Forbidden History

Forbidden History

Forbidden History is a documentary podcast series which explores the past’s darkest corners, sheds light on the lives of intriguing individuals, and uncovers the truth buried deep in history’s most controversial legacies. Hosted by Janine Harouni, each episode will delve into the history archives to reveal new perspectives on familiar stories. Show Notes This show contains an advertisement from Better Help. With over 1,000 therapists in the UK already, BetterHelp can provide access to mental, health professionals with a wide variety of expertise in mental health. Our listeners get 10% off their first month at


December 7, 2022 36 min

In April 1943, during the dark days of World War II, four teenage boys in Birmingham, England were hunting for birds’ eggs in a remote woodland called, Hagley Wood.

The slightest of the boys stopped at a large Wych Elm tree. Climbing up and peering down he discovered it was hollow. Spotting something in the centre, the boy carefully reached through the branches and pulled out the item for a closer look.  

His hope for a bird’s nest w...

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It’s 1943, and a tall moustached man is crossing the road to his hotel in New York City, pausing only to feed the birds. He rides the elevator up to the 33rd floor, and heads to his room, 3327. He is nothing more than an old man whose life is clouded by unpaid debts and whose only real interest seems to be caring for pigeons.

It's hard to believe that this is a man who once changed the world.  

In this episode we follow the story...

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November 23, 2022 38 min

On the 13th of June 1886, the body of Ludwig II, the so-called Mad King of Bavaria, was found floating in two feet of water on Lake Starnberg, Germany.

The official verdict given by the authorities was suicide by drowning. But the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, and the strange events that took place in the lead up to it have led many to believe it was no suicide. 

Instead, they believe he was in fact killed by his ow...

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November 16, 2022 35 min

It is August 1978; Georgi Markov is in his London flat when the phone rings. He’s greeted by the sound of a cold and distorted voice.

“Georgi Markov you’re going to die”.  

Markov is used to these death threats; he could set his watch by them. And so, he replies in his usual laconic way, “Killing me will only make me a martyr”.  

He is about to hang up but for once the voice has a comeback.  

“Not this time. This time you will not beco...

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November 9, 2022 38 min

According to all four gospels, Jesus chose one person as the first witness of his resurrection. One person, who was entrusted with spreading this momentous news; a follower whose life is still shrouded by conspiracy, the mysterious Mary Magdalene.  

2000 years on, Mary continues to be one of the churches most disputed subjects. Some believe she was a prostitute; many claim she was Jesus’s most devoted disciple and was at the heart o...

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November 2, 2022 39 min

It is the early 1980s, and in a house in West Germany a man called Gerd Heidemann is flicking through a book with mounting excitement. Sentences leap from the page:  

‘The burning of the books was not a good idea of Goebbels’,   

‘I have violent flatulence, and – says Eva – bad breath’,   

‘The measures against the Jews are too strong for me’.  

The book he is reading is one of over sixty volumes of the revelatory personal diaries of A...

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It’s 1940 and there’s a serial killer on the streets of Berlin looking for his next victim.

Elfreda Franka is travelling home on the late train after work. Sitting alone in the dark carriage she stares out of the window as the train pulls into a station.   

Another passenger gets onboard.   

Curious but unable to make out their features, Elfrieda continues to stare out into the pitch black as the train departs. The stranger quietly ap...

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October 19, 2022 41 min

It’s the early morning of June the 26th, 1718 and in the basement of the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg, Russia, lies a young man. His face is covered in bruises, his back is bleeding, and his eyes are sunken holes in their sockets, wreathed in black.

The door is flung open, and another man strides into the prison chamber. In his hand is a hard leather whip about three and a half feet long, ending in a beak-like hook.  He ...

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October 12, 2022 35 min

It’s the morning of September 18th, 1931, and through the walls of their apartment in Munich, Germany, a man and woman can be heard arguing. The man is Adolf Hitler, who would go on to lead as German Chancellor and be one of the world’s most infamous dictators who committed heinous crimes against humanity. The woman, his 23-year-old niece, Geli Raubal.   

Within hours of the argument, Geli was dead from a gunshot wound to the chest....

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October 12, 2022 35 min

On the 25th of August 1942, during the height of the Second World War, a flying boat destined for Reykjavik in Iceland crashed into the side of a hill in the Scottish Highlands. Among those who lost their lives was the VIP they were transporting. He was Prince George, Duke of Kent, brother of King George VI of the United Kingdom and uncle to the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.   

During his lifetime, George became one of the be...

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September 28, 2022 1 min

Forbidden History is a documentary podcast series which explores the past’s darkest corners, sheds light on the lives of intriguing individuals, and uncovers the truth buried deep in history’s most controversial legacies. Hosted by Janine Harouni, each episode will delve into the history archives to reveal new perspectives on familiar stories.  Series one starts October 12th.

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