History doesn’t have to be dull! As a matter of fact, our ancestors were just as messed up and said and did just as many embarrassing things as we do today, in modern times. To prove this point, Reddit users on a recent AskReddit thread shared the funniest fact they know about history, and as usual, they did not disappoint. Discover some of the silliest historical facts you’ve probably never heard of.
- Ben the Prankster
“The founding fathers wouldn’t let Benjamin Franklin work on the Declaration Of Independence because they were afraid he would slip a joke into it.” JasonYaya
This is more urban legend than historical fact. It is true that Benjamin Franklin was well-known for his sharp wit and satirical writing, but this did not stop him from working on the Declaration of Independence. In fact, Ben Franklin did have a hand in the creation of the famous document, serving on the committee to draft the Declaration alongside John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert Livingston. According to historian and biographer Ormond Seavey, Jefferson often consulted Franklin about the draft as he was composing it. As for jokes in the Declaration, Seavey tells ThoughtCo, “our modern notion of jokes would not have made sense to these Eighteenth-Century people.” Back then, satire and irony were used often as very serious rhetorical tactics.
2. They Did It All for the Booty
“Notorious Pirate/Pirate hunter Benjamin Hornigold once attacked a ship just to steal all of the crew member’s hats. His men had gotten drunk and lost their hats during a party the night before and decided to board a ship to get replacements.” SalemWitchBurial
It’s true! Historian Peter Earle backed up this admittedly outlandish claim in his book, The Pirate Wars, stating that one of the captured passengers later recounted, “They did us no further injury than the taking most of our hats from us, having got drunk the night before, as they told us, and toss’d theirs overboard.”
3. Putting the ‘Mal’ in Malpractice
“In 1847, Robert Liston performed an amputation in 25 seconds, operating so quickly that he accidentally amputated his assistant’s fingers as well. Both patient and assistant later died of sepsis, and a spectator reportedly died of shock, resulting in the only known surgical procedure with a 300% mortality rate.” Montuvito_G
The 19th-century physician Robert Liston was famous for his speedy surgeries, often lasting only around 30 seconds. In his book “Practical Surgeries,” published in 1837, he emphasizes the importance of quick surgeries, arguing that “these operations must be set about with determination and completed rapidly.”
Among the many stories of Liston’s surgeries, the one described above is the most famous, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Matt Soniak at MentalFloss calls it “possibly apocryphal” and it’s almost certainly exaggerated.
Even if Liston did have his mishaps, his overall mortality rate was actually impressive compared to his peers. According to historian Richard Hollingham, of the 66 patients Liston operated between 1835 and 1840, only 10 died — a death rate of only around 16%.
Read more: https://www.thoughtco.com/hilarious-historical-facts-4154997