The Rarest And Most Ridiculous Facts In History

Colorful Statues

Nowadays, it is quite common to see a pattern in all ancient Greek and Roman statues and sculptures: they are all the same color.

However, if you give them a closer, more detailed look, you’ll realize that these statues used to be colorful. The paint faded away over time, so that is why now they look the way they do.

A Car Race Across The Pacific?

Did you know that once there was a car race that required everyone involved to get across the Pacific? As cool as it sounds, this race turned out to be a disaster. Firstly, none of the cars were prepared for such a journey, and many broke down multiple times.

Moreover, the drivers were told they would cross the Pacific through an ice bridge. When everyone got there, they realized it had melted thousands of years ago. In the end, teams were allowed to ship their cars across the Pacific to Japan, then Russia, and then continue the race.

The Longer The Speach, The Shorter The Presidency?

President William Henry Harrison is not only the 9th president of the United States but also the only US president who gave the longest inauguration speech, which lasted two hours and consisted of over 8,400 words.

Unfortunately for him, that is not the only reason he became popular. Harrison’s presidency was the shortest in American history, as some weeks after the inauguration, he died of pneumonia.

Pepsi’s Submarines

Back in the 90s, Pepsi was already a well-known brand, but its fame was not only due to the cola drink but also to a not-so-small number of submarines it owned.

To keep the country stocked with its favorite drink, the Soviet Union traded 17 submarines, a cruiser, a frigate, and a destroyer. Pepsi didn’t keep the fleet and ended up selling it to a Swedish company for scrap recycling.

Hans Island

Just because you don’t often hear news of Canada or Denmark going into war, it does not mean that they haven’t had their fair share of conflict. In fact, the two nations have been fighting over Hans Island for over 30 years.

The confrontation over the island’s sovereignty, known as the Whisky War, is also considered one of the most elaborated and longest drinking games ever. This is because whenever officials from each country visit the island, they tease each other by leaving a bottle of their country’s liquor there.

The Swearing Parrot

More often than not, the funeral of a president is remembered by everyone in history. President Andrew Jackson’s funeral was not the exception, though we believe it was not for the right reasons.

President Jackson died in 1845, and around 3,000 people attended the event… and his parrot. Poll, as it was named, had to be removed because it started swearing out loud.

Mrs. Silence Dogood

Back in 1722, there was a widow with a keen wit and a gift for satire that had the readers of The Courant wrapped around her finger. Her name was Mrs. Silence Dogood.

In each letter sent to the British newspaper, Mrs. Silence Dogood would often poke fun at many distinguished institutions, including Harvard. Eventually, the identity of the lady was revealed, and it turned out to be a 16-year-old Benjamin Franklin! The young boy was an apprentice in his brother’s print shop.

Potatoes' Rise To Fame

It is pretty safe to say that almost everyone loves potatoes. They come in different shapes and sizes and can be cooked in many delicious ways. With this in mind, has it ever crossed your mind that potatoes were not always as popular as they are now?

Some centuries ago, people in France weren’t fond of potatoes. To solve this, Antoine-Augustin Parmentier came up with an amazing idea to promote potatoes: during the day, he’d surround his potato patch with guards to make people think they were valuable goods. This alone was enough to spark everyone’s curiosity. Once the guards were removed at night, people would come and steal the potatoes.

Lifeguard President

We are all pretty aware of Ronald Reagan’s entertainment career before becoming a politician. But did you know that the 40th president of the United States used to be a lifeguard?

His first job involved saving people from drowning, and he was quite good at doing it. Reagan performed 77 rescues over the six years he worked as a lifeguard in Lowell Park.

Life Imitates Art

Did you know that, before becoming the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky used to be the star of a popular television series called Servant of the People? As you may guess from the show's name, he played the role of the President of Ukraine.

In the show, Zelensky plays a school teacher who wins the presidential election after a video of him ranting against the government goes viral. In 2019, he won the presidential election, this time in real life, with over 70% of the votes.

A Human Fly Repellent

Egyptian Pharaoh Pepi II is believed to have ruled Egypt for at least 90 years. If you don’t recognize this Pharaoh for his birth name, it might be because his throne name was Neferkare.

It has been reported that the Pharaoh hated flies so much that he’d even tried keeping naked slaves covered with honey to keep the flies from getting near him.

The 1904 Summer Olympics Disaster

In the 1904 Summer Olympics, the men’s marathon was nothing short of an embarrassment. Although Fred Lorz was the first to arrive at the finish line, the truth is he had dropped out of the race after nine miles and got someone to give him a ride back to the stadium.

It was later discovered that Lorz had cheated, so Thomas Hicks ended up being the marathon winner. However, Hicks was not free of guilt either, as he had to be aided by his trainers to win the race. The craziness didn’t stop there, as aggressive dogs chased another runner, and another one was found lying on the road along the marathon course with severe internal injuries.

An Extraterritorial Maternity Ward

In the 1940s, there was a brief moment in which the maternity ward of Ottawa Civic Hospital was declared extraterritorial by the Canadian government. The reason for this was the birth of Dutch Princess Margriet.

The maternity ward had to be unaffiliated with any jurisdiction in order to be considered international territory so that the newborn would derive her citizenship from her mother only. Princess Margriet was born there after her parents fled the country during the occupation of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany.

Bread Fraud?

Back in the day, ancient cultures were quite fond of the quality of their bread. Yes, you read it correctly; they paid special attention to the bread.

Each baker had their own unique bread stamp that could be traced back should there be any adulterated bread. Oh, yes, they were really into fighting “bread fraud.”

Secret Weapon

During the second war with the Mithridates, the Romans dug tunnels beneath Themyscira to overcome the walls of the fortress.

After seeing the success of the Romans, defenders of the city decided not only to make their own trenches but also to allow wild animals and insects to enter the tunnels in order to attack the intruders.

St. Lawrence’s Roast

St. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons of the Roman church who served Pope Sixtus II. The world knows him for many reasons, but the most popular one is the joke he made moments before dying.

While he was being roasted on a gridiron by the prefect of Rome, he cheerfully told his torturers to turn him over because he was “well done” on that side. According to historians, this is why he’s known as the patron saint of cooks and, also, comedians.

Horsemen Capturing Ships

Who would ever think that one only needs to call the cavalry to capture ships? This sounds like a movie plot, yet it occurred in real life.

In 1975, there was a rare battle in which a French Revolutionary Hussar regiment successfully captured a Dutch Republican fleet.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son, was either present or nearby when three presidential assassinations occurred: William McKinley’s, James A. Garfield's, and his father’s.

These repeated situations led him to believe that it was best for everyone involved that he stay far away from any presidential event.

The Wrestling President

We have previously talked about the lifeguard president, but did you know that American citizens have also had a skilled wrestler as president?

That’s right! As it turns out, Abraham Lincoln was such a talented wrestler that he was even honored with an award from the National Wrestling Hall Of Fame in 1992.

How New England Outlawed Christmas

This sounds very grinchy and movie-like, yet it’s true. Around the 17th century, Christmas celebrations were rowdy public displays of excessive drinking and aggressive behavior.

All of this, combined with the threat of people being harmed and the mockery of established authority, made New England states outlaw Christmas.

Herostratus And The Temple Of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis was burnt down by Herostratus, who did it simply because he wanted to become famous.

Ultimately, he achieved his goal. Nowadays, Herostratus has become a metonym for those who commit a criminal act with the hopes of becoming famous.

Castle Itter

Castle Itter is a small castle in Austria where the Americans and Germans fought side-by-side during the war.

The battle for Castle Itter took place five days after Hitler had committed suicide and a few days before the signing of the German Instrument of Surrender.

The Picnic Battle

While the words “picnic battle” make you think that we are talking about an elaborate picnic game to play in teams, the truth is quite different.

The Picnic Battle is another name for the Battle of Bull Run. It was called that way because many of Washington’s civilians and wealthy elite members went on picnics on the sidelines to watch the battle.

Demoralization War Tactics Gone… To The Zoo?

An adage says that “all’s fair in love and war.” However, we believe that there should be some boundaries. “One does not send bombing raids to the zoo” should be one of them.

When Churchill wanted to demoralize the Germans during World War II, he ordered bombing raids on Berlin. This was a total disaster, as the only real casualty ended up being an elephant from the Berlin Zoo.

Dead Pope On Trial

Have you ever heard of the ‘Cadaver Synoid’? That’s the name given to the ecclesiastical trial of Pope Formosus. The most shocking part of this trial is that the corpse was literally dug up and put on the actual trial for it to happen.

The corpse was dressed in its ecclesiastical robes for the trial, and a deacon was appointed to speak on the corpse's behalf. Pope Formosus’ corpse ended up being found guilty.

The Shortest War

While wars are usually quite long, there was a particularly short one. We are talking about the Anglo-Zanzibar War, a conflict that lasted less than 40 minutes.

The cause of the war was the death of Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini and the subsequent succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash, who was not favored by British authorities.

So Many Dumb Ways To Die

When Tiberius Claudius Drusus died, everyone suspected that he had been murdered by Sejanus, the father of his betrothed.

However, according to Roman historian Suetonius, the eldest son of the future Roman Emperor Claudius was not murdered. It appears that Tiberius died of asphyxiation when he tried catching with his mouth a pear he had tossed but ended up choking on it instead.

Frenemies Till Death

Everyone goes through a frenemy phase with their friends, including the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were both friends and rivals.

Such was their rivalry that they even took their feud to the grave. Well, actually, it was just Adams. Right before dying, he said: “Thomas Jefferson survives.” Little did Adams know that Jefferson had died a few hours before him.

Over 100 Years Of War

Even though Montenegro and Japan were at war for over 100 years, Montenegro was not mentioned in the 1905 peace treaty. So, a technical state of war between the two countries was presumed.

Finally, in 2006, after Montenegro seceded from Serbia, Japan recognized Montenegrin independence and declared that the hostilities were over.

Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov Prevents Nuclear War

Has anybody ever heard of the 1983 nuclear war between the USSR and the USA? We bet nobody has, because thanks to the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system Stanislav Yevgrafovich that war never happened!

When the system reported that missiles had been launched from the United States, Petrov ruled those reports as false and decided to ignore them. His decision to go against Soviet military protocol prevented what could have resulted in a nuclear attack on the United States and its NATO allies.