Unobscured

Unobscured

History is full of stories we think we know. They are old and dark, but time has robbed us of perspective and clarity. They've become obscured and misunderstood. Which is why this series exists: to dig deep and shed light on some of history’s darkest moments. To help us better understand where we’ve come from. To make it Unobscured. Each season pairs narrative storytelling from Aaron Mahnke, creator of the hit podcast Lore, with prominent historian interviews. Season Two: Spiritualism... Show More

Episodes

November 20, 2019 46 min

As shots rang out and armies crossed the nation, black spiritualists in New Orleans found themselves fighting for their homes against all comers. But most of the nation’s spirit believers were focused on the spirits clamoring around a different residence—Abraham Lincoln’s White House. Could they guide a generation of followers through the fires of conflict into the light of a new day?

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November 13, 2019 48 min

The news was grim. Across the south, slave states were withdrawing from the nation. In the north, some spiritualists saw their chance to take their winnings and withdraw from conflict. But others kept their printing presses running. In their pages, the spirits raised their voices to a military march, singing songs of freedom—and war.

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November 6, 2019 48 min

The child stars of spiritualism were growing up. And facing a whole host of new realities about their world. Were the spirits up to helping their young vessels find love and fight for reform as the storm clouds gathered?

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October 30, 2019 49 min

The movement continued to swell. It found friends in high places. But everywhere it went, it found entrenched beliefs threatened by this new source of revelation. Finding harmony around a table was one thing. But when mediums met ministers, the seance became a street fight. 

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October 23, 2019 50 min

Spiritualists weren't the only ones who believed the dead could still be heard. That belief came trailing many stories. And with many aims. Some found a nourishing home. Others found a hunting ground.

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October 16, 2019 47 min

Who could have imagined how quickly their message would cross oceans? Even as they traveled from city to city, the first spiritualists were celebrated by seekers. But an anarchic new faith wasn't met kindly when it faced the authorities of the old world.

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October 9, 2019 49 min

A Harmonial Philosophy was one thing. But Rochester, New York, was about to become the cradle for so much more. The city wanted more than just words. They wanted a demonstration of power.

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October 2, 2019 42 min

It was all wide open. Great awakenings shattered the old religions. Showmen made spectacles of cutting-edge science. Radicals campaigned for a social revolution. The nation waited with bated breath for a new kind of prophet to take the stage. 

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September 25, 2019 1 min

The critically acclaimed historical documentary series is back with a powerful new season. With insightful research, expert interviews, and Aaron Mahnke's trademark narrative style, the Unobscured team returns for a new season to delve deep into the world of Spiritualism. By tracing its bizarre trajectory from a scattered fad to a worldwide phenomenon, listeners will discover the truth about the movement—and how it still impact... Read more

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July 12, 2019 26 min

Your first sneak peek of Noble Blood, a brand new podcast from executive producer Aaron Mahnke and iHeartRadio podcasts. Join author Dana Schwartz on a narrative tour of history's most fascinating royals: the tyrants and the tragic, the murderers and the murdered, and everyone in between. But be warned: when you’re wearing a crown, mistakes often mean blood. Learn more at NobleBloodTales.com

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February 6, 2019 53 min

Our interview with the Pulitzer prize winning author Stacy Schiff whose 2015 book The Witches was a source for this series. 

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January 30, 2019 53 min

Our interview with Jane Kamensky, professor of American history at Harvard University and author of Governing the Tongue: The Politics of Speech in Early New England. 

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January 24, 2019 94 min

Our interview with Marilynne K. Roach, author of "Six Women of Salem" and "The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege."

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January 16, 2019 95 min

Our interview with Richard B. Trask who has served as Archivist for the Town of Danvers, Massachusetts (old Salem Village) since 1972.

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January 9, 2019 82 min

Our interview with Mary Beth Norton, professor of American history at Cornell University and author of In the Devil’s Snare.

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January 2, 2019 84 min

Our interview with Emerson Baker, interim dean and history professor at Salem State University and author of A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience. 

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December 19, 2018 55 min

How does a community recover from a tragedy that claims over two dozen lives? How do they even begin to pick up the pieces and make things right again? And when it's all said and done, what can the rest of the world learn from the 300-year old mistakes of colonial New England village? The answers aren't as easy as they might appear.

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December 12, 2018 50 min

With the Court of Oyer and Terminer officially disbanded, the fog of uncertainly rolled into Salem. What would happen to those still in jail? When would a new trial session begin? And most importantly, who would grab the wheel of power and steer Salem to victory over darkness?

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December 5, 2018 44 min

Between the examinations and the hangings, it was easy to see the witch trials as a battle fought inside the courtroom. But outside, word was spreading about the injustice of it all, and so the fight was taken to a brand new arena—one that would do far more to change minds than any hanging or spectral testimony.

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November 28, 2018 47 min

The witchcraft panic had been gathering victims for months by the time George Burroughs was hanged, and many of them were still in jail. With nothing but torture and certain death awaiting them at the end of their imprisonment, many of the accused in Salem began to plot a more hopeful conclusion to their story.

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