in it.
Austro-Hungarian army started shooting at itself while fighting Ottomans. The German speaking troops apparently yelled “Halt” when they encountered the Slavic troops of the same army, which then the Slavic troops who spoke s**t German (if any) mistook for “Alah” and started shooting. I believe the Slavic troop was also severely drunk at that point
Actually… I can totally see this happening
What they did to the guy who told them that you need clean hands before you put them inside someone. (Ignaz Semmelweis)
I am a big fan of the period when there were like three different popes all excommunicating each other and the term anti-pope is valid in Christian theology.
The citizens of Holland once ate their prime minister, that’s a bizarre case. It was the case of Johan de Witt 1672. You know, your political career is over when your citizens start to eat you…
Lincoln stopping a fight with a gentleman before it started, with a broadsword.
Most people know Lincoln was incredibly tall, but he was also immensely strong. A lifetime of grit, graft, and chopping wood made his wiry frame tight with corded muscles.
A gentleman of parliament challenged Lincoln to a duel for his honour, one day. Lincoln picked the weapons. Broadswords.
Lincoln showed up to the field of the duel the following day, and with one enormous one handed swing overhead, lopped a sizeable limb off a tree. From a standing start.
The gentleman backed out of the duel moments after witnessing the man dismember a tree as casually as one might behead a floret of broccoli.
Good old Operation Mincemeat.
Basically, during WWII, the British find some dead body of some poor guy, dress it up like a British officer, attach some fake intel onto him, then throw him into the ocean, hoping he floats to enemy territory to mislead them.
Mel Blanc (the voice actor who voiced every male character on Looney Tunes, as well as characters like Barney Rubble on The Flintstones and Mr. Spacely on The Jetsons) was in a head-on collision driving his sports car in a dangerous intersection known as “Dead Man’s Curve” in Los Angeles in 1961 (the same “Dead Man’s Curve” from the Jan and Dean song). His legs and pelvis were fractured, and he was left in a coma. For weeks, doctors tried everything to get Blanc to wake up. Eventually, when things were looking bleak, one of his neurologists decided to address one of Blanc’s characters instead of Blanc himself, asking him “How are you feeling today, Bugs Bunny?” After a slight pause, the previously-comatose Blanc answered, “Eh… just fine, Doc. How are you?” Mel Blanc made a full recovery.
When he got out of the hospital, he sued the city of Los Angeles for $500,000, finally leading to the city reconstructing Dead Man’s Curve.
If I had a nickel for every time there was a Defenestration of Prague, I’d have ten cents, which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice.
The hanging of a monkey in Hartlepool, UK who the townsfolk believed to be a French spy
That time the US house of representatives had an all out fist fight.
I think the most fascinating part is that they all just kind of laughed it off
The time that Olga of Kiev burned an entire town to the ground with pigeons! She’s a badass! Oh, and she’s a saint now too.
The fact that Cleopatra rolled out of a rug naked/half-naked to meet Julius Caesar.
Prohibition in the US. Of all the places it could happend it was there.
The 2016 clown attacks.
I lived through that and I still can’t believe it happened.
Well, the Prostestant reformation was kicked off by Martin Luther. A guy so obsessed by sin that he was hallucinating demons … in the bathroom.
There was a children’s crusade in which people fought a war being lead … by a duck.
The antipopes were a kinda weird thing. For centuries there were essentially two popes each claiming to be the one true pope.
Medieval Europe was something else.
In ww2 (maybe 1 I can’t remember) Germany was making a fake aircraft base out of wood as a decoy but the Brits knew of it and, after completion, dropped a wooden carving of a bomb
Us memers found our ways even in war
The time when Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the island where he was imprisoned on after his army was defeated, he snuck back into France under the nose of King Louis XVIII and literally every royal guard and roadblock from Marseille to Paris, and when he was actually caught just outside Paris, he managed to persuade the soldiers (who just so happened to be former Bonapartists) to escort him into Paris where he managed to successfully cause the king to flee, on top of raising a FULL ARMY to wage war against Europe AGAIN. The only time in history an emperor took back an entire country just by waving his hat.
The Cobra Effect. Basically during the British rule of India, they were concerned about the number of snakes in the capital, so they ordered a bounty on Cobras. For a while their population definitely declined, but soon people started breeding snakes just to collect the bounty. When the British became aware of this, they cancelled the bounty and so the breeders/snake catchers had huge numbers of now-worthless snakes which they let go in the wild, in turn actually increasing the population of Cobras in Delhi.
The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (catalyst for WWI). Conspirators throw bombs at motorcade which miss but injury others. An hour later, Ferdinand was going to visit the injured at a hospital and his driver made a wrong turn and stalled the engine right in front of a deli. A deli one of the conspirators had gone to eat and lay low. He came out and shot the Archduke and his wife, sparking an international crisis and WWI.
Ohio going to war with Michigan, over Toledo.
One person wounded. Ohio got Toledo, while Michigan got the entire upper peninsula and all of it’s copper, iron, and forests.
I think Michigan won this one.
Napoleon was once attacked by a horde of rabbits.
Basically, a rabbit hunt was set up to celebrate the Treaties of Tilsit and they ended up amassing somewhere between hundreds and thousands of rabbits (accounts vary). Anyway, the day of the hunt they set the rabbits in cages surrounding the area that they would be hunting in.
They released them once everyone was set, but instead of being scared the bunnies swarmed the hunting party. At first they thought it was funny, but then it got overwhelming and Napoleon and the others had to flee from the bunnies in a coach.
The ratification of the 19th Amendment: Tennessee was the last state needed to ratify. Came down to a tied vote in the Tennessee legislature which meant the amendment would fail. Harry T. Burn changed his vote at the last minute bc his mom basically told him to, thereby getting the amendment fully ratified!
No Kum-sok’s defection of North Korea is actually one if the most badass, real life movie things to ever happen.
Dude got sick of North Korea and flew to the South Korean border at almost mach-1, too far to be seen by North Korean or American radar. He landed at the closest American military base on the wrong side of the runway with another jet landing at the same time on the other side, barely missing it. When he got out of the plane, he took an image of Kim-Il-Sung that was in the cockpit, tore it to shreds, and threw up his arms in surrender. He unknowingly got $100k (which is almost $1 million today) by fulfilling “Operation Moolah” and lives as an American citizen to this day.
Sometime in 1943(WW2) a German tiger 1 tank was hit over 230 times by other tanks and anti tank weapons in 7 hours. The tank crew of the tiger only lost 1 out of its 5 members and the tiger was horrifically damaged yet it still managed to drive over 10 km back to a German outpost. Once they got to the outpost they had to cut the crew out of the tank because all of the hatches were destroyed/stuck. Total damage of the tank: Transmission was destroyed and only would work in 2nd gear. All gm ports were destroyed. The commanders cupala was destroyed. The fuel was leaking. 1 track on the right side was basically falling off. The front left drive wheel broke and was spinning freely. In the end the tiger was a monument for the Germans for a while then it was scrapped.
1859 border dispute between the US and Britain over San Juan island. Only casualty was a pig so it is referenced as the Pig War.
The fact that during the War of 1812, a freak tornado ripped through D.C. which ended up killing more British than the Americans did while also putting out the White House fire and helping to lead to the war’s end.
Blackbeard the infamous pirate laying siege to Charleston, South Carolina for a week to get medicine for his syphilis
When the Praetorian Guard killed the Emperor and then auctioned off the position to the highest bidder.
In 1802, Napoleon added a Polish legion of around 5,200 to the forces sent to Saint-Domingue to fight off the slave rebellion. Upon arrival and the first combat actions, discovering that the slaves fought off their French masters for their freedom, vast majority of Poles eventually joined the slaves against the French.. >Haiti’s first president Jean-Jacques Dessalines called Polish people “the White Negroes of Europe”, which was then regarded a great honour, as it meant brotherhood between Poles and Haitians.
Carausius. Everything about him is boss. A Gallo-Belgic peasant who rose up the military ranks to become a Roman general. Successfully fought actual pirates after waiting for them to raid their targets and so became insanely wealthy. When he found out Emperor Maximian had caught wind of this and had ordered his execution he flipped him the bird, sailed into what is now Great Britain, bribed around four entire legions to join him with the money he’d nabbed, and set himself up in London as the Real Legitimate Emperor, Yo!
Why has nobody made a film about the man, yet?
Andrew Jackson was such a cranky old bastard that when an assassin failed at killing him, he beat him half to death.
Remember the time a bunch of protesters took over an entire city bock in Seattle and became the Capitol Hill autonomous zone (CHAZ) for like a month.
Watching as a cultural and architectural icon such as the Notre Dame cathedral went up in flames
Tsutomu Yamaguchi survived two atomic bombs in Japan. His story is amazing.
Oda Nobunaga, early in his career, rallied 2,000 men to defeat Imagawa Yoshimoto’s 25,000. He won that fight hard.
Smoky served in the South Pacific, flew recon missions, parachuted, ran telegraph wire and became the first official therapy dog, entertaining and helping shell-shocked soldiers cope with the horrors of war.
When she finally died, she was buried in a .30 caliber ammunition box in Ohio.
Any day now, I expect to find out that Smoky somehow has a confirmed kill in the war.