10 WTH Historical Details

10 WTH Historical Details

Khalid Elhassan - May 9, 2018

Few would be surprised to learn that we live in an often bizarre and strange world. Historically speaking, however, there is relatively little new. The specific details of the bizarreness and strangeness might change over the years, but history has no shortage of weird events that would have made contemporaries go “WTF?!”, the same as us today.

Following are ten such WTF details about historical events.

Electric Massagers Were Invented as Vibrators To Cure Women of ‘Female Hysteria’

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus“, is a cliche often tossed out as a shortcut for expressing the notion that men and women are incomprehensible to one another. However, if there was any period in history when reality actually matched the cliche, it was probably during the Victorian Era. Back then, people – particularly men – understood very little about female sexuality.

In the late 19th century, women who exhibited a variety of symptoms such as depression, fatigue anxiety, or loss of sexual appetite were diagnosed with “female hysteria”. The prescribed medical treatment was a pelvic massage to bring about a “female paroxysm” – Victorian speak for “orgasm”. A doctor would insert his fingers inside a patient’s vagina, and manually massage her vulva and clitoral region until she had an orgasm, which would supposedly cure whatever was ailing her.

10 WTH Historical Details
Advertisement for an early electric massager. All That is Interesting

In short, female orgasms were viewed as medical oddities, and the province of professional physicians who induced them in order to calm down “hysterical” women. To be fair to Victorians, they did not invent such treatments to combat “female hysteria”. That diagnosis dates all the way back to Hippocrates, circa 450 BC, and it persisted throughout the Middle Ages. However, the late Victorians can be credited with picking it up and running away with it.

The late 19th century’s medical community believed that there was a female hysteria epidemic, with some leading physicians estimating that 75% of women in the US suffered from the malady. However, the cure of inducing “female paroxysm” in patients was a time consuming task. It was difficult to teach and learn, doctors complained that it often took an hour or more, and many suffered wrist fatigue – carpal tunnel syndrome, as we would call it today. Some turned to mechanical vibrators, and the first steam-powered vibrator, fueled by shoveling coal into a furnace, was invented in 1869. However, such vibrators were bulky and cumbersome contraptions, some as big as a dining room table.

Enter Hamilton Beach, the makers of kitchen appliances such as coffee makers, toasters, and blenders. In 1902, they marketed the “Try New Life”, the world’s first commercially available vibrator. However, because of the conventional mores of the day, the devices could not be advertised for what they actually were. Instead, they were marketed as “electrical massagers” to ease sore and aching muscles. Some people probably did buy them for that purpose. However, it was very much a wink-wink-nudge-nudge situation. The devices were marketed to women, the overwhelming majority of purchasers were women, and it was common knowledge what vibrators were for.

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The Hatfield clan in 1897. Wikimedia

The Hatfield-McCoy Feud Was Fueled by Literal Bad Blood

A prolonged 19th century vendetta between neighboring clans along the Kentucky-West Virginia border, the Hatfield and McCoy Feud is America’s most infamous family feud. Fought largely in the 1880s, it pitted the McCoys, most of whom lived in Pike County, KY, against the Hatfields, who lived mostly in neighboring Logan County, WV.

The McCoys were led by Randolph “Old Ran’l” McCoy, while the rival Hatfields were led by William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield. The earliest known violence dates to 1865, when Harmon McCoy, a Union Army veteran, was murdered by a band of Confederate guerrillas led by Devil Anse Hatfield. Bushwhacking was common during the Civil War, so it did not lead to an immediate feud. However, it stored hard feelings for down the road.

Then in 1878, a McCoy accused a Hatfield of stealing a hog. The Hatfield was acquitted, but one of the witnesses who took his side was murdered by the McCoys in retaliation soon thereafter. Tensions increased in 1880, when Devil Anse Hatfield’s son impregnated Old Ran’l McCoy’s daughter. Then in 1882, Devil Anse’s brother was mortally wounded in a brawl with three McCoys over a small debt owed on a fiddle. The Hatfields retaliated by capturing and executing three McCoys. That was when things exploded into a prolonged back forth vendetta, that at times threatened to turn into a war between the states of Kentucky and West Virginia.

By 1890 the Hatfields, who had seriously gone overboard in the brutalities during the course of the vendetta, had been reduced to homeless hunted fugitives. Finally, four of them, plus their accomplices, were arrested and indicted for one particularly heinous atrocity. The fighting came to an end with the hanging of a Hatfield in Pikesville, in February of 1890.

The feud had been remarkable for its intensity and longevity. That ability to keep a good hate going for a long time might have been due, at least on the McCoys’ part, to genetics. In 2007, an 11 year old McCoy girl prone to fits of rage underwent medical tests to find out what was wrong with her. It was discovered that she, and many members of the McCoy clan, had tumors on their adrenal glands. According to doctors, such tumors cause the release of massive amounts of mood-altering chemicals, such as adrenalin.

That could explain much about the infamous feud. As the McCoy girl’s physician put it, her family’s genetic defect: “does produce hypertension, headache and sweating intermittently depending on when the surge of these compounds occurs in the bloodstream. I suppose these compounds could possibly make somebody very angry and upset for no good reason“. Feuding was literally in the McCoys’ blood.

10 WTH Historical Details
Tiger tank manual section explaining that water and antifreeze are like a fresh shower for the motor. Tiger I Information Center

The Tiger Tank’s Training Manual Was Peppered With Porn and Poetry

No WW2 tank terrified its opponents as much as did the German Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E, commonly known as the Tiger I. Entering service in 1942, this heavy tank’s main assets were thick armor that its common adversaries could not penetrate except from close range, and a powerful 88mm gun that could destroy its foes from far awa. That gave the Tiger an extensive safe standoff distance, within which it was practically invulnerable. Tigers had a powerful psychological hold on their enemies’ imaginations, and few Allied tank crews relished the prospect of encountering them.

Luckily for the Allies, Tigers had plenty of downsides. They were heavy and slow gas guzzlers; had a limited range; were difficult to transport; were poorly engineered for their expected battlefield environment; were notorious for their mechanical unreliability and propensity to breakdown; became immobilized when their overlapping wheels got jammed with snow and mud; were expensive to produce and difficult to manufacture, with only 1300 built during the war – a number lower than the typical monthly production figures of opposing T-34 or Sherman tanks. When Tigers worked, they were terrifyingly good, but fortunately, the Tigers often did not work, and there were too few of them make a difference in the war’s ultimate outcome.

On the Western Front, where the Allies lacked powerful armor capable of taking out Tigers, other than Sherman Fireflys with big guns, and M10 tank destroyers, Tigers maintained their superiority until war’s end. But on the Eastern Front, that superiority was increasingly challenged by T-34/85s, IS-2s, and IS-122s whose guns could destroy Tigers from various ranges.

To address the Tiger’s extensive reliability issues, and bring the crews up to speed on its complexity, German authorities went the risque route. The officer tasked with writing up the Tiger’s training manual decided to spice up things up by peppering the document’s pages with porn. He also included plenty of dirty limericks and jokes, but what stood out the most was the nudity and porn throughout the manual.

A big breasted blond character named Elvira, usually sketched in red to more readily jump out of the pages, made numerous nude appearances throughout the manual to make it more appealing to the trainees. Elvira’s nude appearances were not random or gratuitous, however: she showed up, while showing a lot of skin, in those sections the trainees were expected to pay the most attention to.

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Witch burning during the era of the Lille school panic. Wikimedia

A Religious Nut School Headmistress Almost Got 50 of Her Students Burned at the Stake for Witchcraft

A girl’s boarding school in Lille, France, experienced a witch scare in 1639 that almost ended in tragedy, all thanks to the headmistress, a religious nut who had founded the school. Antoinette Bourignon, the headmistress, entered the classroom one day in 1639, and imagined seeing a swarm of little black demons flying around her students’ heads. Alarmed, she told the schoolgirls to watch out for Satan, whose little black imps were buzzing all around them.

Madam Bourignon became obsessed with the little black demons she kept seeing hovering around her wards’ heads, and kept warning the girls every day to watch out for the Devil. As a result, the impressionable children started believing that there actually were little black demons flying all around them. Before long, they too began to imagine that they could see them. Soon, Satan and satanic possession became almost the sole topic of conversation in the school.

Eventually, one of the schoolgirls ran away, too scared to stay in a school infested with little black demons who might possess her at any moment, as Madam Bourignon never tired of warning the children. When she was brought back, the schoolgirl claimed not to have run away, but to have been carried away by the Devil. For good measure, she added that she was a witch, and had been one since age seven.

When they heard what their schoolmate had said, about fifty other schoolgirls started having fits. When they came to, they joined in a “me, too!” rush, and claimed that they were also witches. In their eagerness to confess, the children competed to outdo each other with ever more sinister details of their supposed dark deeds. Some girls claimed to ride on broomsticks. They were topped by others claiming an ability to pass through keyholes. They in turn were trumped by schoolgirls claiming to feast on the flesh of babies, or to have attended the Domdaniel, the gathering of the demons.

Some of Lille’s citizens and clergy were skeptical about the hysterical claims, but most thought that the children’s confessions were valid, and a formal investigation was launched. Before long, most of the locals were baying for the schoolgirls’ blood, and pressuring the authorities to take a stand against witchcraft burning all fifty girls at the stake as witches.

The children’s lives were only saved when some of the skeptical clergy, aghast at what was about to happen, insisted that the investigators dig in deeper. That was when they discovered what Madam Bourignon had done to fill the girls’ heads with thoughts of demonic possession. The children were absolved, and the blame was shifted to Madam Bourignon. She barely escaped punishment after the authorities, unsure of her sanity and tired of the whole affair, brought the investigation to an end.

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Calvin Graham as a 12 year old, and revisiting the USS South Dakota as an adult. Imgur

A 12 Year Old Joined the US Navy and Fought in WW2

During WW2, Calvin Leon Graham (1930 – 1992) became famous when it was discovered that he had successfully lied about his age and managed to join the US Navy at age 12. After his father’s death, Calvin’s mother remarried, and he ended up living with an abusive stepfather in Houston. He moved out at age 11 with an older brother, and made ends meet by delivering newspapers and telegrams on the weekends and outside school hours. A year later, in 1942, he told his mother he was going to visit relatives, but went to a recruiting office instead. There, he lied about his age, and enlisted in the US Navy at age 12.

After completing boot camp, Calvin was sent to Pearl Harbor. There, he was assigned to the recently commissioned battleship USS South Dakota, joining its crew in September of 1942 as a loader for an antiaircraft gun. The following month, he served the guns during the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, for which the South Dakota and her crew received a Navy Commendation.

On the night of November 14-15, 1942, during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, the South Dakota came under fire from at least three enemy warships, and was struck 26 times, sustaining significant damage. Calvin was injured by shrapnel, but ignored it to take part in rescue operations and help pull more seriously wounded crewmates to safety. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his conduct that day, and a Purple Heart for his wounds in action.

The South Dakota sailed to New York City for repairs, and while it was docked, Calvin went AWOL to attend his grandmother’s funeral in Texas. That was when his mother discovered where her child had been all that time. She told the Navy, but incredibly, rather than immediately discharge him, they sent the 12 year old to the brig as punishment for going AWOL. It was only after his sister threatened to go public that the Navy let the child go. However, in an act of bureaucratic petty retaliation, the US Navy gave him a dishonorable discharge, and confiscated his awards.

It took writing to Congress, and securing the approval of President Jimmy Carter, before Calvin’s dishonorable discharge was changed to honorable in 1977. His awards were also restored to him, with the exception of the Purple Heart, for some reason. In 1988, his story was told in a TV movie, Too Young a Hero, in which Calvin was played by Rick Schroeder. He was the youngest American serviceman during WWII, as well as the youngest one decorated for heroism during that conflict.

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‘Tarquin and Lucretia’, by Titian, 1571. Wikimedia

A Rape Led to the Creation of the Roman Republic

Lucretia (died circa 509 BC) was a Roman noblewoman whose rape by one the king’s sons changed history. Public outrage led to a popular uprising, revolution swept Rome, and the monarchy was overthrown, to be replaced with a representative form of government. The uprising was led by Lucius Junius Brutus (flourished 6th century BC), who is credited as the founder of the Roman Republic. He was also the ancestor of Marcus Junius Brutus, who assassinated Julius Caesar, the dictator who ended that Republic.

In 509 BC, Rome was a monarchy, ruled by the Etruscan king Lucius Tarquinus Superbus. According to Roman tradition, one of the king’sons, Sextus Tarquinus, raped a noblewoman, Lucretia, while her husband was away on a military campaign. Lucretia told her relatives and other gathered Romans, and then, to preserve family honor, stabbed herself to death.

Enter Brutus, whose name means “Dimwit” in Latin. A nephew of the king, Brutus had shown no signs of greatness until then. He had his own grievances against the king, who had executed Brutus’ brother, and it is possible that Brutus had played the dummy to appear nonthreatening to his uncle. The day of Lucretia’s rape and death, Brutus removed the dimwit mask and donned that of a leader: pulling the knife out of Lucretia’s breast, he vowed revenge and led an uprising.

He had Lucretia’s corpse taken to Rome’s central square, where it was publicly displayed. Seizing the moment while passions were high, Brutus whipped the public into joining him in avenging Lucretia by expelling the royals from Rome, and replacing the monarchy with a republic. The king was away on a military campaign, but when the Roman army heard what was going on back home, the troops sided with the rebels.

King and royal family were forced to flee into exile, and Rome became a Republic, with Brutus its first chief magistrate. From early on, the new republic’s founding fathers emphasized duty and self sacrificing service to the state. Brutus embodied the ideal of devotion to duty and severe impartiality in its fulfillment: when his own sons joined a conspiracy to restore the kings, he condemned them to death.

The king tried to regain his throne, first via a conspiracy with leading Roman nobles. It was discovered, however, and the conspirators were executed. The king then tried force, raising an army from neighboring city states that had their own grievances against Rome. The new republic defeated those attempts as well, and went on to flourish for nearly five centuries before it was overthrown and replaced by the Roman Empire.

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Alexander Fleming in his laboratory. Time Magazine

Sloppiness Saved Millions of Lives

Today, Alexander Fleming (1881 – 1955) is rightly remembered as one of the most brilliant minds in the history of science. However, for much of his career, Fleming had been an unprepossessing Scottish doctor, pharmacologist, and microbiologist. There was not much in his decades-long career, before 1928, to indicate that he would revolutionize medicine. Until that year, Fleming’s biggest career accomplishment had to do with research on enzymes. But in 1928, he discovered penicillin, the antibiotic that would revolutionize medical care. Because of that discovery, untold millions of lives have been saved from fatal bacterial infections. And it all happened because Fleming had been a slob.

Alexander Fleming’s life was marked by lucky breaks and twists of fate. Born in Scotland, he moved to London, where he graduated high school before getting a job in a shipping office. That might have become his career, but an uncle died four years later, and left Fleming an inheritance that allowed him to go to medical school. He planned on becoming a surgeon, but he did not end up on that career path because, of all things, Fleming was good with a rifle.

While serving in a reserve regiment, Fleming’s superiors discovered that he was a great marksman. To become a surgeon, he would have had to leave his medical school and move away. That would have entailed leaving his unit, and Fleming’s commanding officer did not want to lose his promising crack shot reservist. So he introduced Fleming to a prominent researcher and immunologist, who convinced him to become a researcher instead.

Fleming served in the Army Medical Corp during WW1, and he observed the deaths of many soldiers from uncontrollable infections. At the time, antiseptics were used to fight infections, but they often did more harm than good. Fleming conducted research, which showed that antiseptics did nothing to stop the proliferation of anaerobic bacteria in deep wounds. Although his research was initially rejected, Fleming plugged on.

One day in 1922, while infected with a cold, he transferred some of his snot to a Petri dish. Fleming was a slob, with sloppy lab practices, so he put the Petri dish on his cluttered desk, then forgot about it for a few weeks. When he finally remembered and examined it, the Petri dish was full of bacterial colonies. However, the microscope revealed that one area of snot was free of bacteria. Further examination revealed that it was due to the presence of an enzyme, which he called lysozyme, which had some antimicrobial properties. That laid the groundwork for his discovery of penicillin.

In 1928, still a laboratory slob, Fleming left another uncovered Petri dish next to an open window, where it became contaminated with fungus spores. When he examined it under the microscope, Fleming discovered that the bacteria near the fungus were dying. He managed to isolate the fungus, and discovered that it was effective against numerous pathogens that caused diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia, diphtheria, gonorrhea, scarlet fever, and many more. Thus, penicillin was discovered. As Fleming put it: “I did not discover penicillin. Nature did that. I only discovered it by accident“.

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Huaynaputina Volcano. Orange Smile

A Volcano in South America Killed Millions in Russia

Four centuries ago, a South American volcano went off in a catastrophic eruption, with catastrophic consequences as far away as the opposite side of the globe. That volcano, Huaynaputina, is situated in the Andean Mountains, in the southern Peruvian uplands, roughly fifty miles from the city of Arequipa. The cliche of primitive natives sacrificing humans to volcanoes is not so cliche when it comes to this volcano. Native tribes in Huaynaputina’s vicinity actually did make such sacrifices, until the Spanish put a halt to that after conquering Peru and introducing Catholicism.

Catastrophe struck after the sacrifices stopped, however, so maybe the natives had been on to something. On February 19th, 1600, Huaynaputina exploded in the most massive volcanic eruption ever experienced in South America within recorded history. Understandably, the natives drew a link between the end of the sacrifices and the volcanic eruption, reasoning that the lack of sacrifices must have offended and angered Supay, their god of death.

Booms and rumbles had been heard in the days before Huaynuptina exploded, and witnesses recalled seeing fog and gasses spewing from the volcano’s crater. A local Catholic priest reported frightened natives, recently converted to Christianity, falling back on their old religious beliefs and traditions. Shamans, who had not been seen for years, scrambled to appease the volcano, preparing plants, flowers, pets, and virgin girls for sacrifice. However, the volcano spewed hot ash during the sacrifice ceremony. The natives took that as a sign that the gods were too angry to be appeased by belated sacrifices, after having being ignored for so long.

Volcanic and seismic activity continued and increased, and by February 15th, 1600, earthquakes were shaking the region. By the 18th, tremors were being felt every four or five minutes, some of them powerful enough to shake those who had managed to sleep into wakefulness. Finally, around 5PM on February 19th, Huaynaputina erupted, sending a column of steam and ash high into the skies.

Those who heard it described the sound as that of giant cannons going off. Streams of lava began flowing down the mountainside, and when they reached the nearby Rio Tambo river, they created lahars – mudflows of volcanic slurry, debris, and water. Volcanic ash began falling down, and within a day, the city of Arequipa, 50 miles away, was covered by ash almost a foot deep. Falling ash was recorded over 300 miles away, in Chile and Bolivia. Smaller eruptions continued for the next couple of weeks, until the volcano finally quieted down on March 5th.

In the eruption, lava flowed about ten miles from the volcano, while lahars, or mud slides, made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean, 75 miles away. Several villages were destroyed, while the earthquakes stemming from the eruption caused significant damage in Arequipa and nearby towns. About 15,000 people were killed in the immediate region. However, they were but a tiny fraction of the total casualties caused by the eruption.

Ashes from Huaynaputina spread into the atmosphere, and wreaked havoc in the northern hemisphere, where temperatures saw a significant drop. In Russia, for example, the year after the eruption, 1601 was the coldest year in six centuries. That led to widespread crop failures, resulting in the Russian Famine of 1601 – 1603, in which two million people, or a third of Russia’s total population at the time, perished.

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A Barbary macaque monkey, of the kind that killed king Alexander of Greece. Pintrest

History’s Most Influential Monkey

Did you know that King Alexander of Greece met his death at the hands (and teeth) of a monkey? Not Alexander the Great, mind , but a more recent King Alexander (1893 – 1920). Less imposing than the great conqueror of the ancient world, this Alexander, who reigned from 1917 until killed by a monkey three years later, is better known to history for the undignified manner of his death than for anything he did in life.

In 1917, during WW1, the Entente forced Alexander’s father to abdicate because he was too pro-German. Once Alexander ascended the throne in his father’s place, the pro Entente Eleutherios Venizelos became Greek premier, dominated the king and government, and joined the war on the Entente side. After the war, Venizelos and his puppet king were committed to a political platform called Great Greece. It consisted of capturing from the defeated Ottoman Empire, now reduced to modern Turkey, all the lands that had once been inhabited by Greeks, dating back millennia. So in 1919, with tacit French and British support, Greek armies were sent to invade Turkey and seize the Ionian coast.

The king never got to see the end of that adventure, however, because his own undignified end intervened. It began with a visit to the Royal Gardens on September 30th, 1920 – a turning point in Greek history. While walking his dog through the Gardens that day, king and pooch came across somebody’s pet Barbary macaque monkey. The dog attacked the monkey, which fought back, and Alexander rushed in to separate the brawling animals. Unbeknownst to the king, however, the monkey had friends.

As Alexander struggled to restore the peace, another monkey rushed in to defend his pal. Seeing what appeared to be the king and a dog ganging up on his buddy, the newly arrived monkey joined the fray, and fell upon Alexander, biting him in the leg and upper torso several times. The king’s entourage came to his aid upon hearing the commotion, and chased away the monkeys, but by then the damage had already been done.

The monkey bites became inflamed, and the king developed a serious infection. Alexander’s leg should have been amputated, but none of the doctors wanted to take responsibility, so it was left until it was too late. By the time amputation was finally considered as a serious option, the infection had spread into the king’s body. King Alexander died of sepsis three weeks after the monkey brawl, at age 27.

Far reaching consequences flowed from those monkey bites. Alexander’s death resulted in the restoration of his deposed father. The new old king was not as friendly to the military – who had supported his deposition – as his son had been. Drastic cuts in military spending, and serious reorganizations, followed his return to the throne. The pro Entente premier Venizelos was also ousted. Those changes in the political environment led the British and French to question Greece’s commitment to the campaign in Turkey. As a result, they made their own peace deals with a resurgent Turkey. Between that and the military turmoil, the Greek invasion of Turkey ended in disaster and defeat. All because king Alexander and his dog messed with the wrong monkey.

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‘Low Church Devotion’, by Adolph Tidemand. Wikemedia

Swiss Cult Leader Ordered Her Followers to Nail Her to a Cross by Her Breasts

On Christmas Day of 1794, a large Swiss family welcomed its newest member, Margaretta Peter. Perhaps her birth date was an augury, because Margaretta was passionately religious from an early age. She became a preaching prodigy by the time she was six, captivating congregations with a grasp of the Bible that exceeded that of many adult preachers, and delivering impassioned sermons that moved churchgoers. She also had a powerful personality that enabled her to turn her relatives and neighbors into her disciples, by spiritually dominating them.

When she was 20, Margaretta set up her own congregation in her village, and announced that she was a prophetess. She became a roaming preacher, and gained a reputation and following throughout Switzerland. In 1823, her preaching began focusing on Satan, and she took to warning her followers that the Devil was all around them. Soon, she was having prophetic visions of demons taking over the world.

Then one day she announced that the final battle between God and Satan was about to begin, and directed ten devoted followers to arm themselves – literally – and pray. On Margaretta’s instructions, they collected clubs, axes, and whatever weapons they could find, and barricaded themselves in an attic. She told them that invisible devils had surrounded the house, then suddenly shrieked that the demons had broken in. So her followers began swinging their weapons wildly, at imaginary devils only she could see.

Margarett’s devotees kept at it for hours, destroying the attic in the process. They then descended to the ground floor, and started hitting each other, reasoning that pain would ward off the demons. That went on until neighbors finally called the police, who arrived to find Margaretta’s followers senseless on the floor, while she continued beating them up.

Next day, her followers were told that more pain was needed to keep the Devil away. Her devotees, still black and blue from the previous night, resumed pummeling each other, while she grabbed an iron wedge and began bludgeoning her brother. Margaretta finally took a breather, to announce that her dead mother’s ghost had ordered her to sacrifice herself. Her devoted sister stepped up, however, and insisted that she be sacrificed instead. Margaretta accepted, and began beating her sister with the iron wedge. When a follower protested, Margaretta assured everybody that her sister would rise from the dead in three days. That was good enough for the rest of the congregation, and they enthusiastically joined the prophetess in beating her sister to death.

Ratcheting up the crazy, Margaretta then ordered her followers to crucify her. They were hesitant at first, but she assured them that, just like Jesus, she would come back to life in three days. So they made a cross, and with Margaretta urging them on, nailed her to it by her breasts, hands, feet, and elbows. She then directed them to stab her through the heart. They tried, but kept botching it, so they finally gave up on stabbing her, and used a crowbar and hammer to smash her head instead.

Then Margaretta’s congregation gathered around her corpse and that of her sister, and started praying while waiting for them to spring back to life in three days. Of course, the three days came and went, but the dead prophetess and her dead sister stayed as dead as doorknobs. Margaretta’s followers were tried for murder, and eleven were convicted and given prison sentences ranging from six months to 16 years.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Sources & Further Reading

All That is Interesting – The Strange, Surprising History of the Vibrator

Bartholomew, Robert E., and Rickard, Bob – Mass Hysteria in Schools: A Worldwide History Since 1566 (2014)

Brewminate – The Crucifixion of Margaretta Peter

Cracked – 5 Sexual Innovations From People in Your History Textbooks

Cracked – 7 WTF Details About Historical Events Everyone Forgets

Daily Beast, April 27th, 2012 – ‘Hysteria’ and the Long, Strange History of the Vibrator

Daily Galaxy, May 6th, 2008 – The Huaynaputina Eruption of 1600: Massive Volcano Had Massive Effects

Encyclopedia Britannica – King Alexander of Greece

New York Times, November 9th, 1992 – Obituary: Calvin Graham, 62, Who Fought in War as a 12-Year-Old

Sacramento Union, October 26th, 1920 – Monkey Bite Fatal to King: Alexander Succumbs to His Wounds After Hard Battle For Life

Tank Encyclopedia – Panzer VI Tiger

Time Magazine, September 28th, 2015 – How Being a Slob Helped Alexander Fleming Discover Penicillin

Vanderbilt Magazine, November 1st, 2008 – Tumors May Have Fueled Hatfield-McCoy Feud

West Virginia Encyclopedia – The Hatfield-McCoy Feud

Wikipedia – Lucretia