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Weird Facts

The world’s history books teach us about famous figures, ancient civilizations and important events that have shaped our world. But there is so much more to history than just the ‘big moments’. History is full of weird and wonderful tales, bizarre events, quirky people, and strange happenings, and it is these ‘weird facts’ that bring to life our past in a way that is fun, amusing and sometimes shocking!

A Roman wearing Tyrian purple. Source: AI generated.

Roman Citizens Could Be Punished with Exile for Wearing Purple

The ancient Roman Empire was not only a marvel of architecture, politics, and warfare but also a hub of societal regulations and fashion statements. One might believe that the color of a garment...
Human remains of bones and skulls at a traditional cannibal site.  Source: simanlaci / Adobe Stock.

Fiji’s Rampant Cannibalism for 2,500 Years Earned it the Name ‘Cannibal Isle’

Fiji , the idyllic paradise in the South Pacific, carries a dark historical secret. Long before it was renowned for its scenic beauty, early European explorers knew it as the foreboding 'Cannibal...
Red feathers. Source: Thewonderalice / Adobe Stock.

Red Feathers Were More Valuable Than Gold in Ancient Hawaii

From the gold coins of the Roman Empire to the jade treasures of ancient China, every culture has its emblem of wealth and status. But in the lush landscapes of ancient Hawaii , an unlikely item...
Leech Finders, from the print collection Costume of Yorkshire (1814), by artist George Walker and engravers Robert and Daniel Havell.             Source: New York Public Library.

Leech Collectors Used Amputated Legs to Procure Leeches

When it comes to historical jobs that will make your skin crawl, leech collecting certainly tops the list. While today, leeches might be an oddity or a relic of ancient medicine, they were once...
The Hanging Pillar of Lepakshi. Source: Bikashrd / CC by SA 4.0.

The Hanging Pillar of Lepakshi Defies Gravity in Indian Temple

In the heart of Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh, India, lies a marvel of ancient Indian architecture that has puzzled both historians and architects alike – a temple with a pillar that doesn’t completely...
Sumerian priestess. Source: Oleksandr / Adobe Stock.

Sumerian King Iddin-Dagan Copulated with a Priestess in a Public Annual Ritual

In the annals of history, we have witnessed a myriad of unique, and at times, bizarre traditions that have defined civilizations and their leaders. One such tradition that stands tall in its peculiar...
Tycho Brahe Had a Drunken Moose Pet. Source: Andrew / Adobe Stock.

16th Century Astronomer Tycho Brahe Had a Drunken Pet Moose

In the realms of ancient history, the enigmatic quirks of historical figures never cease to amaze. Among these eccentricities, Tycho Brahe, the esteemed 16th-century astronomer , stands out not only...
Jwala Ji Temple, India. Source: Nswn03 / CC by SA 3.0.

India’s Jwala Ji Temple Has a Flame That Has Been Burning for Over 100 Years

In the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh lies a marvel that eloquently blends natural phenomenon with spiritual fervor – the Jwala Ji Temple , famed for its eternal flame. Home to a so-called eternal...
Crocodile eyes. Source: Георгий Лыкин / Adobe Stock.

The Expression ‘To Shed Crocodile Tears’ Has Bizarre Medieval Origins

Today, when someone accuses another of shedding " crocodile tears ," they are suggesting that the person is displaying fake or insincere sorrow. But how did this phrase come into being? The answer...
The painting ‘Edward II and his Favourite, Piers Gaveston’ (1872) by Marcus Stone. Source: Public Domain

Chivalric Love or True Bromance? Did Edward II Have a Secret Husband?

Ah, medieval England – a time of knights in shining armor, ladies in distress, and... bromances? While Arthur had his Lancelot (just good friends), it was King Edward II and his closest confidant,...
Men visiting Okinoshima Island must be naked.  Source: Kapawtord / Adobe Stock.

Only Men Can Visit Okinoshima Island in Japan and They Must Strip Naked First

In the rich tapestry of the world’s ancient history, there stands a mysterious island steeped in ritual and reverence – Okinoshima. Nestled between the islands of Kyushu and Honshu in Japan,...
Ancient Roman feeding chicken. Source: AI generated.

Ancient Romans Used Chickens to Predict Battle Outcomes

Few tales capture the peculiarities of ancient Roman beliefs as much as that of the sacred chickens. These were not ordinary birds but revered animals, consulted as avian oracles before significant...
Koro is the extreme fear of genital shrinkage or retraction. Source: Kate / Adobe Stock.

Koro is an Ancient Psychiatric Condition Involving Fear of Genital Shrinkage

The annals of ancient Chinese literature are rife with fascinating tales and medical accounts, some stranger than others. Among them is " Koro ", a delusional disorder that embodies a peculiar blend...
Wife-carrying. Source: Алина Битта / Adobe Stock.

In Finland, Carrying One's Wife is More than Affection – It's a Sport!

In the tapestry of ancient sports and traditions, some activities are surprisingly unconventional. One such sport that has captured global fascination, emerging from the picturesque landscapes of...
A Hippopotamus. Source: Aintschie / Adobe Stock.

Hunting Hippos Was a Royal Sport in Ancient Egypt

To the modern observer, the hippopotamus might seem a curious creature - large and often languid in its watery habitat. However, in ancient Egypt, the hippo was regarded as one of the most ferocious...
Villagers in Shani Shingnapur, India. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Great Big Story.

Shani Shingnapur Village in India Has No Doors, No Locks and No Crime

In the vast tapestry of India's ancient history, filled with tales of grandeur, mysticism, and unique cultural practices, the village of Shani Shingnapur stands out for an intriguing feature – its...
Image of several members of the Terracotta Army in Xian. Source: lapas77 / Adobe Stock

Finders of the Terracotta Army Think They Are Cursed

Archaeology lovers around the world have undoubtedly heard of the famed Terracotta Army which was discovered in the 1970s in Xian, in northwest China, and attracts millions of visitors each year. But...
Legend has it that in his madness, Caligula declared war on the sea. Source: Iva / Adobe Stock

The Roman Emperor Caligula Declared War on the Sea

Throughout history, inept leaders have repeatedly manufactured enemies to rally their base and deflect attention from the real issues at hand. But the idea that Caligula declared war on the sea...
Pufferfish – also known as the blowfish or fugu. Source: ftlaudgirl / Adobe Stock.

Ancient People Consumed Highly Toxic Blowfish as an Aphrodisiac

The allure of aphrodisiacs stretches far back into the annals of human history. These mysterious substances, believed to enhance sexual desire and performance, were often sourced from nature's most...
A raven at the Tower of London. Source: Sid10 / Adobe Stock.

Ravens Have Protected the Tower of London for Hundreds of Years

Standing on the north bank of the River Thames, the Tower of London is not just an iconic historic castle with tales of treachery and power. It is also home to a historic legend – if the Tower’s...
Lady and duenna, wearing their tapada limeña, going to church, by Pancho Fierro. Source: Public domain

Peruvian Women Once Wore Burka-Like Attire as Cloaks of Rebellion

In an era where the term “ burka ” evokes images of oppressive regimes, notably Afghanistan's coercive imposition on women, it may come as a surprise that the tapada limeña (meaning “the covered one...
Spartan in a Skirt. Source: Dina / Adobe Stock.

Wearing Skirts Was Considered Manly in Ancient Greece

When we think of manliness, images of rugged warriors and fearless gladiators often come to mind. However, history has its surprises, and one of the most fascinating twists in the realm of...
Racial slurs—such as the use of the term “Indian giving”—no longer have a place in our vocabulary. They demonstrate historic ignorance and are insulting to Native Americans. Source: PixelWitch / Adobe Stock

Why We Should Ditch the Historic Term “Indian Giver” Today

The English language is full of colloquial expressions derived from our storied past. Up there with racial slurs such as “redskin,” “squaw” or “casino Indian,” “Indian giver” or “Indian giving” is...
Science is finally catching up with beliefs that ancient peoples have known all along. AI generated image of a copper molecule structure. Source: DmitriRich / Adobe Stock

Copper’s Ancient Healing Powers Are Only Now Being Understood

While certain ancient remedies have received quite a bad rap in the modern era, it appears that some beliefs related to the healing properties of copper may have been spot on. Copper’s use in...

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