Most Read

Best of Reddit

History Buffs Share Strangest Events To Happen That No One Seems To Remember

History Buffs Share Strangest Events To Happen That No One Seems To Remember
The New York Public Library on Unsplash

Do you remember...?

No? Well, neither does anybody else.

So you're in good company.

History has a long list of strange events. Some of which come with the caveat of nobody remembering them whatsoever.

It is always fun to dig them up after and recount them for new ears.

MassGootz asked:

"What's an unusually strange historical event that few people know of?"

Here were some of those answers.

1850 to 1864.

"The Taiping Rebellion of 1850 to 1864 was the second most deadly singular conflict in history. At 25 million deaths. Only beaten by the Second World War."


In 1794. 

"In 1794, it rained toads in Lalaine, near a French city called Lille. This event was witnessed by soldiers."


"Yes I've heard about this!! Think there has also rained fish at some points. Whirldwinds I think?"


The Thirty Years War. 

"Most Americans don't know about the Thirty Years' War which was an unbelievably complicated clustercrap that killed 20 percent of the German population."


"Germanic states were either catholic or Protestant. They hired mercenaries to attack their rivals when a staunch anti-Protestant pope ruled all the lands had to be Catholic. Surrounding countries fought proxy wars to gain influence. The German people died from war disease and starvation."


Global Syrup. 

" Canada has a heist nearly 3,000 tons of maple syrup in 2011/2012. They stole it from a cartel that controls 77% of the global maple syrup supply."


"They specifically stole from the 'strategic reserve' of syrup that's used to price fix the global market. It was millions in syrup that was taken! Absolutely wild."


Robert Lincoln. 

"Robert Lincoln (Abraham's only surviving son) was pushed into the path of an oncoming train and was subsequently saved by Edwin Booth (John Wilkes', aka Abe's killer, brother). it isn't super significant, just a silly twist of fate."


"And Robert Lincoln was at or nearby for the assassinations of his father, Garfield and McKinley. Leading him to be so superstitious about it so that he vowed never to meet a president again."


The Great Stork Derby. 

"The Great Stork Derby. A Toronto financier left a part of his estate to whatever woman in the city could produce the most children in the decade following his death."


"The court flubbed the rules and definitions of a 'child birth"'so that the award would not be given to a minority woman."


Sybil Ludington....

"Sybil Ludington rode 40 miles to her town to gather 400 troops and warn them that the British were coming to attack. This happened in 1777 and she is often overshadowed by Paul Revere. Sybil was a 14 year old girl who was on her horse Star, when she did this in the middle of the night, waking troops by banging a stick on fence posts and other objects. There is currently a sculpture of her in New York, but Paul Revere is often recognized first."



"It the late 1800s into the mid 1900, it was common for there to be so much pollution in the Cuyahoga river in Ohio that it would regularly light on fire. 13 times"

"At least 13 fires have been reported on the Cuyahoga River, the first occurring in 1868.[12][18] The largest river fire, in 1952, caused over $1 million in damage[12] to boats, a bridge, and a riverfront office building.[dead link][19]"

"secondary fun fact from history..."

"Kodak found out about nuclear detonations by using corn silk to pack their film, which would be messed up due to the radioactive fallout and the gov't used their film... so the US Gov't began telling Kodak when they were detonating nukes, and where, so that they could ensure they did not use radioactive corn silk to pack their film..."

"they never told the US Public that they were eating irradiated food Dredly"

The Best 'Actually, You're Speaking To The Boss' Experience | George Takei’s Oh Myyy

A B-52....

"A B-52 with a payload of thermonuclear bombs broke apart and crashed near Goldsboro, North Carolina in 1961. One of the bombs nearly detonated; three of its four arming mechanisms had activated."


The Elephant. 

"in 1916 they sentenced an Elephant to death because he killed a Circus worker. They executed this by hanging the Elephant on a crane."


"The circus worker was a homeless man the circus had hired off the street. Mary the elephant had a bad tooth and the guy started probing the tooth causing Mary a lot of pain, so she crushed him. The sick fools sold tickets to the hanging, but when they tried to hang her the chain broke, Mary fell and broke her hip. Mary died on the second attempt, however. This happened in Irwin, Tennessee. It makes me incredibly sad every time I think about it."



"In the 1980s, Domino's Pizza introduced a mascot named The Noid. Its main goal: stealing pizzas and making your pizza delivery late. The slogan: 'Avoid the Noid.'"

"Unfortunately, there was a man with paranoid schizophrenia named Kenneth Noid who thought this whole campaign was created to mock and persecute him, due to the mascot's name. So one day, Noid entered an Atlanta Domino's location and took two employees hostage."

"During the 5-hour standoff, he got hungry. So he ordered the employees to make him some pizzas. Of course, he didn't pay for any of them – thus inadvertently living up to The Noid's tendency to steal pizzas."

"He was eventually apprehended and spent some time in a mental institution until his death in 1995. Meanwhile, Domino's retired the mascot due to what had happened and it was never mentioned again."

– buckyhermit

Real Tough Pain

"I've heard the story, but had to look it up to retell it:"

"In 1809 Jane Todd Crawford rode on horseback from Greensburg, KY to Danville, KY (60 miles) at the age of 44. She needed an abdominal tumor removed. The surgery was performed on Christmas day by Dr. Ephraim McDowell on his Kitchen Table, without anesthetic. A part of the Fallopian tube (along with 22.5lbs of 'stuff' - the tumor) was removed. After 25 days, she returned home (via horseback so the story goes) on the same path. It was considered the first successful intentional opening of the abdominal cavity to remove something. She died at 78."


Drunkenness Out Of Tragedy

"I mean this wasn't an 'event' per se but it is one of my favorite stories."

"When the Titanic was sinking the head chef aboard knew the ship was going down, so he decided to take as much wine as he could and drink it. His logic was it was going to the bottom of the ocean anyway so why not. Anyway so he gets pretty tipsy and continues to eat all the food he can find because lord knows how long they would be out there. The man also filled at least one lifeboat with food and drinks, but decided not to get on yet."

"So the boat is starting to do that iconic tilting into the air and the head chef decides to climb onto the railing and walk across it since it was basically a walkway at that point. Gets to the propellers just as the boat breaks in half and he rides it down he gets to the top and spends as much time he can out of the water by riding it down before being submerged into the ocean. He then waited for the lifeboats to come back and was one of the few people who survived while being in the water that night."

– AlkalineSoul

A Terrible Tragedy Long Forgotten

"On September 16, 1920 there was a terrorist attack on Wall Street. At 12:01, 100 pounds of dynamite exploded in front of the corner at JP Morgan. Within minutes Wall Street looked like a war zone. Hundreds of pounds of metal fragments, which had been concealed inside the wagon that had hidden the bomb, filled the streets with shrapnel. Burned bodies littered the sidewalks and smoke filled the air. No one ever claimed responsibility or was arrested."

– migistia

Unusual Tact

"On August 6, 1915, undead Russian infantry successfully defended Osowiec Fortress against German forces despite being heavily outnumbered."

"I should explain that 'undead' bit."

"The German forces consisted of (and Imma just quote wiki, because it's a bit of a list) '14 battalions of infantry, one battalion of sappers, 24–30 heavy siege guns, and 30 batteries of artillery equipped with poison gases.' Russian forces were less than 1,000, and roughly half were militia, not regular infantry. The Russians were determined to hold the fortress, and did a remarkably good job of it, right up until the Germans flooded the entire structure with chlorine gas. For those of you unaware of what chlorine gas does, basically your eyes, throat, and lungs dissolve in a slurry of blood and disintegrating tissue."

"Russian gas masks did not protect against chlorine gas, and the fortress had no defenses that would protect the inhabitants. The Germans waited for the gas to dissipate, and strolled right in."

"The Russians counter-charged. A band of men, their skin sloughing away, coughing up pieces of lung, dead on their feet but too stubborn or angry to stop, charged the Germans. The Germans broke at the sight, ran, and were gunned down."

– The_First_Viking

Crisis: Averted

"When the Mongols at their height of power conquered China, they were still in their phase of killing all the people and burning their cities, to turn it back to pasture for their horses. Huge swaths of Central Asia had already been treated so, laid to waste."

"There was one guy, I don't remember what his name was, a northern tribesman who'd fought against the Mongols but been captured and joined them. When they were deciding what to do with China, he convinced the Mongols there was more profit in leaving as it was and levying taxes, with which the Mongols could buy whatever they wanted."

"Apparently that hadn't occurred to the Mongols before, but that one guy definitely saved millions of lives."

– dxrey65


"The legend of the green children of Woolpit concerns two children of unusual skin colour who reportedly appeared in the village of Woolpit in Suffolk, England, some time in the 12th century, perhaps during the reign of King Stephen. The children, brother and sister, were of generally normal appearance except for the green colour of their skin. They spoke in an unknown language, and would only eat raw broad beans."

"Eventually they learned to eat other food and lost their green pallor, but the boy was sickly and died soon after he and his sister were baptised. The girl adjusted to her new life, but she was considered to be 'rather loose and wanton in her conduct.' After she learned to speak English, the girl explained that she and her brother had come from Saint Martin's Land, a subterranean world inhabited by green people."


Thanks In Kind

"The Halifax Explosion."

"In 1917 a munitions ship detonated, creating the largest non-nuclear manmade explosion in history."

"Thousands died, thousands were injured, and the ship was burning long enough to attract enough attention that the detonation blinded even thousands more."

"Boston participated heavily in responding to the disaster. To this day, Nova Scotia donates the Christmas tree that is displayed publicly in Boston every year."


Different Times

"there was a span of time where Clocks were already a thing but were too luxurious for the average citizen. But most cities had one on their church or something, and since the day starts a little bit different everywhere, every city had their own time zone. It had to be generalized over the globe because of industrial revolution and Railroads getting more popular but it still took a very long time for every Village to be convinced that it would be better to adapt."


Jokes On Jokes

"In 1979 the US space station Skylab was de-orbited. Some of the debris that survived re-entry landed in rural Australia, and they jokingly gave NASA a 400$ fine for littering. The fine was unpaid for 3 decades until a US radio host raised the money."


They history is written by the winners.

What we know from history is rarely the full story.

Want to "know" more?

Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Never miss another big, odd, funny or heartbreaking moment again.