15 Bizarre Victorian News Stories

From mummified cats to life-saving corsets.

1.
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A tailor shot at Mrs Dove, the wife of his employer, at Faversham last evening, with a revolver. The bullet struck the region of the heart, but was stopped by corset steel.

The Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 1900.

2.
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“A Liverpool firm has just recieved a consignment of nineteen tons of embalmed cats, which are to be used as manure…They were bought for consignment in Egypt at 78s 9d per ton.”

The Dundee Courier and Argus 1890

3.
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Perhaps the strangest pet ever kept by man was a wasp which Sir John Lubbock caught in the Pyrenees and resolved to tame…The wasp was a pet in every sense of the word, and became so fond of its owner that it allowed itself to be stroked.

The Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 1899.

4.
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The crocodile made no resistance, but followed its captor as meekly as though it had been a tame dog tied to a string…What it was fed upon while roaming about the country, and how it had kept out of the cold during the chilly nights of May and June, are still mysteries to its owner, who has joyfully recovered possession of her truant.

The Illustrated Police News 1880

5.
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No serious damage was done by the bull, but a great deal of china placed outside the shop was broken by the crowd in their eagerness to see the strange and unwelcome customer within.

The Yorkshire Telegraph and Star 1899

6.
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A brewer named Hare, residing in the Old Kent Road, was last week fined £200 by the magistrates of Union Hall, for having mixed copperas, opium and other poisonous ingredients with his beer…the beer in question had been expressly prepared for a beer-shop keeper named Death.

The Leamington Spa Courier 1839

7.
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A man, out of sheer bravado, while in a public house, cut up his fur cap and swallowed the pieces, then he ate up a newspaper.

The Shields Daily Gazette and Shipping Telegraph 1890

8.
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A drunken man named Lefebvre contrived unobserved, to mount upon a locomotive…and turning on the steam, started it down the line.

The Shields Daily Gazette and Shipping Telegraph 1890

9.
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A young lady in Reading, Pa. has just died from sheer fright, produced through a foolish fancy. Having had her photograph taken she showed a copy to her mother, who discovered the form of a skull on the pictures. Another skull having been figured out, the young lady grew pay, took to her bed, and died.

The Edinburgh Evening News 1876

10.
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The therapeutical uses of cocaine are so numerous that the value of this wonderful remedy seems only beginning to be appreciated.

The Manchester Evening News 1885

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12.

A thief was detected in a singular manner in Gloucester on Tuesday. Mrs Fisher, flour-dealer, or Northgate Street, while in the parlour adjoining her shop, was startled by a parrot which she keeps in her shop loudly calling ‘shop, fisher, shop’ and hastened to see what was the matter.

The Cornwall Royal Gazette 1848

13.
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A young elephant was introduced into the Court of Exchequer, London
on Friday week as a witness…Counsel declined to put any question to this novel witness, which, meanwhile, amused itself by seizing the hats upon the table with its trunk.

The Grantham Journal 1879

14.
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It appears that while playing with other lads Magee undertook, for a small wager, to swallow fifty-three marbles…Yesterday the medical staff succeeded in extracting forty-three of the marbles.

The Western Daily Press 1891

15.
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If Mr McKinley is elected, Henry Winsted of Kinkley Junction, of Indiana, is to engage in a butting match with a full grown ran; While should Mr Bryan be the victor, John Burns of the same town, will drink three pints of hard cider while standing on his head in a barrel.

The Star 1990

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