There's a certain pleasure we all get in getting to tell someone, "I told you so" and, hopefully, that pleasure only comes from saying it about good things.
It doesn't make me happy to tell my son, "I told you so" after he smashes his head against our ottoman tray, even though I warned him a bunch of times about the dangers of jumping off the couch and onto surrounding furniture with reckless abandon.
And if ghosts are a thing, I'd like to think that the people mentioned in this AskReddit post are saying, "I told you so!" from beyond the grave. These historical figures were either ignored or blasted as being straight-up crazy for their views, but ultimately had their theories/ideas legitimized after the fact.
1. King James I
King James I of England gave a formal statement in 1604 expressing his distaste for tobacco, claiming that it is “hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, [and] dangerous to the lungs,” basically everything that we tell people about cigarettes now. it was called “A Counterblaste to Tobacco.” whether people didn’t believe him or just didn’t care can be debated.
2. Major General Pendleton
Major general Pendleton. He was black balled and ruined his career after WW1 for believing the Japanese were fortifying Pacific islands with plans to attack the U.S. Fast forward 20 years and the Marines fought some of the toughest battles trying to dig out super fortified Japanese soldiers.
3. Kotoku Wamura
The Japanese mayor who, in the 1970s, built a huge seawall to protect the town from tsunamis. He died with being mocked his whole life. But ended up saving everyone in the 2011 tsunami. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1386978/The-Japanese-mayor-laughed-building-huge-sea-wall--village-left-untouched-tsunami.html
4. Ignaz Semmelwies
Ignaz Semmelwies, beaten to death in an insane asylum after the scientific community ridiculed him and locked him up.
He suggested that washing hands before delivering babies might be a good idea. (At the time it was known gentlemen didn't have dirty hands)
5. Dr. John Snow
Not so much crazy as gross, but Dr. John Snow figured out that cholera is water-born and laid the groundwork for modern epidemiology. However, given that his finding was that a massive cholera outbreak was caused by water contaminated with feces, people weren't keen to accept his conclusions and it took some time for them to be completely accepted.
6. Robert H. Goddard
Guy who invented Rockets. He was laughed at because people thought rockets can't propel in space because there is nothing to push against. He died before the first rocket went in space.
New York Times practically laughed on his work and called that he can't even understand Newton's law of motions in editorial, only to publish a correction 49 years later when he was long dead.
Edit: rockets in space, i.e. space travel.
7. Georg Cantor
He changed the fundamentals of mathematics by inventing set theory.
He proved that there are different sizes of infinities.
And he was criticized
and ostracizedby many, but not all, of his peers for it.
As a result, he suffered from depression and spent the last few years of his life in an insane asylum.
But he was right.
8. Ludwig Boltzmann
Ludwig Boltzmann. He proposed the existence of atoms, everyone called him crazy and thought he was wrong. He hanged himself in 1906 as a result, only for scientists to prove the existence of atoms three years later.
9. C.Y. O'Connor
That guy who built a huge bridge in Australia back in the days. everyone laughed at him for making such a wide bridge coz there were only a very few cars. But he looked at the future now the bridge fits perfect for the number of cars in use now.
C. Y. O’Connor was an engineer who designed a 530km (330 mile) long pipeline to provide water to Kalgoorlie from Perth in Western Australia. He was berated by the public for it and ended up shooting himself while riding his horse before the pipeline was commissioned.
It is still providing water to Kalgoorlie to this day.
11. This guy's Grandpa.
Grandpa. He was positive Anderson Cooper was gay.
12. Alfred Wegener
Alfred Wegener about his theory regarding the movements of continents.
The thing that has to be noted about Wegener is that he not only proposed a theory that would have seemed completely insane to anyone at the time (what'd'ya mean the continents move?) but he was also a meteorologist by profession and was trying to tell geologists that everything they knew about geology was wrong. It would be like if a botanist popped up one day and said "hey, I figured out the unified field theory of physics and it completely undermines a lot of what you thought you knew about physics!"
13. Martha Mitchell
Martha Mitchell of Watergate fame. Although drunk, her ravings about the misdoings of the Nixon administration turned out to be true.
14. Ernest Hemingway
Hemmingway was convinced that the government was spying on him. Turns out, they were.
15. John O'Neill
FBI Agent John O'Neill. John spent the last several years of his career insisting that a group of relatively unknown terrorists called Al-Queda were determined to strike inside the US. He continuously raised the alarm that they were getting people into the US and planning a large scale attack. He was eventually pushed out of the FBI after being told over and over again that he was being paranoid and that the threat wasn't a top tier possibility. In August of 2001, he took a private sector job as head of security for the World Trade Center. Weeks later, he died during the 9/11 attacks. I have to think his last thought was "I told you $#*!ers"
16. John Colter
John Colter was the first man to see Yellowstone but no one believed his stories about the geysers and mudpots. They thought he was crazy and just hallucinating so they ended up referring to this "fictional" place as "Colter's Hell". There's now a bay named after him at the Teton's National Park.
I would suggest doing further reading on him as he was a pretty cool dude who went through loads of stuff, for example he survived bear attacks a few times!
17. Otto Von Bismarck
He was right when he said the next major crisis in Europe will be from "some damned fool thing in the Balkans" i.e., WW1, and also said that if the German monarchy won't change, it is sure to collapse 20 years after his death.
Otto died in 1898. WW1 ended in 1918, and so did the German monarchy.
18. Bugsy Siegel
Bugsy Siegel about Las Vegas casinos.
His death is both a huge " $#*! you" to him and a great irony.
He was murdered for owing massive amounts of money to the Commission because his Las Vegas project was not gaining traction and was losing massive amounts of money.
The irony in this is that his death actually made Las Vegas popular, which skyrocketed the Flamingo Hotel & Casino profits in Vegas and eventually turned Vegas into what it is today.
19. General Billy Mitchell
Gen. Billy Mitchell
He was a fighter pilot during WWI and when he returned home to America after the war he spent his career trying to convince military and civilian leadership of the role air superiority would play in future conflicts. He was ridiculed at nearly every turn. One of his "wild predictions" was the use of "floating air bases" to be commanded by the Navy for use in "Air-to-Ship" combat operations. Between his brash personality and acerbic criticism of military leadership he was eventually court-martialed and resigned from the service.
Pretty much everything he said became true during the next war. Since World War II America has relied on a state of the art Air Force to win conflicts to the point that one of the most devastating weapons that isn't a nuclear missile is an unmanned drone.
20. Gary Webb
Gary Webb. Linked the CIA to the introduction of crack cocaine to US cities. He got blackballed and eventually killed himself only to be vindicated later.
21. John Yudkin
John Yudkin, author of Pure, White and Deadly, a book about the dangers of sugar published in 1972.
The food industry allegedly started a smear campaign against him and his research, promoting saturated fat as the main cause of obesity and heart diseases. From Wikipedia: "The efforts of the food industry to discredit the case against sugar were largely successful, and by the time of Yudkin’s death in 1995 his warnings were, for the most part, no longer being taken seriously."
In recent years this has turned around, other researchers are coming to the same conclusions, and his book has been republished.
22. Ferdinand Foch
He’s the one who said, about the Treaty of Versailles (The end of World War I, Which was signed in 1919), “This is not a peace treaty, this is an armistice for 20 years.”
What do you know, September 1st, 1939 and Hitler invades Poland.
Copernicus had the wild idea that the earth wasn’t the center of the solar system.
25. Ike Eisenhower
Ike Eisenhower for pointing out that America's military industrial complex would grow so large it would become a threat to our democracy.
26. William Seward
William Seward purchased Alaska from Russia for 7.2 Million dollars (correct me if I’m wrong). He was ridiculed and known by the Americans as the man who committed “Sewards Foley”. After his passing Mass amounts of Gold and Oil were found in Alaska. sometimes you just gotta say $#*! it....
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