27 True Historical Facts That Are So Crazy You’ll Be Googling Them For The Rest Of The Day

Truth is, by far, stranger than fiction. Need proof? Just look through history. From the World Wars, to walking on the moon, to Anthony Scaramucci, history is filled with stories that make people go “What?! THAT REALLY HAPPENED?!”

In this AskReddit thread, people shared their favorite historical facts that are just about too crazy to believe. Some of them might even have you falling down deep Google and Wikipedia holes trying to make sense of why the world would ever be so ridiculous.

1. From user Dracon_Pyrothayan:

The Marathon in the 1904 olympics.

First finisher hitched a ride in a car. He was disqualified.

Second finisher was carried across the finish line by his trainers, who had been giving him a mixture of Brandy and Rat Poison throughout the race. He almost died, but the “Doping” wasn’t illegal yet, and so he got the Gold.

Third finisher had taken a nap, because he ate some rotten apples he found by the road.

Fifth finisher had been chased for a mile in the wrong direction by wild dogs.
Several entrants had never run a race before, and there was a south african delegation of runners who weren’t even part of the olympics: they were just students who were in town who wanted to take part.

Also, there was a cuban mailman who tried to go for the prize-money to afford a ticket back home.

Seriously. Why isn’t this a movie, yet?

2. From user VVillyD:

In the early-mid 5th century, in the Eastern Roman Empire, near modern day Aleppo, there was a Christian monk name Symeon the Stylite who spent 40 years of his life living atop a 60 foot tall pillar. He just stayed up there all day and all night. He had fellow monks bring him food, drink, etc to stay alive. According to the 3 surviving biographies which were written during or shortly after his lifetime (by people who knew him), he literally spent 40 years on this pillar without coming down once. He would preach to crowds below, pray to God, and help mediate legal disputes. He wrote to both the Roman Emperor and the Persian King of Kings, advising both on spiritual matters. People came to visit him from as far away as Gaul (modern day France) and Britain, no small accomplishment in the 5th century.

Duder got so famous for just chilling on top of a pillar for 40 years straight that over 1500 years later we have 3 biographies of him and I’m writing about him on the internet.

3. From user Barack-YoMama:

An army was sent to capture Napoleon and he persuaded them and took command of it.

4. From user donkeylipswhenshaven:

An illiterate teenage peasant girl heard voices of saints and archangels telling her to kick the English out of France, so she did it.

5. From user BillybobThistleton:

The current Swedish royal family is descended from a man named Bernadotte, who was invited to take the throne by Swedish aristocrats. Bernadotte was one of Napoleon’s marshals – having worked his way up from private – but his sole qualification for becoming king was that he had met some Swedes once, and been nice to them.

The moral of this story: Always be cool to foreigners, because you never know when they’re going to want somebody to run their country.