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             Weird Historical Facts
  Here are some strange, silly and weird historical facts that will make you think.  

>  In 1879, F.W. Woolworth founded the 5-and-10 cent store chain.  For the next 53 years, his stores east of the Missouri River never sold merchandise for more than a dime.

>  3000 years ago, most Egyptians were considered old and died by the age of 30.

>  Amount American Airlines proved how economy could make us save a fortune by saving $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating just one olive from each salad served in first class.

>  When Coca-Cola was first introduced to the thirsty masses in 1886, it was pitched as an "Esteemed Brain Tonic and Intellectual Beverage."

>  Ancient Egyptians used slabs of stones as pillows.

>  In 200 BC, when the Greek city of Sparta was at the height of its power there were 20 slaves for every citizen.

>  And, speaking of Egyptians, the first-known contraceptive was crocodile dung and was used by the Egyptians in 2000 BC.

>  In 1962, the schools in Tanganyika had to be closed because of an outbreak of contagious laughter that lasted for six months!

>  In 1980, workers in a Las Vegas hospital were suspended because they use to bet on when patients would die.

>  In ancient China, doctors could receive fees only if their patient was cured. If it deteriorated, they would have to pay the patient.

>  The Hundred Year War actually lasted for 116 years – from 1337 to 1453.

>  In ancient Egypt, people shaved eyebrows as a mourning symbol when their cats died.

>  In the Great Fire of London in 1666 half of London was burnt down but only 6 people were injured.

>  It has been calculated that in the last 3,500 years, there have only been 230 years of peace throughout the civilized world.

>  At the height of inflation in Germany in the early 1920s, one U.S. dollar was equal to 4 quintillion German marks.

>  In 1778, fashionable women of Paris never went out in blustery weather without a lightning rod attached to their hats.

>  During the time of Peter the Great, any Russian man who wore a beard was required to pay a special tax.

>  In 1892, Italy raised the minimum age for marriage for girls to 12.

>  Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows to mourn the death of their cats.

>  In ancient Rome, a runaway slave was considered a criminal because he had stolen himself (i.e. the property of his master)!

>  Roman women especially enjoyed when their husbands went to war against Germany because the naturally-blond hair of Germans captured in battle would be used to make wigs!

>  According to Juvenal, the streets of Rome were so noisy that people living near them would die from lack of sleep! (Hyperbolically speaking, of course)

>  The punishment of a Vestal Virgin who broke her oath of chastity was to be buried alive!

>  In early Rome, a father could legally execute any member of his household!

>  In May 1948, Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe, both in New Zealand, erupted simultaneously.

>  In the 1800s, if you attempted suicide and failed, you would have to face the death penalty.

>  Niagara Falls experienced a break of half an hour in 1848, when an ice jam blocked the source river.

>  People have been wearing glasses for about 700 years.

>  Fourteenth century physicians didn't know what caused the plague, but they knew it was contagious. As a result they wore an early kind of bioprotective suit which included a large beaked head piece. The beak of the head piece, which made them look like large birds, was filled with vinegar, sweet oils and other strong smelling compounds to counteract the stench of the dead and dying plague victims.

>  The shortest war there has ever been was between Britain and Zanzibar during 1896. It lasted for a pathetic 38 minutes.

>  Spider webs were used to cure warts during the Middle Ages.

>  In England and the American colonies the year 1752 only had 354 days. In that year, the type of calendar was changed, and 11 days were lost.

>  The custom of shaking hands with the strangers originated to show that both the parties were unarmed.

>  Everyone in the Middle Ages believed -- as Aristotle had -- that the heart was the seat of intelligence.

>  The number of people over hundred increased from 4,000 in 1960 to 55,000 in 1995 in US alone.

>  453 AD --- Attila the Hun bled to death from a nosebleed on his wedding night.

>  Liquid paper was invented by Mike Nesmith's (of the Monkees) mother, Bette Nesmith Graham, in 1951.

>  Leonardo De Vinci invented the scissors.

>  On 15 April 1912 the SS Titanic sunk on her maiden voyage and over 1,500 people died. Fourteen years earlier a novel was published by Morgan Robertson which seemed to foretell the disaster. The book described a ship the same size as the Titanic which crashes into an iceberg on its maiden voyage on a misty April night. The name of Robertson's fictional ship was the Titan.

>  The NY phone book had 22 Hitlers before WWII. The NY phone book had 0 Hitlers after WWII.

>  February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

>  A golden razor removed from Tutankhamen’s tomb over 3000 years after his death was still sharp enough for use.

>  Christmas didn’t become a national holiday in the US until 1890.

>  Although Ohio is listed as the 17th state in the US, it is technically number 47. Until 7 August 1953, Congress forgot to vote of formal resolution to admit Ohio to the Union.

>  The Boston Nation, a newspaper published in Ohio during the mid-19th century, had pages which were 7½ft long and 5½ft wide. It needed two people to hold it aloft for reading.

>  Only two people signed the Declaration independence on 4 July 1776 – John Hancock and Charles Thomson. The majority of the other members of Congress signed on 2 August, although the final signature wasn’t added for another five years.

>  1500 B.C. Emperor Ch'eng T'ang ordered his chief minister, I-Yin, to prepare an inventory of the most flavorful foods available in all of China. Heading I-Yin's list of the best meat dishes were "orangutan lips . . . the tails of young swallows . . . and the choice parts of yak and elephant. . . ."

>  1288 B.C. Pharaoh Ramses II was soundly defeated by the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh. Undaunted, the Egyptian ruler built a memorial to his magnificent "triumph." The monument endured, the Hittites died out, and generation upon generation of historians paid tribute to Ramses' military victory. Only recently have archaeologists unearthed the truth about the Battle of Kadesh and exposed Ramses' 3,300-year-old "Big Lie."

>  590 B.C. The Athenian lawgiver Draco designed an early legal code that was hardly noted for its leniency. Nevertheless, he was quite popular with his fellow citizens. In 590 B.C. there was a testimonial in his honor at the theater of Athena. As Draco entered the open-air arena, thousands of well-wishers showered him with their hats and cloaks. Draco was smothered to death under the pile of clothing.

>  Through an inheritance, Adolf Hitler owned 9,000 acres of land in Colorado.

>  During the Boston Molasses Bath of January 15, 1919, several folks were caught in a sticky deluge when a two-million-gallon tank of molasses exploded, flooding into the streets and crushing 10 buildings.

>  The oldest African-American church in the United States can be found just off Bryan Street in Savannah, Georgia. Established in 1788, the First Bryan Baptist Church still maintains regular Sunday services at 11 a.m., with visitors and tourists welcome.

>  On May 14, 1918, the U.S. Post Office released the first stamps commemorating airmail delivery scheduled to begin the next day, May 15. Each stamp showed a Curtiss JN-4H (Jenny) biplane. As any philatelist can tell you, the stamps created a sensation. Each plane was mistakenly printed upside down! The price currently has risen to well over $200,000 per stamp. As to the actual first flight--Airman George Boyle took off the next day, May 15, and after flying the wrong way, crashed in a Maryland cornfield. Scrambling from his plane, he stood looking at it lying upside down, exactly as the inverted stamps had predicted!

>  Had a bottle of "Lithiated Lemon" lately? Highly unlikely, since the brand name was changed in 1933 to 7-Up!

>  The strongest earthquake in U.S. history occurred in 1964. Registering 8.4 on the Richter scale, it destroyed the town of Kodiak, Alaska, killing 130 people. Tremors reached as far as Hawaii and Japan. This horrendous quake generated a 50-foot tidal wave traveling over 8,000 miles across the ocean at 450 m.p.h.!

>  Speaking of earthquakes, not all occur out West. In 1811 a massive quake struck New Madrid, Missouri, sending tremors as far away as Canada and collapsing chimneys over 400 miles away in Cincinnati, Ohio!

>  Our national anthem refers to the fact that...." our flag was still there." But whose flag was it? Well, did you know that the American flag seen waving over Baltimore's Ft. McHenry by Francis Scott Key in 1814 was made by Mary Young Pickersgill and that it's on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.?

>  The enchanting seasonal children's story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was originally presented as a Montgomery Ward's sales promotion!

>  315 entries in Webster's 1996 Dictionary were misspelled.

>  Ketchup was sold in the 1830's as a medicine.

>  The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.

>  The first owner of the Marlboro cigarette Company died of lung cancer.

>  At the beginning of the 20th Century everybody owned a horse and only the rich had cars. At the beginning of the 21st Century everyone had a car and only the rich owned horses.