The history they teach us in school is the essential bits. It’s what we need to know to understand the world. But the untold history is far more fascinating, weird, and funny.
The internet has its own bunch of amateur historians who dig up these stories and recount them in their own way. From facts on Wikipedia to hilarious narrations in podcasts, check out these strange stories from history.
1. Wikipedia’s Unusual Articles (Web): An Official List
Wikipedia has become the record-keeper of everything that happens in history. Naturally, there are some insanely weird articles on it. But did you know Wikipedia has an official list of its most unusual articles?
These are articles voted by Wikipedia editors as being strange or unusual for some reason. They might be weird, funny, a strange confluence of events, or anything like that. Remember, there are five million articles on Wikipedia, and this list has only a few hundred.
If you like this, check out some apps to find weird and interesting Wikipedia articles. There are enough entertaining reads to keep you occupied for a long time.
2. The Dollop (Podcast): Two Stand-Up Comedians Take on American History
Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds are stand-up comedians by profession. Their side project, though, is where they are at their best. Check out The Dollop, where Dave researches a weird historical story and narrates it to Gareth.
Be warned, there is plenty of foul language and offensive humor in this one. But the stories you hear are incredible. From a man who simply would not die after several attempts by his killers, to a time when a baseball stadium sold beer for ten cents, The Dollop is a laugh-a-minute delight.
What makes it special isn’t the research, though. It’s the commentary and banter between Dave and Gareth. Every week, Gareth has no idea about the story that Dave is narrating, so he’s in for the rollercoaster ride, much like the reader. It’s one of the best comedy podcasts you’ll hear.
3. Damn Interesting (Web): The Best Site to Read Strange History
For over 10 years, Alan Bellows has been delighting readers with bizarre tales from history. Each story is thoroughly researched, but keep in mind, you should suspend your disbelief a bit. After all, history gets a little distorted as time goes on.
There are two types of stories, nuggets and longform. The nuggets are excellent for a quick, short read. But you really should be reading the longforms, with almost 300 articles to go through. A good place to start is the site’s Greatest Hits, but if you truly enjoy it, head to the first story and keep reading. It’ll make history come alive for you.
Damn Interesting also has a podcast, but I’d listen to The Dollop instead. The Dollop often uses material from Damn Interesting anyway, so you won’t miss out.
4. Stuff You Missed In History Class (Podcast): This Should Be in Textbooks
Tracy and Holly trade the role of researcher in each episode, so one co-host is listening to the story for the first time, much like the listener. Both have curious minds and often ask the question that would plague a reader’s mind.
Go to the site to see a list of topics, so you can find a story you’re in the mood for. Stuff You Missed In History Class isn’t always funny, but it’s unfailingly fascinating.
5. Badass Of The Week (Web): The Greatest Archive of Cool People
It feels strange to list a site that hasn’t been updated in over a year. But that’s how good Badass Of The Week (BOTW) was in its prime. Ben Thompson pulls no punches (or any cuss words) as he recounts the tales of awesome people in history or mythology.
The writing style is what makes BOTW so interesting to read. Thompson uses crude phrases, exaggerated adjectives, creative cusses, and weird descriptions. There’s even a made-up quote here or there. But put together, he weaves a narrative that is fascinating and hilarious simultaneously. And the subjects are both male and female, making it one of the websites every woman should be reading.
Look, BOTW isn’t about historical accuracy and Thompson doesn’t claim that either. It’s about the best part of history: telling the story. Without that, history is boring academia. So go through the complete list and have a good time.
What’s Your Favorite Weird History?
To truly appreciate these weird stories, you still need to know the entire history of the world. And for that, here’s a weird and funny video telling you everything you need to know:
What’s your favorite weird tale from history? Which person or event made you go “Come on, did that really happen?”