Weird History
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Facts About Historical Figures We Just Learned This Week That Made Us Say 'Really?'

Updated January 29, 2021 8.2k votes 1.9k voters 79.1k views12 items

List RulesVote up the facts about historical figures you think are most interesting.

Teachers and textbooks can't teach everything about the most famous figures in history. Thankfully, many other tools are available to reveal facts that never came up in school. The Reddit thread r/todayilearned is full of fun facts about historical figures - such as Elizabeth II, Abraham Lincoln, and more - that almost seem unbelievable.

Vote up the new facts you think are the most awesome!

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    Marcel Pinte Was An Awarded Resistance Fighter At The Age Of Six

    Marcel Pinte was a courier during WWII for the French Resistance in Vichy France. Being only a young child, he slipped past enemy patrols while carrying messages under his shirt.

    But at the young age of six, Marcel was shot down when a large deployment of heavily armed resistance fighters landed on his farm and accidentally fired a machine gun. He was hit several times and passed instantly.

    The British knew what a monumental role the young courier had been to their efforts, though, and he was posthumously awarded the rank of sergeant. 

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  • Dave Grohl suffered severely from depression after his Nirvana bandmate and friend Kurt Cobain passed away. Unsure of how to move on in music without his massively successful band was a challenge, but he decided eventually to record an album almost entirely by himself. Grohl played all instruments (with one exception) and sang all the vocals on the album that he distributed among his friends without considering the commercial side of things. But one of Grohls' songs was played on a radio broadcast after being passed around, and while his new "band" the Foo Fighters was likened to Nirvana constantly, it was still well-received.

    Grohl, however, then faced another issue. He needed to actually assemble a band to help him perform live to promote his new music. Syphoning off some musicians from Sunny Day Real Estate and snagging Nirvana's guitarist Pat Smear, Grohl officially assembled the Foo Fighters.

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  • There have been many stories about Abraham Lincoln's love of felines throughout the centuries. One that circulates frequently is that he loved his tabby cat so much, that he let it eat from the table during a formal White House dinner. Unfortunately, this particular story is unsubstantiated, but it is well known that Lincoln was a huge fan of cats. In fact, in an interview once, Lincoln's wife Mary Todd responded to a question about her husband's hobbies with a simple answer: "Cats."

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  • Calvin Coolidge earned himself the nickname 'Silent Cal' while he was president because of his reticence and his propensity to pull pranks. One prank that Coolidge liked to pull was to call the Secret Service and then hide under the desk while his protection searched for him frantically fearing he'd been kidnaped under their noses. Another, he would press the White House doorbell then hide behind a set of curtains. He would even press a buzzer to let his staff know to prepare for his impending return but then headed out the front door.

    He was reportedly hard to get along with, but everyone knew him as a practical joker. "That's just what Calvin Coolidge did," said Coolidge's White House physician James Coupal. "He was always kidding."

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