You devoured our previous roundups of mind-expanding stories, so we’ve curated six more of the weirdest items sure to send you into a google tailspin. This time, it’s history-themed tales of the bizarre. Get your tin foil hats ready, and let’s dive in!
1. An English painter who completed multiple works about Jack the Ripper…may actually be Jack the Ripper.
I know, I know—Jack the Ripper theories are a dime a dozen. But author Patricia Cornwell posits a theory in her 2002 book, Portrait of a Killer, that English artist Walter Sickert—who has a piece subtly titled Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom—may be the killer himself. J’accuse!
2. We’re not living in the year 2018, but the 1720s, because a good chunk of the Middle Ages were faked.
Heribert Illig, a German historian, believes 297 years were “added to history” thanks to the meddling of Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII, Holy Roman Emperor Otto III and Pope Sylvester II. He calls this theory the “Phantom Time Hypothesis,” and cites numerous historical artifacts as proof. Indiana Jones 5, anyone? Er,6?
3. Art “created” by Lolo the donkey in 1910 Paris may have kicked off the conceptual art movement.
Et le soleil s’endormit sur l’Adriatique (Sunset Over the Adriatic)was submitted to the Parisian Salon des Indépendants in 1910 by Joachim-Raphaël Boronali of the Excessivist art movement. In reality, it was the work of author Roland Dorgelès and Lolo, a donkey who hung out at his favorite bar. Classic Paris stuff. Did the prank help kick off conceptual art, and criticism of the art world as a whole?
4. Have you ever been accused of eating a toddler? Tarrare, an 18thcentury Frenchman with polyphagia, a condition in which you never feel full, has.
Many myths surround Tarrare (1772-1798), a mysterious figure who ate live animals (including puppies and eels), drank blood, and downed meals that could easily feed 15 sturdy men. He eventually died of “purulent diarrhea,” according to George M. Gould and Walter Lytle Pyle’s Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine.What a way to go!
5. A young girl fell into a coma of sorts for nine years in 1871 in Buckinghamshire, U.K., and curious onlookers flocked to see her—but it was probably a ruse.
Not quite in a coma and not quite asleep, eleven-year-old Ellen Sadler was most likely the victim of Munchausen by Proxy. Villagers would come to gawk at her for a “small fee,” but she miraculously recovered from her condition after her mother, who may have been poisoning her to induce a near-comatose state, passed away.
6. A mysterious teen who could only speak his name, Kaspar Hauser, perplexed German villagers upon his discovery in 1828 and eventually became a local celebrity.
Hauser learned to read and write quickly—perhaps too quickly—and told tall tales about his upbringing, claiming he had been imprisoned in a dark room for most of his life. He was “stabbed” by one of the many assassins he claimed were constantly after him, although historians believe he probably stabbed himself for attention, not realizing how severe the wound would be.
Freaked out once again? Me, too! Leave your favorite stories in the comments so we can keep this weird train runnin’!