Hidden Gunpowder: How Guy Fawkes Plotted His Way To Death

If you ever find yourself in London on November 5th, you may see the bursts of fireworks around the city, accompanied by burning effigies in the neighborhood square. Also known as Bonfire Night, this celebration does not mark Britain’s independence but rather, its salvation from the nefarious plans of its most infamous villain, Guy Fawkes. Publicly…

American Brutus: How Lincoln’s Murder Revealed A Spectacular Killer

Walking into the Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. is like taking a visceral journey into the past. Not only does it perfectly capture the nostalgia of the 19th century—when the United States was in the midst of grave political dissension—but it remains the backdrop of one of the most infamous moments in American history, the…

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…

Walpurga Hausmännin: Confessions Of A Condemned Sorceress

Medieval Europe could be a frightful place for a woman of strength, especially one with the wisdom of a midwife and the proclivities of a healer. Intensified by her status as an elderly widow in 16th-century Germany, Walpurga Hausmännin made the perfect witch. Accused of over forty heinous crimes against children like vampirism and murder,…

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…

How The Dunoon Massacre Took a Scottish Family Feud Too Far

Inherited folklore is alive and well in Scotland. Fed by the glorious splendor of its jagged slopes and misty hillsides, many have heard the tales of roving clans out to even the score of ancient feuds and regain their honor in any way necessary. In fact, during the 17th and 18th centuries, Scotland never seemed…

These Baffling Artifacts Prove How Little We Know About History

An oopart, otherwise known as an “out-of-place artifact,” is an archeological discovery that does not fit into our established understanding of history. Given the artifact’s advanced level of technology or general sophistication, its existence seems impossible within the physical, chemical, and/or geological constraints of its time. Then, how can they exist? Science measures them as…

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 True Story of An American Slave in Africa

In the early 19th century, tales of slavery throughout the world were common. Not only was the transatlantic slave trade in full swing, but countries like Cuba, Spain, and Sweden were also grappling with the horrific cycle of human ownership. It was a pervasively one-sided relationship, typically demonstrated by the classic white master/dark slave dynamic….

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…

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…

Battles Not Burkas: These Ancient Persian Women Fought For Their Cause

Long ago, when the women of Persia were honored and revered by their culture, they often held influential and dynamic positions in society. Aside from being mothers, they played many roles—teacher, politician, business owner, even soldiers. In fact, ancient women warriors of Persia were so powerful, neighboring male-dominated cultures in both Greece and Rome viewed…

Can These Diabolical Rulers Of The Past Explain The Present?

If anything, the recent presidential elections have reminded us that not everyone agrees on what makes an effective ruler. The amount of confusion, chaos, and general upset surrounding our recent presidential results speak to our varying perspectives as well as our forgetfulness of the past—a tyrannical and childish ruler is a wildly dangerous thing. The whole…

Has America Forgotten The Toxic Stain of Agent Orange?

As America continues to untangle itself from an ongoing battle in the Middle East which has spawned the rise of ISIS and contributed to the Syrian devastation, it feels particularly poignant to remember this is not our first rodeo. Just a mere 60 odd years ago, we were busy raining down holy hell on the heads…

How Jure Grando Introduced The Epic Legend of the Vampire

Vampires are typically associated with gloomy, foreboding castles in Transylvania, but the original stories of the štrigoi are even older than Dracula and can be found in remote parts of Europe as well. In fact, one of the most chilling legends comes from Kringa, a small Istrian town in what is now modern-day Croatia. Within this Balkan…

These Terrifying Christmas Legends Showed No Mercy To the Wicked

Ah, Christmas. It’s a time dedicated to kindness, generosity, joy, and rampant consumerism. A time when people try to let their problems go and embrace the darkest days of the year by plugging in colored lights and keeping the hearth warm and welcoming. The tinsel-laden month of December offers a reprieve from the usual travails…

These Lost Treasures Are Actually Real And Waiting To Be Found

Have you ever wondered about the endless treasure that must be lying somewhere at the bottom of the sea? Unheard of riches squirreled away by fearsome robbers hiding the spoils of their crimes? Men have been stealing and losing and finding treasure since the dawn of civilization, and the ongoing search for it offers a…