50 Weird Conventions From the Past

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1Entering a Bedroom

It was once considered inappropriate for a woman to enter a man’s bedroom. Inventor of the Murphy-Bed, William Lawrence Murphy (1856-1957), created his first hideaway bed as means to convert his one-room apartment into a parlor, specifically to host the company of his future wife.


2. The heart was once considered the seat of the soul and vital to access the afterlife. That’s why when mummification became accessible to the middle and lower classes in ancient Egypt, embalmers started secretly cutting out the hearts of the lower classes so that the elite wouldn’t have to share the afterlife with them.


3. The most played song on AM radio of all time “You’ve Lost That Lovin Feeling” has a runtime of 3:45 which at its release was considered as too long for AM radio. In order to secure airtime, Phil Spector had a false running time (3:05) printed on the label to trick DJs into playing it.


4. Russian fishermen learned to farm caviar as early as the 12th century and for centuries it was considered nothing more than cheap peasant food, served with porridge and eaten by the bowlful.


5. Generations of Cornish and American miners used to believe in the Tommyknockers, small gnome-like men who lived inside mines. They believed that sometimes they favor the miners, and other times they knocked on timbers to knock them down. It was considered very bad luck not to leave the cake for them at the end of the day.


6Collecting Fern Seeds

People from England in the past used to believe that collecting fern seeds would make you invisible. It turns out they don’t have seeds.


7. During the 17th and 18th centuries for queens and couturiers alike, showing your breasts was a fashion statement, whereas showing your ankles or knees was considered a faux pas.


8. Homework was considered hugely controversial in the 1800s and early 1900s when physicians crusaded against it. In 1901, California even banned homework for anyone under the age of 15.


9. The ancient Akkadians believed that the clouds were the breast of the goddess Antum and rain was her breast milk.


10. Insulin shock therapy was used as a treatment for schizophrenia. Scientists believed it could jolt the brain out of mental illness or induce the restoration of normal function. In reality, the treatment caused brain damage and a “loss of tension and hostility” that was viewed as therapeutic.


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11Changeling Folklore

For millennia Autism and other sudden disabilities was explained by the Changeling folklore. A fairy or demon would steal a normal baby and replace them with their own child in disguise. They thus believed that the changeling would cry, scream, not display social behavior, or just become completely unresponsive.


12. In medieval lore, Tempestarii were weather-making magicians who dwelt amongst the common people and possessed the power to raise or prevent storms at will.


13. When coffee first appeared in the Ottoman Empire, it was considered a drug, and its consumption was forbidden.


14. Before people understood where some migrating birds went away to during the winter, it was sometimes theorized that they would hibernate at the bottom of lakes, or simply fly to the moon.


15. Treatment in the Middle Ages for venomous snakebite was to pluck the feathers from a rooster's arse and place its anus on the site of the bite. Apparently, its anus could suck up the venom. It was considered a good sign if the rooster died.


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16Tigris and Euphrates

Ancient Sumerians believed that their water god, Enki, created the Tigris and Euphrates rivers by masturbating and ejaculating into the riverbeds.


17. In the Middle Ages, Catholic women were prohibited from having sex on Sundays, Wednesdays, or Fridays, on feast days, while fasting for Lent or Advent or while "impure" (menstruation, pregnancy, 40 days after giving birth & while nursing). Everything but the missionary position was considered sodomy.


18. In the 50s, teenagers having a stable monogamous relationship (“going steady”) was considered edgy and frowned upon by parents and the church as amoral. Instead, they encouraged their kids to go out with different people every weekend. The rationale behind this was that going steady would encourage the relationship to develop into one of physical intimacy, something parents wished to avoid.


19. For the Romans, a big penis wasn’t seen as a sign of manliness or sexual skill. All of the Roman heroes - mythological, political, or athletic - were portrayed as having small, compact genitalia, almost like pubescent boys. What we consider “well-endowed” was considered a sign of a barbarian or a fool.


20. Seat belts were very controversial when they first appeared in cars during the 40s and 50s with many arguing that they caused injuries and didn’t work, no matter how much researchers disputed these claims. Many people refused to wear them and even cut them out of their car seats.


21Tarantula & Dancing

People used to believe that a tarantula bite was fatal unless the victim engaged in frenzied dancing to certain music.


22. The fez hats were once considered very modern. These hats were made famous by the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II in the 1800s as he made them a requirement as a replacement for turbans. They didn’t really go out of style due to lack of interest but were banned in 1925 by Kemal Atatürk to modernize the country.


23. Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates based all of his theories on superficial observations like texture, colors, and symptoms. Human dissection was considered taboo in Ancient Greece until Alexandrian physicians began dissecting cadavers in the 3 century B.C.


24. Many religions used to believe what we know as outer space was a giant ocean.


25. ‘Male Menstruation’ was considered a normal part of growing up in 20th century Egyptian culture, but it was actually caused by an endemic parasitic bladder infection from schistosomes which caused bloody urine.

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