10 Historical Events that Sound too Strange to Be True

by Sreyashi Chatterjee4 years ago

4 Guests visiting Las Vegas in the 1950s could enjoy atomic bombs being tested.

Las Vegas Atomic Tourism
Las Vegas with a mushroom cloud in the background. Image credits: National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office via Web.archive.org

Tourism can consist of many types. However, we’re not sure if you’ve heard of anything called “Atomic Tourism.” As strange as it may sound, it is true. From 1950 to 1960, the government had created a craze among tourists to know more about atomic weapons, missiles, and so on. The tourist bureau of Las Vegas grabbed this opportunity. In the 1950s, the US was actively expanding its atomic weapons as the country was threatened due to the rapid growth in the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons. To attract tourists, they went for a campaign called “Atomic Tourism.”

Nevada Test Site, a place 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, was the most common place in the US for testing atomic bombs. This was so because it was an empty desert, but soon, this place was turned into a tourist site where guests could witness the testing of atomic bombs. The tourists could also have an extensive view of the Nevada horizon. In the Nevada Test Site, atmospheric and underground bomb testing would be performed simultaneously. This lasted from 1951 to 1992.

While “Atomic Tourism” was a horrific experience for some, many found it very entertaining.  Many tourists would even pack their lunch boxes and have a small picnic while watching some atomic explosions. They would call them “Atomic box lunches.” In the night time, there would be parties, and the guests would sing and dance until they caught a glimpse of the Nevada skyline after an explosion. (1, 2)

5 The US Government deliberately added poison to industrial alcohol leading to 10,000 deaths.

Alcohol prohibition
Prohibition agents. Image credits: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

The prohibition period in the US lasted from 1920 to 1933. The government didn’t want the citizens to consume alcohol at that time as selling or consumption of alcohol was illegal then. However, a set of legal rules could not stop US citizens from drinking. As a result, people continued to drink booze unlawfully, and a huge boom was noticed in the US black market.


To stabilize the situation of the country, the US government had taken a drastic step. The government intentionally added a poisonous substance called “methyl alcohol: in the grain alcohol to make it toxic. Due to this step taken by the government, the death toll rose to an estimated 10,000. However, as justified by many, the US government did not poison alcohol supplies that were meant for human consumption. They didn’t expect the deaths of thousands of individuals. (1, 2)

Also read 10 of the Most Craziest Characters in History You Probably Never Heard of

6 Tsutomu Yamaguchi was one of the few Japanese who survived both Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi
Tsutomu Yamaguchi. Image credits: Hiroshimapeacemedia.jp

History is the witness of many weird and strange incidents. The story of a Japanese man named Tsutomu Yamaguchi is one of those. Tsutomu Yamaguchi’s hometown was Nagasaki, but in 1945, he had gone to Hiroshima for a three-month-long business trip. On 6 August 1945, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was returning home with his two coworkers. However, on reaching the station, he realized he had to return to his workplace as he had forgotten his stamp identifier.

He even saw two bombers coming down in parachutes before the Little Boy atomic bomb blew him over. This incident injured him terribly, and he was blinded forever. However, he somehow reached the shelter camp and survived. The next day, Tsutomu Yamaguchi, along with his coworkers, returned to Nagasaki.

On 9 August 1945, when Tsutomu Yamaguchi was at his workplace, the second atomic bomb, Fat Man, was dropped on Nagasaki. Even though his office was only three km away from the explosion site, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was uninjured this time. Much later, in 2009, the Japanese Government accepted his application for double recognition. He died in January 2009, at 93, due to stomach cancer. (source)


7 In the 1950s, stuffing phone booths was a crazy trend.

Phone-booth stuffing
Phone-booth stuffing. Image credits: Historyanswers.co.uk, Meyer Liebowitz / The New York Times

One of the strangest historical trends of all time was phonebooth stuffing. It was all about people entering a telephone booth consecutively until the booth was completely full. In 1959, the popular trend was popular in South Africa, Britain, Canada, and the US.

The phonebooth challenge was most common among students. College students were so much into this challenge that they would miss classes for it. The rules of phonebooth stuffing also varied from college to college. For example, some colleges would make sure that all body parts of the participants were within the booth. In contrast, others would allow the hands and legs to be sticking out.

A group of students in South Africa made a record when they stuffed a Durban-based phone booth completely in March 1959. There were 25 students altogether. The tallest of them was of the height of 188 cm, and the shortest one was 163 cm. The phone booth was stuffed to such an extent that none of them could receive the phone when it rang. Later, a Canadian college claimed that 40 students had occupied a phonebooth at once. However, this did not make any records as some rules were violated. (1, 2)

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