15 Mind-Blowing Old-Timey Photos You Won't Believe Are Real

#7. The Corduroy Werewolf


Clearly, the film universes of Michael J. Fox have collided, and Teen Wolf's dad has traveled back in time to put on a suede jacket and pose for a picture. That, or it's Stephan Bibrowski, a man made famous by Barnum and Bailey Circus as Lionel the Lion-Faced Man, for reasons that should be immediately apparent.

Because they didn't know who Chewbacca was back then.

The super-hairiness is the result of a condition known as hypertrichosis. But all we can think about is how impeccably groomed he was. Look at him! He must have spent a solid hour combing that shit every morning.

#6. Welcome to Eternal Torment Burger


Wait, did we just make a joke about this being an old-timey demon-theme restaurant? Because that's actually exactly what it is. That cavern of writhing demon statues is Le Cafe de L'Enfer in Paris, one of the world's first theme restaurants. It opened its doors back in the 19th century, roughly 100 years before Rainforest Cafe had theirs blown closed by the cruel winds of indifference.

The cafe featured waitstaff dressed as devils and a doorman who screamed damnation at customers as they came in to be seated for the most uncomfortable sandwich in the history of time. Though it's not like you wouldn't know what you were getting into when you walked into the place:

"Bring the kids!"

#5. The Real-Life Shrek


Actually, this is Maurice Tillet, a professional wrestler from the mid-20th century known as the French Angel. His face looks like that due to a condition called acromegaly, a gland problem that makes the bones grow to an abnormal size. There has long been a rumor that DreamWorks used his face as the model for Shrek ...


... but we can find no source verifying the truth of that. We're not sure if it's true and the studio just never said so publicly so they wouldn't have to pay royalties to Tillet's estate, or if it's just a coincidence that the man looked like Shrek from every possible angle:

5-to-1 says his girlfriend turns into an ogre, too.

#4. "And They're Off!"


So ... are these men betting on the pigs humping somehow? Or is this what passed for a strip club in the loneliest parts of the early 20th century world? Either way, money has almost certainly changed hands here.

Actually, this is a postcard -- yes, a postcard -- from World War I era Germany. The caption at the bottom reads "The meat supply of Germany," because evidently Germany wanted the world to know that they fed their soldiers a hearty diet of wackiness.

"Boy, that was just a hoot and a holler! OK, guys, let's take these shovels and dig out some trenches for us to get shot to death in."

Actually, the world was so full of pork-based whimsy back then that we're now wondering if it wasn't some kind of meme. Just take a look at this ...

#3. Bacon Suit


This stone-faced man in a wacky meat costume is George J. Nicholls, author of the 1917 book Bacon and Hams, posing for the dust jacket photo of that very book. He clearly wanted to leave no question of his authority on the subject.

In the text of the bio, he was equally sure to note that his side-of-bacon costume won first prize at the 1894 Covent Garden Fancy Dress Ball, a sentence that really should impress on you the urgency of building a time travel device as soon as possible.

#2. Nazis in England


Compared to the bizarre freak show gallery above, this probably looks like a generic "invading Nazis marching down our street" photo from, say, World War II era France or Poland. But then you see "Lloyds Bank" in the background and realize you're looking at something you thought never happened: Nazi boots were on the ground in Great Britain.

Actually, this is a photograph of the Nazis during their occupation of the Channel Islands between 1940 and 1945, the only part of the British Isles Germany ever successfully invaded.

Due in large part to the efforts of Wilhelm, who single-handedly conquered the Royal Air Force.

The Nazis (being Nazis) didn't bother to recognize anything about the territory they had seized, issuing their own money, installing their own road signs (and making everyone drive on the right instead of the left) and even changing the time zone to be in synch with mainland Germany.

They're watching the last of the fucks they gave disappear over the horizon.

#1. Ms. Burlap Sack


OK, on this last one we're going to guess "sexiest interrogation ever" or "a dating show for serial killers."

The answer, as it turns out, is that this is a photo taken at a beauty pageant that wanted to be progressive and judge the contestants on something other than their looks. We will now point out that the purpose is instantly defeated once you put them in bathing suits.

Also, once you put them in terror masks.

The ante was upped by the "Miss Lovely Eyes" pageant in Florida sometime around 1930, wherein contestants put on Hannibal Lecter masks and presumably won if they could maintain eye contact with the judges for the longest without crying.

FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

And that, once and for all, proves that people back in the day just had no concept whatsoever of "creepy," for the same reason fish have no concept of "wet."

For more old-timey goodness you can't find in a bottle, please follow Jacopo della Quercia on Twitter.

For more batshit crazy things old-timey folks did, check out 8 Terrifying Instruments Old-Time Doctors Used on Your Junk and 7 Songs From Your Grandpa's Day That Would Make Eminem Blush.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 3 People Who Cheated Death Using Cartoon Physics.

And stop by LinkSTORM to discover how old-timey folks used to two-step like a boss.

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