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5 of the strangest jobs in History

Billy The Exterminator
Billy The Exterminator goes North, showing on entertainment TV channel BLAZE.

Showcasing one man’s role taking on some of America’s most dangerous pests—and the unusual methods used to do so— in the new series of BLAZE's Billy the Exterminator, we get to see one of the least appealing job prospects out there (unless tackling cockroaches and lethal snakes appeals to you, that is, in which case, we’re not here to judge). It might not be your average choice of career, but when it comes to strange job roles, Billy isn’t alone. Here are five of the other strangest jobs in history that people were once employed to do.

Funeral clown

A serious profession around the 4th Century, mourners in Ancient Rome could expect to be distracted from proceedings by the presence of the funeral clown. Hired to appease the spirit of the dead and cheer up the living, the clown was there to mock the recently deceased—a job role that included wearing a mask of the dead person’s face. What’s even scarier than the thought of a clown masquerading as your lost loved one is that this profession is being revived: you can now do as the Romans did and hire your own funeral clown.

Breath sniffer

Employed by food and chemical companies alike, breath sniffers are there to do exactly that: assess people’s breath by smelling it. This is as effective a way as any of working out whether a new type of chewing gum or mouthwash actually works. If this sounds appealing, you’re in luck because this is unusual job role still exists. If you’re not a people person, there’s also the option to focus on dogs’ breath instead, because that is also a real career choice.

The Ravenmaster

A legend that is thought to date back to Charles II, it is said that the Tower of London must always be protected by six ravens, or Britain will fall. Given how much is at stake, it only makes sense then that the ravens should be protected, which is where the position of the Ravenmaster comes in.  The Ravenmaster is there to look after the six birds (plus the reserve raven), feeding them and making sure that they don’t stray too far. It might be an ancient tradition, but you can follow the current Ravenmaster on social media… 

Orgy planner

Where now we have party planners, orgy planner was once a valid career choice. Employed by the wealthy in Ancient Rome, the planners were there to carry off the debauchery and were responsible for bringing the food, music, accommodation and women.  Considering Nero’s orgies could last for as long as 12 hours, you can see why an orgy planner might be needed.

Paint drying watcher

Every time you complain that you’d rather watch paint dry, you can console yourself with the knowledge that people actually do that and get paid to do so too. These research scientists are the people behind the ‘fast drying paint’ and ‘quick dry gloss’ claims. Rest assured, they know what they’re talking about.