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Ridiculous History

Ridiculous History

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.

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Introducing: Black Cowboys

Zaron Burnett?s dad didn?t want slavery to be his son?s only image of Black people in American history. So every night, he filled Zaron?s dreams with these incredible stories of Black cowboys. Despite what Hollywood taught us, one-in-four cowboys were Black. Their stories tell a bigger, braver, more honest history of America.  Find Black Cowboys on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts! Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-02-26
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Elagabalus The Raunchy, Racy High Priest Who Became a Roman Emperor

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 in to learn how everyday Romans reacted to this larger-than-life character, and how his over-the-top behaviors eventually led to his downfall. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-02-23
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John Wilkins Started a 17th-century Astronaut Program, Part 2: Wilkins (Tries to) Start a Space Program

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 of this two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-02-19
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John Wilkins Started a 17th-century Astronaut Program, Part 1: Why not aim for the Moon?

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2021-02-17
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Turtle Soup, Part 2: Rise of the Mock Turtle

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.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-02-12
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Turtle Soup, Part 1: A Delicacy of Yesteryear

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 soup... and how it eventually led to the rise of mock turtle soup. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-02-10
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Stab Yourself to Health and Happiness: The Bizarre Rise of the Lebensweker

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 about the runaway success of Carl's handy, weirdly popular Lebensweker, or Life Awakener. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-02-04
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The Hatpin Peril

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 https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-02-03
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It's a Cat's World, Part 2: The Rise of the Cat Show

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 became increasingly classist. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-01-29
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It's a Cat's World, Part 1: The Sacred and the Suspicious

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 case. In the first part of this series, the guys explore the waxing and waning reputation of felines throughout history, from ancient Egypt to the Middle Ages and beyond. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-01-26
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Dan Sickles, American Scoundrel, Part 2: The Civil War

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. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-01-22
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Dan Sickles, American Scoundrel, Part 1: How to Get Away with Murder

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-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-01-20
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That Time New York Banned Spitting

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
2021-01-15
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Admiral Byrd and the Polar Dairy

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 darlings of the US press both during and after the journey. But why did Byrd bring them to Antarctica in the first place? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-01-12
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Weird 21st Century Predictions from Ages Past, Part 2: Your Personal Plane, A World Without Disaster and Retiring on the Moon

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2021-01-07
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Weird 21st Century Predictions from Ages Past, Part 1: Tesla, Square Tomatoes and Pseudosteak

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 right about the 21st century. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2021-01-05
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The Old Rituals of New Years, Part 2: Neuroscience, Resolutions and the Rick Steves Fan Club

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 at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-12-31
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The Old Rituals of New Years, Part 1: Slap the King and Dye those Eggs

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 first part of this special two-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-12-30
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Holiday Classic: 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 in this classic episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-12-24
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Holiday Classic: 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 in this classic episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-12-22
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Goodyear and the Mystery of the Ghost Blimp

In 1942, a U.S. Navy airship flew out over the Pacific to search for Japanese submarines. It lost radio contact and, hours later, slowly crashed in the San Franciscan suburbs. Inside the gondola, everything seemed to be in order -- the parachutes were there, the instrumentation was functioning... but two-person crew was missing. To this day, no one knows exactly what happened aboard the L-8 Ghost Blimp. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-12-18
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Benito Mussolini was Super into Wearable Milk

Today Benito Mussolini is probably best known as the founder of Italy's National Fascist Party, but he was also very, very into milk. So much so, in fact, that he funneled tons of funding into a strange new process: the creation of wearable milk. Lanital, as it was known, was wool-like in appearance, and, for a time, quite successful! So where are all our milk skirts and milk trousers now? Listen in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-12-16
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Snowmen as Protest: The Miracle of 1511

During the brutal winter of 1511, residents of Brussels built more than one hundred snowmen... and these sculptures weren't the type of snow sculpture you see in the modern day. Instead, the city was filled with satirical, often lewd displays critiquing the city's rulers, its poor and its working class alike. Tune in to learn more about that time snowmen became something like a citywide protest and widespread insult comedy. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-12-11
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Why are Chimney Sweeps good luck at weddings?

It seems odd, at first - the idea that a random chimney cleaner might pass by a wedding, then be brought into the party, shake sooty hands with the couple, and bless random people on the street. Yet the profession of cleaning chimneys carries generations of tradition, superstition and belief. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-12-09
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People Have Been Convinced Robots Will Take Their Jobs For Centuries

Nowadays automation is affecting almost every industry on the planet, and numerous experts are raising alarms: AI, robotics and automation, they say, may well spell doom for millions of jobs held by humans. This is a valid concern... but by no means a new one. Join Ben and Noel as they dive into humanity's strange, inspiring, disturbing and, of course, ridiculous relationship with robots. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-12-04
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That Time the US was Terrified of Tomatoes

Nowadays the tomato is an ubiquitous foodstuff in households across the planet - but in the US, this humble staple was once considered downright poisonous... and, later, it was touted as a miracle cure. In today's episode, Ben and Noel explore the origin of the tomato, its rocky rise to modern fame, and how a few small historical misunderstandings may have led people to believe this beautiful fruit was a symbol of everything from lycanthropy to witchcraft. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-12-02
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How the Pandemic Helped (and Hurt) the Struggle for Women's Rights

The 1918 epidemic played a massive, sometimes unacknowledged role in the struggle for women's rights. Tune in and learn more in today's episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-11-26
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How a German Prince Built his own Artificial Volcano

Like many nobles of his day, Leopold III Friedrich Franz traveled widely in his youth, taking in the ancient wonders of Europe. A stunning experience witnessing an eruption at Mount Vesuvius transformed the young prince's life. As he headed home to Germany, he vowed he would create a volcano of his own -- and, weirdly enough, he did just that. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-11-24
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The Weird Origin of Pink Lemonade, Part 2: The Rise of Clown Pants

As historians dove into the evolution of pink lemonade, one theory about its origin seemed particularly compelling (if gross): Pink lemonade, they argued, owes its existence to a circus, a washtub, and an unscrupulous carnie in a hurry. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-11-19
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The Weird Origin of Pink Lemonade, Part 1: A Humble Citrus

Nowadays, lemonade is a pretty popular drink -- and its counterpart, pink lemonade, occupies a space all its own. But where did this drink come from? Join the guys as they explore the surprisingly ancient origins of lemonade, as well as the dubious series of events that may have led to what we call pink lemonade today. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-11-18
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An Elephant in the Vatican, Part 2: An Elephant in the Reformation

As Pope Leo X's favorite pal, Hanno enjoyed a unique position in the Vatican -- he was the star of multiple gatherings and celebrations (which didn't always go as planned). Eventually, Hanno became a talking point for the Protestant Reformation. Join the guys as they explore the fate of Hanno and the gold enema that brought him to an untimely end in the second part of this two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-11-13
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An Elephant in the Vatican, Part 1: The Discovery of Hanno

In February of 1962, HVAC workers discovered the remains of an elephant beneath the Cortile del Belvedere -- and a mystery was ahoof. The story begins in 1513, when Portugese king Manuel I sought to give Pope Leo X an extraordinary gift: Hanno, an elephant from distant shores. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-11-11
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S T O V E G O B L I N

Today's setting: Zaragoza, Spain. The time: September of 1934. The problem? A stove goblin. At least, that's what the hapless Palazón thought as they tried to solve the mystery of a strange, disembodied voice that appeared to mischievously trash talk people from somewhere near the stove of their apartment. The case garnered attention from the police and other investigators, and ultimately disappeared. And, even today, the official explanation leaves a lot to be desired. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-11-05
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The US Didn't Always Have Secret Ballots

Nowadays, voters in the US consider secret ballots a fundamental part of any election. Yet -- perhaps surprisingly -- this wasn't always the case. The road to secret ballots was long and fraught with absolutely ridiculous, and, at times, dangerous shenanigans. Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-11-04
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The Case of the Greenbrier Ghost, Part 2: The Court

When the defense called Mary Jane Heaster to the stand, they likely meant to discredit her. However, she maintained that her daughter, Elva, had visited her -- from beyond the grave -- with proof that she was murdered. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-10-29
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Ridiculous History Presents: Criminalia

If you like Ridiculous History, check out this iHeartRadio & Shondaland Audio podcast ? Criminalia. On Criminalia, hosts Holly Frey and Maria Trimarchi explroe the intersection of history and true crime. This season is all about lady poisoners. During the time that Chicago?s most visible criminal element was organized crime, Tillie Klimek was quietly becoming the city?s most prolific female serial killer. She allegedly killed between six and 20 people, all through arsenic poisoning. We hoped you liked this episode of Criminalia. If you want to hear more, listen to Criminalia every Tuesday on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-10-28
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The Case of the Greenbrier Ghost, Part 1: An 'Everlasting Faint'

When Elva Zona Heaster passed away, the town doctor attributed the death to a heart attack. Elva's mother disagreed. Convinced that her daughter visited her from beyond the grave, Mary Jane Heaster brought the case into court - and the jury would consider the second-hand testimony of a ghost. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-10-28
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The Hand of Glory, Part 2: Recipes, Necropants and Toes

Like any recipe, instructions for creating a Hand of Glory often varied - which one was considered legitimate? Also, the guys explore the odd, morbid magical item known as 'necropants,' and discuss the specifics of drinking beverages containing a severed human toe. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-10-23
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The Hand of Glory, Part 1: A Thief's Theme

If you were an enterprising thief in the days of yore, there were few legendary tools as valuable as the grisly Hand of Glory -- the severed hand of a criminal, magically treated to create a macabre, powerful talisman. Join the guys as they delve into the dubious origins of this strange creation in the first part of this two-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-10-21
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Brooms and Witchcraft, Part 2: Inquisitions and Iniquity

Could the stereotype of witches on broomsticks actually be a drug reference? Join Ben, Noel and Casey as they continue digging through the history and folklore of witchcraft -- and how it affected pop culture in the modern day -- in the conclusion of this 2-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-10-15
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Brooms and Witchcraft, Part 1: A Killer in the Rye?

Most people are familiar with the stereotypical image of a witch: a haggard, often older individual with a peaked hat, black robes, a demonic familiar and, oddly enough, a penchant for cruising around on broomsticks. But where did that last, weirdly specific, trope of flying on a broomstick actually come from? Join the guys as they explore the bizarre (and racy) theories behind the story in part one of this two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-10-14
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The Beast of Gévaudan, Part 2: The Birth of a Grisly Legend

As the investigation into the Beast became a national obsession, the French monarchy stepped in, offering rewards (and threats) in their attempt to capture the murderous creature. In part two of this episode, Ben, Noel and Casey explore the end of the tale (tail? Nevermind.) and the mystery of the case that remains unsolved in the modern day. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-10-09
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The Beast of Gévaudan, Part 1: Murders In France

For three years, a monster terrified the backwater region of Gévaudan. From 1764 - 1767, people found the mutilated corpses, one by one, across the countryside. The press of the time, unable to cover political stories, brought the story of The Beast to France at large. A legend was born. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-10-07
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The BBC Convinced People Spaghetti Grows on Trees

On the first of April in 1957, cameraman Charles de Jaeger's childhood dream came true: Panorama, Britain's most popular news program, aired a segment describing the traditional method of harvesting spaghetti from trees. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-10-02
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The US Waged War on Pinball for Decades

Today, pinball is seen as a sort of retro novelty -- it's enjoyable, kitschy and wholesome. Yet for decades, political officials in cities across the United States worried pinball might lead to the downfall of the nation's children, become a driving force for organized crime, and dissolve the moral fabric of the US. So what led to this odd war on pinball -- and why aren't people worried about these games in the modern day? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-09-30
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The Misadventures of Wade Boggs, Part 2

Wade Boggs is a legendary, larger-than-life figure in the world of sports -- but one of his strangest achievements has nothing to do with baseball. Join the guys and special guest, Matthew Waxman, the creator of Trickeration, as they delve into the legend of Wade's 107 beer airplane flight... and walk through some very boozy math to discover whether the legend is true. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-09-25
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The Misadventures of Wade Boggs, Part 1

Wade Boggs has always been regarded as a legend, both on and off the ballfield. However, some of his strangest experiences have very little to do with baseball. Join Ben, Noel, and special guest Matthew Waxman, the creator of Trickeration, as they explore the bizarre story of the Wade Boggs sex scandal. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-09-23
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The Tragic Tale of the 'Turnspit Dog'

Before the rise of household automation, British elites struggled to find the perfect method for cooking meat. They preferred it roasted, slowly, turning continually on a spit to evenly distribute heat. Yet this backbreaking labor proved too difficult for even the most spry peasant child, and so they turned to an innovative (if cruel) alternative: Breeding dogs specifically to turn meat spits. These 'Turnspit Dogs' occupied one of the lowest rungs in the hierarchy of any noble kitchen, living brutal lives of endless toil on what were essentially hamster wheels. Listen in to learn the tragic tale of the 'Turnspit Dog.' Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-09-18
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Knocker-Uppers: The Human Alarm Clocks of the Industrial Age

When adapting to life as factory employees, members of the British and Irish public confronted a new, unexpected obstacle -- how do you make sure you wake up in time for your shift? While predecessors of the alarm clock existed, they were unreliable (and incredibly expensive). And so enterprising people across the land started their own wake-up service, becoming the human alarm clocks affectionately known as 'Knocker-Uppers.' Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-09-16
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That Time New York City Rioted Over Shakespeare

Don't let reality television and wrestling fool you -- celebrity rivalries are a tale as old as entertainment itself. In 1849, the rivalry between two Shakespearean actors culminated in a massive riot that would leave more than 20 people dead in the street. Listen in to learn more about the infamous Shakespeare riot... as well as the sociocultural tensions that actually drove the fray. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
2020-09-11
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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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