Featured category: 19th century history

The hippo-greyhound swap between Egypt and England; the telepathic snail scam; the Salvation Army’s arch enemies; and the curious appearance of a Sri Lankan bell in pre-colonial New Zealand.

Obaysch was the first hippopotamus in Europe in more than a thousand years.


In 1850 a French occultist claimed that snails were telepathic and could be trained to send messages. Experiments proved otherwise.


The Skeleton Army
Jack1956 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Skeleton Army, marching under a skull and crossbones flag, was formed to fight the Salvation Army.


Matthew Richards [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1836 an English missionary in New Zealand bartered with local Māori residents for an ancient bronze bell. Its origin was Sri Lanka, and no-one knows how it got to New Zealand.

For more strange incidents and people from the 19th century, begin here:

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