Ridiculous History

Ridiculous History

iHeartRadio
History
385 episodes
History is beautiful, brutal and, often, ridiculous. Join Ben Bowlin and Noel Brown as they dive into some of the weirdest stories from across the span of human civilization in Ridiculous History, a podcast by iHeartRadio.
  • In earlier centuries, when science and spirituality were considered one and the same, the world was full of advice and warnings surrounding pregnancy cravings. In the second part of this two-part series, Ben and Noel explore how humans perceived these cravings: as superstition, stereotype and, event...
    Play49m 9s
  • Pregnancy is amazing — and scary, and beautiful, and a thousand other things. The modern world has stereotypes and tropes aplenty about pregnancy, especially including the phenomena known as pregnancy cravings. But how far back does this go? In the first part of this series, Ben and Noel explore the...
    Play46m 42s
  • Less than 18 hours after Richard Carrington noticed something screwy on the sun’s surface, chaos erupted. Telegraph operators found their machines literally aflame. The Northern Lights were visible from Cuba. People and plants across the globe became convinced it was daytime. Centuries later, Ben an...
    Play29m 28s
  • When amateur astronomer Richard Carrington gazed through his telescope on the morning of September 1st, 1859, he noticed something weird about the surface of the sun -- it seemed to have clusters of dark spots. Later historians would recognize this as the earliest observation of a solar flare -- and...
    Play32m 24s
  • In an effort to prevent further conflicts in what would become known as the Wars of the Roses, King Henry VI called the warring parties to London, with a weird pitch -- they would resolve their disputes through diplomacy, culminating in a parade where these sworn enemies would have to literally walk...
    Play57m 0s
  • In today’s Classic episode, the guys travel back to their early days. 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://www...
    Play39m 41s
  • Al Capone is rightly remembered as of the most notorious gangsters in US history -- but for a time residents of Chicago also thought of him as a benefactor. As people struggled to survive the Great Depression, Capone, in an apparent act of benevolence, founded a free, no-questions-asked soup kitchen...
    Play40m 2s
  • For a brief period in 1942, the town of Pascagoula, Mississippi was terrorized by a strange criminal -- he would sneak into people's houses as they slept and cut off locks of their hair. In today's episode, Ben and Noel explore this bizarre series of events (which may remain unsolved in the modern d...
    Play46m 14s
  • Napoleon’s lesser-known, older brother Joseph was, at times, the polar opposite of his conqueror sibling. Yet by merely being related to Napoleon, Joseph often found himself embroiled in geopolitical intrigue. In this episode, Ben and Noel explore Joseph’s rollercoaster of a life — along with his la...
    Play1h 33s
  • For centuries, people around the world were baffled by a bizarre serious of symptoms that seemed to wax and wane in certain regions over time. Various researchers proposed any number of explanations for these regional afflictions, everything from the actions of an angry god to, true story, cider. Ev...
    Play52m 22s
  • Today turpentine is a substance with any number of industrial uses -- but most people don't know much about it, and even fewer people know its history in the early days of the US. In today's episode, Ben welcomes returning guest Yves Jeffcoat as they dive into the largely forgotten story of turpenti...
    Play1h 6m 54s
  • In February of 1908, racing teams from multiple nations assembled for an unusual and ambitious race -- they planned to drive from Times Square across the planet to France. These were the early days of the automobile, and success was anything but guaranteed. In today's special 3D episode, Ben and Noe...
    Play1h 10m 9s
  • In the second part of this episode, Ben and special guest Matt Frederick continue exploring the bizarre heyday of the poulaine. Tune in to learn more about the fickle, sometimes ridiculous, cycles of fashionable footware throughout history. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodc...
    Play38m 27s
  • It appears many eras in history have their own version of sneakerheads. In 15th-century Europe, nobles and commoners alike went absolutely nuts for a type of pointy shoe called the Crakow -- and people desperately wanted the longest, pointiest shoes possible. In this episode, Ben and special guest M...
    Play40m 7s
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    Play35m 59s
  • Today the old pie-in-the-face gag is a well-worn comedy trope — but how did it become so famous? In part one of this two-part series, Ben and Noel explore the surprising history of pies, cinema and comedy. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
    Play31m 28s
  • As the British military brainstormed ways to break the German-built Atlantic Wall during World War II, desperation drove them to unorthodox ideas -- one of those, the Great Panjandrum, was a literal rocket-powered, rolling bomb. Tune in to learn how the Panjandrum came to be, what went wrong with it...
    Play35m 12s
  • Times were tough during the Great Depression. Economic unrest, massive migration and falling crops left many people struggling to survive -- even the simple task of finding food from one day to the next became increasingly challenging. Amid this chaos Dr. T. W. Stallings saw an opportunity: If he co...
    Play48m 44s
  • As the pineapple craze swept through Europe's upper class, aristocrats worked tirelessly to grow their own pineapples. This was no small feat, since pineapples aren't suited to the European climate. Still, some clever inventors and gardeners figured it out -- and, along the way, non-aristocrats also...
    Play58m 39s
  • Today, pineapples are a common (and delicious) produce item found in grocery stores and markets across the world -- but not too many centuries ago, a single pineapple could cost the equivalent of over $8,000. In the first part of this two-part episode, the guys delve into the bizarre story of Europe...
    Play52m 43s
  • As New Englanders woke on the morning of May 19th, 1780, they realized something was... off. The sunrise looked oddly colored and dim. As the day wore on, the sky grew increasingly dark. Soon, it appeared midnight had come early. Animals and humans alike panicked -- cows ran to their stalls, people...
    Play40m 14s
  • As the French and Indian War escalated, the residents of Windham, Connecticut lived in constant fear of possible attacks, crop-ruining weather, disease and more. One late night in the summer of 1754, a loud, continual noise roused the entire town as people feared they may be under siege. It wasn't u...
    Play48m 41s
  • Thousands of years before the current day, ancient civilizations accurately predicted both lunar and solar eclipses. They often believed these events were spiritual omens. When an eclipse came at an inauspicious time, multiple priestly classes scrambled to find a substitute king. In the interest of...
    Play41m 56s
  • As the small town of Mattoon captured national attention during the reign of the Mad Gasser, the investigation took a turn. Authorities were baffled by the deluge of reports -- and their inability to find any physical evidence other than a soiled rag at a doorstep. As researchers and historians look...
    Play52m 28s
  • As wartime fears peaked across the US during World War II, people throughout the nation were overwhelmed with fears of invading Nazis, secret biological weapons and more. For the residents of Mattoon, Illinois, these fears took a brief back seat to a new neighborhood menace -- a Mad Gasser who would...
    Play33m 25s
  • For thousands of years people across the planet lived in fear of leprosy (now known as ‘Hansen's Disease). In many cases, people infected with the disease, or even just suspected of having it, were carted off to isolated colonies where they would be doomed to live the rest of their lives without any...
    Play43m 34s
  • Back in the 1930s, the residents of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota felt the federal government— and the state legislatures— ignored them. They felt unheard, unheeded and, most importantly, moved to find solutions of their own. In this episode, Ben and Noel return to the story of Absaroka to ask:...
    Play51m 33s
  • George Parrott was a career outlaw -- a known thief, murderer and would-be train robber. When justice finally caught up with him and his game, he was destined for the hangman's noose. Yet George's demise was only the beginning of a bizarre posthumous tale. Tune in to learn why it's technically possi...
    Play45m 44s
  • In the second part of this two-part episode, Ben, Noel and special guest Gabe Luzier drill down into the nuts and bolts of flea circuses -- how did they actually work? Is it true that some flea circuses did not, in fact, have fleas? Is there any way to see a real flea circus in the modern day? Tune...
    Play51m 44s
  • Fleas -- they're one of the only animals Ben actually doesn't like! Yet, once upon a time, these bloodsucking nuisances were star performers in novelty acts across Europe and, later, North America. But what were they, exactly? Can you really train fleas to do tricks and play instruments? Who even ca...
    Play38m 7s
  • It's a Ridiculous History takeover! In honor of International Women's Day, join the hosts of the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You for this very special episode diving into the depths of history's most ridiculous beauty and fashion trends. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcas...
    Play58m 21s
  • The politically-connected, cartoonishly belligerent Billy Cottrell was a terrible Mayor, hated and feared by the locals of Cedar Key, Florida -- and no one was sure what to do. At least, that is, until the Federal government got word of the situation. Tune in to learn how the US President eventually...
    Play51m 34s
  • In 1859, a dispute between neighbors in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest led to the untimely death of a local (and very unlucky) pig. What could have been an easily resolved situation quickly ignited simmering tensions between the US and the UK, both of whom claimed the islands as their...
    Play58m 13s
  • Illario 'Mario' Fabbrini was true American success story: An immigrant who built his own pizza empire just as this iconic food was becoming a normalized, nation-wide delicacy. When the business was brought low by allegations of tainted mushrooms, he did something few people would have been brave eno...
    Play42m 13s
  • Born Varius Avitus Bassianus, the emperor now known as Elagabalus scandalized ancient Rome with his constant displays of extravagance, his numerous sexual escapades -- and his insistence that all people worship the sun god Elagabal (represented by a mysterious black stone he brought to town). Tune i...
    Play59m 34s
  • As John Wilkins began to put more serious thought into the idea of sending people to the moon, he reached out to fellow intellectuals in hopes of exploring the problem. So: How did they go about planning this ambitious endeavor, and how far did they get? Tune in to learn more in the second chapter o...
    Play31m 19s
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    Play41m 11s
  • In the second part of this series, the guys dive deeper into the story of turtle soup -- and how it soon gave rise to the more affordable, equally delicious 'mock turtle' soup. But what exactly is a mock turtle? Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnet...
    Play30m 34s
  • Today it's uncommon to see turtle soup on most restaurant menus-- but, not too long ago, this was considered a top-notch delicacy, praised for its flavor, enjoyed by world leaders, and widely praised for its deep, unique flavor. In the first part of this series, the guys explore the heyday of turtle...
    Play44m 11s
  • When a bug bit German inventor Carl Baunscheidt, he was struck with an epiphany of sorts -- could 'venting' the human body through the creation of artificial pores (today known as puncture wounds) allow a person to rid themselves of various diseases and medical infections? Tune in to learn more abou...
    Play53m 2s
  • Nowadays, hatpins are a somewhat archaic fashion accessory--but at the turn of the century, they were often used as weapons to deter ne'er-do-wells and scoundrels. Tune in to learn how hatpins became a symbol of women's rights (and an international controversy). Learn more about your ad-choices at...
    Play52m 5s
  • In the second part of this series, the guys explore the story of Harrison Weir, "The Father of the Cat Fancy." Learn how Weir led the charge to save the reputation of felines in Europe and abroad through the creation of high-class cat shows--and how these otherwise wholesome displays of quality cats...
    Play33m 59s
  • Whether you love them or hate them, there's no denying that cats hold a unique position in human society. They're (in)famous for making their own way -- "I tolerate you," the cat seems to say to its owner, "but I do not need you." While modern civilization is pretty pro-cat, this wasn't always the c...
    Play40m 23s
  • After literally getting away with murder, Dan Sickles joined the military, later leveraging the dubious events of his military career to reinvent himself as a war hero. Not everyone was convinced he was quite the paragon he purported to be. Learn more in the second part of this two-part series. Lea...
    Play35m 14s
  • Daniel Sickles was a real pill. For a time, the wealthy New Yorker was famous for his philandering -- and then he became famous for not only murdering a man in broad daylight... but getting away with it by pleading temporary insanity. Learn more about this American scoundrel in part one of this two-...
    Play39m 52s
  • As tuberculosis spread throughout the US, New York City banned spitting. Learn how the Ladies’ Health Protective Association saved the Big Apple from a pandemic--and paved the way for the vote. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
    Play58m 55s
  • In 1933, on his second expedition to Antarctica, Richard E. Byrd took the unusual, highly-publicized step of bringing some non-human crew along: Klondike Gay Nira, Deerfoot Guernsey Maid and Foremost Southern Girl. These three cows--four, if you count the one born in the course of the journey--were...
    Play39m 1s
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    Play56m 51s
  • It's the first Ridiculous History episode of the New Year! Ben, Noel and Casey are ringing it in with some predictions--not their own predictions, mind you. Instead the guys are diving into the predictions of luminaries from ages past, exploring how much (or how little) these historical figures got...
    Play44m 10s
  • What a year, right? If you're listening to today's episode, you have (almost) officially survived. I'm ringing in 2021 with Noel, Casey and the rest of our Ridiculous Historians in this, the second part of our exploration into the very old roots of very New Years. Learn more about your ad-choices a...
    Play36m 47s
  • As 2020 (finally) draws to a close, people across the planet will celebrate the arrival of 2021 in any number of ways, including traditional foods, religious rites and more. But where do these rituals come from? Join Ben and Noel as they explore the long history of ringing in the New Year in the fir...
    Play37m 56s