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The Unusual History of Every Thing
10 minutes | Oct 19, 2021
Brussels Sprouts: The Evil Within
Brussels sprouts aren’t the favorite of many, and there could be a good reason for that. The often-overboiled side dish comes complete with a mushy texture, yellowed color and a rotten-egg smell that stays in your house and your hair for days. But, if you cook them right, it’s a whole other story. And you better cook them right, because some say evil lurks between the leaves.
15 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
The Unusual History of Lucky Number 13
The number 13 really does have some baggage attached to it, and not all of it is deserving! We as a society may like to think we aren’t superstitious like people from ancient times or even the Middle Ages, but in fact we all still do a lot of things that stem from the superstitions of our ancestors. On this episode, we’re going to show you how the number 13 got such a bad rap.
8 minutes | Oct 5, 2021
Gargoyles: The Unusual Origins of Water Vomiters
Although the gargoyle as we know it today stems from medieval France, in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, an early form of the gargoyle took shape first. On this episode, as we gear up for Halloween, we thought we’d chip away at the stony exterior of gargoyles and see what historical goodies we can find.
12 minutes | Sep 28, 2021
The Weird History of Epidemics & Hauntings
Hauntings, as we all know, usually take place in places that have tragic histories. Throw in some paranormal conductors, like water, limestone or fault lines, and you have the makings for the next great scary movie. On this episode, we enter at our own risk three hospitals that were the final resting places for epidemic victims – victims who are said to still call those places home.
17 minutes | Sep 21, 2021
Holding A Wake Over A Corpse & Eating Their Sins: Old Traditions in Modern Times
On this episode, we explore the ancient origins of a modern funeral tradition, as well as the strange history of eating someone’s sins.
12 minutes | Sep 14, 2021
The Unusual History of the First Museums
On this episode, we take a step back in time to when museums were considered collections of objects and not institutions, and Cabinets of Curiosities were prized possessions.
13 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
Got Blood? Rituals, Sacrifice and Speaking to the Gods
Blood is the life force of humans and animals alike. And so for thousands of years it was believed that blood would in turn give the gods life, which would make the gods want to do nice things for the people. These blood rituals weren’t just animal and human sacrifices, they also included small amounts of blood used in ritualistic ways. On this episode, we examine some archaeological finds that point to a time when blood rituals allowed people to communicate with the gods and seek glory in the afterlife.
19 minutes | Aug 31, 2021
That Time of the Month: Where ‘Period’ and ‘Mittelschmerz’ Came From
While researching our previous podcast on feminine products, we came across two words that made us stop and think for a minute. On this episode, we take a look at the bloody history of the words “period” and “mittelschmerz.”
16 minutes | Aug 24, 2021
If the Foot Fits: Cinderella’s Origin Stories
One of the most known and treasured fairy tales in history, as it is today, is Cinderella. Almost everyone knows the tale about a young girl who is forced to live as a servant and becomes a princess who lives happily ever after when good triumphs over evil. However, where this story originated, the original meaning, and the full impact of this fairy tale on American society is not as well known.
13 minutes | Aug 17, 2021
The Strange Histories of Some Kick-Ass Female Rulers
There are many incredible, strong, talented women in the world – dead and alive. And in this episode, we want to focus on a small handful who ruled for an unusual length of time, did some odd things along the way, and kicked their enemies’ butts up and down their lands.
22 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
Dirty Hands, Dirty Bodies: The Evolution of Bathing
Washing your hands seems like common sense, especially if they’re dirty. But forget about what we know now about germs, viruses and bacteria. Forget how gross the feeling of gritty dirt is in your mouth because your hands were in the mud when you picked up that apple to take a bite. Forget about changing a baby’s diaper and then rubbing your eyes and getting pink eye. Instead, let’s focus on how society in general went from cleanliness to dying from infections, back to cleanliness. On this episode, we take a look at the uncommon history behind one of the most common things we know – washing our hands and bodies.
28 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
From Brain Hooks to Poison Tea: How Different Cultures Preserve their Dead
When you think about mummification, I’m sure Ancient Egypt is the first thing that springs to mind. Although that culture’s mummies are absolutely some of the coolest, they’re not the only ones who mummified their dead. In fact, mummification is still going on today thanks in part to Mother Nature and some odd things live people do to themselves. On this episode, we unwrap the layers of mystery around mummification and get to the heart of how various cultures preserve their dead.
17 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
The Unusual History of the Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal
On this episode, we’re going to suck you into the unusual history of the Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal – the Straw. In order to fully grasp the unusual history of the straw, we need to go back in time before Friedman’s patented “Drinking Tube,” a.k.a., the bendy straw; before a man named Marvin Stone discovered how to make straws not disintegrate in his mint juleps. We have to go all the way back to 3000 BC. Underground, as a matter of fact. Into the tomb of Pu-Abi, a Sumerian queen of Ur.
16 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
Vampires in Venice
Vampires in Venice. It sounds like the title of an Anne Rice novel, a dark supernatural romance. But alas, this podcast episode isn’t a dark romance, rather it’s the true story of how humans take what they do not understand and create legends that endure through the centuries – and make great Halloween costumes. On this episode, we’re going to take a bite out of vampire history and dig deep into some vampire burial grounds around the world.
25 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
The Month San Diego Almost Drowned
On this episode, we’re going to talk about the month that San Diego officials hired a moisture accelerator – and almost drowned the city.
15 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
Wedding Spiders, Watchdog Crickets & Other Good Luck Bugs
Whenever you think of good luck charms you automatically think of bugs, right? Afterall, who wouldn’t want tiny critters flying around you, crawling all over you or even being consumed by you as long as good fortune followed? Humans are always concocting new and interesting ways of using the things around them for random things, and we’re going to tell you about a few creepy crawlies that do their jobs well. Itchy yet?
14 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
Wedding Cakes: From Testicle-Filled Bridal Pies to Sweet Confections
On this episode, we talk about the evolution of the wedding cake from being filled with unusual ingredients to being smashed on the bride’s head.
12 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
The Unusual History of Things You Can Throw at Weddings
Warding off evil has been a thing forever. People don’t want it around them, and part of the evil that lurks about is called bad luck. Who wants that? No one, especially brides, grooms and people attending weddings. And since it’s wedding season, we thought we’d start our journey into things people have historically thrown at weddings by looking underneath the wedding dress first. You probably don’t think there’s much of anything to throw under there, but you’d be wrong!
29 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
Armpit Apples & Other Unusual Courtship Rituals
On this episode, we take a look at how courting someone used to be, strange dating rituals that led to marriage, and how stinky sweat-infused apple slices and the severed heads of your enemies used to be tokens of love.
21 minutes | May 25, 2021
The Neanderthal Hashtag
Three-hundred feet inside Gorham’s cave just east of the Strait of Gibraltar, a team of European researchers uncovered strange markings on a bedrock ledge that jutted out from the wall a few feet above the cave floor. The really strange part: The markings were very similar to our modern-day hashtag. But that’s just “scratching the surface.” On this episode, we do some digging into the mystery of the Neanderthal hashtag found carved in a cave near the Strait of Gibraltar.
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