History used to be one of my favorite subjects back in school and I still have a soft spot for it to this very day—you can probably see that from the history books I’ve got in my personal library in-between my favorite fantasy novels. So I know just how weird the subject can get if you switch up your perspective even a tiny bit. That’s exactly what reporter and novelist Zack Budryk helped internet users do with his recent viral thread on Twitter.

Zack inspired his followers to share some mindblowing historical overlaps that might just make you see the world in an entirely different light... or give you a small existential crisis. My personal favorite? Hands down, the fact that a samurai could have technically sent a fax to US president Abraham Lincoln. Now that’s the kind of real-life lore that could lead to the creation of a mini-series about Lincoln fighting steampunk fax machines alongside his samurai allies. Netflix, I hope you’re taking notes!

We’ve collected some of the coolest tweets about history for you to enjoy, dear Pandas. Go on, have a read, upvote the posts that you found to be the most interesting, and let us know if you’ve got any unusual historical overlaps in mind as well.

Bored Panda reached out to Joseph M. Pierre, a professor of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, as well as to the moderator team at the r/AskHistorians subreddit with a few questions about finding reliable information, why some time periods have far more conspiracy theories associated with them than others, as well as how to develop the critical thinking skills needed to sift through (un)trustworthy sources. They were kind enough to answer my queries.

"Unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands it’s not going to be possible to check every historical claim you see on the internet. Even then, a lot of knowledge is locked in academic libraries and behind paywalls, so can be impossible to access anyway. When looking at ‘mindblowing’ facts on the internet a healthy sense of skepticism is essential—as is looking at the source. Is this being claimed by Twitter user @fakefacts420 or a Professor of History at the University of Oxford? Are you reading this on a university website or an email your nan has forwarded you?" one of the moderators told Bored Panda.

They suggested that you start off by checking sites such as AskHistorians or Snopes when doing research about historical topics. "While you might not have time to chase down historical references in the archives, there are many sites who have detailed debunkings of common historical myths and misconceptions. Checking there is always a good start," the AskHistorians moderator said.

Image credits: BudrykZack

#1

Interesting-Historical-Overlaps-Changed-Peoples-Perspective

ShielaJonson Report

tuzdayschild
Community Member
10 months ago

My mother is the same. Born in 1937, her grandmother Mary was a slave and she voted for Barack Obama.

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The redditor from the AskHistorians moderator team suggested that there is a direct correlation between the popularity of a time period and the number of conspiracy theories associated with them. "There are probably dozens of potential conspiracies surrounding Sumerian agriculture, but that topic isn’t in the public eye in the same way that something like the Second World War or the Roman Empire is," the AskHistorians moderator explained.

According to them, the most well-known historical conspiracy theories are weaponized by people who want to "exploit past events to push a political point in the present day." As such, you should always consider the potential motives of anyone trying to push through a conspiracy. The theories themselves can be anything, "whether this is people who want to fly the confederate flag arguing that the US civil war wasn't about slavery, right-wingers claiming that the Nazis were socialists or people with anti-immigration views trying to claim that the Roman Empire fell because of uncontrolled immigration."

#2

Interesting-Historical-Overlaps-Changed-Peoples-Perspective

ncm42 Report

Abhinc
Community Member
10 months ago

and some ask black people to stop "complaining" because slavery and segregation are "over" ... yeah sure !!

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#3

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pippers132 Report

Sawdust
Community Member
10 months ago

Looks like it'd grow a lot of olives.

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The more important and relevant the event and time period, the more likely it is that someone will try to exploit it for their own gain. "Because these events and periods are seen as important for the formation of the modern world, people see it as important that history aligns to their worldview or political leanings—even when it does not—and seek to twist reality in order to achieve this," the AskHistorians moderator shared with Bored Panda.

I was interested to find out whether we should put a greater emphasis on teaching history in schools in the hope of fighting back against fake news, misinformation, and conspiracy theories. In the moderator's opinion, it's not so much that we ought to focus on history itself as on the underlying skills that history teaches us.

#4

Interesting-Historical-Overlaps-Changed-Peoples-Perspective

vibeulator Report

Viktor
Community Member
10 months ago

I have that with children's birthdays. 'You're 2, so you were born around 2005?' - 'What do you mean 2019? That was just 2 weeks ago!...'

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#5

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GlobalTom Report

Quaumsy
Community Member
10 months ago

This is a really good thing

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#6

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whitemtn27 Report

Me Oh My
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

Tooter is much better than Twitter. Accurate, too.

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"As well as actual historical content, schools are increasingly incorporating skills into the curriculum, teaching children how to evaluate sources for bias and judge their trustworthiness—one good example of this is Stanford's Thinking/Reading Like a Historian project. No historical document is objective, and the skills gained from working out how a document is biased, and most importantly what can still be gained from reading it, are easily transferable to other areas of life," they said. This is true for other subjects as well, not just history.

"English and reading teachers are increasingly incorporating media literacy skills into their lessons, helping students understand how to selectively ignore things they see on the internet, the power of confirmation bias, and how to slow down and consider our emotional responses to things we see and read on the internet."

#7

Interesting-Historical-Overlaps-Changed-Peoples-Perspective

gothspiderbitch Report

Abhinc
Community Member
10 months ago

the oldest north american artifacts were found in Idaho in 2019. they have been dated to as far back as 16,500 years ago. they are a thousand years older than what has previously been considered North America’s most ancient known human remains. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aax9830

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#8

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noaheasterly Report

sofacushionfort
Community Member
10 months ago

Somebody needs to introduce this person to the Flashman series.

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#9

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daddykool Report

Corinna S.
Community Member
10 months ago

Holy cow, that truly is mind blowing *_*

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Joseph, from UCLA, told Bored Panda about the link between mistrust and false beliefs like conspiracy theories.

“Countering misinformation is a huge challenge and is often ineffective when it only amounts to presenting accurate information as an alternative to false beliefs,” he told me via email. “In my opinion, understanding conspiracy theories and other false beliefs is best understood as a byproduct of mistrust and misinformation. If people don’t trust authoritative sources of information, they aren’t going to replace their false beliefs with facts and we’re not going to be able to agree on what facts are. That’s where we often are these days.”

According to Joseph, so-called ‘inoculation strategies’ are some of the best evidence-based interventions that “beat misinformation to the punch.” However, in reality, it’s often misinformation “that’s beating accurate information to the punch.” Especially online.

“If we’re going to talk about education, what’s really needed is a retool from the bottom up, teaching people about analytical thinking, data reasoning, and media literacy starting in grade school. We’re 30 years into the internet now and I’ve never seen any evidence of this being part of education in America. It is in other countries,” he said.

#10

Interesting-Historical-Overlaps-Changed-Peoples-Perspective

dick_genital Report

Abhinc
Community Member
10 months ago

Nintendo was founded in 1889 and started producing playing cards. Nintendo_c...21767b.jpg Nintendo_cards-619390c21767b.jpg

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#11

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Gayer_Than_Thou Report

Quaumsy
Community Member
10 months ago

And she’ll probably be queen for ANOTHER 69 years

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#12

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MatthewIgnatius Report

tuzdayschild
Community Member
10 months ago

Betty White was the oldest Golden Girl and the only one left.

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Lee McIntyre from Boston University previously told me that repetition plays a very important role in getting us to believe certain historical facts. "Repetition is important in making us believe things, whether they are true or not. There is a cognitive bias called the 'illusory truth effect' which is when we are repeatedly exposed to false information over and over and, over time, it begins to seem more plausible," he said.

"Social psychologists have known since the 1960s that repetition works, for truth or falsity. In fact, this idea goes back to Plato who said that it didn't hurt to repeat a true thing. And of course, for falsehood, this was one of the main propaganda tactics in Nazi Germany, where Hitler's propaganda minister understood the 'repetition effect,'" Lee from Boston University told Bored Panda. He added that what we should focus on is finding reliable, trustworthy sources, instead of relying on double-checking every single fact we stumble across because of how time-consuming this is.

#13

Interesting-Historical-Overlaps-Changed-Peoples-Perspective

Houckadoodledoo Report

Abhinc
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

the US is the 4th worst country on earth considering wealth inequality ... the 3 richest us citizens own more than the bottom 50% of the american population. no need to brag about that !!

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#14

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lizditz Report

sofacushionfort
Community Member
10 months ago

The green arc could be labeled “mass incarceration and economic limitation over petty drug laws.”

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#15

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RobertKistler7 Report

Abhinc
Community Member
10 months ago

and Spain decided to vote laws providing any criminal activity from that dictatorship couldn't be prosecuted ... families of victims of political assassinations or tortures and so on can't seek justice !! there is an amazing documentary from 2018 called the silence of others you need to watch if you want to know more about that. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8099236/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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Zack is an environment and energy reporter at The Hill and is also a novelist in his spare time. His viral thread got more than 100k likes on Twitter in less than a week and so far has been retweeted over 13k times by fans of the topic.

However, Zack’s thread isn’t just entertaining, it also proves that we’re not really aware of how interconnected we all are. History, as we learn about it in school, might not put enough emphasis on how different cultures interacted with one another during the same time periods. A more holistic approach might be key here. I’d argue that ignorance about history makes us more susceptible to conspiracy theories, fake news, and misinformation.

#16

Interesting-Historical-Overlaps-Changed-Peoples-Perspective

TiffRichElliott Report

Abhinc
Community Member
10 months ago

Until the 19th century, most Americans endured illnesses at home with little assistance from medical personnel. Medical facilities were very few and concentrated in urban areas. In the United States, hospitals were founded from homes and institutions that nursed and cared for the ailing poor. Rooted in the tradition of providing assistance to the poor, the public hospitals trace their origin from the efforts by the community to provide shelter and care for the ill, disable, and deprived. In the US, the Bellevue (NY 1736), Charity (New Orleans 1736), and Pennsylvania (Philadeplphia 1751) hospitals are some of the oldest

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#17

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ChadWaIters Report

tuzdayschild
Community Member
10 months ago

That's a very good reason to leave it off the curriculum.

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#18

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HelenKennedy Report

tuzdayschild
Community Member
10 months ago

Space Odyssey is also history.

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Earlier, I spoke with Joseph from UCLA about conspiracy theories and separating fact from fiction. He said that many conspiracy theories that had cropped up recently “have been fairly inconsequential without any largescale behavioral ramifications.” Theories like what happened to JFK and Princess Diana to 9/11 or the Flat Earth theory.

However, Joseph noted that conspiracies about climate change are having negative real-life consequences. Though that doesn’t mean that all of the debate about the topic is focused just on conspiracy theories themselves. 

“In fact, the most conspiratorial claim about climate change may be that ‘big oil’ companies, like ‘big tobacco’ decades before, know that climate change is real and is caused by human CO2 production, but that they’re purposely claiming otherwise and putting out misinformation to the contrary that refutes what the vast majority of climate change scientists have stated in order to protect profits from the industry,” he told Bored Panda earlier.

“Those of us who believe that conspiracy theory (remembering that some conspiracy theories are true!) argue that real-life physical actions—more so on the part of industry than individuals per se—are necessary now.”

#19

Interesting-Historical-Overlaps-Changed-Peoples-Perspective

J_B_Lane Report

Shelby Moonheart
Community Member
10 months ago

My Grandma saw many of these things during her 93 years on the earth. The change in technology has been amazing.

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#20

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jbrown_tc Report

Alice By Heart
Community Member
10 months ago

Nope, that is not allowed... 1991 was like five years ago

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#21

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Titi_Suru Report

Mark Howell
Community Member
10 months ago

Also Sir David Attenborough has won an award for broadcasting in black and white, colour, and various digital formats

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According to the professor, figuring out whether or not someone actually believes a conspiracy theory or is simply looking to drum up followers for attention and financial gain is very hard. “Determining if someone is lying isn’t easy and is complicated by the fact that we don’t really have a clear agreement of what it means to ‘believe’ something, much less genuinely,” he said.

People like Alex Jones have been called to answer about “belief conviction in various lawsuits,” according to the professor, but they’d always been able to get away without stating it bluntly whether or not their beliefs are real or if it’s all playing pretend for the show. “[He] has been able to skirt a firm account of whether he’s a huckster or true conspiracy theory believer,” Joseph gave an example.

#22

Interesting-Historical-Overlaps-Changed-Peoples-Perspective

opaleyedragon Report

tuzdayschild
Community Member
10 months ago

That could explain the mustache. Maybe it was a generational thing.

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#23

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ReggieStein2 Report

tuzdayschild
Community Member
10 months ago

I was in one of the first segregated classes in my city in the 1st grade.

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#24

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teddipasketty Report

rspanther
Community Member
10 months ago

I never thought of that. That is very interesting.

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#25

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SusanOrr Report

Terd Fergison
Community Member
10 months ago

And any woman that voted for trump should be ashamed. Your ancestors fought that hard for you to vote for a rapist misogynist?

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#26

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DrMRFrancis Report

Abhinc
Community Member
10 months ago

A small colony of mammoths survived on Wrangle Island, a small island way up in the arctic. There were as many as 1,000 mammoths living on the island up until around 1650 BC. This is nearly 1,000 years after the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Wrangel Island lies between Siberia and Alaska and is part of Russia

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#27

Interesting-Historical-Overlaps-Changed-Peoples-Perspective

UN_JWFOWLER Report

Sawdust
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

110!

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#28

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vexwerewolf Report

Brat hard
Community Member
10 months ago

Horrific

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#29

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SadSonya4 Report

rspanther
Community Member
10 months ago

For some people it's only been 6 thousand years, but science has never been their strong suit.

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#30

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PaulMeisel Report

M O'Connell
Community Member
10 months ago

To give a little bit more perspective, several countries are still using biplanes in a military capacity, partially because they fly too slowly for radar-guided missies to lock onto them.

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Note: this post originally had 84 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.