Love, Execution, And The Birth Of Valentine’s Day

Write a love letter, buy some flowers, make a dinner reservation—Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us. In this era of chronic bad news, people are more excited than ever to snag some romance and a “feel-good” moment regardless of the holiday’s bastardized lineage. Most folks have no clue why Valentine’s Day is even a…

Nazi Myths And The Banality Of Evil

Good and bad men are less than they seem. —Samuel Taylor Coleridge People just love the word evil. It is small, powerful and can be liberally applied to basically any situation where severe deviance or misbehavior defies explanation. In a clear, no-nonsense way, the word evil fills the void of what we don’t understand about darkness…

Why The Battle For Jerusalem Will Never Disappear

All great things begin small. The earth was once just elemental particles before it gave way to an expanding cloud of chaos. Matter assumed density and over billions of years, the free-floating gases of the galaxies began to coalesce into bright, shining stars. And man emerged much later, climbing from the muck of darkness and…

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,…

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…

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 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…

Cudjo Lewis: The Heartbreaking Story of The Last American Slave

On March 2, 1807, Congress banned the importation of slaves from Africa, and the law finally took effect on January 1, 1808. Cudjo Lewis was the last known survivor to arrive on the final slave ship to the United States. Through his life, he watched his world change in unimaginable ways, taking him from the…

This Mass Grave May Prove The Ancient Romans Were Baby Killers

In modern day Israel, along the shores of the Mediterranean coast, there was once an ancient seaport called Ashkelon. It was there while exploring one of the city’s sewers that archaeologist Ross Voss made a gruesome discovery. He stumbled upon a large number of small bones initially believed to be those of a chicken, but a considerable amount…

The Hells Angels Brought Death To Rock And Roll’s Worst Day

Coined by Rolling Stone magazine as “rock and roll’s all-time worst day—a day when everything went perfectly wrong,” the 1969 festival at Altamont Speedway in Northern California was a concert unlike any other. While the free event provided a chance to jam out with The Rolling Stones and some of their famous counterparts, it also gave the…

This German King Paid For His Luxuries With His Life

Often called “The Fairy Tale King,” Ludwig II of Bavaria, who ruled from 1864 until his death in 1886, was the favorite cousin of the famous Empress Elizabeth and became known by the impressive castles he built during his short lifetime. When he was alive, his world was one of opulence and privilege, allowing him the…

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…