There are numerous amusing historical events that are left out of school textbooks. Some of these may be deemed too obscene for history class. Others are just amusing. They may not have had a lasting effect on history, but they are sure to make you chuckle.
1. Between 1409 and 1417, the Catholic Church had three competing popes, each of whom declared the other illegitimate.
The cardinals of the Catholic Church were dissatisfied with the newly chosen pope in 1378, so they chose a new one. Both competing popes claimed to be the genuine pope, while the other claimed to be illegitimate.
This caused a lot of uncertainty among Catholics and damaged the Church’s image. The popes were given the option of mutual resignation or allowing a council to choose the real pope. They both said no.
So, in 1409, the Church attempted to resolve the issue by choosing a third pope, which only added to the confusion. The “Western Schism” was the name given to this era of opposing popes.
2. When George S. Patton was stationed in France in 1917, the mayor of a French village mistaken a covered latrine hole for one of Patton’s troops’ graves. Patton didn’t correct the mayor, and when he returned to the village during WWII, he discovered that the “grave” was still being reverently maintained by the people.
In his memoirs, Patton discussed the event. It occurred at Bourg, France, where Patton’s Tank Brigade Headquarters were stationed. The mayor came to Patton crying one day in 1917 and asked why Patton hadn’t reported that a soldier had died.
Patton went to the grave with the mayor since he was unaware of any deaths among his troops. It turned out to be an old latrine hole that had just been dug up. The last soldier to utilize the pit had created a “Abandoned Rear” cross-like symbol. Patton decided not to correct the mayor when he discovered he had mistook a makeshift toilet for a soldier’s burial.
3. John Quincy Adams authorized a trip to the core of the Earth in the 1820s. Meeting and trading with the race of people living inside the ground was part of the plan.
John Cleves Symmes, Jr., an American army commander, proposed the idea. He’d been traveling the nation, delivering talks about his hollow Earth hypothesis.
He thought the Earth was made up of many spheres and that there were holes at the North and South poles that could be utilized to get access to the Earth’s empty center and explore it.
As a result, he intended to send a hundred soldiers to the Arctic, where they would journey to the North Pole on sleighs drawn by reindeer. He also thought that there could be a race of people living within the Earth, and he planned to start commerce with them as part of the trip.
Most people laughed at the idea, but when Symmes persuaded the government to finance his trip, President John Quincy Adams agreed. However, Adams’ presidency expired before the idea could be implemented. When Andrew Jackson was elected president, he put an end to the scheme. [Sources: 1, 2]
4. Some US Marines ran out of mortar ammunition during the Korean War in 1950. As a result, they utilized a radio to request additional ammunition. The troops, however, used their code name for mortar shells, “Tootsie Rolls,” when making their request. When the airdrop came, it was packed with real Tootsie Rolls since the person on the other end of the radio took it literally.
A veteran who was there claimed he lived on Tootsie Rolls for two weeks. The troops began to refer to themselves as the “Tootsie Roll Marines” after that.
According to some reports, the troops used some of the Tootsie Rolls that had been thrown on them to good use.
The event occurred in December, when the weather was very cold. The troops discovered that the sweets would freeze solid in the cold, but that by warming them up, they could be transformed into a kind of putty. As a result, the candies were used to repair holes in hoses and other equipment. 15,000 US soldiers were battling 120,000 men at the moment.