Weird History
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Historians Reveal History's Best Kept Secrets

Updated September 20, 2019 635.6k views14 items

Though people pretend it's written in stone, history features tons of famous mysteries - many of which remain unsolved. From the location of Genghis Khan's tomb to the instructions for making a Byzantine weapon that inspired Game of Thrones, this list collects the best-kept secrets in history. Some secrets remained hidden for centuries until an accident uncovered them, such as a solid gold Buddha hidden in plain sight. Surprisingly enough, that's not the only million-dollar secret on this list. Other top-secret information, from the Manhattan Project to Britain's World War II intelligence operations, eventually came out after the war, stunning the public. 

From the many unsolved ancient mysteries that still baffle people to all those shady government cover-ups, historians have shared history's most explosive secrets on Reddit. And more than one of these secrets even changed the course of the world. Some of the unanswered questions in history still make headlines today, including the identity of the man in the iron mask or what certain mysterious Egyptian hieroglyphics mean.

When you dive into history's best-kept secrets and biggest questions, don't expect many answers.

  • Photo: The New York Times / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    King Tut's Tomb May Not Have Been His Planned Resting Place

    From Redditor /u/ConneryFTW

    [No one knows] where King Tut was buried. To my knowledge he's the only Pharaoh whose tomb wasn't plundered (until modern times).

    King Tut died over 3,000 years ago, but his tomb evaded archaeologists until 1922, when Howard Carter uncovered his burial chamber in Egypt's famous Valley of the Kings. Archaeologists mistakenly believed they found every pharaoh's tomb, but Tut's proved unsullied by looters.

    Why was King Tut's tomb untouched for millennia? One theory claims the tomb wasn't designed for a pharaoh at all, but when Tut died suddenly as a teenager, it was used for his burial. 

  • Photo: Jaakko Luttinen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

    No One Knows The Volcanic Secret To Rome's Concrete Recipe

    From Redditor /u/NotoriousTNT

    The ancient Roman formula for concrete [was] so closely guarded that to this day we still aren't 100% certain what the recipe was. It allowed them to build domes, which was borderline miraculous for the times.

    Ancient Rome's most magnificent structures, the Colosseum and the Pantheon, still stand in the city today. That's thanks, in large part, to the Roman recipe for concrete, which remains something of a mystery even 2,000 years later.

    Researchers know the Romans mixed volcanic ash into their concrete, and they sometimes used saltwater to strengthen it. And this recipe allowed the Romans to build monumental, long-lasting architecture.

  • Photo: Frank O. Salisbury / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    From Redditor /u/YouBoxEmYouShipEm:

    FDR’s polio/reliance on a wheelchair was kept pretty well under wraps from the public.

    There’s even a tunnel that was built from Grand Central Terminal to the Waldorf Astoria so he could be transported by wheelchair without the public seeing.

    President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did everything he could to keep descriptions and images of his wheelchair out of the press. After surviving polio but losing much of the use of his legs at age 39, Roosevelt didn't want to publicize his disability, and the Secret Service allegedly helped keep the press at bay. According to Time:

    As Editor & Publisher reported in 1936, if agents saw a photographer taking a picture of Roosevelt, say, getting out of his car, they would seize the camera and tear out the film. “By what right they do this I don’t know,” the correspondent wrote, “but I have never seen the right questioned.” A 1946 survey of the White House photography corps confirmed this, finding that anyone the Secret Service caught taking banned photographs “had their cameras emptied, their films exposed to sunlight, or their plates smashed.”

    Still, some outlets reported on the extent of FDR's use of mobility devices, and a few even published photos of him using his wheelchair. Time reports that, throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, at least five articles in prominent newspapers and magazines printed accurate descriptions of Roosevelt's mobility.

    Roosevelt even used an existing private train terminal under the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York to his advantage: when traveling between Washington and New York, Roosevelt's locomotive stopped at the Waldorf platform, where he could exit the train and travel directly to his room. Contrary to popular belief, Roosevelt didn't commission the station specifically to hide his polio; the hotel owners had it built at the same time as the hotel. But Roosevelt did utilize the station during his time as President, according to Secret Service logs, and his private train - long since abandoned - still sits in the tunnel to this day.

  • Photo: dun_deagh / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-2.0

    No One Can Fully Crack The Secret Of Egyptian Hieroglyphics

    From Redditor /u/Attican101

    Even though we have figured out one form of the hieroglyphs being the base system for taxes etc there are other meanings to each glyph we have no idea of and can only guess at.

    For centuries, Egyptian hieroglyphs presented a mystery, a code that could not be cracked. In the 1820s, the Rosetta Stone helped scholars learn some hieroglyphic symbols, revealing they were not an alphabet at all, but rather symbols that could represent sounds or words.

    While modern scholars have unraveled the secret of many symbols, some remain a mystery.