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July 11, 2019
Meet Albert Cashier, the Trans Man Who Fought for the Union in the Civil War
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
July 9, 2019
Operation Northwoods: How the US Planned to Attack Itself and Start a War with Cuba
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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43 min
July 4, 2019
That Time Irish Separatists Invaded Canada
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). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
July 2, 2019
The Night Witches: How an All-female Soviet Bomb Squad Terrorized Nazi Germany
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
June 27, 2019
Bug Wars: When We Tried to Turn Insects into Soldiers
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
June 25, 2019
Yasuke, the African Samurai
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
June 20, 2019
The Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I Tried To Make An Army of Super Tall Soldiers
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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35 min
June 18, 2019
Playboy, Progressive Politics and Stand-up: The Dick Gregory Story with Wayne Federman
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 Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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52 min
June 15, 2019
Introducing Food 360 with Marc Murphy
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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1 min
June 13, 2019
I Modi: The Scandalous Erotic Blockbuster Banned By The Vatican
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". Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
June 11, 2019
Patriots, Prisoners and Plants: The World of Political Body Doubles
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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51 min
June 6, 2019
Fort Blunder: The US Fort Mistakenly Built in Canada
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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35 min
June 4, 2019
The Duke of Edinburgh is Literally a God in Vanuatu
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'. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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27 min
May 30, 2019
The Honorary Citizens of the United States
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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44 min
May 28, 2019
The Nature of Ephemera, with Alex Williams
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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42 min
May 23, 2019
The Return of Listener Mail
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
May 21, 2019
That Time Ohio and Michigan Almost Went To War
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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35 min
May 16, 2019
The Rise and Fall of Local Scrip: Alternative Currencies of the Great Depression
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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40 min
May 14, 2019
The Attack of the Japanese Balloon Bombs
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
May 9, 2019
Marie Antoinette and the Diamond Necklace Hoax
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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46 min
May 7, 2019
Nosy Boraha: The Pirate's Paradise (And Cemetery)
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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27 min
May 2, 2019
How the Black Death Came To Norway On A Ghost Ship
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
April 30, 2019
Susanna Caroline Matilda: The Colonial Grifter Princess
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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56 min
April 25, 2019
History's Weirdest Flexes, Part II
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
April 23, 2019
History's Weirdest Flexes, Part I
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
April 18, 2019
How Robert 'The Fastest Knife in the West End' Liston Conducted a Surgery With a 300% Mortality Rate
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
April 16, 2019
How Oliver Cromwell Got Executed Several Years After His Death
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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28 min
April 11, 2019
Hong Xiuquan: The Younger Brother of Jesus Christ Who Led a Bloody Rebellion in China
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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38 min
April 9, 2019
How Big Bill Speakman Fought Off North Korea With Beer Bottles
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). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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26 min
April 4, 2019
Teddy Roosevelt May Just Have Saved Modern (American) Football
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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25 min
April 2, 2019
Prohibition, Prescriptions and the Rise of 'Medicinal' Booze
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
March 29, 2019
Introducing It Could Happen Here, An iHeartRadio Original Podcast
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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3 min
March 28, 2019
Did Robert E. Lee hate Confederate Memorials?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
March 26, 2019
California Schoolchildren and the Great Squirrel War
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
March 21, 2019
When West Virginia Begged the USSR for Foreign Aid
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
March 19, 2019
Idiomatic for the People II, Part II
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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39 min
March 14, 2019
Idiomatic for the People II, Part I
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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51 min
March 12, 2019
The Statue of Liberty Almost Lived in Egypt
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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35 min
March 7, 2019
Agent Garbo: The Strange Tale of the Man Who Saved D-Day
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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41 min
March 5, 2019
The War of the Stray Dog: How Far Would You Go For Your Pet?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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37 min
February 28, 2019
The Tragic Origin Story of Morse Code
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
February 26, 2019
Operation Gunnerside: How a Crew of Military Skiers Ruined the Nazi Bomb
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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28 min
February 21, 2019
How far did Isaac Newton go to hunt down forgers?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
February 19, 2019
How Admiral Horatio Nelson Ended Up Dead in a Barrel of Brandy
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
February 14, 2019
English Men Used to Sell Their Wives
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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25 min
February 12, 2019
How Louisiana Almost Became a Hippo Ranching Hub
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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43 min
February 8, 2019
The Weird Life of George Washington, Part 2
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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34 min
February 5, 2019
The Weird Life of George Washington, Part 1
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.) Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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45 min
January 31, 2019
Who was the highest paid athlete in history?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
January 30, 2019
Clara, The World's Most Famous Rhinoceros
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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46 min
January 24, 2019
How the Monopoly Board Game Became a World War II Escape Kit
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
January 23, 2019
Idiomatic For The People, Part I
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?) Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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64 min
January 17, 2019
Was there a real-life Rapunzel?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
January 15, 2019
Benjamin Franklin's Advice on 'Finding a Mistress'
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
January 10, 2019
What does 'Idaho' actually mean?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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25 min
January 8, 2019
Uncle Sam Tried to End World War II With Bat Bombs
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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37 min
January 4, 2019
The American Soldiers Who Defected to North Korea and Became Movie Stars
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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35 min
January 1, 2019
How a Broken Toilet Foiled a German Sub
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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26 min
December 27, 2018
Creature Feature: The Dark Tetrad
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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65 min
December 25, 2018
Gustaf Broman Tried to Cross the Atlantic in a Canoe . . . Or Did He?
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.) Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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40 min
December 20, 2018
The Weird, Surprisingly Recent Origin of the Tooth Fairy
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.) Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
December 18, 2018
When Vikings Loot The Wrong Town
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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40 min
December 13, 2018
Were Tulips Really The Bitcoin of the 1600s?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
December 11, 2018
(Some of) History's Dumbest Military Prototypes
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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56 min
December 6, 2018
The Forty Elephants: London’s All-Female Jewel Thieves
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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43 min
December 4, 2018
The Malleus Maleficarum: A Real-life Witch Hunter's Bible
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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35 min
November 29, 2018
The Great London Beer Flood of 1814
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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27 min
November 27, 2018
Dr. Seuss Wrote His Most Famous Book On A Bet
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
November 22, 2018
Feral Children and the True Story Behind The Jungle Book
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
November 21, 2018
When Dentist Sold Dentures Made with Corpse Teeth
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
November 15, 2018
The Laxative-laden Journey of Lewis and Clark
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
November 13, 2018
The Strange and Spectacularly Disgusting Story of the Great Kentucky Meat Shower
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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37 min
November 8, 2018
The Bizarre Origin of the Oxford English Dictionary
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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46 min
November 6, 2018
How Conman Victor Lustig Sold The Eiffel Tower (Twice)
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). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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63 min
November 2, 2018
George Carlin Gets Quoted in the Supreme Court: Ridiculous Stand-up Stories with Wayne Federman
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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26 min
October 31, 2018
The People vs. Lenny Bruce: Ridiculous Stand-up Stories with Wayne Federman
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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34 min
October 23, 2018
The Life and Times of Ol' Knife Hand
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
October 18, 2018
The Ridiculous Story of the World’s First (Documented) Serial Killer
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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37 min
October 16, 2018
Back When the Rich Ate Corpses
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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37 min
October 11, 2018
The Mummies of Guanajuato
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
October 9, 2018
The Curious Rise of SPAM
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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48 min
October 4, 2018
The Smooth-talking Takeover of Tabor Bridge
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
October 2, 2018
History's Coolest (Non-Human) Political Candidates, Part I
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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56 min
September 27, 2018
Attack of the Aswang: How the CIA Used Vampires as Weapons of War
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
September 25, 2018
A Dead Pope Goes To Court
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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27 min
September 20, 2018
Who are the Hartlepudlian Monkey Hangers?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
September 18, 2018
William Walker: Filibuster and (Fantastically Bad) President
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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43 min
September 13, 2018
Lawsonomy: How the Father of the Modern Airline Started His Own Religion
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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52 min
September 11, 2018
War and Candy: The Infamous Tootsie Roll Air Drop
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
September 6, 2018
The Man Who Assassinated Abe Lincoln's Assassin
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
September 5, 2018
The Cock Lane Ghost: Haunting, Hoax, Hysteria… or Hilarious?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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41 min
August 30, 2018
Roland the Farter and the Weird World of Professional Flatulence
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
August 28, 2018
Gregor MacGregor Invented a Country and Convinced People to Invest in It
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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57 min
August 23, 2018
Angry Feds and Deadly Booze: The Story of the Chemists' War
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
August 21, 2018
Project A119: The Cold War Plan to Nuke the Moon!
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
August 16, 2018
Adidas Versus Puma: A Tale of Two Brothers
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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44 min
August 14, 2018
Fanny and Stella: The Cross-Dressing Scandal of Victorian England
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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37 min
August 9, 2018
Kansas Imprisoned Women For Having STDs
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
August 7, 2018
The WWII Naval Battle Won Using Potatoes
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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34 min
August 2, 2018
The Korean Soldier Who Fought for 3 Armies During WWII
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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25 min
July 31, 2018
Oregon Was a White Supremacist Paradise
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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44 min
July 26, 2018
Why did people hate the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
July 24, 2018
The 1904 Summer Olympic Games in St. Louis Hosted a Racist 'Special Olympics'
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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35 min
July 19, 2018
When Heineken Made Bottles That Could Be Used as Bricks
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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34 min
July 17, 2018
Why British Soccer Players Saluted the Nazis
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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42 min
July 12, 2018
The United States That Never Were
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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46 min
July 10, 2018
Philadelphia's Transylvanian Doomsday Cult: The Cave of Kelpius
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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47 min
July 5, 2018
Enough About Us: What About You?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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39 min
July 3, 2018
Weird Wars Fought For Dumb Reasons
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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46 min
June 28, 2018
The FBI's Quest to Understand 'Louie, Louie'
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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48 min
June 26, 2018
The Time a Soviet Premier Was Banned From Disneyland
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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45 min
June 21, 2018
Kidnapping, Binge Drinking and Costumes: Voter Fraud in the 1800s
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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35 min
June 19, 2018
Why don't Americans use bidets?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
June 14, 2018
The Earliest Recorded Mooning Killed Thousands
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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38 min
June 12, 2018
The Presidential Reason Fido Became the Default Name for a Generic Dog
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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40 min
June 7, 2018
Dock Ellis and the Legend of the LSD No-hitter
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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38 min
June 5, 2018
Maryland’s State Song was a Diss Track
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". Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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41 min
May 31, 2018
The Story of Max, South Africa's Famous, Crime-fighting Gorilla
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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51 min
May 29, 2018
How Santa Anna Lost His Leg Twice, and Held a Funeral for It
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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44 min
May 24, 2018
That Time Chewbacca Needed Bodyguards
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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42 min
May 22, 2018
Napoleon Bonaparte Was Attacked by Bunnies -- And Lost
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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38 min
May 17, 2018
California Was Named for a Fictional Island Ruled by a Black Amazon Queen
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
May 15, 2018
Ancient Mayan Ritual Alcohol Enemas
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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51 min
May 10, 2018
Vermont Was an Independent Republic
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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46 min
May 8, 2018
The Capture of Guam Was Bloodless and Quick, All Due to a Misunderstanding
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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40 min
May 3, 2018
Are all US Presidents actually related?
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.) Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
May 1, 2018
What's the deal with two-dollar bills?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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59 min
April 26, 2018
How James Bond Created a Mexican Dia de los Muertos Tradition
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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28 min
April 24, 2018
Did Richard Nixon Unwittingly Smuggle Drugs for Louis Armstrong?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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39 min
April 19, 2018
3 Times Society Refused to Accept New Books on Science
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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52 min
April 17, 2018
That Time We Erased a (HUGE) Waterfall
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
April 12, 2018
The Poetic Justice of Death by Molten Gold
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
April 10, 2018
Japan, Baseball and the Curse of the Colonel
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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38 min
April 5, 2018
That Time the US Built a Flying Aircraft Carrier
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). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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34 min
April 3, 2018
Yes, Those Are Corpses in the Diorama
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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39 min
March 29, 2018
Weird People Who Built Weird Things
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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37 min
March 27, 2018
What was the West Point Eggnog Riot?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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44 min
March 22, 2018
Lyndon Johnson Chatted on the Phone More than a Teenager
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
March 20, 2018
When Germany Sacrificed Sausage For War
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
March 15, 2018
Arsenic: The Assassin's Dream Weapon
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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39 min
March 13, 2018
The Killer Marketing Campaign Behind Guy Fawkes
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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47 min
March 8, 2018
When Ancient India Beat Machiavelli to the Punch
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
March 6, 2018
The Rise of Harvey Wiley's Poison Squad
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
March 1, 2018
Step Aside, James Bond: The Strange Stories of Espionage Animals
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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55 min
February 27, 2018
How MLK influenced Star Trek
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
February 22, 2018
What was the 'Great Stink' of London?
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). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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41 min
February 21, 2018
How Farmers Built A Barbed Wire Phone Network
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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34 min
February 15, 2018
The Strange Story of Canadian Margarine Bootleggers
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''. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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41 min
February 13, 2018
When People Waged War Over Eggs
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 Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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40 min
February 8, 2018
The Wild West Was Actually Pretty Chill
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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34 min
February 6, 2018
How A Grudge Match Launched the Ford GT40
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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48 min
February 1, 2018
Vitamin Donuts Were A Real Thing
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
January 30, 2018
The Rotten, Sausagey Secret Origin of Botox
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
January 25, 2018
The Weird World of Meat Jell-O (Gelatin Origin Story)
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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37 min
January 23, 2018
London Made a Train for the Dead
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
January 18, 2018
Roald Dahl: Children's Author and Secret Agent
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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39 min
January 16, 2018
When did ALL-CAPS type become YELLING?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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37 min
January 11, 2018
Why does the Guinness Beer Company Track World Records?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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31 min
January 9, 2018
Digging Up James K Polk (For the Third Time)
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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35 min
January 4, 2018
Presidents Love Their Ridiculous Pets
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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34 min
January 2, 2018
The Atomic Whoops: When the US Air Force Bombed South Carolina
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
December 28, 2017
Waging War With Hallucinogenic Honey
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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25 min
December 26, 2017
Ben Franklin Tried To Reinvent the Alphabet
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). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
December 21, 2017
The Strange History of Antarctic Fruitcake
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
December 19, 2017
When the Puritans Canceled Christmas
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
December 14, 2017
Baguettes and Vacation: France versus Bakers
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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26 min
December 12, 2017
What's the deal with smashing cake at weddings?
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
December 7, 2017
Conquest via Bird Poop: One Island at a Time
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
December 5, 2017
When Scientists Hid Under Beds To Spy On Kids
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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38 min
November 30, 2017
When People Thought They Were Made of Glass
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
November 28, 2017
Nazis, Churchill and Chocolate
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
November 23, 2017
When (and why) did the US start calling its citizens consumers?
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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42 min
November 21, 2017
Does the US Confederacy still exist in Americana, Brazil?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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34 min
November 16, 2017
Did a real-life rainmaker almost drown San Diego?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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30 min
November 14, 2017
X-Rays, Songs and Soviets: The Stilyagi Story
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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33 min
November 9, 2017
Who solves murders in Antarctica?
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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28 min
November 7, 2017
How White America Tried to Destroy Chinese Restaurants
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). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
November 2, 2017
Butter: Protestantism's Secret Ingredient?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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36 min
October 31, 2017
Wharram Percy Versus The Undead
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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29 min
October 24, 2017
The Wild Hippos of Pablo Escobar
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? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
October 24, 2017
Why do British lawyers wear wigs?
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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32 min
October 20, 2017
Ridiculous History: Episode Zero
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?" Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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9 min
October 18, 2017
Ridiculous History: Trailer
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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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1 min
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