11 Old-Timey Photos That Somehow Aren't Photoshopped (Pt. 4)

#5. It's Like the Witch's House in Hansel and Gretel, Only Meat

via Retronaut
Duck as you enter to avoid the dripping E. coli.

Most butchers advertise their product with a few slabs of beef artfully laid out in a windowed, chilled area, because otherwise their stinkshake would bring all the flies to the yard. But this late-1930s butchery in High Wycombe, England, had no such concerns.

They had a heavy stock of pork, poultry, and beef, and not enough storage for it all, so they just literally lined their walls with the shit. Note that High Wycombe housed the Royal Air Force Bomber Command during World War II, so it's entirely possible all that meat suffered a second death by German bomb at some point. Meaning that maybe for a brief moment amid the horror confused townspeople saw it rain bacon.

Hey, speaking of which ...

#4. All Aboard the Porky Express

National Library of France
Note the stick to poke the pig.

Horseback riding is all well and good if your life goal is to be boring as shit. But if not, why not invest in a literal piggyback ride, like this fine gentleman did? Bring the kids!

National Library of France
"Great."

Pig riding is a pastime that goes back to the 1800s, and there isn't much explanation to offer beyond that. Sometimes people would just get bored and ride a pig. If you could go back in time and stop that gentleman and ask him why he's doing it, there would be no satisfactory answer. Then he'd probably go work in a coal mine until he died of some terrible disease.

#3. OK, We Admit This Could Be Modern-Day Portland

via Retronaut
We don't know how he got up there. You ask him.

We've all seen penny-farthings, those old-timey bikes with the one fat-ass wheel in front that Family Guy randomly references whenever they can't think of a real joke. But as it turns out, that was not the most hilarious design in bicycling history. No, that would be the Eiffel Tower tallbike, a mainstay of 1890s Chicago. As you can see from the picture above, this bike rose the pedaler a towering 20 feet in the air, which was shockingly not an old-timey way of impressing the ladies. No, catching serious air was simply how people moved around those days; carriages and horses were high off the ground, so why not bike high up as well?

via Retronaut
Besides, what day is truly complete without a rousing game of "Bird With Explosive Diarrhea"?

#2. Gentlemen, I Now Proclaim This Building Zombie Proof

University of Southern California. Libraries
But if the zombies and beavers join forces, we're screwed.

Well, shit, now we feel bad for making fun of Tallbike Guy -- when your school is on 20-foot high stilts, how else are you gonna reach the door?

University of Southern California. Libraries
"We have a curriculum based on the three Rs and the three Ps (pole vaulting, pogo sticks, and paragliding)."

This is actually the Fort Moore Hill school in Los Angeles. In 1886, the building needed to be moved from its spot atop a hill to another location nearby, so they simply propped it up on huge stilts and moved it to its new home, using people and horses to scoot it along and hope it didn't topple over and crush everyone below it.

And while we dashed off the above explanation in a couple of sentences, any attempt to picture how they got from stationary building to the scene depicted above boggles the mind. The photo series seems to skip all of the most impossible steps. It's, like, "OK, so here it is up on the stilts. Now ..." It's as if they're trying to clumsily hide the fact that they had the assistance of a wizard.

#1. You'll Never Look at BioShock the Same Way Again ...

University of Southern California. Libraries
First the real-life Handyman, now this?

What you are looking at is not a fake or a movie scene but rather a February 1939 Nazi rally in freaking Madison Square Garden, patriotically coinciding with Washington's 207th birthday. A pro-Hitler group called the German American Bund held the rally in order to rebrand fascism as positively American, even more so than mom, apple pie, and killing Nazis.

via RareHistoricalPhotos.com
This group is why frankfurters are so popular in New York today.

From far away, it certainly doesn't look like a hate group co-opting a beloved American leader's image for their own benefit. But a closer look reveals swastikas galore, the world's scariest drumline, and the threat of a riot breaking out at any time (GAB leader Fritz Kuhn assigned 3,000 soldiers to watch over the rally, while NYC mayor Fiorello La Guardia countered with 2,000 police officers to watch the watchmanner).

The GAB never came close to the dominance they dreamt of, and the group died shortly after the city imprisoned Kuhn for embezzlement. Oh, and also there were numerous things that happened soon after that kind of ruined the Nazis' image with the average American.

For more reasons the olden days were terrifying, check out 8 Terrifying Instruments Old-Time Doctors Used on Your Junk and 9 Unintentionally Terrifying Old-Timey Children's Toys.

Pick up Jacopo's debut novel The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy, available everywhere!

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here

230 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!