13 people who were laughed at for their ideas before time proved them completely right.

13 people who were laughed at for their ideas before time proved them completely right.

Nothing more frustrating than knowing you're right but having to wait to prove it. Hopefully, you won't die before you can taste the sweet sweet victory of rightness, but here are a bunch of stories about people great and small who were vindicated in time, as shared by the crowdsourced experts on reddit. Let us all be witnesses to their rightness.


1. attacktheradical explains how Hemingway couldn't get the truth shocked out of him.

Ernest Hemingway claimed the FBI was spying on him. He was deemed crazy and was then institutionalized, undergoing horrible shock therapy that ultimately ended in his suicide. Turns out, the FBI was, indeed, following him.

2. reptilesni reveals how a wise politician named Duff refused to ditch his ditch.

Manitoba premier Duff Roblin built a flood control waterway, or "floodway" to protect the city of Winnipeg from being under water if the city flooded, which it had done in the past. It was built in 1968 at a cost of $63 Million (Canadian) which was a freakin' lot of money at the time. He was derided by his opponents and the project was sneeringly referred to as Duff's Ditch.

Since it was built it has been used over 20 times and saved the city billions of dollars. People from all over the world have come to study it, particularly our flood prone neighbors to the south in North Dakota.

Thanks Duff, we love your ditch.


3. bitnotno ​laments the story of the man who could have saved people millions if the SEC had only listened.

Harry Markopolos who figured out the Madoff Ponzi scheme and delivered it fully documented to the SEC. This was years before the scheme fell apart in 2008. There's book called "No One Would Listen". Also made into a movie.


4. _ShakashuriBlowdown has this inspiring story about Rick Rescorla, who saved thousands of people's lives on 9/11.

Rick Rescorla

A retired Army officer who was the Chief Security Officer of Morgan Stanley in the World Trade Center, he foresaw a terrorist attack on the towers and created a very thorough evacuation procedure should such an event occur. He wrote a report about the structural integrity of the towers and gave it to Port Authority but it was ignored.

On 9/11, he ignored the initial instructions to stay put and orchestrated the evacuation of 2500+ employees. I can't do this next part justice so I'm copying straight from Wikipedia:

Rescorla had boosted morale among his men in Vietnam by singing Cornish songs from his youth, and now he did the same in the stairwell, singing songs like one based on the Welsh song "Men of Harlech":

"Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming, Can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming?, See their warriors’ pennants streaming, To this battlefield. Men of Cornwall stand ye steady, It cannot be ever said ye for the battle were not ready Stand and never yield!"[3]

Between songs, Rescorla called his wife, telling her, "Stop crying. I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I've never been happier. You made my life." After successfully evacuating most of Morgan Stanley's 2,687 employees, he went back into the building.[3][11][12] When one of his colleagues told him he too had to evacuate the World Trade Center, Rescorla replied, "As soon as I make sure everyone else is out".[13] He was last seen on the 10th floor, heading upward, shortly before the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 A.M. His remains were never found.[10][11][12] Rescorla was declared dead three weeks after the attacks.[3]


5. Earguy explains how this Nobel Prize winner was so sure he was right, he gambled his own life.

Gastric ulcers were thought to be caused by stress and spicy food. Dr. Barry Marshall thought it might be caused by a germ. He intentionally infected himself with the bacteria. He got sick from it, and he cured himself with antibiotics.

It earned him a Nobel Prize.


6. ​Goatzart brings up the scientist who had divisive ideas about continental drift.

Alfred Wegener

He was a german astronomer/meteorologist/climatologist and geophysicist who was alive in the early 20th century. He saw how the continents fit together, believed that the continents were slowly moving over geological time, and coined the terms "continental drift" and "pangea". He traveled all over the world collecting evidence of this. He found ancient coral reef remains at high latitudes. He found perfectly matching fossil records at continental margins, and perfectly matching rock layers. He found perfectly matching glacial evidence at continental boundaries too.

Of course, all of his contemporaries laughed at him and completely disregarded his evidence. The key he was missing to his theory was sea floor spreading, which no one knew about because sonar had not been invented yet. Unfortunately he died before sea floor spreading was discovered. But damn was he right.


7. NSA_Chatbot lost his own job for being right.

Well, me.

I was fired in 2015 for telling my employer that their welding practices were unacceptable and that I was legally obligated to report it. (By "fired" I mean I was on a probationary contract, and was given no more work until it ran out a month later.)

A year later, the Navy had to pull the subs from active service and they're out millions of dollars in rework and repair. They're lucky nobody died.


I haven't been able to find work since and I'm possibly going to lose my house. That's probably a coincidence. Probably.


8. ​No_Disputin_Rasputin brings up the man who blew Lance Armstrong's whistle

Greg Lemond. The Tour de France winner who accused Lance Armstrong of doping way before anyone believed it.

typhoidtimmy backs him up with full story.

It was pretty well known. Greg simply had the balls to state something publicly about it. And what happens?

He becomes a complete pariah, loses a multi million dollar contract with Trek bikes after they state they want him to apologize for saying it - and have the gall to state it was due to him calling out their main cash cow, Lance Armstrong(and if you don't believe Lance had a hand in it you are an idiot.)

Not only that but Greg doubled down and literally would confront Lance publicly on it a couple of times and even caught Lance on the phone telling him he would ruin him financially because he would not shut up about it.

Meanwhile, he was disinvited to a past Tour Winners dinner and celebration based on his tarnished image (rumor has it Lance had his hand in that) and was the object of derision in many eyes.

Then it all came out.....Greg was right and Lance was a lying scumbag.

People here are mourning the loss of Armstrong as a hero...yea I suppose you can say that. But you know, there was one guy who stood by his principles and burned for it for years...but his soul is clean when he was turned out to be right.

Greg LeMond is the hero here folks.​


9. FatFreddysCat reminds us about the guy who could have prevented the Challenger explosion.

The guy who warned that the o-rings would fail.

​​RuleNine comes through with additional info.

Allan McDonald, Roger Boisjoly, Bob Ebeling, at least one more. As if that story couldn't get worse, McDonald for one said he actually thought the rockets would explode on the pad, so when the shuttle cleared the tower, he had to have felt some brief relief.


Altus_Castus proves hat even though McDonald was right, it will never be right.

He gives a lecture each year to the engineering students at my university about the o-rings. It's pretty obvious that it still eats away at him.

10. insert-words-here remembers Sam Houston, who knew "what was coming."

Sam Houston, who basically predicted the outcome of the American Civil War when he refused to swear loyalty to the Confederacy, said this:

“Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, you may win Southern independence if God be not against you, but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of states rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South.”

..And he sure was damn right about that.


11. doorkn00b brings up that story half of us only recognize from Seinfeld.

The "Dingo ate my baby" woman. Truly a sad story.


12. ​Red_AtNight tells us about this doctor who didn't understand why he was right, he just knew he was right.

Ignaz Semmelweis was a Hungarian doctor who suggested doctors needed to wash their hands more often.

He noticed that women were getting Puerperal fever at an alarming rate at Vienna General Hospital, because doctors were going from handling cadavers directly to delivering babies without washing their hands. He suggested that doctors wash their hands in a solution of chlorinated lime.

Naturally, he was scoffed at, nobody took him seriously, he suffered a mental breakdown, and wound up being committed to an asylum at age 47, where he died after being badly beaten by the guards.

His findings were later confirmed by Louis Pasteur's confirmation of Germ Theory, and Joseph Lister's pioneering work in using antiseptics in surgery. Semmelweis didn't understand why the cadaver handling led to women dying in childbirth, but he was right that the doctors needed to up their hygiene game.


13. Finally, SirMonkeyFood has one about how we got "lights and mountains and shit."

William Seward. Bought Alaska for some trivial amount and was mocked most of his life (Seward's folly, Seward's ice box). Then we found tons of gold and oil and made back much more money off resources alone. Also they have moose and lights and mountains and shit. So..