What do you think of when you look into a child’s eyes? Do you think of innocence and a world of potential? Or, do you think of torture, murder and evil intent? Join your Horrific History Podcast co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender, as they look at children in history who have tortured or killed in gruesome ways.

 

Learn about the case of a child laborer from Boston, Massachusetts with a love of dime novels who tortured his victims in awful ways and may have had an interest in taking trophies. After a period in reform school, mutilation and murder […]

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 […]

It seems like the advice, “If ever you are invited to dinner with a cannibal, first ensure you are not on the menu,” would be foregone conclusion; in fact, unless you are particularly adventurous in your culinary tastes, you might be wise to also simply claim to be a vegetarian. However, social and dining etiquette isn’t exactly what we have for your squeamish fix today. Instead we want to share with you something we found in the NPR archives; we discovered a really great interview of author Carole Travis-Henikoff about her book Dinner with a Cannibal: The Complete History of Mankind’s Oldest Taboo. You can find it linked here.

 

If you liked our Have a Friend for Lunch: Winter Cannibalism or Mementos of You: Human Trophies episodes we think you’ll love this!

 

Now, if fiction is more to your tastes, you might find Dinner With the Cannibal Sisters more to your liking.

 

Until next week, no squeam allowed!

Slideshow photo credit: Another Pint Please… Strip Steak on Weber Summit via photopin (license)

Leaving You in Stitches, Part 2

Day laborer scams in India, exploitation of people in poverty desperate to provide for their families, surgeries and death threats, this episode has the details on human tissue theft you’ve been waiting for! Horrific History co-hosts Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender are back to continue their two-part episode on human tissue theft (if you missed Part 1, you can find it here)! A large organ trafficking ring catering to transplant tourism, the so-called Admiral of the Kansas Navy who made his fortune as a Quaker doctor who peddled virility miracle cures, organ brokers and donors who are viewed as both saints and sinners, this episode will leave you wondering what your body parts are worth and to whom.

 

Doctor Dracula” stealing kidneys; goat testicles; pseudoscience, doctor self-experimentation and […]

Leaving You in Stitches, Part 1

A nun plucks penises off a phallus tree in the Roman de la Rose, c. 1325-1353. (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS. Fr. 25526, f. 106v.)

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “tissue theft?” Do you think of evil elves on a clandestine caper to acquire tissue paper for wrapping presents? Perhaps you think of someone with a horrible cold stealing your last box of tissue. After this episode, you’ll think of more gruesome things… Horrific History co-hosts Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender examine examples from history when people have had parts of their body lost, removed or stolen- sometimes even without their awareness or consent! Documented true-life cases and psychological maladies, fables and witch hunts, curses and hexes, this episode will have you looking for certain body parts in the trees.

 

Severed penises held captive (and put on a strict diet), radium tube inserts, immortal cells that could encircle the Earth three times over, marital difficulties blamed on  […]

Wait for it… Wait for it!

Our co-hosts thought our latest topic of research, human tissue theft, would be a fast and easy topic. But by the day of recording they discovered a lot more horrifying, bloody and even some hilarious information from the 13th century to modern day history than they could fit into our standard-length episode. Rather than fast forward through the interesting details and bodily fluids they’ve decided to take a little extra time to deliver all the sticky facts through a two-part episode. Come back next week for Part 1 of Leaving You in Stitches, and then we’ll be back to our regular publishing schedule and release Part 2 the following week! Meanwhile, listen to Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender give you a special preview of what you can look forward to in our next episode… just remember, no squeam allowed!

 

Slideshow photo credit: Ari Sanjaya Old fashioned clock and broken via Dreamstime (license)
Post photo credit: shaggy359 Time for prizes via photopin (license)

…And You Thought Dad Jokes Were Bad

The rice chest in which the deposed prince died was likely about this size.

What do you celebrate on Fathers’ Day? Some people are lucky enough to have fantastic dads who were positive influences in their lives, but not everyone is so fortunate. For those, if they observe the holiday at all, they may simply give tribute to surviving and learning from the trials and tribulations they never wanted. With Fathers’ Day weekend wrapping up in the United States, co-hosts Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender discuss some terrible fathers from history you’ll be glad to not have in your family.

 

Abuse, torture, rape, murder, flaying and royal intrigue, our co-hosts cover all the horrifying details you’d expect to find related to awful fathers with power from history. From ruling fathers committing filicide […]

Episode of a Thousand Downloads: Sawney Bean

What kinds of milestones come to mind when you think of 1000? Do you think of scientific achievements, sports statistics or something else? For Horrific History, it isn’t surprising that when we recently exceeded our 1000th download milestone we thought of murder, cannibalism, incest and the folk tale of Sawney Bean. As a special thank you to our loyal listeners who have made this all possible we’re releasing a special edition bonus episode with a slightly different format as co-hosts Curtis Bender and Eric Slyter examine this old legend and its origins.

 

A multi-generational incest family, murder, cannibalism, executions, amputations and […]

Mementos of You

Plaster cast of mokomokai (Indigenous to New Zealand); a photo of an actual head will not be shared on Horrific History out of the desire to be sensitive to the Maori.

After your death, what do you think your survivors (friendly or foe) might keep to remember you? Perhaps a photo or some inanimate object which carried a lot of meaning to you both? Or do you think they might want something more personal, like a lock of hair or your ashes? It’s a nice thought, isn’t it? But what if they wanted to keep your rotting skin, your head or even just your re-purposed skull or bones? Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender hunt for the gruesome details on various kinds of human trophies in history beginning with the Scythians, Norse Vikings, and Aztec festivities honoring Xipe Totec (Our Lord the Flayed One) before ending with Maori mokomokai.

 

Skull cups, garments made of rotting skin and […]

30 May / 2017

Radium Girls

The Horrible Case of the Shining Women

You may remember hearing about the Radium Girls in our For a Healthy Glow: Radiation Poisoning episode, and we’ve added a great resource to our Store for those of you who want to learn more about their important part in history! There’s a physical book, The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women,  for those bibliophiles who need something to hold onto.

 

 

But for you audiophiles who prefer to absorb knowledge through listening to audio books or podcasts, we found […]