We wish that photography was invented earlier: we’d have a chance to learn so many interesting things about our ancestors! Fortunately, photographers of the 20th century worked really hard so we could enjoy their shots today.
They captured things like spiritual seances, a game of tennis on the wing of a flying aircraft, seeing a UFO, and many other incredible moments.
Bright Side has collected some old pictures that are hiding interesting stories behind the scenes.
Medium Franek Kluski’s seance in Warsaw, 1919
Franek Kluski claimed that he could materialize spirits, and one of his “materializations” is depicted in the picture above. Other “miracles” he performed were ghosts’ handprints on melted paraffin.
His skills were really “impressive.” The medium was once asked to materialize a face. When people opened their eyes, they saw an impression of another part of the body: a buttocks impression was found in the wax. Later, it was confirmed that Kluski suffered from a burn on his buttocks.
A man and a woman playing tennis on the roof of a flying aircraft, 1925
Many people think this colorized photo is fake because it depicts an impossible situation. But this picture is real and those brave people are Ivan Unger and Gladys Roy, famous aerialists.
Of course they didn’t actually play tennis: they were posing with rackets. But it’s still impressive, isn’t it? By the way, these air tricks are popular even nowadays and performance techniques have become way safer.
Demonstration against prohibition, 1931
History shows that alcohol bans usually contribute to people’s excessive inclination to consume alcoholic beverages. And where there is demand there will be supply: in the 13 years that prohibition lasted, a lot of bootlegging criminal gangs appeared who supplied people with alcohol.
American streets after the end of prohibition in 1933.
Hedda Hopper interviewing Cary Grant before spreading rumors about him, 1948
Hedda Hopper was a good actress who took part in more than 120 moderately successful films before being offered the chance to write a gossip column in 1937. It appeared that this column was just what she needed.
Hopper interviewed stars and made fun of them in her column, like when she compared ZaSu Pitts to a ferret. She tried to accuse Cary Grant of being a gay. And, she also attacked Charlie Chaplin because of his political ideology which became one of the reasons why he immigrated to Switzerland.
Some of Hopper’s rumors were really offensive and celebs had to defend themselves: some of them sued her, and some just did various awful things in return. For example, Spencer Tracy kicked her backside in retaliation for a tidbit that Hopper wrote about Katharine Hepburn and him, Joseph Cotten pulled the chair out from under her when she tried to take a seat, and Joan Fontaine sent Hopper a skunk on Valentine’s Day, including a brief note saying: “I stink and so do you.”
Goalie Terry Sawchuk was hit in the bare face, 1950
Did you know that it took until 1979 to make a hockey helmet a piece of obligatory equipment for National Hockey League players? It’s surprising, but at least protective elements like knee and elbow pads were already in use. By the way, Terry Sawchuk had a lot of professional injuries.
Christine Keeler before her trial at the Old Bailey, London, 1963
She is considered to be the 60s Mata Hari. Though Christine wasn’t deprived of life, she was still the main figure of the Profumo affair.
19-year-old model Christine Keeler had an affair with British Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, as well as with Soviet diplomat, Yevgeny Ivanov, whom she could have passed sensitive information to, though it was never proven.
Stefan Michalak got grid-like burns while watching a UFO at Falcon Lake, Canada, 1967
Amateur geologist Stefan Michalak said that he’d seen 2 strange objects in the sky, and one of them landed on a rock. Stefan decided to get a bit closer and noticed the entrance of the flying vehicle was open, and he could hear human voices.
He thought it was an experimental craft from United States Air Force so he got even closer and asked if anything was wrong. The voices fell silent and Stefan didn’t receive an answer. He wanted to go inside, but the vehicle suddenly flew away and Stefan was struck by a blast of air or gas that left a strange pattern on his body.
Additionally, Stefan also experienced radiation sickness symptoms, and radium-226 was found in the place where the UFO had landed. Doctors concluded that the man was mentally healthy and wasn’t prone to hallucinations. Since no one has been able to disprove this story, it’s considered to be true.
Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, with his wife Farah and children at the beach, 1970
It’s unbelievable, but almost 50 years ago Iranians looked more modern than they do now. They appeared in public wearing European clothing and women didn’t hide their hair. This photo was taken 9 years before the Iranian Revolution when the Shah was deposed and had to escape with his family to Egypt.
Operation Babylift, 1975
In April, 1975, the USA decided to evacuate more than 2,000 children from South Vietnam (where the situation was really disastrous) to the United States and other countries. When American businessman Robert Macauley learned that it would take more time to evacuate the orphans due to a lack of military transport planes, he chartered a plane and arranged for 300 children to leave the country, paying for the trip by mortgaging his house.
Tiana Mykkeltvedt and Wendy Greene were in the crowd of kids evacuated from Vietnam in 1975. In 2005, in the year of the 30th anniversary of the operation, they came back home to pay tribute to the people who took part in saving them.
Louise Brown, the first human to have been born after conception by IVF, 1978
This photo looks like an ordinary photo of a baby. Of course In Vitro Fertilization isn’t a miracle nowadays, but 40 years ago it was an incredible event. The first human to have been born after conception by In Vitro Fertilization was British woman Louise Brown. Today, there are more than 6 million children born with the help of this method.
This is Louise today. She works as a babysitter, and has a husband and 2 children who were born naturally.
Milli Vanilli receiving an undeserved Grammy award, 1990
This once popular band was created by German record producer Frank Farian in 1988, but the singers had never appeared on stage. Farian believed that the audience wouldn’t like the 40-year-old men and that’s why 2 guys with a more appealing appearance, Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, pretended to be the singers instead.
The guys danced and lip synced so good that they won a Grammy award. But the truth was revealed and the band was stripped of their award. By the way, it’s unknown why Farian didn’t let those guys sing, because in real life they could sing pretty well.
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere posing for a Pretty Woman poster, 1990
We still don’t know whether it was the film director’s will or Julia’s decision, but Shelley Michelle was the body double for Julia Roberts in some scenes and even on this poster. Richard Gere’s hair was also retouched, even though he’s got grey hair in the film.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana during their visit to South Korea, 1992
This picture explains everything: the spouses are looking in different directions, showing that their marriage is over. Charles and Diana broke up soon after this, though they didn’t divorce officially until 1996. Later Elizabeth II will call the year 1992 “annus horribilis” (a Latin phrase, meaning “horrible year”). Her sons Charles and Andrew broke up with their wives and her daughter Anne divorced her husband.
Pictures can really tell us a lot. Do you like to look through old photos and think about people’s destinies?