Bizarre and unique photos from history that show how weird our past was, 1910-1960
History is filled with unusual stories, and sometimes we’re lucky enough to see them preserved forever in pictures. In this photo collection, you can see around 45 most unique and bizarre photographs in history.

Photographs can give us a window into the past like no other, and serve as witnesses to that which took place long ago and that might even look quite odd to our modern eyes.

By the early 20th century, photography attracted upper middle-class enthusiasts who saw the camera as a new art medium, ready to take snapshots of the world that surrounded them, a world of new inventions, new professions, and new eccentricity. Society was rapidly changing, while still clinging to its past. It was a time of contradiction.

vintage bizarre historical photos

A circus performer in an aquarium car with crocodiles, Berlin, 1933.

vintage bizarre historical photos

An iron man of the past in a diving suit. The suit’s name was ‘Iron man’ too. It had electric charging and pressure protection systems. New York, 1907. (More info here)

vintage bizarre historical photos

Charles Godefroy flies through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The height of the opening is 29.42 m, the width is 14.62 m. The wingspan of the aircraft is 9 meters wide, 1919.

vintage bizarre historical photos

A visitor with a candle in her hand smiles at the large collection of skulls in the catacombs of Paris. 1935.

vintage bizarre historical photos

A crowd watching a British airship fly over the port of Ostend during WWI, 1914. (More info here)

vintage bizarre historical photos

Actor Johnny Ick, who was born with an underdeveloped lower torso, poses for a promotional photo for the famous movie ‘Freaks,’ 1932.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Blind WWI Veteran’s marriage, 1921.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Women learn to shoot in prison on Roosevelt Island, New York, 1932.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Welsh spiritualist Colin Evans feigns levitation by jumping up and down in total darkness and filming himself with an infrared camera. London, 1939.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Boren city citizens await the appearance of the Virgin Mary at the viaduct, not far from the Christian school, where children allegedly observed her the day before. Belgium, 1933.

vintage bizarre historical photos

The telepath tries to hypnotize the chimpanzee, 1941.

vintage bizarre historical photos

The tactical trick of soldiers during the Mexican Revolution, 1913.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Soviet cryptographer Igor Guzenko, 1945. In this photo, he hid his face for an interview with Soul Pett from the Associated Press. Guzenko worked at the Soviet embassy in Ottawa and fled to the West in 1945. He brought more than a hundred classified documents and information from the Soviet spy network in Canada; 29 spies were arrested and convicted afterwards. Guzenko received an impressive reward, a mansion, and political asylum.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Soldiers of the British Royal Horse Artillery on pack horses. The animals turned out to be so obedient that they allowed the soldiers to perform tricks like these, 1915. (More info here)

vintage bizarre historical photos

Robert Kennedy and West Berlin Mayor Willie Brandt look through the Berlin Wall, February 22, 1962. (More info here).

vintage bizarre historical photos

Marcia Pinkenfield, six months old, who won a very unusual competition and was chosen as the most beautiful child in America, in 1927.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Italian traveler Attilio Gatti with two hired pygmies and a gorilla caught by them in the Belgian Congo, 1930.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Exercises at the Sint Willibrordus mental hospital. Netherlands, Henk Blansjaar, 14 February 1956.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Faces of war. A banquet for French soldiers who received grievous injuries during WWI, Henri Manuel, Paris, 1925. (More info here)

vintage bizarre historical photos

The expiration date has passed. Billy, the elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo, was shot. Old elephants can become uncontrollable, and the zoo staff decided to protect themselves. 1939.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Dr. Heinz makes an injection of fluids taken from a live hare to a person, which, together with ultraviolet radiation and gymnastics, should lead to rejuvenation. Berlin, 1925.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Disguise of British military equipment as elephants, India, WWII.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Adolf Hitler in the national trousers of the Tyroleans and Bavarians called lederhosen. 1927.

vintage bizarre historical photos

American singer Al Johnson, portraying a black man on the set of the movie Bar of Wonders. 1934.

vintage bizarre historical photos

The Hungarian engineer Stefan Nailed near the machine he invented supposedly made people and inanimate objects invisible. 1935

vintage bizarre historical photos

8-year-old Freddie McIntosh in a sun protection suit. The boy’s skin is very sensitive to daylight due to illness.

vintage bizarre historical photos

“A novel hour of entertainment was recently presented to the radio audience of the nation with the inauguration of the Michelin Hour, presented by the rubber tire manufacturing concern. The orchestra’s members are attired in grotesque fashion, as shown above.” 1928.

vintage bizarre historical photos

U.S. Army men casually seated around a table as one on horseback jumps over the table.

vintage bizarre historical photos

“Heimwehr Mobilized. “Ready for Action.” Vienna, Austria: All the Heimwehr forces in Vienna have been mobilized and ordered to get ready for immediate action. Armored cars are patrolling the main streets in case of disturbance.” 1934.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Ivan Unger, a member of the “Flying Black Nats” and Gladys Roy are shown playing tennis on the wings of an airplane in flight. (More info here)

vintage bizarre historical photos

Burbank, California: Celebrating the harvesting of California’s 1930 grape crop, one of the largest on record, society girls of Burbank staged their open-air festival in the famous McClure Vineyards, during which they crowned the 1930 “Queen of the Vineyards” to rule over the $50,000,000 yield. Photo shows Wilma Smith, buried in grapes, eating a sample.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Three late 1920s-era cars and about 10 people apparently camping or picnicking perilously near the edge of the Palouse River Canyon in Washington State.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Oldriev’s new tricycle. Photo by Chas. W Oldrieve, 1882.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Du Mont engineer James A. Craig demonstrates a simple dialing procedure on a completely automatic “dial-direct” mobile two-way radiotelephone system in Clifton, New Jersey, on March 28, 1957. The system, presently used by the Richmond Radiotelephone Service, Inc., is manufactured by Allen B. Du Mont Laboratories, Inc., and is the first radiotelephone equipment to allow phone calls to and from vehicles to be relayed completely unattended through local telephone companies.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), naturalized American physicist, sitting in his Colorado Springs laboratory with his “magnifying transmitter” in 1899.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Surprised spectators look on in amazement as Miss Beth Pitt takes her pet fawn, Star Message, for a walk in midtown New York on November 16, 1942. Earlier in the day Miss Pitt paid a fine of $2 in court for letting her pet to roam free in Central Park.

vintage bizarre historical photos

An army Sikorsky R-5 helicopter undergoing record trials demonstrates its lifting power by carrying 17 persons and pilot aloft as female onlookers wave in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on January 10, 1946. During the tests, records were claimed for altitude speed and both altitude and speed with payload.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Commander Richard Byrd, wearing a specially designed leather helmet and mask, used during his flight from Spitzbergen over the North Pole and back. Commander Byrd and Pilot Floyd Bennett used a Fokker Plane, making the trip of 1,360 miles in little more than 15 hours.

vintage bizarre historical photos

Alfred Hitchcock meets Leo the Lion, 1957. (More info here)

vintage bizarre historical photos

The uniform mob of smiling humanoid mice seen here were gathered for an early meeting of the Mickey Mouse Club in Ocean Park, California, circa 1930.

(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Library of Congress / The Atlantic / Pinterest / Flickr).