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