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…

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…

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 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…

How The Execution Of Peter Niers Killed The 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…

Joaquin Murrieta: The Mexican Folk Hero Who Terrorized The Wild West

Mexican patriot or vicious desperado? It depends on who you ask, but one thing is certain, Joaquin Murrieta was a dashing, romanticized figure from history who became a Hispanic folk hero for many. Just like a Mexican Robin Hood, Murrieta spent his days using criminal methods as a way to avenge the misdeeds of corrupt…

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 Tulsa Race Riot Traded Progress For Terror

In our quest for racial peace, society sometimes conveniently forgets the stunning events of the past which have contributed to the ongoing American narrative. Remembering such phyletic stories is not only key to our survival as a species, but it also illustrates the need for tolerance and healing on the heels of an incredibly dark…

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 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….

Did The Curse Of An Ancient Warlord Help The Nazis?

On June 20, 1941, the infamous tomb of the 14th-century Persian conqueror, Tamerlane, was opened, and the sharp odor of resin, camphor, rose, and frankincense filled the air. The tombstone had been carefully protected for hundreds of years, and fierce warnings against disturbing the warlord were clearly inscribed. But despite the protests of the locals…