Historical Photos You Probably Haven’t Seen

after a year like 2020, it’s pretty hard to surprise us. It feels like we’ve literally seen it all, from a pandemic that started with bats to the swarm of murder hornets that casually arrived on our shores. However, despite all of this, some of the craziest things of all have been kept hidden from the public for a very long time. Here are some incredibly bizarre photos that many people haven’t seen.

CHINA IS BUILDING THE WORLD’S LARGEST TELESCOPE TO HELP ALIENS FIND EARTH.

This might just look like a giant TV satellite but it’s something else entirely. This is China’s Tianyan aka “eye of the sky,” a giant radio telescope being developed to detect signs of life from billions of lightyears away. Basically, China could be the first country to make contact with alien lifeforms.

A FAKE TOWN WAS BUILT TO HIDE BOEING’S FACTORY FROM JAPANESE AIRSTRIKES.

This picture seems to depict your average sunny suburban town, with happy people sitting on their lawns and chatting. However, the truth is way creepier. This is actually a fake town, created to hide an underground Boeing airline factory from potential Japanese airstrikes. Those people are all paid actors, and all the houses are empty.

 

ASTRONAUTS TRAINING IN 1966. THEY WERE LATER KILLED IN THE APOLLO 1 TRAGEDY.

This incredible photo shows three astronauts practicing water landing at a training center, which actually starts off in the pool. It looks like they’re relaxing, but it’s very serious work. Sadly, all three of them died when a fire broke out on the launch pad of the Apollo 1 mission, just one year after this photo was taken.

 

PEOPLE TAKE IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING, 1995.

 

25 years ago, a man named Timothy McVeigh set off a bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The explosion killed 168 people and injured more than 680. Needless to say, everyone living at the time remembers the incident like it was yesterday. However, some of the photos are still considered too shocking for the public.

 

A MAN WHO APPEARS TO BE A TIME TRAVELER, 1941.

Time travel is generally thought of as a science-fiction theory and not something that is actually possible in real life. However, this photo from the 1941 opening of a bridge in Canada suggests otherwise. In the middle of the crowd, we can see a man in very modern clothes, holding what looks like a modern camera. Some theorists have suggested this is proof of time travelers living among us.

SEGREGATED WARD FOR WOMEN AT THE CITY PRISON IN NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, 1963.

 

This photo is not exactly setting a great image of the prison system, and it’s pretty understandable that certain forces wouldn’t want anyone to see it. Clearly, these prison guards were slacking on the job, to say the least.

 

A CREATURE KNOWN AS THE SKUNK APE HAS BEEN SPOTTED SEVERAL TIMES IN THE US.

When one person sees a strange creature, we might just assume they were hallucinating. However, when many people claim the same thing, it becomes a little harder to ignore. Sightings of a humanoid creature living in the swamps of Florida have long been disregarded as a myth. Then, in 2000, a woman sent the police this photo of a creature that wandered into her yard. It remains unexplained until today.

A WOMAN IS PUNISHED FOR HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH A GERMAN SOLDIER. PARIS, 1944.

 

A young woman has her hair cut off in a public square in Paris. Once Europe was freed from Nazi occupation, any women who had relationships with German soldiers were humiliated and sometimes killed. This woman, like many others, likely had a Swastika drawn on her head before being stripped down to her undergarments and paraded through the streets.

 

MEMBERS OF THE LEAGUE OF GERMAN GIRLS ARE INSPECTED BY A SUPERIOR in the 1940s.

A branch of the League of German Girls called the “faith and beauty society” is inspected by a superior. Considered the girls’ wing of the Nazi Party youth movement called Hitler Youth, this was the only female youth organization that was legal in Nazi Germany.

THIS MYSTERIOUS OBJECT WAS SEEN BEING TRANSPORTED ON A BACKROAD IN AUSTIN, TX.

 

People who were driving by and spotted this truck couldn’t help but notice the mysterious shape of the object it was transporting and had to take a photo. This image has spurred theories that the object is a crashed UFO, being transported to Area 51 in Nevada. The photo is still unexplained.

 

PRINCESS ELIZABETH SERVING IN THE WOMAN’S BRANCH OF THE ARMY DURING WW2.

At 18 years old, the future queen drove and repaired heavy vehicles as part of her service.  We can understand why England wouldn’t want this photo publicized at the time. After all, that would draw attention not only to their military activities, but it could make the future queen a target.

 

NASA SCIENTISTS WITH THEIR BOARD OF CALCULATIONS, CIRCA 1960S.

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These NASA scientists definitely have something to be proud of, since this board shows the entire foundation of our space programs today. However, there’s a reason why photos like these are rarely seen since it shows these scientists being less serious than usual and actually having some fun on the job.

 

LUNCH AT THE DISNEYLAND EMPLOYEE CAFETERIA, 1961.

Many of us have been to Disneyland at some point or another when we were kids. However, we definitely don’t remember it this way. This photo was taken before Disney characters were kept away from the public when they are out of character. We have to admit, it is pretty weird seeing Snow White with a lunch tray, so we kind of see why Disney would want to keep this a secret.

 

GROUNDED AIRCRAFT ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, AWAITING ORDERS.

 

When we are shown photos of 9/11, we tend to see horrific images of the burning buildings that were attacked on that day. However, despite the chaos, there was so much going on that wasn’t shown on TV, such as this stunning moment, where dozens of grounded planes await instructions during the confusion and panic.

 

AN AUSCHWITZ COMMANDER’S KIDS PLAYING IN A GARDEN JUST OUTSIDE THE CAMP, 1940s.

It’s pretty obvious that we won’t be seeing this photo in our history textbooks anytime soon, but it’s just proof that there is always another side to history which is often disturbing. Pictured here are the children of SS officer Rudolf Hoss, playing in a garden just outside of the concentration camp.

 

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR REMOVES A BURNED CROSS FROM HIS YARD IN 1960. THE BOY IS HIS SON.

Martin Luther King Jr is seen as a civil rights hero, and most people know about him because of the holiday dedicated to celebrating his legacy. However, we don’t often see the dark side of his life and the personal struggles he had to deal with, such as picking burning crosses off of his lawn.

 

“NO ONE IS BORN RACIST,” 1992

This photograph was captioned “no one is born racist,” and it’s easy to see why. This stunning image shows the truth that people don’t often talk about: that we are all born the same, and our prejudices are learned later in life. Clearly, this little child still has a chance to learn and love his fellow man.

 

A STRIPPER CHARGED WITH INDECENT EXPOSURE ARGUES HER CASE, FLORIDA, 1983

For some reason, it seems that all the craziest things happen in Florida. Well, this story is no different. Pictured here is a stripper demonstrating to a judge that her underwear was too large to have exposed herself after she was arrested by undercover police officers.

 

GERMAN SOLDIERS REACT TO FOOTAGE OF CONCENTRATION CAMPS, 1945.

 

When we think of wars, especially WWII, we usually divide it into two sides: the good people and the bad people. This is how we’re taught in school. And yet, this photo shows that even on the “bad” side of history, there is still humanity.

 

TWO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS UNEXPECTEDLY REUNITE ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF A PROTEST, 1972.

This is one of those photos that truly makes us realize that our humanity is more important than our differences. At a workers protest on April 6, 1972, in France, one of the strikers, Guy Burmieux, and the riot policeman, Jean-Yvon Antignac, realized that they had grown up together.

 

ELIZABETH ECKFORD, 15, WALKS TO SCHOOL AS A CROWD OF WOMEN PROTESTS, 1957.

The 1950s were known to be an ideal time in our history, but there was also an ugly side to the past. In the photo, a crowd shouts at a young black woman named Elizabeth Eckford, after a court ruled that she be accepted into the Little Rock Central High School.

 

AN OFFICER MEASURING BATHING SUITS TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE NOT INDECENT, 1922.

Pictured here is Washington policeman Bill Norton measuring the distance between knee and bathing suit at the Tidal Basin bathing beach. This came after a local order was issued that women’s suits cannot be six inches above the knee. June 30, 1922.

 

A WOMAN IS CARRIED OFF AND ARRESTED FOR WEARING A ONE-PIECE BATHING SUIT, 1922

Chicago, 1922 – a woman is carried off and arrested for wearing a one-piece bathing suit without the required leg coverings, which was quite controversial and actually illegal at the time. Remember, this was over 20 years before the bikini was introduced to the world in 1946. Times sure have changed.

 

WHAT THE PENTAGON LOOKED LIKE AFTER 9/11.

Needless to say, the Pentagon did not look like this before the devastating attacks on September 11, 2001. We have seen plenty of footage of the damage caused to the Twin Towers, but many Americans have never seen this rare angle of the Pentagon on that fateful day.

 

JAPANESE GUARDS BOW BEFORE US PRISONERS OF WAR BEING RELEASED, 1945.

This is definitely not the image we imagine when we think of WWII. Pictured here are Japanese guards bowing before US prisoners of war as they are released from a Yokohama detention center in 1945.

 

CLASS DIVIDE IN PRE-WAR BRITAIN, 1937.

This photo is truly worth 1,000 words. It might not seem like anything special at first, but a closer look reveals a lot. The image shows the growing divide between the upper and lower classes, as seen through the curious faces of the boys on the right.

 

AN 8-YEAR-OLD PRODIGY DEFEATS SEVERAL CHESS MASTERS. FRANCE, 1920.

We are usually taught to believe that older means smarter, but this photo definitely proves that wrong. In 1920, an 8-year-old Polish chess prodigy named Samuel Reshevsky played against several chess masters and defeated all of them.

 

THIS PHOTO FROM THE ROSWELL UFO INCIDENT OF 1947.

The Roswell UFO incident refers to the rumors surrounding a July 1947 United States Army Air Forces balloon crash at a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. While the military has published reports debunking the idea, the conspiracy theories still persist today, partially due to alleged evidence such as this photo.

 

IRANIAN WOMAN POSING FOR A PHOTO ON THE BEACH BEFORE THE MULLAHS TOOK OVER, 1960.

When we learn about far-away countries, we usually learn about how different they are from us and we find it pretty hard to relate to those foreign cultures. This photo of a woman on the beach was taken before the 1979 Islamic revolution, and it shows that we are truly more alike than we think.

 

A POLICEMAN JUDGES AN ANKLE COMPETITION IN ENGLAND, 1930.

In case women didn’t have enough ridiculous body standards to strive for, meet this lovely pageant. Yes, a judge would walk past a row of women’s legs and decide who had the prettiest ankle. While there are still beauty pageants today, this one is particularly cringe-worthy,

PEOPLE GETTING DRUNK ON THE DAY THE PROHIBITION ENDED, 1933.

This is another photo that’s probably not going to show up in our textbooks anytime soon. And it’s pretty easy to see why. Clearly, people were not exactly fans of the ban on alcohol and celebrated the end of the 18th amendment by getting totally wasted.

 

EARLY MORNING TRAIN IN JAPAN, 1964.

This photo looks pretty disturbing, and there’s a reason why it wasn’t seen much in the news media. It shows the harsh truth of reality and the fact that many people in society are exhausted and overworked.

A FAMILY GIVING THEIR BABY SOME FRESH AIR, CIRCA 1930S.

It’s been proven that kids develop best when they get fresh air and time to play outdoors. Sometimes, that isn’t always possible when you live in an apartment in the city, so parents in the 1930s had to develop some interesting solutions. Let’s just say that this photo would upset a lot of people today.

 

A SOLDIER WAITS FOR HELP AFTER BEING HIT BY MORTAR FIRE IN KOREA, 1952.

Korea, 1952  – Pictured in this photo is Canadian soldier Heath Matthews awaiting medical attention after he was hit with mortar fire. This photo is particularly shocking because it shows the shock and trauma that many soldiers suffer after witnessing such violence.

 

NAGASAKI, 20 MINUTES AFTER THE BOMBING IN 1945.

Anyone who has been in a history class knows what happened to Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945. However, it’s hard to comprehend the impact of an atomic bomb just from hearing about it. Let’s just say that this photo was definitely not in our history books.

 

CHILDREN GOING TO SCHOOL IN ITALY, 1959.

It’s pretty understandable that most modern countries today would see this as a slightly unsafe way for kids to travel to school. And yet, that’s exactly what was going on in Modena, Italy 1959, when children traveled to school by crossing a river by a pulley. Amazingly, that wasn’t even so long ago.

 

MORNING AFTER SWEDEN SWITCHED TO DRIVING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD, 1967.

This photo is basically every country’s worst nightmare since it shows the country in a state of total chaos. After passing a law that would make people drive on the right side of the road instead of the left side, it became clear very quickly that people were confused.

 

RACE ORGANIZERS TRY TO STOP KATHERINE SWITZER FROM COMPETING IN A RACE, 1967.

Even by the 1960s, women were still kept out of a lot of things. In 1967, Katherine Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, but she almost didn’t make it. As captured in the photo, one organizer realized she was a woman and tried to tackle her.

 

UNPACKING THE HEAD OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY, JUNE 17, 1885.

We’re probably not going to be seeing this photo in our history textbooks anytime soon. This bizarre scene gives us a totally different perspective on a very famous statue in American history, but it might not be the way history wants us to see it.

THE PHOTO LEFT ON THE MOON BY ASTRONAUT CHARLIE DUKE, 1972

Only very few people leave their mark on the world. And this astronaut did that quite literally. Charlie Duke, one of the moon landers from Apollo 16, left a photo of his family on the moon – you, know, just in case anyone doubts him! Very likely, the photo is still in the exact same spot.

 

A MAN JOB HUNTING IN THE 1930S.

This photo would be devastating for any country. Taken back in the 1930s when the Great Depression was raging across America, we can understand why it wasn’t in our history books. It doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture. This man clearly deserves to be able to provide a living for his family, but things were doing really badly at that time.

 

TITANIC SURVIVORS BOARDING THE CARPATHIA IN 1912.

Pictured here are people aboard those life-saving boats, which took them away from the sinking Titanic and towards rescue ships like the Carpathia. While these survivors were incredibly lucky, this photo remains a haunting image.

 

AMELIA EARHART’S PLANE SPOTTED OVER THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE JUST BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED, 1937.

Amelia Earhart is considered an American hero, and every one of us learned about her in middle school. While we are still missing the details of her mysterious disappearance, this haunting photo of her last flight gives us a little clue.

 

THREE ORPHANED BROTHERS IN THE AFTERMATH OF HIROSHIMA, 1945.

When we think about major world disasters, we usually think about those who were hurt and killed, but we don’t often think about the survivors. This stunning photo shows three young boys who will be forced to grow up alone after the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima.

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