History isn't boring, but that doesn't mean it can't stand to be spiced up a bit. That's why historical fiction exists, and why some books, TV movies, and the like sometimes turn real people into heroes, villains, demons, giant robot pilots, and more. Here are some of the least historically accurate historical figures of all time.
1) Rasputin, Anastasia and Hellboy
The "Mad Monk" of pre-Soviet Russia was practically a fantasy character in real life — he was a bogus faith healer to the Tsar, helped overthrow the monarchy, and then of course managed to survive several assassination attempts including stabbings, shootings, and poisonings. So it's really not too far-fetched for the animated movie Anastasia to claim he was an undead sorcerer with the power to control demons. Interestingly, the non-kids comic Hellboy present Rasputin in much the same as the kids animated movie; there, Rasputin is a worshipper of evil and chaos who helps the Nazis summon the demonic title character and despite being killed on many occasions, keeps returning to sow evil and serve the spirits determined to destroy the world.
2) Sir Isaac Newton, The Vision of Escaflowne
As the scientist and mathematician who discovered gravity and the laws of motion, you'd think Newton would generally be considered a good guy, or at least a morally neutral scholar of the sciences. But in The Vision of Escaflowne anime series, he's the totalitarian emperor of the land of Gaia, brutally conquering other nations because he wants to harness the power of Atlantis to make a machine to predict and change the future, even though this power destroyed Atlantis is the first place. And yes, even though this guy is the ruler of a fantasyland called Gaia, the anime specifies very clearly he's a 200-year-old scientist from Earth named Isaac who also discovered gravity. So, yeah. Evil Emperor Isaac Newton.
3) Anne Frank, Puella Magi Madoka Magica
The "magical girl" show is a major anime genre, including such hits as Sailor Moon, Card Captor Sakura, and dozens and dozens more. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is special, however, by deconstructing the genre to its most insane, most depressing possible conclusion. In short, in the world of the anime, all of history's greatest women are "Puella Magi" with magical powers who are supposed to fight witches… except we eventually find out that witches are actually Puella Magi who have become so depressed or suffered so much fighting these witches that they become witches themselves. And then it turns out the Puella Magi exist specifically because an alien race wants to feed off their emotions, and the whole fight against evil is effectively meaningless. The kicker? Anne Frank was one of these magical girls. She presumably became a witch who had to be put down by another magical girl. Yeesh.
4) Albert Einstein, Zero Hour
The little-seen, little-loved TV show Zero Hour was far too bizarre to have ever been a success, but it did drop a few interesting historical facts that I had been completely unaware of. For instance, did you know that the Catholic Church kept the pieces of the cross Jesus was crucified on because it contain Jesus' DNA and they were afraid people were use it to clone Jesus to bring about the end of the world? Did you know they hid the cross, and then ordained 12 new apostles — virtually none of whom were Catholic — to guard clocks that contained clues to the cross' whereabouts? Did you know that Einstein was one of these secret new Apostles, and that his magic Jesus clock existed only in his mind? No? Then you clearly weren't one of the five people who watched Zero Hour.
5) Oda Nobunaga, Onimusha
I don't know what the Japanese have against Oda Nobunaga, the samurai daimyo who basically began the process of unifying Japan in the 16th century (he died before he could finish it). Sure, he tried to unify Japan through war, but that was pretty standard procedure at the time, but by all accounts he was no less honorable or more evil than any other leader of the day. But Japan loves to portray Nobunaga as being extremely evil for some reason. Nowhere is this more obvious than the Onimusha videogame series, where he is a Demon Lord who tries to unify Japan by unleashing an army of demons on the land. He also tried to turn himself into a giant evil golden statue and, what that didn't work, basically sent demons throughout time (including modern-day Paris for some reason).
6) Alice Liddell, Warehouse 13
The young girl who inspired Lewis Caroll to write Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by all account lived a quiet, private life in reality; in Warehouse 13… not so much. Her insanity began when she accidentally shot and killed her mother during a tea party at Carroll's place, at which point she became a rather talented serial killer before being trapped in a magic mirror. In modern times, a freak accident released her from the mirror but with the ability to basically take over people's bodies (as their spirits became trapped in the mirror in lieu of hers), forcing the Warehouse agents to recapture not once but twice.
7) Leonardo Da Vinci, SHIELD
There's no need to explain who Da Vinci is or what he did, so let's just get into how insane he is in Jonathan Hickman's SHIELD comic. He joined the Brotherhood of the Shield in the 15th century, assembled a team of heroes dedicated to protecting earth and its inhabitants, who were the first people to defeat Galactus. As a time-traveler, he's also an agent of the SHIELD of the 1950s, who ran around adventuring with Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic's dads, and picked a fight with the immortal (and kind of evil) Sir Isaac Newton, created a giant telescope specifically to look for the Phoenix Force and, began an ill-advised secret organization called the Great Wheel of Zodiac accidentally helped form HYDRA. Busy dude!
8) Commodore Perry, Code Geass: Tales of an Alternate Shogunate
In 1852, Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the U.S. Navy, arrived in Nagasaki, the only city in Japan that was open to foreigners at the time. Perry, through negotiation and a demonstration of the U.S. ships' incredible firepower, managed to open several the trading port, guarantee American safety around the island nation, and more. In the Code Geass: Tales of an Alternate Shogunate manga (an Elseworlds-type side story to the regular manga and anime), much the same thing happens, except Perry forces Japan open with Geass, a power to command anybody to do anything he says, and also his ship flies and turns into a giant robot.
9) Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
I guess in a sense, this book and movie only changed one intrinsic thing about America's 16th president — he moonlighted as a vampire hunter. It's not that elaborate a change as compared to some of these entries. However, AL:VH ups the ante by based not only Lincoln's life into entirely around the actions of vampires, but the Civil War as well. Vampires kill Lincoln's family; vampires torment his wife Mary Todd; a rogue vampire spends 10 years teaching him to twirl an axe like a baton and become the perfect vampire-slaying machine. As for the Civil War, according to the story slavery mainly existed so that vampires had easy access to snacks, and thus the war to end slavery was fought not to much for basic human rights as to prevent the United states from becoming a country populated entirely by the undead and their food supply.
10) Nikola Tesla, Sanctuary
Everybody loves the brilliant inventor, engineer and futurist Nikola Tesla, and given that he was dicked over by Thomas Edison in the early 20th century, a lot of shows, comics, and other assorted entertainment have portrayed him as a hero of sorts. This is not the case, however, in Sanctuary, where he is a half-vampire with magnetic powers. He gives every country on earth plans for a death ray during World War II (in a very bizarre attempt to stop the war), managed to create vampire zombies by injecting corpses with his blood and then electrocuting them, and other assorted shenanigans. In this Tesla's defense, however, he does help out the team save the world on a few occasions, so he does get a bit nicer as the show progresses.
11) Jack the Ripper, Black Butler
The famous 19th-century murderer Jack the Ripper has also starred in many a fictional tale, including Sanctuary, where he's a semi-immortal psychopath with teleportation powers. But this version is practically factual as compared to Jack in the Black Butler anime, set at the same time, where the killer is actually two people — a female abortion doctor who begins to hate her patients and then an actual Grim Reaper, a supernatural being who collects people souls, who has turned his scythe into a chainsaw. This Grim Reaper is also the doctor's butler, although he's not the series titular butler — that's another demon in disguise. Anime is wacky.
12) Adolf Hitler, Grimm
Imagining noted fuckwit and all around villain Adolf Hitler as a demon, alien, or pawn of demons are aliens is such a popular pastime in fiction that it actually has its own TV Tropes page. But I'm going to give the edge to the TV show Grimm's explanation for Hitler, which is that he is a Wesen (creatures that appear human but are actually beasts and monsters responsible for most fairy tales), specifically a Schakal, a jackal-type Wesen that enjoys stealing jewelry and eating babies. Just outright claiming Hitler ate babies in addition to all his other heinous crimes is pretty impressive, I feel. Oh, and Hitler also had some magic coins drove people insane, so that probably didn't help matters either.
13) Gustave Eiffel, The Umbrella Academy
The civil engineer and architect of the Eiffel Tower created dozens of buildings, bridges and more in his illustrious career before retiring to study aerodynamics and meteorology. It was a life slightly quieter than the one posited in Gerard Way's comic The Umbrella Academy, in which the Eiffel Tower is secretly a giant, mobile weapon of mass destruction, piloted by a robotic, zombified Eiffel himself, than had to be put down by superpowered 10-year-olds. Unless France knows something they're not telling us.
14) Vlad Tepes, Pretty Much Everything
What? It's infinitely harder to find a book, movie, show, comic, or whatever that doesn't claim the real life ruler of Wallachia drank blood, is immortal, can only be killed by a stake through the heart, and may or may not be able to turn into mist, a wolf, or a cloud of bats.