Imagine, for a second, that the year is 1909. You haven't yet been ravaged by syphilis or Kodiak bears, so, to simultaneously celebrate this momentous occasion and your 9th birthday, your family decides to take you to the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. "I'm so proud of you," your father says, delirious from the gangrene caused by Tuesday morning's Kodiak attack.
A true Kodiak moment.
You enter and are wowed by the scale model of the coal mine and the dioramas and the baby raffle. You go home that night, and when you wake up the next morning, you wonder if the baby raffle was an infection-related fever dream or something that actually fucking happened.
Yes. Yes, it did.
In what can only be explained as the product of someone reading a Jonathan Swift novel and saying, "This guy has it all figured out," the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held a baby raffle. I know I've said the phrase "baby raffle" a few times, but it's extremely important that you understand that you're not misreading it. I'm going to say it again. They held a goddamn motherfucking baby raffle.
Frank H. Nowell
Sadly, babies were not the hosts.
If you've never had the pleasure of attending one, a baby raffle is defined in Webster's Necronomicon as "Anytime people auction off an infant, because our species has been forsaken." A month-old orphan boy named Ernest was being raffled away as a prize. How do you get people entered into this contest? Probably by conducting a search for people who look the most like they'd be into murdering month-old orphans.
The orphan had been "property of the Washington Children's Home Society" and was donated, I imagine, since you couldn't award standard raffle prizes like a Nook or a flashlight/pocket knife yet. And to put a cherry on top of this dessert made entirely of raffled orphan children, his whereabouts after the raffle took place are unknown to this day.
Fiona Goodall/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
But theories abound.
So not only was there a baby raffle, taking place in an area full of premature babies in prototype incubators, but the grand prize was just misplaced at the end of it. Just keep repeating to yourself: It's only a World's Fair ... it's only a World's Fair.
So, anytime someone tells you that it would be really great to have lived in any part of the past, remind them that there was a slight chance that if you existed in 1909, you could've lost your parents, gotten raffled off to a stranger, and then have gone missing for all of eternity.
Daniel has a blog.
For more from Daniel, check out 5 Ways 'The Fast and the Furious' Is Better Than You Realize and 5 Famous Movies With Insane 'What If' Scenarios.
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