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…

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…

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…

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…

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 Black Death of 1348 Went From Pestilence To Persecution

Although 13th-century Europe was rife with ignorance and religious anxiety, 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 in history—a time when humans were straining to pull themselves from the…

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…