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June 27, 2024 10 mins

Sometimes the least likely individuals give us the most curious tales. Enjoy today's tour!

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to Aaron Menke's Cabinet of Curiosities, a production of
iHeartRadio and Grimm and Mild. Our world is full of
the unexplainable, and if history is an open book, all
of these amazing tales are right there on display, just
waiting for us to explore. Welcome to the Cabinet of Curiosities.

Have you ever heard the stories about mothers who perform
impossible feats to save their children, things like lifting cars
or boulders. Some people believe that in these instances, the
mind takes over everything in the body. Others believe that
certain physical aspects like the car's angle, made the feat possible. Well,
today's story revolves around a woman who accomplished incredible feats. However,

in her scenario didn't attribute it to extreme motivation or
sheer luck. They perceived it as something much harder to define.
Sometime around eighteen forty nine, American colonizers arrived in a
large area called Apache Rhea. This region now makes up
parts of Mexico, Arizona, and New Mexico. They were there
to take the land from the native inhabitants. About seven

Apache tribes lived in that region. They were known for
their nomadic lifestyle and their strong battle skills. By the
time the colonizers arrived, the Apache people had been fighting
Mexican soldiers for years. One day, the colonizers quietly crept
in on an Apache settlement near New Mexico. They planned
to surprise attack the people, raid the settlement, and then

kill everyone living there, but they underestimated the tribe. When
the attackers descended upon the settlement, the Apache people came
out in full force. The attackers were stunned. Not only
did the tribe seem to know that they were coming,
but for every Apache man there was a woman behind him,
ready to strike should he go down. The colonizers were
completely unprepared. They were beaten in a landslide, and those

who survived were scared away. The Apache tribe was left
mostly unscathed, especially because the women who didn't fight protected
the children. However, there was one child, a girl of
about twelve years old named Lozen, who didn't receive protection
because she was on the battlefield. After the attack, many
of the warriors, including the great grandson of Geronimo, praised

Lozen's skill in battle. From the day she was born,
Lozen was ready to fight the tribe she was born
into had a matriarchal culture, so the fact that she
was a girl never really stood in her way. In fact,
one of the tribe's deities, known as the White Painted Woman,
was believed to be a great healer and an example
of heroism and womanhood. When girls came of age, the

tribe carried out a four day ceremony during which the
girl's emulated White Painted Woman. The ceremony involved tests of
the girl's endurance. Afterward, the girls were considered women and
took on more responsibility for their families. Legend has it
that loezen ceremony was especially powerful as she went through
the rituals. White Painted Woman visited with her and gifted

her with unparalleled skills in battle. These abilities equip Lozen
for the endless fighting that she would endure throughout her lifetime.
After New Mexico became a US territory, the gold Rush
sent floods of miners through her tribe's region, so the
Apache people constantly fought to keep their land. Thanks to
her gift, Lozen was instrumental in these battles. She often

carried out a secret operation. She snuck behind enemy lines
rounded up their horses and stole them. The enemy never
saw her coming. This was how she got her name,
which means dexterous horse thief. But Lozen was capable of
so much more. Her brother, Chief Victorio described her as
strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy.

He also said that Lozen was a shield to her
People's brother wasn't the only one who admired her so much,
though she was also a close friend and ally to Geronimo.
Lozen's people were always at the center of her heart.
Throughout all the battles and raids that she fought in.
There were multiple times when she helped women and children
cross rivers safely and hide from the enemy. She even

once helped a woman deliver a baby amid their escape journey.
She always seemed to know which routes to take to
avoid being caught. Many wonder how Lozen always evaded enemy detection.
Her ability to do so infuriated her opponents and mesmerized
her tribe. But Lozen's tribe knew something that their enemies
did not. It all went back to that fateful day

in Losen's life when she went through her coming of
age ceremony, when the White Painted Woman visited Lozen and
gifted her with skills in battle. They weren't just any skills,
they were supernatural powers, and this is why it was
said that Lozen could predict which direction enemies came from.
When preparing for battle, she would walk slowly in a
circle with both hands raised in the air. Eventually, the

veins in her arms would turn dark blue. When that happened,
Losn knew the direction she was facing was where the
enemy would come from. Regardless of whether you believe people
can actually have these kinds of powers, there's no denying
that Lozen had a cunning ability to predict attackers' movements. Today,
apache girls undergo the same coming of age ceremony. We

don't know if anyone has reportedly been visited by the
White Painted Lady again, but this tradition, alongside Lowsn's legacy,
serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience and strength
of womanhood. We tend to mythologize the concept of the

dream job that if you set out to be a dancer,
or a firefighter, or even a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
balloon designer for a living, there's a set path to
achieve that goal. In reality, most people's journeys have a
lot of zigs and zags before they figure out what
they want to do. Sometimes it's not so much a
dream or an achievement that sets you on the right path,

but a huge blunder, like how in the two hundreds BCE,
the course of Chinese history was changed forever when a
county sheriff named Lubang made a royal mistake. Bong didn't
start out wanting to change the world. He mostly just
wanted to hang out with his friends and shirk his duties.
He was born in two fifty six BCE, the son

of peasant farmers on the east coast of China. Most
kids in his position would have ended up working the
rice paddies like his parents, or else making a living
as a fisherman. Only by gaining an education could someone
from the rice fields rise above their station. Except Bang
wasn't particularly interested in learning or hard work. He ran

into trouble with the law very often, and was characterized
in his youth as a delinquent and a rascal. Still,
what Bong lacked in wealth, education or ambition, he more
than made up for in charm. You see He was
a charismatic young man who made connections very easily. Although
he had very little money and reportedly lived off what
his working brother could give him, he was generous with

his coin, and this led to him befriending several mid
level bureaucrats working for the imperial government, and with his
new friend's help, Bong was able to secure a well
paid job as a local sheriff. Now, this cushy government
job might have been the end of his history of
falling upwards if it wasn't for an incident in the
early two hundreds BCE, when Bong was in his forties.

At that time, the Chin dynasty ruled China for decades.
The Chins had been building an immense mausoleum to house
their first Chin Emperor, who had just died in two
ten BCE. The planned mausoleum was the size of a city,
several miles across and housing not only his tomb, but
also palaces, fake rivers made of flowing mercury, and thousands

of terracotta warriors to protect the emperor in the afterlife.
In the year two oh nine BCE, Sheriff Bang was
ordered to escort a group of prisoners to work on
that mausoleum. The Qin dynasty was known for harsh laws,
which punished many small offenses with hard labor, imprisonment, and
sometimes even death. This upset the people under Chin rule,

as they might find themselves laboring for the rest of
their lives over such a small offense. During transit, several
of the prisoners escaped Bang. Under Chin law, the official
who let the prisoners escape, was supposed to be executed.
Seeing no way out of his punishment, he decided to
double down and free all of the prisoners. He quickly
found himself the unlikely leader of a group of anti

Chin rebels. Many of the freed prisoners followed him to
a nearby mountain, where they occupied an abandoned fort. Now
an outlaw, Bang decided that he may as well go
all in. All across the empire, different groups had sprung
up to fight against the emperor from his stronghold in
the mountains. He joined this network of resistance and became
a leading force in the fight against the Qin dynasty.

He played up his humble beginnings to attract sympathy from
disgruntled peasants, and with their support, began conquering Chin territory
state by state by two two BCE. Just seven years later,
the Qin dynasty had officially come to an end, and
Liu Bang, the Lazy Peasant's son and failed sheriff, was
the new Han Emperor of China. He only ruled for

seven years, but his impact lasted much longer. The Han
dynasty reigned for four hundred years, during which it expanded
the Chinese Empire further than it had ever stretched before.
His focus on trade and expansion led to the legendary
Silk Road, which connected East Asia to the Middle East,
North Africa, and the Roman Empire starting in the one

hundreds BCE. Today, many scholars of Chinese history consider it
Lu Bang as influential to a in China as Julius
Caesar was to Rome. While they had very different origins,
they reached the same heights. As William Shakespeare said, some
are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness
thrust upon them. And like Lou Bang, you never know

what might kickstart your next career change. I hope you've
enjoyed today's guided tour of the Cabinet of Curiosities. Subscribe
for free on Apple Podcasts or learn more about the
show by visiting Curiosities podcast dot com. The show was
created by me Aaron Mankey in partnership with how Stuff Works.

I make another award winning show called Lore which is
a podcast, book series, and television show and you can
learn all about it over at the Worldolore dot com.
And until next time, stay curious.

Aaron Mahnke's Cabinet of Curiosities News

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