halley's comet
Halley's Comet, as it appeared in 1986. The comet was a source of concern in the US in 1910, inducing panic buying of gas masks and 'anti-comet pills'. Image Credit: US Library of Congress

There are some moments in history that are so bizarre, you might think it were out of a fiction novel than any history book.

Click start to play today’s Word Search, where we discover a few such moments in ‘history’.

We round up the most curious events here:

1. Strike in ancient Egypt

While strikes may seem like a modern-day concept in Western nations, the idea of putting down tools because of a dispute goes back a much longer way – right to ancient Egypt. The very first recorded strike occurred in 1152BC, during the reign of Rameses III.

Egyptian structures were built by craftsmen, builders and haulers, all of whom took great pride in their work, as they should – many of their structures still stand over 3,000 years later. But on one occasion, workers involved in the construction of a royal necropolis at Deir Al Madina, felt they were being underpaid – they organised a mass walkout. Luckily for them, the artisans’ wages were increased and the workers returned to complete the job.

2. Dancing plague

Choreomania, also known as St. Vitus’s Dance, was an incredibly bizarre phenomenon from central Europe. It involved spontaneous dancing by crowds of people until they collapsed in fatigue – and sometimes even died. Although it seems hard to believe, the phenomenon was regularly reported by eyewitnesses and was a source of concern for the authorities.

It was even considered to be contagious. In June 1374, one of the biggest outbreaks began in Aachen, Germany, and spread to Cologne, Flanders, Utrecht, and all the way to Italy. Since no autopsies were carried out, historians and scientists can only guess at the cause. Some think it might have been a skin infection or muscular inflammation, leading to spasms.

3. Anti-comet pills

Halley’s comet is one of the best-known comets that’s visible to the naked eye. But it wasn’t until the last century that astronomers were able to observe it closely. When a toxic gas called cyanogen was discovered in its tail in 1910, it led to wild speculation on the part of some astronomers in the US. Panic over the comet led to con men selling ‘anti-comet pills’ to shield Earthlings from the so-called deadly gas, and to the frenzied buying of gas masks and umbrellas. Eventually, scientists came out to say humans were safe, and the comet passed without incident, but not before the snake oil salesmen made a fortune over the event.

What do you think of these bizarre incidents from history? Play today’s Word Search and tell us at games@gulfnews.com.