Questions tagged [history]

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

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Was the oven mitt first developed by Earl Mitt?

Did "Earl Mitt" even exist at all? I first heard this story from an answer to this English Language and Usage Stack Exchange question about oven mitts/oven gloves. Earlier today, the story was in ...
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Was Robert Capa’s famous 1936 war photo “The Falling Soldier” a faked photo?

The photo in question (Death of a Loyalist Militiaman, Córdoba front, Spain (1936)) can be found here at The International Center of Photography and is also attached below. The question is: The core ...
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Is the U.S. Tea Party astroturf or a genuine grassroots movement?

According to The Wikipedia article on the United States Tea Party movement (emphasis mine), TeaParty.org defines the Tea Party as "a grassroots movement that calls awareness to any issue which ...
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Is every elected US president related to George Washington?

According to a post on Slashdot: Every single elected president - INCLUDING Barack Obama, has a genealogy related to President George Washington. Note I did say Elected President. Gerald ...
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Was John F Kennedy accidentally shot by a secret service agent?

In the book Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK, Bonar Menninger argues that the third shot that hit John F Kennedy was fired by accident by a secret service agent. The book's Wikipedia page ...
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Is the US Army Field Manual 30-31B a forgery?

Wikipedia describes content of the US Army Field Manual 30-31B: It identifies a strategy of tension involving violent attacks which are then blamed on radical left-wing groups in order to convince ...
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855 views

Was the Stroop Effect used to catch spies?

In the field of Cognitive Science, when studying about the Stroop effect, the claim is often made that it had been used during the Cold War by the American counter-intelligence units in order to ...
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489 views

Did Churchill urge the US to ‘wipe out’ Moscow with an A-bomb

I read the following article: https://www.icij.org/blog/2014/10/churchill-urged-us-wipe-out-moscow-bomb/ from a seemingly reputable source (although it is a blog post). The key claim: Privately, ...
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Did the Philadelphia Experiment ever take place?

The Philadelphia Experiment forms the basis for a claim that in 1943 the U.S. Navy attempted to use "speculative physics" to render a ship, the U.S.S. Eldridge, invisible. Allegedly, they were ...
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839 views

Did ninjas use Pythagoras' theorem to determine the depth of moats?

Ninjas are alleged to have determined the depth of moats by taking a reed that's attached to the bottom of the moat, and measuring the height of the reed above water, and how far forward they had to ...
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Did big projects used to get finished on time and on budget?

Big projects (software, engineering, architecture etc.) are plagued by cost and time overruns, or so it is widely thought. Nicholas Taleb argues in Antifragile that this is a modern phenomenon: ...
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Did Saddam Hussein have a secret torture chamber in New York City?

The NY Post reported this week that Saddam Hussein had a secret torture chamber in New York City between 1979 and 2003. The sources the paper cites are two "anonymous officials". The paper does not ...
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Are Pathans the lost tribe of the Israel?

The Pathan people (also known as the Pasthun) is an ethnic group of around 50 million living scattered across the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and also Iran and India. Wikipedia explains:...
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Was the “Quetzcoatl, the White God” myth traditional to Mesoamerica?

I heard on an Internet forum that the Book of Mormon's claims about Jesus Christ preaching to a section of natives in Mesoamerica was based on the myths of a white god, Quetzcoatl. However, reading ...
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Was cannibalism acceptable amongst the Aztecs?

In 1979, William Arens published The Man-Eating Myth, in which he presented his finding that there is no good evidence that cannibalism was socially accepted by anybody, ever, and an hypothesis that ...
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Was Leonardo da Vinci a polyphasic sleeper?

I have read from various (low quality) sources that Leonardo da Vinci practiced polyphasic sleep, maybe the Uberman's sleep schedule. Polyphasic sleep refers to the practice of sleeping multiple times ...
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851 views

Did Governor of Moscow train bears to serve Vodka?

The Governor of Moscow trained a large bear to serve pepper Vodka to' his guests. If anyone showed reluctance in accepting the drink, the bear would remove the guest's clothes, an article at a time." ...
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Were Nezamiyeh (precursors to madrasas) responsible for stifling science [development] in the Islamic world?

An article in The National, while correctly rejecting the Orientalist view that Al-Ghazali was the lynchpin of the Islamic turn from science, nevertheless proposes an alternative that may not be as ...
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Did Columbus have Jewish ancestry?

There are a number of articles and books that claim that Christopher Columbus has Jewish acenstry: Christopher Columbus: Jewish Virtual Library The mystery regarding Columbus' origins is largely ...
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Were giant human bones discovered in Castelnau?

French anthropologist Georges Vacher de Lapouge (1854 - 1936) reported in 1890 the discovery of "the Giant of Castelnau" - giant bones in neolithic tombs, in southern France. According to Mr. de ...
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Did Napoleon write an elegy to Imam Hussain(a.s)?

In this YouTube video, noted Pakistani scholar, Allama Zamir Akhtar Naqvi claims (in Urdu) that Napoleon wrote a letter or poem in honour of the historical figure [Imam Hussain] (a.s)(https://en....
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Did most people self-identify as Bulgarians in first census of Macedonia?

I remember seeing on TV in my own country (Bulgaria) floated the claim that during the first census done in Macedonia, most of the population was self-identifying as Bulgarians. After that, the story ...
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Was a German WWI soldier made into a hat rack by a furious Scottish Lord?

In the TV show QI XL J16 - Just the Job Jeremy Clarkson tells a story, about a Scottish Lord making a hat rack out of a german WWI soldier. The story goes (from 21:20 in the video): There were some ...
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Is this anecdote about the adoption of best practices true?

I've been forwarded this by a colleague: There’s a great story of a manager of a Coca-cola plant who’s numbers were far better than his peers. When asked what his “secret” was, he said simply that ...
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Is being a professional logician associated with serious mental health issues?

In Indiscrete Thoughts, Gian-Carlo Rota claims that: It cannot be a complete coincidence that several outstanding logicians of the twentieth century found shelter in asylums at some point in their ...
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Did the story of Columbus and the lunar eclipse take place?

In eclipse season, it’s bound to happen that someone will quote the story of Columbus fooling the settlers into believing that his god was upset with them and therefore eclipsed the moon. But as ...
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Ancestry tracking DNA tests

Since the advent of cheap DNA tests, several companies have sprung up which will tell you ancestral origins according to your DNA. 23andMe claims, Where in the world are you from? Find out ...
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Did Master Stone Masons have to Bow to the King?

I have heard this multiple times, including in a documentary once. The claim is that the Master Stonemason, in historic times, did not have to bow to the King (generally implied to be from the British ...
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Has Syria received proportionally more refugees than other countries in recent history?

This comment by Sonia Bous Aidi on a recent Humans of New York post about the European migrant crisis is powerful if true: Syria became home to the Circassian refugees in 1860 Syria became ...
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676 views

Did nude pictures kick off the industry for photographs?

The Internet History Podcast claims: When photography was developed in the 18th century, photographic commerce was mostly about selling people portraits of themselves or their loved ones—at least, ...
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Were there Hungarian speaking Indians in South America?

The following story is a translation from Hungarian, with a lot of discussion in the blog's comments: http://www.cakravartin.com/archives/south-american-natives-speak-ancient-european-language The ...
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Does the video Experiments in the Revival of Organisms depict genuine results?

The video in question, which is in the public domain. Warning: may contain disturbing imagery. http://archive.org/details/Experime1940 The 20 minute 1940 Russian video purports to show the results ...
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1answer
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Did Emil Krebs master 68 languages?

The German polyglot Emil Krebs allegedly mastered 68 languages. Which, frankly, I find unbelievable. Unfortunately, I cannot find any reliable and convincing source. Is there solid evidence that Emil ...
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645 views

Did Colonel Gaddafi have a harem of thousands of women?

According to The terrible truth about Gaddafi’s harem: Yet Soraya’s story is typical. She was just one of thousands of young Libyan girls and women who were kidnapped from their schools, homes or ...
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670 views

Did Franciscan friars survive the nuking of Nagasaki in a way suggesting a miracle?

Note: This is a very similar question to this: Did eight Jesuit priests survive the nuking of Hiroshima in a scientifically inexplicable manner? However, since in spite of their parallelism these ...
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720 views

Did Tecumseh Predict the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812?

Tecumseh was the leader of a confederacy of Native Americans that fought against the United States in the early 1800s. Several years ago, I read The Frontiersmen, a "narrative biography" by Allan W. ...
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359 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 ...
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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 ...
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Was the Anarchist Cookbook created by the FBI/CIA to sabotage insurgency?

My professor said that the Anarchist Cookbook (a collection of recipes for bombs, etc.) was created by the government, who inserted deliberate errors to make sure that budding insurgents would blow ...
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Was the North Korean leader, Kim Il-Sung, an imposter?

Some claim the founder of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung, was an imposter who adopted the name of another leader. Article from globalsecurity South Korea claims that the present-day ruler of North Korea ...
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Did Incas use potatoes as a measure of time?

I'm currently completing a corporate challenge where you count steps and head to different world destinations to find out interesting "facts". Today we had a fact or fiction quiz at Machu Picchu, ...
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Did Daniel Ekechukwu resurrect from the dead?

According to this four-part report, a man named Daniel Ekechukwu, a resident of Nigera, died November 30, 2001 and came back to life December 2, 2001. A literal and modern resurrection. The same story ...
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Did Whiskey taxation make up 30%-50% of England's revenue?

In this article it is claimed that (1st paragraph): Especially in England and Ireland, it became the drink of choice, and through taxation, came to contribute 30%-50% of the nation’s revenue. This ...
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Did “ancient people who spoke languages that didn't have words for numbers greater than three” keep track of sheep using stones?

In the TED-Ed video "How big is infinity?" Dennis Wildfogel says (at the 50 second mark) this about "matching being more fundamental than counting": In fact, we think that some ancient people who ...
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Is Al Qarawiyyin the oldest university in the world?

This Moroccan World News article claims that the Univeristy of Al Qarawiyyin of Fez, Morocco is "the Oldest University in the World". Dating back to 859, the University is no doubt older than Egypt’...
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Did Confucius punish a correct student for arguing with an incorrect one?

In Indonesia there are various variants of a popular story where two students are arguing over a simple mathematics - like whether 1+1 = 2. The incorrect student says he will kill himself if he's ...
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Were there bears at the Treblinka Zoo?

I am doing a history project on the Treblinka extermination camp for school, and learnt about the zoo Investigating further I found that the zoo contained at least four foxes, two peacocks and a roe ...
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Did the Roman army have more servants than soldiers?

In one of his essays Joel Spolsky (co-founder of Stack Exchange) wrote: [...] the Roman army had a ratio of four servants for every soldier. Is this true?
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Was SS Californian intended to be a rescue vehicle for the passengers of a deliberately-sunk Titanic?

I keep running into a (quite frankly daft) conspiracy theory regarding the sinking of the Titanic. It posits that the RMS Olympic was secretly swapped in to replace the RMS Titanic and was ...
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How correct are some dramatized documentaries about proto-humans?

There are some documentaries, e.g. by David Attenborough, that dramatize the life of proto-humans (e.g. Neanderthals, etc..) Some of these documentaries show/dramatize the proto-humans communicating ...