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? […]

Have you ever felt your body wasting away? Most of us know what it’s like when we forget to eat for too long, often described as the physical sensation of the stomach “eating itself.” But, what occurs in the body and mind when it’s true over a prolonged period? What more horrible stories from history can still be told about winter cannibalism? Join your Horrific History Podcast co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Jordan Watney, for the debut episode of Season 2 as they explore the gruesome effects of starvation and the events which would lead up to cannibalism in Jamestown!

 

Discover what scientists learned about prolonged semi-starvation through a World War II study called the Minnesota Starvation Experiment […]

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 […]

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 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)

11 Jul / 2017

Heads, You Lose!

Were Aztecs ahead of their time when recruiting heads to make their skull tower? Contrary to researchers’ initial assumptions, they didn’t seem to discriminate on which skulls to use based on gender or age! There’s no consensus yet on how this structure fits into the practice of taking human trophies, but at the very least building materials is a novel way to preserve a memento of you.

Learn more about this exciting archeological find here, just remember…. # nosqueamallowed!

 

Photo credit for slideshow image and blog post: REUTERS/Henry Romero

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)

…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 […]