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6 Mind-Boggling Mistakes That Have Changed the Course of History


We all make mistakes – this is what actually makes us human. It’s true that nobody’s perfect, but the mistakes of some people have more consequences than those made by others. If something goes wrong in the laboratory of a chemist or a geneticist, the impact of that mistake might change the whole world. It’s the same with people who have a lot of influence in the society. Nevertheless, even the greatest philosophers and psychologists can be wrong about different things. Here are 6 mind-bending mistakes that have changed human history.



1. Freud and cocaine
Sigmund Freud had the whole of Europe in his pocket when it came to new ideas and weird crazy theories. And while Freud’s psychoanalysis has really changed the history of psychology, his interest in cocaine did more bad than good. Back then drugs weren’t much of a big deal and Freud liked the effect pretty much, so he recommended cocaine to everyone as a medicine for depression. He’s written more than a few receipts to help his patients as there was no trouble getting cocaine in almost any pharmacy. Rumor has it, he got the whole Europe hooked on cocaine.

2. Napoleon and tin buttons
Napoleon is to blame for the greatest wardrobe malfunction in human history. Historians believe that the French lost the battle with the Russians due to the fact that there were actually losing pants on the battlefield! Tin buttons that were used to make clothing for the French army started turning into dust when the temperatures hit -30 and lower. The harsh Russian winter was too much for French attire.

3. Abel Tasman and the ‘boring Australia’
Abel Tasman was a successful Dutch explorer, but he was truly out of luck when it came to Terra Australis. The first time he and his team went on searching for the amazing land, he stumbled upon the islands of Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand. He was luckier the second time, but was more than underwhelmed by his Australian experience. There was no gold in Australia, and the kangaroos were nothing special. His expedition left the continent and forgot all about it until 100 years in 1788, the British re-discovered Australia and turned it into its’ prison colony.

4. Michelangelo and horns
Michelangelo’s famous Moses statue has one detail that is often overlooked by most people. Frankly, no one likes to talk about it because it’s embarrassing just as much as it is funny. Michelangelo’s Moses has horns on his head! How could this happen? Researchers believe that the sloppy Bible translation is to blame. St. Jerome was the one who translated the part about Moses into Latin, giving him ‘horns’. In reality the Pentateuch said that ‘his face was radiant’, but somehow St. Jerome mistranslated it! And now we have a horned Moses.

5. Colin Powell and anthrax
The fomer U.S. Secretary of State is the one to blame for mass bombings of Iraq after one of his speeches. During the UN assembly he was holding a vial of anthrax stating that Iraq has it and the whole world is in grave danger. Thus, Iraq became a war target without any solid evidence (or so we think). There was no anthrax found in Iraq and Colin Powell deeply apologized for what he did. We’ll never know who’s really to blame for this ‘accident’ that has turned a whole country into a battlefield.

6. Walter Freeman and the lobotomobile
Despite receiving a Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine, Walter Freeman has destroyed a lot of lives during his lifetime. He took the work of psychosurgeon Gottlieb Burckhardt and improved it, making it possible to remove brain parts out of the operating room using an ice pick. Freeman was the one who invented this operation that he called ‘the lobotomy’, which he believed truly helped people. Right now removing part of a brain and turning a person into a vegetable might not seem such a good idea, but back then it seemed legit, and Walter Freeman traveled all over the United States performing this operation wherever needed. He even called his car the ‘lobotomobile’!