Page 10 - History Facts

Toy companies tried to replace the Teddy bear with a Billy possum!


The teddy bear has been a childhood best friend for over a hundred years, but if the toy companies had gotten their way, we'd have been holding a different animal altogether!

Teddy bears really rejuvenated the toy industry in the early 1900's. The toy companies thought it was just a passing fad, though. They figured that once Roosevelt was out of office, the buzz would die down.

So what did they do to keep their profits up? They decided since it worked with one president, maybe it would work with the next.

When William Taft was elected, he feasted on the dish possum and taters. He was also presented with a stuffed possum by local boosters. They told him it would be the next big thing and replace the teddy bear.

The next day he told reporters how much he liked possum…esp

ecially eating it.

What came next was essentially a smear campaign against teddy

bears. The market was flooded with anti-teddy bear products, many featuring the new billy possum. One had a possum feasting on a roasted teddy bear.

In the end, the billy possum was a flop and teddy bears remained

in demand.Perhaps it has to do with the story behind the two toys. One showed off compassion towards a cute animal, while the other was about eating well. Let's face it, bears are cuter than possums anyway.

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From 1963 until his death, Oscar Schindler survived only on donations he received from Jews!


Oscar Schindler was a Nazi German who was initially only interested in making money. He owned an enamelware factory and employed thousands of Jews.

At that stage he was only interested in the amount of money he was saving as they were low cost labor. His connections helped him keep his workers out of concentration camps.

But at some stage Schindler had a dramatic change of heart and he started protecting his Jewish workers, no matter what the cost. Through his efforts he saved the lives of more than 1200 Jews.

In a 1983 television documentary, Schindler was quoted as saying, "I felt that the Jews were being destroyed. I had to help them; there was no choice."

After the war Schindler had to flee Germany to avoid being tried as a war criminal because he was a member of the Nazi Party. He ended up in Argentina where he tried to make a living from raising chickens and selling fur, but it wasn't a success.

He returned to Germany where he attempted various business enterprises, but became bankrupt. Oscar Schindler survived from 1963 onwards only by donations sent to him from the Jewish people he'd saved all over the world.

He died on 9 October 1974 and is buried in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion. He was the only member of the Nazi Party to be honored in this way.

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There was a time when patients suffering from syphilis were injected with malaria, and even mercury!


Originally there were no cures for syphilis. Various methods were used and tried in an effort to cure the disease, with varied degrees of success and failure.

In the late 1400s and early 1500s mercury was used to treat the disease. It was rubbed on the skin, administered by mouth and even injected into the patient! That is where the saying "A night in the arms of Venus leads to a lifetime on Mercury" originates from.

Another method was fumigation. The patient was placed in a box with his head sticking outward. Mercury was then placed inside the box.

A fire was lit underneath and that would cause the mercury to vaporize. It was a very unpleasant process for the patient and not very effective at all.

In the 1900's it was noticed that syphilis was cured by high fevers. There was a disease that could cause very high fevers indeed – malaria.

Syphilis patients were inoculated with malaria in the hopes that it would induce a high fever and cure the patient from syphilis. It was a fair gamble as the malaria could later be treated with quinine, which was already available.

Sweat-boxes were later used and these methods were only rendered unnecessary by the discovery of penicillin and its widespread manufacture after World War II. Penicillin is a reliable and effective treatment method for syphilis.

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Some awesome lists!

Hundreds of American spies during the Cold War were caught in Russia for the STUPIDEST reason


There were many secret agents during the Cold War, and they were always in danger of being caught. Both sides came up with ingenious ways of deceiving the enemy and infiltrating 'the other side.' Spies were used to acquire knowledge of what the other side was doing, but also to spread false knowledge of what was being done.

It was a highly dangerous job and many worked knowing that there was barely any chance of being rescued if caught. Prison or death by execution were the most common punishments for those unfortunate enough to make mistakes that led to their discovery.

Fake passports were the primary move for spies. Attention had to be paid to every minute detail during the forgery of a passport. Something seemingly insignificant was, however, missed by the Americans and it resulted in hundreds of American spies being caught in the USSR. Something as seemingly unimportant as staples!

The staples used in Russian passports corroded rather quickly. America, on the other hand, used stainless steel staples in the counterfeit passports for their spies. These obviously never corroded. This was a tell-tale sign for Russian officials that the passport had to be counterfeit.

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The 'Archives of Terror' describe the horrible fate of hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans—and were discovered by accident!


When judge Jos Agustn Fernndez and lawyer and human-rights activist, Dr. Martn Almada, searched a police station in a suburb of Asuncin on 22 December 1992 for files on a former prisoner, they were not prepared for what they found instead.

They stumbled across archives describing the terrible fates of thousands of Latin Americans. It described how these people were secretly kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay in an operation now known as Operation Condor. The archives were named the 'Archives of Terror.'

The archives listed 50,000 people murdered, 30,000 people disappeared and 400,000 people imprisoned. Paraguay was under the dictatorship of Stroessner until 1989, and according to Dr. Almada, "The documents are a mountain of ignominy, of lies, which Stroessner used for 40 years to blackmail the Paraguayan people."

The terror archives revealed that countries such as Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela also cooperated by providing intelligence information requested from them by the security services of the Southern Cone countries.

Dr. Almada wants the archives listed as an international cultural site in order to make funding for the preservation and protection of the documents possible. A UNESCO mission visited Asuncin in 2000 to help put these files on the Memory of the World Register.

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