28 Odd Vintage Photos That Prove History Was Freaky and Weird

vintage photos

Human history is an odd concept to reflect on. With new generations being created, sights from the past baffle us and surprise us, similar to things that we take for granted now. The technology we use every day would seem like magic to them, while hardly any of us have experienced something like:

  • War on the same scale
  • Circus popularity
  • Alcohol prohibition

To us, these things seem like movie creations that no one would ever experience in real life. Yet, they exist and still haunt our history to this day. The photographic evidence of the past is freaky, weird, and troubling, even though those who lived through it didn’t think so. To put our ideals and norms onto it is unfair to the people who deal with it on a daily basis.

But it’s still fun to look back at some of the weirdest moments in our history.

Here are 28 photos that show the world in a much different state:

1. Walter Yeo was one of the first people to receive a facial skin transplant taken from other areas of his body. He was wounded while in the Navy in World War I, leaving him with massive facial damage.


2. The remnants of’s wax museum after a fire destroyed much of the building and many of the sculptures.

3. The police tested new bulletproof vests in 1923. It looks a little dangerous with no additional protection.

bulletproof vest

4. James Brock pouring acid into his motel pool while black protesters use it. The swimmers were jailed, but the Civil Rights Act was passed the very next day.

James Brock

5. The first meeting of the Mickey Mouse Club has an odd cult-like feeling to it. Those masks could have been a little less psychotic, don’t you think?

6. The testing of a new leather football helmet. Like the vest testing, there had to have been a better way to prove that it worked that didn’t include jumping into a building.

7. Judging an ankle competition. Women in those days were held to many different standards of modesty.

8. Two men walked 8,000 miles from Caracas, Venezuela, to Washington, DC, to get to the first Boy Scout Jamboree. They traversed 25 miles a day for two years to get there.


9. A boy with his riding boar in Ampthill, England. He doesn’t seem very excited at having such a sturdy mount to ride.

10. Carnival at a KKK rally. The white hoods all staring at the camera make this extra creepy.

11. During the Great Depression, a flour manufacturer found out women were making clothing with their sacks. So, he started distributing them in flowered fabrics.

12. The largest black sea bass ever caught at the time by Edward Lewellen in 1903. He pulled in the fish all by himself.

13. Disney engineers working on an early animatronic. The opened back looks like something out of the Twilight Zone (or, more recently, Black Mirror).

14. The Barnum & Bailey freak show lineup, with all types of people. Circuses would often recruit those with a physical deformity and put them on stage for shock value. The practice has died down considerably in recent decades, though it still does exist in places around the world.

15. Not only did their circuses have freak shows, but they also had wildly varying animals. Here is a hippo pulling a circus cart, which is something you would not see today.

16. The original Ronald McDonald wasn’t as friendly-looking as the latest iteration. Instead, it evoked thoughts of killer clowns and Stephen King novels.

17. Three Stanford students after a snowball fight between the freshman and sophomore years. It turned violent and resulted in many injuries.

18. Martin Luther King Jr. and his son pulled a burned cross from his front lawn. King would have to deal with daily threats on his and his family’s lives.

19. Baby cages weren’t common, but they did sometimes appear on the side of small apartments so that the child could get fresh air and sunlight during the day.

20. A much different look at child care, this time in a gas-proof stroller in England just before the outbreak of the Second World War.

21. Who needs tanning beds when you have a coin-operated tanning machine? The gas-bar-like device would spray a tanning solution out like an air pump.

22. The first chimp to be sent into outer space, Ham poses with the headline after he returns safely.


23. There was once a time when it was believed you could literally roll your fat away. The woman is seen here demonstrating two such devices.

24. Annie Edison Taylor (no, not the Community character) was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She would later say she’d rather die from cannon fire than go over the Falls again.

Annie Edson

25. The Hindenburg disaster was one of the most spectacular destructive incidents in history. As the pressurized blimp went down, 35 of the craft’s 97 passengers would perish.

26. The face of the Statue of Liberty was delivered in 1885. Lady Liberty was raised in 1886 and restored multiple times through the century.

27. Pouring illegal alcohol out of the windows of a speakeasy during prohibition. The building was set to be raided.

28. The morning when Sweden shifted their driving from the left side of the road to the right. The streets were blocked for miles as police tried to sort out the mess and the confusion caused by the change.


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