Think you’ve seen everything? Think nothing can shock you? Think again. The historical images in this slideshow aren’t just unbelievably weird and bizaare, they’re real. You just can’t make this stuff up. As the saying goes, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” So take a stroll with us down memory lane as we explore 26 incredibly strange photographs from history. You won’t believe what you see, but trust us, we didn’t make this stuff up.
Before and after civil war.
Nuclear Test Site, May 1953
“Mommy, mommy, come look. The people down below look like little ants.” Ah, fresh air, and junior is only 30 stories up. Hope those window screws don’t come loose.
Believe it or not, the baby isn’t being punished. This portable window cage for babies lets mom get her chores done, while giving baby a safe place to get some fresh air and sun. Back in the 1920s, a busy mother had her hands full hand-washing the laundry, cleaning the apartment, and cooking 3 meals a day. This cage must have been a lifesaver for mom. With so many apartment dwellers today, this baby cage just might make a comeback.
Inspiration for ‘Shrek’
Maurice Tillet, French Wrestler, with American Supermodel Dorian Leigh, 1945.
Children-4-Sale – 4 Real
What, no specials like “Buy 3, Get One Free” sale? Unfortunately, this sign was no joke, it was real. Back in the day, families that needed money could actually sell their kids. Although the TV series The Simpsons had a funny episode about this, in real life, it’s not funny, it’s truly sad.
But this story has a somewhat happy ending. Three of the children were finally reunited in 2013. Hooray.
U.S. Government Mocks Hitler
Men show potential ways Hitler could have disguised himself.
Hot Box Baby Carriage
Take your baby out in style! The neighbors will be jealous.
Actually, this is a gas-proof baby carriage created for moms living in London on the eve of WWII. The British feared Nazi Germany might use poison gas on the population before or during an invasion. This carriage would have kept the baby safe.
Flapper In The 1920’s
“Honey, I’m going to take the hippo out for a spin and then stop at the car wash. He needs a mud bath.” But all kidding aside, hippos are incredibly dangerous and actually kill more people per year than sharks.
So, how this gentleman got a hippo to pull his carriage is a mystery to us. But then again, it must have been very hip to have a hippo parked in your garage. Happily, or should we say “hippo-ly,” this hungry, hungry hippo looks like they just filled his tank with about 80 pounds of grass and fruit. One tankful will take you about 6 miles per day at up to 14 mph.
Mountian of Bison Skulls
Bison skulls soon to be ground into fertilizer, 1870s.
Wanted: Human Volunteers to Test First Bulletproof Vest
Was this guy very brave or very foolish to volunteer for this test? For his sake, let’s hope multiple tests were performed before he strapped on the first bulletproof vest.
Regardless, this had to take some guts, and a lot of confidence in your product performance. Then again, maybe the other guy said the gun was filled with blanks.
Last Photo Of All 4 Beatles Together
August 22, 1969.
Selfies, 1800’s Style
Here’s proof Kim Kardashian didn’t invent the selfie. This photo proves once and for all that idiots were doing this back in the 1800s. In fact, this may well be the oldest known selfie (circa 1839), before combs were invented apparently.
The half-naked bathroom selfie couldn’t be far off.
Bill and Hillary Clinton, 1975
Young loves playing volleyball in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Who is that Masked Man?
He is Walter Yeo, the first person to get “advanced” plastic surgery called the “skin flap.” Yeo must have screamed “Yeo!!!” when he looked in the mirror. Back in 1917, he was the first person to receive this new kind of surgery. Skin flap surgery was used for serious things, like people who were wounded in battle, as Yeo was at the Battle of Jutland. But now, alas, plastic surgery is ruining more faces than helping them in my humble opinion. By the way, if you ask me, the “before” picture on the left looks better than the “after” picture on the right. Wonder what Yeo thought?
“Sieg Heil” – Nazi Victory Dinner for a Bunch of Sour Krauts
In the German language,Sieg means victory and Heil means hail. Thus, Sieg Heil is equivalent to “Hail Victory,” which was typically shouted by Nazi sympathizers and soldiers at Nazi political rallies. This rare color photograph from WWII shows a bunch of Nazi soldiers enjoying dinner. Which we hope they choked on. (To my many German friends and girlfriend, putting down WWII Nazi soldiers is all kosher.)
Achtung, does that one storm trooper have a little mustache?
Captured by A.L. Khan, August 26, 1933.
See What Happens When You Shake a Beer Bottle Too Hard!
Those two waterfalls of beer are spilling out of the windows of a bootlegging operation in Detroit during Prohibition.
What a waste of good thirst-quenching beer. Does being illegal make it taste even better? Frankly, I would have expected to see crowds of people standing on the sidewalk with pails to catch the beer.
The King is Crowned King Of The Army
In 1957, about a year before he was drafted into the U.S. Army (1958-1960), Elvis released the huge hit “Jailhouse Rock.” Was it a premonition? Who knows. And just before joining the Army, he was busy filming King Creole, another great Elvis flick. And toward the end of his military duty he filmed G.I. Blues. Songs from G.I. Blues include “Tonight Is So Right for Love,” and the classic “Blue Suede Shoes.”
The Army placed Elvis in Special Services so he could carry on his career, but only as long as he helped entertain the troops. Which, of course, he did. Elvis once said, “The Army teaches boys to think like men.”
Dalai Lama at Age 2, 1937
The Hindenburg Disaster
What caused this huge airship to go down in flames? Was it sabotage, lightning, a static spark, engine failure, flammable paint, a hydrogen leak, a puncture, or a fuel leak? The theories, and conspiracy theories, continue to this day. But whatever the cause, the Hindenburg Disaster remains one of the first disasters in history to be witnessed first-hand by the news media.
Just imagine if you were there to report the news. Watching the Hindenburg go down in flames would have been both scary and awe-inspiring all at once. One thing is certain, the disaster destroyed public confidence in airships and marked the abrupt end of the airship industry.
“Sorry, Lady. You’re Showing Too Much Thigh.”
Believe it or not, in the 1920’s, paid Beach Patrols actually went around measuring the length between a woman’s knee and the bottom of her swimsuit to make sure she wasn’t showing too much leg. We’ve come a long way, haven’t we. Now women show almost everything.
But back then, just showing a little ankle was often enough to have other women whispering in disapproval and men furtively enjoying the view. We should have been measuring the length of men’s brains to figure out how prudish and dumb they were. Oh, well, aren’t you glad how the times have changed?
Osama Bin Laden, 1970s
Osama Bin Laden at age 14 (second from the right), and his family.
Scare Tactics and the Power of Advertising
Atabrine was the first synthetic form of quinine used by the U.S. military to fight malaria in the South Pacific during WWII. This sign was near a military hospital in New Guinea. It was estimated that two thirds of the troops contracted the disease. Maybe the skulls are a little much to sell your product, but those creative, and sometimes crazy, ad men knew scare tactics often worked well. The skulls sure got the message across in just a few seconds.
Smile, It’s a Young Charlie Chaplin
Here’s a young Charlie Chaplin of comedy movie fame, without his famous mustache and top hat. Many people may not realize that Charlie Chaplin composed the music to Smile for his movie Modern Times. The song was later made famous by the great Nat King Cole and more recently by Michael Jackson. And here is Michael’s brother Jermaine Jackson singing Smile at Michael’s memorial. Charlie left the world with a lot of smiles and hope.
Portable TV Concept, 1967
Disney Cafe – Even If You’re Goofy, Dopey, or Sleepy, You’re Welcome Here
No, this isn’t a restaurant serving Halloween trick or treaters. This is the Disneyland employee cafeteria serving lunch in 1961. Employees don’t have to shed their costumes to get a bite to eat. It really is the most magical place on Earth.
Economy Class Seating, Late 60s
“Doggone, He Looks Just Like Grandpa!”
We think selfies were invented by the Kardashians and millenials. We’re wrong. Even our great, great ancestors were busy snapping crazy photos of themselves and their pets. And dressing up your pet isn’t new either. As you can see in this photo, people had fun dressing up their dogs and cats in ridiculous human clothing way back when.
So you see grandma and grandpa, this generation is not ruining everything. You guys and your parents started it.
She Was Arrested For Wearing This Bathing Suit
My, oh my, how the times have changed. Remember that other photo in this slideshow of the “Beach Patrol” measuring the length between a woman’s knee and the bottom of her swimsuit to make sure she wasn’t showing too much leg? That was when our crazy ancestors had apparently “relaxed” their standards a bit.
The lady above, Annette Kellerman, was actually arrested for posing in this one-piece bathing suit to protest the restrictive clothing standards of the day, that day being the year 1907. By the way, she looked pretty good in that bathing suit.
Lady Liberty Waiting To Be Unpacked
The Statue of Liberty’s light still shines bright and welcomes immigrants and visitors to both New York City and America. But before she could stand tall and proud, someone had to unpack her. In this photo, a woman and her son stand next to Lady Liberty’s face as the giant statue was unpacked after shipment to the U.S. from France.
The First Ronald McDonald Was a Scary Clown
Who thought a scary-looking clown would attract customers? Apparently some nut at McDonald’s or their advertising agency thought so. Why would any parent or their child want to go to McDonald’s in 1963 with this terrifying clown selling them Happy Meals? No wonder everybody hates clowns. Fortunately, McDonald’s gave their clown a makeover with a much happier and friendlier face. The rest is marketing history.
MLK’s Legacy Burns On
We’ve come a long way but there’s so much still to do. Racism, bigots, and hatred still exist.
MLK fought through many hardships, and numerous burning crosses on his front lawn, but never wavered in the face of adversity. For that alone, he deserves much more than simple words can relate. So let us not forget his triumphs against all odds. But we must never forget that a lot of work must still be done to eliminate racism and hatred in our world.
“Retirement Fund” In A Barrel
We hope your financial adviser doesn’t think this is a good idea. In 1901, Annie Edison Taylor was a 63-year-old widower, who discovered a strange way to fund her retirement.
She became the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive, with nothing more than a couple of scrapes and bruises. Her advice to anyone thinking of copying her: “If it was with my dying breath, I would caution anyone against attempting the feat… I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces than make another trip over the Fall.”
Space Chimp – One Small Step For Monkeys, One Giant Leap for Chimp Kind
Hey, you’d be happy too if you had a nice, crisp morning paper handed to you with your picture on the front page. Lucky for this chimp, he had the right stuff and survived a test flight into space in 1961 that paved the way for humans to follow. Thanks, Space Monkey!
The First Spray-On Tan Looked Like a Gas Pump
Who needs the sun? For a shiny dime piece, you could spray cancer, I mean, a tan right on to your skin. How do you want your tan: regular, premium, or ultra? Just spray it on.
War is Hell
The Vietnam War was hell. This soldier’s helmet says it all. Just hope he gave the enemy hell right back.
The Most Beautiful Suicide
No, this isn’t a beautiful woman resting on some sort of silken bed. It’s actually the aftermath of a tragically horrible suicide.
Evelyn McHale’s body rests on top of a car in New York City after she jumped off the Empire State Building in 1947.
The KKK Takes A Trip To The Amusement Park
“Say cheese and smile under those sheets for the camera, please.” Even the infamous KKK found some time to rest and relax in between all their hectic cross burnings, hatred and vitriol.
Did the Ferris Wheel collapse after the photo was taken? Just close your eyes and pretend it did.