5 super strange historical fads


1. Cat-burning – This inhumane trend rose to popularity in France during the 17th and 18th centuries. Dozens of cats would be gathered in a net, barrel or sack and hung from a mast over a bonfire. Sometimes foxes were also burned. People would watch this horrific display shrieking with laughter. Once the animals were dead they would collect the ashes and take them home for good luck.

2. Phonebooth stuffing – Started in 1959 in South Africa, this craze of fitting as many people are possible into a phone booth quickly spread to the UK and US. Some colleges managed to fit 25 people into one booth, but the craze was soon over within a year.

3. Blackening teeth – Queen Elizabeth I was very fond of sugary snacks and as a result her teeth were rotten and black. This quickly became a status symbol for the rich upper classes who, eager to replicate their monarch, consumed many sugary snacks. Cosmetics designed to blacken teeth were even created and used by people of all classes.

4. Goldfish swallowing – This fad started where many do nowadays, in a university. A Harvard student was dared to swallow a goldfish for $10 in 1939, the trend rapidly spread to other university campuses and became a nationwide fad. It was outlawed by the Boston Animal Rescue League, but the record today stands at 300 goldfishes.

5. Fasting girls – This trend took place in the Victorian era and involved young girls who seemed to be able to survive for long periods of time on nothing but air. These mystical beings were also alleged to have spiritual and religious powers. One famous fasting girl claimed to have lasted 14 years without a bite. Many of the girls were unsurprisingly revealed to be secretly consuming food.

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