Thursday, January 5, 2017

stranger things have happened || 5 odd things you probably didn't know about random history stuff

1. Diana? No, Anne??

Schuyler Grant, the one we know as Diana, in the Anne of Green Gables movies actually auditioned for the part of Anne. She was recommended by her great aunt, Katherine Hepburn to the director Kevin Sullivan. Schuyler seemed to fit the part. She had green eyes, reddish hair, but Kevin Sullivan was urged by the Canadian Broadcasting Network to find a Canadian actress to fill the part. (Schuyler Grant was an American who grew up in California) It took one year of auditioning girls from all over Canada before Kevin Sullivan finally found Megan Fellows, the one we know and cherish as Anne of Green Gables. 

2. Secret Door Reveals Charles Dickens Wit

Charles Dickens home was at Gad's Hill Place in Higham Rochester Kent, England. What people don't typically know about this house is that Charles Dickens had secret door in his study. The door features a mock bookshelf that is indistinguishable from the bookshelves that line the walls. He invented some amusing titles for his faux books such as The Life of Cat (a 9 volume set lol), Socrates on Wedlock, The Block, The Stake, The Rack, Dirt and Disease, next to a thin volume of The Virtues of Our Ancestors. XD How witty, sir! You can see the secret door in the back ground of the sketch above. See a photo of the real thing here

3. Crazy, and I mean Crazy. : The Sarah Winchester Mansion

The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion in San Jose, California, which was once the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Winchester. When William died unexpectedly from tuberculosis, Sarah became distressed. It has been said that she believed her family was cursed by the spirits of dead Native Americans and Civil War soldiers killed by the guns her husband made. She believed she was being told by the spirits to move out west. In 1884, she purchased an eight-room farmhouse in California that stood on 161 acres. Immediately, she began spending her $20 million inheritance by renovating and adding more rooms to the house, with work continuing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the next 38 years. She believed that as long as she continued construction on her house she would not die. The mansion had 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens built when Sarah Winchester died in 1922. Many of the staircases and doors that were built lead to no where at all. 

4. "Sir, You Mustache The Beard!"

During the 16th century, men who grew a beard had to pay a tax. Emperor Peter 1 of Russia instituted a beard tax to bring Russian society in line with Western European models. To enforce the ban on beards the emperor had the beard wearers pay a tax, and empowered police to shave any man who refused to pay the tax. If you were a man who chose to pay the tax to grow a beard, you would have to carry around a beard token (photo above) that had a picture of a mans facial hair on it, and on the back were the words "money paid." Some people argue that this is the reason why, the military requires its men to be clean shaven.  

5. "All The Ladies Like Whiskers." 

And another fun facial hair fact. A few weeks before Abraham Lincoln was elected president, the 11 year old Grace Bedell, wrote him a letter urging Lincoln to improve his appearance by growing a beard. He later responded making no promises, but one month later, grew the beard. Graces letter read:  

Dear Sir, My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamilton's I am a little girl only 11 years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so. I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have yet got four brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to, but I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter direct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chautauqua County New York. I must not write any more, answer this letter right off. Good bye. Grace Bedell

Lincolns response: 

My dear little Miss. Your very agreeable letter of the 15th is received. I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughters. I have three sons – one seventeen, one nine, and one seven, years of age. They, with their mother, constitute my whole family. As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a silly affectation if I were to begin it now? Your very sincere well wisher. A. Lincoln

Completely nerdy I know, but thats me. XD I hope you found some of it interesting! Have a great week, peeps!



  1. Oh my goodness, I squealed so much because I love reading about history! I can't believe that people were taxed if they had beards, ack! And secret door? Um, YES PLEASE.

    xoxo Morning

    1. SAME! Yes secret doors are amazing!

  2. LOL!!! I LOVED THESE. I knew #1 & #5 -- but the mansion one? omw. that one WOW WOW WOW

  3. This was so much fun to read!! I love learning about odd things that have happened in history!!

  4. WOAH THIS IS SO COOL. It's funny how no one really blogs about this kind of stuff, because I NEED MORE.


  5. This is so great! I've read all about the winchester house (You probably know why ;D) It's so crazy! Or as you'd say "creepy" ;)

    1. Thanks! It took me a minute to think of why you've read all about the Winchester house, but I got it. XD lol. Yes, yes very "creepy"

  6. Oh my goodness! I never knew that about Diana!! Thats so cool! Thanks for sharing- great post!