American Esoterica

American Esoterica

American history, bite-sized. These are the stories that may have slipped through the cracks - the odd detours that have shaped our history and culture in small, but sometimes significant, ways.


April 11, 2024 11 mins

Hey, just because something isn't true doesn't mean we should just ignore its historical importance, right? Also, contains vague discussions of prior episodes and one use of the world's mildest profanity. Your great-grandma has been warned. 

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What could possibly overshadow a tragic and eerie event that would cost the lives of 22 people in a government office building? 

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In this mini-sode of what were already short episodes, learn the origins of how Chicago learned how to turn brown into green. 

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The duel may have been the end of Alexander Hamilton's story, but it was only the beginning of Aaron Burr's descent into treasonous lunacy and at least a little karma.

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February 29, 2024 7 mins

Get ready to build your multimillion-dollar international business empire - here's a dollar and fifteen years. Can't do it? Sarah Breedlove did - this is her story.

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February 15, 2024 14 mins

A fierce love, a bold plan, and a desperate need - but will it be enough for Robert Smalls to rescue his family and escape the Confederacy?

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February 1, 2024 9 mins

They tried to keep her silent, but instead gave her something to sing about, along with the most incredible stage in the world from which to sing it.

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January 18, 2024 8 mins

If it were a work of fiction, you wouldn't believe it. This is the story of an epic feat of strength, bravery, and compassion.

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January 4, 2024 6 mins

Our First was their third - the Bill of Rights that Congress sent to the states for ratification had twelve amendments, not ten, so what happened to those extra two? 

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December 21, 2023 5 mins

The story of how one man during the Cold War accidentally wound up tracking the wrong kind of red airspace invader. And if you've heard the story before, you probably heard it wrong.

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December 14, 2023 4 mins

A beloved Christmas classic may not have always been so beloved, which is what directly led to it becoming beloved. Beloved.

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November 23, 2023 6 mins

Our national obsession with a cheezy pasta dish began in the kitchens of Monticello, but it isn't Jefferson to whom we owe the credit. 

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November 9, 2023 10 mins

This is the story of the world's greatest heist - the time the CIA stole a Soviet submarine in full view of the entire world with the help of an eccentric billionaire.

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October 26, 2023 9 mins

Look, we don't know why we keep coming back to Lincoln, either. But this one has a ghost train, so there's that. 

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October 12, 2023 5 mins

On a Saturday morning in 1971, it took one word to bring many across the nation to the brink of utter panic. Blame Wayland Eberhardt. 

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September 14, 2023 8 mins

Thirteen original colonies smiling and holding hands? Nope. Twelve colonies and one knock-down, drag-out fight with one stubborn holdout. 

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August 31, 2023 4 mins

All it takes is one idiot to make your local street corner a radioactive hot zone. Note: this one is both gross and cruel towards dogs; we're less concerned with the people.

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August 17, 2023 6 mins

This is the story of a nation scorned taking delicious - and extraordinarily petty - revenge.

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August 3, 2023 8 mins

This is a story about the worst of intentions, and it is 100% about sex. Just not THAT kind.

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July 20, 2023 5 mins

Two names, two families, forever entwined. And it began even earlier than you know. 

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