Skip To Content

    21 Disturbing Historical Facts That I Kind Of Wish I Hadn’t Heard

    Yep, there's no way I'm sleeping tonight.

    1. An entire factory crew happily worked with radium in the '20s – and most of them died horrifically of radiation poisoning not very long after.

    2. In the 18th century, a woman actually convinced doctors that she was giving birth to rabbits.

    A woman is laying on her back apparently in labour with rabbits running around her feet while people stand around her and exclaim in shock

    3. Until very recently it was believed that babies couldn’t feel pain, so often had operations done on them without any anaesthesia.

    A baby sitting up and looking inquisitively at the camera

    4. In the 13th century, Genghis Khan killed so many peasants that the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were significantly reduced as a result.

    5. In 1930s London, parents used to hang their babies in cages outside their windows.

    A baby sitting in a cage strapped to the outside of an apartment building window several stories up

    6. In 1518 the city of Strasbourg was hit by a ‘dancing plague’ where people would dance uncontrollably for days at a time.

    7. A 7th-century woman gave birth after she had already died – and her case isn’t unique.

    8. And while we're on the subject of strange occurrences from the grave – being buried alive was way more common than you might have thought in the 18th century.

    9. A single tiger killed an estimated 436 people in Nepal and the Kuamon area of India at the turn of the 20th century.

    A tiger baring its teeth menacingly into the camera and climbing out of a pool of water

    10. In the 19th century, a woman was hanged for killing the children that she promised to look after.

    11. In the 1800s a LOT of dentures were made using the teeth of dead soldiers.

    12. In 1922 an entire family was murdered on their farm under very mysterious circumstances – the killer was never found.

    13. In Victorian England, people used to take pictures of their dead relatives in lifelike positions to keep as mementos.

    14. Between the '70s and '90s, serial killer Dennis Rader would wait in his victims' homes to ensure they were at their most vulnerable before killing them.

    15. Human remains were a common ingredient in medicine until the 20th century.

    16. A novel about a seemingly ‘unsinkable’ ship that was hit by an iceberg was published in 1898 – 14 years before the Titanic sunk.

    17. In the middle ages, if someone was hanged for a crime their body might have been left on the gallows for up to a few years.

    18. Dracula was based on a real person who lived in Transylvania the 15th century and had a similarly violent way of killing his enemies.

    19. In 1929 a man was murdered in his shop and the killer escaped, somehow leaving it still locked from the inside.

    20. Huge ossuaries were set up throughout medieval and early modern Europe, where churches were elaborately decorated with thousands of human skeletons.

    21. Finally some books created in the 18th and 19th centuries were bound in real human skin.