Fact or Fiction? 22 Unbelievable Real-Life Tales – Part 1

11Chopin’s Heart

Chopin’s Heart

When legendary composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin was on his death bed he asked that when he died his body be cut open and the heart removed because he was afraid of being buried alive. Upon his death, his sister pickled his heart in cognac and smuggled it out of France, delivering it to the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw, where it still exists.


12Siege of Leningrad

Siege of Leningrad

During the Siege of Leningrad in World War 2, extreme famine led to civilians becoming so starved that they would eat the plaster off walls and even resorted to cannibalism. Half-eaten bodies littered the streets and parents wouldn’t let children leave the house. Cannibalism became so prominent that a special division of the Leningrad police force was created to combat it. When the siege was broken after nearly 900 days, the Soviets wanted to prosecute those who had resorted to cannibalism. Over 2000 people were arrested and they were divided into two groups; ‘corpse-eaters’ and 'person-eaters'. The former were jailed and the later were shot.


13Human Leather

Human Leather

A company in the UK advertises to sell human skin as the smoothest, softest leather on Earth which they make from donated skin. According to the website, the smaller grain size of human hide creates leather superior to any other animal skin put through the tanning process. Customers pay thousands of dollars for these products (a wallet costs $14,000) and prefer anonymity.


14Super Soldiers Experiments

Super Soldiers Experiments

In the 1920s, Josef Stalin set in motion a plan to create a race of super-soldiers by crossing human and chimpanzee genetics. He tasked his top veterinary scientist Ilya Ivanov with this job. Ivanov specialized in the field of artificial insemination and the interspecific hybridization of animals. He tried to create a human-ape hybrid by inseminating three female chimpanzees with human sperm (including his own), but he failed to create a pregnancy. He then tried to use ape sperm to impregnate a human female but was delayed by the death of his last orangutan.


15Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid which is used to keep arthritic joints lubricated and used in plastic surgeries to plump wrinkly or sagging skin is sourced from a very strange place. Red combs of roosters and hens turn out to be some of the best sources for hyaluronan, a compound that doctors called the next best thing after Botox. It’s probably one of the only parts of a chicken or rooster that humans don’t eat and if one can get money from waste, then what’s the harm.


16Risk Takers & Cats

Risk Takers & Cats

Toxoplasmosis Gondii is a brain parasite that spreads through cat feces. In rats, it slows them down, causes attraction to cats, and generally makes them less fearful. This parasite is transmissible to humans and can cause humans to excessively care for cats. Also, infected female humans are more likely to find infected males attractive. Recent studies have also shown that infected humans were more likely to take risks and found a positive correlation between successful entrepreneurs and T. Gondii infection.


17Aztec Sacrifices

Aztec Sacrifices

Aztecs are rather famous among historians for the different kinds of sacrificial rituals they performed to appease their deities. Children were required to cry before being sacrificed so that their tears would wet the earth to appease the Aztec deity Tlaloc. If they didn't cry, priests would tear out their fingernails to trigger crying. To honor the sun god Huitzilopochtli, the most famous rituals involved the removal of a living person’s heart. Earth mother Teteoinnan’s offerings generally required skinned female victims. Archeologists have discovered a site of mass sacrifice at the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan. Depending on the sources, it is said that Aztecs sacrificed anywhere between 4000-80,000 people over four days, which would be 41-840 sacrifices per hour for the entire festival.


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18Thomas Silverstein

Thomas Silverstein

Thomas Silverstein spent the last 36 years of his life locked alone in solitary confinement. He was first put in prison for a robbery that netted him only a few hundred dollars, but in prison, he joined Aryan Neighborhood and murdered inmates which netted him additional life sentences. After killing a correction officer, he was placed in a windowless underground cell in 1983. He was only once released out of his cell briefly during a prison riot. He died in 2019, well before his theoretical release date of 2095.


19Scold's Bridle

Scold's Bridle

A Scold's Bridle sometimes called the Witch's Bridle was an instrument of punishment; a form of torture and public humiliation in 16th century Britain & Scotland. The device was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head and introduced a spiked bit to be inserted into the mouth to prevent speech, torture, and humiliate women that nagged, gossiped, or quarreled. The chain allowed men, sometimes the husband of the scold, to lead them through town to be beaten and humiliated.


20Miasma Theory

Miasma Theory

Before germ theory, people believed in “miasma theory”, which was the idea that sickness came from “bad air”. “Miasma” is the Latin word for “bad air” and the word “malaria” actually derives from the Italian for “bad air” - the mal'aria because it was thought that Malaria was caused by bad-smelling air associated with swamps.

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