Human history is a weird thing to look back on. As generations go on, sights from the past confuse and amaze just as much as if we were seeing things that we now take for granted. The technology we use every day would seem like magic to them, while hardly any of us have experienced things like:
- War on the same scale,
- Circus popularity,
- Alcohol prohibition.
To us, these things seem like movie creations, that no one would ever experience in real life. Yet, they existed and still haunt our history to this day. The photographic evidence of the past is freaky, weird and troubling, even though those who lived through it didn’t think so. To put our ideals and norms onto it is unfair to the people who dealt with it on a daily basis.
But, it’s still fun to look back at some of the weirdest moments in our history. Here are 28 photos that show the world in a much different state:
1. Walter Yeo was one of the first people to receive a facial skin transplant, taken from other areas of his body. He was wounded while in the Navy in World War I, leaving him with massive facial damage.
2. The remnants of Madame Tussaud’s wax museum after a fire destroyed much of the building and many of the sculptures.
3. The police testing new bulletproof vests in 1923. It looks a little dangerous with no additional protection.
4. James Brock pouring acid into his motel pool while black protesters use it. The swimmers were jailed, but the Civil Rights Act was passed the very next day.
5. The first meeting of the Mickey Mouse club has an odd cult-like feeling to it. Those masks could have been a little less psychotic, don’t you think?
6. The testing of a new leather football helmet. Like the vest testing, there had to have been a better way to prove it worked that didn’t including jumping into a building.
8. Two men who walked 8,000 miles from Caracas, Venezuela to Washington DC, to get to the first Boy Scout Jamboree. They traversed 25 miles a day for two years to get there.
9. A boy with his riding boar in Ampthill, England. He doesn’t seem very excited at having such a sturdy mount to ride.
10. Carnival at a KKK rally. The white hoods all staring at the camera make this extra creepy.
12. The largest black sea bass ever caught at the time by Edward Lewellen in 1903. He pulled in the fish all by himself.
13. Martin Luther King Jr. and Al Raby cleaning up garbage from an apartment in Chicago. This photo depicts the poor living conditions black people lived in during the 1960s.
14. The Barnum & Bailey freak show lineup, with all types of people. Circuses would often recruit those with a physical deformity and put them on stage for shock value. The practice has died down considerably in recent decades, though still does exist in places around the world.
16. The original Ronald McDonald wasn’t as friendly looking as the latest iteration. Instead, it evoked thoughts of killer clowns and Stephen King novels.
17. Three Stanford students after a snowball fight between the freshman and sophomore years. It turned violent and resulted in many injuries.
18. Martin Luther King Jr. and his son pulling a burned cross from his front lawn. King would have to deal with daily threats on his and his family’s lives.
20. A much different look at child care, this time in a gas-proof stroller in England just before the outbreak of the second World War.
21. Who needs tanning beds, when you have a coin-operated tanning machine. The gas-bar like device would spray a tanning solution out like an air pump.
22. The first chimp to be sent into outer space, Ham poses with the headline after he returned safely.
24. Annie Edison Taylor (no, not the Community character) was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She would later say she’d rather die from cannon fire than go over the Falls again.
25. The Hindenburg disaster was one of the most spectacular destructive incidents in history. As the pressurized blimp went down, 35 of the craft’s 97 passengers would perish.
26. The face of the Statue of Liberty is delivered in 1885. Lady Liberty would be raised in 1886 and restored multiple times through the century.
28. The morning when Sweden shifted their driving from the left side of the road to the right. The streets were blocked for miles as police tried to sort out the mess and the confusion caused by the change.