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A macabre history podcast in which Jess and Philippa wax lyrical over the awful oddities of the past.

A macabre history podcast in which Jess and Philippa wax lyrical over the awful oddities of the past.
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United Kingdom


A macabre history podcast in which Jess and Philippa wax lyrical over the awful oddities of the past.




Gone with the Fairies

Has a loved one been grumpy, sickly, and just doesn't play those Facebook games that you keep tagging them in? They may have that stomach bug that's been going around or - and hear us out, here - they may have been stolen by fairies and replaced with a bad-tempered changeling. This week, Jess and Philippa talk about the fairy faith in late 1800s Ireland, and how personal and societal pressures led to a man murdering his "changeling" wife so that he might get his real love back from the...


Freak Shows

It's time to take the Victorian Period to even stranger places. Jess and Philippa discuss the emergence of the Victorian freak show out of the circus, looking at the lives of two of its stars: Oofty Goofty and Grady Stiles - also known as "The Lobster Boy". As the main act, we look at how Stiles in particular blurred the boundaries between performance and murder - and almost got away with it.


Dirty, Dirty

Blake may have seen "marks of weakness, marks of woe" in every London face he saw, but in a city famously called "The Smoke", it turns out that Victorian skin may have been rather more grubby that previously imagined. This week, Jess and Philippa wallow in the dirty details of Victorian filth and pollution, and discuss the unhappy lives that toiled under its sooty cloud.


Moronic Murderers

"I've got a cunning plan!" said no Victorian murderer ever. Are you getting tired of ingenious modern killers? Want a little less subtlety in your serial killers? If you're hankering after the days in which murderers laughed maniacally, yelling "they'll never catch me - I'm invincible!" while twirling their mustaches, you're in the right place. This week, Jess and Philippa talk about the "Bermondsey Horror": a murder replete with hilarious bungling, futile finagling, and a whole bunch of...


Parricide Poisoners

What did Adelaide Bartlett, Madeleine Smith, and Mary Ann Cotton...um...Mowbray...er...Ward? Mary Ann Robinson? Cotton again? What might these three women have had in common - aside from a sudden and startling lack of still-breathing relatives and husbands? If your answer is "suspicious amounts of deadly poison" then you're either thinking like a parricide poisoner or you are a parricide poisoner and need to hand yourself in to the authorities. This episode, Jess and Philippa look into the...


Medicinal Cannibalism

This episode comes to you with some fava beans and a nice chianti. This week, Philippa and Jess explore the grisly history of medicinal cannibalism and corpse medicine. Whether it was ancient Egyptian mummies, mossy skulls, or blood fresh from the execution, European kings, priests, doctors, and beggars ate human flesh and bones for well over two hundred years. Join us for the whys and wherefores - but take care to eat dinner, first!


Eat Me, Drink Me

When an ominous, black granite sarcophagus was unearthed in 2018, oozing with a mysterious red liquid, the prevailing public opinion was "I wanna drink that"! Listen to Jess and Philippa talk about why you should never imbibe the mysterious red liquid; find out more about cursed cheese, historical beliefs about food, and discover what chemicals the Victorians like to ingest (hint: all of them).


Ice Pick Lobotomies

Is therapy just a drag, lately? Do people complain that you talk about politics way too much? An ice pick lobotomy may fix both of those problems. Or, you know, kill you. Perhaps stick to listening to Jess and Philippa talk about this pinnacle of medical discovery and how one man terrorised America in his lobotomobile. His words, not ours.


Victorian Cosmetics

Fancy a few drops of deadly nightshade in your eyes? Your partner will swoon when he sees your dilated pupils and - better still - you won't be able to see him at all. Or how about a little sugar of lead to bring a corpse-like glow to those cheeks of yours? Listen to Jess and Philippa chat about the bizarre and frankly death-defying beauty tricks employed during the 1800s. Just remember not to smile or laugh: you don't want to have to start the enamelling process all over again!