Category Archives: History

That Time an Argument Over the Quality of Ale Resulted in a Battle Between Oxford Students and the Townsfolk

Oxford

Oxford University is well known for being one of the most prestigious and elite places of learning in history. Over the years, it has seen some of the finest minds the world has ever known pass through its halls. It’s also the place where over six centuries ago a bunch of students and a fair number of townsfolk were killed […]

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The London Garrotting Panic of the Mid-19th Century

garrotting

Although crime in England’s capital was on the decline in the mid-19th century, thanks in part to the relatively recent formation of the London Metropolitan Police Force in 1839, fear of crime was a persistent, reoccurring issue thanks to a few instances of robbery and murder, and, of course, the news media. In particular, the so-called “garrotting” cases, where someone […]

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How Did the Practice of Women Jumping Out of Giant Cakes Start?

pie-girl2

Diane F. asks: Who started the tradition of girls jumping out of cakes? Almost everyone has seen depicted the bizarre bachelor party tradition of a scantily-clad woman jumping out of a giant cake. It turns up most often in decades-old films, TV shows, and comics, but it still persists today at lavish Vegas shindigs—though the cakes are now usually made […]

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The Curious Case of Giant Concrete Arrows That Stretched from New York to California

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader DAY TRIPPERS When the U.S. Post Office introduced airmail service in 1920, the mail could only be flown during daylight hours, when pilots could see where they were going. In an age before sophisticated navigation systems, flying after dark was just too dangerous. The pilots who transported the mail navigated […]

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Why Does the New Year Begin on January First in Many Countries?

newyears

Jamie asks: Why is New Year’s day January 1st? Because Julius Caesar said so. Early Roman Calendar Since long before Caesar’s time, date keeping was dicey. In fact, the 355-day Roman calendar that immediately preceded Caesar’s Julian, worked on a four year cycle where every other year, an additional month was inserted between February (Februarius), the last month of that […]

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The British Plan to Cover Germany with Anthrax- Operation Vegetarian

anthrax

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader How deadly could a secret program code-named “Operation Vegetarian” be? So deadly that had it ever been implemented, millions would have died and thousands of square miles of European soil might still be unoccupied today. ALONE On September 1, 1939, Adolf Hitler set World War II in motion when he […]

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The Many Myths Surrounding the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving

pilgrims

Myth: Pilgrims wore black and white clothing with buckled top hats. The myth that they dressed like this stems from a popular clothing style in England in the late 17th century, which carried over to 18th and 19th century artist depictions of Pilgrims. In fact, historical records of Pilgrims’ clothing, such as the passenger list of the Mayflower, wills, which […]

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Did People in the Middle Ages Really Throw Fecal Matter Out of Their Windows?

poop-cupcake

Aaron H. asks: Before sewer systems, did people in England really toss their poop into the streets? Although Medieval Britons weren’t exactly the cleanest lot by modern standards (though contrary to popular belief, despite some well-known exceptions, they did, in general, bathe in some form or another relatively regularly), the idea of them just dropping trou and dumping half a […]

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