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Ridiculous History

Author: iHeartRadio

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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.
295 Episodes
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During the age of European expansion, members of the Jewish diaspora traveled to Caribbean and the continents of North and South America, often escaping the intense persecution of the Inquisition. Some became merchants, others explorers -- and some became pirates. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the little-known stories of specific Jewish pirates and privateers that changed the course of history as we know it in the second part of this two-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
During the age of European expansion, members of the Jewish diaspora traveled to Caribbean and the continents of North and South America, often escaping the intense persecution of the Inquisition. Some became merchants, others explorers -- and some became pirates. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the little-known stories of these pirates and privateers, and why Jamaica became known as a haven for those fleeing European persecution. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Have you ever used a home remedy when under the weather? Some, like honey and lemon (and whiskey) for a sore throat, remain common today. In 2020, other treatments people once swore by seem -- I hesitate to say it -- ridiculous. In the early 20th century, people were desperate to find a cure or treatment for the flu. They tried any number of things that may seem bizarre today, and part of that panic led to the lemon becoming a household staple across the United States. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
We've all heard about Freemasons -- but what about the Order of the Pug? Join the guys as they explore the strange series of events that led German Masons to create their own secret society, embodied by a porcelain sculpture of a pug. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Unconvinced by claims of this horse's mathematical acumen, psychologist Oskar Pfungst conducted a series of experiments to determine whether Clever Hans was actually solving problems. Pfungst discovered there were serious issues with Hans's 'performance' ... but he also, in a roundabout way, ended up proving Hans was, in some ways, more clever than the average person. Ben also pitches a stunning conclusion to a (fake) movie about Hans's life post-fame. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Back in the early 20th century, retired teacher Wilhelm von Osten had a dream -- to exhibit the gifts of his brilliant horse, Clever Hans, to the world. Wilhelm believed Hans was capable of solving pretty advanced math problems, working out the sums in his head and communicating them to humans through a system of hooftaps. And Clever Hans took the German public by storm -- what could this mean? If animals like Hans were this intelligent, could they also have a consciousness or a soul? Some people were over the moon about Hans... and others remained unconvinced. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
While history often only remembers Henry VIII as a real pill, he was also a profound hypochondriac -- and, rightly terrified of contracting the English Sweats, Henry hightailed it to a series of safehouses as he sought to isolate himself from any possible infection. Join the guys as they continue exploring the long-term consequences of the mysterious English Sweats. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Beginning in 1485, a mysterious disease swept in waves across England. No one was sure how it spread, no treatment existed, and the disease took the name of its most memorable symptom. The English sweating sickness seemed to have a taste for the wealthy, and the bulk of fatalities were English. The last widespread outbreak of sweating sickness was reported in 1551 -- after that, the disease vanished. Along the way, it made a king of Henry VIII. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
As the Great Depression devastates the nation, roughly 2 million people find themselves out of home and hope, migrating toward distant promises of jobs, distant family members -- some distant idea of a better life. The concept of the 'hobo' becomes a mainstream concern. Leon Ray Livingston warns about living a life "on the road." Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Born in San Francisco, an 11-year-old ran away from home, living and writing about his travels. Hailed as a self-coronated 'Hobo King,' Livingston made his own mythology, creating tropes that survive in the modern day. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nowadays, experts and equestrians alike largely agree: unicorns are creatures of myth. But, not too long ago, the wealthiest people in Europe would pay top dollar for everything from powdered 'unicorn' dust, to fragments or full specimens of 'unicorn' horn, convinced these supernatural relics had curative powers, capable of saving them from poison. So what was really going on here? Join the guys as they delve into the strange story of the unicorn trade, bust some Viking myths and shoutout the excellent, underrated film The Last Unicorn (Ben here: I swear it still holds up). Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
It's true -- people used to throw tar on other people, then shake feathers on them as a specific form of legally-sanctioned punishment. Where did the concept of tarring and feathering a person actually come from, and how did it spread throughout the world? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
While Kate Warne had numerous adventures (and brilliantly solved multiple high-profile cases), her most well-known work with pinkerton involved none other than Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. In the conclusion of special two-part series, the guys continue exploring Kate Warne's adventures with Jo Piazza, the award-winning author, journalist, and host of the new podcast, Fierce. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Kate Warne wasn't just the first female private investigator in the US -- she was also one of the best Pinkerton detectives in the history of the agency. In this special two-part series, the guys join forces with award-winning author and journalist, Jo Piazza, the host of Fierce, to learn more about the mysterious origins of the one and only Kate Warne. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
The students of Vassar thrived despite a system of Victorian -- near Orwellian -- control. In a time when these college students were not allowed to have agency over their own diet, they rebelled, popularizing the confection known as fudge today. Other students at elite institutions joined in, and soon contemporaneous newspapers noted fudge as both a desert and a rebellion against prevailing social norms. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Nowadays, most people in the global West associate fudge with the idea of a homemade, homely confection. Yet once upon a time, this dangerously delightful, sugar-laden snack was the domain of the elite. Learn more about the origin of fudge here -- and tune in for part two of our series: Fudge As Rebellion. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
The Mercator Projection continues to inform explorers, many of whom send their own appropriative versions of the Mythical North. Join Ben, Casey and Noel as they ask: Who actually discovered the North Pole? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
In 1569, Gerardus Mercator creates the first world map. It's the predecessor of the cartoonishly inaccurate Mercator projection, and this math guides people toward what they believe to be the North Pole. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
It's one of those iconic 'you know it when you hear it' sounds - the two-note whistle made famous in old Tex Avery cartoons and multiple films of yesteryear. But what is the wolf whistle? Where did it actually come from, and how did it go from being such a popular trope to something (thankfully) so rare in the modern day? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
War often drives innovation — often out of desperation. In World War I, doctors were overwhelmed and dangerously short on supplies, especially bandages. With no end in sight for the cotton shortage, ingenious doctors found an unlikely (and superior) alternative: peat moss. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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Comments (232)

barkhad dahir

wtf

Jun 19th
Reply

Yasmine C

This was a fun episode, featuring the last years of the emperor portrayed in the tv series Rome.

Jun 4th
Reply

Wes Stone

Why are they pandering to this evolution denier? Take a stance and back yourselves, evolution and science are not a religion! exasperating...

May 31st
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Wes Stone

This podcast had so much promise back when it started but they really struggle now to keep on topic. if there isn't enough content for a whole show, don't do it.

May 29th
Reply

Yasmine C

I didn't know you could get drunk from an enema. According to the hosts (I'm pretty sure they're not doctors, so don't try this at home), you can bypass the liver and get right to the main event. Mae West had coffee enemas everyday. How about making that Irish?

May 28th
Reply

Christian Carrillo-Abarca

what episode # is this??

May 27th
Reply

Jerry Stauffer

a more modern version is the Iraqi dinar revaluation scam, but it's too recent for the show

May 26th
Reply

Yasmine C

So he was a self-hating Nazi?

May 22nd
Reply

Weather or Not

Mackenzie BC says Hi

May 13th
Reply

Matthew Hoffman

I gave this podcast a try. While the content is good - 7/10 - but the intrusive advertisements are killer, as in killing my desire to keep listening. sorry, guys, but you're unsubscribed.

May 9th
Reply

Yasmine C

It's nothing a heartfelt note of apology can't fix. Dear Neighbor, Sorry about the looting and pillaging. You see, we should have turned left at Albuquerque, but we didn't so we arrived at the wrong town. How embarrassing! We wish we could return the people we enslaved, but unfortunately, they drowned in a shipwreck on the way home.

May 9th
Reply

Conor

so a woman did the same crime as ponzi but for longer and to more victims but gets LESS prison time, gets out and is able to do it again. that goddamn patriarchy always thinking women are more trustworthy than men and letting em off easy with crime #smashthepatriarchy 😂

May 2nd
Reply

Jerry Stauffer

I believe these were old locomotives ready for scrap. build steam, open the throttle and jump off.

Apr 30th
Reply (3)

Akshai Bhandari

extremely cool guest!

Apr 29th
Reply

ashley

love the blink 182 part, tom is wild lmao. I'm sure mark was one of the nonono people 👽

Apr 24th
Reply

Jonas Grumbie

I like the occasional shorter episode

Apr 24th
Reply

Chuckie Whipple

In the latest episode on the CIA, you referred to a city in Vietnam called Hue. It is pronounced "way." Great show!

Apr 21st
Reply (1)

Yasmine C

It ain't easy being green.

Apr 7th
Reply

Patricia Brown

I grew up near a Cozy Korner Kafe

Apr 4th
Reply

Patricia Brown

311 never happened

Apr 4th
Reply
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