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".
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).