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

July 2, 2020 45 min

While Kate Warne had numerous adventures (and brilliantly solved multiple high-profile cases), her most well-known work with pinkerton involved none other than Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. In the conclusion of special two-part series, the guys continue exploring Kate Warne's adventures with Jo Piazza, the award-winning author, journalist, and host of the new podcast, Fierce.

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Kate Warne wasn't just the first female private investigator in the US -- she was also one of the best Pinkerton detectives in the history of the agency. In this special two-part series, the guys join forces with award-winning author and journalist, Jo Piazza, the host of Fierce, to learn more about the mysterious origins of the one and only Kate Warne.

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June 25, 2020 30 min

The students of Vassar thrived despite a system of Victorian -- near Orwellian -- control. In a time when these college students were not allowed to have agency over their own diet, they rebelled, popularizing the confection known as fudge today. Other students at elite institutions joined in, and soon contemporaneous newspapers noted fudge as both a desert and a rebellion against prevailing social norms.

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Nowadays, most people in the global West associate fudge with the idea of a homemade, homely confection. Yet once upon a time, this dangerously delightful, sugar-laden snack was the domain of the elite. Learn more about the origin of fudge here -- and tune in for part two of our series: Fudge As Rebellion.

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The Mercator Projection continues to inform explorers, many of whom send their own appropriative versions of the Mythical North. Join Ben, Casey and Noel as they ask: Who actually discovered the North Pole?

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In 1569, Gerardus Mercator creates the first world map. It's the predecessor of the cartoonishly inaccurate Mercator projection, and this math guides people toward what they believe to be the North Pole.

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It's one of those iconic 'you know it when you hear it' sounds - the two-note whistle made famous in old Tex Avery cartoons and multiple films of yesteryear. But what is the wolf whistle? Where did it actually come from, and how did it go from being such a popular trope to something (thankfully) so rare in the modern day?

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War often drives innovation — often out of desperation. In World War I, doctors were overwhelmed and dangerously short on supplies, especially bandages. With no end in sight for the cotton shortage, ingenious doctors found an unlikely (and superior) alternative: peat moss.

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How did air conditioning fundamentally change the course of U.S. politics? What does the Y.M.C.A. have to do with cigarettes? Join Ben and Casey as they welcome special guest, Sean Braswell, to learn more about the strange stories of everything from air conditioning to kudzu in part two of this two-part series.

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How did air conditioning fundamentally change the course of U.S. politics? What does the Y.M.C.A. have to do with cigarettes? Join Ben and Casey as they welcome special guest, Sean Braswell, to learn more about the strange stories of everything from air conditioning to kudzu in part one of this two-part series.

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Before the days of WiFi, Reddit, nyan cat and grumpy cat alike, one man set the art world on fire with his increasingly bizarre paintings and sketches of cats. Join Ben, Noel and Casey as they welcome special guest Gabe Luzier on air (finally!) to explore the strange story of Louis Wain in the conclusion of this special two-part series.

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If you're listening to this podcast, you definitely know about cat memes. At this point, they're almost like an internet currency all their own. But far before the days of WiFi, Reddit, nyan cat and grumpy cat alike, one man set the art world on fire with his increasingly bizarre paintings and sketches of cats. Join Ben, Noel and Casey as they welcome special guest Gabe Luzier on air (finally!) to explore the strange story ...

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In the early 20th century, rural US residents were all-too-accustomed to scraping by, often by any means necessary. Families without the means to buy what they wanted invented ingenious ways of recycling or reusing as much as they possibly could -- you mended the tools you could not replace, you worked with what little food you had -- and, in this spirit, you made the clothes you couldn't afford to buy. Thus was the feedsack dr...

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When Emperor Tiberius first ascended to the throne in AD 14, he seemed to be a principled reformer set on cleaning up the empire -- checking excesses and abuses, erasing loopholes and banning astrologers. However, the death of his son seemed to push him into a severely unbalanced mental state. His paranoia and cruelty were extreme (even for an Emperor) and, eventually, he found he preferred to eschew politics altogether, reigning a...

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History is riddled with bizarre stories of flexes — things people of the past thought were somehow impressive at time. The Ridiculous Historians are fascinated by these strange stories, as are their friends at The Daily Zeitgeist. Join Ben and Noel as they welcome returning guests Jack O'Brien and Miles Gray, hosts of The Daily Zeitgeist, to explore more of history's weirdest flexes, from Henry Ford's weird town in Braz...

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History is riddled with bizarre stories of flexes — things people of the past thought were somehow impressive at time. The Ridiculous Historians are fascinated by these strange stories, as are their friends at The Daily Zeitgeist. Join Ben and Noel as they welcome returning guests Jack O'Brien and Miles Gray, hosts of The Daily Zeitgeist, to explore more of history's weirdest flexes, from predecessors of photoshop to one of...

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Today, Curious George is a world-famous star of children's books -- but back in the day, his name was Fifi, and his creators, the Rey couple, were desperate to flee France as Nazi forces pushed ever closer to Paris. Tune in to learn how Curious George saved his own creators not once, not twice, but three separate times.

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For millennia various luminaries have claimed precious metals have special curative powers -- and, back in the day, people used to actually drink it. They were convinced the ingestion of gold would prevent them from aging, wrinkling and growing frail. So how did this would-be beauty secret actually affect people's bodies? Tune in to learn more about drinking gold.

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For a brief span of time, farmers in New Zealand were baffled by a bizarre phenomenon -- their pants were smoldering, catching fire, and sometimes exploding, seemingly at random. So what exactly happened? Join the guys as they delve (and solve) the mystery of New Zealand's exploding pants.

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Nowadays, most people use the term 'trainwreck' to describe a situation gone catastrophically wrong, but back in the glory days of the railroad, trainwrecks -- actual trainwrecks -- became PR stunts and spectator sports. Tune in to learn more about of the Crash at Crush.

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