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.

Episodes

April 11, 2024 37 mins

The Principality of Liechtenstein is a small, landlocked country out in the alpines -- and while it's a tiny nation, it has an enormous depth of history. In today's episode, Ben, Noel and Max continue their exploration of micronations with the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire.

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Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane. It's... "definitely not Superman." At least, that's what Fawcett Comics told the courts, beginning a multigenerational, multiversal saga of strangeness that continues in the modern day. In today's episode, the guys ask: Why are there so many Captain Marvels?

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You've seen them before, whether in forwarded spam email, a strangely passionate TikTok comment: THE DREADED ALL-CAPS TYPER.Where does this practice come from? How did everyone agree that typing in ALL CAPS means you're yelling at someone via text? Join the gang in this classic episode as they... FIND OUT.

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Easter! It's a big deal, all across the world. And just like earlier celebrations of spirituality, it's been commodified in the United States. In today's episode, Ben, Max, and Noel sneak into the Sunday service just a bit late to explore how the ancient commemorations of rebirth gave rise to one of Christianity's most important holy days -- while also figuring where the heck this huge rabbit costume and egg hunt came from. Apologi...

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Have you ever shown off your favorite cannon, or deparately rode a horse through the night for a little birthday romance? If so, thank your lucky stars you didn't go out like two particularly unlucky Scottish kings. Join Ben, Noel and Max as they continue to explore the ridiculous deaths of royals in today's "Whoops, All Scotland" episode.

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As early miscalculations and subsequent confusion continued to build, Delaware found itself in a three-state beef over a tiny section of land -- and though the land itself might not be a large chunk of real estate, the beef it produced led to dangerous conflict more than once. Would the newly-minted US be able to resolve this internal discord without an inter-state war? Learn more in the second part of this two-part series.

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Although it's the second-smallest state in the US, don't let Delaware's diminutive geography fool you. This state has a tremendous economy, and loads of ridiculous history in its past. In this week's special two-part series, the guys dive into the history of a strange conflict that bedeviled the state from its early days all the way into the 20th century -- a contentious, tiny piece of land that almost led to open combat: this is t...

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What is it about model trains that so captivates people, young and old alike? How did they start as an icon of innovation, and then become such a treasured piece of nostalgia over time? In today's episode, the gang explores the history of model trains from centuries past to the modern day.

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March 19, 2024 41 mins

The Austrian candy brand Pez is perhaps more well-known for its iconic dispensers than for the candy itself. While they may seem commonplace today, these tablet-shaped bricks have a surprising origin story. In today's episode, Ben, Noel and Max dive into the original purpose of Pez: part candy, yes -- but also an innovative way to help Austrians stop smoking.

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What happened to the payphone? Were you also stunned the first time you saw Abe Lincoln without a beard? In the second part of this special two-part series, Mo Rocca explores the strange passage of the past to the present, and what we carry with us along the way. Join Ben, Noel, Max and Mo as they learn more about Mobituaries and the art of storytelling with a soul.

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In the world of journalism and literature, there's nothing quite like the obituary. Sometimes called the first draft of history, an obituary can function as a love letter, a condemnation -- but, perhaps more than anything, a portrait of a person gone from this mortal plane. In the first part of this special two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max join the legendary journalist, author, correspondent and podcaster Mo Rocca, host of Mobitu...

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Are you a fan of licorice? Have you ever encountered wax lips in the wild? Where do you stand in the great Peeps debate? Join Ben, Noel and Max as they continue to explore some of the world's most divisive candy in the second part of this special two-part series.

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Whether or not you have a sweet tooth, odds are you probably have some strong opinions about candy. Following up (finally!) on their earlier Halloween conversation, Ben, Noel and Max explore some of the most divisive candies on the planet. 

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Let's be honest: leap year sounds pretty nuts when you explain it. We have the regular 365-day year three times in a row, but every fourth year we add one extra day in February. (With... several other notable caveats.) Join Ben, Noel and Max as they figure out where leap year came from, why it's a thing, and whether it's still genuinely better than nothing. 

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February 27, 2024 56 mins

Today, hot sauce is a global phenomenon, with millions of bottles sold every single year. But where does it come from? What makes it so popular -- and why won't water douse the heat when things get out of hand? Tune in as Ben, Noel and Max explore the spicy origin story of hot sauce.

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Odds are you've heard about the Guinness Book of World Records, the famous, often inaccurate compilation of various impressive, important, and ridiculous feats from people across the planet. But how did it come about? How on earth did a brewer become the repository of all this strange knowledge? Tune in for a surprising peek behind the keg -- and into the cups -- of Guinness history and human ambition.

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Long-time listeners will know Ben, Noel and Max are big fans of their peer podcast, Ridiculous Crime -- but what happens when the guys join forces with Elizabeth, Zaron and Dave? Tune in for the first part of this two-part series, as Ridiculous Crime and Ridiculous History seek to stump each other in a lively game of 20 Questions, all based on strange historical flexes.

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As curses go, Tecumseh's is, according to the legend, ridiculously specific. Every US President elected in a year divisible by twenty is doomed to meet misfortune, ruin and possibly death in office. But how did this curse acquire such purported specificity? In part two of this special two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max explore how the curse entered popular culture, as well as the examples true believers point to as evidence.

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Did the legendary Shawnee chief Tecumseh really lay a curse on US Presidents? In the first part of this special two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max dive deep into Tecumseh's origin, his mission to unite Native peoples against the ruthless expansion of the new United States -- all to learn why so many people believe every president elected in a year ending with zero dies in office.

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True story: back in the late 70s, US President Jimmy Carter accidentally claimed he'd left the states forever, and wanted to sleep with everyone in Poland. According to legendary marketing lore, Pepsi accidentally told the nation of China that soda would bring their relatives back from the grave. And don't get us started on weird car names! Join Ben, Noel and Max as they explore some of history's most hilarious mistranslations in t...

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Hosts And Creators

Ben Bowlin

Ben Bowlin

Noel Brown

Noel Brown

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