Ridiculous History

Ridiculous History

History is beautiful, brutal and, often, ridiculous. Join Ben Bowlin and Noel Brown as they dive into some of the weirdest stories from across the span of human civilization in Ridiculous History, a podcast by iHeartRadio.... Show More

Episodes

Imagine you're working in a field in the tiny community of 12th-century Woolpit, England, and encounter two green-skinned children with no knowledge of your language, a strangely specific diet, and a mystifying origin story. What would you do? Join the guys as they explore the strange story of the mysterious 'Green Children' of Woolpit, England, separating fact from folklore in an attempt to discern the truth at the hea...

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At multiple, pivotal moments in the Cold War, Pepsi and Coke waged Cola wars all their own. The guys team up for the first episode of Ridiculous History: Quarantine.

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March 19, 2020 55 min

Nowadays most people are familiar with the term 'Ponzi scheme' -- but where does it come from? How did the scheme work, and why is it called a Ponzi scheme today? Chelsea Ursin, Boston native and creator of Dear Young Rocker, joins the guys to explore the fascinating, ridiculous story behind the Ponzi scheme.

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It's often said that an army marches on its stomach, and for thousands of years the world's militaries tried to feed their forces on the march (often with mixed success). Join the guys and Jacqueline Raposo, creator of Service: Veteran Stories of Hunger and War, as they explore the strange story of army food, from its ancient origins to the modern day.

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Sailing around the world is a dangerous proposition, even in the modern day — now imagine doing it by yourself in the 1960s! That's what underdog Donald Crowhurst claimed to do... except he made the whole thing up.

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Widely known as a taciturn man who liked public gatherings even less than he liked people, Calvin Coolidge was often ridiculed by the press -- reporters regularly followed his movements in hopes of gathering new, ridiculous anecdotes about him. So it's no surprise that about 30 reporters followed him when he headed off for a fishing-themed vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota... but what happens when the President decide...

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Breaking bread with your fellow humans has long been acknowledged as fantastic, wholesome way to bond with people outside of social conventions, economic status and so on -- but when Teddy Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House, people across the the United States lost their collective minds. The idea that the activist and the president would dine together drove racists mad, and some activists in Booker...

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Bass Reeves was a larger than life figure -- a man who escaped slavery, taught himself multiple Native American languages, and eventually became one of the most well-known deputy US Marshalls in the entirety of the United States. Join the guys as they explore the thrilling story of Bass Reeves -- along with the speculation that he may have been the real life inspiration for the Lone Ranger.

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While city life has its charms, it's not without its problems -- and some of those problems are real stinkers. In the days before widespread sewage systems, urban centers across the world struggled to solve one filthy dilemma: what do you do with all the poop? Between all the waste matter from horses, livestock, or, of course, humans, many cities were in a crisis mode as streets, latrines and even docks became unusable. The sol...

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Located two hours' drive inland along a winding potholed road from Almeria on Spain's southeastern Mediterranean coast, the small town of Lijar, Spain is notoriously difficult to find. Yet the town's tiny population sought to make an international impact in 1883 when they officially declared war on France for offending the Spanish king (France either didn't notice or didn't care). Join Ben and his surprise guest...

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February 20, 2020 26 min

The California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s did more than just move hundreds of thousands of people across the continent -- it also convinced these people that they, too, could strike it rich. This optimism attracted con artists and scamsters like moths to the proverbial flame. Philip Arnold and John Slack were no different -- but when these two men started the diamond hoax, they had no idea just how far it would go. Tune in for part...

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February 18, 2020 40 min

The California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s did more than just move hundreds of thousands of people across the continent -- it also convinced these people that they, too, could strike it rich. This optimism attracted con artists and scamsters like moths to the proverbial flame. Philip Arnold and John Slack were no different -- but when these two men started the diamond hoax, they had no idea just how far it would go. Tune in for part...

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It sounds like something straight out of a Tarantino film -- a bloodthirsty, eccentric soldier welding a longbow and claymore against Nazis, then celebrating his exploits by wailing on some bagpipes. Oddly enough, this is a true story: John 'Mad Jack' Churchill was a real-life World War II soldier known for his love of anachronistic weapons and his near-suicidal attitude on the battlefield. Join the guys as they explore the...

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It sounds like something straight out of a Tarantino film -- a bloodthirsty, eccentric soldier welding a longbow and claymore against Nazis, then celebrating his exploits by wailing on some bagpipes. Oddly enough, this is a true story: John 'Mad Jack' Churchill was a real-life World War II soldier known for his love of anachronistic weapons and his near-suicidal attitude on the battlefield. Join the guys as they explore the...

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Let's say you put two containers of water in a freezer. Water in one container is at room temperature, while water in the other container is hot. Which one will freeze first? Many people would understandably assume the cooler water would be the first to freeze -- and that assumption, oddly, would prove to be incorrect. Join the guys as they delve into the story and struggle of young Erasto Mpemba, the student for whom the Mpemb...

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February 4, 2020 45 min

The world of fashion has historically been a landmine of strange, seemingly arbitrary rules, from when to wear white around labor day to what constitutes appropriate dress for a given event. However, in the early 20th century, one particular rule about when to wear a straw or a felt hat came to a violent head in the United States, plunging the Big Apple into chaos. Join the guys as they explore the bizarre tale of the Straw Hat Rio...

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What's the craziest thing you've ever eaten? Odds are you have nothing on the legendary Tarrare, the infamous Frenchman famous for eating everything from whole baskets of apples to rocks and — brace yourself — actual garbage. Join the guys as they dive into Tarrare's strange career, wondering how he was able to accomplish these dubious, troubling gastronomic feats.

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Khutulun was the warrior daughter of Kaidu, and the great-great granddaughter of Genghis Khan. While she was fearless in battle and an accomplished hand-to-hand fighter, tradition dictated that she be married off to cement political alliances. One problem: Khutulun didn't consider herself the marrying type. She agreed in principle to the marry someone, with one crucial caveat -- to win her hand in matrimony, her future husband ...

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Most people have heard of Ernest Hemingway, but what about his younger brother, Leicester? 16 years Ernest's junior, Leicester seemed set to live in his older brother's shadow -- until, that is, he came up with a plan to get in the headlines all on his own. Writing novels was all well and good, thought Leicester, but why don't I start my own country?

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During the glory days of the railroad era, the public was gripped by mythic, larger-than-life tales of the Wild West -- people reveled in visions of train robberies, shootouts and attacks by vicious ne'er-do-wells. When one train conductor told a resident of Palisade, Nevada that his passengers were bummed to learn the real west wasn't all that wild, the members of the small town joined forces and began staging their own, e...

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Ben Bowlin
Ben Bowlin
Noel Brown
Noel Brown

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