Since anyone could (and still can) say anything on the internet, people began challenging unbelievable and outlandish online claims with the phrase "pics or it didn't happen," shutting down many ridiculous discussions before they even begin.

But real life can be hard to comprehend, too. Especially if we're talking about long gone days. So in an attempt to forestall all the doubts and cut right to the chase, the Instagram account 'Library Of The Bizarre' shares images from the past first, and provides captions for them later.

People behind the account describe it as a "curated collection of the curious history of yonder years." And they're right on the money with those words.

More info: Instagram

#1

World War One Soldiers Paying Tribute To The Millions Of Donkeys, Horses, And Mules That Passed Away In The War

World War One Soldiers Paying Tribute To The Millions Of Donkeys, Horses, And Mules That Passed Away In The War

librarybizarre Report

#2

“Do Not Buy Where You Will Not Be Hired.” - North Carolina, 1960

“Do Not Buy Where You Will Not Be Hired.” - North Carolina, 1960

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Scrolling through these pictures might seem inconsequential. After all, these moments (and even many of these people) have already disappeared in time.

But in his essay 'Why Study History?', historian Peter Stearns argued that this subject is, in fact, essential to both individuals and society. And that it also harbors beauty.

#3

Mr. Rogers Invites A Black Officer To His Show And Asked If He Wanted To Cool His Feet Off In His Mini-Pool

Mr. Rogers Invites A Black Officer To His Show And Asked If He Wanted To Cool His Feet Off In His Mini-Pool

With heavy discrimination still a reality for most black members of society, Fred Rogers took a stand against racial inequality with this simple, yet heartwarming gesture.

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#5

Brazilian Girl Refusing To Shake Hands With Military Dictator João Figueiredo. This Photo Was Taken In 1979

Brazilian Girl Refusing To Shake Hands With Military Dictator João Figueiredo. This Photo Was Taken In 1979

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"There are many ways to discuss the real functions of the subject—as there are many different historical talents and many different paths to historical meaning," Stearns wrote. "All definitions of history's utility, however, rely on two fundamental facts."

Firstly, history offers a warehouse of information about how people and societies behave. "Understanding the operations of people and societies is difficult, though a number of disciplines make the attempt. An exclusive reliance on current data would needlessly handicap our efforts. How can we evaluate war if the nation is at peace—unless we use historical materials?" Stearns asked. "How can we understand genius, the influence of technological innovation, or the role that beliefs play in shaping family life, if we don't use what we know about experiences in the past?"

#6

Queen Genepil, The Last Queen Of Mongolia. 1920

Queen Genepil, The Last Queen Of Mongolia. 1920

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Satan Laughs
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

She’s amazing!! Did they model Queen Amadala after her?

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#7

How Did You Think All These Pictures Were Taken? 1909

How Did You Think All These Pictures Were Taken? 1909

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#8

Black Cat Open Casting Call For An Edgar Allen Poe Movie In 1961

Black Cat Open Casting Call For An Edgar Allen Poe Movie In 1961

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Satan Laughs
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Look at those old ladies in line checking out that woman walking by thinking she’s all that. Well, she is, but still. Funny.

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#9

Soldiers Returning Home From World War 2. This Photo Was Taken In 1945

Soldiers Returning Home From World War 2. This Photo Was Taken In 1945

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According to the historian, some social scientists attempt to formulate laws or theories about human behavior, "but even these recourses depend on historical information, except for in limited, often artificial cases in which experiments can be devised to determine how people act."

"Major aspects of a society's operation, like mass elections, missionary activities, or military alliances, cannot be set up as precise experiments," he highlighted. "Consequently, history must serve, however imperfectly, as our laboratory, and data from the past must serve as our most vital evidence in the unavoidable quest to figure out why our complex species behaves as it does in societal settings. This, fundamentally, is why we cannot stay away from history: it offers the only extensive evidential base for the contemplation and analysis of how societies function, and people need to have some sense of how societies function simply to run their own lives."

#10

Parisian Woman With Her Cat In Her Cannabis Garden, 1910

Parisian Woman With Her Cat In Her Cannabis Garden, 1910

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Firstname Lastname
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Is there a small corner of the garden dedicated to catnip so they can both get their fix?

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#11

A Man Browses The Books In The Public Library Of Cincinnati. It Was Demolished In 1955

A Man Browses The Books In The Public Library Of Cincinnati. It Was Demolished In 1955

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thurayyat
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Who was the Philistine who ordered it to be demolished?

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#12

What You’re Looking At Is The Very First Known Permanent Photograph

What You’re Looking At Is The Very First Known Permanent Photograph

In the 1820s, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce set up a device called a ‘camera obscura’, which projected scenes illuminated by sunlight, and positioned it outside his studio window in France. The image was cast on a specially treated pewter plate that produced a copy of the buildings outside.

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#13

Two Children Ignoring The Artwork At The San Francisco Museum Of Art

Two Children Ignoring The Artwork At The San Francisco Museum Of Art

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The second reason why history is inescapable, Stearns said, is that the past causes the present, and consequently the future. "Any time we try to know why something happened—whether a shift in political party dominance in the American Congress, a major change in the teenage suicide rate, or a war in the Balkans or the Middle East—we have to look for factors that took shape earlier."

"Sometimes fairly recent history will suffice to explain a major development, but often we need to look further back to identify the causes of change. Only through studying history can we grasp how things change; only through history can we begin to comprehend the factors that cause change; and only through history can we understand what elements of an institution or a society persist despite change."

#14

A Small Girl Balances On Her Mother’s Hand In Pittsburgh . Taken In The Mid-1900s

A Small Girl Balances On Her Mother’s Hand In Pittsburgh . Taken In The Mid-1900s

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#15

Nikola Tesla Sitting In His Laboratory With His “Magnifying Transmitter”, December 1899

Nikola Tesla Sitting In His Laboratory With His “Magnifying Transmitter”, December 1899

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Mixed Reality Portal
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm not crazy he said while playing with fire in a wooden shed ... On a serious note though, he was such an interesting and intelligently inspirational guy!

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#16

In The 1960s, Bars In Istanbul Would Hire Someone To Carry Drunk People Back To Their Homes In Baskets

In The 1960s, Bars In Istanbul Would Hire Someone To Carry Drunk People Back To Their Homes In Baskets

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Şendoğan Yamakoğlu
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Still we call those drunk people 'küfelik'. Küfe is a large basket this man carry.

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#17

A Portrait Of Arctic Explorer Peter Freuchen And His Wife, Fashion Illustrator Dagmar Cohn. This Photo Was Taken In 1947

A Portrait Of Arctic Explorer Peter Freuchen And His Wife, Fashion Illustrator Dagmar Cohn. This Photo Was Taken In 1947

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Stearn thinks that these two fundamental reasons for studying history underlie more specific and quite diverse uses of history in our own lives. "History well told is beautiful," he said. "Many of the historians who most appeal to the general reading public know the importance of dramatic and skillful writing—as well as of accuracy."

"Biography and military history appeal in part because of the tales they contain. History as art and entertainment serves a real purpose, on aesthetic grounds but also on the level of human understanding. Stories well done are stories that reveal how people and societies have actually functioned, and they prompt thoughts about the human experience in other times and places."

#18

Aerial Photography In Edinburgh, Circa 1920

Aerial Photography In Edinburgh, Circa 1920

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Jaaawn
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've always loved this photo. Still another two decades until my house was built!

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#19

Roland, A 4,000 Pound Elephant Seal, Getting A Bath From His Handler At The Berlin Zoo. This Photo Was Taken In 1930

Roland, A 4,000 Pound Elephant Seal, Getting A Bath From His Handler At The Berlin Zoo. This Photo Was Taken In 1930

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#20

David Jones (Aka David Bowie) Stepping In As A Saxophonist And Lead Singer For The Kon-Rads At A Gig In South London, 1963

David Jones (Aka David Bowie) Stepping In As A Saxophonist And Lead Singer For The Kon-Rads At A Gig In South London, 1963

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#21

A Young Girl Trying To Cut A Sunbeam. This Picture Was Taken By Adam Diston In 1886

A Young Girl Trying To Cut A Sunbeam. This Picture Was Taken By Adam Diston In 1886

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JoNo
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why are there children in the next room and what are they doing? Is there a connection or was it by accident?

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The historian believes that the same aesthetic and humanistic goals inspire people to immerse themselves in efforts to reconstruct quite remote pasts, far removed from immediate, present-day utility. "Exploring what historians sometimes call the "pastness of the past"—the ways people in distant ages constructed their lives—involves a sense of beauty and excitement, and ultimately another perspective on human life and society," Stearns explained.

#22

A Helmeted Bulldog Guarding A Family Outside A Block Of Flats During The Blitz. This Photo Was Taken On October 15th, 1940

A Helmeted Bulldog Guarding A Family Outside A Block Of Flats During The Blitz. This Photo Was Taken On October 15th, 1940

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#23

San Francisco’s Iconic Cliff House, Before It Was Destroyed By A Fire In 1907

San Francisco’s Iconic Cliff House, Before It Was Destroyed By A Fire In 1907

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Kayjunmoon
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I’m torn about this. Part of me thinks wow, that’s remarkable but another bit of me thinks it’s a monstrosity and out of place.

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#24

Horse Training By Félix Thiollier. Photo Taken In 1899

Horse Training By Félix Thiollier. Photo Taken In 1899

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#25

An Engineer Wiring A Primitive Computer Of Ibm In 1958

An Engineer Wiring A Primitive Computer Of Ibm In 1958

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Nea
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thanks for not writing ‘a woman engineer’.

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So are we still studying history? Sadly, the number of students earning degrees in the field fell after the Great Recession of 2008, and while the decline became a bit more gradual before the pandemic (especially when including double majors), it has continued to slip.

The raw numbers are grim: US Department of Education data for the 2018–19 academic year shows the annual number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in history, history teacher education, and historic preservation and conservation fell to 23,923—down more than a third from 2012 and the smallest number awarded since the late 1980s.

#26

Children On A Spiral Staircase In The Newly Built Children’s Library In Clamart, France. Photo Taken In 1965 By Martine Franck

Children On A Spiral Staircase In The Newly Built Children’s Library In Clamart, France. Photo Taken In 1965 By Martine Franck

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Queen Julius Her Majesty 3rd
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This looks CREEPY! This literally scares me. The B&W makes it even more terrifying

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#27

Norte Dame Sandbagged During World War One

Norte Dame Sandbagged During World War One

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#28

A Portrait Of An Interesting Hair Style From 1894

A Portrait Of An Interesting Hair Style From 1894

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#29

Haruo Nakajima And Momoko Kochi On The Set Of Godzilla, 1954

Haruo Nakajima And Momoko Kochi On The Set Of Godzilla, 1954

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But at least the decline slowed significantly from 2018 to 2019 (down by just 140 bachelor’s degrees awarded). While a further decline is hardly something to be excited about, the contrast with the previous trend is quite notable. From 2012 to 2018, history bachelor’s degrees were falling at an average annual rate of over 7 percent per year, so slowing the descent to less than 1 percent suggests that trends could be in flux.

Who knows, maybe the popularity of online projects like the 'Library Of The Bizarre' (which currently has 147,000 followers) means the figures can even rebound.

#30

A Victorian Home Being Moved By Boat In Tiburon, California, In 1957

A Victorian Home Being Moved By Boat In Tiburon, California, In 1957

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#31

A Boy’s Reaction To Seeing A Television Screen For The Very First Time. This Photo Was Taken In 1948

A Boy’s Reaction To Seeing A Television Screen For The Very First Time. This Photo Was Taken In 1948

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#32

The Unbroken Seal On King Tutankhamen’s Tomb, Which Stayed Untouched For 3,245 Years Before Being Excavated In 1922

The Unbroken Seal On King Tutankhamen’s Tomb, Which Stayed Untouched For 3,245 Years Before Being Excavated In 1922

librarybizarre Report

Apachebathmat
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

When I visited I overheard a tourist say “huh? My bathroom is bigger than this, poor guy” that was over 20 years ago and it still makes me laugh

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#34

This Photo Shows The Inside Of An Airplane In 1930

This Photo Shows The Inside Of An Airplane In 1930

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Satan Laughs
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I got on to a teeny tiny connecting plane from somewhere in Pennsylvania to somewhere in Connecticut and I’ll be damned if there were more than 8 plastic lawn chairs and chickens in the back. This was 1999. I went because my mom made me go with her on her budget trip back East. Good times.

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#35

A Man Night Fishing Off The Coast Of Hawaii, 1948

A Man Night Fishing Off The Coast Of Hawaii, 1948

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#36

Helmet Testing In The Year 1912

Helmet Testing In The Year 1912

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Saint Thomas
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I get a strong "hold my beer" vibe from this one :-)

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#38

A Policeman In Daytime Directing Traffic During The "Great Smog Of London". This Photo Was Taken In 1952

A Policeman In Daytime Directing Traffic During The "Great Smog Of London". This Photo Was Taken In 1952

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#39

Marilyn Monroe And A Funhouse Mirror, 1950

Marilyn Monroe And A Funhouse Mirror, 1950

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Aly.J
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love seeing pictures of her having fun!

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#40

A Crowd In Time Square, New York City Celebrating The Surrender Of Germany In World War 2. This Photo Was Taken On May 7th, 1945

A Crowd In Time Square, New York City Celebrating The Surrender Of Germany In World War 2. This Photo Was Taken On May 7th, 1945

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#41

A Photo Of A Japanese Samurai Archer Taken In 1870

A Photo Of A Japanese Samurai Archer Taken In 1870

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Chancey
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Does anyone else see the Cupid wing on his back? Lol

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#42

Don’t Mess With Granny

Don’t Mess With Granny

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#43

A French Women Pours Cider For A British Gunner In Lisieux, France, 22 August 1944

A French Women Pours Cider For A British Gunner In Lisieux, France, 22 August 1944

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#44

New York City Construction Workers

New York City Construction Workers

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David
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Okay now, everybody smile and say che.... hold on... where did Bob go?

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#45

School Girls In Gas Masks. World War 2

School Girls In Gas Masks. World War 2

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Paulo Freitas
Community Member
6 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why oh why, am i hearing Pink Floid in my head right now....

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#46

The Ornate Skeletons Of Rome's Capuchin Crypt. This Crypt Contains The Remains Of 4,000 Different Individuals. This Photo Was Taken Around 1900

The Ornate Skeletons Of Rome's Capuchin Crypt. This Crypt Contains The Remains Of 4,000 Different Individuals. This Photo Was Taken Around 1900

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Shayne Randlett
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This type of decorating is head-and-shoulders above the rest

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#47

Anti-Drinking Public Service Announcement From The Early 1900s

Anti-Drinking Public Service Announcement From The Early 1900s

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#48

In The Late 1930s, Budapest Tried To Combat Their High Suicide Rates By Enacting A “Smile Club”: A Club That Taught People To Smile

In The Late 1930s, Budapest Tried To Combat Their High Suicide Rates By Enacting A “Smile Club”: A Club That Taught People To Smile

librarybizarre Report

David
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Nothing like some low key torture to cheer you the F up. Why not cut straight to the Joker makeup so they can avoid the paper cuts and the head bands?

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#49

Don't Forget To Cast Rituals With Your Friends (6ft. Apart, Please)! The Devil Rides Out, 1968

Don't Forget To Cast Rituals With Your Friends (6ft. Apart, Please)! The Devil Rides Out, 1968

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Xenia Granados
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Please consider sanitation next time you preform your rituals

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#50

Performance Art From The 1970s

Performance Art From The 1970s

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Richard Graham
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What do you get when you cross a Performance Artist with a Mafia Don? Someone who will make you an offer you can't understand.

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Note: this post originally had 127 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.