There have been many fascinating and even downright bizarre events in human history. Are you a history buff who knows all about these strange historical facts? Put your knowledge to the test with our bizarre history quiz! Do you think you can get a perfect score? Before you dive in, here are some weird historical facts that prove history is completely insane!
Did you hear about the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe? The circumstances surrounding the passing of the famous American writer and poet are unclear to this day.
On September 27, 1849, Poe was supposed to travel to Philadelphia. He never made it and was instead found delirious in Baltimore, Maryland on October 3, lying in the street outside a saloon called Gunner’s Hall. Poe was transported to the hospital, where he, unfortunately, died several days later, on October 7.
No one was ever able to give a definitive cause of his death. Poe himself was unconscious for most of his last days and couldn’t explain what happened to him. Some people suggested mercury poisoning, while others thought it was rabies, cholera, or even suicide.
One of the theories states that Poe was the victim of cooping, a form of election fraud in the United States. In the 19th century, crooks known as “coopers” would grab people off the streets, force copious amounts of alcohol or opium into them, and then force them to vote at multiple voting places. In order to fool voting officials, crooks would dress up their victims in shabby clothes or give them disguises like fake beards. That would explain the disheveled clothing Poe was wearing when he was found. He was also discovered on Election Day in front of the saloon doubling as a voting place.
Perhaps the most famous story of a “ghost ship” is the mystery of Mary Celeste. It was an American merchant brigantine, captained by Benjamin Briggs. Mary Celeste departed New York in November 1873, carrying Briggs, his wife and daughter, several sailors, and about 1700 barrels of alcohol. The ship was heading to Italy, but it never got there.
Mary Celeste was discovered without a single person aboard and the lifeboat missing. The hatch doors have been removed, and there was a rope running from the ship into the sea. Apart from that, Mary Celeste was in a good condition. There were no signs of a hasty retreat. Tragically, neither Captain Briggs nor the crew was ever found.
There were many speculations about what could have happened, but no one was ever able to present a conclusive theory. Possible foul play or conspiracy to commit fraud were suspected, yet not proven. Other hypotheses suggested submarine earthquakes, giant waves, an attack by a giant squid, or even paranormal intervention.
Some of the barrels on the ship were found empty. It’s possible that alcohol seeped out of them and began evaporating in the ship’s hold. The crew was worried about a possible explosion and removed the hatch doors to vent the room but to no avail. The people on Mary Celeste got into the lifeboat, wanting to trail after the ship for a while. Unfortunately, the rope was somehow cut in half, leaving the humans lost in the Atlantic Ocean.
This theory seems quite plausible, considering the evidence that was left. However, without any living survivors, the mystery of Mary Celeste may remain forever just that – a mystery.
Have you ever heard about the longest war in history…which might have never actually existed? The supposed longest official war in history was the one between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly – a small archipelago off the tip of Cornwall, Great Britain. It began in 1651 and officially lasted for 335 years, 2 weeks, and 4 days. It only was that long because of a lack of a peace treaty, which was finally officially signed in 1986.
Interestingly enough, there wasn’t a single shot fired, and no one died. Perhaps because there was no war? Some people dispute its existence, and it’s hard to say it ever actually happened.
Have you ever heard about the New England vampire panic? In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the residents of New England became convinced their dead relatives were sucking the life out of them from beyond the grave.
It all began as tuberculosis (then called consumption), at the time a deadly disease, started ravaging whole families and villages. It caused a rapid deterioration of the body, intense fever, nasty coughs, and sometimes blood dropping out of the sick person’s mouth. The disease was highly infectious, too.
At the time, no one understood how sickness spread. All the frightened people knew is that once one family member died, the others would follow too. The villagers became convinced the first to die were vampires, getting out of their graves at night and taking the life force of sleeping people.
To combat the vampire attacks, people would dig up the corpses and examine them. If they weren’t as decayed as expected, the bodies would be sliced open. If any of the organs were found with liquid blood inside, the person would be deemed possessed and the organ destroyed. Sometimes the corpses would get decapitated for a good measure. The vampire panic came to an end when Robert Koch proved that tuberculosis was caused by a bacterium in 1882.
Are you ready to ace this bizarre history quiz? Can you tell which of these historical facts is true and which is false? Take the test and prove your knowledge!
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