In the times of castles, hovels, and questionable hygiene, our ancestors had some truly strange ideas about what was considered normal. Let’s take a fascinating journey into the past and explore the downright creepy practices that people embraced without a second thought.
Imagine thinking a corpse could solve a murder mystery. Well, a thousand years ago, people believed just that. In a practice called “Cruentation,” investigators would bring a corpse into the presence of its suspected killer, expecting it to bleed and reveal the truth. As odd as it sounds, this was their version of forensic science. Fortunately, today we rely on more reliable methods to catch the bad guys
Human sacrifice wasn’t a thing of the distant past; it lingered around a thousand years ago. From Viking blot sacrifices for better weather to India’s practice of “sati,” where widowed women were expected to self-immolate, these rituals persisted. Sacrificing lives for favors from the gods seems unthinkable now, but it was a chilling reality back then.
Barbers as Surgeons:
Need a haircut and a limb amputation? Well, a thousand years ago, barbers were your go-to. Physicians were deemed too educated for the common folk, so barbers doubled as surgeons. From setting bones to performing amputations, these multitasking barbers did it all, and who wouldn’t want a fresh trim along with a life-saving procedure?
The Power of Pee:
Today, we shudder at the thought of washing clothes in pee, but a thousand years ago, it was a common practice. The ammonia in urine was believed to cleanse clothes better than water alone. Even after the invention of soap, pee remained popular for its stain-removing abilities. The streets had barrels for public urination, proving that what we find repulsive now was once a norm.
Lead-based makeup was all the rage, with Queen Elizabeth I championing the youthful, pasty look. Women believed in the power of lead to achieve a desirable complexion. Little did they know, it contributed to hair loss and dental issues. The pursuit of beauty had its sacrifices, and in this case, it was health.
Forget coins; in England, eels were currency. Rules governed eel counting, with terms like “stick” and “bind” indicating specific quantities. Monasteries, major landholders at the time, accepted eels as rent. This peculiar form of currency persisted for centuries, showcasing the inventive ways people traded before standardized money.
Poo Water Problems:
While the image of tossing poop-filled buckets from windows might be more fiction than fact, the disposal of waste a thousand years ago wasn’t exactly hygienic. Raw sewage often ended up in rivers, causing health issues. It took an uncomfortably long time for societies to realize the dangers of contaminating water sources with human waste.
Unorthodox Birth Control:
Consequence-free snu-snu has been a desire throughout history, and a thousand years ago, people experimented with peculiar methods. From using lemons as cervical caps to concoctions involving crocodile poop and honey, the attempts were often more cringe-worthy than effective. The evolution of birth control has thankfully come a long way since these unconventional practices.
Cemeteries weren’t just for mourning; they were social hubs. Sex workers found a thriving market among grave-diggers, widowers, and those with peculiar graveyard fetishes. Graveyard markets were common, where people could gamble and drink on their loved one’s graves. This unexpected mix of commerce and mourning highlights the unique customs of the time.
Imagine undergoing surgery without anesthesia. A thousand years ago, that was the reality. While some ancient cultures had rudimentary pain relief, Europe lagged behind until the 13th century. Surgeons resorted to opium and mandrake, but the majority of procedures were likely performed with patients fully awake and enduring unimaginable pain.
As we reflect on these bizarre practices, it’s evident how far we’ve come in terms of hygiene, medicine, and societal norms. Our ancestors may have considered these actions normal, but today, they make for a chilling and eye-opening journey into the past.