Harbingers of Doom: Celestial Events and Superstitions

 

Aztec Sun Stone

What kind of superstitions or myths do you think of when you look up at the stars? Every culture has them; there have been stories developed all over the world to explain star constellations or natural phenomena like solar and lunar eclipses, comets, meteors and more. When the sun provides warmth to help the crops grow and night skies are used to measure the passage of time, it’s not surprising that any unexpected or unusual phenomenon is assigned meaning when the science isn’t sophisticated enough to distinguish between causation and correlation. Horrific History co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender, explore beliefs related to celestial events from across the globe.  Hindu serpent demons, China’s dragons (or dogs) and modern conspiracy theorists watching for alien spaceships, we have a lot of “bad omens” for your enjoyment.

 

Lunacy and humours, werewolves and witches, […]

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)

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 […]

…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 […]

A Horrible Inheritance

What is the worst thing you can imagine receiving as an inheritance or “legacy gift”? What if the worst your parents could give you was their shared DNA? Sure, we know we’re going to get a combinations of physical traits, for better or worse, from our parents but some people have terrible genetic odds due to the close relations of their parents! From Neanderthal discoveries found in modern day Siberia to the royal affairs (and marriages) of royalty in Egypt and Spain and ending with the modern Colt family incest cult in Australia, this episode gets around! Co-hosts Curtis Bender and Eric Slyter will be filling this Horrific History Podcast with the tragic details on what can happen when you keep the genes inside the family!

 

Hapsburg’s jaws, club feet and cleft palates, […]

Poison, Pokers & Pee, Oh My…

The gauntlet has been thrown and the challenge issued. Co-hosts Curtis “Curlystache” Bender and Eric “Iron Fist” Slyter each receive two opportunities to stump their opponent (and you) on horrible deaths and lives of the famous people in history who met those untimely demises. From ancient Egypt and Greece to medieval England and finally ending in 16th Century Denmark, we have suicides, murders, executions and assassinations. Conspiracy theories abound, and you’ll get all the explosive details as we probe history to separate fact from fiction.

 

A sadistic ruler who had an affinity for toxins, poisons and venom; a deposed king with Arthurian expectations who suffered from rotten luck and terrible choices which would aid a posthumous propaganda campaign; and an eccentric nerd who was willing to defend mathematics at risk of life or limb or […]