41 Bizarre and Scandalous Historical Facts.

July 3, 2017 | Miles Brucker

41 Bizarre and Scandalous Historical Facts.

We live in a strange world. That’s nothing new: it turns out that the world has been pretty freaking crazy for a really long time. Here are some twisted and bizarre historical facts.

40. Head of the Army

King Goujian of Yue placed a row of convicted criminals at the front of his army. Before the battle, the criminals would cut off their own heads to scare his enemy’s army.

Bizarre Historical Facts

The Bronze Sword of Goujian, King of Yue State.

39. Little Foot

Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov, a Russian scientist in the 1920s, conducted experiments where he tried to make a human-chimpanzee hybrid. Before you get any naughty ideas, he attempted to make this “humanzee” with artificial insemination.


38. Mad as a Hatter

Boston Corbett, the man who shot John Wilkes Booth, was totally insane from handling mercury as a hatter. Years prior to shooting Booth, he calmly castrated himself with scissors.

Bizarre Historical Facts

37. Hysterical…

The vibrator was created to treat Hysteria. Why? Doctors were taking too long to manually stimulate women. Shortly after it’s invention, the vibrator became the largest selling household appliance.

Bizarre Historical Facts

36. Rebel Party

When the Russian Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government and stormed the Winter Palace in 1917, their revolution was halted for a few days because the Bolsheviks got ridiculously drunk in the Winter Palace after finding the wine stores.

Bizarre Historical Facts

35. Dear Diary…

The Diary of Anne Frank was edited by her father because, quire rightfully, since he didn’t want some of the stuff she wrote published. He edited out writing about her period, discovering herself, learning about boys from a guy that was staying with them, and her father’s infatuation with fart jokes.

Bizarre Historical Facts

34. Keep it in Your Pants, Mr. President

Franklin Delano Roosevelt kept multiple mistresses, including his wife’s social secretary.

Bizarre Historical Facts

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

33. Horror Souvenirs

During WWII, propaganda created to dehumanize the Japanese was so successful that American marines in the pacific kept body parts of Japanese soldiers as souvenirs.

Bizarre Historical Facts

32. The Path to Righteousness

Princess Olga of Kiev’s husband, Igor, was murdered by an Eastern Slavic tribe. Olga took over the Kievan Rus’, a federation of East Slavic tribes known as the Drevlians. Not wanting a female ruler, they sent her a group of suitors.

Olga, still furious about her husband’s murder, had the suitors carried by her servants on a boat to the courtyard of the castle. The suitors were then dumped into a giant hole and buried alive.

She told the Drevlians that she had accepted a suitor and organized a party in a bath house. After the guests arrived, the doors were barred shut and the bath house was burned to the ground.

After the memorial to the people who died in the bath house, a party was held, and the guests got drunk. Olga’s royal guard proceeded to kill all 5,000 of them that night.

When the Drevlians requested her forgiveness, Olga asked her tribesmen to give her three pigeons and three sparrows from each home. When they arrived, she had hot coals tied to their legs and sent them back home. As the city burned to the ground, the fleeing people were either killed, enslaved, or extorted into Olga’s army.

Somehow, Olga is now a saint in the Eastern Orthodox church.

Bizarre Historical Facts

31. Whoops…

During WWII, the Russians trained dogs to run under German tanks with bombs strapped to their backs. Unfortunately, the tanks the dogs were trained to run under were Russian, so they ended up running under the Russian tanks and blowing them up instead.

Bizarre Historical Facts

30. The Love of Contraception

Ancient Romans had an effective natural contraceptive: a plant called silphium. The shape of the seed is where we get the traditional heart shape that we all recognize as a symbol of love.

The Romans harvested so much silphium that it went extinct, and now we’re not even sure exactly what type of plant it was.

Bizarre Historical Facts

29. Too Lustful to Trust

The FBI ignored compelling evidence of the attack on Pearl Harbor because Hoover didn’t trust the Serbian double agent Dusan Popov, who was apparently a gambling, lustful drunk. His nickname was tricycle because of his love of threesomes. He was one of the inspirations for Fleming’s Bond.

Bizarre Historical Facts

28. Shocking Facts about Edison?

Thomas Edison electrocuted a lady circus elephant to death.

The elephant had killed three men over the years, including an abusive trainer. Over a thousand people came to watch her die, and Edison recorded it on video.

Bizarre Historical Facts

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

27. The Angel Of Death

Josef Rudolf Mengele, known as “The angel of death,” took Jewish kids and did experiments on them. He had two twins sewn together by the length of their spines, and the mother later killed them because they were in constant agony. He even took a baseball bat to a child’s leg, and right when the broken bone was about to heal, he broke it again. He did this repeatedly until the leg gave up on healing.

Bizarre Historical Facts

26. This is Sparta!

The reason why the Spartans were able to be so focused on war was because of massive slavery. Every single Spartan male was a soldier. Every other job was done by slaves.

The Spartans beat their slaves... by law. To clarify, we don't mean the law allowed them to beat slaves. The law required it. Most horrifically, as a sort of coming of age holiday, there was an occasion every year where young Spartan men would sneak around and murder as many slaves as they could.


25. X-Rated Creation

There’s an Egyptian creation myth that states that the universe was the result of the ejaculation of the god Atum

To honor Atum, some Pharaohs would ceremonially ejaculate into the Nile.

Bizarre Historical Facts

24. Claim Your Dead

Mongols used to light the fat of the enemies they killed on fire, and proceeded to shoot it with their catapults onto other enemies.

Bizarre Historical Facts

Genghis Khan.

23. Half-Blind Leading the Blind

A Byzantine emperor, Basil, captured 15,000 Bulgarians in battle and blinded 99 of every 100, leaving the 100th guy with one eye. He then sent them all home.

Bizarre Historical Facts

22. Mad as a Mobster

When Al Capone was arrested for tax evasion, he was found to have syphilis. Capone refused treatment because he was afraid of needles. After 11 years in Alcatraz, the disease had eaten away at his brain so much that he could no longer resume his life of crime. Before his death, he was often spotted casting a fishing rod into his swimming pool.

Bizarre Historical Facts

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

21. Et Tu, Caesar?

Marcus Brutus’ mother was Julius Caesar’s lover.

Bizarre Historical Facts

Julius Caesar, as portrayed in Spartacus.

20. Vlad the Impaler

Vlad earned his name by impaling his enemies through the torso with large stakes and erecting these stakes in the ground. Sometimes thousands of prisoners would be impaled at the same time, and many victims lived in agony for days.

Bizarre Historical Facts

19. Years Before Elmo Wanted Tickles…

Foot tickling was used in the Muscovite palaces and courts for centuries as a means of arousal. Many of the Czarinas (Catherine the Great, Anna Ivanovna, and others) loved it. In fact, it was so popular that eunuchs and women were employed as full time foot ticklers.

While the ticklers performed their task, they often told bawdy stories and sang obscene ballads. This was done to get the ladies into the mood for liaisons with their husbands or lovers.

Bizarre Historical Facts

18. The Rubber Police

In the 1880s, Anthony Comstock started confiscating people’s dildos and other sex toys in the United States. He referred to them as “immoral rubber goods,” and in 1882, he confiscated 64,836 pounds of illicit material.

Anthony Comstock

17. Early, Condemnable Pimping

Christopher Columbus prostituted pre-pubescent native American girls.

Bizarre Historical Facts

16. Armenian genocide

During World War I, the Muslim Ottoman government systematically killed of 1.5 million Armenian Christians in the Ottoman Empire and its successor state, the Republic of Turkey.

Bizarre Historical Facts

15. Founding Father

Ben Franklin visited brothels almost every night. Also, in 1998, while renovating his home into a museum, ten bodies were discovered in the basement. This led to speculation the Ben Franklin may have been a serial killer, but further analysis has revealed this is likely not the case: the bodies were more likely cadavers used for the anatomical studies of William Hewson, one of Franklin’s friends.

Ben Franklin

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

14. Unit 731

There was a biological and chemical warfare research facility called Unit 731 that undertook lethal human experimentation during the occupation of China.

They specialized in vivisection, germ warfare, and weapons testing on prisoners. The researchers didn’t even refer to the Chinese people as humans: they called them “logs” and often bragged about how many logs they had cut that day. After WW2, the leaders of the unit gave the United States their research data in return for amnesty. Many of previous members of Unit 731 became part of post-war politics, academia, business, and medicine.

Bizarre Historical Facts

13. A + B = Death

The mathematician Pythagoras, who discovered the Pythagorean theorem, killed people who didn’t agree with him or disproved him. He convinced people that facing the sun when you urinate is a punishable sin. He also didn’t believe in fractions, or decimals.

Bizarre Historical Facts

12. Malcolm XXX

Malcolm X was bisexual. He was also sex worker for almost ten years.

Bizarre Historical Facts

11. Get That Sheep

In medieval England, the animals involved in zoophilic activities were deemed equally responsible. The crime was punishable by execution. So buggering a sheep put both you and the sheep in grave danger.

Bizarre Historical Facts

10. The Saw

In the middle ages, one of the punishments for being gay saw torture. The offending person was hung by his ankles and sawed in half.

Bizarre Historical Facts

9. The Romans

Romans emperors frequently had young boys as concubines. Some even hired toddlers, from their parents, to nibble at their inner thighs while they bathed.

Bizarre Historical Facts

Emperor Commodus, as portrayed in Gladiator.

8. Horror Inspires Horror

The United States sterilized over 10,000 people against their will for promiscuity, feeblemindedness, having children out of wedlock, being physically unfit, and many other things. Hitler actually based his eugenics laws on a Supreme Court ruling in Virginia that supported the United States eugenics program.

Bizarre Historical Facts

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

7. The My Lai Massacre

Approximately 400 unarmed civilians were killed during the Vietnam war by United States soldiers. 26 soldiers were originally charged with war crimes. One served time. He was given a life sentence, but in the end, he served less than four years of house arrest.

Bizarre Historical Facts

6. Thank You For That. Mr. President.

Lyndon Baines Johnson’s nicknamed his Johnson “Jumbo,” and there are several reports of him waving it around during White House meetings and bragging about its size.

Bizarre Historical Facts

5. Got Milk?

The Milky Way supposedly got its name because it was formed when the Greek goddess Hera sprayed her breast milk into the sky.

Bizarre Historical Facts

4. Filthy Composition

Mozart was surprisingly obsessed with feces and bathroom humor. Two of his songs actually talk about anlingus. He also wrote letters to his family members where he described his farts in great detail.

Bizarre Historical Facts

3. A Recipe for Compliance

During WWII, the Russians would have “barrier troops” that would be set up behind Russian army forces and shoot those soldiers that were trying to desert from the front line.

Bizarre Historical Facts

2. An Eye for an Eye

In rural America in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, citizens would settle disputes with  gouging: an incredibly violent form of wrestling where opponents would try and gouge out each others eyes.

Bizarre Historical Facts

1. Royal Audience

On his wedding night, future king William of Orange consummated his marriage while Charles II watched from the sidelines and shouted encouragement.

Bizarre Historical Facts

Charles II.


Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.