In my class on European History, we are lucky to have perhaps the world's craziest teacher. Mr. Ackerman fills his lectures with tidbits he finds amusing and historical side notes, many of them vulgar.
My personal favorite involves the death of Catherine the Great of Russia, which reputedly occurred as she was attempting to have sex with a horse. This of course never actually happened, but it interests me nevertheless because I have no idea how a rumor like that could have been started.
Were there tabloids in the 18th century? Or did some foe of the Tsars pay historians to lie? And either way, why would you try to make people believe such a thing? It reminds me, in a way, of the Piltdown Man.
Of course, the whole horse-fucking rumor is all the more hilarious when you consider that the woman who was possibly the only benevolent, effective leader in Russian history is remembered only for her nonexistent, perverted means of death.