10 Disturbing History Facts They Don't Teach You In School

The craziest and most heinous facts that somehow never made the textbooks. Dare you read on?

Napoleon vs. Rabbits
Paul Delaroche / Public domain

History is littered with countless tales and amazing facts that have become common knowledge today. Ranging from ancient times to modern day, strange, macabre and even the most unexpected occurrences clutter our species' history. But we seldom hear about these events.

Schools will often teach a pre-approved syllabus that only gives you a general idea of what things were really like in the past, usually glossing over the overly gratuitous and gory details that befoul the narratives society wants to spin.

But knowing key dates and figures just sometimes isn’t enough. Sometimes, you need to know the crazy, brutal, and downright disturbing facts to better understand the situation at hand. As the all too cliché saying goes, “Those who don’t understand history, are doomed to repeat it”.

Often the truth can be stranger than fiction, and this sentiment is expressed no more vividly than in historical records, with anything from starkly opposing forces joining together to help defend tennis players, to soft drink companies being a potential threat to world peace all on the table.

Taking all that into consideration, here are 10 of the craziest historical facts that they don’t teach you in history class.

[Warning: some distressing imagery features in this article]

10. Victorian Pictures Of The Dead

Napoleon vs. Rabbits
Public domain

It is hard for us to remember in these days of modern medicine, that death was a particularly common occurrence for families up until the late 1940s.

Grief can manifest in numerous ways, but people often want to remember their deceased friends and families the way that they were when they were alive.

So, what happens when you combine this sentiment with the widespread adoption of consumer photography?

Of course, you get the chilling world of Victorian corpse photography.

In this macabre practice, recently departed family members would often be positioned into lifelike poses and expressions, some time between rigor mortis and decomposition. Various pictures of them would be taken, in numerous different positions, regularly with other members of the family also standing besides the recently deceased.

It is sad to say that many of these would pertain to children, with infant mortality rife upon the Victorian population. In these cases, it was seen as disrespectful to prop their bodies in fanciful positions and pry their eyes open, so infants would often be depicted in sleeping poses, mimicking the restfulness of the grave.

As this practice began to happen around the time photography became more affordable, these were often the first and possibly only time that the families would have had a picture taken of them. These photographs provided the families with a way to permanently preserve the likeness of their dead relatives.

This practice soon fell out of favour as child mortality decreased and people were more able to get photographs of family members before their untimely demise.


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