Not Your Garden Variety Episode: Toxic Plants

Can you identify all the plants in your yard or garden pots? After hearing this episode, you may never look at them (or honey products) the same way again! Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender, your Horrific History co-hosts, explore some pretty (and highly toxic)  plants from across the globe. From nightshade to wolfsbane, and rhododendron to barbasco, this episode will have you questioning the biological warfare applications of your garden plants… just remember to watch how much you use!

 

Discover which invading armies might have thought of new territory as the “Lands of Tainted Honey.” While Xenophon weighs in with his thoughts on the matter, discover the awful side effects of the wholly natural (but toxic to mammals) “mad honey” which had a history of being used as a tool of violent conflicts long before Draco Malfoy thought to lace a mead with poison.

 

The “queen of poisons,” derived from […]

In Horrific History’s most recent episode about some of the precursors to different labor movement across the globe in history, Eric covered some pieces of history contemporary to the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. While we may never know exactly how many died and the ways in which they lost their lives (many deaths and details have been lost to history and/or gone unrecorded) in the construction of the bridge, we do know that some were crushed by falling stones, killed by cables, or fell from great heights. Most deaths, however, seem to have come from “the bends” which was covered in our decompression sickness episode.

 

We found a source of information for those who are interested in learning more about the unsung builders of “The Great East River Bridge and some of the working conditions which led them to later organize and strike. Just remember, no squeam allowed!

 

Slideshow photo credit: Kai Lehmann brooklyn bridge (NYC) via photopin (license)

Profits Before People: Assassinations, Disasters & Child Labor

What are the worst job conditions you have ever experienced or known about? What were your biggest concerns? Join Horrific History co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender, as they scratch the surface on the long struggle for workers’ rights in human history when the profit margins of the rich and powerful have hung in the balance. From Venice to pre-Soviet Russia, Europe to the United States, the guys cover a lot of space and time in this episode while discussing some of the precursors to different labor movements and our modern Labor Day.

 

Learn about the Italian glass industry monopoly so coveted that the purchase of their work could have bankrupted a country. Its success, in large part due to its workers’ isolation in a “gilded cage” on the island of Moreno, allowed some to “marry up” while others feared a private police force which could carry out assassinations of themselves and […]

It was the solar eclipse!

Hello Squeamers!

Your next regularly scheduled and eagerly anticipated podcast episode from Horrific History was almost ready for publishing when we suddenly had some very unexpected technical difficulties. Since our last episode was about Harbingers of Doom: Celestial Events and Superstitions and two of our volunteer staff went to see the event in its totality…. we’re just going to go with the superstitions of old and say the eclipse somehow fried our hard drive. We’re in the process of trying to do data recovery so we can get you your episode as quickly as possible, but our best guess at the moment is that the Chinese dragon or dog that “ate the sun” also ate our latest episode.

So send us some positive vibes, tell us your favorite technological superstitions and give us your best recommendations for inexpensive data recovery programs online (when the computers won’t even recognize the bricked external drive) and we’ll get you your next episode as soon as we can. Or, if you’re feeling really generous, you can go to our Support Us page, click the donate button, and help us raise the funds to pay professionals to fix our equipment since we don’t have a computer guru on staff!

 

Keep squeaming! We’ll be back in your podcatcher just as soon as we can!

 

Slideshow photo credit: Ömer Ünlü Old Wehicle via photopin (license)

Blog post photo credit: Horrific History Podcast

Too Much of a Good Thing

“The dose makes the poison.” What do you think of when you hear that? Perhaps you think of an alchemy class at a fantastical wizarding school or of an infatuation turned into a blinding obsession. Maybe you remember the morning after a weekend bender or a “sugar coma” crash.  What can be harmless, or even beneficial, in certain amounts can become dangerous or deadly when there is too much. Horrific History co-hosts Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender explore cases in history when the everyday things from life can, when overused, have mind-altering, physically debilitating or even deadly effects.

 

The death of a United States President; visual, auditory and sensory hallucinations; a man who turned blue and a modern problem which was also used as a medieval torture technique […]

Fukushima isn’t the only nuclear site in the news lately! The Hanford Nuclear Reservation, only a couple of hours away from Horrific History Podcast’s headquarters in Washington State, has its own set of problems! A collapsed railway tunnel and radiation leak are just the start of the problems anticipated for the future, as the crumbling infrastructure at Hanford meets steep budget cuts in the cleanup of the toxic site. You can learn more in the linked article. Hanford was pivotal in the development of the first atomic bombs, and part of the Manhattan Project covered in For a Healthy Glow: Radiation Poisoning. #NoSqueamAllowed

 

Slideshow Photo Credit: Great Beyond Day 210/365 – The Fine Print is 10 feet tall via photopin (license)

Blog Post Photo Credit: Andras, Fulop Radiation Area 9606_814 via photopin (license)

Making Your Blood Boil

How well do you cope with being under pressure? Does it make your blood boil? Do you keep calm like a Soviet astronaut pulling a cool move out of The Martian?

 

From Polynesian pearl diving taravana and the discovery of Boyle’s Law, Horrific History co-hosts Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender uncork the most explosive and gory details of decompression sickness in history. To help you acclimate to the increased squeam-atmospheres of pressure, they begin with animal experimentation, caisson disease, Nazi Germany experiments involving (live?) human brain dissection and […]

How could we have missed the radioactive boar phenomenon in our episode For a Healthy Glow, about radiation poisoning? Better late than never! Of course, given the nature of the subject matter, we’ll be reporting on Fukushima for a long time to come. Remember, #NoSqueamAllowed!

Blog post photo credit (from article): Toru Hanai/Reuters

Slideshow photo credit: Cloudtail the Snow Leopard Wild boar via photopin (license)

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For a Healthy Glow

A finger, hand, limb or life…. What would you give up for the advancement of science? Would you give up as much as the Radium Martyrs of All Nations?

 

Horrific History Podcast’s co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender discuss radiation poisoning in history, beginning with late Renaissance alchemy research in 1603 and continuing on to address more modern history including the Manhattan Project, Kyshtym Disaster, Chernobyl, and touching on current-day Fukushima.

 

From capturing the “golden light of the sun” to “seeing one’s death” through x-ray experimentation, this episode discusses all the horrifying things that came with the development of radiation research including blindness, loss of appendages, and even slow painful demises! You’ll hear about radium condoms, miracle “cures” and other products like “liquid sunshine,” as well as the legal case of the “Radium Girls” who had been so exposed to radium over the course of their factory work that parts of them […]