Will The American South Ever Remember Its Brutal Antebellum History?

*Sidenote: While The Raven Report does not typically offer commentary on the details of history, this current rise in white supremacist activity and Southern recalcitrance regarding the issue of black lives demands attention. As someone recently said, “If you ignore the problem, you are part of the problem.” And so, we would like to do…

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…

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…

The Execution Of Peter Niers Killed The Medieval Boogeyman

Have you heard the legend of Peter Niers, the medieval bandit and killer? As one of Germany’s most reviled criminals, raping and pillaging his way through the unsuspecting landscape of 16th-century Europe for 15 years, his legacy is well-marked by dark history. Believed to have murdered over 500 people during his heyday, the story of his life…

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…

How The Black Death of 1348 Went From Pestilence To Persecution

The Dark Ages were called such for good reason. Not only was the world filled with extreme ignorance and religious anxiety, but the nascent state of the medical world contributed greatly to the amount of general sickness, pain, and death faced by the masses. As a result, it remains one of the most fascinating periods…

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…

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…

“Black Bart” Roberts Defined The Golden Age of Piracy

“Roberts himself made a gallant figure, at the time of the engagement, being dressed in a rich crimson damask waistcoat and breeches, a red feather in his hat, a gold chain round his neck, with a diamond cross hanging to it, a sword in his hand, and two pairs of pistols slung over his shoulders…

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…

In The Name of Christ: Is The Shroud of Turin Real?

The Shroud of Turin is an ancient linen cloth that bears the clear image of a crucified man—a man millions of people believe to be the image of Jesus Christ. The artifact’s authenticity, however, has never been completely established, and the mystery of whether this ancient material actually wrapped the crucified body of the Christian…

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 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….

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…

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…

Welcome To The Gilded Cage Of A Sultan’s Harem

Rarely have women in history played a more deliciously mysterious role than that of the 600 years of the Ottoman Empire when what is modern-day Turkey sat at the center of a great Empire. These were the days of the harem when women – and girls as young as seven years old – were held in…

From Slave To Terrorist: How One Wicked Privateer Prevailed

Who was Francois L’Olonnais, you ask? Only the most ruthless and fearsome pirate to ever sail under the black flag. And given the overall brutality suffered during the Golden Age of Piracy, that is one hell of a claim. Born in France and sold into indentured servitude in the mid 17th century, his early sufferings led to a…

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…