Use this tag for questions that pertain to historical events, or claim whose evidence is historical in nature.

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3
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0answers
81 views

Did Alan Turing commit suicide, or is it possible his death was an accident?

When Alan Turing died, the reason for his death was cyanide poisoning, and his death was officially ruled as a suicide. See ...
76
votes
1answer
13k views

Did the U.S. Army treat a President's cold using chlorine gas?

Several texts on the history of chemical warfare mention the story that in May 1924 the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) treated President Calvin Coolidge for a severe cold with chlorine. For ...
6
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1answer
448 views

Was a mirage involved in the Titanic's sinking?

I watched a documentary, Titanic's Final Mystery. It premise is summarised by this Smithsonian Magazine article. An unusual optical phenomenon explains why the Titanic struck an iceberg and ...
0
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0answers
21 views

What questions should be asked to determine whether statistics are trustworthy? [migrated]

I've noticed a lot of questions on this skeptics.stackexchange are centered around one claim or another derived from a published statistic. We would not be good skeptics if we weren't first skeptical ...
73
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3answers
13k views

Has a fifteen year old from Canada discovered a hidden Mayan city?

Recent news stories have reported on the discovery of a lost Mayan city by William Gadoury, a 15-year-old from Canada. According to these reports, Gadoury noticed a correspondence between the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the New Testament significantly corrupted from its originally intended form?

I have seen "evidence" that we know with a great degree of certainty and accuracy what the original New Testament bible said. This is to say, we know what the original authors wrote. I'm not sure how ...
10
votes
1answer
642 views

Did Babbage write programs for the Analytical Engine prior to Lovelace?

Charles Babbage was the inventor of Analytical Engine and Difference Engine. Ada Lovelace was a mathematician and computer programmer. The Guardian says : Often described as the world's first ...
12
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2answers
738 views
+100

How old is Judaism?

I've recently read this BBC article which makes the claim that Judaism originated some time around 2000 B.C, if not earlier. I've seen a number of sources which make similar claims (Source 1, Source ...
6
votes
1answer
589 views

Could Neolithic people outrun modern athletes?

I heard in many documentaries that people in the past had higher stamina due to the necessity to walk everywhere or because they worked in the fields. The Daily Mail reports: Mo Farah would ...
2
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1answer
318 views

Are these logos properly attributed to their original users?

Following picture has been recently tweeted: Are the descriptions in the picture authentic?
15
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2answers
7k views

Did Hitler support zionism?

According to Ken Livingstone (UK Labour politician, former Mayor of London), Hitler supported Zionism: Evening Standard: Mr Livingstone told BBC Radio London he had never heard anyone in the ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Did Obama remove a Winston Churchill bust from the oval office?

President Obama recently commented on the debate about whether the UK should remain in the European Union. He supported the government position that remaining in the EU is better. Boris Johnson ...
51
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4answers
17k views

Was Stonehenge built in the 1950s?

A set of photos from a Russian web-site apparently show Stonehenge being built in the 1950s, rather than the more customary dates of 3000-2000 BC. An conspiracy theory web-site Max Resistance ...
24
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1answer
5k views

Does Boltzmann's tombstone have “S = k log w” engraved on it?

I heard somewhere that Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann's tombstone has S = k log w engraved on it. Wikipedia repeats the claim without references: The equation for S is engraved on Boltzmann's tombstone ...
1
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2answers
191 views

Did Herodotus call Egypt the “Gift Of The Nile”?

The history site, Mr Dowling says: About 450BCE, a Greek historian named Herodotus called Egypt the “Gift of the Nile” because the Egyptian civilization depended on the resources of the great ...
13
votes
1answer
628 views

Did “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife” originally refer not to sex but to housework?

In "Debt: The First 5000 Years" by David Graeber, there is a claim on page 129: Even in the Bible, the admonition in the Ten Commandments not to "covet thy neighbor's wife" clearly referred not to ...
8
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1answer
243 views

Did the ancient Egyptians call aloe vera “the plant of immortality”?

I came across the following on facebook (it linked to this article): I was wondering whether that is actually true. Did the ancient Egyptians call aloe vera (and possibly other related species) the ...
12
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1answer
339 views

Did Ehrlichman claim the reason for the Nixon drug war was to criminalize black people and hippies?

This story recently appeared claiming that one of Nixon's aids had admitted that the war on drugs was all about targeting specific groups and not really about the harms of drugs. ...
4
votes
1answer
281 views

Did Aldous Huxley turn out to be reciting not reading when lecturing on the Bates Method?

Some years ago I remember reading an account of Aldous Huxley lecturing on the Bates Method. I think it was a book by a well-known skeptic (maybe Gardner or Sagan?) but I don't remember exactly. ...
9
votes
1answer
655 views

Did 800 people estimate the weight of an ox within 1% in 1906?

According to Wikipedia, At a 1906 country fair in Plymouth, 800 people participated in a contest to estimate the weight of a slaughtered and dressed ox. Statistician Francis Galton observed that ...
29
votes
1answer
2k views

Did the Trump family change its name from Drumpf to Trump?

According to some media (e.g., International Business Times, Washington Times), the grandfather of Donald Trump, Frederick Trump, was originally called Friedrich Drumpf but changed his name after ...
8
votes
1answer
434 views

Is the NYC Financial district build on top of an African slave burial ground

Jesse Jackson claimed in a 2003 speech that New York's financial district was built on an "African burial ground." Since then I have seen this claim repeated may times on Facebook memes. Is there ...
2
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0answers
135 views

Did Leopold Godowsky perform the entire 19th Century piano repertoire? [closed]

In 1897–98 the Polish-American pianist and composer Leopold Godowsky is reported to have performed the entire 19th century piano repertoire in a series of only 8 concerts. This is hardly imaginable or ...
53
votes
2answers
8k views

Has Barack Obama achieved these goals in the last six years?

A claim, attributed to Occupy Democrats (which may or may not be true), that is doing rounds in social networks shows a photo of the current US President Barack Obama raising a toast with these words: ...
4
votes
1answer
339 views

Did Food Prices Spur the Arab Spring?

Dalia Mortada writes for PBS in Did Food Prices Spur the Arab Spring?: One of the driving forces behind the Arab Spring, some contend, is the high cost of food. A combination of shrinking ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Is Obama the first U.S. President to skip the funeral of a sitting Justice?

So there's this Facebook post that makes this claim: No sitting President, in the history of The United States of America, has ever 'skipped' the funeral of a sitting US Supreme Court Justice. ...
13
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0answers
290 views

Is this image about socialist panic in the US accurate? [closed]

I saw a pro-public health care image on Facebook about "Socialist Plots to End the American Way of Life": Now, on its face this image is wrong because as a named political philosophy "socialism" ...
5
votes
1answer
695 views

Do these photos from the Civil Rights Era show Bernie Sanders?

Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nominee, features the above photos in the campaign ad Progress as evidence of his contributions to civil rights. While no one ...
4
votes
1answer
384 views

Was Napoleon Bonaparte short?

Is the common belief of Napoleon Bonaparte being a short person true? I've always believed it, but I recently heard that he was actually 1.69m (5 feet 7 inches), which isn't short at all.
34
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1answer
5k views

Was Julius Caesar good at multitasking?

A popular belief (at least in Russia) holds that Julius Caesar was good at multitasking; he was able to read, write and give orders simultaneously. ...
66
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3answers
7k views

Is this a photo of Margaret Hamilton standing next to Apollo Project code that she wrote?

The image below is widely circulated on Facebook: The caption says: Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer of the Apollo Project, stands next to the code she wrote by hand and that was used ...
15
votes
1answer
6k views

Were lawn jockey statues used to indicate stops on the Underground Railroad?

Ran into the following meme on Facebook, accompanied by a picture of one of the statues. They credit it to http://www.ugrrf.org/ (although I can't find that text on their site): A lot of people ...
10
votes
1answer
787 views

Did Soviet soldiers commit two million rapes of German women in 1945?

During the Allied troops entry and occupation of German territory during the later stages of World War II, it is alleged that mass rapes were committed by Allied Forces. The Telegraph reported: ...
5
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0answers
137 views

Did ancient Peru use electroplating?

Wikipedia states that ancient Peruvian metalsmiths applied gold with electroplating, citing a 1979 article in The Journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society. I'm not familiar enough with ...
11
votes
1answer
765 views

Do loopholes in the Great Wall face the China side?

There is a pseudoscientific theory popularized by Russian authors Fomenko and Nosovsky which, among other things, claims that the Great Wall of China had been built by peoples living to the north of ...
5
votes
1answer
285 views

How legitimate are these 'Communist Rules for Revolution'?

Please disregard the website on which this is found. Were these "rules" actually found in 1919? If so, how legitimate are they? From: ...
4
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0answers
457 views

Is the handprint on the Carbon County jail wall uneraseable?

The Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe, PA, formerly the Carbon County Jail has one cell with a handprint on the wall. According to legend (emphasis mine): Before their hanging, the men proclaimed ...
19
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1answer
596 views

Did Puritans punish people for celebrating Christmas?

The Facebook group Americans for the Separation of Church and State posted this link: Puritans in Massachusetts arrested and fined anyone who celebrated Christmas. But go ahead, tell us how ...
9
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1answer
548 views

Did U.K. nuclear power plants of the '80s play a continuous sound and indicate emergency by stopping it?

Allan Friswell's comment (scroll down) on this video for "O Superman" for Laurie Anderson contends: The UK nuclear power stations of the 80s had that "ha" sound on continuously 24/7. Apparently it ...
3
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0answers
211 views

Is the Stuxnet worm a government facade? [closed]

I just read about Stuxnet, which is allegedly a computer worm that silently infected thousands of computers and eventually sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program. I find it difficult to believe that so many ...
15
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2answers
1k views

Was the Original Statue of Liberty a Muslim Woman?

I saw this article on Facebook: Smithsonian: Statue of Liberty was originally a Muslim woman By Bradford Richardson November 25, 2015, 03:19 pm An article on the ...
1
vote
1answer
194 views

Was Ignaty Karpezo buried alive and then found alive?

Wikipedia claims the following. Ignaty Karpezo was a general during WWII. After a heavy bombing he was found without signs of life. A medic determined death. He was buried consequently. But after a ...
7
votes
1answer
472 views

Did Woodrow Wilson say he was a 'most unhappy man' that 'unwittingly ruined' the USA?

According several "sources" including Alex Jones, Peter Joseph, users of Facebook, and 'Occupiers of Wallstreet,' Woodrow Wilson said: I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my ...
1
vote
1answer
459 views

Which typically comes first: basic science or technological advance?

Matt Ridley claims in his latest book (and also in an article in the Wall Street Journal): In his book he argues: Again and again, once you examine the history of innovation, you find scientific ...
22
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2answers
935 views

Did Haj Amin al-Husseini tell Hitler to exterminate the Jews?

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu recently made the following claim: “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to ...
3
votes
0answers
225 views

Is the Treblinka Archaeology study a hoax? [closed]

Treblinka was a Nazi extermination site for Polish Jews between July 1942 and October 1943. Jews were claimed to have been shipped to Treblinka and upon arrival immediately executed by carbon monoxide ...
3
votes
0answers
300 views

Did Ancient Roman bureaucrats file data only by year?

In an aside in an article about the greatest human innovations where he proposes the relational database as a candidate, Tim Worstall quotes the following comment about the Roman Empire: Finding ...
98
votes
2answers
20k views

Did the Nazis kill Jews with gas chambers?

I just heard Holocaust denier and former academic, Robert Faurisson, explaining a few things about gas chambers. What he claims : The dilapidated chambers, thought to be gas chambers in the Nazi ...
2
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1answer
330 views

Is the skull fragment, said to be Hitler's, from a young woman?

Wikipedia tells the story of some alleged fragments of Hitler's skull that were tested in 2009: In May 1946, SMERSH agents recovered from the crater where Hitler was buried two burned skull ...
16
votes
1answer
3k views

Is extreme poverty in the world getting worse?

In a recent Guardian article Jason Hickel argues that the west needs to de-develop in order to have any hope of meeting the UN goal of eradicating world poverty. He specifically says: Growth has ...