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 HowStuffWorks.... Show More

Episodes

Radio executive Murray Woroner had a dream -- a fantasy radio boxing tournament matching 16 fighters from different eras. In a move that pushed the boundaries of 1960s technology, his team programmed a computer with that boxers' strengths, weaknesses and various fight scenarios that might occur. This ultimately led to one of the strangest bouts in boxing history: The Super Fight between Ali and Mariano, a match that occurred on fil... Read more

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In this episode, Ben and Noel dive into the story of François Vatel, a majordomo who was tasked with organizing an extravagant royal banquet in 1671. With 2,000 attendees expected, among them many high-ranking French dignitaries, the pressure was high. Tune in to find out the ridiculous and tragic story of what happened next. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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Join the guys as they make a return appearance on Creature Feature, the podcast that takes a critter’s eye view to explore how animal behavior parallels the behavior of humans. In this episode, Katie Goldin and the guys explore some of the strangest quirks of animal anatomy... and they learn some things simply can't be unseen. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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August 13, 2019 39 min

From the 1960s well into the 1990s, thousands of children in the United States were actually paid to hunt fireflies. Join the guys as they explore the strange story of Sigma and firefly hunting — and get surprised by an unexpected guest. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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August 8, 2019 37 min

The guys often end the show by asking you and your fellow listeners for your own takes on everything from strange town names, crackpot military experiments and more. In today’s episode, Ben and Noel explore some of their favorite listener feedback and — for some reason — decide to check out their worst reviews online. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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The first modern copyright law was the Statute of St. Anne, passed in Great Britain in 1710. However, copyright disputes themselves are much older -- and in at least once case, an argument over copyright led to thousands of deaths. Listen in to learn the strange story of how Saint Columba and Saint Finian went into open battle over copyright. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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We've all heard the story of Cinderella -- it's one of the world's most popular fairy tales! However, this story exists in multiple versions across the world. Join the guys as they explore the ancient tale of Ye Xian -- the Chinese Cinderella. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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Artur Virgilio Alves dos Reis had a gift. He wasn't the smartest kid growing up, nor was he the most athletic -- he was, however, one of Europe's most talented forgers. After a string of various cons, he decided to go big. How big, you ask? Tune in to learn how one lucky conman almost single-handedly brought down the entire Portuguese economy. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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During the Prohibition Era, moonshiners and federal agents continually tried to outsmart one another — and one of the moonshiners’ most creative inventions? The bizarre footwear known as Cow Shoes. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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With one notable exception, American and German forces were bitterly opposed to one another during World War II -- that exception? The Battle of Castle Itter. Tune in to learn more about the strange sequence of events that led both the US and the Germany army to team up for a rescue mission. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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When George S. Patton decided to found a tank training school in the tiny French village of Bourg, the mayor approached him in tears. "An American soldier has died here," said the mayor, "and I would like to lead you to his grave." Patton followed the lachrymose politician to the grave site -- but he wasn't prepared for what he would find. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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When we think of the mob today, most Americans think of New York City -- and why not? After all, films, books and TV shows often depict New York as the heart of mob country. Yet, as the guys discover in today's episode, the story of the Italian-American mafia has a surprisingly different (and often forgotten) origin point. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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July 15, 2019 8 min

Lost materials, dropped threads, forgotten stories. Ephemera in the way that it’s intertwined in our lives. All those things, tangible and intangible, that you wish you could take just one more look at before they vanish into the past. All episodes of Ephemeral are now available. Listen here and learn more at www.ephemeral.show Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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Born as 'Jennie Hodgers' with a female sex assignment on December 25th, 1843, Albert Cashier emigrated to the United States lived as a man from his early teens on through the rest of his life. Despite the massive prejudices of the time, he managed to find support in his local communities, his friends and his fellow soldiers from the 95th Illinois Infantry both during and after the war, when the US government temporarily tried to re... Read more

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It's no secret that the US and Cuba have a long history of tense relations, often teetering on the brink of war. But just how far would Uncle Sam go to begin a genuine war with Cuba? The answer can be found in the declassified proposals for Operation Northwoods, a secret plan to wage false flag attacks on US citizens, soldiers, planes and ships, all with the goal of blaming these attacks on Cuba.  Learn more about your ad-choi... Read more

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It’s true! Once upon a time, Irish separatists based in the United States thought invading Canada was the best way to reunify Ireland. Join the gang as they explore the rise of the Fenians (and, along the way, why Canada is more than capable of defending itself). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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The 588th Night Bomber Regiment didn't have the best equipment, and they didn't have the best planes. What this all-female bomber regiment did have, however, was unstoppable ambition, brilliant strategies and dozens of fearless pilots. Listen in to learn more about the rise of the terrifying force the German soldiers called die Nachthexen -- the Night Witches. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-adve... Read more

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Let's be honest: Bugs aren't everyone's cup of tea, but they're fascinating, crucial parts of the ecosystem. They're also, according to a few eggheads, the perfect weapons of war. Join the guys as they explore the bizarre experiments governments conducted in the field of entomological warfare. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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June 25, 2019 31 min

Japanese Daimyo Oda Nobunaga was fascinated by the mysterious, towering slave of a visiting Jesuit missionary, and soon this man, Yasuke, joined Nobunaga's court, eventually becoming a full-on samurai. Join the guys as they explore the strange life of the African-born samurai, Yasuke. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm was fascinated by all things military, but the crown jewel of his army was a group known as the Potsdam Giants -- men recruited on the basis of their height alone. If these tall boys, teens and men didn't want to sign up for the Giants, the King had no problem kidnapping them. Listen in to learn more about the strange story of the Potsdam Giants. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.ihear... Read more

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