These Historic Facts Are So Strange, They Sound Entirely Made Up
These Historic Facts Are So Strange, They Sound Entirely Made Up

These Historic Facts Are So Strange, They Sound Entirely Made Up

Shannon Quinn - January 10, 2023

These Historic Facts Are So Strange, They Sound Entirely Made Up
These clowns put up a real fight. Credit: Shutterstock

Firefighters and Clowns Fought One Another During the Toronto Circus Riot of 1855

In the summer of 1855, the S.B. Howes’ Star Troupe Menagerie & Circus were visiting Toronto from the United States. After the circus ended, the clowns decided to enjoy their evening at one of the local brothels. It just so happened that The Hook & Ladder Fire Fighting Company was also at the same brothel that night. There is no record as to why the fighting started in the first place. But what we do know is that the firefighters and the clowns began to fight one another, and it broke out into a huge fight. The clowns won. But the next day, a huge crowd of friends of the firefighters were ready to start a riot. Even the police were on the firemen’s side, so they just sat by and watched the chaos as the angry mob burned down the circus tent and beat up the circus performers.

These Historic Facts Are So Strange, They Sound Entirely Made Up
The Monkees in their music video of “Daydream Believer”. Credit: Vanity Fair

The 1960’s Pop Band “The Monkees” Was Under Investigation by the FBI

If you grew up in the 1960’s, you’ll remember the popular band called The Monkees. And even if you were a 90’s baby like me, maybe you saw a few episodes of their popular TV series airing on Nick at Night if your parents let you stay up late. They made such upbeat music, it’s hard to imagine that they could be accused of any wrongdoing. But it turns out that they were under investigation from the FBI. In 2022, the last remaining member of the band, Micky Dolenz, sued the FBI to have them turn over the documents pertaining to their investigation. Most of the information has been redacted in the document that’s available on the FBI Vault, except for a statement that says, “Additional activities denouncing the US policy in the war in Vietnam.” They also state that they believed their music contained subliminal left-wing messages.

These Historic Facts Are So Strange, They Sound Entirely Made Up
An illustration of the strange hobby of Medieval falconry. Credit: World History

In the Middle Ages, Bishops Brought Their Pet Falcons to Church

During the Middle Ages, falconry was considered the “noblest sport”. Hunting was extremely popular back then, because it was how everyone got meat on the table. Many knights and members of the upper class owned falcons that would hunt with them. Bishops would bring their falcons to church, and only let them go when they approached the altar. In a fourteenth century book called The Goodman of Paris, a man told his wife to bring her falcon to church too, because they were so valuable that they were often stolen. A book called “The Boke of Saint Albans”, from 1486, lists the kinds of birds appropriate to each rank of society, from the lordly eagle for the emperor to the lowly “muskyte” for a holy-water clerk.

These Historic Facts Are So Strange, They Sound Entirely Made Up
Joseph Bonaparte saw something strange in the woods and declared it was The Jersey Devil. Credit: Napoleon Calogne

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Brother Claimed That He Saw the Jersey Devil

This next fact is especially strange, because Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte, was once the King of Spain. And yet for some reason, he decided to buy a country home in Bordentown, New Jersey. He liked the location for being in-between both Philadelphia and New York City. That is- until he learned about the legend of the Jersey Devil. The story was funny in the summertime, when all of his friends were around. But once he was left in the Pine Barrens alone in the middle of winter, hunting suddenly became a terrifying event. He got so scared, he believed that he saw the legendary Jersey Devil. It was most likely some sort of animal in the woods, and his imagination got the best of him.

These Historic Facts Are So Strange, They Sound Entirely Made Up
One of the first electric cars in history. Credit: Denver Public Library

Electric Cars Were Invented Before Gas Engines

Nowadays, electric cars are all the rage for people who are eco-friendly and want to save money on gas. This seems like a very “new” thing that has only come into the market in the past decade. But as strange as it sounds, electric cars were invented before gas engines. The first electric motor was invented in 1834 by Thomas Davenport in Vermont. He used the motor to power a small carriage. And in 1884, an English inventor named Thomas Parker created a fully electric car. It wasn’t until two years later, in 1886, that the first gasoline car was built by Karl Benz. Over time, people gravitated towards gasoline vehicles because they were faster, more powerful, and could go longer distances without refueling. Those same issues still exist today with electric cars, but they are improving over time.

These Historic Facts Are So Strange, They Sound Entirely Made Up
It may sound strange, but the Great Wall of China predates Christianity. Credit: Shutterstock

The Great Wall of China is Older Than Christianity

The Wall that stands today is known as the Ming Great Wall, which began its construction during the Ming Dynasty, which lasted from 1368-1644. So the wall that every tourist goes to is only a few hundred years old, which doesn’t seem strange at all. However, the original structure is called the Chu Great Wall, which was built between 680 BC and 656 BC. Construction has lasted 2,300 years across 9 different Chinese dynasties. It’s mind-blowing to think of a construction project going on for that long. To put it into perspective, that’s before Christianity even existed.

These Historic Facts Are So Strange, They Sound Entirely Made Up
France, the William the Conqueror statue in Falaise, Normandie. Credit: Shutterstock

William the Conqueror’s Corpse Exploded at His Funeral

Last but not least is the strange and disgusting story of what happened during William the Conqueror’s funeral. Before he died, William gained a lot of weight, and became rather large. In 1807, his horse reared, and the saddle punctured his intestines. Doctors tried to perform surgery, but this injury eventually led to his death. A lot of time had passed since he passed away and the funeral, so gasses were expanding his already enlarged body even further. The gravediggers made a hole, but it was too small for him to fit. So when they tried to push his body down in the hole, it exploded everywhere, guts raining down on his funeral guests.

How did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Wilmer McLean — The Beginning and the End. Ohio State University.

Oxford University Is Older Than the Aztecs. Colin Schultz. Smithsonian Magazine. 2013.

Vampire Attacks Suck Life Out of the Cold War. Ripley’s. 2018.

The Battle of Pelusium: A Victory Decided by Cats. Joshua Mark. World History Encyclopedia. 2017.

When Teddy Roosevelt Was Shot in 1912, a Speech May Have Saved His Life. Christopher Klein. History. 2012.

The Fantastically Strange Origin of Most Coal on Earth. Robert Krulwich. National Geographic. 2016.

History of the Fax Machine. Mary Bellis. Thought Co. 2019.

The Last Surviving Widow of the Civil War. John Banks. Historynet. 2021.

The Time Albert Einstein Was Asked to be President of Israel. Anna Dubey. Britannica.

When Pope Gregory IX Declared a War on Cats. Michael Janssens. History Colored. 2022

The Toronto Circus Riot of 1855 — the day the clowns picked the wrong Toronto brothel. Adam Bunch. Spacing Toronto. 2012.

The Noblest of Sports: Falconry in the Middle Ages. William H. Forsyth. Medievalists.

Electric cars have been around since before the US Civil War. CNN. 2019.

Gross! William The Conqueror’s Corpse Exploded On People At His Funeral. Katie Serena. AllThatsInteresting. 2017.