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I Am Not Making This Up Podcast

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History that is stranger than fiction. Five minutes long. That's shorter than your high school history class and way more entertaining.

History that is stranger than fiction. Five minutes long. That's shorter than your high school history class and way more entertaining.
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History that is stranger than fiction. Five minutes long. That's shorter than your high school history class and way more entertaining.






I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 37 The Greatest Lion Tamer

When you think of a lion tamer, you probably imagine a guy in a safari outfit, pith helmet and wielding a chair and whip. That’s because the most famous lion tamer ever, Clyde Beatty, dressed in safari gear, and wielded a chair. Beatty was so famous that the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey’s Circus once […]


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 36 The Wild Horses of South Carolina

If you visit the Outer Banks of South Carolina, you may see the descendants of some of the first immigrants to our country, still living in the area where their ancestors first settled. These descendants are still living as their ancestors lived hundreds of years ago. But they’re not Amish. They’re not even human. They’re […]


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 35 Sarah Winchester, The Crazy Cat Lady of Architecture

We all think we know the story of Sarah Winchester. Folklore states that the heiress of the Winchester fortune was told by a psychic to go west and build a house for the spirits of everyone who had ever been killed by a Winchester rifle. In truth, Sarah probably had something in common with the […]


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 34 Vladimir Putin Liked It (So He Allegedly Took A Ring)

If Russian hackers crash this podcast and website, you’ll know that this episode is why. Yesterday, the New England Patriots met the Philadelphia Eagles in the Superbowl for the first time in 13 years. The last time the two met, the Patriots narrowly squeaked out a win for their third consecutive Superbowl victory. Shortly after, […]


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 33 That Bunnies Attacked Napoleon

Napoleon is widely regarded as one of the greatest military leaders of all time, Up there with Alexander the Great. But one of his most humiliating defeats actually came from a pack of domesticated rabbits.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 32 One Way To Spend An Afternoon When Visiting The City in 1848

Imagine you’re an American farmer 170 years ago. Depending on where you live, you may go to a big city once a year, when it’s time to sell off your surplus livestock. And, after you’ve done that, you might go have one of those fancy daguerreotype light paintings made. Having a Daguerreotype image made was the 1850’s fad equivalent to taking a selfie at Disneyland while performing in a flash mob in front of Cinderella’s castle. And if you adjust for inflation, the price was about the same.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 31 When Special Snowflake Wasn’t An Insult

You probably already know that no two snowflakes are alike. Every school child knows that. But before 1931, no one knew that. The man who changed our perspective on snowflakes was Wilson “snowflake” Bentley.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 30 Catch Me If You Can, Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread men are practically synonymous with Christmas. But, at the risk of sounding click-bait-y, you won’t believe the surprising origins of this cookie. Spoiler it’s Queen Elizabeth. Maybe.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 29 What Was On The Table That First Thanksgiving?

When we gather around the table this Thanksgiving, we’ll probably have turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Turkey is such an iconic part of Thanksgiving that there is even a giant turkey float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade. But the first Thanksgiving may not have even had turkey.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 28 John Smith Is The Wrong John

Long before the founding of the United States, some of the first colonists didn’t have much to be thankful for. Including food. They called that season the starving time.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 27 Dude! Where’s My Poe

Author Edgar Allan Poe is known for some of the best horror fiction around. He's also a bit of a sad sack for whom things never seemed to go right. In the days leading up to his death, he vanished. He was found in clothes that didn't belong to him, unconscious. Though he did wake, no one could make sense of his ravings before he died. Join author Melanie Miller Fletcher and I as we discuss our favorite theories about what might have happened to Poe.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 26 The Birth of the Byronpire

Author Melanie Miller Fletcher is my special guest for this episode. Join us as we discuss the birth of Science Fiction and the modern vampire (A.K.A. the Byronpire).


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 25 Lifestyles of the Rich and Poisonous

Though the Robert Browning poem The Laboratory is a fictional poem, it may be based on a true event. A scandal that swept 17th century France, leading all the way to the Sun King's inner circle, and right to the doors of his official mistress.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 24 The Real Rapunzel

There is a story of a girl who is locked away in a tower and forbidden to see her one true love. But this is no story about a signing princess with a talking animal friend. And the king in this story is the bad guy.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 23 Why You Shouldn’t Order The Lincoln Special

When you’re a high-profile figure, your life isn’t really your own. This can even be true of elected officials. Particularly martyred elected officials. Such was the case with Abraham Lincoln, who was sent on a farewell tour after his death that would have been worthy of any rock band.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 22 He Gave His Life For Tourism

When he was born, about 1342 BC, Tutankhaten’s life wasn’t his own. But the boy who would become known to us as Tutankhamen would be especially noteworthy because even in death his story isn’t his own.


I am Not Making This Up: Ep. 21 The Fabulous Fox Sisters

Imagine if you were 11 years old, and your April fool's prank got out of hand. So out of hand that it spawned a major religion? This actually happened to Kate Fox. She, along with her two sisters, Maggie and Leah ended up helping to found the Spiritualism movement after a practical joke got out of hand.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 20 Tell My Friend Willie Brown

Robert Johnson is known as the king of Blues and the granddaddy of Rock and Roll, influencing some of the biggest names in music from Bob Dylan to Eric Clapton. Johnson's life is shrouded in myth, and fans have filled in the gaps with even more myth. Legends say that he sold his soul at a crossroads in Mississippi to gain his legendary guitar skills.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 19 How The West Was Spun

Go anywhere in the world, and ask people what they think of Americans, and the word "cowboy" is likely to pop up. How is it that a brief 50 year period involving the least populated part of the United States has come to define the country as a whole? You can thank - or blame depending on your viewpoint, a man named Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West show.


I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 18 Barnum’s Burning Buildings

Recently it was announced to the world that in May of 2017, the Ringling brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus would be rolling up it's tents for the last time. P.T. Barnum revolutionized entertainment for a country that was just starting to have leisure time. But One thing Barnum is not known for, but maybe should be, is the many, many times a building that he owns burned down.


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