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Ridiculous History

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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.

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.

Location:

United States

Networks:

HowStuffWorks

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes

The Mysterious Dark Day That Terrified New England

4/8/2021
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 flocked to churches and taverns, many certain the end of the world was upon them. Eventually, things returned to normal, but in the centuries that followed numerous researchers attempted to figure...

Duration:00:40:00

The Windham Frog Fight of 1754

4/6/2021
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 until near dawn that the noises died down, and a small scouting party discovered the culprits of the cacophony -- a massive population of desperate bullfrogs, screaming at each other for territory...

Duration:00:47:21

Introducing: Operation Midnight Climax Episode 1: Mayhem and Murder

4/2/2021
In the 1950s, the CIA conducted highly controversial research on mind-altering drugs to prepare for brain warfare with global superpowers. But after a checkered past, George White’s off-the-books Operation Midnight Climax took whatever flimsy rulebook the CIA had and threw it out the window. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

Duration:00:32:02

Ancient Mesopotamian Societies Sacrificed Substitute Kings to Eclipses

4/1/2021
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 preserving society, these substitute kings would reign during an eclipse, only to be swiftly murdered afterward. Ben defends early humans, asking what we sacrifice today. Learn more about your...

Duration:00:40:37

The Mad Gasser of Mattoon, Part 2

3/30/2021
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 looked back on the events, they became increasingly convinced the was a different culprit behind the panic... and though the story was a gas, they were certain there had never been a real Mad Gasser...

Duration:00:50:39

The Mad Gasser of Mattoon, Part 1

3/25/2021
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 sneak beside people's windows and pipe in a paralytic gas for reasons no one could understand. But who was this Mad Gasser? What on earth did this criminal want? Tune in to learn more. Learn more...

Duration:00:33:29

A Currency for Colonies: The Strange Story of "Leprosy Money"

3/23/2021
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 access to the outside world. These colonies became their own active communities -- there were blacksmiths, traders, cooks, merchants and more. And this meant the residents of these communities...

Duration:00:44:09

Wyoming Tales, Part 2: Absaroka, the State That Almost Was

3/18/2021
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: Was this meant to be the 49th state, or was it a publicity stunt? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

Duration:00:51:02

Wyoming Tales, Part 1: Walking in the Shoes of Big Nose George

3/16/2021
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 possible, even today, to walk in Big Nose George's shoes (and not, perhaps, in the way you might assume). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

Duration:00:45:42

The Rise and Fall of the Flea Circus, Part 2

3/11/2021
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 in to learn more about one of history's strangest novelty performances. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

Duration:00:50:33

The Rise and Fall of the Flea Circus, Part 1

3/9/2021
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 came up with this weird idea? In this episode, the guys welcome special guest and researcher extraordinaire Gabe Luzier to dive into the origin of that bizarre novelty time largely forgot: the flea...

Duration:00:37:15

History's Most Ridiculous (and Deadly) Beauty Trends

3/8/2021
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.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

Duration:00:58:34

Billy Cottrell, the Tyrant Mayor of Cedar Key, Florida

3/4/2021
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 pled with Congress to allow for military intervention. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

Duration:00:50:08

The US and the UK Almost Went to War over a Pig

3/2/2021
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 own territory. In the days and weeks after, soldiers from both nations traveled to the area... each waiting for the other side to make the first move in what almost became a full-on war. Tune in...

Duration:00:57:13

Introducing: Black Cowboys

2/26/2021
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

Duration:00:01:02

The 1973 Michigan Pizza Funeral

2/25/2021
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 enough to consider -- he made the disposal of these so-called 'tainted' pizzas a public event, holding a mass burial for an estimated 30,000 frozen pizzas. The funeral was attended by numerous...

Duration:00:41:33

Elagabalus The Raunchy, Racy High Priest Who Became a Roman Emperor

2/23/2021
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...

Duration:00:58:24

John Wilkins Started a 17th-century Astronaut Program, Part 2: Wilkins (Tries to) Start a Space Program

2/18/2021
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

Duration:00:30:45

John Wilkins Started a 17th-century Astronaut Program, Part 1: Why not aim for the Moon?

2/16/2021
Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

Duration:00:40:09

Turtle Soup, Part 2: Rise of the Mock Turtle

2/11/2021
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

Duration:00:29:58