World’s Strangest

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General Tom Thumb

You’ve heard of General Tom Thumb, one of P.T. Barmnum’s most famous human exhibits. But how much do you really know about the man born Charles Sherwood Stratton in 1838? When he was discovered at the age of four by P. T. Barnum little Charles stood a mere 25 inches in height and weighed 15 pounds. [...]

That One Time Abraham Lincoln Threw a Wedding Reception for Tom Thumb

It’s a bit unbelievable to think that Barack Obama would hold a White House wedding reception for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but something just like that happened almost 150 years ago when Abraham Lincoln held a White House reception for General Tom Thumb and his wife. The 2’11″ Charles Stratton had toured with P.T. Barnum [...]

Coney Island: Dreamland by the Sea

The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into History Again. The place that gave Mr. and Mrs. Joe Schmoe the crazy idea that happiness was just a few subway stops away. Between about 1880 and World War II, Coney Island was the largest amusement park in the United States. But back [...]

8 Odd Acts of the Vaudeville Era

Before movies could talk, there were endless opportunities for those who had talent to make a living performing in front of live audiences. Singers, dancers, actors, and comedians were the backbone of the traveling show. There were also side show exhibits with human oddities and specialty acts such as the circus, the wild west show, [...]

7 Scary Monsters Some People Think Exist

With Halloween approaching you’ll be hearing lots about ridiculous fictional monsters like vampires and zombies. But what about the “real” monsters that may be skulking around the country undetected? Let’s take a look at a few of these scary cryptids that may or may not exist. 1. The Skunk Ape These stinky monsters could be lurking [...]

Painless Parker’s Dental Circus

Edgar Parker opened his dental practice in 1892 and found business was not that great. So he took his practice on the road and became “the P.T. Barnum of dentistry.” Dentistry as entertainment? Working in the 1890s during the height of ‘humbugs,’ ‘dime museums’, and rational amusements, Parker did what any natural-born-showman would do. He took [...]

6 Curious College Donations

Universities are always looking for cash from their alumni (or anyone else with a big enough checkbook). But sometimes colleges are offered donations of another variety. Here are stories of six rather unusual gifts given to universities across the world. 1. A Bathroom (University of Colorado) Endowing a school, building, or even a classroom with one’s name [...]