If you think people nowadays do unusual things, you should check out our comparatively recent history. You’ll see that our ancestors used to do even weirder things. But their actions were actually legal.
WeGoRo has a compilation of scary things that were permissible in the past.
100 years ago, people didn’t treat this substance as harmful. On the contrary, it was available in drugstores and sold without a prescription to heal coughs and toothache. Cocaine was also recommended as a sedative for kids. And, as with other pharmaceutical drugs, cocaine was widely advertised.
It sounds like a joke, but at the beginning of the 20th century, Americans had the opportunity to send their kids through the mail absolutely lawfully. It cost around 15 cents if their kid weighed no more than a standard parcel. Such "solicitous" parents probably wanted to save some money by sending their kids to relatives.
In the 1930s, such wire cages were very common among British families. With the help of these dangerous constructions, kids could breathe fresh air while their mothers were busy with household duties. It’s unbelievable, but these cages were considered safe. What were parents of that time thinking about?
Rich people often have weird whims. But in the past, their obsessions made people suffer. In the 18th century, it was popular to have a personal hermit who lived in your garden. A hermit wasn’t allowed to wash or cut their nails and hair. They lived in a handmade grotto. Owners always showed off in front of visitors and were proud of their "live decorations."
Not so long ago, doctors had no clue about disinfection and used strange methods: bloodletting as a remedy for all diseases, tongue cutting against stammering, as well as lobotomy and electric shock treatment. Even the most successful doctors of that time, like orthopedic surgeon Lewis Sayre (pictured with a patient), did lots of operations with lethal outcomes.
In the 1950s, radiation was treated as quite a safe thing. Such "atomic" toys as the mini-laboratory depicted in the picture were really popular. The set for experiments included real polonium and uranium in small quantities.
Human zoos aimed to show people from Asia and Africa as "proof" of Darwin’s theory. Such shameful entertainment existed for many years. In the picture, you can see a Belgian human zoo in 1958.
Patients of psychiatric hospitals were treated awfully in the past: staff rarely fed people, though relatives paid for patients’ accommodation. But it wasn’t enough for asylum owners. They created a small business: willing visitors could pay a certain sum of money to have a look at the poor people and even poke them with a stick.
Only insane people collect human body parts as trophies nowadays. But it was just a standard hobby causing no disgust in the past: reputable gentlemen had their own pathoanatomical rooms at home. Even soldiers used to take home their enemy’s skull. In this picture, we see an American sailor: during the Second World War, he took the skull of a Japanese soldier.
Smokers are restricted in many ways today. But 70 years ago, American doctors recommended their pregnant patients to smoke to get rid of constipation. So a woman who had just given birth to a baby wasn’t prohibited to smoke in the hospital. It’s scary to imagine our life if medicine still followed such views.