11 Astonishing Facts About Tattoos

Did you know that the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby prompted worried parents to tattoo their children? This is just one of the amazing facts that populate the storied history of tattoos.


Intrigued? Check out 11 more below:

What’s in a Name?

The word “tattoo” comes from the Polynesian word “ta” which means “to strike”. This describes the sound that a tattooing spike makes when it hits the skin. The first recorded references to the word “tattoo” are located in the reports of a naturalist named of Joseph Banks, who sailed with the infamous Captain Cook. Before they brought the word to Europe, tattoos were called “marks”.

Now, That’s Commitment

There’s a man walking around with 99.9% of his body covered in leopard-spot tattoos. But, believe it or not, he is only the second (you heard that right) most tattooed man on the planet. The honor of being the first is held by Lucky Diamond, a street performer who lives in New Zealand. His entire body (even the inside areas of his foreskin) is covered by tattoos.

Tattoos are Forever

The oldest body in existence belongs to the Iceman, an individual who lived circa 3300-3200 BC. But, that’s not his only claim to fame, this ancient man also has the oldest preserved tattoos ever seen. And he didn’t just have one, he has well over seventy in various places on his body. But, perhaps, what’s most intriguing is what scientists found when they x-rayed his skeleton. The scans revealed that there were instances of joint disease under every tattoo. This suggests that the Iceman’s tattoos were placed in those specific spots as a way to help him alleviate his pain.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Anthony Garcia, a gang member in California, was arrested for driving with a suspended license a few years back. It was during this time police officers noticed that a tattoo on his chest accurately depicted a liquor store robbery that occurred a couple of years before. After being questioned, the unlucky man confessed and was ultimately convicted of committing the crime.

Hannah Montana Forever

Stephen Baldwin, one of the infamous Baldwin Brothers, has an HM (short for Hannah Montana) tattoo on his left shoulder. It is a result of a pact made between Baldwin, Kayla Bell, and Miley Cyrus. The condition was, if he got the tattoo, they would let him make a cameo on the popular show. Baldwin lived up to his part of the bargain but the same can’t be said for Hannah. Baldwin has never made one appearance on the series.

Stop! Don’t Shoot!

Back in Soviet Russia, prisoners would get tattoos of Stalin and Lenin engraved on their body. They believed that this practice would save their lives because guards weren’t allowed to shoot at images of the nation’s leaders.

Macy’s True Legacy

Many of us are familiar with the red star on the Macy’s department store logo. But, I bet you didn’t know that it is a depiction of a star tattoo that a young RH Macy received while working on a whaling ship.

Beauty is in the Eye of The Beholder

There is an orangutan named Sibu that resides at a zoo in the Netherlands. His caretakers have tried their best to get him to mate with female orangutans, but their efforts have all been in vain. It seems this picky orangutan is only sexually interested in his human caretakers. But, that’s not all, his favorites seem to be blondes with tattoos.

American Born and Bred

It wasn’t always common practice for sailors to tattoo their bodies. The tradition began as a way for them to prove that they were American citizens and thus, avoid being forced into service for the Royal Navy.

It’s a Family Affair

America’s first professional painted lady went by the name of Nora Hildebrandt and she toured the country with the Barnum and Bailey circus in the 1890s. Her father, Martin Hildebrandt, was the first professional tattoo artist in America.

It’s All About the Money

Kimberly Smith, a devoted mother, got Golden Palace Casino.com tattooed on her forehead a few years back. Doing so enabled her to come up with the money to pay for her son’s college tuition. This marked her as the person on the planet to tattoo an advertisement.