Weird History
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18 Historical Events That Sound Like Fiction But Really Happened

11.9k votes 2.2k voters 177.4k views18 items

List RulesVote up the historical events that sound like they're straight out of a movie.

It's said that truth is stranger than fiction, but does that phrase actually hold water? We're not just talking about weird coincidences throughout history, but genuine facts that sound fake but are true.

When one Redditor asked that exact question - "What sounds like fiction but is actually a real historical event?" - the internet was happy to provide examples. The following history true facts sound fake but are 100% genuine.

  • 1

    Juliane Koepcke's Wild Ride

    From Redditor u/echoskybound:

    In 1971, a teenage girl named Juliane Koepcke was on a plane that was struck by lightning and disintegrated in the air. She plummeted 3,000 meters strapped to her seat, and landed in the Amazon rainforest.

    Her mom had been on the flight with her, and Juliane searched in vain for her mom, but Juliane was the sole survivor of the impact. She survived 11 days alone, treating her maggot-infested wounds with fuel and using tracking techniques her father had taught her, before she found a boat that she used to make her way back to civilization.

    What an absolute legend.

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    Sound made-up?
  • 2

    The Emperor Of San Francisco

    From Redditor u/Radioactive_Requiem:

    Joshua Norton was just this random [bonkers] guy from San Francisco who hated all this political nonsense that was going on at the time and figured he could do the job better at it himself, and thus "The Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico" was born. While he held no real power, the people liked him so much that they treated him like royalty.

    Any currency issued under his name was treated like real money at many establishments.

    One day, he was taken into custody by a private security force because of his mental health, which enrage practically all of San Francisco. The Police Chief let him go because he had committed no crime, and Norton gave an Imperial Pardon to the guy who detained him. After this incident, any police officer Norton passed would salute him.

    Another time, when a riot had formed and was getting pretty [aggressive], Norton simply stood in front of the mob and calmly prayed, which manged to disperse the mob.

    And that's not even a fraction of the crazy stuff that he did.

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  • 3

    Wojtek The Bear

    From Redditor u/ThePumpk1nMaster:

    Wojtek was a bear who fought [Germans] in return for cigarettes and beer. He didn’t pass until 20 years after WWII.

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  • From a Redditor:

    Edgar Allen Poe wrote a novel in 1838 in which four shipwrecked survivors, at the point of starvation, choose to resort to cannibalism. So they [slayed] the young cabin boy, Richard Parker, and eat him.

    In 1884, a ship called the Mignonette sank. four crew members survived. At the point of starvation, they [slew] and ate the youngest of them: Richard Parker.

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    Sound made-up?