Imagine a war that lasted 335 years but caused no human losses or bloodshed. Or people who carried cheap, brightly colored sacks of flour during the Great Depression because the colors meant they were still dressing a bit fashionable. And what about the king who believed his body was made of glass and refused to move for hours?
History is littered with strange stories like this one. There are 10 more stories on this list that reflect how strange (and sometimes scary) things could be before.
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10 Hector The convector
During World War II, several pilots noticed a thundercloud forming on the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory of Australia almost every afternoon. This cumulonimbus cloud was regularly visible from September to March. In fact, it was so reliable that it became a navigational signal for both pilots and sailors. It was even given a name: Hector.[1
Hector (also known as Hector the Convector) remains to this day. It forms faithfully around the islands almost every day at around 3 p.m. The Tiwi Islands are the ideal place for this regular cloud formation. As the sea breeze blows on the islands, their topography ensures that air currents are directed upwards, where moisture is drawn into the upper atmosphere. This matures the conditions for a thunderstorm.
Currently, Hector is one of the most widely observed storm formations. People from all over the world travel to study this phenomenon.
9 New Atlantis
In 1964, Ernest Hemingway’s younger brother told Leicester The Washington Post: “There is no law that says that you cannot found your own country.”
He did just that on July 4, 1964. He created an “island” called New Atlantis by anchoring a bamboo raft to a Ford engine block in 15 meters of water. The island was 13 kilometers southwest of Jamaica on a flat ocean shore.
Leicester told the media that it had taken possession of half of the island on behalf of the US government, under the authority of the US Guano Islands Act of 1856. At that time, guano was valued as a commercial fertilizer. Western nations tried to overrun each other to claim areas with guano deposits. The remaining half of the island was to be used for the population of New Atlantis.
By February 1965, Leicester had been elected president of the island by no less than seven voters (all elected by Leicester itself). New Atlantis carried a brand new national flag sewn by Leicester’s wife. The islanders dealt with the issue of postage stamps. The micronation even had its own constitution, which was adopted from the US constitution. The only difference: the words “USA” have been replaced by “New Atlantis”.
Leicester planned to use the profits from the stamps to fund the International Marine Research Society. But the Universal Postal Union threw a wrench into the works when it refused to recognize the legitimacy of the postage stamps.
Leicester’s dream of owning his own land did not last long. A few years after its inception, New Atlantis sank into the sea during a terrible storm.
8th Huberta the hippopotamus
In the Amathole Museum in King William’s Town, South Africa, stands Huberta, the country’s most famous hippopotamus.
Huberta drove south one day in 1928 and continued her journey until 1931. From her watering hole in the St. Lucia Estuary, she walked 1,600 kilometers to east London.
Huberta’s progress was followed by the press, and she became a celebrity drawing crowds wherever she was spotted. She brought a little joy to those suffering at the onset of the Great Depression and even went to a beach, theater, and country club. Huberta was fed sugar cane and fruit by those who dared approach her.
The lucky hippopotamus was declared a “royal game” after a failed attempt to catch it. This should ensure their protection from hunters. Unfortunately, a month after arriving in East London, she was shot dead by farmers.
The public protested against the farmers’ actions. They were eventually arrested and each was fined £ 25. Huberta’s body was sent to a London taxidermist and welcomed at home by thousands of people when she returned to South Africa in 1932.
7th The Feejee mermaid
During the 19th century, several creatures were featured in a number of exhibitions. The owners claimed these creatures were mermaids. PT Barnum did not want to be excluded from the action and set up his own exhibition. It featured the Feejee mermaid that he allegedly had rented from his friend Moses Kimball.
The mermaid was constructed from the torso of a monkey sewn to the tail of a fish. Most believe it was an orangutan and a salmon. In his autobiography, Barnum described the creature as ugly and parched. He also said that his mouth was frozen in an open scream and his arms were thrown in the air.
Barnum’s exhibition – and the mermaid in particular – proved extremely popular, causing “mermaid fever” wherever it was shown. It traveled through New York and London, but the mermaid’s whereabouts were unknown until 1859.
A mermaid was donated to the Peabody Museum after Kimball’s Boston Museum burned down around 1899. (Some sources say the gift was made in 1897.) However, it remains unconfirmed whether it was the PT Barnum mermaid.
In the 1800s, orchids caused ongoing madness among the elite. The rich gathered the flowers and paid thousands of dollars for exotic varieties. The phenomenon has been called “Orchidelirium”.
Fanatics paid the highest price to explorers to travel to almost every corner of the world in search of undiscovered orchid varieties. The explorers spread misinformation about the location of new flowers in order to keep other seekers away from the smell, so to speak.
Nowadays, some species of orchids are threatened with extinction and collecting wild orchids is prohibited.
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5 Salem tomato try
The Salem witch trials are well known, but have you heard of the Salem tomato trial?
In the early 1800s, tomatoes were brought to justice in Salem, New Jersey, for being poisonous. But people had looked askance at the fruit since the 16th century. Back then, the tomato was considered a “sinful” food because of its ability to act as a mild aphrodisiac.
The tomato process started in 1820 when only one person in Salem refused to believe the fruit was poisonous. Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson instituted tomato growing competitions to persuade residents to be less afraid of the fruit, but they would not bite. Johnson also ate tomatoes regularly, and the general public thought he was crazy.
Annoyed by the trial and the needless fear of tomatoes, Johnson went to the front of the courthouse with a basket filled with them. He ate all the tomatoes in full view of the crowd. Contrary to expectations, he did not tip over and died instantly.
This led to the relief of the humble tomato. After all, it was grown in millions of gardens around the world and served with a variety of meals on a daily basis.
4th Fork sacrilege
In the 11th century, a Byzantine princess packed up a couple of forks to use in her husband’s Venetian household. With the couple newly married, the young woman didn’t seem to understand how rude it was to bring forks into her new home. (It was widely considered to be sacrilegious.)
At the time, it was rude to eat with anything other than your fingers. When the princess died shortly after her settlement in the house, it was agreed that she had received her guilt for insulting her husband’s household. Another version of the story goes that the princess used a gold fork at her wedding reception and died of the plague soon after.
Until the 16th century it was common to eat with your hands or, if necessary, with a knife in order to ingest certain foods. Forks were adopted very slowly. Eventually, sharp knives were banned from dining tables because they turned out to be simple weapons when arguments broke out.
3 Anti-comet pills
As Halley’s comet neared Earth on May 6, 1910, the English King Edward VII died. The superstitious gasped and clasped their collars, for the comet had certainly brought their king’s death. While the French blamed Halley for the flooding of the Seine, the British took the comet’s journey as a sign that the Germans would soon invade their country’s borders.
The comet was scheduled to shoot past Earth on May 19, 1910. A few months earlier, astronomer Camille Flammarion had assumed that Halley’s tail contained cyangas, which would infiltrate the atmosphere and kill all life on the planet.
Although most astronomers disagreed, panic broke out. Of course, scammers took full advantage of this opportunity and began selling “anti-comet pills” to the nervous public.
Two Texas men were caught selling sugar pills at ridiculous prices. Although they were arrested, they were released soon after their clients started rioting. In addition to the massive demand for these “anti-comet pills”, those who sold gas masks also made small fortunes when masks flew off the shelves.
When the disaster was averted after Halley passed Earth, people danced in the street as they were very relieved to be alive.
2 Brown eyes turned blue
The Chernobyl disaster took place on April 26, 1986. It is still considered the worst nuclear disaster in history. A flawed reactor design operated by insufficiently trained personnel resulted in a massive explosion and subsequent fires that killed 31 people and evacuated around 350,000 more. Due to the radiation effects, it was predicted in 2005 that another 4,000 people could die as a result of the exposure.
At the scene of the crime, firefighters crawled into the radioactive wreckage of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor to prevent the fires from spreading further. 28 firefighters died in the next few weeks.
The radiation exposure had affected her so much that her skin peeled off. Fireman Volodymyr Pavlovych Pravyk saw his dark brown eyes turn light blue. He died 15 days after the disaster and it is believed that he was buried in a sealed zinc coffin.
1 The Holocaust Avengers
The Holocaust will forever be remembered as one of the darkest and most terrifying periods in history. Millions of people – including European Jews, the mentally disabled, Roma and those who identified as homosexual – were murdered on the orders of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
In 1946 a group of Jewish survivors who called themselves “Nakam” (“The Avengers”) drafted a plan to take revenge on Germany. They would kill at least six million Germans by introducing poison into the country’s water supply. The group also planned to poison loaves of bread to kill as many SS officers as possible.
Their plan was ultimately foiled, but the Avengers never regretted taking revenge on Germany. In fact, most of them wish their plan had worked.
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