The fire in Dublin Ireland on June 18, 1875. A fire broke out and spread to a malt house and the heat broke open every alcohol barrel and flooded the streets with it.
The people of Dublin decides to drink the burning alcohol that is spreading in the streets, filled with liter and debris and was literally on fire. 13 people died not from the fire or smoke but from alcohol poisoning they got from drinking the street whiskey.
Jack a Baboon who was employed to change rail signals.
After initial skepticism, the railway decided to officially employ Jack once his job competency was verified. The baboon was paid twenty cents a day, and a half-bottle of beer each week. It is widely reported that in his nine years of employment with the railroad, Jack never made a mistake.
Return of Napoleon.
An army was sent to intercept him, and they ended up fighting for him. If it were shown in a movie most people would have considered it cheesy and unrealistic.
In 496 BC the army of King Goujian of Yueh put three ranks of criminals in the front of their battle formation. Their task was to impress the enemy with their ferocity and commitment by chopping off their own heads as soon as battle was joined.
The tactic was a success; while their opponents from the State of Wu were recovering from their astonishment they were overrun by the rest of the Yueh army. The convicts, who were condemned men anyway, had been coerced by the threat that if they didn’t comply with this plan their families would be executed also.
The story of the great Boston Molasses Flood sounds like it would be right at home in scene in a bad Adam Sandler flick.
The Great Stink of London in 1858.
One summer the heat dried up the River Thames (where all the human waste went) and an unbearable smell pervaded throughout the entire city. All Parliament representatives were eventually coerced out of their homes outside of London to convene and solve the issue. Much to the citizens’ glee, Parliament was held in their building on the bank of the River Thames, resulting in one of the fastest Parliament decisions ever made to reform the London sewer system.
The entire Taiping Rebellion.
A war started by a Chinese peasant who dreamed (and believed) he was Jesus’ younger brother. Although poor, the first thing he did was have a giant demon slaying sword forged. Took over a city. Asked the British why they wouldn’t pay him tribute as the new head of their faith. Engaged in total war with the Qing. Applied pseduo-communist policies like abolishing private property. Separated women and men from ever interacting, and sent the women to the front lines.
Over 20 million people died, with some estimates as high as 40 million. It was the fourth deadliest conflict in human history.
The town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany: One of the countries oldest and most preserved cities.
Essentially during the 30 years war, the catholic army wanted to destroy the town because they resisted the church. Count Von Tilly (sounds like a Monty Python name) was going to destroy the town, but as a gesture of peace the town offered him a Mass (3.25 L) of local wine. He declared that if anyone in the town could drink the Mass of wine in one go, he would spare the town and move on. Then someone just walked up and did it. So the army left.
Much much later during world war 2, when the US was performing air raids, someone in the White House knew of this town and pleaded that we do not destroy it. So it has been saved from 2 wars all because one guy chugged a bunch of wine.
Vesna Vulović fell from a height of 10160 meters and lived. She holds the world record for surviving the highest fall without a parachute.
The Japanese “Kamikaze” (Divine Wind) that saved the country from an amphibious invasion by the Mongolian hordes. The Mongols captured a foothold on some outlying Japanese islands, and started to attack the mainland. The Japanese army pushed them back, and they had to retreat to China. When they did, a typhoon ravaged their navy and sank their ships.
The Mongolians, (probably reasonably) seeing this as a fluke, decided to rebuild and attack again. Seven years later. Unfortunately for them, the Japanese fortified their coastline. After basically months of sailing around seeking a place to land, ANOTHER typhoon struck their fleet and destroyed them.
There would be no third invasion.
Some guy in Australia decided he wanted to hunt rabbits but rabbits don’t live in Australia so then he released like 12 in his backyard and now there’s a fuck ton of rabbits in Australia.
Serial killer Carl Panzram broke into the home of former president William H. Taft and stole jewelry, bonds, and a gun. With the money he got from the first two he bought a yacht in which he used the gun to kill a bunch of sailors.
In the 1800s there were street vendors in Egypt who sold…ancient Egyptian mummies. Just lined them up on a street corner and sold them like they were umbrellas on a rainy day. English tourists would buy them to display as oddities.
A Finnish solder, who managed to escape capture after losing his squad in a methed-up hallucination. Being the doctor of the group he was carrying the meth pills for the whole squad, and in order to survive and escape his pursuers he took the whole pill box, 30 pills, when the allowed dosage for a grown man was ONE.
He survived in the soviet wilderness for two weeks eating only pine buds and one time a Siberian jay that he caught and ate raw. When he was rescued he was 45kg and had a resting heart rate of 200bpm.
The Marathon at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis.
The second place finisher was carried across the finish line, legs technically twitching, by his trainers. They had been refusing him water, and giving him a mixture of Brandy and Rat Poison for the entire race. Doping wasn’t illegal yet (and this was a terrible attempt at it), so he got the gold when the First guy was revealed.
The London Beer Flood of 1814 – when one vat of beer at Meux & Co. brewery exploded, it proceeded to cause a domino effect of other vats to also burst, causing a tidal wave that flooded a neighborhood, leaving crumbled homes in its path as well as 8 people dead (and dozens injured).
The many defenestrations of Prague. Starting a war by throwing diplomats out the window is almost straight out of 300.