Unbelievable Wikipedia People & Stories

Historical misfits with bizarre claims to fame.

"Mad Jack" Churchill

Mad Jack Churchill

Churchill was an English soldier who fought throughout World War II armed with a longbow, arrows, bagpipes, and a sword. He led multiple commando missions, was captured by Nazis, and found time to play his bagpipes while performing heroic raids and missions. Source

The Dancing Plague of 1518

Dancing Plague

This plague was a case of dancing mania that occurred in France when a woman, Frau Troffea, began to dance fervently in a street in Strasbourg. Within a week, 34 others had joined Frau, and within a month, there were around 400 dancers. Some of these people eventually died from heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion. Source

Theodore Hook & the Berners Street Hoax

Ultimate PrankHoax Street

Mr. Hook took the 'order pizza for a stranger' prank to an epic level in the year 1809 on the streets of London. Theodore sent thousands of letters requesting deliveries, services, and visitors to come on a certain day to a randomly selected home. When the day arrived he and his friend watched from a house across the street as an army of workers, service providers, and deliveries bombarded the house starting at 4:00 AM continuing late into the night. It began as twelve chimney sweeps, a fleet of coal delivery carts, and dozens of wedding cakes started arriving in one hour intervals. Fish and shoe deliveries followed. To make things even more chaotic, six pianos and a team of stout men arrived to deliver an organ. A host of doctors, lawyers, and priests were also summoned to attend to someone they were told was dying in the house. When madness on the narrow street peaked, dignitaries such as the Governor of the Bank of England, the Duke of York, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Mayor of the City of London also arrived. Source

Franz Reichelt

Franz Reichelteiffel tower

Franz died doing what he loved... and what he loved was testing his inventions on a grand scale. In 1912 he climbed the Eiffel tower wearing his flying contraption. After jumping his invention failed to operate properly as a parachute and he made history for a different reason than he intended. Source


Wojtek - Polish Soldier Bear

Wojteck was a 'Soldier Bear' in the Polish army. He enjoyed smoking, eating cigarettes, wrestling fellow soldiers, and was taught to salute when greeted. As one of the officially enlisted soldiers of the company, he lived with the other men in their tents. Source

Elmer McCurdy

Elmer McCurdy

Elmer joined a gang of second rate train robbers in 1911 and was killed in a gunfight with authorities in Oklahoma after their first robbery. His story only began there.

When no one claimed McCurdy's corpse the undertaker embalmed it and allowed people to see the body for a nickel. People would place nickels in McCurdy's mouth, which the undertaker would collect later.

Almost five years later a man showed up from a nearby traveling carnival and claimed to be McCurdy's long-lost brother. He indicated that he wanted to remove the corpse to give it a proper burial. Within two weeks, however, McCurdy was a featured exhibit with the carnival. For the next 60 years, McCurdy's body was sold to successive wax museums, carnivals, and haunted houses. Source

Serge Voronoff

Serge VoronoffMonkey Riding a Bike

Serge was a French surgeon that gained fame for his technique of grafting monkey testicle tissue on to the testicles of men. Voronoff's monkey-gland treatment was in vogue in the 1920s. One poet described it as a "famous doctor who inserts monkey glands in millionaires" The technique brought him a great deal of money. As his work fell out of favor, he went from being highly respected to a subject of ridicule. Source

Mary Toft

Giving Birth to RabbitsMary Toft Portriat

Mary tricked doctors into believing that she had given birth to a litter of rabbits in England 1726.

After intense scrutiny from the king's surgeon she producing no more rabbits and eventually confessed to the hoax and was imprisoned for fraud. Source

Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence was an American soprano who became famous for her complete lack of rhythm, pitch, tone, and overall singing ability in the 1920s. Listen to a MP3

Robert Liston

Robert Liston

Robert Liston had a mortality rate of 300% in his most famous surgery in which he quickly amputated the leg of the intended patient who subsequently died from gangrene. The fingers of his young assistant were also accidentally amputated and as a result died from gangrene. In his surgical exuberance he also slashed through the coat tails of a distinguished spectator who was so terrified he dropped dead from fright.

In Robert Liston's second most famous case he amputated the leg of his patient in 2 1/2 minutes, but in his enthusiasm removed the patient's testicles as well.


The Ghost Army

The Ghost Army Tactical deception unit

The Ghost Army was a tactical deception unit in WWII. The 1,100 man unit was responsible for creating 20 fake battlefield recreations complete with inflatable tanks, sound trucks, phony radio noise, and battle-acting by the men. They were often near the front lines and served to draw German forces away from actual battalions. Source

Share this with your buddies -->Email this to your friend         Delicious     Twitter