What Happened To Dr. Jekyll In The Age of Victorian Porn?

With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two. —Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde As people move…

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…

Remembering The Bloody Rush Of The California Genocide

The odor of scorched gunpowder filled the air in the morning, it lay in soft, blue clouds over the earth of my people.   —Darryl Babe Wilson One of the greatest things about dark history is its ability to deliver a shock, even when it feels like we’ve heard it all. Its rawness refreshes the…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

The Cave of The Kabayan Fire Mummies Is A Perfectly Preserved Piece of History

Mummification of the dead is a well-known practice from ancient times, particularly as it relates to the Egyptians and their heavily bandaged and embalmed corpses. However, the discovery of some carefully preserved remains in the Philippines has brought a different type of mummy to light—the fire mummy. These ancient bodies have recently given researchers new…

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…