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Ridiculous History

Author: iHeartRadio

Subscribed: 70,077Played: 2,691,213


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.

367 Episodes
As the pineapple craze swept through Europe's upper class, aristocrats worked tirelessly to grow their own pineapples. This was no small feat, since pineapples aren't suited to the European climate. Still, some clever inventors and gardeners figured it out -- and, along the way, non-aristocrats also got into the trend. Since most people couldn't afford a pineapple, they did the next best thing and rented them as a display of status for dinner parties and important gatherings. Tune in to learn more in the second part of this two-part series. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Today, pineapples are a common (and delicious) produce item found in grocery stores and markets across the world -- but not too many centuries ago, a single pineapple could cost the equivalent of over $8,000. In the first part of this two-part episode, the guys delve into the bizarre story of Europe's pineapple mania, attempting to discover just what made this fruit so insanely popular... and why they're so insanely cheap today. Learn more about your ad-choices at
As New Englanders woke on the morning of May 19th, 1780, they realized something was... off. The sunrise looked oddly colored and dim. As the day wore on, the sky grew increasingly dark. Soon, it appeared midnight had come early. Animals and humans alike panicked -- cows ran to their stalls, people flocked to churches and taverns, many certain the end of the world was upon them. Eventually, things returned to normal, but in the centuries that followed numerous researchers attempted to figure out exactly what happened. Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at
As the French and Indian War escalated, the residents of Windham, Connecticut lived in constant fear of possible attacks, crop-ruining weather, disease and more. One late night in the summer of 1754, a loud, continual noise roused the entire town as people feared they may be under siege. It wasn't until near dawn that the noises died down, and a small scouting party discovered the culprits of the cacophony -- a massive population of desperate bullfrogs, screaming at each other for territory in the last dregs of a nearby dried-out pond. Although the townsfolk became the laughingstock of the area after the story came out, they leaned into the image -- and you can see traces of the story in the modern day. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Thousands of years before the current day, ancient civilizations accurately predicted both lunar and solar eclipses. They often believed these events were spiritual omens. When an eclipse came at an inauspicious time, multiple priestly classes scrambled to find a substitute king. In the interest of preserving society, these substitute kings would reign during an eclipse, only to be swiftly murdered afterward. Ben defends early humans, asking what we sacrifice today. Learn more about your ad-choices at
As the small town of Mattoon captured national attention during the reign of the Mad Gasser, the investigation took a turn. Authorities were baffled by the deluge of reports -- and their inability to find any physical evidence other than a soiled rag at a doorstep. As researchers and historians looked back on the events, they became increasingly convinced the was a different culprit behind the panic... and though the story was a gas, they were certain there had never been a real Mad Gasser in the first place. Learn more in the second part of this two part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at
As wartime fears peaked across the US during World War II, people throughout the nation were overwhelmed with fears of invading Nazis, secret biological weapons and more. For the residents of Mattoon, Illinois, these fears took a brief back seat to a new neighborhood menace -- a Mad Gasser who would sneak beside people's windows and pipe in a paralytic gas for reasons no one could understand. But who was this Mad Gasser? What on earth did this criminal want? Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at
For thousands of years people across the planet lived in fear of leprosy (now known as ‘Hansen's Disease). In many cases, people infected with the disease, or even just suspected of having it, were carted off to isolated colonies where they would be doomed to live the rest of their lives without any access to the outside world. These colonies became their own active communities -- there were blacksmiths, traders, cooks, merchants and more. And this meant the residents of these communities needed some sort of currency. However, they weren't allowed to use 'outside' cash for fear of contaminating it. This led to the rise of something known as "Leprosy Money." Tune in to learn how we got here, and what happened to this currency in the modern day. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Back in the 1930s, the residents of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota felt the federal government— and the state legislatures— ignored them. They felt unheard, unheeded and, most importantly, moved to find solutions of their own. In this episode, Ben and Noel return to the story of Absaroka to ask: Was this meant to be the 49th state, or was it a publicity stunt? Learn more about your ad-choices at
George Parrott was a career outlaw -- a known thief, murderer and would-be train robber. When justice finally caught up with him and his game, he was destined for the hangman's noose. Yet George's demise was only the beginning of a bizarre posthumous tale. Tune in to learn why it's technically possible, even today, to walk in Big Nose George's shoes (and not, perhaps, in the way you might assume). Learn more about your ad-choices at
In the second part of this two-part episode, Ben, Noel and special guest Gabe Luzier drill down into the nuts and bolts of flea circuses -- how did they actually work? Is it true that some flea circuses did not, in fact, have fleas? Is there any way to see a real flea circus in the modern day? Tune in to learn more about one of history's strangest novelty performances. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Fleas -- they're one of the only animals Ben actually doesn't like! Yet, once upon a time, these bloodsucking nuisances were star performers in novelty acts across Europe and, later, North America. But what were they, exactly? Can you really train fleas to do tricks and play instruments? Who even came up with this weird idea? In this episode, the guys welcome special guest and researcher extraordinaire Gabe Luzier to dive into the origin of that bizarre novelty time largely forgot: the flea circus. Learn more about your ad-choices at
It's a Ridiculous History takeover! In honor of International Women's Day, join the hosts of the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You for this very special episode diving into the depths of history's most ridiculous beauty and fashion trends. Learn more about your ad-choices at
The politically-connected, cartoonishly belligerent Billy Cottrell was a terrible Mayor, hated and feared by the locals of Cedar Key, Florida -- and no one was sure what to do. At least, that is, until the Federal government got word of the situation. Tune in to learn how the US President eventually pled with Congress to allow for military intervention. Learn more about your ad-choices at
In 1859, a dispute between neighbors in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest led to the untimely death of a local (and very unlucky) pig. What could have been an easily resolved situation quickly ignited simmering tensions between the US and the UK, both of whom claimed the islands as their own territory. In the days and weeks after, soldiers from both nations traveled to the area... each waiting for the other side to make the first move in what almost became a full-on war. Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Illario 'Mario' Fabbrini was true American success story: An immigrant who built his own pizza empire just as this iconic food was becoming a normalized, nation-wide delicacy. When the business was brought low by allegations of tainted mushrooms, he did something few people would have been brave enough to consider -- he made the disposal of these so-called 'tainted' pizzas a public event, holding a mass burial for an estimated 30,000 frozen pizzas. The funeral was attended by numerous notable individuals, including the Governor of Michigan. Tune in to learn more about the inspiring, bittersweet story of one man in love with pizza, and how he learned to say goodbye. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Born Varius Avitus Bassianus, the emperor now known as Elagabalus scandalized ancient Rome with his constant displays of extravagance, his numerous sexual escapades -- and his insistence that all people worship the sun god Elagabal (represented by a mysterious black stone he brought to town). Tune in to learn how everyday Romans reacted to this larger-than-life character, and how his over-the-top behaviors eventually led to his downfall. Learn more about your ad-choices at
As John Wilkins began to put more serious thought into the idea of sending people to the moon, he reached out to fellow intellectuals in hopes of exploring the problem. So: How did they go about planning this ambitious endeavor, and how far did they get? Tune in to learn more in the second chapter of this two-part episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at
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In the second part of this series, the guys dive deeper into the story of turtle soup -- and how it soon gave rise to the more affordable, equally delicious 'mock turtle' soup. But what exactly is a mock turtle? Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Comments (259)

Sarah Cawthorn

I'm stoked for this one! when is thr next episode coming out?!

Apr 9th

Al Fortune


Mar 27th

TJ Dogflower

a ridiculous waste of my time! The narrator's are annoying. Good bye!

Mar 14th

Sha Shep

also very poor research and wrong information.

Mar 13th

Anna Shumaker

These girls are so boring. So so so so so bland.

Mar 9th

Jerry Stauffer

I'll judge. Sickles was a murdering, thieving, insubordinate, hypocritical whoremonger. That wasn't acceptable then, now or in the future.

Feb 4th

Sha Shep

I like these guys but cringe at their superficiality and ignorance. 'Cats' the musical is a stage treatment of 'Old Possums Book of Practical Cats' by T S Elliot. people are so stupid it makes me sad.

Jan 29th

Carl Scroggins

I'll be skipping this one.

Jan 21st

Terry Brown

l like the idea of this channel but it has way too much jabbering and mindless banter. Ten minutes in and you're still waiting for them to begin the story of whichever episode you want to hear. Mighty be great for some but not what I want to hear. Unsubscribing now.

Jan 13th


to be good luck....

Dec 5th

gilles st onge

prepare yourself. the quister shows up 20 mins in. just aweful. not 18th century aweful either. modern aweful.

Nov 23rd

Dara Pat

na.... no thanks on the Kesha thing I'd rather jam hot aids dripping needles in my ears 🙄

Nov 22nd

Michael Lawson

Lippy-zanner is the basic pronunciation of the world famous horses at the Spanish riding school in Vienna.

Nov 18th

Charrissa Huffman

me listening to this while literally drinking country time lemonade 👀

Nov 18th
Reply (1)

Michael Jiggens

Chris Eubank?

Nov 13th

Du Ko

poor puppy😪

Oct 30th

Kristy Gainey

sweet breads are internal organs not what you are

Sep 22nd

Joe Tucker

If you were speaking about the sea it is pronounced Caribbean with a hard a. If you were talking about the region and the people or the culture and cuisine. I think lol

Sep 8th

Joe Tucker

Johnny Depp‘s inspiration were in fact Keith Richards but also captain kangaroo

Sep 8th

Nellie Fly

reminds me of current: space farce

Sep 6th
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