The world is a strange, strange place…and judging by this, it always has been.
People are just weird, and throughout history, what people have done for fun is even weirder. We might screw around on Twitter and Facebook now which is odd when you think about it, but what our ancestors used to do for entertainment gives our choices a run for their money.
1. Fasting Girls
Surviving on virtually no food is now considered a serious disorder, but back in the day, women who claimed to have little to no appetite turned not eating into a hobby and a way of life. In fact, these ladies actually became celebrities because of their flair for starvation.
Considered the most popular sport in America following the Civil War, Pedestrianism, or…well…walking, was a big to-do. Entire arenas would be filled with spectators waiting to see who could walk the longest. This often led to 24-hour races. Pedestrianism was eventually replaced by competitive cycling after the invention of the bicycle in 1885.
3. Baby Incubator Fairs
Facing a skeptical public that didn’t believe incubators could save premature babies’ lives, inventor Dr. Martin Couney created a display that could teach people a thing or two about what was new technology at the time. All proceeds from these fairs were donated to hospitals that helped premature babies.
4. Blackened Teeth
When Queen Elizabeth I lost most of her teeth due to her love of sweets, her remaining black teeth became status symbols. That’s because it was a sign of wealth, since sugar was so expensive. During the 16th and 17th centuries, people blackened their own teeth to get the same look.
5. Ant Farming
Milton Levine, creator of the ant farm, went on to sell more than 20 million ant farms in his lifetime. They were originally sold for $1.98 and people were paid a penny per ant to collect them.
6. The Alexandra Limp
In 1867, one of the most popular members of the English Royal Family, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, gave birth to her third child. At that point, she developed a condition that forced her to limp. Women purposefully limped on the sidewalks and canes were purchased at high prices to mimic their favorite royal’s movements.
7. Burning Cats
Because of their supposed connection to demons and witches, cats went from being treated like royalty in the ancient world to being treated like trash in the 18th century. In Paris, cats were routinely thrown onto bonfires and burned alive.
Dating back to the Roman age, tear-catching was considered a pretty cool thing to do as far as royals were concerned.
9. Headless Photography
With the advent of photography in the 1850s, transposing film to put people’s heads where they didn’t belong became a huge hit across the country.
Well, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve always been a bunch of whack jobs. At least we know that we’re living up to our well-earned reputations.