Puzzling History Photos Most People Haven’t Seen

Published on 01/22/2018
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It’s been over 200 years since the first photograph made success. Since then the world of photography has evolved so much so that we can take a stock image in one moment and in the next send it across the world. This is a collection of images from history that never showed up in school books. These pictures will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention.

Brunette Turned Blonde

Who remembers Brigitte Bardot? The French actress and model became very popular throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, and unbelievably turned 84 in 2018! Here you can see her visiting Seville as the crowds gathered around to see her. It’s not surprising that she was whisked away in a car.

Brunette Turned Blonde


Riding For Life

This is not a man enjoying the thrills of an amusement park. This is a U.S. death-row prisoner involuntarily testing the safety of this roller-coaster in 1958. Was it successful? We don’t know from this stock image.

Riding For Life

On The Johnny Carson Show

For almost 30 years, Johnny Carson hosted some of the most interesting figures on his talk show. With guests coming from all different niches, he kept viewers intrigued up until 1992. The show got even more interesting when Robyn Hilton, an American actress and model appeared. She didn’t get the credit she deserved for her roles in Blazing Saddles.

On The Johnny Carson Show

What A Champ

This is Ham the Chimp, and he was the first humanoid to ever make it successfully into outer space. We owe this brave chimp a lot, because without him we wouldn’t have been able to send a man into space, let alone on the moon.

What A Champ

Jungle Pam

While Jim Liberman supposedly got all the credit for the drag racing sensation he pulled off, we can hardly forget “Jungle Pam”. His loyal and awesome sidekick/chick was everything any Tomboy wanted to be. She wore some interesting outfits to racing events, and those are hard to forget – according to fans.

Jungle Pam

What A Couple

The legendary Charles Bronson married his second wife, Jill Ireland, and they instantly became a power couple. This photograph, snapped way back when, shows the two of them looking as good as ever. Unfortunately Bronson passed away in 2003. He was 81 years old.

What A Couple

Real-Life Shrek

You’re not imagining it, this is what Shrek would look like in real life. Maurice Tillet was a Russian-born French professional wrestler. Some called him the “French Angel”, and then by others as “The World’s Ugliest Man”. Sadly he died at the age of 50.

Real-Life Shrek

Time To Work Out

Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the most iconic actresses of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Did you know that she even launched her own fitness and health program? Well here we can see her in the film, Perfect. Curtis will be turning 60 soon, and we love her more than ever.

Time To Work Out

A Short Address

Flight attendants are usually recognizable by their sharp attire and sometimes by their above-the-knee skirts. This stock image shows curious Brigitta Lindman, a Swedish flight attendant taking a closer look at a showgirl’s outfit. The rumors in 1959 were that flight attendants would adopt a similar dress-code.

A Short Address

Burst Of Joy

Prisoner exchanges are an age-old method of getting back soldiers from enemy hands. The US government initiated “Operation Homecoming” in order to exchange captured US soldiers for enemy Viet Cong in the 1970’s. Fighter pilot Lt. Col Robert Stirm is seen in this award-winning stock image, “Burst of Joy”, reuniting with his family after being in captive for 6 years.

Burst Of Joy

Babies In The Air

At the end of the Vietnam War, hundreds of Vietnamese babies were orphaned. The American government initiated “Operation Babylift” on April 12th, 1975. The operation flew the babies from Vietnam to the USA where they were put up for adoption to citizens in USA, Australia, Canada and France.

Babies In The Air

Tattoo Chin

Get ready for the chills. A native American tribe kidnapped two sisters and gave them over to a Mohave chief to become his children. Olive Ann Oatman, grew up with the tribe until word spread about a white girl living among the native tribe. An exchange was set up and a collection of blankets and horses redeemed the girl from her captors. As part of her upbringing, she received a tattoo on her chin.

Tattoo Chin

Gaming Geeks

Talk about a get-together of the computer game fanatics! Today we’re able to play with anyone we wish to, anywhere across the world, from the comfort of our couches. This is the 1980 National Space Invaders Championship which gathered an incredible 10,000 participants.

Gaming Geeks

James Dean

This is the heartbreaking image of the adored James Dean just hours before he died in a tragic car accident. This stock image shows him at a gas station in 1955, at the peak of his Hollywood career. Who knows what greatness he could have achieved had he had more time.

James Dean

Real Ray?

What do you think? Is this a real sting ray or not? The answer is often the topic of debate, but it certainly does catch one’s eye. A.L. Khan took this photo in 1935, and let’s just say that if this stock image is real, I think we can all take a few steps away from the beach.

Real Ray?

Prohibition

There were dark times in America between the years of 1920 to 1933. Aside from the Great Depression, it was illegal to brew or buy alcohol, but of course there were rebels of “Prohibition”. This stock image shows the result of the police busting a bootlegging brewery in Detroit.

Prohibition

Lincoln: Before And After

We all know that presidents will get some extra grey hairs during their presidency. But the effects of a stressful term can be seen clearly in this side-by-side stock image of Abraham Lincoln before and after the American Civil War.

Lincoln: Before And After

Brave Stock Image

How close would you be willing to stand near a nuclear bombing test? This brave photographer experienced the shock-wave of the explosion which took only 16 milliseconds to reach him.

Brave Stock Image

Standing Out

When laws change, it usually takes the population a little more time to accept the change. Dorothy Counts was the first African-American to attend a white school after law changes allowed it. Despite the law being in place, four days later she would leave the school due to bullying and tormenting intimidation.

Standing Out

Two Faces

Is Michael Jackson the first person you think about when you hear “plastic surgery”? Well you should probably think about Walter Leo. In 1917, during the horrors of the First World War, the first kind of plastic surgery called, “the skin flap” was the means of treating hideous battle wounds.

Two Faces

Flying Fists

For years sports were not shared equally between the sexes. Women didn’t have international soccer teams, they weren’t allowed to run marathons or compete on the world stage. But that doesn’t mean to say that they weren’t doing it anyway in private. This stock image shows a group of women’s right activists in the 1930’s boxing on a roof.

Flying Fists

Home Runs

If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than Babe Ruth. He has struck out the most times (1,330) out of any baseball player. But wait a second, he is also the leading home-run hitter in history with 714 of them! Here you can see him hitting his 700th in 1934. Don’t ever let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.

Home Runs

The Giant Of Illinois

Think of your tallest friend, and then double (or triple) their height. Ta-dah! Please welcome Robert Wadlow, “The Alton Giant”, or the “Giant of Illinois”. He’s a Guinness world record holder for being… well what do you think for?

The Giant Of Illinois

Not Fazed

In April 1960, Martin Luther King Jr. strolled out from his house on another seemingly-normal morning. What he found on his lawn was a burnt cross – a sign of racism planted by the KKK. The racist threat didn’t deter the leader from preaching peace and equality.

Not Fazed

Survivors

It was a massacre. But not the bloody kind, this was more, well, waxy. A fire tore down the Madame Tussaud’s London Wax Museum in 1930 and these are the “survivors”.

Survivors

Fishing Buddies

We all know that these two revolutionaries worked together to bring Cuba out of the hands of President Batista. But this stock image of them having a chat and catching fish is not as widespread.

Fishing Buddies

Young Love

The year is 1948. The pretty girl in the picture is Elizabeth Taylor and she’s just 17 years old. Here she is reading love letters that her boyfriend, Glenn Davis had sent her. How beautiful is this stock image?

Young Love

Looking Out The Window

It’s definitely not every day that you can look out of your window and watch a nuclear bomb going off. This rare stock image is of a boy and his mother watching a nuclear missile test in Las Vegas only 75 kms from their house.

Looking Out The Window

The A-Team

In 1858, snapping a photo was nothing like it is now. Today we can take a hundred photos in a day and end up deleting all of them by the end of the day. Back then you only used your camera (if you had one) for very special occasions. This was the first team photograph ever taken, so it must have been important.

The A-Team

Fertilizer

Did you know that you could use bits and ends of fruits and vegetables as fertilizer? Did you know that you could use bison skulls too? Well, we don’t recommend it but this very disturbing stock image from the 1870’s just shows how badly they needed fertilizer, apparently.

Fertilizer

Hippo Cart

Humans have managed to domesticate all different kinds of animals through the millennia. But when we decided that it was necessary to domesticate a hippopotamus, we might have crossed the line.

Hippo Cart

A Big Byte

Before we had memory cards or online clouds to store our files, there were compact discs. But before compact and floppy discs there were paper files. Bill Gates showed off the equivalent of files that could be stored in a CD. Should he now do the same with CD’s and mass-space memory cards?

A Big Byte

The Hindenburg

In 1936, Nazi Germany hosted the last Olympic Games until after World War II. The German airship called the “Hindenburg Zeppelin” soars gracefully over the Berlin stadium where the Games are taking place.

The Hindenburg

The Disaster

Only one year after the Olympic Games, Nazi Germany’s glorious airship burst into flames and melted into the ground. 36 people lost their lives as the Hindenburg slowed to land in America in 1937.

The Disaster

King Of The Waves

Buzzy Trent was the king of the waves. He even got a specially-designed surfboard called “The Gun” which was intended for large waves. This is him in 1955, ready to take on the mini tsunamis of Hawaii.

King Of The Waves

Mardi Gras

The Great Depression in America was not an easy time for the population. But in 1938 when the Mardi Gras festival took place, there was no way the citizens of America were going to be held down.

Mardi Gras

Barrel Tower

Most commodities in short supply become something sought after. When Prohibition was controlling Americans and their alcohol intake, there were many illegal breweries serving up the drink underground. This stock image shows a massive collection of alcohol barrels that police confiscated.

Barrel Tower

Cuban Missile Crisis

Threats of war during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960’s could not have come clearer than this. On the beaches of Florida, tourists and Americans alike, could see Hawk anti-aircraft missiles deployed and ready.

Cuban Missile Crisis

Don’t Look Back

This is definitely not a scene from a movie, although it certainly looks like it is. This photograph from 1991, shows Mt. Pinatubo erupting toxic smoke and ash in the Philippines. If you were this driver or photographer, I would tell you to scrap the stock image and run.

Don’t Look Back

Picnic On A Sphinx

Getting this close to the Sphinx in Giza, Egypt, today is impossible. But back in the 1850’s things were rather different. Here is a group of tourists who got a truly “hands-on” experience at the ancient structure.

Picnic On A Sphinx

Trendy Women

This stock image was once actually viral and trending, can you believe that? These German women donned their best outfits and then became icons of fashion. The unknown photographer snapped this in the 1910’s and the picture then circulated quite largely.

Trendy Women

March For Beer

When there’s something you want, you’ve got to go after it. When Prohibition was at its peak in the United States, Americans couldn’t handle not having their beer. While some took to illegal liquor distilling, others took the outward approach and demonstrated in the streets. Eventually Prohibition was revoked.

March For Beer

The Right Fight

We can all learn a lesson or two from Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. This young activist had so much going for her but she readily gave it up in order to fight for civil rights and racial integration. After police arrested her over and over, a court actually sentenced her to death. Thank goodness she was acquitted.

The Right Fight

Working Together

Isn’t it incredible what a group of people working towards the same goal can achieve? This rare 1942 stock image shows women organizing heaps of “Sears Roebuck” catalogs. Do you realize that today almost all of these workers would be replaced by machines.

Working Together

No Fear

This is the lesser-seen photograph snapped that day on the 69th floor of the Chrysler Building during its construction. This is photographer Charles Ebbets readying himself to shoot one of the most historical photographs ever taken in history – construction workers eating their lunch on a metal bar above New York City.

No Fear

All That Sax

Even at the height of racial tension in America, true talent could not be ignored. Photographer Robert Willoughby managed to capture a moment that will always prove that music can trump hate. Playing the saxophone is Big Jay McNeely at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles in 1953. You can feel the electricity just by looking at this stock image.

All That Sax

Alfred Hitchcock

This is actually Alfred Hitchcock and he’s riding a bicycle… in a suit. While attending the Cannes Film Festival in France in 1972, he posed for this unique photograph. How classic?

Alfred Hitchcock

Good Timing

We have so many questions about this. Firstly, why was this photographer walking around a farm with his camera back then? Whatever the reason, this masterful photographer managed to capture the moment a pilot lost control of his plane, ejected in time to survive, and the plane came crashing down.

Good Timing

War Room

When the Cuban Missile Crisis was pushing the West and East towards war, President Kennedy was constantly sitting in war rooms to discuss the situation. This image shows him and vice-president Lyndon B. Johnson getting a briefing.

War Room

Hitler’s Many Faces

No matter what you choose to believe, when WWII ended, the Allies worried that Hitler could have escaped. They realized that he would probably change his appearance in order not to be recognized. A US team of experts drew up how Hitler could look.

Hitler’s Many Faces

Playing Safe

If you wanted to take your baby out for a stroll during WWII in Britain, you could. The only thing is that you would have to take a gas mask and a similar contraption to be added to your stroller.

Playing Safe

The First Ever Selfie

Wait, you mean to say that there were selfies all the way back in 1839?! The answer to that question is a fat ‘yes’, as this young chemist, lamp manufacturer and amateur photographer proved to us. It would be a long time until the idea of taking one’s own photo resurfaced.

The First Ever Selfie

One Last Picture

When it comes to tear-jerking, this picture is right up in the front. The Beatles posed for their last picture together ever and it was taken on August 22nd, 1969. At least we do find solace in the music that the brilliant group left behind.

One Last Picture

Worthless War

There was no war like the Second World War, and we pray that there should never be one like it again. This German soldier is pictured returning home at the end of the war only to discover that he had lost more than he could ever have imagined possible – his wife and children had been killed.

Worthless War

Einstein’s Shadow

It may just look like a messy desk, but this untidy desk actually belonged to one of the greatest minds of all time – Albert Einstein. Following his death in April 1955, a photographer managed to snap this chilling photo of the desk of a genius.

Einstein’s Shadow

The Queen And The Queen

They were both young, beautiful, influential and queens in their own right. Queen Elizabeth of Britain met with Marilyn Monroe, the queen of Hollywood, in October 1956. Their meeting was one of elegance and class that put the question in everyone’s head – “Who was more awestruck?”

The Queen And The Queen

Men Don’t Cry

Gas masks are designed to protect soldiers from inhaling toxic gasses that could potentially kill them. They have a number of other features too, like preventing oneself from crying when peeling onions. For those of us who don’t have a gas mask at home, try chewing mint gum.

Men Don’t Cry

The King’s Mugshot

Let’s face it, mugshots have never shown someone’s good side… that is until Elvis Presley had his taken. The King had his mugshot in 1970 and let’s just say, this mugshot has the potential to become the cover of one of his albums, because let’s just say, he looks incredible!

The King’s Mugshot

President Clinton And President Kennedy

Here is a stock image that seems surreal somehow. Bill Clinton, who is just a youngster in this photo, is meeting with President John F. Kennedy and already you can see the great respect Clinton had for Kennedy. Is it implausible to imagine that President Kennedy had a feeling that Bill Clinton would one day become president too?

President Clinton And President Kennedy

Before The Spillover

If a person didn’t know who these two people were, they would guess that they were nothing more than a couple of employees of the same establishment. Come to think of it, that wouldn’t be wrong. This innocent-looking photograph of President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky would later be scrutinized in one of America’s greatest presidential scandals.

Before The Spillover

Young Schwarzenegger

It’s like he was born with muscles! This 14-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger took part in a body-building competition in Austria and we’re pretty sure that he won. Since then he would become Mr. Universe, a Hollywood star and the governor of California… ah yes, and a whole lot more muscular.

Young Schwarzenegger

A Trophy

Parading around Berlin with the head of Adolf Hitler at the close of the Second World War must have been one of the most triumphant feelings this Russian soldier felt. Although it was just the bust of Hitler and not his actual head, its symbolism was worth more than the real thing.

A Trophy

Margot And Anne Frank

This stock image shows a different and happy side of the girl whose diary would become an international treasure. Anne Frank is sharing a glorious day on the beach in August 1940 with her sister, Margot Frank. This photo was found in Anne’s photo album called Zandvoort.

Margot And Anne Frank

Challenger Disaster

Sending astronauts into space never loses its novelty; there will always be thousand of spectators when they’re launched into space and beyond. On January 28th, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger took off and only 73 seconds later exploded in mid-air. All 7 crew members were killed immediately. The terror and anguish that consumed onlookers is clearly visible here.

Challenger Disaster

Stolen Treasures

As part of the Nazis attempted conquest of Europe, they looted and hid some of Europe’s richest art pieces. A photographer managed to capture this historical moment when Allied generals discovered the art pieces in a salt mine. The commanders are, Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower with General Omar N. Bradley and General George S. Patton, Jr.

Stolen Treasures

Blue Suede Boots

Would you have ever guessed that Elvis Presley was in the military? Well, the king of rock ‘n roll signed up on March 24th, 1958 and served for two years. He served in the armor division of the Army and worked his way up to the rank of sergeant.

Blue Suede Boots

Defiance At Its Best

The Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936, was riddled with Nazi propaganda. It resembled nothing of the fair-play ideals the competition stood for. Adolf Hitler was convinced that the Aryan Germans were superior and would dominate the Games. After Jesse Owens, a black long-jumper from America took first place in front of German Luz long, Hitler refused to shake Owens’ hand. When standing at the podium to receive his medal, Owens refused to salute the Nazi salute.

Defiance At Its Best

Smoking Together

Before you start making your own assumptions of who’s who here, we’ll tell you. This is Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev lighting Indonesian president Sukarno’s cigarette with his own. Sukarno was Indonesia’s first president and his term lasted from 1945 until 1967.

Smoking Together

Tesla’s Lab

The photograph seems unreal, but it is as real as can be. Inventor Nikola Tesla sits among a multitude of electric currents in his lab at Wardenclyffe Tower. A photographer captured this stock image by using a multiple exposure setting that shows us a surreal picture of Tesla’s “magnifying transmitter”.

Tesla’s Lab

A Huge Pipe

What would your first guess be? What is that? That is a massive section of pipe that pieced together part of the Hoover Dam in Black Canyon of the Colorado River. The project would run from 1931 until 1936.

A Huge Pipe

Lighter Times

If everyone would just laugh, we’d have peace and happiness. This smile-inducing photo of Martin Luther King Jr. can make anyone feel a little happier. The cause for his laughter – singer, songwriter, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte.

Lighter Times

Down We Go

In December 1903, the Wright brothers made their first successful powered flight. They had worked for so long to achieve this historical feat, and they didn’t stop there. The tried their Wright Glider in 1911, but as you can see it didn’t get too far.

Down We Go

First Flying President

President Theodore Roosevelt became the first president in history to fly in an airplane and this photo proves it. The year was 1907 – it’s quite a far throw from what Air Force One wouldn’t you say.

First Flying President

The French And The English

It took until 1944 for France to be liberated from the Nazis’ grip during the Second World War. Here is Prime Minister Winston Churchill driving in Cherbourg and you can clearly see how ecstatic the locals are.

The French And The English

A Brave Runner

All Kathrine Switzer wanted to do in 1967 was run the Boston Marathon… okay, not only that. At the time women weren’t allowed to compete and here you can see race organizers trying to stop her from participating. She became the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon and the stock image made history.

A Brave Runner

Traffic Chaos

It sure takes a fair amount of bravery and risk to decide that your country will start driving on the opposite side of the road. This stock image of Sweden in 1967, shows the streets in traffic chaos on the first morning that the new driving laws came into play.

Traffic Chaos

Hats And Hats And Hats

What could look like a colony of ants after a hat fair, is actually a colony of humans at the height of hat fashion. You’re looking at New York City in 1930 and you’re looking at an aerial stock image that shows fashion trending at its finest.

Hats And Hats And Hats

Going Bananas

Bananas? Aren’t they one of the common fruits we can always get, like apples and oranges? At some point in time fruits weren’t seasonless, so when bananas came to Norway for the first time in 1905, everyone went berzer… bananas!

Going Bananas

Desert To Oasis

Unbelievably, this is actually a stock image of the bustling city of Tel Aviv in Israel. There are a few differences, like the fact that this photo dates 1909 and the whole area is basically desert. These 100 or so people came to buy plots of land, and we can only imagine what the price difference is like now.

Desert To Oasis

The Tsar

It’t not every day that you see a father sharing his tobacco pipe with his young daughter. Then again, Tsar Nicholas II was not your average joe, and his daughter, the Grand Duchess Anastasia was no regular Joe-jess.

The Tsar

Boxing Aboard

For men, fighting is not always about anger; it’s also about ego and entertainment. These sailors are having themselves a fun fight on the USS New York in 1899 while their crew mates look on with enjoyment.

Boxing Aboard

Shoot The Man

How brave are you? Would you say that you’re brave enough to be the test subject wearing a bullet proof vest during its first experimental stages? If you said ‘no’ then perhaps you wouldn’t be one of these men who appeared in this stock image.

Shoot The Man

Disneyland Food

It seems like quite a comical scene, doesn’t it? Well it makes sense seeing as this is Disneyland’s cafeteria in 1961, and it seems to be just another regular lunch time scene.

Disneyland Food

Welcome Coca Cola

It’s 1950, post-World War II, and markets are starting to boom. Coca Cola has just arrived in France and the locals are excited about getting a taste of the dark brown magic liquid.

Welcome Coca Cola

Modesty Police

It’s not clear exactly when this photo is from, but we do know that it’s from the 1920’s. These women donned their swimsuits but not without being inspected, checked if they reach the required length. If they didn’t they would most likely had to pay a fine.

Modesty Police

The Painters

This is a wonderful stock image that portrays painters taking on a very large task. The architectural feat that they’re painting is actually the Brooklyn Bridge, and the year is 1914.

The Painters

Unbroken Seal

Howard Carter was the British archaeologist who discovered the mysterious and intact tomb of Tutankhamun back in 1922. This stock photo shows the unbroken seal of Tutankhamun’s Tomb which had remained untouched for 3,245 years.

Unbroken Seal

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