The historical record of earthquakes is a crucial data resource for seismic hazard analysis. In every region, the largest events are rare, and difficult to parameterize. Where such events are associated with the ruptures of mapped faults, defining the extent of possible fault ruptures is an important task which is guided by historical precedent. Traditionally, in seismic hazard analysis, if a particular rupture geometry had not been observed, it was not included in a seismic source model. Seeing is believing is an empirical principle which fails to recognize the fundamental stochasticity of earthquake occurrence. A fault rupture that happened in the past is just one of numerous ways in which seismic energy might have been dynamically released. There are important lessons to be learned for risk assessment by reimagining earthquake history. A number of salient examples from around the world are given of this counterfactual risk perspective.