34 Historical Facts We Bet Were Never In Your History Books




The longest piano piece of any kind is Vexations by Erik Satie. It consists of a 180-note composition which, on the composer's orders, must be repeated 840 times so that the whole performance is 18 hours 40 minutes. Its first reported public performance in September 1963, in the Pocket Theater, New York City, required a relay team of 10 pianists. The New York Times critic fell asleep at 4 a.m. and the audience dwindled to 6 people. At the conclusion, one person shouted “Encore!”

22Monkey Hangers

Monkey Hangers

There's a community in the UK, in and around Hartlepool who are known as “Monkey Hangers.” According to local folklore, the term originates from an incident in which a monkey was hanged in Hartlepool, England. During the Napoleonic Wars, a French ship of the type chasse marée was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool. The only survivor was a monkey, allegedly wearing a French uniform to provide amusement for the crew. On finding the monkey, some locals decided to hold an impromptu trial on the beach; since the monkey was unable to answer their questions and because they had seen neither a monkey nor a Frenchman before, they concluded that the monkey was, in fact, a French spy. Being found guilty the animal was duly sentenced to death and hanged on the beach.

23Elmer McCurdy

Elmer McCurdy

Elmer McCurdy was a really inept train robber. He once tried to blow up a safe to get to some silver coins and ended up melting the safe and the coins. Another time, he tried to rob a train, but all they were able to get was some whiskey and like $15 from the conductor. After that, he holed up at a farm, drank all the whiskey, and got into a shootout with the Sheriff and died in 1911. But that’s not the end of his story. They took him to the funeral home and embalmed him with a lot of arsenic because they thought it’d be a while before someone claimed him. They were right. No one claimed him. So the funeral director decided to make money off him and put him on display as the Oklahoman Outlaw and charged money to see him. People had to put the money in his mouth. The funeral director’s kids used to put Elmer on roller skates and scare other children with him. Eventually, two men came to claim their brother Elmer. They were actually sideshow operators. Elmer was on the circuit now. He went places. He was sold a few more times, ended up in a “museum”, and they rented him out. He was in a movie theatre lobby as a hophead who tried to hold up a store and was shot, in order to promote an anti-drug film. Decades went by and he started looking a little rough, all desiccated and missing a couple of fingers and his hair. They then rent him out to a display at Niagara Falls, and they send him back because they think he’s a really creepy waxwork. Yes, it’s been so long no one remembers now that he’s a real dead guy. He gets sold to the Pike, an amusement park in Long Beach, California. He’s hung up in Laff In The Dark, their ghost/funhouse ride. In December 1976, they’re filming an episode of “The Six-Million Dollar Man” in Laff In The Dark, moving stuff around, and they move this painted neon orange dummy and its arm breaks off. It’s a real arm. He’s eventually taken to the coroner, eventually identified, and then eventually buried in Boot Hill in Oklahoma under concrete, so he won’t go wandering again.

2418th Century London

18th Century London

In London in the 18th century, d*ldos were a must-have. One George-Louis Lesage (1676-1759), visiting England in 1713, noted that there were always some women in St. James's Park carrying baskets full of dolls that seem to be in great demand with the young ladies. Instead of legs, the dolls were supported by a cylinder, covered with cloth, which was about six inches long and one inch wide. According to Lesage, one young woman complained that hers was too big and she wanted to exchange it for a smaller one, but the vendor refused to do so, arguing that it would be impossible to resell it.

25Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli, author of the Prince, once got so horny he visited a prostitute, only she was so ugly he threw up all over her. His description of the event is both gross and hilarious. “What the hell, Luigi, you can see what fortune can do to men. You had just finished fu*king your woman when you want another one. I've been in Modena for several days when I came across an old woman who washes my shirts. She asked me to come to her hovel because she wished to show me some fine shirts. Innocent prick that I am I went in. There was a woman over in the corner. ‘This is the shirt that I wanted to sell you,’ the hag said. I was terrified. But I fu*ked her. I found her thighs flabby and her c*nt damp. Her breath stank. But I was horny. When I was finished I took a torch and looked at her. I nearly dropped dead. The woman was ugly. She had a tuft of hair on her head but her head was bald. Her forehead was scarred. One eye looked up, the other down. Her eyes were filled with mucus, and she had no eyebrows. Her nose was twisted into a funny shape. Her mouth looked like Lorenzo de' Medici's but was bent to one side. She was toothless and saliva drooled out of her mouth. Her upper lip had a mustache. I looked at her stupefied. “What's the matter sir?” she asked me. As soon as she opened her mouth, such a stench came out that my eyes and my nose were assaulted and my stomach indignant. They could not bear it, and I vomited all over her.”

26Frane Selak

Frane Selak

Frane Selak, a Croatian music teacher, began his unlucky streak in 1962 on a train going from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik. The train inexplicably jumped the tracks and fell into an icy river killing 17 passengers. Selak managed to swim to shore suffering from hypothermia and a broken arm. A year later, while on an airplane, its door flew off and Selak was sucked out of the airplane. The plane crashed and he woke up in a hospital. He was found in a haystack. In 1966, Selak was on a bus that went off the road and into a river. Four people were killed, but he only suffered minor injuries. In 1970, his car caught on fire and he stopped it and got out just before the whole car blew up. In 1973, Selak was driving another car when a faulty fuel line sprayed gas all over the engine and flames blew through his air vents. His only injury was the loss of most of his hair. In 1995 he was hit by a bus but he only sustained minor injuries. Finally, in 1996, he was driving on a mountain road when he went around a bend and saw a truck coming right at him. He ran his car through a guardrail and jumped out to watch his car blow up 300 feet below him. In 2003, Selak bought a lottery ticket for the first time in 40 years at the age of 74. He ended up winning $1 million.

27Tierney Deaths

Tierney Deaths

About 112 people died during the construction of Hoover Dam. The first was J. G. Tierney, a surveyor who drowned on December 20, 1922, while looking for an ideal spot for the dam. His son, Patrick W. Tierney, was the last man to die working on the dam, 13 years to the day later, in 1935. So yeah a father and son died on the same day, 14 years apart while working on Hoover Dam.

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28King Umberto I

King Umberto I

In Monza, Italy, King Umberto I, went to a small restaurant for dinner, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, General Emilio Ponzia-Vaglia. When the owner took King Umberto’s order, the King noticed that he and the restaurant owner were virtual doubles, in the face and in build. Both men began discussing the striking resemblances between each other and found many more similarities. Both men were born on the same day, of the same year, (March 14th, 1844). Both men had been born in the same town. Both men married a woman with the same name, Margherita. The restaurateur opened his restaurant on the same day that King Umberto was crowned King of Italy. On the 29th of July 1900, King Umberto was informed that the restaurateur had died that day in a mysterious shooting accident, and as he expressed his regret, he was then assassinated by an anarchist in the crowd.

29Jim Lewis and Jim Springer

Jim Lewis and Jim Springer

The stories of identical twins' nearly identical lives are often astonishing, but perhaps none more so than those of these identical twins born in Ohio. A set of twin boys separated at birth were adopted by different families. Unknown to each other, both families named the boys Jim. The coincidences had just begun. Both James grew up not even knowing of the other, yet both sought law-enforcement training, both had abilities in mechanical drawing and carpentry, and each had married women named Linda. They both had sons whom one named James Alan and the other named James Allan. The twin brothers also divorced their wives and married other women both named Betty. They both owned dogs which they named Toy. Jim Lewis and Jim Springer finally met on February 9, 1979, after 39 years of being separated.

30Violet Jessop

Violet Jessop

The three Olympic-class ocean liners were each involved in accidents: RMS Olympic was damaged in a collision with HMS Hawke, RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank, and HMHS Britannic struck an underwater mine during World War I and sank. One woman named Violet Jessop survived all three accidents.

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