The Truth of Thanksgiving Is The Enemy Of Gratitude

Over the years, Thanksgiving has become a beloved holiday in America, a time when people are encouraged to come together and share their mutual gratitude for the blessings of good health and sustenance. It is a time to sit back and reflect on the accomplishments of our forefathers by celebrating family and more historically, the bounty of…

Remembering Old London And Its Epic Battle With Modern Crime

Crime has a way of uncovering the soft and vulnerable facets of society. While most people rarely fall victim to misdeeds of others, maleficium does have a way of seeping out into the populace and infecting the larger framework of life. And once this criminality is expressed through murder, theft, rape, or general malevolence, it…

Revealing The Romance Of The Ancient Roma Gypsy

 You don’t kill a gypsy by cutting him in ten pieces–you will only make ten more gypsies.–Romanian Proverb Way, way up in the peaks of Transylvania, a land steeped in myth and legend, lies one of the most darkly romantic settings of all times–the Carpathian Mountains. As the last truly wild mountain range of Europe,…

Hidden Witchcraft: How The Magic Jäckel Scared Europe To Death

On the dark and winding roads of history, few instances remain as wholly terrifying as the witch hunts of Early Modern Europe. The heady combination of religion, magic, heresy, and evil —topped with a hearty dose of moral panic and mass hysteria—gave rise to a new brand of organized persecution and led to an estimated…

From Rape To Reason: A Brief History Of Sodomy

“In general usage, sodomy was not an exact term and did not merely refer to a specific sexual act. Rather, it described the whole range of homosexual behavior, sexual or otherwise, which belonged to the ancient lechers of Sodom and Gomorrah. This Biblical idiom was as commonplace in the 19th century as it had been…

Was Poe’s Death The Greatest Of All His Mysteries?

Edgar Allen Poe was never one to underestimate the power of a good secret, and his death was no exception. Rarely have the details of someone’s final days caused such a stir in the annals of dark history. Just like the spine-tingling tales he wrote, much of Poe’s personal and professional life was shrouded in mystery,…

Cheers To The Royal Wedding That Served Up Death

When it comes to history, there are few events more anticipated, more idealized, or more relished than a royal wedding. Although modernity has mostly swept away the need for such spectacles, the idea of two bejeweled hands reaching out to clasp the glittering future of an entire kingdom still holds a certain allure. For many…

How The Werewolf Of Bedburg Passed From Man To Myth

Strangely enough, the most modern source on the medieval life and times of Peter Stumpp, otherwise known as the Werewolf of Bedburg, can be found in the lyrics of the rock band Macabre, a group of American troubadours who specialize in the obscure genre of “murder metal.” Paring down the meat of the story to bare…

Welcome To The Grim Underworld Of The Resurrectionists

When examining the dark crevices of London’s history, there’s no shortage of stories about decrepit neighborhoods and criminal networks, especially along the 19th-century docks and poorer areas of the great city. These notoriously seedy backdrops have set the scene for many a gruesome tale—from Jack the Ripper to the Yorkshire Witch—and remain some of the…

How One Medieval Murder Unleashed The Dark Legend Of Blood Libel

Sometimes it only takes a tiny spark to light a massive fire, one capable of burning furiously through the ages and killing many innocents in the process. In the case of young William of Norwich, this inferno first began with his brutal murder in 1144 and blazed into a mad vendetta against the local Jewish…

From Slave To Terrorist: How One Wicked Privateer Prevailed

Who was Francois L’Olonnais, you ask? He was not only a real, living historical figure, but he was also the most ruthless and fearsome pirate to ever sail under the black flag. And given the overall brutality of 17th-century life on the high seas, that is one hell of a claim. Born in France and sold into indentured…

How The History of Necromancy Revealed A Love Of The Dead

Of all human opinions to be reputed, the most foolish deals with the belief in Necromancy, the sister of Alchemy, which gives birth to simple and natural things. -Leonardo da Vinci One thing most ancient civilizations share is a fascination with the dead. The art of speaking to the deceased as a way to find hidden…

Finding Lilith: The Most Powerful Hag in History

As humans evolve and change with time, Lilith perseveres because she is eternal—she is the original Eve, the scapegoat of man, and an undeniable part of our shared psychological framework.

Hypatia Of Alexandria And The Murder That Crushed Intellectualism

Was not Hypatia the greatest philosopher of Alexandria, and a true martyr to the old values of learning? She was torn to pieces by a mob of incensed Christians not because she was a woman, but because her learning was so profound, her skills at dialectic so extensive that she reduced all who queried her…

Freedom At All Cost: Remembering History’s Greatest Slave Rebellion

There is nothing more stirring to the blood than the quest for freedom, especially as it lies in the desperate hearts of those who have suffered the brutal lash of slavery. And sometime—in fact, much of the time—the right to freedom is begrudgingly returned only when those in power are threatened. Freedom is not something…

How Paris’s Affair of The Poisons Exposed One Legendary Witch

Throughout the darkest halls of history, there have always been tales of witches—lawless, brazen women who used their knowledge of the occult to change the tides of fate using any means necessary. Sadly, many of these accused women throughout Europe and America were really just victims of fear-based conspiracies meant to round up and burn…

Sex With A King Demanded An Accomplished Mistress

“Every woman was born with the ambition to become the King’s favorite,” wrote Primi Visconti, an Italian fortune-teller who lived at Louis XIV’s French court in the mid 17th century. And in this world of glittering ambition and mercurial passions, it seemed he was right. While princesses were bred to be proper and abiding, the…

The Black Widow of Rome Brought Poisonous Death To The Powerful

At the height of the Roman Empire when riches were plentiful and the Emperors of the land were drunk with power and privilege, there lived a woman named Locusta who used her uncommon knowledge of botany and science to bring about the death of many prestigious men, elevating her status as a killer in one…

The Surprising Ways Voodoo Remains Misunderstood

“Despite rigid prohibitions, voodoo was indeed one of the few areas of totally autonomous activity for the African slaves. As a religion and a vital spiritual force, it was a source of psychological liberation in that it enabled them to express and reaffirm that self-existence they objectively recognized through their own labor . . ….

The Confessions Of This Refined Pedophile Shocked France

Hidden behind the facade of a refined French nobleman from the 15th century lived one of the most infamous sexual criminals in all of history, Gilles de Rais. His story is that of a squandered life par excellence, of a life devoted to extreme violence and guile. As a wealthy and influential man of his time,…

The Tragic World of The Castrati Left Europe Breathless

A castrato was that half man, that less than man that aroused the contempt of every whole man who looked upon it. He was that thing which women could not leave alone and men found infinitely disturbing, frightening, pathetic, the butt of jokes and endless bullying, the necessary evil of the church choirs and the…

The Angel of Auschwitz Found Mercy in Death

Although usually seen as winged seraphs of the heavens, ancient biblical stories tell us angels can appear in both light and dark forms, some seeking to inflict pain as others offer salvation. Such opposing symbols were not only represented in celestial dramas but sometimes took shape in the real events of history, manifesting the classic…

Hannah Duston: The Puritan Axe Murderer Who Found Revenge

Back in the 17th-century territory of what is now Massachusetts, many Puritans families struggled to survive in the wild, unpredictable conditions of the new world. One of their greatest fears, aside from starvation, was the threat of Native Americans who were known to wreak havoc on colonial homesteads and slaughter or abduct anyone who fell…

How The Slave Ship Zong Traded Sanity For Profit

The stinking, corrupt vessel known as the slave ship Zong carried hundreds or poor souls across the Middle Passage during the Atlantic Slave Trade and is regarded as one of the vilest and most barbarous trips to ever set sail. It departed from São Tomé, an island off the coast of west Africa, in 1781…

Mary Shelley: How The Queen of Goth Lived a Dark Fairy Tale

In the summer of 1816, 19-year-old Mary Godwin—soon to be Mary Shelley—conceived the tale that would become the biggest Gothic masterpiece of all time, Frankenstein.The wildly dark book shocked and titillated the literary world when it was first published in 1818, but the most surprising element was how Mary’s life itself played out like a…

How The Conquistadors Became The Meal in Mexico

During one of the worst defeats of Spanish explorers in 1520, the native people of what is now Mexico City, known then as the Acolhuas, captured some 550 conquistadors, including women and children, who had been continually invading their land. The natives, angry and exhausted from the ongoing threat of attack, eventually became more than…

The Marquis de Sade Was a Fornicator Beyond Compare

Anyone who thinks “Fifty Shades of Grey” was racy has clearly never heard of Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade. Born in 1740, de Sade is considered one of the most sexually deviant and rebellious characters in history. In fact, the word sadism is derived from his very name. The Marquis lived a life of…

Remembering The Brutality Of The Antebellum South

With so much talk in the news about Charlottesville, Virginia and the recent race riot they endured, it’s worth considering what all the fuss is about. The Virginia controversy has centered specifically on a statue of the Confederacy’s top general, Robert E. Lee, who appears larger than life as he sternly surveys the landscape before…

Why Giving Birth To A Monarch Was A Queen’s Darkest Hour

Since the beginning of civilization, the royal world has always been special, elevated above the mediocrity of regular life and filled with the pleasures and privilege of divine power and influence. After all, a king and queen were not simply elected to their posts—they were chosen by most discerning judge all, God. This notion alone was…