Right Now in Ridiculous History

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

Introducing Ephemeral

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

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.

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. 

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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". 

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.

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.

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'.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.