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10 Historical Tidbits that Will Make You Chuckle

4. The most rigged election was the Liberian general election in 1927 where the winner received 2,43,000 votes when there were only 15,000 registered voters.

Charles D. B. King
Charles D. B. King. Image credit: Peace Palace Library, The Hague (NL)

Charles King, the former President of Liberia, earned himself a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records for being part of the most rigged election ever reported in the entire course of history! During the general elections in Liberia in 1927, King won against his opponent, the other candidate Thomas Faulkner. King received 243,000 votes while Faulkner only 9,000.

That seems like a huge win, but the total number of registered voters at that time was only 15,000. This means that Faulkner was a clear winner as he received 9,000 votes, so the remaining 6,000 would have voted for King. But King committed fraud and somehow received 243,000 votes which is insane considering there were only 15,000 voters. (source)

5. During WWII, Germans dropped demoralizing leaflets on London. Many didn’t make it to the ground due to natural circumstances like the wind. The ones that made it were used by the British as cheap toilet paper!

Airborne leaflet
Image is for representation purpose only. Image source: psywar.org

All wars deploy various strategies, and during World War II, the Germans turned to the aid of airborne leaflet propaganda to tilt the scales in their favor. Airborne leaflet propaganda is psychological combat where one party distributes leaflets from aircraft to alter the behavior of the combatants and civilians in an enemy-controlled area.

During World War II, Germany started dropping leaflets in large numbers over London and nearby areas with demoralizing messages. There were certain leaflets where one side was printed with a beautiful landscape with palm trees. When one turned the leaflet, they would read the words “Did you expect to find it like this?”, and there would be a picture of graves and skeletons.

The hilarious takeaway in all of this is that the British found a way to utilize these leaflets. They started using them as cheap toilet paper! They were so widely used that very few of them were preserved. (1, 2, 3, 4)

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6. When John Hetherington, inventor of the top hat, wore a hat in public for the first time, people were so scared that several women fainted and children started screaming. Hetherington was accused of disturbing the king’s peace and had to pay a fine of £500.

John Hetherington hat news
Huddersfield Chronicle – Tuesday 24 January 1899. Image source: The BNA

John Hetherington is the Englishman credited for the invention of the top hat. When he first wore a top hat on January 15, 1797, he caused quite the scene. Before that time, people had never seen a hat like that. When Hetherington went to the public highway wearing his silk hat, people were seriously scared. Many women fainted at the sight of the hat, children screamed in fear, while dogs yelped! A crowd collected around him and there were a few injuries as well.

Hetherington was brought in front of the lord mayor who accused him of breaching the peace of the king and starting a riot. Hetherington was found guilty on all accounts and had to pay £500. (source)

7. One of the three greatest racehorses who ever lived and a foundation sire of thoroughbreds as we know them today was named “potooooooo,” or “pot-8-o’s,” because the stable hand got to name him and he didn’t know how to spell potato!

Pot-8-Os
Image credits: Wikipedia

Potoooooooo, or Pot-8-Os, was an 18th-century thoroughbred and one of the most amazing horses to have ever lived. He had won about 30 races and is the ancestor of many of the thoroughbreds that we have today. The funny thing about him is his name. It was actually supposed to be “Potatoes,” but a small incident made him be known as “Potoooooooo.”

Potoooooooo was bred by Willoughby Bertie, 4th Earl of Abingdon. The earl wanted to call the horse  “Potatoes.” So, he asked the stable boy to write “Potatoes” on the feeding bin of the horse. Now, the stable boy didn’t know the correct spelling of “Potatoes,” so he inscribed “Potoooooooo” on the feeding bin which is “Pot” followed by eight Os.” The Earl was so amused by this unique spelling that he adopted the name. So. the horse’s name came to be written as “Potoooooooo” or “Pot8O’s”.(source)

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