12 Badass Revolutionary War Women You’ve Never Heard Of

June 20, 2014

The American Revolution was fought on the homefront, which means that women and children were often caught up in the fighting in one way or another. It was their war, too. Remember Rosie the Riveter? She symbolizes the women who worked in the factories and ran the family farms and shops while men were away fighting in WWII.

And there were many women just like Rosie in the Revolutionary War, too. A group of Philadelphia women held the first-ever fundraiser in America; they raised much-needed funds for General George Washington’s Continental Army. Less political wives and mothers even pitched in to sew the army’s uniforms. But some women felt a stronger call of duty; they are the badass women of the Revolutionary War. We begin with a short primer on the art of spycraft in that era.

Then there were the spies, scouts and messengers. Women were useful in that capacity because they were often considered to be above suspicion. Frankly, men of the era usually assumed that women weren’t very bright, which gave them opportunities to listen in on secret meetings. They could also use feminine wiles, disguises, and other ruses to carry out their covert actions. A few members of Gen. Washington’s Culper Spy Ring, operating out of Long Island, were women. Among them were Anna Strong and the unnamed Agent 355. Both names could have come straight out of a James Bond film, but I assure you, this was real life. And death: many historians believe that Agent 355 was caught by the British and died on their fetid prison ship Jersey after giving birth to a son.

Revolutionary War Women Interior Jersey

The interior of the British prison ship Jersey, moored in New York Harbor. Source: WordPress

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Victorian Sex Was Bizarre And Filled With Contradictions

June 19, 2014

We all that know the Victorians were a bunch of uptight prudes. In the late-19th century, women weren’t even allowed to vote, so how enlightened could they really be? People back then probably got arrested at the beach for showing their knees, right? Actually, while the Victorians—like everybody before and since—had their hangups, their all-too-human sexuality tended to come out in ways that modern people find really bizarre. For example:

Gentlemen Never Took Off Their Coats Around Ladies; Totally Got Naked with Each Other

Victorian Sex Dapper Gent

This gentleman smells like roadkill. Source: Deviant Art

Have you ever noticed how, in nearly every picture from the Victorian age, the men are all wearing jackets and coats? This is especially the case when the picture is of men posing in the presence of ladies. The reason is simple: B.O. In an age when hygiene was largely optional and bathing every day was in the domain of obsessive-compulsives, some kind of stink-control mechanism was sorely needed, and that mechanism was an elaborate social etiquette governing the exact protocol for when and where to cover up the stank. To quote a couple of rules from one website dedicated to all things Victorian, a gentleman:

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These World War One Medical Innovations Will Baffle And Amaze You

June 17, 2014

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, which tore through Europe from 1914 to 1918 and took millions of lives with it. Though most people who would remember the event are gone, the Great War still reverberates through our lives even today. In fact, many life-saving medical innovations that we now take for granted were created during that period by field surgeons and nurses who needed to respond quickly to a number of potentially fatal ailments.

World War One Medical Innovations Field Hospital

A church converted for the entirety of the war as an American army field hospital. Source: Getty Images

Blood transfusions, which help prevent patients from dying of shock or blood loss, started to be used just before the war. It wasn’t until the the war began, though, that the technique was truly put to the test.

World War One Medical Innovations Blood Transfusion

A German blood transfusion kit circa early 20th century. Source: eBay

Sepsis, an all-too-common hospital malady back then, was beaten with the invention of antiseptics. And though it sounds obvious to us today, it was also during WWI that practicing good hygiene and cleanliness in hospitals became a prominent strategy for disease prevention. Penicillin wasn’t discovered until 1928, a decade after the armistice that ended the war in 1918. But even without antibiotics, WWI surgeons brought us out of medicine’s dark ages.

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These Creepy Masks Prove Just How Odd Humanity Is

June 15, 2014
Creepy Masks Scolds Bridle

Source: Boing Boing

This little item is one of the more disturbing objects on the list. A ‘Scold’s bridle’ is a fearsome looking thing from the 1500s whose purpose was to cure your gabbing woman of her nasty—and apparently singularly female—tendency to fight or gossip. When secured to the woman’s head, this contraption rendered her incapable of speaking. Occasionally, these creepy masks would be studded with spikes near the mouth, which meant that if the overly chatty female dared try to speak, she would experience immediate pain.

The mask had its origins in Britain and spread like a disease to some other European countries, with the punishment normally handed down by a local magistrate. This particular example features a bell, which was meant to draw even more attention and embarrassment unto the wearer. It continued to be used until the early 1800s as a punishment for another marginalized sect of society: the poor.

Creepy Masks Splatter Mask

Source: Listverse

While “splatter mask” sounds like a horrifying name to an object meant for a rather cruel punishment, these devices were actually protective gear worn by British tank operators in World War I. Tanks in the early 1900s had not reached their full operating or safety potential; they often broke down and could be all but destroyed by enemies’ heavy artillery.

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6 Interesting Events You May Not Have Learned In History Class

June 13, 2014
Interesting Events Body On Ground

Source: Hyper Vocal

Jonestown Massacre, 1978

Perhaps one of the most disturbing events in modern history, the Jonestown Massacre was the site of the largest recorded mass suicide and the the point of origin for the phrase “drinking the kool-aid”. On November 18, 1978, over 900 people from the settlement of Jonestown, Guyana, willingly died from cyanide poisoning.

The settlement was established by Jim Jones, a communist who founded his own church – the People’s Temple – in 1950. Jonestown was meant to be a utopia for its citizens, but as so often is the case, fell far short of its idyllic goals. Jonestown was a cesspool for illness, hard labor, overcrowded housing and food shortages. In 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan visited Jonestown as part of an investigation, but he and several members of his party died in a shooting at an airstrip outside of Jonestown.

Interesting Events Jonestown Aerial

An aerial view of the massacre.

Jones grew paranoid after the assassination, and gathered the congregation to inform them that they were no longer safe from the US government. Jones told his congregation that the only way to escape from their clutches was to commit a “revolutionary act” of suicide. Over 900 people took part. Jonestown residents infused grape flavored Flavor-Aid with cyanide and Valium, administering it to children through syringes. According to reports, 918 people died, though a few did survive.

Interesting Events Jonestown Massacre Kool Aid

Source: NPR

15 Of History’s Most Bizarre Photos

June 11, 2014
Bizarre Photos Space Chimp

Source: Imgur

1. This photo is of Ham the Chimp, the first chimpanzee to be successfully launched into space in 1961. The snapshot was taken after his return. His name is an acronym for the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, which is the lab that prepared him for such an important mission. However, he was only given the name upon his return since officials did not want the press to have a name to use for public shaming should the mission have failed. Following the trip, Ham called Washington D.C.’s National Zoo home for 17 years. His remains may now be found at the International Space Hall of Fame in New Mexico.

Bizarre Photos Sweden Cars

Source: Imgur

2. In 1967, Sweden changed its laws so that drivers had to start driving on the right-hand side of the road. The law was implemented to accommodate left-handed vehicles, reduce collisions and keep up with the trends of neighboring countries Norway and Finland. The day the law took effect is called Dagen H, or more popularly “Högertrafikomläggningen” (“The right-hand traffic diversion”), and this picture depicts the mass confusion that ensued. While the switch appeared to be successful in the short term, accident rates and insurance claims returned to normal after a couple years—likely after Swedes grew accustomed to driving on the right hand side of the road.

Bizarre Photos London Bombings

Source: Wikipedia

3. This picture of a girl holding a doll in the rubble of her former home is one of the most poignant and disturbing images from World War Two, and one that succinctly articulates the scope of devastation following the 1940 London bombings.

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