Ridiculous History

By iHeartRadio

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Category: History

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Subscribers: 4065
Reviews: 13

A Podcast Republic user
 Sep 3, 2020

Keriel
 Jun 17, 2020
I don't even like history, and yet here I am listening to these guys every time a new episode comes out.


 Mar 30, 2020

Ev
 Mar 6, 2020
good show, the hosts have great soothing voices, funny bits, and educational, you so rarely hear about these obscure and hillarious topics

me
 Aug 2, 2019
it's pretty solid sometimes

Description

History is beautiful, brutal and, often, ridiculous. Join Ben Bowlin and Noel Brown as they dive into some of the weirdest stories from across the span of human civilization in Ridiculous History, a podcast by iHeartRadio.

Episode Date
The Case of the Greenbrier Ghost, Part 1: An 'Everlasting Faint'
2577
When Elva Zona Heaster passed away, the town doctor attributed the death to a heart attack. Elva's mother disagreed. Convinced that her daughter visited her from beyond the grave, Mary Jane Heaster brought the case into court - and the jury would consider the second-hand testimony of a ghost. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 28, 2020
The Hand of Glory, Part Two: Recipes, Necropants and Toes
1408
Like any recipe, instructions for creating a Hand of Glory often varied - which one was considered legitimate? Also, the guys explore the odd, morbid magical item known as 'necropants,' and discuss the specifics of drinking beverages containing a severed human toe. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 22, 2020
The Hand of Glory, Part One: A Thief's Theme
2280
If you were an enterprising thief in the days of yore, there were few legendary tools as valuable as the grisly Hand of Glory -- the severed hand of criminal, magically treated to create a macabre, powerful talisman. Join the guys as they delve into the dubious origins of this strange creation in the first part of this two-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 20, 2020
Brooms and Witchcraft, Part Two: Inquisitions and Iniquity
2024
Could the stereotype of witches on broomsticks actually be a drug reference? Join Ben, Noel and Casey as they continue digging through the history and folklore of witchcraft -- and how it affected pop culture in the modern day -- in the conclusion of this 2-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 15, 2020
Brooms and Witchcraft, Part One: A Killer in the Rye?
2065
Most people are familiar with the stereotypical image of a witch: a haggard, often older individual with a peaked hat, black robes, a demonic familiar and, oddly enough, a penchant for cruising around on broomsticks. But where did that last, weirdly specific, trope of flying on a broomstick actually come from? Join the guys as they explore the bizarre (and racy) theories behind the story in part one of this two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 14, 2020
The Beast of Gévaudan, Part Two: The Birth of a Grisly Legend
1746
As the investigation into the Beast became a national obsession, the French monarchy stepped in, offering rewards (and threats) in their attempt to capture the murderous creature. In part two of this episode, Ben, Noel and Casey explore the end of the tale (tail? Nevermind.) and the mystery of the case that remains unsolved in the modern day. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 09, 2020
The Beast of Gévaudan, Part One: Murders In France
2337
For three years, a monster terrified the backwater region of Gévaudan. From 1764 - 1767, people found the mutilated corpses, one by one, across the countryside. The press of the time, unable to cover political stories, brought the story of The Beast to France at large. A legend was born. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 07, 2020
The BBC Convinced People Spaghetti Grows on Trees
3072
On the first of April in 1957, cameraman Charles de Jaeger's childhood dream came true: Panorama, Britain's most popular news program, aired a segment describing the traditional method of harvesting spaghetti from trees. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 02, 2020
The US Waged War on Pinball for Decades
3132
Today, pinball is seemed as a sort of retro novelty -- it's enjoyable, kitschy and wholesome. But for decades, political officials in cities across the United States worried pinball might lead to the downfall of the nation's children, become a driving force for organized crime, and dissolve the moral fabric of the US. So what led to this odd war on pinball -- and why aren't people worried about these games in the modern day? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 29, 2020
The Misadventures of Wade Boggs, Part Two
2353
Wade Boggs is a legendary, larger-than-life figure in the world of sports -- but one of his strangest achievements has nothing to do with baseball. Join the guys and special guest, Matthew Waxman, the creator of Trickeration, as they delve into the legend of Wade's 107 beer airplane flight... and walk through some very boozy math to discover whether the legend is true. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 25, 2020
The Misadventures of Wade Boggs, Part One
3241
Wade Boggs has always been regarded as a legend, both on and off the ballfield. However, some of his strangest experiences have very little to do with baseball. Join Ben, Noel, and special guest Matthew Waxman, the creator of Trickeration, as they explore the bizarre story of the Wade Boggs sex scandal. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 22, 2020
The Tragic Tale of the 'Turnspit Dog'
2532
Before the rise of household automation, British elites struggled to find the perfect method for cooking meat. They preferred it roasted, slowly, turning continually on a spit to evenly distribute heat. Yet this backbreaking labor proved too difficult for even the most spry peasant child, and so they turned to an innovative (if cruel) alternative: Breeding dogs specifically to turn meat spits. These 'Turnspit Dogs' occupied one of the lowest rungs in the hierarchy of any noble kitchen, living brutal lives of endless toil on what were essentially hamster wheels. Listen in to learn the tragic tale of the 'Turnspit Dog.' Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 17, 2020
Knocker-Uppers: The Human Alarm Clocks of the Industrial Age
2260
When adapting to life as factory employees, members of the British and Irish public confronted a new, unexpected obstacle -- how do you make sure you wake up in time for your shift? While predecessors of the alarm clock existed, they were unreliable (and incredibly expensive). And so enterprising people across the land started their own wake-up service, becoming the human alarm clocks affectionately known as 'Knocker-Uppers.' Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 15, 2020
That Time New York City Rioted Over Shakespeare
3326
Don't let reality television and wrestling fool you -- celebrity rivalries are a tale as old as entertainment itself. In 1849, the rivalry between two Shakespearean actors culminated in a massive riot that would leave more than 20 people dead in the street. Listen in to learn more about the infamous Shakespeare riot... as well as the sociocultural tensions that actually drove the fray. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 10, 2020
Babies in Incubators were Once a Sideshow Attraction
2835
Nowadays, incubators are a common sight in hospitals across the US -- but, once upon a time, this life-saving technology was treated like a sideshow attraction. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to 'Infantoriums' to marvel at how incubators were able to keep babies born prematurely both healthy and safe. And, the publicity generated by these side shows may be, in part, the reason this technology is in hospitals today. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 08, 2020
The Rise of the US Camel Corps
2920
In the years leading to the US Civil War, Uncle Sam searched for some way to safely traverse the desert. Horses, mules and humans alike often died of thirst in the unforgiving climate. Jefferson Davis, the the Secretary of War, proposed the military consider an ancient solution: Camels. Tune in to learn more about the rise (and fall) of the US Camel Corps. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 03, 2020
The United Kingdom Has A Weird Thing With Swans
2865
In the days before London found itself riddled with Rolodexes and Lamborghinis, the Crown controlled a now-obscure status symbol: the swan. Every single unmarked swan was the property of the Crown -- and woe betide those who touched a swan without express permission. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 02, 2020
Introducing: 'Criminalia'
121
Humans have always committed crimes. What can we learn from the criminals and crimes of the past, and have humans gotten better or worse over time? Criminalia is brought to you by Shondaland Audio and iHeartRadio and new episodes release every Tuesday. Listen on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 28, 2020
The Nazi Super Horse Program, Part 2: A Horse-filled Heist
2019
As the tide of war turns toward the inevitable defeat of the Nazis, the staff of the secret horse farm fear the oncoming, starving Russian forces will consume their prized Lippizaner horses. In desperation, the farm turns to an unlikely source for help -- the US Army. Tune in as Ben and Noel explore the strange story of the Nazi super horse program. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 27, 2020
The Nazi Super Horse Program, Part 1: Equine Eugenics
2165
Adolf Hitler was inarguably a terrible person. He was also weirdly focused on resurrecting Germany's horse industry. Tune in as Ben and Noel explore the strange story of the Nazi super horse program. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 25, 2020
Railroad Tycoons Decided What Time It Is Now
2568
Nowadays the world is divided into a series of 'time zones.' Yet before the 1880s, towns across the United States ran on a sort of local time -- when you left one town, you often traveled slowly enough to adjust, without much hassle, to the new time in the next community. So, where did this concept of standardized time come from? Spoiler alert: Desperate railroad companies. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 21, 2020
Why do people 'christen' ships with champagne?
2739
We've all heard about the practice of smashing a champagne bottle against the hull of a ship before launching it -- but where does this practice come from? Join the guys as they delve into the surprisingly ancient practice of commemorating ship launches, from ancient Babylon to the modern day. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 19, 2020
The Hidden History of Jewish Pirates, Part 2: Famous Privateers
2730
During the age of European expansion, members of the Jewish diaspora traveled to Caribbean and the continents of North and South America, often escaping the intense persecution of the Inquisition. Some became merchants, others explorers -- and some became pirates. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the little-known stories of specific Jewish pirates and privateers that changed the course of history as we know it in the second part of this two-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 14, 2020
The Hidden History of Jewish Pirates, Part 1: Escaping Europe
1589
During the age of European expansion, members of the Jewish diaspora traveled to Caribbean and the continents of North and South America, often escaping the intense persecution of the Inquisition. Some became merchants, others explorers -- and some became pirates. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the little-known stories of these pirates and privateers, and why Jamaica became known as a haven for those fleeing European persecution. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 11, 2020
Ridiculous "Remedies" of the Spanish Flu: The Rise of the Lemon
2955
Have you ever used a home remedy when under the weather? Some, like honey and lemon (and whiskey) for a sore throat, remain common today. In 2020, other treatments people once swore by seem -- I hesitate to say it -- ridiculous. In the early 20th century, people were desperate to find a cure or treatment for the flu. They tried any number of things that may seem bizarre today, and part of that panic led to the lemon becoming a household staple across the United States. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 07, 2020
That Time Rebellious Freemasons Starting Kissing Porcelain Pug Butts
3088
We've all heard about Freemasons -- but what about the Order of the Pug? Join the guys as they explore the strange series of events that led German Masons to create their own secret society, embodied by a porcelain sculpture of a pug. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 04, 2020
Clever Hans, Part 2: The Rise and Fall of Hans
1925
Unconvinced by claims of this horse's mathematical acumen, psychologist Oskar Pfungst conducted a series of experiments to determine whether Clever Hans was actually solving problems. Pfungst discovered there were serious issues with Hans's 'performance' ... but he also, in a roundabout way, ended up proving Hans was, in some ways, more clever than the average person. Ben also pitches a stunning conclusion to a (fake) movie about Hans's life post-fame. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 30, 2020
Clever Hans, Part 1: The Equine Mathematician
2186
Back in the early 20th century, retired teacher Wilhelm von Osten had a dream -- to exhibit the gifts of his brilliant horse, Clever Hans, to the world. Wilhelm believed Hans was capable of solving pretty advanced math problems, working out the sums in his head and communicating them to humans through a system of hooftaps. And Clever Hans took the German public by storm -- what could this mean? If animals like Hans were this intelligent, could they also have a consciousness or a soul? Some people were over the moon about Hans... and others remained unconvinced. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 28, 2020
Henry VIII and That English Sweat, Part 2: A Disease and a King
1855
While history often only remembers Henry VIII as a real pill, he was also a profound hypochondriac -- and, rightly terrified of contracting the English Sweats, Henry hightailed it to a series of safehouses as he sought to isolate himself from any possible infection. Join the guys as they continue exploring the long-term consequences of the mysterious English Sweats. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 23, 2020
Henry VIII and That English Sweat, Part 1: A Pandemic
2325
Beginning in 1485, a mysterious disease swept in waves across England. No one was sure how it spread, no treatment existed, and the disease took the name of its most memorable symptom. The English sweating sickness seemed to have a taste for the wealthy, and the bulk of fatalities were English. The last widespread outbreak of sweating sickness was reported in 1551 -- after that, the disease vanished. Along the way, it made a king of Henry VIII. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 22, 2020
The Hobo King: Leon Ray Livingston, Chapter Two
2645
As the Great Depression devastates the nation, roughly 2 million people find themselves out of home and hope, migrating toward distant promises of jobs, distant family members -- some distant idea of a better life. The concept of the 'hobo' becomes a mainstream concern. Leon Ray Livingston warns about living a life "on the road." Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 17, 2020
The Hobo King: Leon Ray Livingston, Chapter One
2321
Born in San Francisco, an 11-year-old ran away from home, living and writing about his travels. Hailed as a self-coronated 'Hobo King,' Livingston made his own mythology, creating tropes that survive in the modern day. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 15, 2020
The Vikings Made a Fortune in the 'Unicorn' Trade
3055
Nowadays, experts and equestrians alike largely agree: unicorns are creatures of myth. But, not too long ago, the wealthiest people in Europe would pay top dollar for everything from powdered 'unicorn' dust, to fragments or full specimens of 'unicorn' horn, convinced these supernatural relics had curative powers, capable of saving them from poison. So what was really going on here? Join the guys as they delve into the strange story of the unicorn trade, bust some Viking myths and shoutout the excellent, underrated film The Last Unicorn (Ben here: I swear it still holds up). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 09, 2020
Did People Really Throw Tar And Feathers On Each Other?
2652
It's true -- people used to throw tar on other people, then shake feathers on them as a specific form of legally-sanctioned punishment. Where did the concept of tarring and feathering a person actually come from, and how did it spread throughout the world? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 07, 2020
Kate Warne, the Pinkerton Detective Who Saved Abe Lincoln, Part 2: To Rescue A President
2703
While Kate Warne had numerous adventures (and brilliantly solved multiple high-profile cases), her most well-known work with pinkerton involved none other than Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. In the conclusion of special two-part series, the guys continue exploring Kate Warne's adventures with Jo Piazza, the award-winning author, journalist, and host of the new podcast, Fierce. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 02, 2020
Kate Warne, the Pinkerton Detective Who Saved Abe Lincoln, Part 1: The Origin Story
2388
Kate Warne wasn't just the first female private investigator in the US -- she was also one of the best Pinkerton detectives in the history of the agency. In this special two-part series, the guys join forces with award-winning author and journalist, Jo Piazza, the host of Fierce, to learn more about the mysterious origins of the one and only Kate Warne. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 01, 2020
What is Fudge, Part 2: The Rebellion
1851
The students of Vassar thrived despite a system of Victorian -- near Orwellian -- control. In a time when these college students were not allowed to have agency over their own diet, they rebelled, popularizing the confection known as fudge today. Other students at elite institutions joined in, and soon contemporaneous newspapers noted fudge as both a desert and a rebellion against prevailing social norms. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 25, 2020
What is Fudge, Part I: The Science, The Curious Name
1897
Nowadays, most people in the global West associate fudge with the idea of a homemade, homely confection. Yet once upon a time, this dangerously delightful, sugar-laden snack was the domain of the elite. Learn more about the origin of fudge here -- and tune in for part two of our series: Fudge As Rebellion. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 23, 2020
The North Pole, Part 2: The Chase To The North
2964
The Mercator Projection continues to inform explorers, many of whom send their own appropriative versions of the Mythical North. Join Ben, Casey and Noel as they ask: Who actually discovered the North Pole? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 19, 2020
The North Pole, Part I: Maps and Legends
2118
In 1569, Gerardus Mercator creates the first world map. It's the predecessor of the cartoonishly inaccurate Mercator projection, and this math guides people toward what they believe to be the North Pole. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 17, 2020
The Mysterious Origin of (and Disturbing Problems with) the "Wolf Whistle"
2471
It's one of those iconic 'you know it when you hear it' sounds - the two-note whistle made famous in old Tex Avery cartoons and multiple films of yesteryear. But what is the wolf whistle? Where did it actually come from, and how did it go from being such a popular trope to something (thankfully) so rare in the modern day? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 12, 2020
World War I and the Rise of the Peat Moss Bandage
2434
War often drives innovation — often out of desperation. In World War I, doctors were overwhelmed and dangerously short on supplies, especially bandages. With no end in sight for the cotton shortage, ingenious doctors found an unlikely (and superior) alternative: peat moss. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 10, 2020
Flashback: Unforeseen Consequences Throughout History: Part 2
2038
How did air conditioning fundamentally change the course of U.S. politics? What does the Y.M.C.A. have to do with cigarettes? Join Ben and Casey as they welcome special guest, Sean Braswell, to learn more about the strange stories of everything from air conditioning to kudzu in part two of this two-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 05, 2020
Flashback: Unforeseen Consequences Throughout History: Part 1
2690
How did air conditioning fundamentally change the course of U.S. politics? What does the Y.M.C.A. have to do with cigarettes? Join Ben and Casey as they welcome special guest, Sean Braswell, to learn more about the strange stories of everything from air conditioning to kudzu in part one of this two-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 03, 2020
Louis Wain, the Godfather of Cat Memes: Part 2
2978
Before the days of WiFi, Reddit, nyan cat and grumpy cat alike, one man set the art world on fire with his increasingly bizarre paintings and sketches of cats. Join Ben, Noel and Casey as they welcome special guest Gabe Luzier on air (finally!) to explore the strange story of Louis Wain in the conclusion of this special two-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 29, 2020
Louis Wain, the Godfather of Cat Memes: Part 1
2217
If you're listening to podcast, you definitely know about cat memes. At this point, they're almost like an internet currency all their own. But far before the days of WiFi, Reddit, nyan cat and grumpy cat alike, one man set the art world on fire with his increasingly bizarre paintings and sketches of cats. Join Ben, Noel and Casey as they welcome special guest Gabe Luzier on air (finally!) to explore the strange story of Louis Wain. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 27, 2020
Feedsack Fashion: How Thrifty Inventiveness Transformed America
2528
In the early 20th century, rural US residents were all-too-accustomed to scraping by, often by any means necessary. Families without the means to buy what they wanted invented ingenious ways of recycling or reusing as much as they possibly could -- you mended the tools you could not replace, you worked with what little food you had -- and, in this spirit, you made the clothes you couldn't afford to buy. Thus was the feedsack dress born. Bags of livestock feed and flour sacks were reused to create everything from undergarments to dresses and bedsheets. Join the guys as they explore how this reinventive strategy of using commercial packaging for clothing was first mocked, then lionized, then emulated by the nation overall. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 22, 2020
Emperor Tiberius Was Debauched, Deranged and Probably Not Fun At Parties
2928
When Emperor Tiberius first ascended to the throne in AD 14, he seemed to be a principled reformer set on cleaning up the empire -- checking excesses and abuses, erasing loopholes and banning astrologers. However, the death of his son seemed to push him into a severely unbalanced mental state. His paranoia and cruelty were extreme (even for an Emperor) and, eventually, he found he preferred to eschew politics altogether, reigning as Emperor in name alone from the isolated island of Capri, where he reputedly engaged in all manner of depraved, hedonistic sexual acts before returning, years later, to terrorize Rome. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 20, 2020
The Return of Historical Flexes, Part Two: Flexcessiveness
1990
History is riddled with bizarre stories of flexes — things people of the past thought were somehow impressive at time. The Ridiculous Historians are fascinated by these strange stories, as are their friends at The Daily Zeitgeist. Join Ben and Noel as they welcome returning guests Jack O'Brien and Miles Gray, hosts of The Daily Zeitgeist, to explore more of history's weirdest flexes, from Henry Ford's weird town in Brazil to Stalin's forced drinking parties. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 14, 2020
The Return of Historical Flexes, Part One: 2 Flex 2 Furious
2845
History is riddled with bizarre stories of flexes — things people of the past thought were somehow impressive at time. The Ridiculous Historians are fascinated by these strange stories, as are their friends at The Daily Zeitgeist. Join Ben and Noel as they welcome returning guests Jack O'Brien and Miles Gray, hosts of The Daily Zeitgeist, to explore more of history's weirdest flexes, from predecessors of photoshop to one of the world's bloodiest revenge stories and more. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 12, 2020
The Authors Of Curious George Were On The Run From Nazis
2074
Today, Curious George is a world-famous star of children's books -- but back in the day, his name was Fifi, and his creators, the Rey couple, were desperate to flee France as Nazi forces pushed ever closer to Paris. Tune in to learn how Curious George saved his own creators not once, not twice, but three separate times. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 08, 2020
Introducing: Flashback an iHeartRadio and Ozy Original Podcast
224
Our first season connects the dots on 10 incredible tales of unintended consequences that changed history, from Henry Ford’s role in the Oklahoma City bombing to the home appliance that changed the landscape of American politics. Subscribe wherever you get your podcast! https://ihr.fm/3frAnnB Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 06, 2020
People Used To Straight Up Drink Gold
2210
For millennia various luminaries have claimed precious metals have special curative powers -- and, back in the day, people used to actually drink it. They were convinced the ingestion of gold would prevent them from aging, wrinkling and growing frail. So how did this would-be beauty secret actually affect people's bodies? Tune in to learn more about drinking gold. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 05, 2020
New Zealand's Tragic (And Pretty Hilarious) Exploding Pants Epidemic
2141
For a brief span of time, farmers in New Zealand were baffled by a bizarre phenomenon -- their pants were smoldering, catching fire, and sometimes exploding, seemingly at random. So what exactly happened? Join the guys as they delve (and solve) the mystery of New Zealand's exploding pants. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 01, 2020
That Time Trainwrecks Became a Spectator Sport
2348
Nowadays, most people use the term 'trainwreck' to describe a situation gone catastrophically wrong, but back in the glory days of the railroad, trainwrecks -- actual trainwrecks -- became PR stunts and spectator sports. Tune in to learn more about of the Crash at Crush. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 28, 2020
Introducing: News O’Clock
154
Hayes Brown and Casey Rackham will be bringing the world outside your apartment straight to your ears. Top headlines, television, books, the election, music, pop culture, the coronavirus, it’s all here. News O'Clock is now available. Listen here. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 24, 2020
Miguel de Cervantes and the Case of the Fake Don Quixote
2480
Nowadays, "The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha" has no shortage of accolades. You'll hear it called the first modern novel, one of the greatest works in the Spanish canon and so on -- and it's always been a blockbuster, even when the first part of the novel initially published back in 1605. The 1605 volume ends with a tease of a sequel, one that Cervantes would later publish in 1615. But there's a twist -- in 1614, someone else published a sequel of their own. Cervantes was livid, broke, and thirsting for revenge. Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 23, 2020
The CIA Paid War Spies with Stuff From the Sears Catalog
2013
When CIA agent Jon Wiant began growing a spy operation in Vietnam, he ran into a pickle: the locals he wanted to hire lived in rural areas along the boarder with Laos, and they existed primarily in a barter economy -- they wanted some sort of payment, but they didn't want currency. What's a spymaster to do? Listen in to learn how Jon Wiant used the famous Sears catalog to create a barter system of his own. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 21, 2020
The Bottle Jumping Hoax (And Riot)
2279
In 1749 London, a mob of people gathered outside The Theatre Royal -- the city was abuzz with excitement over a recent advertisement promising an amazing performance: a magician was planning to perform a number of extraordinary feats -- he would name strangers, play music on walking sticks and more. Most impressively, he would, through the use of magic, climb into a normal-sized wine bottle. One problem: This was the result of a secret, cynical bet. And when the magician didn't deliver (or even show up), a riot ensued. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 17, 2020
The Bizarrely Disturbing History of People Jumping Out of Cake
3048
It's an old trope, and a familiar one: Four and twenty blackbirds flying from a pie, a scantily-clad woman emerging from a giant cake. Nowadays it's often thought of as a trope in folklore -- but where did it come from? Join Ben, Noel and Casey as they explore the weird, ridiculous history of living things jumping from baked goods. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 15, 2020
HL Hunley: The Mysterious Demise of a Civil War Submarine, with Rachel Lance
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On the evening of February 17th, 1864, the HL Hunley became the first submarine in history to successfully sink an enemy ship. Immediately after this attack, the HL Hunley disappeared. More than a century passed. Join the gang with Rachel Lance, author of In The Waves, as they dive into the mystery of the Hunley. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 10, 2020
Dromomania: The Wanderlust Disease
2433
In the 1890s, France found itself in the groups of a bizarre, troubling epidemic -- scores of men were, apparently, wandering off in a trance-like state, only to come to their senses days or weeks later, sometimes miles from home, or even in a different country. Physicians called it dromomania, or 'pathological tourism.' But what was the root cause of this seemingly contagious disorder? Join the guys as they dive into the mystery of seemingly inescapable wanderlust. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 08, 2020
Key West, Florida Declared a One-Minute War on the United States
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It's true -- once upon a time the isolated town of Key West, Florida not only seceded from the Union, but declared war on the United States (for about sixty seconds). Tune in to learn more about the short-lived Conch Republic. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 03, 2020
That Time the US Literally Banned Sliced Bread
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You've probably heard the old saying "the best thing since sliced bread" -- and back in the day, people in the US were genuinely over the moon about presliced bread, thanks to the work of Otto Rohwedder and his automatic bread slicer. Yet during World War II, panic over the country's food supply led to a brief ban on presliced bread... and that's when things got ugly. Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 01, 2020
Two Green Children Mystified Woolpit, England
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Imagine you're working in a field in the tiny community of 12th-century Woolpit, England, and encounter two green-skinned children with no knowledge of your language, a strangely specific diet, and a mystifying origin story. What would you do? Join the guys as they explore the strange story of the mysterious 'Green Children' of Woolpit, England, separating fact from folklore in an attempt to discern the truth at the heart of the myth. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 27, 2020
Pepsi Briefly Became the Sixth Largest Navy in the World
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At multiple, pivotal moments in the Cold War, Pepsi and Coke waged Cola wars all their own. The guys team up for the first episode of Ridiculous History: Quarantine. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 25, 2020
The Ponzi Scheme with Chelsea Ursin
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Nowadays most people are familiar with the term 'Ponzi scheme' -- but where does it come from? How did the scheme work, and why is it called a Ponzi scheme today? Chelsea Ursin, Boston native and creator of Dear Young Rocker, joins the guys to explore the fascinating, ridiculous story behind the Ponzi scheme. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 20, 2020
The History of MREs with Jacqueline Raposo
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It's often said that an army marches on its stomach, and for thousands of years the world's militaries tried to feed their forces on the march (often with mixed success). Join the guys and Jacqueline Raposo, creator of Service: Veteran Stories of Hunger and War, as they explore the strange story of army food, from its ancient origins to the modern day. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 17, 2020
Donald Crowhurst Faked a Race Around the World
2444
Sailing around the world is a dangerous proposition, even in the modern day — now imagine doing it by yourself in the 1960s! That's what underdog Donald Crowhurst claimed to do... except he made the whole thing up. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 13, 2020
Calvin Coolidge Skipped Town and Went Fishing for Three Months (While He was President)
2516
Widely known as a taciturn man who liked public gatherings even less than he liked people, Calvin Coolidge was often ridiculed by the press -- reporters regularly followed his movements in hopes of gathering new, ridiculous anecdotes about him. So it's no surprise that about 30 reporters followed him when he headed off for a fishing-themed vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota... but what happens when the President decides his three-week vacation will last for three months? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 11, 2020
The Presidential Dinner That Scandalized America
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Breaking bread with your fellow humans has long been acknowledged as fantastic, wholesome way to bond with people outside of social conventions, economic status and so on -- but when Teddy Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House, people across the the United States lost their collective minds. The idea that the activist and the president would dine together drove racists mad, and some activists in Booker's community accused him of being a sell-out. Tune in to learn how two guys grabbing some nosh scandalized America at the time -- but eventually pushed the nation in a better direction. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 05, 2020
Was the Lone Ranger Inspired by a Black U.S. Marshall?
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Bass Reeves was a larger than life figure -- a man who escaped slavery, taught himself multiple Native American languages, and eventually became one of the most well-known deputy US Marshalls in the entirety of the United States. Join the guys as they explore the thrilling story of Bass Reeves -- along with the speculation that he may have been the real life inspiration for the Lone Ranger. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 04, 2020
Night Soil Men Were the Unsung Heroes of Urban Sanitation
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While city life has its charms, it's not without its problems -- and some of those problems are real stinkers. In the days before widespread sewage systems, urban centers across the world struggled to solve one filthy dilemma: what do you do with all the poop? Between all the waste matter from horses, livestock, or, of course, humans, many cities were in a crisis mode as streets, latrines and even docks became unusable. The solution? The unsung heroes of early city life known as the night soil men. Join Ben and his returning guest Jonathan Strickland as they explore the strange, oddly inspiring story of the night soil men (and invent the phrase 'poop heist'). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 27, 2020
Introducing Rivals
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Starting February 26th, join Steven Hyden and Jordan Runtagh as they explore the most notorious feuds in the music business. The first two episodes of Rivals are now available. Listen here. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 26, 2020
The Tiny Spanish Town That Went To War With France For 100 Years
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Located two hours' drive inland along a winding potholed road from Almeria on Spain's southeastern Mediterranean coast, the small town of Lijar, Spain is notoriously difficult to find. Yet the town's tiny population sought to make an international impact in 1883 when they officially declared war on France for offending the Spanish king (France either didn't notice or didn't care). Join Ben and his surprise guest as they explore the strange story of Lijar's century long, bloodless, ridiculous war with France. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 26, 2020
The Great Diamond Hoax - Part 2
1614
The California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s did more than just move hundreds of thousands of people across the continent -- it also convinced these people that they, too, could strike it rich. This optimism attracted con artists and scamsters like moths to the proverbial flame. Philip Arnold and John Slack were no different -- but when these two men started the diamond hoax, they had no idea just how far it would go. Tune in for part one of this special two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 20, 2020
The Great Diamond Hoax - Part 1
2409
The California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s did more than just move hundreds of thousands of people across the continent -- it also convinced these people that they, too, could strike it rich. This optimism attracted con artists and scamsters like moths to the proverbial flame. Philip Arnold and John Slack were no different -- but when these two men started the diamond hoax, they had no idea just how far it would go. Tune in for part one of this special two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 19, 2020
Introducing Citizen Critic
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Starting February 10th, join musician Scott Janovitz and scientist Greg Conley as they critique the critics of some favorite and iconic movies, music, television, and more. In a world where everyone’s a critic, two heroes will rise, and criticize them. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 17, 2020
'Mad' Jack Churchill: The Bagpipe Playing Soldier Who Hunted Nazis with a Longbow - Part 2
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It sounds like something straight out of a Tarantino film -- a bloodthirsty, eccentric soldier welding a longbow and claymore against Nazis, then celebrating his exploits by wailing on some bagpipes. Oddly enough, this is a true story: John 'Mad Jack' Churchill was a real-life World War II soldier known for his love of anachronistic weapons and his near-suicidal attitude on the battlefield. Join the guys as they explore the strange story of Mad Jack in part two of this two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 13, 2020
'Mad' Jack Churchill: The Bagpipe Playing Soldier Who Hunted Nazis with a Longbow - Part 1
2018
It sounds like something straight out of a Tarantino film -- a bloodthirsty, eccentric soldier welding a longbow and claymore against Nazis, then celebrating his exploits by wailing on some bagpipes. Oddly enough, this is a true story: John 'Mad Jack' Churchill was a real-life World War II soldier known for his love of anachronistic weapons and his near-suicidal attitude on the battlefield. Join the guys as they explore the strange story of Mad Jack in part one of this two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 11, 2020
Erasto Mpemba: The High School Student Who Disproved Thermodynamics
2338
Let's say you put two containers of water in a freezer. Water in one container is at room temperature, while water in the other container is hot. Which one will freeze first? Many people would understandably assume the cooler water would be the first to freeze -- and that assumption, oddly, would prove to be incorrect. Join the guys as they delve into the story and struggle of young Erasto Mpemba, the student for whom the Mpemba effect is named, exploring his initial experiments all the way to the ongoing controversy over this strange phenomenon. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 06, 2020
The Straw Hat Riots of 1922
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The world of fashion has historically been a landmine of strange, seemingly arbitrary rules, from when to wear white around labor day to what constitutes appropriate dress for a given event. However, in the early 20th century, one particular rule about when to wear a straw or a felt hat came to a violent head in the United States, plunging the Big Apple into chaos. Join the guys as they explore the bizarre tale of the Straw Hat Riots of 1922. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 05, 2020
The Legend of Tarrare, the Insatiable Glutton Who Ate a Quarter of a Cow Daily
2823
What's the craziest thing you've ever eaten? Odds are you have nothing on the legendary Tarrare, the infamous Frenchman famous for eating everything from whole baskets of apples to rocks and — brace yourself — actual garbage. Join the guys as they dive into Tarrare's strange career, wondering how he was able to accomplish these dubious, troubling gastronomic feats. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jan 31, 2020
Why Genghis Khan's Great-Great Granddaughter Was Just as Badass
2464
Khutulun was the warrior daughter of Kaidu, and the great-great granddaughter of Genghis Khan. While she was fearless in battle and an accomplished hand-to-hand fighter, tradition dictated that she be married off to cement political alliances. One problem: Khutulun didn't consider herself the marrying type. She agreed in principle to the marry someone, with one crucial caveat -- to win her hand in matrimony, her future husband would have to best her in the wrestling ring. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jan 29, 2020
That Time Ernest Hemingway's Younger Brother Started His Own Country
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Most people have heard of Ernest Hemingway, but what about his younger brother, Leicester? 16 years Ernest's junior, Leicester seemed set to live in his older brother's shadow -- until, that is, he came up with a plan to get in the headlines all on his own. Writing novels was all well and good, thought Leicester, but why don't I start my own country? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jan 24, 2020
The Ersatz Wild West Shootouts of Palisade, Nevada
2424
During the glory days of the railroad era, the public was gripped by mythic, larger-than-life tales of the Wild West -- people reveled in visions of train robberies, shootouts and attacks by vicious ne'er-do-wells. When one train conductor told a resident of Palisade, Nevada that his passengers were bummed to learn the real west wasn't all that wild, the members of the small town joined forces and began staging their own, entirely fake, train robberies and bandit attacks. What started as a prank became an institution, and over the next few years Palisade would become home to hundreds of theatrical train robberies. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jan 22, 2020
The Great Goldfish Gulping Craze That (For Some Reason) Swept America
2639
It's no secret that kids do all sorts of dumb things -- but have you ever swallowed a live goldfish? If so, you're not alone. In fact, it wasn't so long ago that hundreds of college students across the United States began gulping live goldfish by the dozens. Tune in to learn why. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jan 16, 2020
Pneumatic Tubes: The 'Futuristic' Transport System That's Over 150-Years-Old
2749
Did you ever use on of those neat little pneumatic tubes at the drive-through of your local bank? If so, you may be surprised to learn just how far the roots of this technology date back. Join the guys as they explore the bizarre evolution of pneumatic tubes, from transporting parcels to packages, cats and even, once upon a time, people. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jan 15, 2020
Violet Jessop, the Unsinkable Stewardess Who Survived Three Famous Shipwrecks
2424
Have you ever been on a cruise ship? Have your ship ever sank? This happened not once, not twice, but three times to cabin attendant Violet Jessop. Tune in to learn more about how the resourceful (and lucky) Ms. Jessop lived through three shipwrecks — including the sinking of the Titanic. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jan 09, 2020
Introducing 9 Days in July
71
9 Days in July is a new podcast documentary series that explores each of the nine days of the Apollo 11 Mission--day by day--using never-before-heard audio from inside the spacecraft and from the consoles of Mission Control. Join host Brandon Fibbs and stow-away on this first-of-its-kind podcast journey into the stars. Episode One premieres December 12th, with new episodes every Thursday through February 6th. Listen to the first episode here. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jan 08, 2020
Abandoned Ship: What Really Happened Aboard the "Mary Celeste"?
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Once upon a time the Mary Celeste was just a ship like any other, ferrying goods to and fro across the oceans -- at least, that is, until December 1872, when the Canadian brigantine Dei Gratia found the Mary Celeste adrift and abandoned. The ship showed no signs of a struggle. The cargo was intact. The lifeboat was missing, but the occupants of the Mary Celeste were never seen again. Learn how this story became one of the most enduring (and misunderstood) mysteries in maritime history. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jan 07, 2020
That Time America Fell In Love With Competitive Walking
2670
While people often call baseball the "national pastime" of the United States, there was once another contender for this crown -- the sport known as pedestrianism, or competitive walking. It was exactly what it sounds like -- groups of people walking, often in a circle, while spectators gambled on the results. And, for a time, this sport captured the entire nation's attention. Join the guys as they take a stroll (get it?) down the historic lane of one of the country's strangest sports.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jan 02, 2020
The Weird Stories Behind Your Favorite Christmas Carols
2418
Christmas carols have a storied, strange history. Join the guys on the last day of 2019 as they crack open the eggnog and dive into the ridiculous histories of some of the season's most popular Christmas songs, from the story of 'Hopalong boots' to the weird tradition of wassailing. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Dec 31, 2019
The Time Salvador Dali Partnered with Walt Disney - Part 2
1806
Salvador Dali and Walt Disney weren't just two of the greatest artistic innovators of their time — they were also close friends with a bromance for the ages. Learn more about Dali and Disney's friendship (and how they almost made one of the weirdest cartoons of all time) in part 2 of this 2-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Dec 26, 2019
The Time Salvador Dali Partnered with Walt Disney - Part 1
2096
Salvador Dali and Walt Disney weren't just two of the greatest artistic innovators of their time — they were also close friends with a bromance for the ages. Learn more about Dali and Disney's friendship (and how they almost made one of the weirdest cartoons of all time) in part 1 of this 2-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Dec 24, 2019
Colonel Blood and the Theft of the Crown Jewels
3036
The grifter, adventurer, thief and (probable) spy known as Thomas Blood spent much of his life as a widely-known rogue and all-around scoundrel -- but when and he his followers attempted to steal the Crown Jewels of England from the Tower of London in 1671, he became a legend. Join the guys as they explore the strange story of this historical heist. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Dec 19, 2019
The Starving Time: When Jamestown Colonists Turned Cannibal, Part II
1637
While children are often taught a sanitized version of early American history, the reality of life in a European colony was brutal -- and, at times, fatal. During the winter of 1609 to 1610, the colonists of Jamestown struggled to survive siege, starvation and fractured leadership. As their stores of food ran low, the increasingly desperate colonists began to eat horses, pets, vermin, shoe leather and, eventually, one another. At least, that's the rumor. Join the guys as they separate the fact from fiction in the second part of this two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Dec 17, 2019
The Starving Time: When Jamestown Colonists Turned Cannibal, Part I
1895
While children are often taught a sanitized version of early American history, the reality of life in a European colony was brutal -- and, at times, fatal. During the winter of 1609 to 1610, the colonists of Jamestown struggled to survive siege, starvation and fractured leadership. As their stores of food ran low, the increasingly desperate colonists began to eat horses, pets, vermin, shoe leather and, eventually, one another. At least, that's the rumor. Join the guys as they separate the fact from fiction in the first part of this two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Dec 12, 2019
The Strange Tradition that Forced Everyone in New York to Move House on the Same Day
2559
It's no secret that moving can be a hassle -- the packing, preparation, time and money spent relocating from one home to another can be a huge pain. Now imagine if everyone in your town had to move on the same day. For decades this was the case in New York City, where all residents (for some reason) had to move on May 1st. Join the guys as they delve into the strange tradition that forced every resident of New York City to move on the same chaotic day. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Dec 10, 2019
French Waiters Once Had to Strike for Their Right to Wear Mustaches
2632
If you're going for controversial facial hair, there's not much that can top the hirsute hot take known as the mustache. While most people can generally do whatever they want with their facial today, this wasn't always the case. In fact, at the dawn of the 20th century, restaurant staff in France actually went on strike for their right to, among other things, rock a mustache. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Dec 05, 2019
Disorganized Crime Trailer
177
Host Rainbow Valentine discovers her artist mom and 'businessman' dad were deeply involved in the illegal drug trade and unknowingly spent her childhood among a massive pot distribution operation. As she talks with her father in intimate interviews, Rainbow Valentine uncovers a history of her childhood that causes her to reassess everything — and gives us a unique personal window into the infamous counter-culture of Marin County in the 70s and 80s -- from Ken Kesey's acid tests and the birth of the Grateful Dead to a drug culture that hardened and became more dangerous in response to the War On Drugs. Disorganized Crime is now available wherever you get your podcasts. Listen here. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Dec 04, 2019
The Honey Trap: Sex in Espionage Throughout History
1991
Sure, love at first sight may be a real thing -- but, occasionally, there's an ulterior motive involved. Join the guys as they explore the bizarre practice known as the Honey Trap, and why spies throughout history have used this technique to extract secrets, kidnap and even assassinate targets. Note: This episode contains mature content, and may not be suitable for all ages. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Dec 03, 2019
The Weird, Weird History of Shipping: Part II
1611
How far did the components of your phone travel to land in the palm of your hand? Nowadays, even the most mundane items can come from half a world away. This wasn't always the case -- join the guys as they explore the weird, weird world of shipping in this special two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nov 28, 2019
The Weird, Weird History of Shipping: Part I
2181
How far did the components of your phone travel to land in the palm of your hand? Nowadays, even the most mundane items can come from half a world away. This wasn't always the case -- join the guys as they explore the weird, weird world of shipping in this special two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nov 26, 2019
Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Who Called Out the Hypocrisy of Slavery, Part 2
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As Benjamin Lay continued his one-man protest against the hypocrisy of slavery in the Quaker community, he inspired some folks and frustrated others (primarily the elders of his community) with his increasingly over-the-top tactics. After being kicked out of one community after another, he eventually became a hermit of sorts -- though, even then, his story wasn't done. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nov 21, 2019
Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Who Called Out the Hypocrisy of Slavery, Part 1
2148
Nowadays, people often look back on U.S. Quakers as staunch abolitionists, but this wasn't always the case. In fact, when the Quakers first arrived on the continent they, like many other colonists, owned slaves. It was up to Benjamin Lay to bravely call out their hypocrisy, pointing to the discrepancy between their religious views and their earthly practices. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nov 19, 2019
How Bertha Heyman Conned Her Way Into Show Business
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Bertha Heyman was a notorious con artist with a robust rap sheet and a penchant for bilking well-to-do, otherwise shrewd men. Listen in to learn how Bertha's life of crime led her, oddly enough, into showbiz. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nov 14, 2019
That Time Germany Got Obsessed With Polar Bear Photos
2906
When French photo collector Jean-Marie Donat stumbled upon his first vintage picture of a German dressed as a polar bear, he initially thought it was just an odd historical anomaly -- at least, that is, until he found a second one. And then a third. And on, and on. Eventually Donat realized he'd stumbled across a bizarre photo trend: For decades Germany was obsessed photographs of people dressed as polar bears. So how did this trend get started, and why did it disappear? Listen in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nov 12, 2019
Rose Mackenberg: Houdini's Ghostbuster
2712
While the papers of the time relegated Rose Mackenberg to a sidekick role as the "girl detective" working with famed skeptic and escape artist Harry Houdini, this spiritualist-turned-spook-spy spent decades busting con artists purporting to be mediums. And, after Houdini's death in 1926, Rose Mackenberg continued her mission, exposing fraudulent ghost racketeers -- a genuine, real-life ghostbuster. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nov 07, 2019
Science and Spiritualism: Why were ghost stories so popular in the 1800s?
2910
Nowadays western historians tend to regard the scientific progress of the 19th century as a linear, indelible line from one breakthrough to the next. Yet these astonishing innovations in science occurred in step with a resurrection of paranormal belief. Why were ghost stories so prolific in this age? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nov 05, 2019
John of Bohemia, the Blind King Who Charged Into Battle
2198
We recount the epic tale of John of Bohemia, a 14th-century king who charged into the Battle of Crécy at age 50 - despite having been blind for the past ten years. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nov 01, 2019
Kakigōri: The Story of Japan's Famous Shaved Ice
2201
While this Japanese delicacy isn't the world's only icy dessert, it's certainly one of the most unique -- that iconic, delicate texture sets it apart. Kakigōri tastes like a treat fit for aristocrats and royalty, and that's no surprise: Back in the 11th century, that's exactly what Kakigōri was. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 30, 2019
John Edmonstone: The Man Who Trained Darwin
2271
Born into slavery in the 1700s, John Edmonstone gained his freedom in 1817 and moved to Edinburgh, where he stuffed birds for the Natural Museum and taught taxidermy to a young Charles Darwin. Tune in to learn more about the life and times of the man who not only taught Charles Darwin, but inspired him to explore the planet and, eventually, produce groundbreaking science that would forever change the way we think of the natural world. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 25, 2019
The Death of Luxury Air Travel
2816
Flying in an airplane is an enormous privilege, but nowadays it's often seen as an inconvenience more than anything else -- the crowding, the lines, the security check and so on can certainly take the magic out of a journey. Yet this wasn't always the case -- in decades past, air travel was the last word in mobile luxury. So what changed? Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 22, 2019
Introducing History VS.
125
In the podcast History Vs., we’ll explore how larger-than-life historical figures faced off against their greatest foes. In this inaugural season, we’re looking at Theodore Roosevelt’s incredible life using a convention that he, as a boxer, would have appreciated. Each episode, we’ll analyze how Roosevelt took on a particular challenge, from his debilitating childhood asthma and conflict within his family to conquering the hours of the day and preserving the world for the next generation. History VS. is now available. Listen here. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 21, 2019
The Bizarre Capitulation of Stettin
1716
When French General Antoine Lasalle first arrived at the Prussian-held city of Stettin in 1806, his odds of successfully capturing the community seemed laughably low -- Prussian Lieutenant General Friedrich Romberg had over 5,000 heavily-armed troops at his command, while Lasalle had less than 800 French soldiers. So how exactly did Lasalle convinced Romberg to not only surrender, but also cede his troops, arms and the fortress of Stettin overnight? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 17, 2019
John Wilkes Booth's Brother Saved Abraham Lincoln's Son
1955
Sometime in 1864 or 1865, Robert Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln, had a close call with death in a subway station when he was saved at the last minute by an honest-to-God celebrity -- Edwin Booth, one of the most famous actors of the day. Neither man knew their fates would intersect in a much more tragic fashion shortly thereafter, when Edwin's brother, actor John Wilkes Booth, would assassinate Robert's father Abraham. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Oct 16, 2019
John Clem: The 12-year Old Civil War Hero
2153
Although most soldiers in the U.S. Civil War were between 18 and 39, an estimated 20% of the soldiers were underage -- and thousands of those children were under the age of 15. John Lincoln Clem was one of the most extreme examples of this phenomenon, and remains one of the most well-known today. He joined up with the Union when he was only eleven years old, surviving multiple conflicts and living to the ripe old age of 85. But how did he feel about the practice of allowing children into battle? The answer might surprise you.

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Oct 10, 2019
Christopher Columbus Was Such A Jerk That Even Spain Turned Against Him
2641
For decades in the West, Christopher Columbus was often inaccurately portrayed as a pioneering explorer, his life, times and crimes sanitized in the public record. Schoolchildren learned rhymes about this individual, and in the US he was given an official holiday. However, the activities of the real Christopher Columbus fall far short of the image children were taught growing up. In fact, Columbus was such a dirtbag that, eventually, even the Spanish Crown turned against him.

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Oct 08, 2019
The Kaiser’s Plan to Invade the United States
2331
Kaiser Wilhelm II was nothing if not ambitious, and he had grand geopolitical plans to increase German influence across the planet. In his mind, there was one big roadblock in the way — the pesky United States. Join the guys as they explore the bizarre German plans to invade the U.S.

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Oct 03, 2019
How Uncle Tom's Cabin Became One of the Most Popular Books in China
2666
Published in 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin quickly reached international acclaim, becoming the best-selling novel of the 19th century, and the second-best selling book after the Bible. While this antislavery narrative profoundly affected American attitudes about slavery, the story also had a global reach -- in fact, a Chinese translation of Uncle Tom's Cabin became one of the hottest books of the late Qing Dynasty.

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Oct 01, 2019
Introducing Worst Year Ever
519
2020 isn't going to be fun for anybody, left, right, or center. What many call the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime is going to be exhausting, ugly, angry, and probably at least a little racist. Listen as Robert, Katy, and Cody try to keep level heads covering the election while traveling the country, from the Iowa Caucus to gun shows and anti-vaccine conventions, finding out what Real America really wants and thinks during the, “Worst Year Ever.”

The first two episodes are now available. Listen here.

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Sep 27, 2019
Tom Watson Gordy: How One Uncle’s Adventures Inspired Jimmy Carter to Join the Navy
3201
Former President Jimmy Carter has dedicated his life to public service, but even now few people know what exactly inspired him. Join Ben, Noel and special guest Ryan as they explore the astonishing adventures of Carter’s Uncle Tom Gordy — and how one man’s letter home set Carter on a path that would eventually lead to the presidency.

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Sep 27, 2019
Teddy Bears, Rhinos, Safari and Everywhere Else: A Conversation with Daniel Scheffler
2718
Although he was wildly popular during his final Presidential term (the world-famous Teddy Bear was even inspired by him), Theodore Roosevelt declined to run for the office again in 1908. Immediately after the inauguration of President Howard Taft in 1909, Roosevelt set out on his dream trip -- a safari across the African continent. Join the guys and special guest Daniel Scheffler, the host of Everywhere, as they explore the complicated, paradoxical relationship Roosevelt had with conservation and hunting, along with how a Teddy Bear inspired Daniel to travel to over 120 countries.

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Sep 24, 2019
The Gaspee Affair: Rhode Island’s Revolutionary “Tea Party”
1767
Most US residents are familiar with the famous Boston Tea Party - but it was far from the only conflict of this type. Join the guys as they explore Rhode Island’s Gaspee Affair, and why it’s sometimes called Rhode Island’s Boston Tea Party.

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Sep 19, 2019
Otto Rahn, The Nazi Occultist Who Hated Nazis and Inspired Indiana Jones
1997
Otto Rahn was a German writer obsessed with finding the Holy Grail -- and, despite being opposed to the Nazi party, as well as openly gay, Otto was financed by one of his biggest fans: Henrich Himmler, the infamous head of the SS. Himmler was convinced Rahn was on to something, pouring money into Rahn's expeditions to find the Grail. So what happened next?

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Sep 17, 2019
4 Times Women in the US Were Actually Arrested for Wearing Pants
3302
Today we take a look at a practice that many of us do every day without a second thought - namely, wear pants. However, for women throughout history, wearing pants has not always been such a trivial matter. Join Ben and special guest Christopher Hassiotis as they examine four times that women in the United States were arrested simply for wearing pants.

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Sep 13, 2019
Sir Francis Drake and the Great Iowa Swindle
2625
When Oscar Hartzell's mother met Milo and Sudie, she fell for a story too good to be true: She, as an heir to the fortune of Sir Francis Drake, was eligible to receive a large part of his treasure -- all she had to do was help pay for court costs in the UK. Yet when Oscar finally figured out the con, he joined forces with the fraudsters, eventually becoming the head of one of the largest scams of the age. Join Ben and special guest Christopher Hassiotis as they explore the bizarre rise (and fall) of Oscar Hartzell.

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Sep 10, 2019
Around the World in a Model T: The Story of Aloha Wanderwell
1998
Nowadays her name may be unfamiliar, but in the 1920s Aloha Wanderwell was an international celebrity, traveling hundreds of thousands of miles across the globe and filming her adventures. Tune in to learn more about the life and times of the explorer often called "the Amelia Earhart of the Automobile".

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Sep 05, 2019
Why George Washington is Huge in Barbados
3258
Before he became one of the leaders of the Revolutionary War, George Washington was just another young man with big dreams and no small amount of wanderlust. It’s no surprise, then, that he jumped at the chance to travel to Barbados with his elder half-brother. Join the guys as they sit down with special guest and research associate Ryan Beresch to learn more about Washington’s seven weeks in Barbados -- and how it fundamentally altered the course of his life.

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Sep 03, 2019
John Willis Menard: The First African American Elected To US Congress
1907
A statesman, editor, publisher, poet, activist and more, John Willis Menard was a true Renaissance man, and he dedicated his life to public service. Listen in to learn more about the life and times of John Willis Menard.

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Aug 30, 2019
The Bloody Revenge of Saint Olga of Kiev
2542
When the rebellious Drevlian tribe killed Princess Olga of Kiev's husband, Igor, she set forth on one of history's bloodiest revenge's schemes, instigating not one but multiple unsaintly, violent massacres. Join the guys as they explore Olga's brutal rise to power -- and how she ultimately became a saint.

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Aug 27, 2019
The Super Fight: When Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano Had A Fight That Never Happened
2396
Radio executive Murray Woroner had a dream -- a fantasy radio boxing tournament matching 16 fighters from different eras. In a move that pushed the boundaries of 1960s technology, his team programmed a computer with that boxers' strengths, weaknesses and various fight scenarios that might occur. This ultimately led to one of the strangest bouts in boxing history: The Super Fight between Ali and Mariano, a match that occurred on film, but never happened in real life.

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Aug 23, 2019
Shame and Fish: The Embarrassing and Tragic Story of François Vatel
2389
In this episode, Ben and Noel dive into the story of François Vatel, a majordomo who was tasked with organizing an extravagant royal banquet in 1671. With 2,000 attendees expected, among them many high-ranking French dignitaries, the pressure was high. Tune in to find out the ridiculous and tragic story of what happened next.

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Aug 20, 2019
Creature Feature: Go Home Nature, You're Drunk
5871
Join the guys as they make a return appearance on Creature Feature, the podcast that takes a critter’s eye view to explore how animal behavior parallels the behavior of humans. In this episode, Katie Goldin and the guys explore some of the strangest quirks of animal anatomy... and they learn some things simply can't be unseen.

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Aug 15, 2019
Hunting Fireflies for Fun (and Profit)
2563
From the 1960s well into the 1990s, thousands of children in the United States were actually paid to hunt fireflies. Join the guys as they explore the strange story of Sigma and firefly hunting — and get surprised by an unexpected guest.

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Aug 14, 2019
The Listener Mail Extravaganza
2403
The guys often end the show by asking you and your fellow listeners for your own takes on everything from strange town names, crackpot military experiments and more. In today’s episode, Ben and Noel explore some of their favorite listener feedback and — for some reason — decide to check out their worst reviews online.

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Aug 09, 2019
That Time Ancient Monks Waged War Over A Copyright
1905
The first modern copyright law was the Statute of St. Anne, passed in Great Britain in 1710. However, copyright disputes themselves are much older -- and in at least once case, an argument over copyright led to thousands of deaths. Listen in to learn the strange story of how Saint Columba and Saint Finian went into open battle over copyright.

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Aug 06, 2019
Ye Xian: The Story of China's Cinderella
1949
We've all heard the story of Cinderella -- it's one of the world's most popular fairy tales! However, this story exists in multiple versions across the world. Join the guys as they explore the ancient tale of Ye Xian -- the Chinese Cinderella.

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Aug 01, 2019
The Portuguese Bank Note Crisis: How One Lucky Forger Almost Destroyed A Nation's Economy
2418
Artur Virgilio Alves dos Reis had a gift. He wasn't the smartest kid growing up, nor was he the most athletic -- he was, however, one of Europe's most talented forgers. After a string of various cons, he decided to go big. How big, you ask? Tune in to learn how one lucky conman almost single-handedly brought down the entire Portuguese economy.

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Jul 30, 2019
Cow Shoe Camouflage: How Prohibition-era Moonshiners Outsmarted the Feds
2137
During the Prohibition Era, moonshiners and federal agents continually tried to outsmart one another — and one of the moonshiners’ most creative inventions? The bizarre footwear known as Cow Shoes.

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Jul 25, 2019
Castle Itter: When Germans and Americans Joined Forces in World War II
1790
With one notable exception, American and German forces were bitterly opposed to one another during World War II -- that exception? The Battle of Castle Itter. Tune in to learn more about the strange sequence of events that led both the US and the Germany army to team up for a rescue mission.

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Jul 23, 2019
A Grave Mistake: The Story of Patton's "Abandoned Rear"
1817
When George S. Patton decided to found a tank training school in the tiny French village of Bourg, the mayor approached him in tears. "An American soldier has died here," said the mayor, "and I would like to lead you to his grave." Patton followed the lachrymose politician to the grave site -- but he wasn't prepared for what he would find.

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Jul 18, 2019
Did the US Mafia actually start in New Orleans?
1966
When we think of the mob today, most Americans think of New York City -- and why not? After all, films, books and TV shows often depict New York as the heart of mob country. Yet, as the guys discover in today's episode, the story of the Italian-American mafia has a surprisingly different (and often forgotten) origin point.

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Jul 16, 2019
Introducing Ephemeral
487
Lost materials, dropped threads, forgotten stories. Ephemera in the way that it’s intertwined in our lives. All those things, tangible and intangible, that you wish you could take just one more look at before they vanish into the past. All episodes of Ephemeral are now available. Listen here and learn more at www.ephemeral.show

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Jul 15, 2019
Meet Albert Cashier, the Trans Man Who Fought for the Union in the Civil War
1979
Born as 'Jennie Hodgers' with a female sex assignment on December 25th, 1843, Albert Cashier emigrated to the United States lived as a man from his early teens on through the rest of his life. Despite the massive prejudices of the time, he managed to find support in his local communities, his friends and his fellow soldiers from the 95th Illinois Infantry both during and after the war, when the US government temporarily tried to revoke his pension.

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Jul 11, 2019
Operation Northwoods: How the US Planned to Attack Itself and Start a War with Cuba
2801
It's no secret that the US and Cuba have a long history of tense relations, often teetering on the brink of war. But just how far would Uncle Sam go to begin a genuine war with Cuba? The answer can be found in the declassified proposals for Operation Northwoods, a secret plan to wage false flag attacks on US citizens, soldiers, planes and ships, all with the goal of blaming these attacks on Cuba. 

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Jul 09, 2019
That Time Irish Separatists Invaded Canada
1992
It’s true! Once upon a time, Irish separatists based in the United States thought invading Canada was the best way to reunify Ireland. Join the gang as they explore the rise of the Fenians (and, along the way, why Canada is more than capable of defending itself).

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Jul 04, 2019
The Night Witches: How an All-female Soviet Bomb Squad Terrorized Nazi Germany
2140
The 588th Night Bomber Regiment didn't have the best equipment, and they didn't have the best planes. What this all-female bomber regiment did have, however, was unstoppable ambition, brilliant strategies and dozens of fearless pilots. Listen in to learn more about the rise of the terrifying force the German soldiers called die Nachthexen -- the Night Witches.

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Jul 02, 2019
Bug Wars: When We Tried to Turn Insects into Soldiers
2139
Let's be honest: Bugs aren't everyone's cup of tea, but they're fascinating, crucial parts of the ecosystem. They're also, according to a few eggheads, the perfect weapons of war. Join the guys as they explore the bizarre experiments governments conducted in the field of entomological warfare.

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Jun 27, 2019
Yasuke, the African Samurai
2035
Japanese Daimyo Oda Nobunaga was fascinated by the mysterious, towering slave of a visiting Jesuit missionary, and soon this man, Yasuke, joined Nobunaga's court, eventually becoming a full-on samurai. Join the guys as they explore the strange life of the African-born samurai, Yasuke.

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Jun 25, 2019
The Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I Tried To Make An Army of Super Tall Soldiers
2265
Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm was fascinated by all things military, but the crown jewel of his army was a group known as the Potsdam Giants -- men recruited on the basis of their height alone. If these tall boys, teens and men didn't want to sign up for the Giants, the King had no problem kidnapping them. Listen in to learn more about the strange story of the Potsdam Giants.

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Jun 20, 2019
Playboy, Progressive Politics and Stand-up: The Dick Gregory Story with Wayne Federman
3301
In this episode, Wayne Federman joins the guys to explore the rise of legendary comedian Dick Gregory, who began life as a boundary-breaking stand-up comic. Tune in as the gang explore's Gregory's evolution, his association with Hugh Hefner, and his later calling as a full-time civil rights activist

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Jun 18, 2019
Introducing Food 360 with Marc Murphy
88
Want to know more about what’s on your plate? Chef Marc Murphy’s Food 360 takes a comprehensive look at the way we eat, exploring food history, science, culture, and more with help from an impressive roster of experts, restauranteurs, and fellow celebrity chefs. Food 360 is now available! You can listen here

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Jun 15, 2019
I Modi: The Scandalous Erotic Blockbuster Banned By The Vatican
2363
Nowadays it's no secret that some Papal administrations from centuries past were a bit more scandalous than others, but when master engraver Marcantonio Raimondi created prints of explicit art located within the papal palace, the church was scandalized. Learn more about the bizarre tale of "The Sixteen Pleasures". 

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Jun 13, 2019
Patriots, Prisoners and Plants: The World of Political Body Doubles
3271
Has anyone ever told you you resemble a celebrity? Have you ever thought of making this resemblance your job? In today’s episode, the guys explore real-life stories of body doubles, from World War II to surprisingly recent events.

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Jun 11, 2019
Fort Blunder: The US Fort Mistakenly Built in Canada
2322
After the War of 1812, the US decided to shore up security at Lake Champlain by constructing a fort on Island Point. However, due to a surveying error, the US ended up building this fort in Canada, rather than the states. Listen in to learn more about the ridiculous story of Fort Montgomery, and why some people prefer to call it Fort Blunder.

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Jun 06, 2019
The Duke of Edinburgh is Literally a God in Vanuatu
1792
Compared to most people, the UK's Prince Phillip has a pretty swell life -- he's literally royalty, has never gone hungry, and has traveled the world meeting some of Earth's most important people. And, to some residents of Vanuatu, he's also a god. Join the guys as they explore the evolution of the religious movements collectively known as 'cargo cults'.

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Jun 04, 2019
The Honorary Citizens of the United States
2813
Did you know you can become an honorary citizen of the United States? It's true -- but it isn't easy. Join the guys as they explore the life and times of the rare few who managed to become honorary citizens in the United States.

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May 30, 2019
The Nature of Ephemera, with Alex Williams
2691
Whether we’re talking yesterday’s newspaper, pamphlets from museums, or even old lottery tickets and straw wrappers, the world is chock full of things that were not meant to last. Today the guys join Alex Williams, the creator of the new podcast Ephemeral, to explore the strange, beautiful, disturbing and tragic stories of things that came and went, from the Collyer brothers to Pizzaria chips.

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May 28, 2019
The Return of Listener Mail
2198
Have you written to the guys lately? All of their best topic suggestions come from you and your fellow listeners -- tune in as Ben, Noel and Casey take some of their favorite listener suggestions to the air in this episode of Listener Mail.

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May 23, 2019
That Time Ohio and Michigan Almost Went To War
2306
A misunderstanding of the geography of the Great Lakes started a feud, known as the Toledo War, between the state of Ohio and a territory called Michigan. Tune in to Ridiculous History to hear how the conflict between these lands was solved.

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May 21, 2019
The Rise and Fall of Local Scrip: Alternative Currencies of the Great Depression
2591
Have you ever been so broke that you ended up creating your own currency? It may sound like a crazy idea today, but during the Great Depression multiple communities actually created and circulated their own forms of local currency. And this wasn't a lark -- it was a matter of survival. Listen in to learn more about some of the precedents for the (world-famous) BenBucks.

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May 16, 2019
The Attack of the Japanese Balloon Bombs
2377
Picture this: It's late 1944, and you, like thousands of other people on the west coast of North America, have noticed bizarre, jellyfish-like objects floating through the sky. You call the local authorities, maybe even the Air Force, only to be ignored. You don't see anything about this in the papers or on the radio. You are in the midst of a real-world conspiracy of silence -- until, that is, the bombs begin to explode. Listen in to learn more about the attack of the Japanese balloon bombs.

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May 14, 2019
Marie Antoinette and the Diamond Necklace Hoax
2957
Queen Marie Antoinette's reputation was already tarnished by gossip in 1784, but was completely ruined by the implication that she defrauded the crown jewelers, conning them out of a dazzling, expensive diamond necklace. That's the short summary -- but the story itself is a startling tale of intrigue and iniquity. Listen in to learn more about the strange tale of the diamond necklace hoax.

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May 09, 2019
Nosy Boraha: The Pirate's Paradise (And Cemetery)
1785
Nowadays most people know the pirates depicted in fiction bear little resemblance to real-life, historical pirates. Few actually buried any treasure, and fewer still lived in secretive island hideouts -- however, in at least one case, the truth appears stranger than fiction. Join the guys as they explore the story of Nosy Boraha, the Pirate's Paradise.

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May 07, 2019
How the Black Death Came To Norway On A Ghost Ship
2339
In the 1300s, the Black Death sprang up in central Asia and swept across continents, killing millions. Quarantines became common as various nations sought safety in isolation, and some met with more success than others. Norway may have staved off the plague for years, were it not for a mysterious ghost ship -- listen in to learn more.

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May 02, 2019
Susanna Caroline Matilda: The Colonial Grifter Princess
3536
Have you ever dreamed about shedding your old identity, casting aside your obligations and becoming an entirely different person? Susanna Caroline Matilda, narrowly escaping death after stealing from the Queen, did just that upon arriving at the American colonies. Join Ben, Casey and returning guest Christopher Hassiotis as they unravel the strange story of the Colonial Grifter Princess.

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Apr 30, 2019
History's Weirdest Flexes, Part II
1912
While the phrase 'weird flex' may be relatively recent, it turns out that this phenomenon itself is as old as human civilization. Join the guys with special guests Miles and Jack from The Daily Zeitgeist as they explore some of the strangest (and most petty) flexes in human history in the conclusion of this two-part episode.

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Apr 25, 2019
History's Weirdest Flexes, Part I
2145
Do you know anyone who decided to show off in a weird way? While the phrase 'weird flex' may be relatively recent, it turns out that this phenomenon itself is as old as human civilization. Join the guys with special guests Miles and Jack from The Daily Zeitgeist as they explore some of the strangest (and most petty) flexes in human history.

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Apr 23, 2019
How Robert 'The Fastest Knife in the West End' Liston Conducted a Surgery With a 300% Mortality Rate
2015
It's no secret that hospitals can be intimidating, scary places -- but the medical operations of the modern day can't hold a candle to the grisly procedures of the 1800s. Back then, even some of the best surgeons still had about a one in ten chance of their patients dying during or shortly after a procedure. And Robert Liston was no exception. Listen in to learn how this otherwise top-notch surgeon managed to kill not only his patient, but also his assistant and some guy just standing nearby all in the course of one procedure gone horribly wrong.

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Apr 18, 2019
How Oliver Cromwell Got Executed Several Years After His Death
1861
Today, Oliver Cromwell is known as one of the most famous figures in English history -- he was a Puritan with no military experience when the Civil War broke out in 1642, but within a decade he rose to the position of Lord Protector, essentially ruling Wales, Scotland and England. He died of natural causes, but was later executed... after his death. What are we talking about? Tune in to find out.

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Apr 16, 2019
Hong Xiuquan: The Younger Brother of Jesus Christ Who Led a Bloody Rebellion in China
2496
When the schoolteacher who would come to be called Hong Xiuquan first heard of the Christian religion, he wasn't particularly bowled over. However, when he had a nervous breakdown after failing his scholarly exams, he experienced a series of visions that he later believed revealed his true destiny: He was the younger brother of Jesus Christ, and he was meant to lead his followers to earthly and spiritual freedom. Tune in to learn how Hong Xiuquan's visions sparked one of the bloodiest rebellions in Chinese history.

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Apr 11, 2019
How Big Bill Speakman Fought Off North Korea With Beer Bottles
1764
Bill Speakman, better known as the “Beer Bottle VC”, single-handedly took on a brigade of Chinese People’s Army Infantry in four hours of close-quarters combat. As he ran out of actual weapons, he began throwing beer bottles -- and, somehow, survived. Tune in to learn more about Big Bill Speakman, the Beer Bottle VC (and learn why he came to hate this nickname).

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Apr 09, 2019
Teddy Roosevelt May Just Have Saved Modern (American) Football
1715
In recent years the public has become increasingly aware of the long-term dangers posed by sports injuries -- but at the turn of the 20th century this wasn't the case. Football players didn't wear protective gear, and in 1905 alone more than 15 players died from game-related injuries. Universities were on the verge of banning football entirely. President Roosevelt, himself a life-long fan of the sport, knew something must be done. Listen in to learn how the 26th President of the US may just have saved modern football.

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Apr 04, 2019
Prohibition, Prescriptions and the Rise of 'Medicinal' Booze
2143
From 1920 to 1933, the United States was, technically speaking, a dry country. The National Prohibition Act made the manufacture, transport and sale of alcohol illegal for the vast majority of the population. However, there were several loopholes available for the enterprising alcohol enthusiast -- and doctors quickly realized they could make loads of cash prescribing booze for medicinal purposes. Join the guys as they explore the rise and fall of the medicinal alcohol industry.

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Apr 02, 2019
Introducing It Could Happen Here, An iHeartRadio Original Podcast
193
Boy, politics really has gotten hideous, hasn’t it? And protests seem a lot more violent than they were a couple of years ago. Are things getting worse? Could the U.S.A. be on the road to a second civil war? Robert Evans says ‘Yes!’ and by the time you’ve finished listening to ‘It Could Happen Here,’ you will too.

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Mar 29, 2019
Did Robert E. Lee hate Confederate Memorials?
2032
From 1861 to 1865, the United States of America was a country divided. More than a century later, it remains America's bloodiest war. After the cessation of conflicts and the surrender of the Confederate army, General Robert E. Lee found himself constantly approached to endorse numerous different memorials, statues and other structures. There was just one problem -- he apparently hated them.

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Mar 28, 2019
California Schoolchildren and the Great Squirrel War
1985
In 1918, as the planet was consumed by World War I, the government of California found itself combating an unexpected and catastrophic enemy: Ground squirrels. The rodents were wreaking havoc across the countryside, consuming crops left and right. State horticulture commissioner George H. Hecke proposed an unorthodox solution -- enlist schoolchildren in a statewide massacre of all ground squirrels. Oddly enough, it worked.

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Mar 26, 2019
When West Virginia Begged the USSR for Foreign Aid
2076
Were it not for the coal mine, the town of Vulcan, West Virginia may well have never existed. As a rural and geographically isolated community, Vulcan relied on a single, small bridge for its connection to the larger world. When the bridge failed, the town repeatedly tried to get financial assistance from the local and state government -- with no success. In a state of increasing desperation, the Mayor of Vulcan wrote the Soviet Union for help... during the Cold War. Listen in to learn what happened next.

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Mar 21, 2019
Idiomatic for the People II, Part II
2543
Language is beautiful and, in many cases, continually evolving. As a result, we end up with hundreds of strange idioms and figures of speech that we use on a daily basis, with little to no understanding of what they originally meant. Join the guys with special guests Frank Mulherin and Rowan Newbie, the creator of the Pitches podcast, as they explore the bizarre origins of your favorite turns of phrase.

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Mar 19, 2019
Idiomatic for the People II, Part I
3244
Language is beautiful and, in many cases, continually evolving. As a result, we end up with hundreds of strange idioms and figures of speech that we use on a daily basis, with little to no understanding of what they originally meant. Join the guys with special guests Frank Mulherin and Rowan Newbie, the creator of the Pitches podcast, as they explore the bizarre origins of your favorite turns of phrase.

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Mar 14, 2019
The Statue of Liberty Almost Lived in Egypt
2284
Today the Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous landmarks in the United States -- but it almost didn't make it to Liberty Island. Join the guys as they explore the strange story of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and his quest to build this iconic monument.

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Mar 12, 2019
Agent Garbo: The Strange Tale of the Man Who Saved D-Day
2676
When Juan Pujol first volunteered to spy for the British during World War II, they didn’t take him seriously. That all changed when he got a gig spying for the German government. Listen to learn the story of one of World War II’s most successful double agents.

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Mar 07, 2019
The War of the Stray Dog: How Far Would You Go For Your Pet?
2427
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, it didn't take the newly-independent nations of Greece and Bulgaria long to begin bickering over their borders. Throughout the early 1920s, small bands of peasants from both countries routinely crossed the border to steal livestock, damage property and harass locals. This untenable situation reached a breaking point in 1925, when a Greek border guard was fatally shot while crossing into Bulgaria to retrieve his dog (who had strayed away on dog business). This single incident sparked a cavalcade of chaos that eventually caught the attention of the League of Nations.

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Mar 05, 2019
The Tragic Origin Story of Morse Code
2333
The telegraph and the communication system known as Morse code revolutionized the way we transmit information, but how did it get here? Join the guys as they explore the tragic life and time of Samuel Morse.

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Feb 28, 2019
Operation Gunnerside: How a Crew of Military Skiers Ruined the Nazi Bomb
1846
On February 27, 1942, nine saboteurs set out in the middle of the night to blow up a Nazi-controlled heavy water plant in Norway. This operation was as crucial as it was complicated -- if the plant continued to function, the Nazis very well may have been able to construct an atomic bomb. Tune in to learn exactly how the commandos glided in and, eventually, skied away.

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Feb 26, 2019
How far did Isaac Newton go to hunt down forgers?
1986
Today, Isaac Newton is best known for his scientific pursuits -- but he also served as Warden and, later, Master of the Royal Mint. And this wasn't some sort of honorary position, either: Newton took his job of hunting down forgers seriously, and may have even bent (or broken) the law in his quest to arrest and hang his archnemesis, the counterfeiting kingpin William Chaloner.

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Feb 21, 2019
How Admiral Horatio Nelson Ended Up Dead in a Barrel of Brandy
2333
Naval legend Admiral Nelson died on October 21st, 1805 shortly after being shot by a French sniper while standing on the deck his ship, Victory. Following the British victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, the survivors of the conflict were left with a dilemma -- how could they preserve Nelson's body long enough for the corpse to receive an appropriate burial back home?

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Feb 19, 2019
English Men Used to Sell Their Wives
1672
In late 17th-century England, it was almost impossible for anyone outside of the upper class to successfully get a divorce -- the process was expensive and required approval from both the church and the government. As a result, some couples agreed to end their unhappy marriages through a bizarre practice known as 'wife selling'. And, unfortunately, it's exactly what it sounds like.

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Feb 14, 2019
How Louisiana Almost Became a Hippo Ranching Hub
2777
Nowadays beef, chicken and pork are the most common meats in the US -- but, not so long ago, that could have all changed. Join the guys as they travel back to the early 1900s, when Louisiana congressman Robert Broussard proposed an unorthodox solution to the nation's crippling meat shortage: the introduction of African Hippopotamuses to Gulf Coast swamplands. What convinced Broussard that the world's deadliest land mammal could become America's next culinary craze? Tune in to find out.

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Feb 12, 2019
The Weird Life of George Washington, Part 2
2232
Join Ben, Noel, Casey and returning guest Christopher Hassiotis as they continue exploring the strange life and times of George Washington in the second part of this two-part series. Listen in to learn more about Washington's weird hair routine, his bizarre, lifelong medical issues, and his family's troubling history in early America.

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Feb 08, 2019
The Weird Life of George Washington, Part 1
2879
Returning special guest Christopher Hassiotis joins the guys today for a round-robin discussion of the very weird life of George Washington, first President of the United States. (As you may have guessed from the title, there's more weirdness than we could fit in a single episode.)

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Feb 05, 2019
Who was the highest paid athlete in history?
2018
Today, most people probably don't remember the career of once-famous charioteer Gaius Appuleius Diocles -- however, in his day we was a cultural icon, one of the most famous athletes in Rome. Join the guys as they explore the story Diocles and trace one professor's quest to figure out exactly how much cash Diocles made in modern terms.

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Jan 31, 2019
Clara, The World's Most Famous Rhinoceros
2978
For centuries most people in Europe thought of rhinos as another form of mythical creature, like unicorns or griffins. However, this all changed when an enterprising sea captain brought a young, orphaned rhino named Clara back to his home country after his travels abroad. It's often said that fame can have a powerful effect on the average human being, but how does it affect rhinos? Join the guys and special guest Katie Goldin, host of the podcast Creature Feature, as they unravel the mystery.

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Jan 30, 2019
How the Monopoly Board Game Became a World War II Escape Kit
2061
Monopoly is a pretty divisive game, and people tend to either love it or hate it. However, for hundreds of Allied POWs captured during World War II, Monopoly became more than a mere diversion -- it became, instead, their ticket to freedom. Join the guys as they explore the strange sequence of events that led the UK to turn Monopoly into a real-life escape kit.

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Jan 24, 2019
Idiomatic For The People, Part I
4056
Language is beautiful and, in many cases, continually evolving. As a result, we end up with hundreds of strange idioms and figures of speech that we use on a daily basis, with little to no understanding of what they originally meant. Join the guys and special guest, Rowan Newbie, the creator of the Pitches podcast, as they explore the bizarre origins of your favorite turns of phrase. (Ben here, with a bonus question: I went through and noted multiple turns of phrase we all used unintentionally - how many can you catch?)

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Jan 23, 2019
Was there a real-life Rapunzel?
1980
Most people in the West are familiar with the old Rapunzel fairy tale -- a beautiful princess is confined to a tower until a prince, captivated by her beauty, uses her hair as a ladder and comes to her rescue. But where did this story come from, exactly? Tune in to find out.

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Jan 17, 2019
Benjamin Franklin's Advice on 'Finding a Mistress'
2073
Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was a man of many interests, but his endeavors were by no means limited to technical innovation, philosophy and politics. In fact, throughout his life he had a reputation as an irredeemable lech -- literally, in later years, a dirty old man -- and his exploits were common knowledge on both sides of the Atlantic. He himself did not shy away from these accusations, and records show he even advised his younger friends on affairs, marriage, sex and romance. But was his famous 1745 letter "Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress" meant as sincere advice, or satire?

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Jan 15, 2019
What does 'Idaho' actually mean?
1705
Idaho was the 43rd state admitted to the Union, and today it's well-known for potatoes, mining, and stunning forests -- but, even in the modern day, Idaho is home to a surprising mystery: What does its name actually mean? Join the guys as they explore the ridiculous origin story of Idaho's name.

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Jan 10, 2019
Uncle Sam Tried to End World War II With Bat Bombs
2418
It sounds like something straight out of the cave beneath Bruce Wayne's Manor, but thanks to the passion of a part-time inventor named Lytle Adams, the United States military really did spend millions attempting to arm bats with incendiary devices and launch them -- real-life bat bombs -- across Japanese cities. Here's the weird thing: It could have actually worked.

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Jan 08, 2019
The American Soldiers Who Defected to North Korea and Became Movie Stars
2321
Often described as one of the most isolated countries in the world, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has been ruled by the Kim dynasty since 1948. And while most reports of defectors focus on harrowing stories of North Koreans escaping to freedom in China or South Korea, a handful of people actually traveled in the other direction, defecting to North Korea. Listen in to learn more about the strange journeys American soldiers took, away from the military and straight to the forefront of North Korea's film industry.

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Jan 04, 2019
How a Broken Toilet Foiled a German Sub
1731
Toward the end of World War II, the German Type VIIC submarine was acknowledged to be one of the most advanced -- and deadliest -- predators on the seas. Yet, in at least one case, some of the same technological breakthroughs that made these subs astonishing also led to their demise. Join the guys as they dive (get it?) into the strange story of U-1206 and the high-tech toilet that led to its doom.

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Jan 01, 2019
Creature Feature: The Dark Tetrad
4091
Join the guys as they make an appearance on Creature Feature, the podcast that takes a critter’s eye view to explore how animal behavior parallels the behavior of humans. In this episode, Katie Goldin and the guys explore the dark tetrad in the animal world, ultimately answering the age old question: Who's the most prolific serial meow-derer?

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Dec 27, 2018
Gustaf Broman Tried to Cross the Atlantic in a Canoe . . . Or Did He?
2608
In 1895, Gustaf Broman announced he would sail across the Atlantic in a 13-foot-long sailboat crafted from a cedar log. His route had an odd beginning -- he planned to start at Oregon, sail down to California, then put the boat on rails and ride it up to New York before finally reaching the Atlantic. Additionally, his log boat was anything but seaworthy. Some 4000 people gathered to watch Broman embark... but, eventually, his past came to light, and people began to wonder whether there was more to the story. (I mean, obviously there was. That's why we're doing a show about it.)

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Dec 25, 2018
The Weird, Surprisingly Recent Origin of the Tooth Fairy
1923
For millions of kids in the West, the story is as mysterious as it is profitable: Once your baby teeth begin falling out, hide them beneath your pillow. Sometime in the night, the Tooth Fairy will retrieve the tooth, leaving you some cash -- perhaps spare change, perhaps as much as twenty dollars -- to thank you for your gift. So where does this idea come from? Join the guys as they explore the strange, surprisingly recent origin of the Tooth Fairy. (And parents, if you're listening with your kids, be warned: This episode does include spoilers.)

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Dec 20, 2018
When Vikings Loot The Wrong Town
2606
Like many Viking leaders, Halfdan and Bjorn wanted to be known for their fearlessness in battle and their ability to locate the finest spoils -- they wanted the community to tell stories of their valor for generations to come. Their father Ragnar built a name for himself raiding Paris, so they wanted to kick things up a notch and raid an even more prominent city: Rome. However, there was one small problem with their plan.

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Dec 18, 2018
Were Tulips Really The Bitcoin of the 1600s?
2082
In the 1600s, residents of the Dutch Republic were -- according to the story -- absolutely bonkers for tulips. A market sprang up around the tulip trade, and people began paying in advance for tulip bulbs, negotiating increasingly extravagant financial agreements and, in some cases, even using tulips as currency. This Tulipmania is often presented as the first economic boom and bust... but how accurate is that claim? What really happened? Join Ben and Noel as they separate the fact from fiction.

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Dec 13, 2018
(Some of) History's Dumbest Military Prototypes
3569
It's true that the world's militaries often pioneer technological innovation -- but don't let all those great successes fool you! The world's militaries have at least as many failures as they do breakthroughs. Join Ben, Noel and special guest Christopher Hassiotis as they explore some of humanity's most hilarious military missteps, from round ships to rocket bullets and ball tanks.

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Dec 11, 2018
The Forty Elephants: London’s All-Female Jewel Thieves
2798
For at least 200 years, part of London’s criminal underground was ruled by a gang of brilliant, all-female jewel thieves. Join the guys as they explore the rise and fall of the notorious Forty Elephants.

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Dec 06, 2018
The Malleus Maleficarum: A Real-life Witch Hunter's Bible
2300
During Europe's period of witchcraft hysteria, one enterprising (and failed) witch hunter sought to bolster his reputation by creating an authoritative text on the existence, discovery and persecution of witches. While it may seem silly now, the Malleus Maleficarum was a runaway success, with thousands of copies inundating European society even while various officials warned against treating it as a reliable source. Listen in to learn more about The Hammer of the Witches.

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Dec 04, 2018
The Great London Beer Flood of 1814
1835
In 1814, a poor neighborhood in London fell victim to a strange, tragic and boozy disaster -- this calamity would eventually leave eight people dead. So what exactly happened? How could an entire neighborhood flood with a deadly deluge of beer? Tune in to find out.

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Nov 29, 2018
Dr. Seuss Wrote His Most Famous Book On A Bet
2370
Nowadays, world-famous children's author Dr. Seuss is one of the most well-known writers on the planet. "Green Eggs and Ham", one of his most successful books, sold over 8 million copies by 2016 -- but would you believe he wrote it based entirely on a bet?

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Nov 27, 2018
Feral Children and the True Story Behind The Jungle Book
2033
What inspired Rudyard Kipling to write The Jungle Book? Join the guys as they explore the real-life, tragic stories of feral children abandoned by their human parents, adopted by animals and raised in the wild.

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Nov 22, 2018
When Dentist Sold Dentures Made with Corpse Teeth
2193
Here in the modern day, most people don’t love going to the dentist — but we still have it much better than the dental patients of yesteryear! Join the guys as they dive into a strange, grisly story from the early days of dentistry.

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Nov 21, 2018
The Laxative-laden Journey of Lewis and Clark
2069
Before Lewis and Clark set out to explore the western side of the continent, they tried to prepare for every possible contingency — including medical conditions like constipation. Join the guys as they explore how a dangerous laxative didn’t just save members of the expedition, but also may have preserved their campsites for posterity.

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Nov 15, 2018
The Strange and Spectacularly Disgusting Story of the Great Kentucky Meat Shower
2413
On March 3rd, 1876, residents of Bath County, Kentucky were startled to see what appeared to be chunks and flakes of meat falling from the clear, cloudless sky. The rain, which only lasted a few minutes, captured national attention. People across the country proposed various theories explaining the deluge, and today the guys believe they've finally solved the mystery.

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Nov 13, 2018
The Bizarre Origin of the Oxford English Dictionary
2929
With 600,000 words and 3 million quotations, the Oxford English Dictionary is a massive tome. Work began on the dictionary in 1857, but the first edition wasn't published until 1884. Compiling the dictionary was a Herculean task, and James Murray, the editor of the dictionary, put out a call for assistance. This early crowdsourcing strategy worked surprisingly well. Murray was particularly impressed by his most prolific and consistent contributor, an enigmatic fellow named Dr. W.C. Minor. So impressed, in fact, that Murray decided he had to meet the man in person. It's safe to say the meeting didn't go as expected.

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Nov 08, 2018
How Conman Victor Lustig Sold The Eiffel Tower (Twice)
3952
Born Robert Miller, the man who would later become known as Count Victor Lustig traveled across Europe and the US bilking hundreds of people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He had many, many scams, and posed as everything from an elite theatre producer to a stressed-out, down on his luck government official and more. Here's the thing: For most of his career, Victor was able to talk his way out of any arrests or convictions. Join Ben and special guest Christopher Hassiotis as they explore the Count's most ambitious, ridiculous scam -- selling the Eiffel tower (twice).

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Nov 06, 2018
George Carlin Gets Quoted in the Supreme Court: Ridiculous Stand-up Stories with Wayne Federman
1781
In the second part of this two-part series, special guest Wayne Federman explores the strange, curse-word-riddled stand-up bit that resulted in George Carlin setting a legal precedent with the Supreme Court. Listen in to learn how curse words changed the world and sparked a debate that continues today.

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Nov 02, 2018
The People vs. Lenny Bruce: Ridiculous Stand-up Stories with Wayne Federman
2210
Lenny Bruce is a legend in the history of stand-up comedy, and while his use of explicit language thrilled audience members, it didn't win him any friends in law enforcement. In fact, Bruce was arrested multiple times for his use of 'obscenities', sparking a larger, continuing debate about the nature of free speech. Join the guys as they learn more about the early days of stand-up and the Lenny Bruce controversy with this week's special guest: Comedian, actor, writer and historian Wayne Federman. 

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Oct 31, 2018
The Life and Times of Ol' Knife Hand
1958
A necropolis in what is now Northern Italy holds a strange and, at first glance, terrifying corpse. A Lombard man, aged somewhere between 40 and 50 years old, lost his right arm in a brutal accident. Normally this sort of wound would be a death sentence, but in this case the guy didn't just survive -- he created a prosthetic limb from a sword and officially became Knife Hand (a title we gave him because we think it sounds cool). Listen in to learn more about the life and times of Knife Hand, including why his story, when you get down to the details, is more an inspiring testament to human compassion than a frightening tale of a killer with a blade for an arm. 

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Oct 23, 2018
The Ridiculous Story of the World’s First (Documented) Serial Killer
2406
Locusta of Gaul, also known as Lucusta The Poisoner, was one of the most infamous criminals of ancient times. Alternately sponsored and betrayed by the noble class, she committed crimes with impunity for years — even, at one point, opening an academy to teach her poisoning skills to others. Tune in to learn more about the rise and fall of what may well be the world’s first documented serial killer.

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Oct 18, 2018
Back When the Rich Ate Corpses
2394
Nowadays it's safe to say that cannibalism isn't a widely-accepted practice, but not so long ago it was considered the bleeding edge (get it?) in medicine throughout Western Europe. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the odd practice of consuming human body parts in hopes of curing all one's ills, through everything such as the King's drops to bandages soaked in human fat, along with related stories of the legendary Mellified Man and the current, tragic phenomenon of Tanzanian criminals hunting down those suffering from albinism to use their body parts in magic rituals.

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Oct 16, 2018
The Mummies of Guanajuato
2048
When the city of Guanajuato instituted a grave tax, they included some harsh penalties for those who couldn't pay -- if you went more than three years without paying the tax on your loved one's resting place, the body would be disinterred and taken from its grave. As gravediggers began removing corpses, they discovered something bizarre: Many of the bodies had somehow naturally mummified. Word of the Mummies of Guanajuato quickly spread, and the gravediggers starting charging locals to take a quick peek at the remains. This was only the beginning. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the strange tale of the Mummies of Guanajuato.

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Oct 11, 2018
The Curious Rise of SPAM
3068
Nowadays the iconic 'SPAM' logo is recognized around the world -- whether you're traveling in the US state of Minnesota or Busan, Korea, you'll more often than not run into a couple of Spam cans in the local grocery store. But what made this particular processed meat so popular? Join Ben, Noel and special guest, Savor cohost Anney Reese as they explore the strange circumstances that paved the way for the rise of Spam.

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Oct 09, 2018
The Smooth-talking Takeover of Tabor Bridge
2119
In 1805, two French Marshals found themselves in quite a pickle -- Jean Lannes and Joachim Murat needed to cross the Danube at the Tabor bridge (a series of three bridges, actually) to reach Vienna. However, Austrian forces held the bridges and were prepared to destroy them before allowing the French to cross. With a brilliant talent for improvisation and more than a healthy dose of confidence, the Marshalls proceeded to con their way across the bridge without firing a shot. Listen in to learn more.

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Oct 04, 2018
History's Coolest (Non-Human) Political Candidates, Part I
3560
It's no secret that politics can be a minefield of quirky events, and strange things happen in the lead up to elections. But just how strange can it get? Join the guys and returning guest Christopher Hassiotis as they explore bizarre tales of non-human politicians.

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Oct 02, 2018
Attack of the Aswang: How the CIA Used Vampires as Weapons of War
2119
Horror fans can tell you there's more than one type of vampire -- in fact, there are hundreds of vampire-like fiends in cultures around the world. In most cases these are dismissed as spooky stories for children or ancient myths, but when the CIA needed to oust a group of Communist rebels in the Philippines, they decided to make the myth of the Aswang a reality.

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Sep 27, 2018
A Dead Pope Goes To Court
1835
The Catholic Church is no stranger to scandal and controversy, but in January of 897 the institution was home to a new and unique scandal that put the garden variety tales of adultery and financial corruption to shame. Listen in to learn what drove Pope Stephen VI (also sometimes called Pope Steven VII) to dig up one of his predecessors and put the corpse of another Pope on trial.

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Sep 25, 2018
Who are the Hartlepudlian Monkey Hangers?
2195
Years ago, if you wanted to start a fight in Hartlepool in north eastern England, all you'd have to do is start calling people 'monkey hangers'. But why? Join the guys as they explore how the Napoleonic War, a terrified village and one incredibly unlucky monkey collided -- allegedly -- in one of the most ridiculous events of its time. 

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Sep 20, 2018
William Walker: Filibuster and (Fantastically Bad) President
2782
The adventurer and filibuster William Walker was, in his heyday, lauded as an American hero for his repeated failed invasions of areas of Mexico and Nicaragua. But what led this man on a fanatical mission to invade these regions? Perhaps more importantly, why did so many folks in the US support his various strange escapades?

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Sep 18, 2018
Lawsonomy: How the Father of the Modern Airline Started His Own Religion
3317
When middling baseball player Alfred Lawson first learned of the Wright Brothers, he experienced a revelation that would guide the greater part of his life: Aviation, he believed, was the future of more than just transit -- it would become one of the most important advances in the history of the human race. Lawson, brimming with confidence and charisma, led the charge to popularize aviation, publishing magazines and even designing the first modern airliner. After the Great Depression dashed many of America's budding businesses, Lawson shifted focus to economic theory and, eventually, he discovered his own religion.

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Sep 13, 2018
War and Candy: The Infamous Tootsie Roll Air Drop
2149
During the battle of the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War, the First Marine Division seemed doomed. Surrounded, outnumbered, outgunned and running dangerously low on ammunition, the Marines called for an airdrop of ammo only to receive... pallets of tootsie rolls. Over the next two bloody, violent weeks these tiny candies turned out be much more useful than anyone could have predicted -- tune in to learn why some Marines credit their survival to this oft-maligned, strange piece of candy.

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Sep 11, 2018
The Man Who Assassinated Abe Lincoln's Assassin
2332
On April 14th, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in Ford's theatre, escaping shortly thereafter and going on the run. The Federal troops in pursuit of the assassin had orders to bring Booth and any of his conspirators back alive. For most of the soldiers, this wasn't a problem. However, Boston Corbett felt he answered to a higher power -- and this higher power told him that Booth deserved to die. Tune in as we explore the (bizarre) life and times of Boston Corbett.

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Sep 06, 2018
The Cock Lane Ghost: Haunting, Hoax, Hysteria… or Hilarious?
2657
In 1762, crowds from across London gathered in hopes of seeing something the papers called "The Cock Lane Ghost". This alleged spirit was known to communicate in knocks and scratches, reacting to yes or no questions and, according to some observers, seeking justice from beyond the grave. But who was this spirit, exactly? What did this poltergeist have to do with William Kent and his ongoing dispute with landlord Richard Parsons? Join the guys as they delve into the strange, strange story of the Cock Lane ghost.

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Sep 05, 2018
Roland the Farter and the Weird World of Professional Flatulence
2344
Regardless of what polite societies often want us to believe, everyone farts. And we fart often! And, believe it or not, a few rare individuals have been able to turn this embarrassing bodily function into a full-time job. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the weird, weird world of professional flatulence. 

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Aug 30, 2018
Gregor MacGregor Invented a Country and Convinced People to Invest in It
3637
When His Serene Highness Gregor the First, Sovereign Prince of the State of Poyais and its Dependencies, and Cacique of the Poyer nation visited London, he made a huge impression. Hundreds of people jumped at the chance to buy land in his remote, Central American paradise. There was only one problem -- the Cacique, whose real name was Gregor Macgregor, made the entire nation up out of thin air in one of history's largest, most audacious (and most ridiculous) scams.

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Aug 28, 2018
Angry Feds and Deadly Booze: The Story of the Chemists' War
2045
From 1920 to 1933, the U.S. government attempted to ban (recreational) alcohol throughout the nation. In a stunning -- we're being sarcastic here -- turn of events, people circumvented the law and found ways to keep drinking and organized crime blossomed in cities across the country. Listen in to learn just how far Uncle Sam was willing to go to stem the flood of illegal booze.

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Aug 23, 2018
Project A119: The Cold War Plan to Nuke the Moon!
1936
It sounds like something straight out of your favorite sketch comedy show -- what if a crack team of scientists joined forces with the world's most powerful military on a mission to nuke the moon? Don't waste too much time asking why we'd want to do this... just imagine the explosion. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the bizarre and terrifying true story of Project A119, the secret US plan to detonate nuclear weapons on the moon. 

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Aug 21, 2018
Adidas Versus Puma: A Tale of Two Brothers
2823
Today Adidas and Puma are two of the industry's most well-known tennis shoe makers, and people around the world prize the footwear for its unique design and reliable craftsmanship. Yet there's a strange, bitter origin story behind these giants of the sneaker world. Join the guys as they delve into a tale of petty recrimination, family feuds and the unending contempt that, ultimately, created the Adidas and Puma we know today.

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Aug 16, 2018
Fanny and Stella: The Cross-Dressing Scandal of Victorian England
2392
In April of 1870, a shocking court case captivated Victorian England: Fanny and Stella, also known as Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton, were arrested after attending a play at The Strand (in what was then considered inappropriate dress) and held on suspicion of violating the moral codes of the time. Listen in to learn more about the absurd legal war England waged against these two twenty-somethings, and the consequences of this ill-informed crusade.

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Aug 14, 2018
Kansas Imprisoned Women For Having STDs
2138
At the close of World War I, American soldiers returned home from abroad with scars, wounds, stories and, in some cases, infectious diseases of which their romantic partners were unaware. When cities in Kansas noted the spike in sexually-transmitted diseases, they embarked upon a misguided quest to quell the infections by imprisoning the women these soldiers had infected (the soldiers didn't get arrested). So why did Kansas decide to imprison women for having STDs, how long did the program last, and why have so few people heard about it in the modern day?

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Aug 09, 2018
The WWII Naval Battle Won Using Potatoes
2239
The U.S.S. O'Bannon was a Fletcher-class navy destroyer with an impressive array of weaponry and a solid track record in conflicts in WWII. However, even the most experienced sailors aren't perfect -- and when the O'Bannon happened upon a hapless Japanese submarine, both crew engaged in a desperate and bizarre food fight. Tune in to learn more.

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Aug 07, 2018
The Korean Soldier Who Fought for 3 Armies During WWII
1703
Born in what is now North Korea, Yang Kyoungjong didn't set out to become a soldier -- but fate had other plans. Join the guys as they trace one man's journey through prisons, battlefields and multiple armies in a desperate bid to survive World War II.

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Aug 02, 2018
Oregon Was a White Supremacist Paradise
2827
Today Portland, Oregon is often portrayed as a left-leaning haven for hipsters across the country, but the original Oregon was a vastly different place. Listen in to learn more about the ridiculous aims of the white supremacists who sought to found Oregon as a whites-only state. Spoiler alert -- there's a fantastic extra segment at the end of today's episode, wherein the guys join special guest Robert Evans, the creator of the new HowStuffWorks podcast Behind The Bastards.

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Jul 31, 2018
Why did people hate the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge?
2156
Nowadays most people are fans of national parks, but this wasn't always the case. Join the guys as they delve into the strange 'birds vs. babies' conflict over Lake Malheur.

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Jul 26, 2018
The 1904 Summer Olympic Games in St. Louis Hosted a Racist 'Special Olympics'
2281
A few years after Baron Pierre de Coubertin revived the ancient sporting event known as the Olympics, he brought the games to the U.S. for the first time. The 1904 Summer Olympics were held in St. Louis, Missouri, coinciding with the 1904 World's Fair. Seems set to make history, right? Not the way you'd think. Join Ben and Noel as they take a closer look at the series of disastrous decisions and bizarre notions that led one games organizer to set up his own racist olympics.

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Jul 24, 2018
When Heineken Made Bottles That Could Be Used as Bricks
2232
Heineken is one of the world's most well-known, popular beers, and people across the planet can instantly recognize the iconic green bottle and red star. But in the 1960s Freddy Heineken dreamed of a bottle that could do more than just hold beer -- he wanted to make bottles that could be used to build houses and shelters across the world (selling tons of booze in the process, of course). Join Ben and Noel as they explore the oddly inspiring story of Freddy Heineken and his dual purpose bottle brick.

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Jul 19, 2018
Why British Soccer Players Saluted the Nazis
2686
As global tensions grew to a breaking point in the lead-up to World War II, European nations used every available avenue to pursue their geopolitical goals, including the propagandistic power of sporting events. Join the guys as they explore the strange policy of appeasement, and how it led British soccer players to salute Nazi officials on the field.

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Jul 17, 2018
The United States That Never Were
2956
Nowadays the number of U.S. states seems set in stone -- since 1959 the country has been comprised of fifty states, with one star for each on the flag. Yet in the not-so-distant past the concept of statehood was both contentious and fluid, with multiple groups vying for recognition of their own territorial claims. Tune in to hear the strange stories of would-be states across the continent, as the guys trace each state's rise and fall, along with their influence on the modern day. 

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Jul 12, 2018
Philadelphia's Transylvanian Doomsday Cult: The Cave of Kelpius
3017
There's a nifty bit of hidden history tucked away in Philadelphia's Wissahickon Valley Park -- a cave that, legend has it, was home to a doomsday cult. In today's episode, the guys follow the strange journey of Johannes Kelpius and his followers from Europe to North America as they prepared for the end of days (first in 1694, then in 1700). Tune in to learn what motivated the group, how they influenced American history, and what happened to them after the world kept spinning.

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Jul 10, 2018
Enough About Us: What About You?
2512
When we're talking about Ridiculous History, one thing's for sure: The story doesn't stop when the podcast ends. You've probably heard Ben and Noel mention the Ridiculous Historians page in previous shows -- the place where you and your fellow listeners can suggest topics, trade strange tales and delve even further into the stories from earlier episodes. And the guys enjoy these stories so much that they had to bring them on air! Tune in for first-hand tales from your fellow Ridiculous Historians.

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Jul 05, 2018
Weird Wars Fought For Dumb Reasons
2974
What do a camel, a bucket and an ear all have in common? Each was, at some point, responsible for starting a war. Join Ben and Noel as they dive into true stories of weird wars fought over cartoonishly dumb things.

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Jul 03, 2018
The FBI's Quest to Understand 'Louie, Louie'
3092
The Kingsmen's cover of "Louie, Louie" is one of the world's most famously unintelligible songs -- and this haunted the FBI. In this episode, Ben and Noel recount the evolution of "Louie, Louie", as well as Uncle Sam's insanely thorough (and hilariously unsuccessful) attempt to figure out the song's lyrics. The guys also rack up some extra credit with their special guest Christopher Hassiotis, who introduces them to the wide, wide world of "Louie, Louie" cover songs across multiple musical genres.

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Jun 28, 2018
The Time a Soviet Premier Was Banned From Disneyland
2897
At the height of the Cold War a series of debates in a model kitchen in Moscow (true story!) led Nikita Khrushchev to visit the US on a whirlwind publicity tour. The Soviet leader hobnobbed with politicians, celebrities and business tycoons, soaking up all that America had to offer, often with a few choice remarks along the way. However, there was one place he wasn't allowed to enter: Disneyland. Join Ben and Noel as they take a closer look at Khrushchev's doomed quest to meet America's most famous mouse.

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Jun 26, 2018
Kidnapping, Binge Drinking and Costumes: Voter Fraud in the 1800s
2283
Allegations of U.S. voter fraud have made the rounds in recent years -- but, once upon a time, these were much more than allegations. Join the guys as they explore the massive voting fraud operations that riddled U.S. politics throughout the 19th century.

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Jun 21, 2018
Why don't Americans use bidets?
2125
Whether you're royalty or a roaming vagrant, a President or a pauper, one thing's for sure: At some point, you'll have to use the restroom. While sanitation isn't often brought up in polite conversation, it plays a vital role in human health, and over the centuries various civilizations have come up with some pretty innovative ways of staying clean. Globally speaking, the bidet is one of humanity's most popular sanitation technologies -- it's spread across Europe to Asia and beyond. So why don't Americans use these? Join Ben and Noel as they crack the case.

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Jun 19, 2018
The Earliest Recorded Mooning Killed Thousands
2457
You've heard of mooning -- the practice of bearing one's butt as an insult -- but where did it come from? Join Ben and Noel as they dive into the deadly story of the world's first recorded mooning, along with some other notable moments in keister history.

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Jun 14, 2018
The Presidential Reason Fido Became the Default Name for a Generic Dog
2606
If you're like most English speakers, the first thing you think of when you hear the name "Fido" is, of course, a dog. But why? Join Ben and Noel as they delve into the story of Abraham Lincoln's favorite pooch, and how this little yellow pup became one of the first dog memes.

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Jun 12, 2018
Dock Ellis and the Legend of the LSD No-hitter
2500
Almost 48 years ago, Pirates pitcher and notorious party animal Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter while under the influence of LSD. How did this man accomplish one of the rarest feats in baseball history while, by his own admission, tripping balls? Join the guys as they dive into the story of that legendary afternoon, along with the parts of Dock's legacy that are too often forgotten in the modern day.

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Jun 07, 2018
Maryland’s State Song was a Diss Track
2630
On the first listen, Maryland's old state song sounds pretty innocuous. There's the usual lauding of the state, a refrain based on "O Tannenbaum" and so on. Yet the lyrics of this song refer to "Northern scum" and call for out and out war with various oppressors. So what gives? Join Ben and Noel as they dive into the strange origin story of "Maryland, My Maryland". 

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Jun 05, 2018
The Story of Max, South Africa's Famous, Crime-fighting Gorilla
3268
When confronted with a home invasion, Max the gorilla brought international fame to the Johannesburg Zoo and briefly became the city's most famous crime fighter. He received numerous endorsements, and a statue was erected in his honor. But what brought Max to this level of celebrity? Join Ben and Noel as they delve into the story of Max the crime-fighting gorilla and the disturbing cultural context that made South Africa regard him as a symbol of justice that too often eluded the average citizen.

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May 31, 2018
How Santa Anna Lost His Leg Twice, and Held a Funeral for It
2820
Often called "The Napoleon of the West", mainly by himself, Santa Anna was a legendary, larger-than-life politician, general and exile. While hundreds of stories have been told about this man, one in particular stood out to Ben and Noel: Santa Anna lost his leg not once, but twice to enemy forces. And, once upon a time, he held an elaborate funeral for his fallen leg.

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May 29, 2018
That Time Chewbacca Needed Bodyguards
2738
Inarguably the most well-known Wookie in the Star Wars universe, Chewbacca also bears a strong resemblance to another popular creature in American culture -- the towering, hirsute cryptid known as Bigfoot. So much so, in fact, that during filming the studio (allegedly) became very concerned for the safety of Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca onscreen. While filming Return of the Jedi in the forests of the California redwoods, guards accompanied the costumed Peter Mayhew so that Bigfoot hunters wouldn't shoot him. So what's the big deal with California and Bigfoot? Tune in to find out.

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May 24, 2018
Napoleon Bonaparte Was Attacked by Bunnies -- And Lost
2465
Born in Corsica, Napoleon Bonaparte rose from obscurity during the French Revolution, crowning himself Emperor of France in 1804. This brilliant, ruthless tactician changed the course of French history. Despite his meteoric rise and bloodied fall, Bonaparte still needed to grab lunch once in a while. That's when the rabbits got him.

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May 22, 2018
California Was Named for a Fictional Island Ruled by a Black Amazon Queen
2202
California was admitted to the United States as the 31st state in 1850, but it acquired its unique name much, much earlier. Join Ben and Noel as they trace the strange story behind California's name, from the fiction that inspired it to the loss and rediscovery of the story and, of course, adventures on a legendary Amazonian island.

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May 17, 2018
Ancient Mayan Ritual Alcohol Enemas
3225
Like many ancient cultures, the civilizations of Mesoamerica had a vast and rich history of unique cultural practices, spiritual beliefs and ceremonies, some of which may seem bizarre to people in the modern day. In this episode, Ben and Noel examine a common practice from ancient Mayan culture: the ritual alcohol enema. 

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May 15, 2018
Vermont Was an Independent Republic
2929
Today Vermont is known for its progressive politics, beautiful forestry, Bernie Sanders and Ben and Jerry's. It's not a state you'll hear much about outside of the US and, for many Vermont natives, that's just fine. But once upon a time, Vermont was a very different place -- in fact, for a number of years, it was an independent Republic. How did this come about? How did it become part of the modern United States? Tune in to find out.

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May 10, 2018
The Capture of Guam Was Bloodless and Quick, All Due to a Misunderstanding
2622
Located about 1500 miles to the east of the Phillipines in Micronesia, Guam is a small US territory with a tiny population, beautiful beaches and an incredibly complicated history. For almost four centuries it was a colonial possession of Spain -- but that all changed in 1898, when Guam, in a strange series of misunderstandings, became a possession of the American government. So what exactly happened? Join Ben and Noel as they explore the bloodless, somewhat ridiculous, capture of Guam.

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May 08, 2018
Are all US Presidents actually related?
2182
In 2012 a student in Salinas, California, startled genealogists when she claimed that all Presidents save one were actually related. Could it be true? Join Ben and Noel as they dive into this strange claim, separating fact from fiction while tackling what it means, exactly, to be related to someone. (It's all relative.)

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May 03, 2018
What's the deal with two-dollar bills?
3715
Despite being pretty rare in comparison to other denominations, the U.S. two-dollar bill is one of the most storied notes in American folklore. So why do some people think it's lucky? Why do others think it's bad luck? Join Ben and Noel as they explore the bizarre evolution of the two-dollar bill. 

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May 01, 2018
How James Bond Created a Mexican Dia de los Muertos Tradition
1869
The Day of the Dead is a longstanding traditional celebration in Mexico, and currently hundreds of thousands of people associate it with a gigantic parade -- you know, like the one they saw in the James Bond film ''Spectre''. There's just one strange twist about that parade: before the movie, the procession didn't exist. Join Ben and Noel as they trace the weird evolution of this event from fiction to the real world.

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Apr 26, 2018
Did Richard Nixon Unwittingly Smuggle Drugs for Louis Armstrong?
2518
It's become one of the strangest anecdotes in modern American history -- numerous sources will swear to you that, in a last-minute panic before reaching customs, legendary musician Louis Armstrong had Richard Nixon's unwitting assistance smuggling a hefty amount of marijuana through US customs. It's bizarre (and pretty hilarious) if true... but how true is it? Tune in as the guys get to the bottom of this bizarre American fable.

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Apr 24, 2018
3 Times Society Refused to Accept New Books on Science
3319
Progress versus preservation: It's one of the eternal dilemmas found throughout every instance of human civilization. Should we embrace disruptive thoughts and science that challenges our beliefs, or should we cling to the comfort of the status quo? Join Ben and Noel as they explore the tragic and inspiring stories of books that were banned not for racy, fictional scenes -- but for furthering our understanding of the universe and our place within it.

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Apr 19, 2018
That Time We Erased a (HUGE) Waterfall
1952
It's often been said that "the art of losing isn't hard to master", and humanity overall seems to have a knack for losing everything from car keys to entire civilizations. Join Ben and Noel as they travel (vicariously) to South America and delve into the story of two nations who, eventually, lost an entire waterfall.

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Apr 17, 2018
The Poetic Justice of Death by Molten Gold
2201
It's a grisly death familiar to many fans of fiction and fantasy -- a hapless, greedy villain meets their end by having molten metal, often lead or gold, poured upon them or down their throats. But was this morbid means of execution ever used in real life? Join Ben and Noel as they dive into the deadly science of real-life murder by molten gold.

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Apr 12, 2018
Japan, Baseball and the Curse of the Colonel
2470
First things first: You may think Kentucky Fried Chicken is popular in the States, but we've got nothing on Japan. Join the guys as they delve into a story involving baseball, fried chicken, superstition, curses and drunken revelry in today's episode on the Hanshin Tigers and the infamous Curse of the Colonel.

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Apr 10, 2018
That Time the US Built a Flying Aircraft Carrier
2209
Nowadays airships are seen as historical relics or novelties meant to fly overhead during sports games. However, not so long ago, the US military thought airships might be the future of warfare. Today the guys delve into the strange history of the USS Akron, an airship designed not just to carry human beings -- but to carry planes as well. Learn more about the construction of the Akron (and why it's not aloft today).

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Apr 05, 2018
Yes, Those Are Corpses in the Diorama
2553
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is one of the most storied institutions of its kind in the United States, and it's chockful of priceless objects from across the span of history and the globe. However, investigators only recently discovered a grisly secret hidden within one of the dioramas. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the macabre secret of the Carnegie Museum.

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Apr 03, 2018
Weird People Who Built Weird Things
2409
Simeon Ellerton spent years building a house out of stones he found and carried home, one by one. Rejected by his one true love, Edward Leeskalnin spent decades erecting a bizarre monument for her, built of giant coral stones in Florida. But what exactly motivated these guys? How did they stick with their strange obsessions, and what mysteries surround them in the modern day? Tune in to learn more.

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Mar 29, 2018
What was the West Point Eggnog Riot?
2842
Today the United States Military Academy at West Point is known as one the country's top-notch training institutions, but back in 1826 it was home to a night of pure egg-nog-fueled pandemonium. Join Ben and Noel as they retrace the drunken, crazed steps of cooped-up cadets who decided to fight the power one Christmas.

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Mar 27, 2018
Lyndon Johnson Chatted on the Phone More than a Teenager
1916
The 36th President of the United States is often recalled as a complex, flawed individual responsible for profoundly important legislation. However, he was also a notorious telephone fanatic, installing loads of phones in both the White House and his Texas ranch. Here's the kicker: He recorded almost everything.

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Mar 22, 2018
When Germany Sacrificed Sausage For War
1917
World War I was a devastating catastrophe, the likes of which the world had never before encountered. The chaos swept across Europe, and whether on the battlefield or at home no one was left untouched. Yet the war had another, unexpected casualty: the sausage industry. Join the guys as they explore how Germany's rush for air superiority deprived the average German citizen of one of the country's best-loved traditional foods.

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Mar 20, 2018
Arsenic: The Assassin's Dream Weapon
2548
For centuries people from all walks of life sought to eliminate friends, strangers and enemies using the devious, subtle poison known as arsenic. Arsenic poisoning became such a well-known method of murder that people in Britain began calling it ''inheritance powder''. But what made it so popular? How did this particular substance become the stuff of history? Join Ben and Noel as they delve into the fascinating, morbid story of arsenic.

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Mar 15, 2018
The Killer Marketing Campaign Behind Guy Fawkes
2993
Nowadays people across the planet are familiar with the story of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. People even celebrate the anniversary of the event, often interpreting it as a protest against overarching government authority. However, the real story is a bit more complicated. Some historians believe Fawkes and the crew he worked for were set up by factions of the government -- making the Gunpowder Plot something between a false flag attack and a killer marketing campaign.

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Mar 13, 2018
When Ancient India Beat Machiavelli to the Punch
2004
Commonly regarded as one of humanity's premiere works on the art of pursuing and securing power, Niccolò Machiavelli's book ''The Prince'' has become so popular that the name of its author is synonymous with unethical behavior in the modern day. However, it turns out that Machiavelli himself wasn't the first proponent of ruthless behavior -- the author (or authors) of ancient India's Arthashastra outlined incredibly similar strategies almost 2,000 years before the publication of Machiavelli's masterpiece.

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Mar 08, 2018
The Rise of Harvey Wiley's Poison Squad
2328
Nowadays U.S. grocery shoppers can be reasonably certain that the foods they purchase are safe (if not healthy). But this wasn't always the case. In fact, if it wasn't for one extremely driven, imperfect man on a mission to clean up America's food industry we might well still have rampant contamination in the grocery aisles today. Harvey Wiley didn't think it was enough to conduct conventional safety studies, either -- he jumped straight to human experimentation. Join the guys as they delve into the strange story of Harvey Wiley and the Poison Squad.

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Mar 06, 2018
Step Aside, James Bond: The Strange Stories of Espionage Animals
3518
It's no secret that espionage and spycraft are common tools in the murky realm of geopolitics -- but not every spy is some sort of James Bond type character in a bespoke suit with a penchant for martinis. In fact, some spies aren't even human. Join Ben and Noel as they dive -- and fly -- into the strange stories of animal spies and nonhuman government operatives, from crows to dolphins, sea lions, cats and more.

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Mar 01, 2018
How MLK influenced Star Trek
2099
Star Trek is one of the world's most well-known sci-fi franchises, spanning decades in film, TV, books, games and more. While it's had its fair share of lighthearted moments (hello, Tribbles!), its vision of a more equal, peaceful human civilization has made a profound impact on real-world politics and race relations. Join the guys as they explore how a single conversation with a surprising Star Trek fan shaped the course of the show -- and the course of US culture.

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Feb 27, 2018
What was the 'Great Stink' of London?
2644
Every city has its drawbacks -- parking, for example, or crime, or the price of a decent pizza slice -- but in the 1800s London faced a particularly unusual and disgusting problem: the city literally stank. And this wasn't an occasional whiff of urine or hot garbage from an alleyway, oh no. Instead, a pervasive stench permeated the area, an odor so strong that it disrupted Parliament, forcing the government to take action (and eventually rewriting our understanding of disease in the process).

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Feb 22, 2018
How Farmers Built A Barbed Wire Phone Network
2234
Nowadays smartphones are an ubiquitous part of many civilizations, but not so long ago telephones of any sort were a rare commodity -- and the infrastructure was enormously expensive. When telephones hit the mass market, companies focused on densely-populated urban areas, leaving rural communities with no hope of getting a phone line. Until, that is, a group of MacGyver-esque farmers figured out an ingenious way to connect not just themselves, but everyone in their town.

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Feb 21, 2018
The Strange Story of Canadian Margarine Bootleggers
2670
Today, most grocery stores carry a variety of margarine and butter brands -- but this wasn't always the case. In fact, both Canada and the United States once had bizarre laws banning the production or importation of margarine. So what launched the margarine bootlegging industry? Join the guys as they explore the startling, strange story of the Big Butter versus margarine and its ''kindred abominations''.

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Feb 15, 2018
When People Waged War Over Eggs
2603
How much would you pay for an egg? Would you kill for one? Join the guys as they explore the strange story of the Gold Rush, the Common Murre and Farallon Island -- the site of California's Egg War

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Feb 13, 2018
The Wild West Was Actually Pretty Chill
2239
If you're like most people, the phrase ''Wild West'' conjures images of brutal gunfights in dusty, tumbleweed-ridden streets, visions of criminals slinking into the shadows of dimly-lit saloons and the vast stretch of lawless, unforgiving frontier. But how much of that image is actually true? Join Ben and Noel as they delve into the myth of the American frontier to discover how wild -- or mild -- it actually was.

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Feb 08, 2018
How A Grudge Match Launched the Ford GT40
3078
Today the Ford GT40 is one of the world's most iconic vehicles -- but this award winning automotive beast is, it turns out, the result of a serious grudge match. Join the guys as they delve into the strange, spiteful history of the Ford GT40.

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Feb 06, 2018
Vitamin Donuts Were A Real Thing
2095
Donuts: they're sweet, delectable and dangerous. Nowadays they're best known as a sugary snack or a nice accompaniment to a cup of coffee, but this wasn't always the case. In fact, for a few years manufacturers tried to sell them as -- believe it or not -- a health food. Join the guys as they explore the strange rise and fall of the infamous vitamin donut.

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Feb 01, 2018
The Rotten, Sausagey Secret Origin of Botox
2130
Today botox is one of the world's most well-known wrinkle treatments, as well as a go-to joke in the realm of pop culture. But where did this treatment come from, and what on Earth does it have to do with sausage? Join Ben and Noel as they trace the origins of botox to one man's unending obsession with food safety and rotting pork.

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Jan 30, 2018
The Weird World of Meat Jell-O (Gelatin Origin Story)
2438
Today Jell-O and other gelatin foodstuffs are generally relegated to world of desserts, but this wasn't always the case. In fact, gelatin took a long, strange path from ancient history to modern-day grocery shelves -- and got pretty gross along the way. Tune in to learn more about the bizarre world of savory gelatin.

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Jan 25, 2018
London Made a Train for the Dead
2202
When London was in the grips of a cholera epidemic, the already-overfilled cemetaries couldn't handle the extra bodies. So when there's literally no room in the soil for another dead body, what's a city to do? To the creators of the London Necropolis Railway, the answer was simple -- build a train for the dead.

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Jan 23, 2018
Roald Dahl: Children's Author and Secret Agent
2533
Today author Roald Dahl is best-known for his prolific writing career -- but, as it turns out, he lived an entirely different life before he ever put pen to paper to create children's stories. Learn more about Roald Dahl's earlier life as a fighter ace, a legendary ladies man, and a World War II-era spy (seriously, like a real-life James Bond!) in this episode.

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Jan 18, 2018
When did ALL-CAPS type become YELLING?
2401
You've seen them before, whether in a forwarded spam email, a strangely passionate Facebook post or a weirdly emphatic comment on your favorite website: THE DREADED ALL-CAPS TYPER. But where does this practice come from? How did everyone agree that typing in ALL CAPS means you're yelling at someone via text? Tune in to... FIND OUT.

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Jan 16, 2018
Why does the Guinness Beer Company Track World Records?
2073
Odds are you've heard about the Guinness Book of World Records, the famous, often inaccurate compilation of various impressive, important, and ridiculous feats from people across the planet. But how did it come about? How on earth did a brewer become the repository of all this strange knowledge? Tune in for a surprising peek behind the keg -- and into the cups -- of Guinness history and human ambition.

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Jan 11, 2018
Digging Up James K Polk (For the Third Time)
2319
The average American may not hear much about James K Polk in school today, but during his time in office the 11th U.S. President was responsible for a number of tremendously significant policy movements. Today he and his wife are interred in the Tennessee State Capitol, but this was neither their first resting place nor, if certain lawmakers succeed, their last. So why do people keep digging up this President's remains? Join Ben and Noel to learn more about the posthumous journey of President Polk.

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Jan 09, 2018
Presidents Love Their Ridiculous Pets
2221
It's no secret that, until very recently, US Presidents were known as huge fans of pets -- and they didn't limit themselves to cats and dogs! Join Ben and Noel as they explore some of the strangest pets in presidential history, from warhorses and cows to bears, raccoons and much, much more.

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Jan 04, 2018
The Atomic Whoops: When the US Air Force Bombed South Carolina
2105
During the height of the Cold War, both the US and the USSR constantly ran drills in anticipation of a possible nuclear conflict. While the Gregg family of Mars Bluff, South Carolina knew the Cold War was in full swing, they had no idea that they would become the first American family bombed -- accidentally -- by the US Air Force. Join Ben and Noel as they explore one of the most bizarre atomic slip-ups in history.

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Jan 02, 2018
Waging War With Hallucinogenic Honey
1687
Honey is popular around the world, and for good reason. This addictively sweet substance is a common ingredient in hundreds of recipes, and people historically believe it has medicinal properties in addition to, well, being delicious! But in certain areas of the world honey is much more than a sweet ingredient -- it's a disturbingly effective weapon of war.

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Dec 28, 2017
Ben Franklin Tried To Reinvent the Alphabet
2021
For such a popular, well-known language, English is full of strange, seemingly arbitrary rules. Most people just accept these various idiosyncracies... but Benjamin Franklin was not most people. Tune in as Ben and Noel explore Franklin's strange quest to revise the English language by cutting out old letters (and inventing new ones).

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Dec 26, 2017
The Strange History of Antarctic Fruitcake
1967
Nowadays fruitcake is considered a stereotypical, often comical holiday punchline, but even in the modern day people across the planet can agree on at least one fruitcake fact: Those things are pretty darn durable! So how long could a fruitcake really last before it becomes inedible? Join Ben and Noel as they travel to Antarctica to find out.

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Dec 21, 2017
When the Puritans Canceled Christmas
1959
Nowadays Christmas is a globally-recognized holiday celebrated by millions of people, but in the past this wasn't the case. In fact, some groups of Christians detested the holiday, going so far as to ban it completely. So what led Puritans to ban one of the most prominent celebrations in the Christian faith? Join Ben and Noel as they take a closer look at the strange story of Puritans and Christmas.

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Dec 19, 2017
Baguettes and Vacation: France versus Bakers
1778
You've probably heard that France takes its bread seriously -- but did you know France had specific laws governing the lives of bakers? For centuries the country regulated how and when bakers could close or take vacation. Although this may sound amusing now, in the past it was a deadly serious issue. So what happened? What happened to make the French government so frightfully concerned about bakers taking time off?

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Dec 14, 2017
What's the deal with smashing cake at weddings?
1973
Weddings are an ancient tradition, and over the millenia the various rituals associated with (theoretically) life-long partnership have evolved and changed. One ritual in particular became both prominent and controversial in the West: the act of newly-married couples smashing wedding cake into each other's faces. So where did it come from? Why does it happen, and what do its critics think the practice means?

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Dec 12, 2017
Conquest via Bird Poop: One Island at a Time
2170
If you land on a deserted island, you might be tempted to search for the basic stuff first -- food, water, shelter, and so on -- but don't forget to keep an eye out for guano! Why, you ask? Well, due to a relatively obscure law, the presence of guano on a deserted island may allow you to declare it property of the United States! Sort of. Tune in to learn more.

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Dec 07, 2017
When Scientists Hid Under Beds To Spy On Kids
2483
Let's say you're a scientist -- how far would you go to carry out a study? Back in the 1930s, two intrepid researchers went into full spy mode, stalking college students in an effort to determine how they behaved when they didn't know they were being observed. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the strange, ridiculous and, at times, disturbing history of informed consent.

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Dec 05, 2017
When People Thought They Were Made of Glass
1940
In 1422, King Charles VI died after ruling France for more than 40 years. He was also remembered as Charles the Mad, in part because he was convinced that his body was made of glass and would shatter upon contact with other people. This condition, known as the glass delusion, would continue to pop up through medieval Europe until the late 19th century, seemingly disappearing in the modern day.

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Nov 30, 2017
Nazis, Churchill and Chocolate
1912
When Lord Victor Rothschild first heard the news, he was incredulous -- surely Nazi Germany wasn't seriously planning to assassinate Winston Churchill with an exploding chocolate bar. However, Rothschild learned the intelligence reports were solid and was forced to take action before the Prime Minister fell victim to a literal death by chocolate.

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Nov 28, 2017
When (and why) did the US start calling its citizens consumers?
2687
Today, the terms "citizen" and "consumer" are often used interchangeably by authors, journalists and politicians. To some experts, this shift has disturbing implications. But how important is a word? How did this switch occur, and why?

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Nov 23, 2017
Does the US Confederacy still exist in Americana, Brazil?
2263
At the close the US Civil War, tens of thousands of former Confederate families fled the US for a small city in Brazil, where they sought to continue living as they had in the days before the war. Tune in to learn more about the strange history of Americana, Brazil.

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Nov 21, 2017
Did a real-life rainmaker almost drown San Diego?
1969
Charles Mallory Hatfield considered himself a real-life rainmaker (or, as he preferred to describe himself, a 'moisture accelerator') and, when San Diego faced one of its most damaging droughts, Hatfield cracked a deal: He'd bring the water back to San Diego. City officials were skeptical, but desperate -- and, as ridiculous as it might sound -- they got more than they bargained for.

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Nov 16, 2017
X-Rays, Songs and Soviets: The Stilyagi Story
2150
Caught between the conflicting ideologies of the Cold War, Soviet teens were banned from collecting Western music -- smuggled records could be both rare and expensive. The solution? Discarded X-rays, also known as 'bone recordings'. Join the guys as they explore the strange story of the Stilyagi.

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Nov 14, 2017
Who solves murders in Antarctica?
1891
Antarctica is home to one of the most brutal climates on the planet, and the few humans living on this continent face profound isolation and cramped quarters. Often, tension rises as the months between supply runs pile up -- so what happens when something goes wrong?

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Nov 09, 2017
How White America Tried to Destroy Chinese Restaurants
2380
Today Chinese restaurants serve some of the most popular cuisine in the United States, with more than 41,000 restaurants scattered around the country. Yet in the 1900s these restaurants were so controversial that labor unions, hate groups and even politicians joined forces in an attempt to wipe the businesses out. Tune in to hear the whole story (which, luckily, has a delicious and happy ending).

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Nov 07, 2017
Butter: Protestantism's Secret Ingredient?
2369
The Protestant Reformation remains one of the most significant cultural events in the Western world. Martin Luther's 95 Theses addressed numerous concerns with the Catholic church, including corruption and the practice of granting dispensations -- allowing people to, essentially, pay their way out of sin. So what was it about butter that spurred Martin Luther into action? The story might surprise you.

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Nov 02, 2017
Wharram Percy Versus The Undead
1950
Humanity has always had a fascination with -- and fear of -- the dead. And when the small medieval village of Wharram Percy felt they might become victims of the undead, they took drastic, grisly action, committing an atrocity that would not be uncovered until the modern day.

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Oct 31, 2017
The Wild Hippos of Pablo Escobar
2129
When notorious drug kingpin Pable Escobar died, he left behind a legacy of brutal crime, opulent living and, oddly enough, four hippos. Fast forward to the modern day, and experts estimate as many as 50 hippopotamuses may roam free in the lands around Escobar's old estate. So what happens when these 4.5 ton animals decide to make themselves at home in Colombia?

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Oct 24, 2017
Why do British lawyers wear wigs?
2117
For centuries some lawyers and judges in the U.K. have worn distinctive wigs during court proceedings. But why? Join Ben and Noel as they explore the strange history of the peruke.

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Oct 24, 2017
Ridiculous History: Episode Zero
562
History is beautiful, brutal and, often, ridiculous. Join Ben Bowlin and Noel Brown as they dive into some of the weirdest stories from across the span of human civilization in Ridiculous History, a podcast by HowStuffWorks. Here's a preview of our upcoming episode "Butter: Protestantism's Secret Ingredient?"

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Oct 20, 2017
Ridiculous History: Trailer
69
History is beautiful, brutal and, often, ridiculous. Join Ben Bowlin and Noel Brown as they dive into some of the weirdest stories from across the span of human civilization in Ridiculous History, a podcast by HowStuffWorks.

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Oct 18, 2017