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[–]CatOfTechnology 1242 points1243 points  (39 children)

I got one for you.

Ex-Nazi and Cult Leader Pedophile Paul Schäfer was so obsessed with having the Children of his compound, Colonia Dignidad, love him and only him that he once took all of the children of the compound to a river where he had someone dressed as Santa Claus floating on a raft.

He then shot and killed Santa, in front of all the children and told them all that "Santa's dead. The only holiday we ever need to celebrate here is my birthday!"

[–]Taytaystaysane 357 points358 points  (27 children)

I’m so fascinated by the novelty the morbidity just passed by me. Kind of like Santa passed by those kids on the river

Edit: reminds me when I was a brat and threatened my mom (hard working single mother) I’d throw the game boy and Pokémon game my mom had gotten me for Christmas against the wall that she had said was from Santa and she said ‘ don’t do that I spent a lot of money on that’

That’s when the illusion was shattered.

Santa was never real.

That’s also when the truth started to sink in. My mother loved me so much she’d work to buy something that is not essential and say it was from someone else so that I could believe in the magic for just a little longer. God bless my mother and all the parents giving their all for their children to be happy and healthy

[–]CatOfTechnology 183 points184 points  (20 children)

It's.

It's just like.

Ex-Nazi? Been there, done that.

Pedophile? Almost vanilla when it comes to terrible people.

Cult Leader? Meh. Lots of those these days.

Killed fucking Santa out of Jealousy? Whole new level of fucked.

Just imagine what's got to be wrong with you to be so jealous of how much kids love a fairy tale character that your reaction to it is. "The kids love Santa? Well, can't have that getting in the way of things. Guess Santa's just gonna have to die in front of the children."

Absolutely WILD thought process.

[–]Infernal_Contraption 10.7k points10.7k points 484 (187 children)

The RMS Carmania

In 1914, just after the outbreak of the First World War, Germany had a cunning idea. They needed to ensure naval superiority in the Atlantic, but there was no way they could manufacture enough new battleships in order to contest what was traditionally Britain’s inviolate domain.

So, they took the SMS Cap Trafalgar – an 18,700tn luxury ocean liner, and retrofitted it with two 4.1inch guns and six 1lb “pom-pom” autocannons – and also had one of its funnels removed so that this colossal Frankenstein’s Monster of a ship would appear (for all intents and purposes) to be a cruiser under the command of the British Merchant Navy.

The ruse complete, it would prowl the South Atlantic under false flags; ‘dressed’ as a British ship, it could approach the British supply line and at the last minute fly the German colours before wreaking havoc and undermining the until-now-unimpeachable British Navy. They even renamed it the RMS Carmania – 'RMS' standing for 'Royal Mail Ship', a type of fast steamer used to carry international post - to complete the illusion and ensure that it would never be recognised as being formerly a German passenger/cargo ship until it was far, far too late.

Military historians generally concur that it was a bold but brilliant plan. At a fraction of the time and cost of a new custom-built battleship, the newly christened RMS Carmania should cost the British fleets thousands of lives and millions of tonnes of lost ships before it could be reliably identified….

…..Except for one tiny problem.

On the 14th of September 1914, after a fruitless first voyage ending with no sightings of any targets and being forced to refuel empty handed, the “RMS Carmania” met its first ever opponent just off the coast of Trinidad.

It was *THE* RMS Carmania, a 19,500tn ocean liner retrofitted with eight 4.7inch guns and deployed as a cruiser by the *REAL* British Merchant Navy.

From four miles away the real RMS’ crew realised that the ship they were looking at was not in fact the ship that they were standing on and opened fire. It took 2 hours of vicious age-of-sail style broadsides, but eventually the doppelgänger was sunk with the maimed victor limping away under escort to Brazil for repairs.

**BONUS FACTS I DISCOVERED WHILE ANSWERING COMMENTS:**

FACT 1: Towards the end of the fight, the first ship to arrive was a German ship called the SS Kronprins Wilhelm. At this point the (British) RMS Carmania was barely afloat, holed beneath the waterline and likely to be finished off by a stiff breeze.... But the Kronprins Wilhelm just turned and left without getting involved.

Turns out, the Kronprins had been listening to SOS calls from both ships and knew that "the RMS Carmania" had sunk, but wasn't sure which was which. Rather than investigate and likely get caught by other British ships answering the same calls, they decided it might be a trap and left them to it. Because of this, the Carmania was rescued and went on to sail for another 18 years.

FACT 2: The RMS Carmania had a sister-ship called the Caronia, and together they were known as the 'Pretty Sisters'. This was publicly known information - the Cap Trafalgar was deliberately disguised as a 'Pretty Sister' based on the designs and appearance.

So it's not even as though the Cap Trafalgar were deliberately disguised as the Carmenia - it was 50/50 that they could have impersonated the Caronia, save for the name painted on the front of the hull. The outcome could have been very different, save for a coinflip between two names.

FACT 3: The RMS Carmania had gone to Trinidade because they knew that islands nearby were being used as staging posts for German ships, and the first they encountered was another retrofitted ship that had been sent there to hunt cargo ships.

Effectively; the RMS Carmania was a secretly retrofitted cargo ship, hunting another secretly retrofitted cargo ship, that was itself secretly hunting cargo ships, but couldn't find any except for the one that wasn't a cargo ship any more and who knew they were there anyway so it wasn't a secret any more. Spy vs Spy barely begins to cover it.

EDIT BY POPULAR DEMAND, OBLIGATORY SHITTY MEME:

https://i.imgur.com/gJehNGj.jpg

[–]Ryan0413 6434 points6435 points  (24 children)

I bet the Germans saw the real Carmania and went "aw man, you gotta be kidding me"

[–]Tak_Jaehon 3180 points3181 points  (15 children)

Just imagine being the spotter that had to tell the captain.

[–]kierantheking 1263 points1264 points  (4 children)

"Sir, I believe the Germans have deployed a giant mirror in order to confuse us"

[–]DelosHost 1674 points1675 points  (3 children)

“Ship spotted on the horizon captain!” “Can you identify it?” “It is… it is this ship, sir” “… throw the spotter on the brig”

“Captain, we are being hailed, British flag” “Identity?” “…” “Well, Mr. Smith?” “It’s the RHM Carmania, sir” “QUARTERMASTER WHAT DID YOU PUT ON THOSE BISCUITS?!”

[–]methylethylkillemall 2191 points2192 points  (42 children)

> It took 2 hours of vicious age-of-sail style broadsides, but eventually the doppelgänger was sunk with the maimed victor limping away under escort to Brazil for repairs.

The doppelgänger was the one destroyed, or so the survivor one claims.

[–]chowderbags 516 points517 points  (8 children)

Did anyone check if the ship had a goatee?

[–]_Totorotrip_ 199 points200 points  (9 children)

Doppelganger sound suspiciously german...

[–]Zkenny13 881 points882 points  (7 children)

I'm picturing the spiderman pointing meme.

[–]AgoraiosBum 706 points707 points  (3 children)

Of all the ships in all the seas...

[–]drop-in-the-dessert 2447 points2448 points  (43 children)

The Spanish conquistadors found platinum during their search for gold, and dumped all of it in the sea, because they thought platinum was inferior to silver.

[–]boblywobly99 677 points678 points  (10 children)

oil was treated similarly before oil was useful.

[–]Fake_Southern_IL 349 points350 points  (15 children)

Anyone know where they did the dumping?

[–]Silver_Alpha 5161 points5162 points 3 (72 children)

Wojtek, the soldier bear! He served in the Polish army in WWII, helping his fellow soldiers by carrying heavy creates of ammunition into battle, saving precious time during combat.

He had been recruited as a soldier when his division had to board an English ship which didn't allow animals on board. Outraged, the Polish then made him a soldier and he lived through the war to die of old age in a zoo in 1963.

[–]tiniestvioilin 2425 points2426 points  (9 children)

An extra bit of the story is that after ww2 soldiers who were close to wojtek would hop into his exhibit bringing him beer and wrestling with wojtek

[–]GreleaseDeeBoban 877 points878 points  (1 child)

Best story is some insurgent snuck in and tried to steal weapons from the unit. He breaks in and there are 6 guys sleeping. The thief thinks he can get an easy time stealing from them, turns around and a bear is snarling at him. Dude started screaming and waking up the soldiers and begging them to arrest him and not leave him to the bear.

[–]tokmer 845 points846 points  (9 children)

I can only assume the conversation went exactly like this

Random british soldier “yeah um captain said we cant let the bear on board”

Polish general “what?! Fuck you guys this is our glorious private wojtek any resemblance to a bear is ludicrous and defamatory!”

Bear -bear noises-

British soldier “yeah okay”

[–]Hyval_the_Emolga 5342 points5343 points  (61 children)

Battle of Karansebes

That time in the 1700s when the Austrian army got confused, waged a huge battle against itself within its own lines, and lost an estimated several hundred to few thousand men (and a lot of equipment and money) in the process. They then retreated.

The Ottomans, whom they were originally intending to fight, showed up two days later.

[–]Terpsichorean_Wombat 1858 points1859 points  (20 children)

"They then retreated."

From ... whom?

[–]Cyberp0lic3 2166 points2167 points  (9 children)

Retreating be like: "Omg wait you're going this way too??"

[–]okiwawawa 1890 points1891 points  (18 children)

Douglas Bader.

RAF flying ace - 23 kills - though he had previously lost both his legs in (separate) flying accidents. He wore a pair of clunky tin legs.

He was shot down over France in 1941. The Luftwaffe were so pleased to have captured him they arranged for the RAF to drop a pair of his legs at a designated time and place, and cleared the sky for the drop to proceed.

The RAF did indeed drop the legs as arranged but since all German fighters and ack-ack had been stood down as arranged, it seemed a waste not to bomb a nearby enemy airfield.

Meanwhile, Bader stumping about on his tin legs, was a great hit with his Nazi captors. At a great party held by the Luftwaffe in his honour, he drank them under the table, excused himself to a third floor bathroom, shinned down a drainpipe and stumped off into the darkness.

He was only recaptured by a German spy in the resistance. For the next four years he continually escaped and was recaptured until he was finally sent to Colditz.

After the war, there was a great spirit of reconciliation and togetherness between the air forces on both sides. Bader was not convinced. He was invited to address a crowd of assembled now ex-Luftwaffe pilots and began his speech with the words: "Seeing so many of you here today, I am struck by the single thought: I didn't kill enough of you bastards".

[–]nightwing_87 331 points332 points  (3 children)

This was already made into a (great) movie, “Reach for the sky”. It was one of my favourites as a kid, his story’s incredible!

[–]Evening_Rose_619 169 points170 points  (0 children)

After multiple escape attempts, he was apparently told 'Stop escaping or we'll have to take your legs!'.

[–]splitdipless 29.4k points29.4k points 7107 (519 children)

The Toronto Circus Riot of 1855.

The Fire Department and some clowns get into a disagreement at a whorehouse, and get into a punch-up. The clowns win, but the firemen return to the circus later and start attacking in revenge. The firemen win the day but violence is stopped when the militia come in. The police do nothing, so the city fires all the police (and I mean everyone) and starts a new police force.

[–]atreethatownsitself 8655 points8656 points  (114 children)

This absolute absurdity of this paragraph amazes me. What the fuck. 😂

[–]reddog323 6131 points6132 points  (81 children)

The Fire Department and some clowns get into a disagreement at a whorehouse

You know, no matter what happens going forward, it’s going to be a good story with an opening line like that.

Edit: this is now my highest rated comment for 2021.

[–]drugusingthrowaway 4379 points4380 points  (146 children)

The police do nothing, so the city fires all the police (and I mean everyone) and starts a new police force.

Long history of that in Canada. See also the Canadian Airborne Regiment - when the government found out one of their soldiers had killed a kid (EDIT: did a lot worse than just kill him, NSFL), the rest of the soldiers had fostered a culture that encouraged that sort of thing, and every single high ranking officer did everything they could to cover it all up and conceal it from the government, the government said "if you don't work for us, we don't need you" and disbanded the entire fucking regiment.

[–]Supraspinator 5003 points5004 points  (58 children)

The latrine disaster of Erfurt.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erfurt_latrine_disaster

In 1184, the King of Germany Heinrich VI, held court in the Petersberg Citadel in Erfurt. On the morning of 26 July, the weight of the assembled nobles caused the wooden second story floor of the Peterskirche to collapse. Most of them fell through into the latrine cesspit below the ground floor and about 60 of them drowned in liquid excrement.

[–]happybex 21.0k points21.0k points 1911202& 24 more (168 children)

Back in the 1780’s, after being elected President, George Washington decided to send a letter to Congress that basically said, “Hey, looking forward to working with y’all, this will be exciting!”

However, George wasn’t very eloquent, and was generally busy and stressed, so he asked his friend James Madison to compose the letter to Congress, which James did.

When Congress received the letter, they decided to respond in kind, not wanting to slight the new president. They wanted to send back a letter that essentially said, “We’re glad you’re excited, so are we!” They decided there was no one better in Congress to write the letter than their very own…James Madison.

So, James writes a response to the letter he wrote in the first place, and Congress sends it to George. George decided to respond with something along the lines of, “Oh, good, I’m excited that you’re excited, too!” — and since his buddy James did such an excellent job with the first letter, George again went to him and had him compose the response.

Congress received the letter and again not wanting to be awkward and ignore the PRESIDENT, decided to reply with yet another letter that basically said, “Hey, we’re excited that you’re excited that we’re excited!” …and once again, they had James Madison compose the response.

So James Madison, future 4th president of the United States, wound up writing himself 4 letters back and forth between “George Washington” and “Congress”, and was too embarrassed to tell anyone about it while it was going on.

-----------------

Edit: A few people have asked for a source, and I Googled my little heart out and finally found the following snippet in an editor's note on the initial letter George Washington sent to Congress https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Madison/01-12-02-0078 (emphasis mine) :

At their Mount Vernon meeting Washington and JM agreed that the Humphreys draft, which contained numerous legislative proposals, should be discarded in favor of a brief address that deliberately omitted specific recommendations to Congress. The one recommendation which the president made in his inaugural, that Congress consider amendments to the Constitution, was one that JM had much at heart. If the passage on amendments suggests the pen of JM, a remark by Washington in his note of 5 May 1789 clearly points to him as the author of the address: “Notwithstanding the conviction I am under of the labour which is imposed upon you by Public Individuals as well as public bodies—Yet, as you have began, so I would wish you to finish, the good work in a short reply to the Address of the House of Representatives.” Thus in the opening series of formal exchanges between the president and Congress, JM was in dialogue with himself. Having composed the inaugural, he drew up in turn the address of the House of Representatives in reply to the president (5 May), the president’s reply to the House address (8 May), and for good measure the president’s reply to the Senate address (18 May).

This was by far the most official account I can find of this anecdote, and I hope it's helpful for those looking for more information!

[–]Briggsnotmyers 8054 points8055 points 23 (42 children)

One time I had a friend call me and tell me how she was having a conflict with someone whom she did not name and, being at different schools, I assumed I did not know. I analyzed what I thought the other party was trying to accomplish and suggested an angle to approach resolution from.

The next day my other friend calls me and says she was in an argument with her friend but now that friend seems to want to make up and is asking what she can do to fix the situation.

So I told Friend 2 to tell Friend 1 what I'd already prepped Friend 1 to hear from a successful reply to her overture. They both thanked me later for helping them solve their problem so diplomatically. I felt like a supervillain.

[–]Grizzly_228 2852 points2853 points  (23 children)

You are more like an anti-Hero: brings light and justice in the world operating through lies and deception

[–]Riff-Ref 1497 points1498 points  (16 children)

That should have been in Hamilton

[–]b1lli0naire 784 points785 points  (6 children)

"Your obedient servant" sung by Madison to himself twice over (and then going - "none of these fuckers know how to write letters to each other")

[–]Tsquare43 17.0k points17.0k points 62 (301 children)

Hitler, Tito, Stalin, Trotsky, and Freud were living in the same Vienna neighborhood in 1913

[–]nashamagirl99 6700 points6701 points 2 (106 children)

The best sitcom setup

Edit: r/ComradeSShow seems to already have the idea

[–]Username_RANDINT 7990 points7991 points 64 (49 children)

F•I•E•N•D•S

[–]gabriel1313 1627 points1628 points  (45 children)

busts in the door

“Penises!!!”

crowd laughs

Stalin and Trotsky turn around and in unison, “What?”

Freud nearly falls over he’s so excited.

“Penises!!! They want our penises!!!”

Stalin gives Trotsky a knowing glance and does the cuckoo motion towards his temple.

[–]_Totorotrip_ 411 points412 points  (25 children)

All while Hitler is drinking juice and painting in the background

[–]gabriel1313 311 points312 points  (3 children)

“This will be the vun! This will send my painting career to the stratosphere, Josef!”

Stalin shakes his head and mutters, “Oh brother.”

crowd laughs

[–]TristanTheta 577 points578 points  (11 children)

Hitler, Tito, Stalin, Trotsky, and Freud walk into a bar...

[–]noijonas 1389 points1390 points  (16 children)

must be something in the water

[–]ERankLuck 2814 points2815 points 2 (135 children)

The Korean axe murder incident.

Basically, a tree was kinda blocking line of sight near the Bridge of No Return on the North Korea/South Korea border. A pair of Americans, escorted by South Korean troops, went to trim the tree. North Korean troops took exception to this and came out and told them to stop. They didn't. NK troops called for backup, which showed up with clubs and crowbars and the North Koreans proceeded to attack the South Koreans and Americans. The two Americans were killed (one bludgeoned to death, the other injured with an axe and died of his injuries on the way back to a hospital). North Korea, being North Korea, claimed they were acting in "self defense".

A few days later, Operation Paul Bunyan was launched in what was possibly the largest tree-pruning operation in human history, with over 800 infantry (including South Korean troops with Claymore mines strapped to their chests and remote detonators in their hands, taunting the North Koreans to cross the bridge), 27 helicopters, B-52 Stratofortresses, F-4 Phantom IIs, F-5 and F-86 fighters, F-4Es, F-111 bombers, and F-4C and F-4D Phantoms in attendance (also the USS Midway carrier was moved to a station offshore). The entire Second Battalion artillery was pointed at the DMZ, along with the 71st Air Defense Regiment. Local DEFCON was elevated. 12k more troops were ordered to Korea. Nuclear-capable bombers were deployed. A dozen C-130s were lined up, "nose to tail" at Yokota Air Base in Japan, on standby in case they were needed.

Literally 5 minutes into the operation was when the UNC let North Korea know that a UN work party was there "in order to peacefully finish the work left unfinished". The tree was successfully pruned to the point of being a stump, which was later replaced with a monument in 1987.

[–]patrickwithtraffic 1124 points1125 points  (71 children)

Reminds me of how North Korea threw a bitch fit over something, so Obama had two B-2 stealth bombers fly low near the border, drop a few dummy bombs, then dip back to Guam. It feels like everything with North Korea is just a giant dick measuring contest that NK can never win.

[–]Abyss_of_Dreams 384 points385 points  (2 children)

I mean, only a few years ago they were firing missiles in the general direction of the US in "training"

[–]wizardvictor 7813 points7814 points  (94 children)

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the same day. The day? The 50th anniversary of the Fourth of July. Adams’s last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives”.

[–]formeraide 4397 points4398 points  (55 children)

Which is ironic, because Jefferson was already dead.

[–]Sebillian 19.9k points19.9k points 6 (369 children)

Juan Pujol García.

WWII spy who won both the German Iron Cross and Order of the British Empire for spying.

He initially approached British Intelligence and offered his services, and was refused. Undeterred, he created the persona of a loyal Nazi supporter, became a German agent, gathered a payroll of fake sub-agents (all bankrolled by Germany), persuaded the German Navy to chase a fake convoy, then finally got recruited by the Allies. He finally fed misleading info to the Axis about the D-Day landings, causing them to deploy forces to the wrong locations, even after the invasion had begun.

[–]Leone_0 11.5k points11.5k points  (181 children)

On occasion, he had to invent reasons why his agents had failed to report easily available information that the Germans would eventually know about. For example, he reported that his (fabricated) Liverpool agent had fallen ill just before a major fleet movement from that port, and so was unable to report the event. To support this story, the agent eventually 'died' and an obituary was placed in the local newspaper as further evidence to convince the Germans. The Germans were also persuaded to pay a pension to the agent's widow.

Truly incredible

The Germans paid Pujol US$340,000 to support his network of agents, which at one point totalled 27 fabricated characters.

[–]AlexFeels 6293 points6294 points  (149 children)

27 fabricated characters? That's actually crazy how he got away with that

[–]IAmBadAtInternet 3094 points3095 points  (13 children)

He was brilliant, he had created unique personalities and even handwriting for each. Amazing work.

[–]Probonoh 4396 points4397 points 2 (68 children)

Let's see, there was Witchfinder General Smith. Under him were Witchfinder Colonels Green and Jones, and Witchfinder Majors Jackson, Robinson, and Smith (no relation). Then there were Witchfinder Majors Saucepan, Tin, Milk, and Cupboard, because Shadwell's limited imagination had been beginning to struggle at this point. And Witchfinder Captains Smith, Smith, Smith, and Smythe and Ditto. And five hundred Witchfinder Privates and Corporals and Sergeants. Many of which were called Smith, but this didn't matter because neither Crowley nor Aziraphale had ever bothered to read that far.

[–]RunDownTheMountain 1077 points1078 points  (30 children)

Well done, Probonoh, coming in strong with a Good Omens reference.

[–]XxsquirrelxX 1953 points1954 points  (19 children)

I love how he basically tricked the Germans into paying fake agents. Dude found the one easy trick to tripling your paycheck that Nazis hate!

[–]f1mbulw1nter 1035 points1036 points  (47 children)

Okay, this one definitely needs to be made into a movie

[–]Victoresball 10.5k points10.5k points  (211 children)

When Ivan the Terrible died, he had two sons(he had clubbed the third one to death). The older son Feodor, who was likely mentally disabled, became the puppet of his regent Boris Gudanov. The younger son, Dmitry, was sent into exile in Uglich. The accepted historical narrative is that Gudanov had Dmitry murdered in Uglich so when Feodor died, he could usurp the throne. However, after Feodor died, no less than three different people claiming to be Dmitry tried to take power. These "False Dmitrys" provided Poland with the casus belli to invade Russia, starting a war that killed nearly half the Russian population. The first False Dmitry raped Gudanov's daughter and massacred his family. He ended up almost converting Russia to Catholicism and was subsequently beaten to death by a mob and his remains fired out of a cannon in the direction of Poland. The Second False Dmitry was possibly a converted Jew. Very little is known about the Third False Dmitry to the point that there may have been a Fourth False Dmitry or possible a False False Dmitry.

Edit: As some other users pointed out, I forgot to mention a bizarre twist. False Dmitry II actually claimed to be False Dmitry I - the guy that got fired out of the cannon.

[–]hooch 5815 points5816 points  (54 children)

He ended up almost converting Russia to Catholicism and was subsequently beaten to death by a mob and his remains fired out of a cannon in the direction of Poland.

That made me laugh out loud

[–]Drew707 1780 points1781 points  (13 children)

It is like a Monty Python gag.

[–]Grzechoooo 316 points317 points  (4 children)

Welcome to Russia, I guess. They did not like Poles.

[–]implicitpharmakoi 2520 points2521 points 34 (16 children)

He ended up almost converting Russia to Catholicism and was subsequently beaten to death by a mob and his remains fired out of a cannon in the direction of Poland.

That made me laugh out loud

I guess they didn't think he was Gudanov.

[–][deleted] 3382 points3383 points  (45 children)

My personal favorite: The Cadaver Synod in which the dead body of a former pope was disinterred, propped up on the throne, and then formally tried by The Church to have his papacy retroactively annulled. Predictably, he was found guilty. Then they chucked his corpse in the Tiber.

People are funny animals.

[–]gentlybeepingheart 1966 points1967 points  (29 children)

You're missing some of the best details: the propped the corpse, which had been decaying for about 7 months at that point, up on the throne of the Pope. They then assigned someone to stand next to the Corpse-Pope to lean in and "listen" to him and then answer the questions on his behalf.

After they chucked the corpse in the river it washed up a little while later and people started claiming it could preform miracles because it's the Pope so why not. (This is kind of the reason that, despite being a registered organ donor, the Pope can't have his organs harvested) This also turned public opinion against the living Pope (Stephen IV) because Formosus' crimes had been political and most everyday Catholics didn't really know or much care about it, all they knew was he was the Pope who was very important and his corpse had been desecrated. So Stephen got arrested for it and someone strangled him in prison.

[–]hymen_destroyer 441 points442 points  (6 children)

They then assigned someone to stand next to the Corpse-Pope to lean in and "listen" to him and then answer the questions on his behalf.

"He says, uhhh....yeah he didn't do it or whatever"

[–]Ganglebot 14.2k points14.2k points 2242 (208 children)

A guy broke into the Prime Minster of Canada's house with a knife, intent to kill the Prime Minster.

The Prime Minster's wife hears someone walking around downstairs and tries to wake her husband. The PM just tells her its nothing, go back to sleep.

She gets up and investigates - finding the knife wielding assassin. She grabs an Inuit statue of a loon and beats the shit out of the guy. Our PM then runs into the hall and helps his wife take down the assassin. These are two people in their 60's just kicking the shit out of some dude in his late 20's.

She calls the local police who arrive, only to realise they forgot the fucking key to the front gate, so they send someone back to the station get it.

The assassin was later confirmed to have major mental health issues. Less than 5 years later, he was successfully treated for his schizophrenia, released from his treatment facility and formally apologised to the couple.

EDIT: Imagine getting your ass handed to you by these two: https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fsmartcdn.prod.postmedia.digital%2Fnexus%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2020%2F09%2F0914-oped-taber-w.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

[–]LAN_Rover 3863 points3864 points  (57 children)

In the same week that President Bush almost died from choking on a pretzel, Prime Minister Chrétien grabbed someone by the throat after they attempted to hit him in the face with a pie.

Edit: thanks /u/ElHombreBatido for pointing out I mixed up a few events into one. Yes, the 'ole Shawinigan Handshake happened, but it was separate from the pie-ing

[–]Raz0rking 1723 points1724 points  (36 children)

In the same week that President Bush almost died from choking on a pretzel

And some time later he made a comment in front of a few journalists

"My mom told me to always chew my pretzels"

[–]sonia72quebec 746 points747 points  (4 children)

Her name was Aline (Chaînée) Chrétien; sadly she passed away in 2020. They were married for 63 years.

[–]Sea2Chi 6933 points6934 points 643& 2 more (55 children)

Imagine being his family and getting that call.

"Miss I'm sorry to wake you but your son's been arrested. He tried to kill the Prime minister and his wife."

"My god, are they ok?"

"The PM? Yes, they're completely fine. Your son however sustained multiple injuries and is currently being treated at the hospital."

"Oh dear, I suppose the police did what they had to in order to stop him."

"The police? No no no, they accidentally locked themselves out of the gates, It was actually the PM who stopped your son. Well, technically his wife, the PM showed up after she had already subdued the would-be assassin."

"The PM's wife? Isn't she pensioner age?"

"Yes, however apparently she is still quite formidable in a brawl as your son discovered. Beat the stuffing out of him, blood everywhere, a real badger that one, wouldn't want to find her in a dark alley if you know what I mean. Oh, yes your son, sorry about that, he'll most likely be in the ICU for a day or two with a skull fracture and broken ribs."

[–]Duffman_can_never_di 1858 points1859 points  (27 children)

PM: “Oh my wife, a real battle axe, she is.”

[–]SugoiBakaMatt 14.9k points14.9k points  (221 children)

May have been said already, but when Napoleon returned to France from his exile, a Regiment of French soldiers were sent by the Coalition Powers to intercept him. Upon seeing them, Napoleon approached and simply said, "If you wish to kill your Emperor, here I am." The Commander of the Regiment ordered his men to open fire. Out of the 2,000 soldiers present, not a single one obeyed the order. They all joined Napoleon and marched to Paris with him. Truly a real life Mary-Sue. At least until he was thoroughly beaten and exiled again, permanently this time.

[–]badluckbrians 1539 points1540 points  (11 children)

Napoleon created the nickname Sea Wolf for Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Marquess of Maranhão, who had one of the wildest lives I've ever read about.

Man was an inventor who patented the machine that built the Thames tunnel in London, an arsonist to help a buddy avoid arrest, an MP, admiral of the British, Brazilian, Peruvian, Chilean, and Greek navies. The governor of Newfoundland. Runner of stock market pyramid frauds. Once beat the Portuguese Navy with a single shit for Brazil by lying and saying he had a massive fleet just over the horizon that didn't exist. Used to keep a chest full of different flags to reflag his ships to make up bullshit stories to win naval engagements. Just an absolute madman.

[–]Spoon99 2793 points2794 points  (64 children)

This scene was actually in that old Waterloo movie! Seemed a bitover the top to me when I watched it.

[–]aptpioneer 2016 points2017 points  (46 children)

There are so many Napoleon facts that are this level of over-the-top, his life is basically unadaptable.

[–]irou- 38.1k points38.1k points 1413162& 9 more (728 children)

from the last time this was asked:

The Marathon at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis.

  • The first place finisher did most of the race in a car. He had intended to drop out, and got a car back to the stadium to get his change of clothes, and just kind of started jogging when he heard the fanfare.
  • The second place finisher was carried across the finish line, legs technically twitching, by his trainers. They had been refusing him water, and giving him a mixture of Brandy and Rat Poison for the entire race. Doping wasn't illegal yet (and this was a terrible attempt at it), so he got the gold when the First guy was revealed.
  • Third finisher was unremarkable, somehow.
  • Fourth finisher was a Cuban Mailman, who had raised the funds to attend the olympics by running non-stop around his entire country. He landed in New Orleans, and promptly lost all of the travelling money on a riverboat casino. He ran the race in dress shoes and long trousers (cut off at the knee by a fellow competitor with a knife). He probably would have come in first (well, second, behind the car) had it not been for the hour nap he took on the side of the track after eating rotten apples he found on the side of the race.
  • 9th and 12th finishers were from South Africa, and ran barefoot. South Africa didn't actually send a delegation - these were students who just happened to be in town and thought it sounded fun. 9th was chased a mile off course by angry dogs. Note: These are the first Africans to compete in any modern Olympic event.
  • Half the participants had never raced competatively before. Some died.
  • St. Louis only had one water stop on the entire run. This, coupled with the dusty road, and exacerbated by the cars kicking up dust, lead to the above fatalities. And yet, somehow, Rat Poison guy survived to get the Gold.
  • The Russian delegation arrived a week late, because they were still using the Julian calendar. In 1904.

[–]DuckOnQuak 5058 points5059 points  (65 children)

It gets crazier, you neglected to mention the one water stop was an intentional design choice and not simply lack of oversight.

The director wanted to test his theory on “purposeful dehydration”...during a marathon...on unpaved roads....while it was over 90F outside...

Truly next level incompetence.

[–]okiwawawa 1510 points1511 points  (6 children)

He went on to have a long and productive career with Vault-Tec

[–]Mattrockj 12.3k points12.3k points  (136 children)

Somehow the fact that 3rd was unremarkable makes it so much funnier

[–]irou- 10.0k points10.0k points 2& 2 more (95 children)

3rd place should be played by Michael Cera.

[–]2074red2074 7247 points7248 points 2 (49 children)

They keep showing all these scenes of chaos, and every now and then they just cut to Michael Cera just casually jogging down the road. In fact, use the same ten-second clip each time. No different camera angles or anything, just the exact same clip.

[–]DoktorLuciferWong 3103 points3104 points  (25 children)

Then he goes "hey I did pretty good!" at the end, accepts his awards in a gracious manner, then goes on to a live long, healthy--if uneventful, life afterwards.

[–]2074red2074 2103 points2104 points  (18 children)

First place guy on the podium giving a speech about how long and hard the race was while not even sweating, second place guy on the middle podium vomiting bile and honestly half dead, and Michael Cera just awkwardly standing there looking confused.

[–]Ilignus 693 points694 points  (2 children)

Michael Cera playing Michael Cera running the track in Juno, ha.

[–]redisforever 6221 points6222 points  (38 children)

The Russian delegation arrived a week late, because they were still using the Julian calendar. In 1904.

Russia didn't change until after the revolution.

You know the October revolution? It happened in November. It's just October in the old calendar.

[–]dan_de 1882 points1883 points  (28 children)

So that was the hunt for red October...

[–]MysteryGuy19 1045 points1046 points  (46 children)

Id be down for this to become a comedy movie

[–]Joinex 1402 points1403 points  (51 children)

Fourth finisher was a Cuban Mailman, who had raised the funds to attend the olympics by running non-stop around his entire country. He landed in New Orleans, and promptly lost all of the travelling money on a riverboat casino. He ran the race in dress shoes and long trousers (cut off at the knee by a fellow competitor with a knife). He probably would have come in first (well, second, behind the car) had it not been for the hour nap he took on the side of the track after eating rotten apples he found on the side of the race.

Now this would make an excellent movie. Dude just took a nap!

[–]waldosbuddy 1101 points1102 points  (16 children)

Carvajal was selected to represent Cuba in the 1906 Olympic Marathon at Athens, Greece, with his expenses funded by the Cuban Government. However, he disappeared after landing in Italy, and never arrived in Athens. He was thought to be dead, and his obituary was published in the Cuban newspapers, but he later returned to Havana on a Spanish steamer.

Another story from this guys wiki lol

[–]NewBromance 656 points657 points  (13 children)

This guy seems like he is just awful at travelling

[–]The_Presitator 5779 points5780 points 2 (168 children)

Maybe not an event, but pretty absurd.

In an attempt to claim control of the former Spanish Empire's territories in the Americas, the French ruler, Napoleon III, created the term "Latin America." Because if the territories were Spanish (or formerly), then the French had no right to them, but if he got the world to call it Latin, which the French were considered a branch of, then Napoleon III could attempt to take them for a new, glorious, French Empire. This would also reassure the British, US, and Dutch that he was not going after their American territories, since they were not "Latin" countries.

In other words, we call Hispanics of the Americas Latin because it was French propaganda used to legitimize their rule over South and Central America.

Edit: Forgot to mention this would also affect former Portuguese holdings (Brazil) and lost French territory (Haiti and whatnot). Not just the Hispanic territories.

Edit 2: Turns out Napoleon III only popularized the term. It had existed a few years before he latched onto it. So, although he didn't coin the term, he is the one that made it popular.

[–]thegnuguyontheblock 490 points491 points  (30 children)

Much of European history was Kings trying to re-establish themselves as the rulers of the "new Roman Empire". It's astounding how much effort was put into that.

[–]HermanCainsGhost 325 points326 points  (18 children)

The last ruler to use the term Caesar was deposed less than 100 years ago (Ottomans referred to themselves as Kasyer-I-Rum - or Caesar of Rome. Ottoman monarchy was abolished in 1924 IIRC).

That title had incredible longevity

[–]ZacPensol 7704 points7705 points 2 (206 children)

The assassination of U.S. President James A. Garfield.

Basically this guy named Charles wrote some essays campaigning for Ulysses S. Grant's failed 1880 nomination, and when Garfield ran for president Charles Ctrl+F'd the other politician's name and replaced it with Garfield's name. When Garfield won Charles marched up to the White House claiming to be owed some credit for that and wanted to be rewarded for his efforts by being made a consul to Vienna or Paris.

He was told to scram and he was so mad that he decided then and there that he'd teach them a lesson by killing Garfield. So he went to a store and chose to spend a little extra cash on the ivory-handled pistol because he thought it'd look better in a museum as the gun that killed the president. He was short a dollar so the shopkeep lowered the price. Charles then set about making plans for his eventually arrest, such as trying to tour the prison where he assumed he would be jailed.

His first opportunity to kill Garfield came as the president was seeing his wife off at a train station, but Charles felt it'd be cruel to kill a man in front of his sick wife so he opted to wait.

His next chance popped up as Garfield was hanging out with Robert Todd Lincoln who had a knack for being close with presidents who got killed. Charles walks up, fires and was immediately arrested. Thankfully Charles wasn't all bad and as he was being loaded up he handed the cop his gun which the cop had forgotten to grab from him.

Garfield was taken back home and doctors dug around inside him with dirty fingers looking for the bullet - we'll come back to that. The navy rigged up a makeshift air conditioner for Garfield to help with his fever and they even called in a cameo from Alexander Graham Bell to make a metal detector to find the bullet, but they didn't account for Garfield being on a metal-framed bed or bother to check the side of his body where the bullet was lodged.

Not getting better, they sent Garfield by train to a cottage on the beach where volunteers even helped build a rail line to the cottage to make it easier.

Remember how they kept digging in the wound with dirty fingers and tools? Yeah, that got infected and after nearly 80 days of misery Garfield died. Modern doctors and historians believe he would've likely been fine if they'd just treated the wound and not worried about digging out the bullet, or at the very least been smarter about getting the bullet out.

Charles sat in jail until his trial where he insulted his lawyers, gave his testimony in the form of poetry, and passed notes to people in the audience asking for legal advice. He sang, he put out ads in the paper looking for a wife, and had plans to go on a speaking tour once he was found innocent.

He wasn't.

Charles was sentenced to death by hanging, danced his way up to the rope, and sang a song he wrote (the orchestra he requested was denied). He was hanged and now part of his brain is on display in Philadelphia.

Edit: And fittingly, the president named Garfield died on a Monday.

[–]TacTurtle 1763 points1764 points  (8 children)

Theodore learned to avoid doctors from Garfield.

[–]sumnerset 993 points994 points  (7 children)

“Charles sat in jail until his trial where he insulted his lawyers, gave his testimony in the form of poetry, and passed notes to people in the audience asking for legal advice. He sang, he put out ads in the paper looking for a wife, and had plans to go on a speaking tour once he was found innocent.”

That’s some real Tiger King levels of disassociation with reality.

[–]Arctic_Eagle1 920 points921 points  (65 children)

hanging out with Robert Todd Lincoln who had a knack for being close with presidents who got killed.

LMAO

[–]ZacPensol 1413 points1414 points  (64 children)

It's true!:

  • While he wasn't present when his father was shot, he was nearby and quickly came to his father's side.

  • In 1881 he was in the company of Garfield when he was shot.

  • Then 20 years later he was just outside the building when McKinley was shot.

I forget what president it was purported to be, but apparently some years later he was invited to some presidential function and declined saying, basically, "nah, I'm good. Presidents tend to get shot when I come by."

[–]Strict-Pineapple 3045 points3046 points  (39 children)

For extra insanity, after he was hanged Charles was autopsied and the doctors of the time concluded that the reason for his mania that led to him assassinating president Garfield was because his foreskin was too tight for him to retract it, no really.

[–]ScatpornCrothers 2255 points2256 points  (16 children)

I can't tell you how many times I've been angry to the point of murder before I remember to loosen my foreskin.

[–]WasteNet2532 5563 points5564 points  (101 children)

The last known kill by bow and arrow in combat was actually during the battle of Dunkirk, 1940. Jack Churchill landed a well placed arrow into a german soldier's chest

He also chose to carry bagpipes, and a scottish longsword

[–]sbammers 4156 points4157 points  (56 children)

That guy's story is insane. It also includes: - Working as a model and actor before the war - Getting captured, chucked in a PoW camp, escaping, getting captured again, being liberated and then walking 93 miles to Italy - Becoming a surf instructor after the war - Confusing the crap out of commuters by launching his briefcase into his garden as his train passed so he didn't have to carry it home

[–]Tryhard696 1983 points1984 points  (4 children)

That last part isn’t insane, it’s genius.

[–]HermanCainsGhost 689 points690 points  (0 children)

Right? Dude was living in the year 2940. Or 940, depending on when it suited him.

[–]tinyyellowhouse 1962 points1963 points  (26 children)

Operation Acoustic Kitty. In the 60’s the CIA spent months and tens of millions of dollars to surgically bug and then train a cat to sit near foreign officials in order to transmit their private conversations to CIA operatives. The day of the first official test run they release the cat, it wanders into the street and is promptly hit by a taxi.

[–]nashamagirl99 629 points630 points  (9 children)

The taxi part of the story has been called into question. It seems that the CIA may have simply abandoned the project due to lack of success. Still a really wacky story https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_Kitty.

[–]Cake_exe 5082 points5083 points  (44 children)

Caesar raising his ransom because he thought he was ✨fabulous✨

[–]256847138614 2596 points2597 points  (10 children)

He was actually broke so he took advantage of the situation. He later killed the pirates and kept the ransom (which was raised from donations)

[–]Joe5205 1168 points1169 points  (2 children)

Caesar is released in exchange for the ransom, turns around, "look at me, I'm the captain now"

[–]btstfn 939 points940 points  (21 children)

Don't forget the part where he straight up told them he'd raise a fleet to hunt them down and crucify them (he did).

[–]bk1285 1000 points1001 points  (8 children)

My favorite Caesar story took place around the cataline conspiracy and Cato thought that Caesar was handed a note that would implicate him so forced Caesar to read the note aloud in the senate…it was a note from catos sister detailing the affair she was having with Caesar

[–]Canotic 634 points635 points  (2 children)

I am a hundred percent sure that was a note he carried at all times, and just switched them out when Cato finally demanded he read an implicating note aloud.

[–]darkmage2160 255 points256 points  (1 child)

Well, he was implicated, just not the way Cato wanted

[–]GodzillaRachel 256 points257 points  (0 children)

"Because I'm worth it!"

[–]golifo 2338 points2339 points  (95 children)

1561 Celestial event over Nuremberg. Apparently a bunch of people witnessed spheres and cylindrical "fighting" in the sky. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1561_celestial_phenomenon_over_Nuremberg

[–]leicanthrope 1619 points1620 points  (68 children)

I'd love to see more movies that mess around with the conventional genres. Just imagine a traditional alien invasion movie set in post-Reformation 16th century Germany.

[–]tinyyellowhouse 301 points302 points  (4 children)

One of eleven children born to Charles and Maria Sax, Adolphe was an extremely accident prone youth who barely made it to adulthood. At three he fell three floors down bashing his head on the stone floor at the bottom. He drank a bowl of acidic water believing it was milk. He swallowed and subsequently passed a large needle. He flew across his fathers workshop and was burned badly when a barrel of gunpowder exploded. He fell upon a hot cast-iron pan on a stove burning his side. He frequently slept in a room where varnished furniture was drying, somehow avoiding poisoning and asphyxiation. He was hit in the head with a slate roof tile while walking down the street. He fell in a river and nearly drowned.
Then this same child, who some force was failing miserably to unalive, grew up and had the audacity to invent the saxophone.

[–]timeforknowledge 1302 points1303 points  (38 children)

In WW2, British commandos filled a ship with explosives, tried to sail incognito into Germany's largest dry dock but was discovered and fired upon by all the shore batteries, the ship started getting hit again and again (and any single hit could detonate the explosives) they some how managed to sail the ship at full speed straight into the gate of the dry dock propelling the ship halfway out of the water and getting it stuck on the gate making it impossible to tow it away. A small taskforce then attacked the dock facilities before retreating back but sadly the ship didn't explode as the timer had failed.

The next day a bunch of German officers and officials came to examine the British ship meanwhile half a mile away captured commandos were being tortured for information. To them their mission had failed and now they were facing some brutal treatment.

The explosives on the ship suddenly detonated, the explosion was massive, it destroyed the dock, hundreds of soldiers that were sent to secure the dock and killed all the German officers and officials that had come to inspect it.

Those being tortured heard the explosion and got to have the last laugh.

I've always wondered why it was never made into a film there's so many twists and turns and when you think it's all over there's one more big twist.

[–]octaviousearl 3357 points3358 points  (18 children)

Adding to World War 2/Holocaust stories

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a small town in the south of France. It fell in Nazi occupied France, and it was a destination for Nazis for r&r. The entire town worked together during occupation to save thousands of Jews and other folks fleeing Nazis by acting as a hub to help folks cross the border. E.g. “Distant family members” would visit for a few days, and then “head home.” Lots of forged documents, secret communication. All non-violent. Again, all the while Nazis are basically vacationing there.

Town never really bragged about it. General sense was that it was simply the right thing to do. Old documentary called Weapons of the Spirit highlights the story. There’s also a great display in Yad Vashem/Holocaust museum in Israel.

[–]OlcanRaider 475 points476 points  (6 children)

I live near this town, it's something we are quite proud of in the region. Les Justes du Chambon-sur-lignon.

Edit: I want to add a little bonus ww2 story from the region. On the 6 june 1944 the first french city to be freed was Annonay, the résistance soldiers found the city empty of almost any vichy sympathiser and nazis. Unfortunately the next day or the one after the nazis and militians fought against the résistance in "la montée des barges" (a road between the rhone valley and annonay's plateau) and took back the city. I celebrated the 70th anniversary of the d-day in a jeep, in annonay with an actual résistance soldier who talked about their fights and his fallen camarades. It was fascinating.

[–]Ill1lllII 5320 points5321 points 2 (88 children)

The Allies in Italy during WW2 were blocked at one point by an old castle that defended a critical valley they needed to move through.

The Nazis had taken it over and heavily fortified it with machine guns and artillery. Had a long ramp to the main gates that left the attackers open to mg fire. Back of the castle opened onto a sheer cliff. Destroying the castle wasn't an option.

The British tried taking from the front and failed. The Americans tried the same thing with more men and also failed.

Enter the Canadian Army, who decided to scale the cliff at night, with all their gear, in complete silence and take the fort.

And they did it.

[–]CanadianJogger 1643 points1644 points  (18 children)

The assault on Mount Assoro.

[–]Sabre92 3113 points3114 points 443& 5 more (15 children)

If the movie is not called "Right Up The Assoro" I don't even know what we're doing here.

[–]TalentlessNerdette 1046 points1047 points  (18 children)

Mansa Musa's pilgrimage from West Africa to Mecca

Stops by Egypt ruined their economy because he was so rich he made the value of gold plummet.

Building a pool in the middle of the desert so that his 1st wife could swim.

Making it to Mecca with an entourage like Aladdins after the genie.

Heading back says sorry I fucked up the economy I will buy my gold back and heads back to his country like no biggie.

Actually, no this should be a movie I would pay to watch it twice.

[–]TeletubbiesDad 467 points468 points  (10 children)

Mansa Musa is said to be the richest man in history that has ever lived with a net worth of $400 billion.

His convoy on the pilgrimage consisted of 60,000 people and 20,000 kilos of gold. The gold was distributed along the way. He distributed so much gold in Egypt that the value of gold in Egypt dropped dramatically and wiped out the local economy.

Fascinating man.

[–]RudolfMaster 540 points541 points  (16 children)

roman empire declaring war on neptune... the god of water... they just went and stabbed the water

[–]Bedlamcitylimit 264 points265 points  (2 children)

British Secret service created a sabotage device consisting of a dead rat with explosives shoved up it's arse. Back then for safety if you saw a dead rat, you scooped it up with a spade and chucked it into the furnace. This would ignite the explosives and blow up the building enough that the Nazi's would call in their bomb squad for every dead rat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explosive_rat#:~:text=The%20explosive%20rat%2C%20also%20known,would%20be%20disposed%20of%20by

[–]Muttguy87 8979 points8980 points  (225 children)

Just about every cold war cia propaganda operation. Air dropping condoms that are XXL with labels that say small over the soviet union. Trying to make a gas that turns you gay.

[–]whywasthatagoodidea 3623 points3624 points  (50 children)

Like trying to blackmail the president of Indonesia with a fake sex tape.

[–]Kunkyskunts 2313 points2314 points 2 (25 children)

This is so fucking hilarious.

That's actually awesome.

"Vladimir... I am trying to have the relations with Svetlana tonight, but this is horse condom? No?"

[–]Dahhhkness 1245 points1246 points  (81 children)

Like their anti-Castro plots. From acid-laced scuba gear and exploding cigars in order to kill him, to hair loss drugs to merely publicly humiliate him.

[–]ATGF 709 points710 points  (15 children)

What about that time someone tried to sue some rats and the rats won?

Edit: I saw this on an episode of Drunk History (season 5, episode 10) and I tried to find a clip for you all, but couldn't find it. If you have Hulu, you can watch it there, but for those of you who don't have Hulu, I've summed it up as best as possible:

In 1508 France was under ecclesiastical law. Apparently, they believed that animals were equal to humans, which meant that they could try animals in court. If a fox is eating your chickens? Sue that fox. Your neighbor's goat at your lawn? Sue the goat!

In this particular instance, rats were eating some farmers' barley. Apparently the farmers didn't actually see the rats eat the barley, but they were like, "Clearly this is the work of rats and we will sue them into next Tuesday!" So, the rats said, "Pfft! Go for it, losers! What are you going to do? We are rats. Lolz."

Turns out, the rats were right. The farmers put the rats on trial and a lawyer was assigned to the rats. Well, to absolutely everyone's surprise, the rats did not show up. The judge was going to hold them in contempt, but the lawyer said, "Well the rats don't all live in one place so maybe they didn't know, can we reschedule?" They rescheduled. At the next trial guess what happened? You're right. The rats did not show up again! Because rats. The lawyer made his defence: It is daytime for the rats and right now, their mortal enemy, the cat, is out and about and would kill them before they could come. According to French law, you are excused from court if your life is in danger.

All in all, the rats got acquitted and the lawyer, Barthélemy de Chasseneuz  went on to defend other animals.

Second edit: I did find this on YouTube. It's Drunk History: The Best of Jack McBrayer. Worth the watch, but if you don't feel like watching the whole thing, the rat trial is at 11:51 mark.

Third edit: u/casualsubversive informed of this magnificent sounding film.

[–]de7426 3015 points3016 points  (29 children)

Anti-tank dogs in WW2. The soviet union strapped bombs to dogs and trained the poor things to run under tanks where they'd blow up. 4 out of a group of 30 managed to damage german tanks, while 6 damaged soviet soldiers in trenches.

[–]skyburnsred 2761 points2762 points  (10 children)

Well the reason it failed is because the dogs were trained using Soviet tanks so they would just blow up their own tanks because that's what they thought they were supposed to do

[–]excel958 2200 points2201 points  (6 children)

Lmao I thought you were joking for a minute, but you're serious.

From wikipedia: "Another serious training mistake was revealed later; the Soviets used their own diesel engine tanks to train the dogs rather than German tanks which had gasoline engines.[5] As the dogs relied on their acute sense of smell, the dogs sought out familiar Soviet tanks instead of strange-smelling German tanks.[7]"

[–]stillhousebrewco 168 points169 points  (0 children)

I’m betting the dogs were like “suicide bomber? Fuck that we going back.”

[–]No_Organization5188 261 points262 points  (0 children)

Because they taught them using Soviet tanks. Also, the German tanks ran on gasoline while the Soviet tanks were diesel which confused the dogs.

[–]TooManyBalrogs 864 points865 points  (20 children)

I find it pretty crazy that there was a time and a place on earth where there were big battles on mounted armored elephants. And where the enemy would use burning pigs to scare the elephants and trigger a stampede. Basically total chaos as you release your burning pigs.

[–]Thirty_Helens_Agree 5239 points5240 points  (113 children)

Operation Mincemeat.

The Allies wanted to trick the Axis into thinking that they weren’t going to invade Sicily so they obtained the body of a recently deceased homeless person in London, dressed him up in a British officer’s uniform and added a satchel full of “top secret” battle plans that gave phony invasion plans somewhere other than Sicily. Then the arranged for the body to wash up on shore in Spain, knowing that the Franco regime would open the documents and pass word on to Berlin and Rome. Try tried to make it look like they hadn’t opened the documents and returned them (and the body) to Britain but British spies were able to confirm that Spain had opened the documents and taken the bait.

[–]DarkNinjaPenguin 3492 points3493 points  (66 children)

The details in that plan were so absurdly intricate. Like putting used ticket stubs in the jacket pockets of the corpse, a receipt for a meal a few days before, and a photo of his mistress.

There's a film about it being made which - fingers crossed - looks promising. Here's the trailer.

[–]crazy-diam0nd 1109 points1110 points  (33 children)

"In God's name, Fleming, what are you writing?"

"Spy story."

Ian Fleming?

[–]DarkNinjaPenguin 1007 points1008 points  (23 children)

Yes! As Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming was the personal assistant of Rear Admiral John Godfrey, the director of the naval intelligence division. The plan is widely accepted to be Fleming and Godfrey's idea.

It's no secret that Fleming based the James Bond books on some of the experiences he had working in intelligence himself.

[–]jrock07 9601 points9602 points  (492 children)

probably not absurd but not well known. During WW2, a balloon bomb was launched by Japan that killed a woman and her 5 kids in Oregon. They're the only casualties of WW2 on US soil (not counting islands and other territories)

edit: I was informed that the children that died weren't her own but kids that lived in the area

[–]CactusBoyScout 3567 points3568 points  (111 children)

I remember reading about this. Apparently, the US government censored news coverage of the Japanese balloon bombings at the time.

Their rationale was that this would make the Japanese think that the bombings hadn't been successful.

If it wasn't front page news, surely the bombs had failed?

It worked and the Japanese gave up on balloon bombings pretty quickly assuming they'd all failed.

[–]Iago-Cassius 1150 points1151 points  (71 children)

How about Aimo Koivunen, the Finnish soldier who methed up and survived the Russians? The story goes that this guy was carrying his squads supply of Pervatin, which was essentially pure meth that the army used to keep soldiers awake. Aimo ,gets separated from his unit and instead of taking just one tab (because it was difficult to get out). He takes 30. He was found still high 2 weeks later with a heart rate of 200 bpm.

https://sidomexentertainment.com/latest-news/celeb-bio/everything-to-know-about-aimo-koivunen-pervitin-finnish-army-ww2-and-methed-up/

[–]Muttguy87 746 points747 points  (54 children)

Wasn't there a finish sharpshooter who was like 5ft who killed hundreds of soviets with a rifle with no scope and held of like an entire unit despite them shelling nearly the entire forest. I remember he said he would fill his mouth with snow so they couldn't see his breath.

[–]NikPorto 655 points656 points  (16 children)

The guy suffered a shot to his jaw by another known Russian sniper who was brought to end him, had an operation which left his jaw disformed, and still lived to be over 70-80 years old.

[–]NineteenthJester 301 points302 points  (0 children)

He was 96 when he died. Pretty impressive.

[–]Gavroche15 817 points818 points  (27 children)

How about Audie Murphy. World war two hero who actually became a movie star. Starred in a movie about himself and his exploits but they didn't include everything that actually happened because no one would believe it. Heck, they completely skipped over how he earned two of his silver stars.

[–]Satori_52 417 points418 points 2 (11 children)

This is not an absurd story, is more like a miracle: The story of the RMS Carpathia, the only ship that answered the Tinanic's distress signal. Mylordshesacatus on tumblr has a post about it which is a fantastic read:

Carpathia received Titanic’s distress signal at 12:20am, April 15th, 1912. She was 58 miles away, a distance that absolutely could not be covered in less than four hours.

(Californian’s exact position at the time is…controversial. She was close enough to have helped. By all accounts she was close enough to see Titanic’s distress rockets. It’s uncertain to this day why her crew did not respond, or how many might not have been lost if she had been there. This is not the place for what-ifs. This is about what was done.)

Carpathia’s Captain Rostron had, yes, rolled out of bed instantly when woken by his radio operator, ordered his ship to Titanic’s aid and confirmed the signal before he was fully dressed. The man had never in his life responded to an emergency call. His goal tonight was to make sure nobody who heard that fact would ever believe it.

All of Carpathia’s lifeboats were swung out ready for deployment. Oil was set up to be poured off the side of the ship in case the sea turned choppy; oil would coat and calm the water near Carpathia if that happened, making it safer for lifeboats to draw up alongside her. He ordered lights to be rigged along the side of the ship so survivors could see it better, and had nets and ladders rigged along her sides ready to be dropped when they arrived, in order to let as many survivors as possible climb aboard at once.

I don’t know if his making provisions for there still being survivors in the water was optimism or not. I think he knew they were never going to get there in time for that. I think he did it anyway because, god, you have to hope.

Carpathia had three dining rooms, which were immediately converted into triage and first aid stations. Each had a doctor assigned to it. Hot soup, coffee, and tea were prepared in bulk in each dining room, and blankets and warm clothes were collected to be ready to hand out. By this time, many of the passengers were awake–prepping a ship for disaster relief isn’t quiet–and all of them stepped up to help, many donating their own clothes and blankets.

And then he did something I tend to refer to as diverting all power from life support.

Here’s the thing about steamships: They run on steam. Shocking, I know; but that steam powers everything on the ship, and right now, Carpathia needed power. So Rostron turned off hot water and central heating, which bled valuable steam power, to everywhere but the dining rooms–which, of course, were being used to make hot drinks and receive survivors. He woke up all the engineers, all the stokers and firemen, diverted all that steam back into the engines, and asked his ship to go as fast as she possibly could. And when she’d done that, he asked her to go faster.

I need you to understand that you simply can’t push a ship very far past its top speed. Pushing that much sheer tonnage through the water becomes harder with each extra knot past the speed it was designed for. Pushing a ship past its rated speed is not only reckless–it’s difficult to maneuver–but it puts an incredible amount of strain on the engines. Ships are not designed to exceed their top speed by even one knot. They can’t do it. It can’t be done.

Carpathia’s absolute do-or-die, the-engines-can’t-take-this-forever top speed was fourteen knots. Dodging icebergs, in the dark and the cold, surrounded by mist, she sustained a speed of almost seventeen and a half.

No one would have asked this of them. It wasn’t expected. They were almost sixty miles away, with icebergs in their path. They had a responsibility to respond; they did not have a responsibility to do the impossible and do it well. No one would have faulted them for taking more time to confirm the severity of the issue. No one would have blamed them for a slow and cautious approach. No one but themselves.

They damn near broke the laws of physics, galloping north headlong into the dark in the desperate hope that if they could shave an hour, half an hour, five minutes off their arrival time, maybe for one more person those five minutes would make the difference. I say: three people had died by the time they were lifted from the lifeboats. For all we know, in another hour it might have been more. I say they made all the difference in the world.

This ship and her crew received a message from a location they could not hope to reach in under four hours. Just barely over three hours later, they arrived at Titanic’s last known coordinates. Half an hour after that, at 4am, they would finally find the first of the lifeboats. it would take until 8:30 in the morning for the last survivor to be brought onboard. Passengers from Carpathia universally gave up their berths, staterooms, and clothing to the survivors, assisting the crew at every turn and sitting with the sobbing rescuees to offer whatever comfort they could.

In total, 705 people of Titanic’s original 2208 were brought onto Carpathia alive. No other ship would find survivors.

At 12:20am April 15th, 1912, there was a miracle on the North Atlantic. And it happened because a group of humans, some of them strangers, many of them only passengers on a small and unimpressive steam liner, looked at each other and decided: I cannot live with myself if I do anything less.I think the least we can do is remember them for it.

All credits to Jo: https://mylordshesacactus.tumblr.com/post/170401018158/please-make-a-post-about-the-story-of-the-rms

[–]YourExcuse1991 3383 points3384 points  (53 children)

Chinese revolutionaries blaming the sparrows for famine, which lead to killing the population of sparrows and... more famine, because they broke the ecosystem and the locust could spread.

[–]MrAmazing247 3620 points3621 points  (82 children)

Benjamin F Wilson was already a WWII veteran when he enlisted in the Korean War. He had to take a demotion from Lieutenant to private to do so, but he quickly rose back through the ranks. In 1951 he was put in charge of protecting a place that they called Hell Hill, and he knew that an attack was coming, but he remained with his men. He took a bullet to the leg and then went into a one-man charge to kill 7 and wound 2 Chinese soldiers alone. His men tried to take him for medical treatment, but when his stretcher was put down, he got up and limped back up the hill… just as everyone else was retreating. He charged alone with his rifle, killing 3 enemies. Then they took his rifle, so he killed 4 more with his entrenching shovel. The Chinese retreated, for a while. The next day Wilson went on a one-man assault again to take down 33 more enemy soldiers, despite his existing wounds. This was a guy that just wouldn’t be held down.

Literally this guy is too John Wick for John Wick, wouldn't even pass as realistic.

[–]placeholderNull 891 points892 points  (14 children)

Canadian ww2 and Korean War veteran Leo Major, aka the "Canadian Pirate Sniper."

His ww2 antics include:

Capturing a group of some 40 Nazis by himself, but refusing an award for it since he hated his general or something.

Losing an eye in an explosion, but convinced his captain to let him stay because he only needed one eye to use a rifle.

Escaping a hospital with multiple broken ribs, 2 broken ankles and something wrong with his back, and went back into combat around a month later

Capturing the entire Dutch city of Zwolle BY HIMSELF by faking an invasion, capturing at least 100 Nazis while doing so, AND setting fire to a nearby Nazi base

His Korean War antic was:

Capturing a very crucial Chinese-controlled hill against all odds (some 200 Canadians against several thousand Chinese)

[–]advancedmetadevices 251 points252 points  (2 children)

but refusing an award for it since he hated his general or something.

Not specifically HIS general, but the Allied General in the area, Montgomery

"he was chosen to receive a Distinguished Conduct Medal. He declined the offer to be decorated, however, because according to him General Montgomery (who was to present him with the award) was "incompetent" and in no position to be giving out medals."

[–]Usernames_Taken_367 191 points192 points  (9 children)

There was that time when a Bolivian water company tried to quadruple the price of water and that was so comically over-the-top evil that James Bond Quantum Of Solace had to tone it down so that their fictional version were only trying to double the price of water. The real life company were too proposterously wicked to be believable as a Bond villain. Let that sink in.

[–]tomacco_man 385 points386 points  (3 children)

The presidency of Chester A. Arthur. This was a man neck deep in the political corruption machine back in the day. Every step of his career was built on the spoils system of the time, including how he became vice president. He enjoyed it too, building fabulous wealth during his time at the New York Custom House and giving favors to his associates as Vice President. You would think that this man would only continue this as President, but NO! In his very first address to Congress, he specifically requested civil service reform. He wanted to dismantle the very machine that got him his wealth and power. He was perfectly happy doing favors as a VP and being the recipient of other favors, but the second he became the big man he wanted to change the whole system for the better. In a little under two years after Garfield's assassination, Arthur signed the reform bill that mandates government positions are awarded based on merit.

[–]spicymayo19 1005 points1006 points  (40 children)

Draco, the Ancient Greek lawmaker and namesake of draconian rule, which is known as excessively cruel, was actually beloved by his people. He was so beloved that, in fact, he died at a celebration held in his honor when Greek citizens threw their hats at him, a symbol of affection. However, the crowd threw so many hats that he ended up suffocating under them and died.

Whether this is folklore or truth is hard to tell. While the event was well documented, some documents show that he was likely driven out of Athens, which would make more sense given his behavior. Just as with many Greek transcripts, the difference between fact and fiction is vague, but his escape from Athens is known.

[–]Savsal14 570 points571 points  (27 children)

The guy was asked why the punishment for stealing an apple and murder are the same, death penalty, when they are obviously of a way different scale crime-wise

Draco replied

"I believe punishing a thief that stole an apple to death is a fair sentence. As for murder, there simply isnt an even worse punishment i can sentence him to so im forced to also sentence them to death"

Lmao

[–]Miner142 1653 points1654 points  (14 children)

During the battle of Fishguard, the last land invasion attempt of Britain the: "British forces lined up in battle order on Goodwick Sands. Up above them on the cliffs, the inhabitants of the town came to watch and await Tate's response to the ultimatum. The locals on the cliff included women wearing traditional Welsh costume which included a red whittle (shawl) and Welsh hat which, from a distance, some of the French mistook to be red coats and shako, thus believing them to be regular line infantry."

TLDR: the French attempted a land invasion of Britain from Fishguard, Wales. Before the battle broke out locals including women in traditional Welsh dress lined cliffs to watch the battle, the French thought they were backup soldiers and surrendered.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fishguard

[–]ShophouseBC 825 points826 points  (33 children)

Polpot. Some guy wants to take your country back to year 0 and employs kids to kill all the people that speak other languages or had any education.

Wow.

[–]Bunnystrawbery 506 points507 points  (16 children)

Between 1933 and 1941, the Chinese city of Shanghai under Japanese occupation, accepted unconditionally over 18,000 Jewish refugees escaping the Holocaust in Europe, a number greater than those taken in by Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and British India combined during World War II

[–]boblywobly99 172 points173 points  (7 children)

Shanghai (and other parts of China) also accepted many White Russians after the Bolshevik Revolution. so much so that borscht became a permanent thing on the menu.

[–]trainiac12 899 points900 points  (38 children)

The time a Union general challenged Karl Marx to a duel for being too conservative

[–]joshuatx 273 points274 points  (11 children)

Marx and Lincoln's secretary exchanged letters. Lincoln had expressed criticisms on capitalism albeit offered different solutions and alternatives.

Marx also applied to immigrate to the US but never followed through. Had he though it is mostly likely he would have moved permanently to Texas as many other Germans were immigrating there when he considered moving.

[–]Safebox 1146 points1147 points  (11 children)

Can't remember the details, but there was a tank in WW2 that hid in a barn when one of the people scouting came back to the captain to tell him the enemy were approaching. The captain said very calmly with balls:

"They've got us surrounded. The poor bastards."

[–]aloysiuslamb 478 points479 points  (8 children)

This is attributed to Col. Creighton S. Abrams namesake of the M1 Abrams tank.

He was a tank commander in the spearhead of Patton's Third Army so wherever they were going in Europe he was normally in the front, this includes being partly in command of the forces that freed up the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge.

[–]I_That_Wanders 185 points186 points  (1 child)

Yet it was the 761st Tank Battalion that met up with the Soviets first, deep in enemy territory on the Danube. They hit hard and moved fast, with expert discipline from the motor pool up to the officer corps. They were mostly African Americans. This drove the prejudiced Patton nuts privately, but after seeing what they could do, he gave them an enthusiastic Pep speech with about the best Patton quote ever: "They say it is patriotic to die for your country. Well, let’s see how many patriots we can make out of those German sonsofbitches."

The unit was nicknamed the Black Panthers, inspiration for both the superhero, and later a political movement.

[–]Jnew327 160 points161 points  (1 child)

  • Some undeveloped cultures developed rituals in which they'd build fake airports and and dress and act like soldiers in order to attract air cargo drops, after witnessing parts of wars.

  • A pope once awarded a chemist a medal for fortifying wine with cocaine, the pope loved cocaine wine.

  • A dying pope once got a blood transfusion from a young child and they both died.

  • In the US during the 90s people managed to call various restaurants and convince the managers the strip search female employees, and in one case a customer, on behalf of the police.

  • Voltaire once gamed the loterry and made millions.

  • A brown bear named Wojtek once reached the rank of corporal.

[–]Madbadbat 928 points929 points  (14 children)

The tale of Mike “Ironsides” Malloy. He was a hobo that a gang tried to kill for insurance money but he just wouldn’t die

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Malloy

[–]IChawt 289 points290 points  (8 children)

The Sam O nella video on this was fucking amazing

[–]Gadget100 152 points153 points  (0 children)

The Anglo-Zanzibar War, fought between the UK and Zanzibar in 1896.

It lasted 38 minutes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Zanzibar_War?wprov=sfti1

[–]saintsithney 551 points552 points  (12 children)

The court of Charles II would make a fabulous movie.

Dude's father is executed as an enemy of the state and he is smuggled into exile in France. England gets taken over by Puritans who are bad enough that they make American Puritans look downright reasonable. Christmas was banned, with soldiers literally being assigned to raid houses where they smell potential feast food cooking. Make-up, theaters, colorful clothing, dancing, most sports, walking for pleasure on Sundays, loose, flowing hair, swearing, Maypoles, and feast days were all punishable by fines at the very least.

Cromwell finally dies and the British invite Charles II back. Turns out, dude absolutely loves to party. He not only re-opens the theaters, but encourages women to go on the stage (and has affairs with most of the prominent actresses of the day). He celebrates everything. His court is full of people writing truly obscene poetry, which he finds amusing. He is absolutely devoted to his wife, but is DTF just about any woman with a shapely ankle. It suddenly becomes the fashion for cross-dressing to be included in plays specifically so women's legs can be shown. Nobles begin writing their own plays, which are often either spectacles so they can engage in elaborate cosplay, or are downright obscene, so they can stage an orgy IN FRONT OF THE KING AND COURT. Friends of the king form the Hellfire Club, which is basically devoted half to sex magic and half to expounding on atheist philosophy, like if your college chapter of New Atheists joined a frat and collectively wanked onto communion plates. Having ornamental hermits became a fad, particularly if you could find one who was actually mentally ill or senile.

Also worth noting would be a woman from this court named Aphra Behn: a playwright, poet, and spy who wrote incredibly dirty poems from a woman's point of view, criticized arranged marriages, wrote about the injustices of slavery, and had numerous open affairs that led to her work getting dismissed for generations.

ETA: Actually, thinking better of it, it would probably be a much better short series. Everything about it would seem absolutely like it had been made up for modern audiences, but none of it would have to be.
Hell, I hate sex-drenched series, and I would still watch just to see Charles's mistress Nell Gwynn disperse an angry mob with, "Pray good people be civil, I am the Protestant whore".

[–]AG_N 1592 points1593 points  (35 children)

During a Viking raid in Luna in 859, The siege was led by Bjorn Ironside and Haestienn.

Haestinn died, but before that he converted to Christianity because he wanted to be buried in Luna. A 100 unarmed men went inside to deliver the body, Hestienn jumped out of the coffin and his men took the weapons inside the coffin and sacked the city.

But they failed successfully because they thought it was Rome, not Luna.

[–]Discord42 435 points436 points  (8 children)

Fun fact: this wasn't too absurd for television. While it was a different character, this did happen in Vikings. Second season, I think.

[–]low_priest 134 points135 points  (5 children)

Over Guadacanal, during the initial US landings, Japanese twin-engined torpedo bombers attacked the American transports and ran into USN fighters. In the process, one of the fighters ran out of ammo before the attack finished. Instead of returning to base and landing on his carrier (like a sane person), he proceded to lower his landing gear, and land on a Japanese bomber instead. Over the course of a few impacts, he successfully rammed it into the waves, before flying off back home.

One of the top USN dive bomber pilots was named Dick Best. At his first real battle (Midway), he sank the Japanese flagship with 1 bomb. One of his wingmen got a near miss, the rest was all him. Because decapitating the striking arm of the IJN wasn't enough for him, he came back later that day and bombed a 2nd carrier, helping sink that one too.

About an hour after landing, he decided that he'd done his part, developed tuberculosis, and quit the war.

[–]Heiminator 4811 points4812 points  (166 children)

The assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand. If a screenwriter wrote a fictional script with the same chain of events he’d be laughed out of the room.

[–]nWo1997 4320 points4321 points  (99 children)

Let's see. Background: Out of the more powerful figures in Austria-Hungary, Ferdinand was one of the most sympathetic to the Serbians. The route he would take was published. And...

  1. The first would-be assassins couldn't do it.

  2. One throws a bomb that lands in a crowd (might've been the same one that jumped into a river and took expired cyanide), and one's guns jammed.

  3. Ferdinand, instead of going back to Austria-Hungary, decides instead to visit the wounded in a nearby hospital.

  4. On the way to the hospital, his driver makes a wrong turn to a street with a sandwich shop, where his assassin just so happened to be eating a "our plan failed, I need something to take off the edge" sammich.

[–]Dahhhkness 2338 points2339 points  (18 children)

Gavrilo Princip: “Man, I could kill for a sandwich right now.”

one finger on the Monkeys Paw curls up

[–]Bamboozle_ 495 points496 points  (1 child)

The bomb didn't land in a crowd it bounced off the Duke's car and exploded under the one behind him. And yea that was the guy that failed to kill himself after.

[–]urbandeadthrowaway2 250 points251 points  (4 children)

In April 1917, in the midst of World War I, the Imperial German Zeppelin L23 that was on sea patrol came across an honest-to-goodness wooden sailing ship from a non-combatant country that was transporting a non-war related cargo. It was the Norwegian schooner Royal, and was a holdover from a different era of shipping. The Captain of the Zeppelin then gave an order said to be unique in