For a good story that’s full of action, drama, and intrigue, you only have to look back in time. History is full of stories with unexpected plot twists.
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where the ‘plot’ thickens.
Here are a few historical characters and events that people never saw coming:
1. Juan Pujol Garcia
During World War II, Spanish citizen Garcia became so concerned and horrified by fascism and communism in Europe, he decided to do something about it. He contacted American and British intelligence, offering to work as a spy, but was rejected. So, he created a fake identity as a fanatical pro-Nazi Spanish government official, and infiltrated Germany. He soon became a top Nazi agent. But Garcia wasn’t done – he never wavered from his true purpose of working against Nazi Germany. The double agent created fake reports, misleading the Nazis, and diverting attention to other spies in his network (all 27 of his agents were fictional, with complete life stories) when they became suspicious. He played a key role in Operation Fortitude, a deception operation that misled the Germans about the timing and location of the invasion of Normandy, France, in 1944, which turned the tide of the war. The Germans never caught on that Garcia was involved – he was so successful, he received the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Iron Cross, for his work.
2. RMS Carmania
During World War I, the Germans disguised one of their ships – the SMS Cap Trafalgar – to look like the British liner RMS Carmania. Their plan was to infiltrate British waters and attack their ships. But ironically, the first ship the Germans encountered near the island of Trinidade, off the coast of Brazil, was the actual RMS Carmania. English ship captain Noel Grant immediately recognised the imposters’ attempt at disguise, and launched a surprise attack in the early hours of the morning. Grant’s efforts led to the sinking of the fake RMS Carmania, and the safety of British ships.
3. A paranoid king’s foiled plot
Go back in time to 100BC, to learn about Mithridates VI, who ruled the kingdom of Pontus, which is located in the modern-day eastern Black Sea region of Turkey. The king was so paranoid that someone would try to assassinate him with poison, he made it a habit to drink small doses of it every day to build up his tolerance. Years later, when he was captured by the Romans, Mithridates tried to kill himself by drinking poison – it was a better alternative, he thought, than being sold as a Roman slave. Alas, he wasn’t able to die, because he had become immune to poison!