Historians are discovering new and crazy things about the past all the time. Some of history’s most well-known icons had such interesting stories, that even their names might surprise you. Many people have heard of Martin Luther King Jr., but not that his birth name was really Michael. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
We at Bright Side love history and the weirder the better — so we’re sharing facts about history that will shock and amaze you.
1. U.S. intelligence officials commissioned mockups of Hitler in possible disguises.
During World War II, American officials feared that Adolf Hitler would try to flee Germany. The Office of Strategic Services hired New York make-up artist, Eddie Senz, to produce altered portraits of Hitler in various disguises. Although these portraits would prove unneeded, they were eventually released to the public by the German magazine Der Spiegel in the 1990s. The U.S. National Archives in Washington D.C. would later release high-resolution versions of these photos.
2. The Olympics used to give awards in art.
From 1912 to 1948, the Olympic Games held competitions in fine arts: literature, architecture, sculpture, painting, and music. Mind you, everything had to be Olympic-themed, like the Rugby drawing seen above. Reportedly, the idea was to honor the regard ancient Greeks had for the arts.
3. Napoleon Bonaparte was once attacked by bunnies.
Napoleon may have had a long list of enemies in his life, but would you think that this list would include bunnies? Once the emperor had his men round up about 3,000 rabbits for a hunt, only for the animals to charge Napoleon and his men instead. In all fairness, it was totally in self-defense.
4. Cleopatra’s beauty was greatly exaggerated.
Cleopatra is often remembered as one of history’s greatest beauties, but some historians believe that these accounts actually came from Roman propaganda meant to paint her as a seductress or even a witch. Coins with her portrait showed her as having a hooked nose and ancient writer Plutarch claimed her beauty was nothing special… saying it was her voice and intelligence that helped make her attractive.
5. President Gerald Ford was a male model in his youth.
Even history’s greatest men and women had to start somewhere, and some people certainly have interesting resumes. At least one model could brag to have grown up to be the American President: Gerald Ford. Not only did he work as a male model in his 20s, he even once appeared in an issue of Cosmopolitan. He also had a chance to play for the NFL.
6. Mexican General Santa Anna had a funeral for his own leg.
After losing his leg while fighting with French forces, Mexican political and military ruler Santa Anna hosted a lavish funeral for it once he assumed the presidency in 1842. The amputated leg was paraded around using a carriage and honored with cannons and poems. Showing a fondness for his leg might have backfired, in hindsight, since his prosthetic leg was later captured by American soldiers.
7. President Lincoln was a wrestling champion.
Abraham Lincoln was a big man, standing around 6’4″ in height, so it makes sense he’d be good in a fight. Reportedly, he participated in around 300 wrestling contests, and only had one loss, eventually winning the American wrestling championship. He was also a licensed bartender.
8. Genghis Khan created one of the first international postal systems.
One of Genghis Khan’s first decrees after rising to power was the creation of a horse-courier service called the “Yam,” with riders being able to reach 200 miles a day. The system would later be used by foreign dignitaries and merchants, as well as figures like Marco Polo and John of Plano Carpini.
9. Saddam Hussein was once given the key to the city of Detroit.
Saddam Hussein was once given the key to the city of Detroit after donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Detroit church. Reportedly, in 1979, one of the church leaders, Rev. Jacob Yasso of Chaldean Sacred Heart, congratulated Saddam on his presidency, which in turn inspired the donation.
10. Albert Einstein turned down being the President of Israel.
Although he wasn’t an Israeli citizen, Albert Einstein was offered the presidency in 1952. He turned it down, claiming he felt he lacked the experience needed for the job.
11. At least 3 popes were elected in their early 20s.
Being the head of the Catholic Church used to be a young man’s game. Pope Benedict IX and Pope John XI both likely became Pope around the age of 20, with some sources putting them at an even younger age. Pope Gregory V was also elected around the age of 24. That said, a lack of birth dates for many popes makes it impossible to guess just who was the youngest pope at the time of their election.
12. New Jersey was the original Hollywood.
When people think of American movies, they think of Hollywood, California. But the American film industry actually started in New Jersey. One of the first movie viewers and cameras, the kinetoscope and the kinetograph, were invented in the state. Many early silent films were filmed in the state, like The Great Train Robbery. However, by World War I, California would take New Jersey’s place as the base of the American film industry.
13. Hitler and Mussolini were both Nobel Peace Prize nominees.
If you are worried that you need a title to make it in life, keep in mind that not everyone who is honored in life ends up on the right side of history. A member of the Swedish parliament, E.G.C. Brandt, nominated Adolf Hitler for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939, although it’s possible that it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. Benito Mussolini was also nominated for the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize by professors from Germany and France, although their reasons have been lost to time.
14. George Washington could crush walnuts with his fingers.
The first president of the United States was quite a strong man. According to biographer Carl Closs, he was strong enough to break walnuts between his thumb and forefinger. He was more of a tough guy than you’d have thought and he also never actually wore a wig.
15. An American woman was part of Congress before women’s suffrage became legal.
Jeanette Rankin was the first female member of Congress in America. Her appointment is notable since this was around 4 years before women could legally vote in the United States.
16. At least 6 First Ladies were descended from Pocahontas.
One of history’s most famous Native Americans, Pocahontas, has left quite a legacy in American politics. At least 6 American First Ladies have been descended from one of history’s most famous Native Americans: Edith Wilson, Edith Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan, Bess Truman, Frances Cleveland, and Jane Pierce.
17. Ancient Egyptian pharaohs would have their servants smeared in honey.
Throughout human history, people have thought of many different ways to avoid bugs. Egyptian pharaohs would have their naked servants covered in honey in hopes that they’d attract the flies instead.
18. Christopher Columbus claimed to see mermaids.
In 1493, Christopher Columbus claimed in his writings that mermaids could be seen in the waters during his voyages. He notably admitted that they were much less beautiful than people claimed and also had masculine faces. To this day, historians believed what he saw were actually manatees.
19. Gladiators had their own action figures.
Athletes becoming celebrities and appearing in advertisements is nothing new. Back in ancient Rome, gladiators endorsing products had their paintings placed on public walls, and children would even play with toys made to resemble popular fighters. In a less modern turn, women would often purchase gladiator blood and sweat as cosmetics.
20. Charlie Chaplin lost his own look-alike contest.
Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest and came in 20th place, despite being the real thing. In all fairness, he entered it at the spur of the moment and lost points for not wearing a costume, as the contestants were asked to dress like his “Little Tramp” character.
Do you know any shocking historical facts you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!
People From Different Professions Showed How Special Their Workdays Can Be
Everyone knows that we spend half of our lives at work, where we are surrounded by a special world that has room for pleasant surprises, funny situations, and outside-the-box solutions for difficult tasks. For these reasons, people really like learning interesting things about different professions.
We at Bright Side love doing everything we can to broaden our outlook and we love seeing someone else’s photos that show an interesting fact or a funny situation that happened at the workplace.
“Hey! I’m volunteering in a bear refuge in Croatia and I felt like sharing a photo of this chillaxing fellow with you guys.”
Summer in Yamal: a worker wears a special suit that protects him from mosquitoes.
“I made a garbage cover to hide stuff in my van.”
Untitled, unknown, chalk, 2019
A colleague from Houston
A policeman’s partner that has finally passed all his exams and is ready to start work
The level of trust between the shop and its customers
What a plumber sees when he needs to change the pipes that were used to supply a building with cold water
Locals were alarmed and called the police when a monster climbed out of Kamogawa River in Kyoto. It was actually a giant salamander.
A delivery guy talks about one of his orders
This fireman is proposing to his girlfriend in the most fireman way possible. And his colleagues are helping!
Here’s what a selfie at your workplace looks like if you are a sailor.
This is a lens for people with really bad eyesight.
The roads in this small town are being fixed, so some delivery people are using alternative modes of transportation.
When you love your work and it loves you back:
This real gold FedEx ring for being a safe driver
A girl that works at a center of wildlife protection with her “pet”
Do any funny things happen at your work? Share your photos or just show us what your workplace looks like.
Full E-book The Secrets of Economic Indicators: Hidden Clues to Future Economic Trends and
Paperback. Pub Date :2012-08-03 Pages: 496 Language: English Publisher: FT Press For years. investors. business strategists. and policymakers worldwide have turned to one book to help them translate the massive flow of economic data into knowledge for intelligent decision-making. The Wall Street Journal called this book … the real deal. saying it miraculously breathes life into economic indicators and statistics. That book is Bernie Baumohl s classic best-seller The Secrets of Economic Indicators. Now. in a brand-new Third Edition. Baumohl has thoroughly updated his classic to reflect the latest US and foreign economic indicators. and brand-new insights into what all of today s leading indicators mean. Baumohl introduces dozens of new. forward-looking economic markers. including those that monitor small business plans. freight traffic shifts. web searches. and even gamblin…
7 Hidden Messages in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” That Weren’t Meant for Kids
Lewis Carroll’s tale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland had an amazing influence on cinema, literature, and even psychology: movies and ballets were based on it, sequels and remakes were written. There is even a psychological disorder named after the main character: Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AWS). This seemingly innocent children’s story was the subject of heated discussions by scientists of the 20th century and even Freud talked about it. The point of the discussions was simple: was the tale written for children or for adults?
Bright Side has read the book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded” and tried to figure out which parts of the story can only be understood by adults.
1. Alice’s shrinking and growing is a sign of puberty.
When Alice ate a cake or drank a certain mixture, Alice would shrink or grow, and she was scared that she would disappear completely. While there were no actual reasons for the changes in her body in the text, scientists have 3 versions of what could have been the hidden meaning behind that episode:
- Alice’s body changes in a similar way to how it would change as a teenager during puberty. Many people think that Carroll showed the puberty of the character. But why this idea may also be wrong is because Alice is only 7 years old and it is too young to be a teenager.
- Astronomers link the character with the expanding Universe. According to one of the theories, the amount of matter in the Universe is constantly decreasing which will ultimately lead to its disappearance. Obviously, this is why the character was worried about shrinking so much that she would vanish.
- Other people see an indication of hallucinogenic substances, which make people completely disoriented, just like Alice.
2. The pig the character has is an English King.
It is believed that the tale is an allusion to the War of the Roses that took place in England in the 15th century. This time period was full of scheming, betrayal, and there were a lot of chopped heads — just like in the tale.
Assuming the guess is correct, then baby that turned into the pig is a member of the White Rose. And more specifically, it was Richard III who had a sigil with a white boar. Shakespeare even wrote a play about it where he presented Richard in a very bad light.
3. The smell of pepper in the house of the Duchess hides the smell of bad food.
The tale casually mentions that the house of the Duchess smells a lot like pepper because the scullery was adding pepper to the soup. But it may have been a hint at the problem that the food at the time was peppered a lot, to kill the smell of rotten ingredients.
4. Alice is Eve, who becomes a sinner.
The adventures of Alice starts in a quiet garden. It was an idyllic place, green and quiet, and that’s why it reminds many people the Garden of Eden. But Alice doesn’t take an apple, she goes down the rabbit hole and goes into a world that gives rise to incredible changes in her. This theory seems to be pretty logical: children are innocent but when Alice went into the hole (took the apple), she entered the world of puberty, adult life, and became a sinner.
5. Keys, doors, and caterpillars are Freudian symbols.
When Freudian theories became very popular around the world, the tale of Alice turned out to be full of gynecological symbols. The fans of Freud managed to see the symbols in the doors that were hidden behind the curtains, and keys that open these doors. Of course, they couldn’t have missed Absolem — the giant caterpillar that looks like a you know what.
Even though this theory has life, it is not very believable, because people can see these symbols everywhere if they really want to.
6. Walrus and Carpenter are actually Buddha and Jesus.
This is the name of the poem that the twin brothers Tweedledee and Tweedledum read to Alice. The poem tells the story about Walrus and Carpenter, that walk on the beach and call out for oysters to walk with them. The oysters go to the shore and Walrus and Carpenter eat them. Walrus then cries at the end.
There are several interpretations:
- Walrus is a caricature of Buddha, and Carpenter is Jesus. For example, the character Loki from Dogma believes this. The logic is simple: Walrus is fat and happy, so he is Buddha or elephant Ganesha, and Carpenter is the direct reference to the profession of the father of Jesus.
- J. Priestly is convinced that the poem is the story of England’s (Walrus) colonization of America (Carpenter).
- There is a more violent interpretation. Some people believe that Walrus and Carpenter are politicians that kill the masses — the oysters.
7. The poem about the White Rabbit in chapter 12 uncovers the love mystery of Carroll himself.
Some researchers see the reference to the unusual connection between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell that was the prototype of the main character. Here are the lines we are talking about:
He sent them word I had not gone
(We know it to be true):
If she should push the matter on,
What would become of you?
This is one of the most sensitive moments in the interpretation of the tale. Some people think that when the girl was supposed to come of age, the writer was going to marry her, but for some reason he had an argument with Mrs. Liddell and he never saw the members of the family since.
Do you want to read the tale now that you have some new knowledge about it in order to find some new hidden meaning? If yes, you can read the original manuscript written by Carroll himself here.
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