Have you ever heard about the pr*stitute turned pirate queen?
Do you know who was the richest man ever?
How about the doctor who was put to shame for asking his colleagues to wash their hands before delivering a baby?
Here are 10 incredible stories of famous people you never knew about.
10 Diogo Alves - What Makes A Serial Killer
All the people who’ve studied medicine in Lisbon, Portugal know about him. Diogo Alves was always there to watch over them or rather stare at them from the jar his head has been preserved for the past 175 years.
What earned Alves the honor of having his head carefully preserved for posterity is his career as one of Portugal’s most prolific serial killers.
Diogo Alves was born in Galicia in 1810 and was sent to Lisbon as a child to work in the house of a rich family. Young Diogo soon figured out that hard work didn’t pay as much as crime and came up with a fool-proof scheme.
In 1836, he found employment in a new house on Aqueduto das Águas Livres, conveniently located near a 213-foot tall structure overlooking the ocean.
Diogo Alves attacked mostly farmers returning from the market, robbed them of their meager earnings, and sent them to their death by throwing them into the ocean.
He was hanged in 1839 for killing more than 70 people and his head was preserved by scientists looking to unlock the mysteries of a criminal mind.
9 Lobster Boy - Life Of A Monster
Grady Stiles Jr. was born in 1937 in Pittsburgh, the last of a long line of circus freaks who passed down from generation to generation a condition known as ectrodactyly, which fuses the fingers together into “lobster claws.”
Grady’s case was most complicated as his feet were also affected which made it difficult for him to walk. Naturally, he grew up among carnival people where he fell in love with a teenager who’d run away to join the circus.
Grady married Maria Teresa and they had two children, but their life was anything but happy. He took to drinking and was often violent with his wife and children.
The Lobster Boy did not approve of the man his daughter wanted to marry so he murdered him the night before the wedding.
At the trial, he laughed in front of the judge arguing that he couldn’t possibly be convicted as no prison could accommodate his disability. He was right. Things were shaping up good for the Lobster Boy.
Even his wife came back to him, but soon the beatings started again. In the end, Maria Teresa hired someone to kill her husband and put an end to her misery. She showed no regrets at the trial.
8 Violet Jessop - The Woman Who Would Not Drown
Call her extremely lucky or the unluckiest person in the world, but Violet Jessop was caught in no less than three shipwrecks and lived to tell the tale. One of the ships was the Titanic.
Violet Jessop started a career as a stewardess on the Orinoco in 1908 at age 21. In 1910, she was working on HMS Olympic which collided with a British warship.
The ship was severely damaged but nobody died. Violet next worked on RMS Titanic, an employment cut short by the fatal encounter with the iceberg.
Again, Violet survived, but the two brushes with death at sea did not stop her from working as a Red Cross stewardess aboard the HMHS Britannic during World War I.
The ship ran into a German mine, but Violet survived again, earning the nickname of Miss Unsinkable.
7 Oto Benga - The Human Zoo Exhibit
It’s one of the saddest stories you’ll ever hear. Oto Benga was a Mbuti pygmy tribesman born in the Ituri Forest of the Congo in 1883.
He married young, had a couple of kids and his life was fine until Belgian troops arrived and murdered everyone in his village. Oto was away hunting but had no reason to be thankful he survived the massacre.
He was captured by slave traders and sent to work on an industrial farm, where, in 1904, he was discovered by American businessman Samuel Verner.
Oto Benga was displayed at the 1904 World Fair as the missing link between humans and apes.