Shockingly Horrifying Historical Facts That Will Make You Feel Grateful to Be Living in 2019

There are plenty of bizarre things that have occurred throughout human history. But the ones on this list are so odd that the knowledge you get from them will leave you deeply disturbed. And you’ll never look at the world in the same way again.


Danish Explorer Turned Frozen Feces Into a Dagger

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In 1926, a Danish explorer named Peter Freuchen was trapped under an avalanche. His foot was badly hurt, but he didn’t have a dagger on hand. So, he shaped his frozen feces into a sharp makeshift dagger and amputated his foot. This allowed him to escape to safety.


Cannibalism Was considered Medicine

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In Europe during the 16th and 17th century, human flesh was a form of medicine. In some cases, it was mixed with drinks or chocolate and people took it as a supplement. Funnily enough, European colonists viewed natives in Africa and the American continents as savages for their cannibalistic rituals which was pretty hypocritical if you think about it.

The Dead Were Turned Into Jewelry


During the Victorian Era, some people decided to mourn the loss of their loved ones by turning pieces of them into jewelry. Some of the body parts used to create these mortifying accessories included teeth, hair and bone.


A Cat Was Turned Into a Phone

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In 1929, a Princeton professor by the name of Ernest Glen Wever and his assistant Charles William Bray opened the skull of a cat and attached telephone wires and made a transmitter to get a better understanding of the auditory nerve and how it works.

Heroin Was Considered Medicine


In the 18th century, Doctors used heroin on their patients to help relieve the pain of childbirth, menstruation and cancer. But by the end of the century, they discovered it had hallucinogenic and addictive properties. So, it became less popular in the medical community…understandably.


People Were Buried Alive


In the 19th century, the fear of being buried alive was legit. So, safety coffins were invented so that people buried by mistake could alert the living above ground that they needed help getting out before they ran out of oxygen.

Scientists Gave a Child a Phobia

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In 1920, a psychologist named John B. Watson conducted an experiment on a child dubbed Little Albert at the Johns Hopkins University. In the process, he and his graduate student, Rosalie Rayner, conditioned the child to develop a severe phobia of fluffy objects. But they never deconditioned the child after the experiment.


Even Egyptian Mummies Were Consumed

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Cannibalism in Europe was all the rage in the 17th century, which led to some mummified Egyptian pharaohs being sold in Germany as medicine. So, it’s a miracle that there were any mummies left to be discovered in modern times because of the high cannibalistic demands of that era. Shocking, isn’t it?

Dentures Were Made From Deceased Soldiers

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Before proper dentures were invented in the mid-1800s, dentures weren’t made from materials. They were crafted from deceased Waterloo soldiers. Their teeth were extracted from their mouths and turned into makeshift dentures.


Convulsing Corpses Were Said to Be Possessed

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Medieval Christians were convinced that the convulsions corpses experienced after death were the result of demons attempting to partially possess the bodies. So, any corpse that showed these symptoms were discarded without a proper burial.

Skeletal Remains Got Turned Into Sculptures

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In Europe, people dug up the remains of buried bodies and relocated them to ossuaries, which were underground crypts in order to save space. They also turned the bones into decorations like chandeliers. In fact, the second largest ossuary in Europe is the Brno Ossuary in the Czech Republic.

Tuberculosis was Linked to Vampirism


In the 19th century, everyone believed the consumption, also known as Tuberculosis, was caused by vampires. This became known as the “New England Vampire Panic.” It got so bad that folks started staking those who died from Tuberculosis through the heart with a wooden stake…you know, just in case they decided to wake up and off them.

A Fijian Chieftain Was the Most Prolific Cannibal

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Fijian Chieftain Udre Udre allegedly consumed the bodies of about 872 people. Believe it or not, nothing but human flesh touched his lips. But these corpses belonged to people who had passed during a war, which were brought to him for consumption by his tribal warriors.


Indian Wives Would Voluntarily Burned Themselves Along With Their Dead Husbands

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In the past, Indian wives supposedly volunteered to join their deceased husbands in a funeral pyre. Some say this ritual, which was called Sati, was initiated as a way to deter wives from killing their rich husbands in order to inherit their money. But if the widow refused to sacrifice herself, she would become an outcast in the community and get shunned.

Slave Girls Were Forced to Burn With Viking Chieftains

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A 10th-century Arab scholar named Ahmad ibn Fadlan claimed that in Viking funerals, chieftains were put in a tent aboard their ships for ten days. Then a “thrall” or a slave girl would undergo rituals, which involved getting intoxicated. Then she was sacrificed in the chieftain’s tent and the boat would be set on fire.


Romans Used Urine As Mouthwash

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In Roman times, the locals would leave urine out, which would eventually turn into ammonia. The teeth-bleaching property of the urine was why Romans used it as mouthwash. A Roman poet named Catallus even wrote about this common yet ultra yucky practice.

Books Were Bound in Human Skin

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In the 17th and 18th century, books related to anatomy were supposedly bound in human skin. The Anthropodermic Bibliopegy was said to be a collection of 47 books wrapped in human skin. Oh, and if you’re wondering where the skin comes from, it was actually taken from dissected cadavers.


Cats Were Massively Exterminated


During Pope Gregory IX’s reign, all cats were associated with devil worshiping. This led to a mass extermination of our furry feline friends. But without enough cats, the rat population grew and they carried the Bubonic Plague, which cost the lives of millions in Europe in the 1300s.

King Tut’s Parents Were Siblings


King Tut’s parents were brother and sister. This was confirmed after DNA tests were performed on the mummified remains of Tut’s mother. The results showed that she was his mother, but also sister to Akhenaten, who was Tut’s father.


Romanian Ruler Drank His Enemy’s Blood


Some historians believed that Romanian ruler Vlad the Impaler dipped pieces of bread in the blood of his enemies. It is said that he also washed his hands with their blood too. It’s why author Bram Stoker reportedly used Vlad as inspiration for the fictional character, Dracula.

Alcohol and Beaver Were Used as Birth Control


In the 1500s, Canadian women soaked the testicles of a beaver in an alcohol mixture and consumed it. And although there was no scientific proof to back it up, they believed that this would prevent them from getting pregnant.


Innocence Was Judged by Boiling Hands


In the Middle Ages, a person’s innocence was judged by sticking a suspect’s hand in boiling water. If the burn wounds healed in three days, then the person was declared innocent of all charges because they thought God had healed them. But if the wounds didn’t heal, then they were found guilty.

Arsenic Wafers Used for Facial Imperfection


Around 1902, wafers were infused with arsenic and consumed in order to improve facial imperfections. People believed that if this was done on a regular basis, their skin would improve. But eventually, they realized that the effects were toxic and pretty much deadly.


Victorian People Posed With the Dead


In Victorian England, people would take family portraits with their recently deceased loved ones. This included disturbingly creepy poses, which also involved dead infants that appeared to be sleeping peacefully. But at the time, this was a normal part of the mourning process.

Doctors Thought Mercury Led to Immortality


Qin Shi Huangdi, the founder of the Ying Dynasty and China’s first emperor wanted to live forever. So, he ordered his doctors to create an immortality potion under the threat of death. A short time later, the doctors came up with a potion made from mercury. The emperor drank it every day until he passed from mercury poison.


Soldiers Got STI to Avoid WWI


STIs like gonorrhea and syphilis were a lifesaver for World War I soldiers. In order to get sick leave, they paid a visit to brothels in Paris, France, to ensure they would catch something and get sent home. Can’t blame them for not wanting to go to war, huh?

Spanish Donkey Was a Popular form of Torture

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In Spain, people used a form of torture known as the Spanish Donkey. Basically, a victim would sit up and straddle a board as if they were on a donkey while torturers tied heavy weight to their legs.


Mayans Pulled the Beating Hearts Out of People

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The ancient Mayans yanked the beating heart out of people in a heartbeat using a sacrificial knife. It sounds brutal but this practice was part of their ritual sacrifices. Decapitation was also a common practice, too.

Thomas Edison Electrocuted an Elephant


In 1902, Thomas Edison hooked up an elephant named Topsy to electrodes, fed her carrots laced with cyanide, and then flipped the switch and electrocuted her. This was done because there had been several complaints about her dangerous behavior after she was brought to New York’s Coney Island amusement park.


Buddhist Monks Mummified Themselves Alive


Between the 11th and 19th century, Buddhist monks living in northern Japan underwent a ritual called Sokushinbutsu, which required them to preserve themselves by weaning themselves from food and water until they passed away from starvation, essentially mummifying themselves alive.

Men Removed Left Testicles to Have a Son


In medieval times, people believed that the reason couples gave birth to little girls was because of the sperm that came from the left testicle. So, men decided to have their left testicles removed to ensure that all their children would be male.


Ancient Romans Brushed their Teeth with Mouse Brain

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In addition to urine being used as mouthwash, ancient Romans would put the squishy brains of mice in their mouths and used them to brush their teeth. But imagine the after taste that came with using this nauseating combination!

Dead Jockey Won a Horse Race


In 1923, a horse jockey named Frank Hayes was riding his horse, Sweet Kiss, at New York’s Belmont Park when he suffered a sudden heart attack. Ironically, his corpse was able to stay in the saddle and he won the face.


Russian Tried Mixing Human and Chimp DNA


In 1926, Russian zoologist named Ilia Ivanov wanted to achieve the impossible by artificially inseminating women with chimpanzee sperm. He had already created an array of hybrid animals successfully. But unfortunately, no Humanzee hybrids were successfully produced.

Mongolians Used Liquified Fat as Ammo


In the 1200s, the people of Mongolia burned their prisoners during battles. Then they would extract the liquified fat and use it as ammunition. It sounds grim, but they placed the fat onto a catapult and hurled it at their enemies.


Guanajuato Mummies Were Buried Alive

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The mummies of Guanajuato were naturally mummified corpses laid to rest during a cholera outbreak in 1833 in Guanajuato, Mexico. But when they were discovered, their faces were frozen in terror which suggests that they were buried alive and screaming.

Mexican General Held Funeral for Amputated Leg


In 1842, a Mexican general named Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was wounded during the “Pastry War.” Unfortunately, doctors had to amputate one of his legs. After the war, Santa Anna gave his chopped off leg a state funeral in Mexico City complete with a full blown party and poetry.


The First Syphilis Case was Like a Zombie Outbreak

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In 1492, the first real Syphilis outbreak led to painful ulcers, but no one had any medicine to treat the condition or the pain. So, the illness melted through the bones. It even destroyed the nose and lips and affected the eyes. Flesh would fall from an infected person’s face before it killed them in a few months.

Lincoln’s Murder Destroyed Survivor’s Life


Major Henry Rathbone was in the same theater box as Abraham Lincoln when he was shot. Rathbone had tried but failed to stop John Wilkes Booth and was stabbed in the process. Eighteen years later, Rathbone shot and stabbed his wife and wound up in a mental institution for the rest of his life.


Joan of Arc Was Allied With a Serial Killer


After Joan of Arc passed away, her ally in battle Gilles de Rais started exterminating young children. He reportedly disposed of 80 to 200 children, but some suggest the number might be closer to 600 before he was eventually apprehended and executed for his crimes.

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