For what purpose would you willingly use raw water? Drinking? Cooking? Bathing? Join Horrific History co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Jordan Watney, as they look at more instances of raw water usage, both in the past and modern history (including some history humanity is making right now). Learn how John Snow, one of the founders in the field of epidemiology during a period when Miasma theory was prevalent, found Patient Zero in 1854 after cesspools contaminated raw water supplies with cholera. How did raw water help bring an industry to the point of economic collapse around 1925? In what ways have history and modern natural disasters impacted the current safety of raw water in Puerto Rico?

 

As this journey through the history of raw water comes to the present, and with a better understanding of the progression of water safety, a brief examination is made of some current events relate to raw water contamination. Discover how wells dug by the United Nations to prevent exposure to surface water bacteria created debilitating new problems for […]

Α reconstructed appearance of Myrtis, an 11-year-old girl who died during the plague of Athens and whose skeleton was found in the Kerameikos mass grave, National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Just how pure is your raw water source? Do you trust it? Would you drink it? Join your Horrific History co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Jordan Watney, as they take several trips in the Horrific History time and space machine to look at cases in history when trusted water supplies turned deadly and how some earlier societies handled water quality concerns. Learn how waterborne diseases can help determine the outcome of a war, encourage societies to develop regulations on industry and even kill already starving settlers in a new (to them) land. We’ll also take a brief look at how people have viewed and measured water quality through history (hint: up until recent history water quality was assessed only by human senses), and natural contaminants which can be harmful (or deadly) when you’re drinking water to achieve that healthy glow.

 

How did scientists prove that typhoid helped determine the outcome of the Peloponnesian War between the Spartans and the Athenians around 430 BCE, and what conditions allowed it to help wipe out an estimated 1/3 of the population in Athens? Is it true that people in the middle ages only drank beer instead of water because the quality was so bad? What made the water so toxic […]

A facial reconstruction of “Jane of Jamestown” is seen during a news conference at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Scientists announced during the news conference that they have found the first solid archaeological evidence that some of the earliest American colonists at Jamestown, Va., survived harsh conditions by turning to cannibalism presenting the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl, “Jane” that show clear signs that she was cannibalized. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

From the last episode, we know Jamestown’s English settlers got their colony off on the wrong foot; this week, join your Horrific History co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Jordan Watney, as they get to the meat of the subject and explore both the period accounts of cannibalism in addition to the recent related archeological finds. What led the Jamestown colonists to experience such desperation that they would themselves engage in murder, grave-robbing, and the eating of human flesh? Which famous person from the colony wrote a book to profit off those same horrors?

 

We’ll also explore the more recent historical accounts of the 1972 Andes Flight Disaster, also referred to as the Miracle of the Andes, when 45 people aboard a small aircraft crashed atop an unnamed mountain (later named Glaciar de las Lágrimas, or Glacier of Tears) which straddled the remote mountainous border between Chile and Argentina. When the remaining survivors heard on the radio that the search parties had called off the rescue efforts, they had to give up hope or find a way to survive. Hear about the lengths they went to survive the crash and the journey to, without provisions or equipment, climb down a mountain to let the world know they were still alive and needed help. Could you go to the same lengths, eating your deceased family, friends, or even your wife? […]

Hello Squeamers!

The home state of Horrific History Podcast’s co-hosts got into the news today, and the reasons are terrible. Our Hanford Nuclear Reservation made headlines with the on-going drama of radiation leaks of plutonium particles not only detected in 45 workers (so far) but also found outside the safety zone. Is it a case of profits over people at this key facility for the development of the first nuclear weapons? To learn more about the new developments in this compelling situation, read this article. Just remember, no squeam allowed!

Slideshow photo credit: Andras, Fulop Radiation Area 9606_814 via photopin (license)

Blog photo credit: NagasakiOsada civildefenseradiationmeter via photopin (license)

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)