Internet

10 Insanely Weird Wikipedia Articles You Should Read

Joe Keeley Updated 23-03-2020

Wikipedia is full of useful information, but it also has lots of weird things to read about. These can be fun articles to read for an educational laugh.

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We’ve rounded up some of the weirdest and strange Wikipedia pages to keep you entertained. Start reading and enjoy getting lost in these crazy articles.

1. Danish Protest Pig: A Porky Flag Replacement

Danish protest pig
Image Credit: Axel Krampe/Wikimedia Commons

The Danish Protest Pig is a nickname for the Husum Red Pied, a rare pig breed that originated at the beginning of the 20th century. Danes living in the Prussian-ruled North Frisia were prohibited from raising their red-and-white striped flag.

Because of the pig’s red color and white belt, the creature became a symbol of national identity and stand-in for the real flag. The breed was considered extinct in 1968, though small numbers have cropped up again since 1984 (mainly in zoos.)

2. Mary Toft: Claimed to Give Birth to Rabbits

Mary Toft supposedly giving birth to rabbits
Image Credit: William Hogarth/Wikimedia Commons

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Mary Toft was an English woman who in 1726 claimed to have given birth to rabbits. Following a miscarriage, Toft said she had become startled by a rabbit and then became obsessed with them, before eventually giving birth to parts of the animal. Supposedly.

The case came to the attention of King George I and gained national attention. Toft was studied in London, but after a grilling she eventually admitted that she had placed the rabbit parts inside her. She was imprisoned for the hoax, but later released without charge.

3. Ruth Belville: Sold People the Time

Ruth Belville and Maria Belville
Image Credit: Hulton Archive and Royal Museums Greenwich/Wikimedia Commons and Wikimedia Commons

Believe it or not, a world existed before smartwatches. Since there was no internet to connect to for syncing clocks, Ruth Belville, along with her mother Maria Elizabeth and father John Henry, sold people the time from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s.

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Ruth Belville would attend the Greenwich Observatory at 9am, where she would set her watch to the conservatory clock—the most accurate clock in England. People would subscribe to her services, and she would travel around and set their clocks to the right time. Ruth retired at age 86 and died three years later.

4. My Immortal: The Worst Fan Fiction Ever Written

Hogwarts letter
Image Credit: Liam Truong/Unsplash

My Immortal is a Harry Potter fan fiction that was published online between 2006 and 2007, telling the tale of a vampire who falls in love with Draco Malfoy. It’s considered by many to be the worst fan fiction ever due to its awful writing, inconsistent plot, and disregard for the source material.

The true author is unknown and is considered to be a detriment to people who want to bring legitimacy to fan fiction—indeed, some believe the story to be a satirical work. Nevertheless, it has inspired a YouTube series and further fan fiction.

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5. Elvis Sightings: The King of Rock and Roll Lives On?

Elvis Presley
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc./Wikimedia Commons

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Elvis Presley died in 1977. In fact, according to authors like Gail Brewer-Giorgio, the famous singer didn’t actually die and instead went into hiding. Perhaps he checked in at the Heartbreak Hotel.

Alleged sighting locations include airports, amusement parks, and in the background of movies. Of course, all of them can be plainly explained, but it didn’t stop satirical newspapers like Weekly World News mocking the conspiracy theory with a front page headline of “New wave of Elvis sightings!”

6. Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, Sr.: The Longest Name Ever

Hubert Blaine
Image Credit: Associated Press/The Tuscaloosa News

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Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Sr. may seem like a long name on its own, but that’s actually an abbreviated version of the real 988-letter surname—the exact length and spelling is even up for debate, owing to various printing errors over time.

Hubert was a German-born American typesetter who holds the record for the longest name. He said that his great-grandfather created the surname in the 19th century when German Jews were forced to take a second name as the government didn’t like traditional patronymic names.

7. Glasgow Ice Cream Wars: Violence Under the Cover of Ice Cream

Ice cream truck
Image Credit: Pixabay/Pixabay

The Glasgow Ice Cream Wars took place in Scotland during the 1980s. It wasn’t actually a feud over ice cream, but instead a turf war between rival criminal organizations operating out of ice cream trucks.

Drivers often used violence and intimidation tactics to try to hold their ground and eventually the tension mounted and bubbled over. Sadly, one family was killed in an attack which then resulted in a 20-year battle in court.

8. Great Stink: When London’s Sewage Filled the Thames

The silent highwayman
Image Credit: Punch Magazine/Wikimedia Commons

In the 19th century, London’s longstanding sewage problem came to a head when the hot weather exacerbated the smell of waste in the Thames river. The event was dubbed the Great Stink, but worse than the smell were the outbreaks of cholera, diphtheria, and scrofula.

An engineer, Joseph Bazalgette, came to the rescue and reworked London’s entire sewer system. He and his crew did so well that much of their system is intact today.

9. Extreme Ironing: Outdoor Thrills With a Well-Pressed Shirt

Extreme ironing
Image Credit: Phil Shaw/Wikimedia Commons

Ironing isn’t the most exciting thing. Extreme ironing, on the other hand, aims to add some danger to this mundane household chore.

The sport is tongue-in-cheek, with contestants aiming to take photos of themselves ironing in crazy locations. Spots include the Antarctic, the middle of a go-kart race, or whilst parachuting.

10. Shizo Kanakuri: Completed a Marathon in 54 Years

Shiso Kanaguri
Image Credit: Asahi Shinbun/Wikimedia Commons

Shizo Kanakuri was a Japanese marathon runner who was reported to have set a world record in the qualifying trials for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. He was then one of two athletes that Japan sent for the games.

However, during the Olympic marathon, he fainted. He was so embarrassed by this that he went home to Japan without telling anyone. The Swedes considered him missing until he was found 50 years later. He then completed the rest of the marathon, setting a time of 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes, and 20.3 seconds.

“It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and 10 grandchildren,” said Kanakuri.

Discover More With Wikipedia

These are only a selection of the weird and wonderful articles that Wikipedia has. They even have their own list of all their unusual articles.

Wikipedia is undoubtedly an amazing resource. If you want to get more from it, check out these tools to make Wikipedia better 5 Tools to Make Wikipedia Better and Discover Interesting Articles Wikipedia can be a great place to discover interesting new topics. Find new Wikipedia articles to read about with these tools. Read More .

Related topics: Fun Websites, Wikipedia.

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  1. George
    November 30, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    You write "Then Ruth took over when mom retired – it was just time." However, very very few people in the UK have a "mom". Almost all of them have a "mum". That was probably even more true back in 1840-1940 when remote colonies with arbitrary deviant spelling weren't quite so acceptable as they are today.

    • Guy McDowell
      November 30, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      Ah, the eternal battle!
      Use the period and place specific term or use the current American term?

      Our style-guide favours the American terms.
      Which kills me, because I'm one of their neighbours-to-the-north. ;)

  2. Kannon Yamada
    September 11, 2015 at 2:21 am

    That was a really fascinating read. Thanks Guy!

  3. Anonymous
    September 10, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    hb Has Shown His **Disgruntleness** On Other Articles - Is He Capable Of More Than That ?

    If He Was A New Internet Species ( I Wish ), What Kind Of A Character Would Best Define His Behavior ?

    What About Compiling All His Comments Here In MUO And Make An Article About Disgruntled Internet Pos(t)ers ?

    Cheers.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 12, 2015 at 8:58 am

      We only have a team of 40-odd here at MUO, I fear we will be severely short-staffed to compile that.

      • Anonymous
        September 12, 2015 at 5:22 pm

        Just Kidding.

        Cheers.

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 13, 2015 at 12:08 pm

          So was I :D

  4. Anonymous
    September 9, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    HOWARD IS NOT ALLOWED NEAR CRAYONS AFTER LAST TIME

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 12, 2015 at 8:56 am

      I know, they're still cleaning up the mess.

  5. Anonymous
    September 9, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Mihir,

    I suspect that politeness is a lost art. I would like to apologize for him. Howard needs to take his purple crayon and write "I will be polite to other people" on the blackboard 100 times.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 9, 2015 at 8:16 am

      Aw, that's sweet of you, thank you, but you really don't need to do that :)

  6. Anonymous
    September 8, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    "...their system is in tact today." ***INTACT*** - why would it be "in" sensitivity or politeness?
    Please pardon my irritation.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 8, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Breathe, Howard, breathe :D Keep your patience in tact. We're fixing them, thanks for pointing it's out.

      • Anonymous
        September 8, 2015 at 6:20 pm

        Thanks.

        It's irritating to see someone who wishes to "make a living writing" not knowing the basic rules of grammar and spelling. Something as simple as hitting the F7 key in Word, but they can't be bothered.

        • Guy McDowell
          September 11, 2015 at 9:53 pm

          Thanks. (Yes, that's a proper use of an imperative sentence, although lacking in sincerity and the formality you wish to see from others. Ed.)

          It’s irritating (Irritating for whom? Ed.) to see someone who wishes to “make a living writing” (The quotation marks are not required. If they were, you would also be missing the comma that signifies the transition to the quote. You're also missing the ellipses that signify that this is an incomplete quote. Those should be at both ends of the quote, within the quotation marks, unless the quote ends with the word writing. In that case, you would need a terminal punctuation mark. Also note, the person being quoted must be referenced. Ed.) not knowing the basic rules of grammar and spelling (Although grammar does have rules, spelling does not. There are accepted spellings, although convention varies widely even in just one language. The logic is also poor. You've made an assumption with very little to support it.) Something as simple as hitting (Please use the word pressing. I'm not a violent person. Ed.) the F7 key in Word (Nice instructions, but I don't use Word. I use the same writing software as other illiterates such as Neil Cross, Chad Broughton, and Sheila O’Flanagan. Ed.), but they (Should be he. Ed.) can’t (The correct word is couldn't. The actions were taken in the past. Also, this is an incomplete sentence. Ed.)

          Thanks for coming out.

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 12, 2015 at 5:49 am

          Cannot. Stop. Laughing.

        • Ryan Dube
          September 12, 2015 at 7:56 am

          Guy wins the Internet.

  7. Anonymous
    September 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    "...bunny doll with it’s guts spilling out?"

    ***ITS*** - "it's" is a contraction, not a possessive.

    Kinda ruined the article for me.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      September 13, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      i really hope my life never devolves to the point where spelling/grammar mistakes in random articles on the internet bother me enough to leave a comment.