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When Harry Price published his first book covering Borley Rectory in 1940, he would have been well aware of how sensational, and potentially controversial, the title would appear. “The Most Haunted House in England” shot Borley Rectory to fame, cementing the name in history with the likes of Jack the Ripper, The Salem Witch Trials and later, The Am…
 
1938 saw one of the world's most famous media hoaxes terrify a nation of unexpecting listeners when the original War of the Worlds radio broadcast was sent out across the airwaves unannounced, leading many to believe it to be a genuine news item. Somewhat more obscure is the tale of its precursor, when 103 years earlier in August of 1835, daily New…
 
The North American mineral rushes of the 19th Century saw hundreds of thousands flock to mountains and mines across the continent in search of fame and fortune, from panning for gold to working long, dangerous shifts down poorly run mines, entire industries exploded overnight, sucking in workers from around the world. During the San Juan Silver Rus…
 
Hi everyone, I'm taking a small summer break for a couple of weeks, so to cover the gap I have a few older patreon bonus episodes to put out for the main feed and give everyone a chance to hear them. Here is an interview I did with Professor Derek Abbott on the recent news about the Exhumation efforts in the Somerton Man case. Professor Derek Abbot…
 
In Victorian England, fishing all manner of filth, detritus and human body parts from the Thames River in London was not such an unusual affair. Used for centuries as a dumping ground and waste disposal, it became so bad by the mid 19th Century that it was renamed “The Great Stink”. In 1879, a coal porter pulled out an old wooden box and unearthed …
 
In 1628, the Batavia, a flagship Dutch Indiaman left the port of Texel in the Netherlands bound for the Dutch capital in the East Indies filled to the upper decks with gold, silver, gems and jewellery, along with a crew made up of a host of down and out soldiers, sailors and officers. Life in the Dutch East India Company was notoriously hard, but t…
 
The life of Percy Harrison Fawcett was never short of adventure. An amateur explorer who obtained a gold medal for his services to the Royal Geographical Society, in a time long before planes, GPS and radio communication. He was a man with a story and a character so much larger than life, that popular fiction has drawn influence on them for years, …
 
In 1885 a terrifying string of attacks in Austin, Texas erupted through the city, preying on the servant class. An unknown attacker, or band of attackers, broke into the residences of servants across the city, striking many of them in the head with an axe. The attacks carried on for months with police making little advancement until the night of Ch…
 
In 1953, a strange story crept out of the Philippines, when newspapers began reporting on the Dracula Girl, a young, Filipino vagrant, who had been arrested for prostitution and who now appeared to be facing even darker powers, as she battled with a pair of tormentors, collectively known as The Thing. For over two weeks, doctors, reporters, prison …
 
The end of the 18th Century saw the birth of a long line of religious movements focused on the end of days and the biblical second coming. Central to this string of beliefs was an unimposing domestic servant who began to have visions in her mid-life, which she claimed were divine in nature, eventually leading to her insistence that she was a prophe…
 
In the late Spring of 1937, the murder of a young Italian immigrant stormed the Paris headlines. The first murder to have taken place on the Metro, it was a baffling affair with no witnesses and a murder of unusual precision. As the country mired in political turmoil, newspapers filled their columns with rumours of the victims life, quickly filling…
 
“In war, one of our great protections against the dangers of air attack after nightfall will be the "blackout". On the outbreak of hostilities all external lights and street lighting would be totally extinguished so as to give hostile aircraft no indication as to their whereabouts. But this will not be fully effective unless you do your part, and s…
 
In the winter of 1896, a spate of airship sightings spread out from California, stampeding across the United States until, in the Spring of 1897, they hit a wall in the midwest, after a brief flirtation on the East Coast. The sightings totalled in their tens of thousands and many included fantastical descriptions of both the ship and the people rid…
 
Haunted human remains are a trope popular in modern horror, from the twisted ivory puppet in the House on Haunted Hill to the skeletal corpses, floating in the swimming pool of Poltergeist, human bones have long held a place of fear, worship and power throughout history and cultures, eventually manifesting within the horror genre of the 20th Centur…
 
With a long and winding path through history from ancient times, to the renaissance and beyond, Alchemy was a vast subject with a multitude of practitioners, from the legendary and mythical to established medical gentry and scholarly clergy. In fact and fiction, they were men and women obsessed by the magical bending of the laws of nature to their …
 
The mid 19th Century newspaper headlines saw no shortage of cases involving poison. Unsurprisingly, given the relative ease of obtaining such deadly materials, a long narrative of death, whether by accident or design, formed throughout the period and still today the Victorian period is often characterised as something of a heyday for poisons and po…
 
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