The Victorian era was beyond bizarre but in everyone’s defense, more than anything, it was a time of discovery. Think about it: who at this time had even set the bar for medicine, entertainment, how to act, how to dress, funerals, etc. We’ll just let these crazy Victoria facts speak for themselves. Here are 5 reasons you’re probably glad to be alive during the 21st century.
Arsenic and Lace
(image via: molly brown)
Arsenic was not only the main ingredient in a ton of cosmetics at the time, but men also took it in pill form. Women believed it would make their skin appear to be more youthful, glowing even, while men took it to stimulate their libido. So, yes, two very different reasons. However, as you can imagine, these arsenic products caused a ton of health problems leading to many fatalities before folks realized what was causing so many deaths. Now we (thankfully) know better.
A River Runs Through It (Barely)
Okay, here’s a pretty gross one for you. The Thames River? Yeah, there was so much fecal matter being dumped in it on the daily (because keep in mind modern-day plumbing was not a thing yet) that people were dying by the thousands of dysentery, cholera, and typhoid. Oh! Did we mention that this was happening because this is the same river that served as the main source of drinking water for the city? Yeah. People were dying at such a rapid rate that they thought the air was contaminated.
Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board
(image via: explore minnesota)
So because people were just kind of dying all of the time during this era for one reason or another, the Victorians were big advocates of spiritualism and firmly believed in the afterlife. Because of these beliefs, there were a ton of public events that incorporated them such as seances, public hypnosis, and fortune-telling. As you might have already guessed, these spiritual beings were actually just really good actors out to make a few bucks.
This Girl is on Fire
(image via: the independent)
No, seriously. The crinoline period lasted roughly twenty years and in those twenty years, women wore crinoline dresses with wooden hoops so wide that they would often find themselves getting stuck in doorways. And while getting stuck in a doorway doesn’t sound like much fun, it wasn’t uncommon for these gowns to brush against candles (the main light source) and catch on fire. And because these dresses consisted of so many layers and such massive hoops, women often couldn’t escape in time and would burn to death.
At one time a beauty column instructed women to bind their heads with thin slices of raw beef to keep their skin free of wrinkles and to make their skin appear more youthful. We have a lot of thoughts on this, but mostly we’re thinking about how slimy their skin must have felt come morning and more disturbingly what their faces must have smelt like the next day.