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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Black Broth & Broken Vines

What would you suffer or risk to become a full member of your community? Would you jump from extreme heights with only a vine to catch you? Would you allow your body to be surgically and permanently changed without the benefits of modern medicine like anesthesia? Would you kill?

 

Co-hosts Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender discuss real historical rites of passage in this Horrific History episode, covering documented examples from Spartans to more modern accounts of land diving from Papua New Guinea. From extreme heights (and horrible deaths), to murder and ending with genital mutilation we’re covering some of the rituals you may be glad you don’t have to do for your life milestones, right down to the penile subincision. As always: No squeam allowed! […]