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Stranger than fiction

Stranger than fiction
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History is stranger than fiction… and often grosser and creepier too. Check out these historical facts that you’d rather wish was all made up.

King Tut’s parents were most likely siblings

King Tut’s parents were most likely siblings
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Once you’ve finished shuddering with disgust, here’s what researchers know about the boy king and his family. His father was almost definitely Akhenaten, who preceded Tut as pharaoh in the fourteenth century BC. The identity of his mother is pretty much unknown, but recent DNA samples from his and other mummies have revealed that she was probably one of Akhenaten’s sisters. King Tut was rather frail and suffered from a bone disorder, perhaps due to his parentage. Incestuous relationships, though, weren’t out of the ordinary in ancient Egypt, a fact which is not exactly reassuring. Despite Tut’s health issues, and his short life even by the standards back then (he died at 19), he’s gone down in history as one of Egypt’s most famous and wealthiest pharaohs.

Check out these other unsolved mysteries about the ancient world.

In 1494, Europe experienced the closest thing to a real-life zombie outbreak

In 1494, Europe experienced the closest thing to a real-life zombie outbreak
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Italy’s Renaissance period has a major, though little-known, dark side. Sailors returning from the New World brought with them a massive outbreak of syphilis, which spread through an entire French army. The troops then brought what would become known as “the great pox” to the rest of Europe. With no such thing as antibiotics back then, the disease was able to spread unchecked – and its effects were nasty. The skin on victims’ faces would essentially rot away from the disease’s grisly ulcers. In some cases, the noses, lips, or other body parts of the affected people were essentially gone, and several of the victims eventually died from the disease. So while there was a lot to love about the Renaissance in Europe, the concurrent syphilis outbreak was basically the real-world version of the zombie apocalypse. No big deal.

These are the famous moments in history that never actually happened.

Dentures used to be made from the teeth of dead soldiers

Dentures used to be made from the teeth of dead soldiers
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Why have false teeth when you can have real teeth?! That must have been the mentality of nineteenth-century dentists. They combated the outbreak of tooth decay with makeshift dentures—ivory base plates with real human teeth attached. Scavengers were already looting corpses from the Battle of Waterloo for their teeth, and now they could sell the teeth to dentists. The dentists would boil the choppers, cut off the roots, attach them to ivory plates, and sell them to customers. Mental Floss doubts that the customers had any idea where the teeth came from. Whether that makes it more or less creepy is up to you to decide.

Here are 15 facts you learnt in school that are no longer true. 

A king made his subjects worship the corpse of his beloved

A king made his subjects worship the corpse of his beloved
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This case of star-crossed lovers got weird fast. In fourteenth-century Portugal, the king’s son, Don Pedro, fell in love with Inês de Castro. There were only a couple of problems with this: for one, his father, King Afonso IV, did not approve, because Inês was illegitimate. For another, Don Pedro was married. His father had arranged for him to marry a noblewoman named Constanza, and Inês was Constanza’s lady-in-waiting. When Don Pedro refused to stop seeing her, the king had her killed. When Don Pedro acceded to the throne two years later, he exhumed her body, had it clothed in royal dress, and “crowned” her queen. According to historical legend, he made the other nobles all kiss her hand as a sign of their devotion.

Here are 11 of the biggest lies that made history. 

Urine was used as a mouthwash by ancient Romans

Urine was used as a mouthwash by ancient Romans
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Human urine was so valuable to ancient Romans that it was collected from public urinals and even taxed when sold. Urine was used for many purposes, but most amusingly, it was used for dental hygiene. Romans used the urine to clean and whiten their teeth. The active ingredient being ammonia, which is a proven stain remover.

These are the most bizarre coincidences throughout history.

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Peter the Great kept the head of his wife’s lover in her bedroom

Peter the Great kept the head of his wife’s lover in her bedroom
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Once Peter the Great discovered his wife Catherine’s unfaithfulness to their marriage with William Mons, the ruler had the man beheaded. He asked that the head of William be placed in a jar with alcohol. It was required that the jar remains in Catherine’s bedroom until Peter’s death so that she could be constantly reminded of her affair.

These are the most chilling psychopaths in history.

Mary Shelley kept the heart of her dead husband in her desk

Mary Shelley kept the heart of her dead husband in her desk
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Maybe the author intended for this to be some sort of metaphor, but a truly smelly metaphor if that. Everyone grieves differently. When Mary Shelley’s husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, was 29 years old he drowned while out on his boat during a storm. While his remains were buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, Mary kept her husband’s heart wrapped up and carried it with her almost everywhere. When she passed away, the heart was found in her desk wrapped in one of his final poems, Adonais.

19th-century Americans dug up a young woman’s body… because they thought she was a vampire

19th-century Americans dug up a young woman’s body… because they thought she was a vampire
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You’ve undoubtedly heard of the Salem Witch Trials, but what about the “Rhode Island Accused Vampire”? In the late 1800s, a bout of tuberculosis (then called “consumption”) struck US states Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the residents didn’t know what to make of it. Since its victims tended to look sunken, pallid and drained, people assumed that they’d fallen prey to vampires. So, naturally, a “vampire hunt” soon commenced. When members of an Exeter, Rhode Island family began dying of consumption one after the other, the other townspeople decided that someone in the family must be “feeding” on the others. Even after the mother, Mary Brown, and her two daughters had died, the townspeople decided to exhume the dead bodies, suspecting that one might, in fact, be “undead.”

Brown’s 19-year-old daughter Mercy had died much more recently than her family members, so her body was in much better condition. Her heart even still contained some decayed blood – a sure sign of vampirism, in those days. So, to prevent her from “striking” again, they burned her heart and liver and mixed the ashes with water. They then gave the concoction to another affected townsperson as a “cure.” Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work.

Someone tried and failed to save Abraham Lincoln – and his life just got darker from there

Someone tried and failed to save Abraham Lincoln – and his life just got darker from there
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In this 1860s illustration The Assassination of President Lincoln, there’s a pair sharing the private box with the ill-fated president and his wife. The man on the far left, rushing into action, is Major Henry Rathbone. President and Mrs. Lincoln specifically asked him and his fiancée, Clara Harris, to accompany them to the theatre. After Booth fired the shot, Rathbone tried to tackle him to the ground, but Booth was able to get free by slicing Rathbone in the arm with a dagger. Rathbone was never free of the memory and guilt of that night, and he reportedly felt responsible for letting Booth get away. In the years to come, he experienced a myriad of health issues, from stomach ailments to heart palpitations, and his mental state deteriorated as well. On December 23, 1883 (18 years after the assassination), he attacked and killed Clara, now his wife, and attempted to kill himself. He would spend the rest of his life in a mental institution.

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Source: RD.com

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