Although a lot of the older generation refer to the past as the ‘good ol’ days’, there are some parts of human history that are outright terrifying. Read this complete list and you will understand why. The horrors are not only limited to these facts so if you do enough research, you will find some really odd and frightening stories that will leave you in shock.
Researchers At Princeton University Transformed A Cat Into A Telephone
In 1929, a researcher at Princeton University, Ernest Glen Weber, and his research assistant, Charles William Bray, decided to crack open the skull of a cat and experiment with a live auditory nerve. They attached live wires to create a transmitter and proved several theories of sound when their experiment was successful. However, this experiment raised quite a lot of issues with animal rights activists.
Heroin Was A Common Medicine For Coughs And Headaches
In the 18th century, doctors around the world prescribed heroin as a cure for cancer, menstruation and even childbirth. Ironically, heroin was also prescribed to cure the addiction of opium.
Brain Pieces Were Used To Cure Mental Illnesses
In the 1950’s, doctors prescribed severed pieces of brain to cure mental illnesses. This idea came from homeopathy and gravediggers would spend a lot of time retrieving the brains of dead bodies and delivering them to doctors.
Teeth From Dead Soldiers Were Used As Prosthetics
This was in 1815 when dentistry was not advanced as it is today. People with large amounts of wealth had an appetite for sugar and so their teeth were often damaged. In order to get a replacement, the dentists would ask gravediggers to pull out the teeth from dead soldiers and sell them to them.
The Molasses Flood In Boston
January 15, 1919 was a terrible day for the people in Boston. They experienced a molasses flood when a storage tank, containing two million gallons of molasses, accidentally cracked open.
The Phobia Of Fluffy Objects
In 1920, American psychologist John B. Watson conducted an experiment at the John Hopkins University in which he conditioned a child to develop a severe phobia of fluffy objects.
The Mummies Of Guanajuato
There are many researchers who believe that the terrified expressions of the mummies in Guanajuato is due to the fact that they were buried alive. This horror has been the source of debate for many researchers for a number of decades.
The Largest Bird To Fly On Earth
The Giant Teratorn, also known as the Argentavis magnificens, lived nearly 6 million years ago and had a wingspan of nearly 20 feet. This was during the late Miocene period and the species of the bird is not yet known.
The Mayan Sacrifice
During the pre-Columbian era, the Mayans used to sacrifice people in their region by pulling out the still-beating hearts from their chests. These were considered to be a nourishment for the Gods. Four people would hold the person down and a sacrificial knife would be used to cut the chest.
The Witch Sacrifice In Europe
From the middle of the 15th century to the 18th century, Central Europe, Germany, France and Switzerland would burn witches at the stake. It is estimated that they burnt close to 600,000 people.
The Safety Coffins
There are many accounts from the 14th century to the middle of the 17th century of people being buried alive. This fear became widespread around the world and people used to patent safety coffins so that they could alert the people above ground in case they were buried alive.
Medicinal Properties Of Corpses
During the 1500s and 1600s, rich Europeans would consume parts of dead people because they believed that the corpses had medicinal properties. Human bone powder and blood was believed to be medicinal for curing diseases.
The Parents Of King Tut
The mummified remains of Tut’s mother were examined and it was found that she was also the sister of King Tut’s father, Akhenaten.
The State Funeral For General Antonio López De Santa Anna’s Leg
General Antonio López De Santa Anna was severely wounded during the Pastry War and the doctors had to amputate his leg. General Antonio López De Santa Anna resumed his presidency in 1842 and held a state funeral for his amputated leg, in which there was a great deal of poetry and celebration.
The New England Vampire Panic
There was an outbreak of tuberculosis in the 19th century which freaked out quite a lot of people in Rhode Island, Vermont, eastern Connecticut and parts of New England. They believed that tuberculosis was caused by the dead, or vampires, feeding on people; in order to prevent more vampires in the region, they staked the dead bodies.
Vlad The Impaler
Romanian ruler Vlad The Impaler is believed to be the inspiration behind the fictional Dracula by Stoker. There are many people who believe that he would drink the blood of his enemies, dip his bread in the blood of his enemies and wash his hands with the blood as well.
Jewelry Made Out Of Deceased Loved Ones
In the Victorian Era, people would exhume the dead bodies of their loved ones and use their teeth, bones and strands of hair to create ‘memorial jewelry’.
Contraceptives From Beaver Testicles
Women in the 1500s from Canada came up with a formula that was believed to prevent pregnancy. Beaver testicles were soaked in alcohol and then consumed, even though there was no scientific data to support this belief.
Innocence Judged By Boiling Water
During the Middle Ages, a person’s innocence was judged a little differently. The person’s hand would be put into boiling water and if the wounds healed within three days, the person would be considered to be innocent. The healing was believed to be God’s sign of innocence.
Edible Wafers Infused With Arsenic Was Used For Improving Facial Imperfections
This was around the year 1902 and the wafers were believed to be effective when consumed regularly. However, since the wafers contained arsenic, the person’s health would depreciate and it was a long time before people realized that it was toxic.
The First Major Syphilis Outbreak
The first major outbreak of Syphilis was in 1494, during the Italian wars, where the soldiers of Charles VIII of France suffered with painful genital ulcers. At the time, no cure was ever discovered. The disease also melted the bones, nose, lips and eyes of the affected.
Homage To A Corpse
King Alfonso IV of Portugal was always known for his stern ways and when his son, Peter I of Portugal, fell in love with Inês Pires de Castro, he rejected the relationship and ordered three of his henchmen to murder her. When Peter I took the throne after his father’s death two years later, he executed the henchmen and crowned the corpse of his former lover as his queen. His subjects were made to pay homage to the queen.
November 22, 1963
This was a fateful day for the world. On this day, John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley And C.S. Lewis lost their lives and this coincidence has been quite the topic of debate even all these years later.
The Escape From An Avalanche
Peter Freuchen was trapped under an avalanche in 1926 and escaped from his death by making a shiv out of his feces and amputating his leg with it. He then replaced his leg with a wooden peg and dug himself out of the avalanche.
Pepi II Smeared Servants With Honey To Keep Flies Away From Him
In order to keep the flies away from himself, he would ask his honey-smeared servants to stand near him so that the flies would stick to them instead of him.
The Order Of The Pug
This secret society was founded by the Catholics of Bavaria in 1740 and the new members of the society had to wear dog collars and scratch at the door in order to get inside.
Ancient Mongolia Made Its Criminals Die Of Starvation
This was done until the 20th century when the rules changed. The criminals were left in boxes and they died of starvation.
People Posed With Their Dead Relatives
This was a popular practice in Victorian England and people would pose with their dead relatives who would appear to be sleeping. This was especially disturbing when the pictures had infants in them.
Salem’s Trial Against Tomatoes
In 1820, the town of Salem held a trial against tomatoes. The town thought that the tomatoes were poisonous and the trial ended when Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson ate an entire basket of tomatoes and did not die.
Elvis Suffered From Severe Constipation
Throughout his life, the star suffered from severe constipation and even died when he was sat on the toilet. He suffered from a condition known as Megacolon.
Thomas Edison Electrocuted An Elephant Named Topsy
In 1902, Topsy was brought to New York’s Coney Island amusement park. However, there were complaints of dangerous behavior and Topsy ended up being electrocuted by Thomas Edison. Topsy was fed cyanide-laced carrots before Edison pulled the switch.
Ben Franklin’s Basement Had Human Bones
In 1998, nearly 1200 human bones from nearly 10 humans were found in the cellar of Ben Franklin’s home and it is believed that these bones were utilized to study human structures.
Buddhist Monks Used To Mummify Themselves
Between the 11th and the 19th century, the Buddhist monks in northern Japan were involved in a reflection known as Sokushinbutsu. They preserved themselves by mummifying their bodies; this was done by staying off sustenance and water before starving themselves to death.
70% Of The Deadliest Wars Took Place In China
Seven out of the ten deadliest wars in the history of mankind took place in China. It is believed that the Taiping Rebellion had more than twice the casualties than the First World War.
Men Would Remove Their Left Testicle To Have Sons
In the medieval times, it was believed that sperm from the left testicle was responsible for the birth of a girl while the right one contained the sperm for the birth of a boy. In order to ensure the birth of a son, men would remove their left testicles.
President William Henry Harrison’s Death
President William served the shortest term in US history, being the president for only two months. He fell sick during his term and his doctors prescribed conventional medicines like parasites, opium, snake weed and leeches, which only accelerated his condition and caused his death.
The Balloon Bomb Of 1945
In 1945, a Balloon Bomb was launched by Japan and it landed in Oregon, USA. When it exploded, a woman and five children lost their lives; they were the only deaths that occurred on US soil after USA joined the war.
Using Urine As Mouthwash
Romans used human urine as mouthwash. The ammonia in the urine was also used as a regular cleaning agent.
Pope Gregory IV Exterminated All Cats In Europe
This pope from the 13th century believed that cats were instruments of the Devil so he ordered the extermination of cats all across Europe.
Lotion Made Out Of Eagle Poop
A lotion was made from the poop of Eagles and applied to women who were about to give birth. This was believed to ease the pain during childbirth.
The First Fax
The first fax in the world was sent in 1843, just 13 years after people started to travel on the Oregon Trail. It kind of makes you wonder how we have been stuck with that one technology from a time so long ago.
Grooms Of Stool
Henry VIII of England had four men whose jobs were simply to wipe his butt. These men were called “Grooms of Stool” and all of these four men were knighted.
Lincoln’s Career Before Politician
Before Lincoln became a politician, he was a wrestler. He had more than 300 bouts to his name as victories and only one defeat during his entire career. This led to his induction in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1992.
French Women Could Sue Their Husband
When the Renaissance was in its prime, the women in France could sue their husbands and take them to court if they were impotent.
The Tea In British Tanks
Since 1945, the British tanks that have been manufactured have all included equipment to make tea inside them. The British sure do love their tea.
The Nominations For The Nobel Peace Prize
Did you know that Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini were all nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize? Looking back, it’s a good thing that none of them won it.
The Most Successful Pirates
One of the most successful pirates in human history was a Chinese streetwalker by the name of Ching Shih. Under her command, there was a fleet of 1,500 ships and 80,000 sailors.
The Survivor Of Atom Bomb Attacks
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The first atom bomb was dropped that day on the city. The next day, he travelled to Nagasaki and was there on August 8, 1945, when the second atom bomb was dropped on the city. He survived both the attacks and lived until the age of 93.
Caligula And The Senator
Gaius, the Roman Emperor also known as Caligula, made a horse his senator. This horse was a favorite of Caligula.
When Voltaire was on his deathbed, a priest came to him and asked him to renounce Satan. However, Voltaire said, “This is no time to be making new enemies.”
Potatoes’ Introduction In Ireland
The Potatoes were discovered by the Spanish Conquistadors in Peru and only after that happened did they come to Ireland.
The Mermaids Of 1493
When Columbus was on his way to find a route to India and accidentally discovered America, he thought he had seen mermaids on his routes. He explained that they were not at all pretty and were rather ugly creatures. Now, it is believed that he might have seen manatees.
The First Use Of Chickens
Believe it or not, chickens were first used to fight each other in cockfights. That was the reason that they were domesticated by human beings rather than for their meat.
The Shortest War In History
The shortest war in history was fought between England and Zanzibar. The war lasted for only 38 minutes.
Lobsters Were A Cruel Meal
While you might consider lobsters to be a luxurious meal, there was a time in the 1800’s when the people of the United States of America considered the lobsters to be a cruel and unjust punishment for the prisoners and the convicts.
Titan And Titanic
Fourteen years before the Titanic set sail, there was a fictional novel written by the name of Futility. The story was about a large unsinkable ship by the name of Titan which sank after it hit a large iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean. Both the real Titanic and the fictional Titan did not have enough lifeboats for all the passengers on board.
Thomas Jefferson And John Adams
To this day, the deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams remain a controversy. The two of them died hours apart from each other on the same day and this day happened to fall on the 50th anniversary of American Independence.
The Bat Bomb Project
A Pennsylvania dentist convinced President Roosevelt to bomb Japan by attaching timed explosives to thousands of bats. This was during the Second World War. However, some of these bats were released accidentally and destroyed the testing facility. This led to the scrapping of the project.
The 22-Pound Baby
A woman gave birth to a 22-pound baby which is considered to be quite large. However, interestingly, this woman was part of the tallest couple ever to be married. She was Anna Haining Swan (7’11”) and she was married to Martin Van Buren Bates (7’9″).
You might remember the name Ted Bundy when he gained fame for being a serial killer. However, did you know that he once saved a child from drowning and also chased down a purse snatcher, for which he received a commendation from the Seattle Police Department.
Victorians Did Not Say Cheese
When getting their pictures taken, Victorians did not say cheese like we do today. Instead, they said “prunes” whenever their picture was being taken.
Wilmer McLean’s Rotten Luck
The farm of Wilmer McLean was the place where the Civil War of America began. He moved a hundred miles away to escape all the fighting. However, his luck was so rotten that the war ended up in his new house at Appomattox.
The War Without Casualties
This also happened to be one of the longest wars in history. The war between The Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly and it lasted for nearly 335 years.
The History Of The US Flag
The US Flag with the 50 stars was designed by a 17-year old boy named Robert Heft as a part of his school project. His teacher gave him a B- for his flag design.
He Was Afraid Of Fire & Sinking
There was a man who lived through a fire and the sinking of a ship in 1871. He wanted to face his fears and boarded the Titanic in 1912, and he sank with the ship.
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
Edgar Allen Poe wrote the book, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, in 1838. This book was about four crewmen who were stranded at sea. They had to draw lots to decide who would be eaten among the four of them. 46 years later, a yacht named Mignonette was bound for Sydney, Australia and capsized in the middle of its route. Three crewmen killed and ate the cabin boy named Richard Parker.
Failed Assassination Of George W Bush
A would-be assassin tried to ensure the death of the former President of the United States of America. He threw a grenade at Bush in 2005 but luckily, the grenade never exploded.
Bounties For Civil War Soldiers
Both sides offered bounties to the soldiers upon enlistment. There were many people who would enlist and escape again and again just to collect the bounties. One man collected 32 bounties before he was caught.
Lord Byron’s Pet Bear
Lord Byron kept a pet bear in his dorm room during the time that he was studying at Cambridge University.
Cheating Death Three Times
This is Rasputin, the famous Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who is legendary for cheating death three times. Assassins tried to poison him, shoot him and stab him. However, he survived all three attacks. He finally met his maker when the assassins wrapped him in a blanket and threw him in the river.
Before the invention of alarm clocks, there were people like this who were known as ‘knocker uppers’. They shot peas through windows so that people could wake up and go to work.
The Figurine Before Human Evolution
This small handmade figurine was found in Idaho in 1889 but it was not just any regular find. It was found during a drilling operation at around 320 feet and it was believed to belong to a time period before human beings were a part of this world. It is still a mystery as to how the figurine got there.
The Dust Bowl Of America
The Dust Bowl crippled the central part of America and during this time, the flour companies realized that poor people were making clothing out of the bags that they got their flour in. These companies decided to start putting flower prints and other designs on the bags so that the clothing could be a bit more fashionable.
Chinese Foot Binding
In Chinese culture, it was a widely accepted opinion that women with smaller feet were more attractive and feminine. This is why the people of China would bind the feet of the girls when they were babies so that the feet would not grow much in size.
The Underwater Pyramids
In 1990, scientists discovered two giant pyramids using sonars. To this day, they are baffled with the mystery of these pyramids 6,000 feet below the sea level. They are believed to be made out of a smooth glass-like material and the estimation is that they are bigger than the Pyramids of Cheops, Egypt.
The Shugborough Inscription
Shugborough Inscription is one of the most interesting inscriptions in the world. It reads DOUOSVAVVM and no one has ever been able to translate what it says. There is a belief that the inscription was left by the Templar Knights and it is actually a clue to the location of the Holy Grail.
The Reason Justice System Uses Fingerprints
These two men look like they are twins right? Well, you’re wrong. They are two different men, who had the same names, were sentenced to the same prison and just looked identical. They met for the first time in prison but other than that, they were no relation to each other. They were the reason that the criminal justice system started to use fingerprints.
The Spanish Donkey
This practice is known as The Spanish Donkey. It was a form of torture that commonly involved the chaining of weights to a naked person who was straddled on a wooden beam. Eventually, it became a scientific practice which allowed the people to understand how much weight they could bear without feeling pain.
The Giant Mushroom Of Oregon
More than 2,800 years old, this Giant Mushroom is located in Oregon and its roots cover nearly 3.4 square miles. The interesting thing about it is that it is still growing today.
The Body Of Saint Cecilia
Saint Cecilia is one of the “Incorruptible Saints” of the Catholic Church. She is believed to have died in the year 177 CE and yet, her body has been preserved up to today, without any decay. It seems like nearly 1,700 years of decay could not corrupt the body of this saint.
The Messages From SS Ourang Medan
In February, 1948, dozens of ships near Indonesia received the same message from SS Ourang Medan, a Dutch ship. The messages were “All officers including captain are dead lying in the chart room and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.” This message was followed by a series of Morse Code messages that were indecipherable and a last message that said “I die”. When the ship was discovered, it was a ghastly scene. Everyone was dead of course but their faces were all frozen to look at the sun, with an anguished look on them, and their bodies were stretched on the deck with their arms pointing outwards.
The Precambrian Rocks
These spheres are known as Klerksdorp Spheres and they are about an inch or so in diameter. They have three parallel lines running around the diameter and for many years, the miners in South Africa have been mining them. They are Precambrian rocks and they date back nearly 3 billion years.
Stalin Retouching Paintings
Joseph Stalin was quite the brutal dictator and he had no issues with wiping people off the face of this planet. An interesting thing about him is that he shared paintings with many people and whenever someone from the painting would die, he would have the painting retouched and the person who died removed from the painting.
Blackbird was the chief of the Omaha Indians in North America. His life was quite interesting but his death was even more interesting. He was buried while he was sitting on his favorite horse.
Churchill’s Cigar Control
Winston Churchill was quite the interesting man and there are sources who say that he would “limit” himself to only 15 cigars a day.
This is General Hooker, one of the generals in the American Civil War. The reason that he is famous is that he would always have a bunch of girls following him and his troops around in order to keep them satisfied. That is why the slang for call girls is taken from his last name.
Corporal Monkey From WWI
This monkey is a hero from World War I. He was awarded a medal for his services and also promoted to the rank of Corporal.
Tragedies Of Anna Mae Dickinson
While Anna Mae Dickinson did not face any tragedies herself, her family history is full of tragedy. She lost her father at the age of 8 and narrowly escaped death when she was aboard the Titanic. Her aunt died at the age of 11 when she was aboard the Lusitania, which was torpedoed in WWI. Her cousin died when there was an explosion in Hindenburg and her nephew died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Her apartment was then shattered when there was an attack on the World Trade Center.
Mike The Headless Chicken
When Mike was beheaded, it was not a clean cut. The butcher missed his jugular vein and his left ear and most of his brain stem. He was able to go on living even after his head was separated from his body.
Chi Chi Jima Plane Crash
This is a great tale of survival as well as tragedy. During the First World War, an American plane crashed on the Chi Chi Jima island in Japan. Out of the nine men that were on board the plane, eight were captured and eaten and one of them was able to survive. The survivor was none other than George H W Bush.
Albert Einstein Could Have Been The President Of Israel
When Israel was formed, Albert Einstein was given the choice to be the President of the country. However, he declined.
The Reason Of The Spread Of The Bubonic Plague
When the cats were exterminated by Pope Gregory IX, it led to an explosion in the rat population which led to the Bubonic Plague, or Black Death, in the 1300’s. This led to the death of millions of people.
Kim Jong Il Was A Great Musician
Kim Jong Il, the former dictator of North Korea, was a great musician. He loved music so much that he composed six operas when he was in office.
The Radio Transmission From UVB-76
Since 1982, UVB-76, a radio station also known as the Buzzer of Russian origin, has been broadcasting a low monotonous buzz which is often punctuated by an occasional Russian voice transmission. No one knows where the transmission originated.
The Deaths At Hinterkaifeck
Hinterkaifeck is a small farm north of Munich. In 1922, on a mysterious night, all of the six inhabitants of the farm were murdered with a mattock. To this day, the crime has not been solved.
The Whitehall Mystery
A murder took place in London in 1888. A young woman was murdered and her body parts were spread all across the city of London. The local police were never able to solve the mystery or make an arrest.
Gilles Des Rais, The Demon Summoner
Gilles de Rais was a 15th-century French nobleman and a lieutenant in the army of Joan of Arc. He abused, mutilated and murdered nearly 150 children and also had a reputation for summoning demons.
Cannibal Issei Sagawa
In 1981 France, Issei Sagawa killed and ate his classmate Renée Hartevelt. Sagawa claimed that he just wanted to absorb the energy of Renée Hartevelt. He also claimed that he had been suffering from the urges of cannibalism since he was a child.
The Angel Of Death
Josef Mengele was Hitler’s top scientist and is famous for his experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp. After the war was over, he fled to Argentina and lived out the rest of his life under an assumed name. He was also known to practice medicine in Argentina without a license.
The Beast Of Chicago
H H Holmes was a conman who built a hotel in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair. He employed a number of contractors to fill the hotel with secret passageways and false doors. He would kill the guests and hide the bodies in the hotel and the hotel itself came to be known as “Murder Castle”.