The Backstory with Patty Steele

The Backstory with Patty Steele

Love a good, juicy story that goes beyond what we already know? We're talking scandalous presidential family members, a mass murder at a world-famous architect's home, stolen inventions, nude athletes at the first Olympics, compulsive liars, the arrival of the bikini, and so much more. History fanatic Patty Steele tells you the inside backstories you didn’t know you needed to know.

Episodes

April 19, 2024 7 mins

The lord of bhang, Reefer Madness…weed has a checkered past. But for thousands of years it was used and celebrated by most cultures. It wasn’t until one pivotal moment in the early 20th century that it became demonized. Now its benefits have been rediscovered and its reputation somewhat salvaged.

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There are some mysteries that we never quite figure out. One of them is about the 1971 hijacking of a jetliner by a guy called D. B. Cooper. He got $200,000 from the FBI and parachuted out of an airliner into the stormy wilderness of Washington state. They’ve never found him or even figured out who he was. But one man has stepped forward with a likely answer, thanks to his mom.

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April 9, 2024 8 mins

From a 2-inch wide blurry, black-and-white image, to a giant piece of clear glass that transforms wirelessly into an exquisite screen, television has almost magically evolved. In 100 years, for better or for worse, screens have become one of the most important, controlling devices in our lives. How did it start? And where is it taking us?

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The kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby 90 years ago led to the execution of a man a few years later. But researchers say there are plenty of reasons to suspect that there was a rush to judgment. And then there’s Charles Lindbergh’s fascination with Aryan superiority, which led him to have seven children with three German women, in addition to the six he had with his wife.

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How did ferocious, man-eating wolves evolve into Labrador Retrievers, St. Bernards, and even teacup poodles—not to mention become our best friends? It's an amazing story of genetics and mutual need. But it's also a story of love.

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Why do so many of us have the need to be trendy, to do or say things we think make us look as cool as the people we’re copying? Trends through the ages have included everything from style statements to full-on body modification. 

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It’s hard to imagine that one of the most powerful presidents in U.S. history was the victim of domestic violence. Abe Lincoln was physically and emotionally battered by Mary Todd Lincoln, primarily due to her mental illness.

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Talent, glamour, fame, sex, and possibly murder. What really happened to Natalie Wood more than 40 years ago? One guy who was there has been talking about her death. But nobody’s listening.

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He’s been called the devil, the monster. But H.H. Holmes was America’s first known serial killer. Even he said killing was his destiny. His victims were men, women, and even little children, many coming to Chicago and his hotel for the great 1893 World’s Fair. The tabloid press described his murders and then embellished the story.

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Anybody who took to the sky in the early days of aviation had nerves of steel. Amelia Earhart was pure cast iron, and her disappearance over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 made her legendary. But despite all the wild theories about what happened to her, we may soon discover the truth. 

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Want to be fabulously successful? Just make sure everybody notices you. Wanna be a fabulously successful spy? Just make sure nobody notices you.

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Sex scandals are as constant in Hollywood as gorgeous people, glittering clothes, and scads of money. But while the paparazzi these days use every trick to give us an inside look at the private lives of the stars, they have nothing on the stars of Hollywood’s golden age. Sex, shocking divorces, and even murder—there’s nothing new under the Hollywood sun.

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Despite the fact there have been well over 125 female presidents and prime ministers around the world, the U.S. has never had a woman who ran the country. Or did we?

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Food plays so many roles in our lives. Obviously, it keeps us alive, but it also satisfies desires and brings us closer to the people we share it with. But over thousands of years, we’ve eaten some pretty weird stuff. From flaming, feathered peacocks to all sorts of bugs and “unexpected” animal secretions.

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The Netflix hit film Society of the Snow is the true story of South American athletes trapped in the snowy mountains after a plane crash…with some surviving by eating their dead teammates. Now we look at the Donner party of pioneers in 1846, trapped in 22 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains…and the even more gruesome way some of them survived. 

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February 20, 2024 6 mins

This is the remarkable story of Robert Smalls. In 1862, he was a young slave who managed to commandeer a rebel warship in Charleston, South Carolina’s heavily fortified harbor, turn it over to the North and go on to have a spectacular business and political career.  

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February 16, 2024 7 mins

The Nazis not only had a deluded belief in their own racial superiority, some of their top leaders believed they were superhumans descended from the inhabitants of the lost city of Atlantis. (They had a whole branch of the military dedicated to proving that.)

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Human attachment is thousands of years old but Valentine’s Day started off as a blood soaked pagan fertility festival, and it wasn’t much fun for women. On the flip side, the romance element is a recent invention. You can thank the Victorians for that. 

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Sports, whether they're big-time or small-time, make an awful lot of people happy. They can also push folks to pull some crazy stunts. 

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We’re all a contradiction at times, but nothing like Civil War general Oliver Howard. He was a medal of honor winner, he worked to get freed black men the right to vote, and was the founder of historically black Howard University. But after the war he chased down and killed or captured hundreds of Native Americans in the Nez Perce War with the U.S.

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