I’m going to warn you, if you have a soft spot for animals this may not be the best thing to read. Some of these are bad.
If you think you can handle it, continue reading 10 Disturbing Facts about Truly Horrific Events.
1. Doctors Turned a Live Cat Into a Telephone
In 1929, a pair of scientists at Princeton University wanted to test how the auditory nerve perceived sound. Their test subject was a heavily sedated, but alive, cat.
The scientists, Ernest Wever and Charles Bray, cut out part of its brain and attached one end of a telephone wire to its auditory nerve and the other end to a receiver.
When Bray said something into the cat’s ears, Wever could hear him through the receiver in a soundproof room. Though it might just seem like a sick experiment, it actually did have some beneficial effects; many researchers believe it helped lead to the development of cochlear implants.
2. In Medieval Times Churches were decorated with thousands of skeletons
Huge ossuaries were set up throughout medieval and early modern Europe, where churches were elaborately decorated with thousands of human skeletons.
In an effort to save graveyard space, ossuaries were created to store skeletons. After a few years had passed and bodies were assumed to be sufficiently decomposed, they were exhumed to make space for the more recently deceased.
3. A novel predicted The Sinking of Titanic
A novel about a seemingly ‘unsinkable’ ship that was hit by an iceberg was published in 1898. 14 years before the Titanic sunk. There are a lot of similarities in the book as well.
4. The Hinterkaifeck Murders
1922 an entire family was murdered on their farm under very mysterious circumstances and the killer was never found.
Known as ‘The Hinterkaifeck Murders’, the strange case follows the events surrounding five members of the Gruber family and their maid, who were killed in their home by what appeared to be a pickaxe-like object.
In the days leading up to the murder there were footprints in the snow leading from the forest to the house but not back, a set of house keys went missing, and the previous maid was convinced the house was haunted due to strange noises coming from the attic.
These suspicious events probably suggest somebody was staying inside the house unnoticed by the family before the murders took place.
5. In the 1800s a LOT of dentures were made using the teeth of dead soldiers.
Dentures were a pretty big deal among the upper classes in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Typically high-sugar diets combined with early attempts at teeth whitening (which wore away tooth enamel instead of brightening it) meant that their teeth were in quite a bad way.
The easiest and most profitable way to acquire human teeth for dentures was to take them from the dead, and the battlefield at Waterloo presented thousands of recently-killed soldiers whose teeth were unfortunately, ripe for the looting.
6. A woman actually convinced doctors that she was giving birth to rabbits.
In the 18th century a woman named Mary Toft reportedly ‘gave birth’ to up to nine rabbits at a time!
Doctors were convinced that she was telling the truth until they found pieces of corn inside the stomach of one of the rabbits, proving that it hadn’t developed inside Toft’s womb.
It turned out that she had been manually inserting the rabbits to make the ‘delivery’ look as realistic as possible. Just why Mary, why??
7. The King of Portugal Exhumed his Lovers corpse and made the people he ruled over worship her dead body.
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.
8. The Deadly fountain of Youth
Shihuangdi was the founder of the Ying dynasty and the first emperor of China.
Like many powerful men, he decided he wanted to live forever and so commanded his doctors to find the elixir of immortality or they would be killed.
His doctors shortly ‘discovered’ the magic potion and he set about drinking it daily. Unfortunately he was actually drinking mercury and eventually died from mercury poisoning.
9. A Desire to Witness Cannibalism
While on an expedition into Africa during the late 19th Century, James Jameson – heir to the Jameson Irish whiskey empire – reportedly asked to witness cannibalism in action.
In order to make his horrifying desire a reality, he purchased a slave girl and handed her over to men who murdered her and feasted on her flesh.
A separate telling of the event states he paid to witness cannibalism but didn’t purchase a slave for the purpose.
Jameson is said to have sketched out the gruesome scene, later turning his rough illustrations into a series of watercolors.
10. The Hanging of Mary The Elephant
Mary was a circus elephant in a traveling circus. She was a star from coast to coast.
Before each circus they had an elephant parade in the town they were playing in that day. During the Elephant parade, the trainer poked her with an elephant stick (basically a spear).
This angered Mary so much that she picked up the trainer, threw him to the ground and stepped on him, smashing him to the death. (The trainer was only working his second day at the circus).
After smashing the trainer, Mary the elephant did not charge at anyone, but simply calmed down, however, people soon began to chant, ‘Kill the elephant’. In some accounts someone in the crowd even shot Mary several times. Despite being injured, Mary survived the attack.
The local leaders contacted the circus owner and insisted Mary be killed.
The circus owner decided to execute the wounded elephant in front of the blood-thirsty crowd. Nearly 3000 people gathered to watch the death of wounded Mary.
For some reason they decided to hang the elephant as a public spectacle. They hanged her by the neck from a railcar-mounted industrial derrick. After wrapping the chain around Mary’s neck they forgot to untie her foot so as they lifted her it pulled all the ligaments and bones apart in her leg. After unchaining her leg and lifting the elephant to some height, the chain snapped, causing Mary to fall and break her hip.
Not willing to give up they simply found a much heavier duty chain and hanged her again.
They successfully hanged the severely wounded elephant during their third attempt. After an agonizingly long time Mary finally died. Mary’s body was buried near the train rails.
I’ve given Mary her own article on unusually interesting head over to The tragic story of Mary, the elephant executed by hanging for a more complete telling of this story.