Bizarre History Facts Guaranteed to Have You Scratching Your Head

Emily Reily 29 Oct 2018

We all remember sitting in history class, trying to remember facts about lost civilizations for a weekly quiz. But were some of these facts on your syllabus in school? Take a look at these bizarre history truths for a real mind-bender.

This war lasted 335 years

The war between the Netherlands and the Isle of Scilly raged for centuries, yet no one was killed. The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years' War may not have actually been a war, but was extended simply because it lacked a peace treaty. Regardless, peace was declared in 1986.

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Aldous Huxley, Anthony Burgess and John Kennedy all died the same day


Well, not quite. Huxley, an essay writer, and the president both died the same day in 1963, and Burgess, a British novel writer, died 30 years later on Nov. 22. Good news though: the date marks the birth of novelist George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans), who was born in 1819.

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Napoleon was once stalked by rabbits

Flickr | mosaics.lab

Napoleon’s first mistake was that he wanted to hunt rabbits. The second was that his adviser decided to cage the lot of them, then release them so Napoleon and friends could hunt them. But the rabbits had the last laugh, and swarmed Napoleon, marching up his legs. He had to run away, just like Monty Python did, to escape the furry animals.

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Britons used skulls as drinking cups

More than 14,000 years ago, Britons may have used skull cavities to hold water, blood, wine or other materials during ritualistic procedures. According to, evidence of three skulls was found in Gough’s Cave in Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, England. Besides Britons, Vikings and Scythians did the same thing.

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Mayans have made sacrifices by pulling out peoples’ still-beating hearts

Unsplash | Jimmy Baum

According to, during the Aztec Empire, people numbering in the thousands every year became human sacrifices. Victims would have their hearts removed, and then thrown down the stairs of the temple. Other sacrifice methods included being fed to the animals or having their head put on display.

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Romans used urine as a mouthwash

Unsplash | Syed Umer

Pee has been found over the eons to be a great cleanser, so why not use it as mouthwash? Romans did it. Pee has been used in all sorts of ways – glazed onto pastries, or drunk as an ale.

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Coffins used to come with a safety latch in case you were still alive

Wikimedia |

People used to be afraid they’d be buried alive, for the simple reason that doctors back then didn’t know whether a person was dead, or in a coma, or paralyzed. As a result, bells and whistles and other medical alert systems were put in place in coffins to keep alive people alive and dead people dead.

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Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup was straight-up morphine

Unsplash | Sonja Langford

Back before people understood that drugs are bad, they made pleasant-sounding concoctions like Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup. This mixture had 101 uses to keep children quiet, such as during teething, diarrhea or sleeplessness. Parents often didn’t know it had morphine, they just believed it worked. Thank goodness medicine labels are regulated today.

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