Your Complete List of Current and Past Horrific History Podcasts!

Current Episode:

It’s a Trap…?: Booby-traps in History

Join Horrific History co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Jordan Watney, as they examine the historical evidence for the use of booby-traps in historical records from across the globe. What kind of danger was waiting for archeologists in the Valley of the Golden Mummies? Was the cinnabar in the Red Queen’s tomb really a trap left for whomever might disturb her sarcophagus? Is there a historical basis for the collapsing temples often found in adventure movies, and would the resulting danger be caused by an intentional trap or merely correlated with the building practices? What kind of booby-traps were used during the Vietnam War? And what do we know about a Chinese tomb believed to contain mercury lakes and crossbows traps to protect its contents from grave robbers? Hematite and cinnabar powders; deadly snakes, toads, trees and poo-covered punji stakes…. Just remember, no squeam allowed!


Archived Episodes:

H2-OhNo! Pt. 2: Raw Water

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? Discover how wells dug by the United Nations to prevent exposure to surface water bacteria created debilitating new problems for residents when they consumed too much of a good thing which was naturally occurring in their drinking water, and what treatments are in development for those issues. Learn how the lack of access to safe and fresh water has made many experts declare Gaza Strip to be uninhabitable and a ticking time bomb for the region. Cholera and typhoid, cesspools and oysters… just remember, no squeam allowed!

H2-OhNo! Pt. 1: Raw Water

Just how pure is your raw water source? 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.  Discover the conditions which wiped out up to 1/3 of the population of Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Find out if it’s true that people in the middle ages only drank beer instead of water because of the water quality and join us as we revisit Jamestown to examine their drinking water. Cities under siege, medieval public works and salty sewer water…just remember, no squeam allowed!


The Starvening, Pt. 2: Winter Cannibalism 2

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 we explore both the period accounts of cannibalism as well as 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? We’ll also explore the more recent historical accounts of the 1972 Andes Fight Disaster, often 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. Could you go to the same lengths, eating your deceased family, friends, or even your wife? Torture and wife-killing, shipwrecks and airplane crashes, this episode has a lot of adventurous stories with its cannibalism (or in some cases, anthropophagy)! Whether you prefer your human roasted, boiled, carbonado’d or dried, you’ll find something for your tastes! Just remember, no squeam allowed!

The Starvening, Pt. 1: Winter Cannibalism 2

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. How has research on populations with anorexia nervosa given us added insight into the effects of the three phases of starvation? What decisions and events would lead the people of Jamestown to eventually engage in the very cannibalistic acts which they (erroneously) feared the native population would inflict upon them? Self-mutilation, medical research on conscientious objectors and colonists who could not follow directions, this episode has it all! Whether you have ever considered starvation or cannibalizing your acquaintances, you’ll find something to enjoy!


Child’s Play, Part 2: Children Who Kill

When looking at a child, do you see innocence or the devil incarnate? Love, or murderous intent? Join Horrific History Podcast as our co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender, examine three cases from history when children have murdered for supernatural reasons. Learn about the 12 year-old goth girl (and her werewolf boyfriend) convicted of the murders of her family members in Canada. A young man who developed an affinity for Dungeons and Dragons, satanism and the occult takes our kindred spirits from the last episode and ups the stakes when he finds his own spiritual doppelgänger. And finally, learn about the two 12-year old girls who planned a murder for 5 months, and the lucky girl who survived that attack by a literal hair’s breadth after being stabbed 19 times. Werewolves, demon possession and the Slender Man, this episode has it all… just remember, no squeam allowed!

Halloween Special: Spring-Heeled Jack

This historical character from Victorian England was known for assaults, attacks and pranks. Was he an imp, devil, demon or gremlin? This story is full of conspiracy theories, from the “mad Marquis” to extraterrestrials and the occult. But don’t give in to mass hysteria or panic, we’ll give you enough details about this boogeyman to pique your interest, just like the “penny dreadfuls” he inspired. So lock the door, sit down in a dark corner, and grab that bowl of Halloween treats while you join us for this episode; it just might put a spring in your step… just remember, no squeam allowed.

Child’s Play, Part 1: Children Who Kill

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? 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. Desperate to stay together, two adolescent friends in New Zealand planned and executed the murder of a parent with a brick in a sock, reminiscent of some medieval duels.

The Waking Nightmare: Sleep Paralysis

Have you ever had the experience of waking up but being unable to move? Did you feel the sensation of “the intruder” in your room restraining you? Explore folklore and the paranormal as your co-hosts, Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender, dig into the history of sleep paralysis through the ages. Discover how these “waking hallucinations” have taken the form of witches, demons, vampires, fairies, ghost children and more (as well as which new theme only appeared after the space race)! Nightmares such as these have been connected (usually erroneously) to all sorts of things in the waking hours, from the Salem witch trials to UFOs and alien abductions! It all depends upon which dream interpretation (or doctor!) you choose! Gastric distress, raccoon scrotums, and house spirits, this episode has it all! Whether you’re interested in things that go bump in the night or how cultural influences can impact your dreams, you’ll find it in this brand new Horrific History Podcast episode… Just remember, no squeam allowed!

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! From nightshade to wolfsbane, and rhododendron to barbasco, this episode will have you questioning the biological warfare applications of your garden plants. Discover which invading armies might have thought of new territory as the “Lands of Tainted Honey.” The “queen of poisons,” derived from a plant family found all across the Northern Hemisphere, was used in medical experimentation (approved by a Pope!) on prisoners to see if it might be used as a cure for plague or as an antidote for other poisons. Hear some of the cases in history when it has been used to kill, as well as accounts from some survivors who describe the long term after-effects as torture. Witches‘ flying ointments, cultural revolutions, murder, assassinations and unsolved cases, this episode might just be the beginning of “Poisons-R-Us….” Just remember, no squeam allowed!

Profits Before People: Assassinations, Disasters and Child Labor

What are the worst job conditions you have ever experienced or known about? What were your biggest concerns? 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 which made some fear a private police force which could carry out assassinations of themselves and their loved ones with impunity. Discover the truly horrifying conditions, worker mistreatment and wealth inequality which led people to organize despite police and military actions against them. You’ll also learn about some of the awful conditions and gruesome bloody (accidental) deaths which led to the development of some child labor laws!

Harbingers of Doom: Celestial Events and Superstitions

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, this episode brings you from past paranormal superstition to modern “remote viewing” and “Flat Earth Theory” pseudoscience! Hear about doomsday cults, castrations, suicides and plagues all associated with cosmic events and the illusory correlations humans have assigned to them (sometimes, like with the Battle of Hastings, even after the event has long passed)! Just remember, no squeam allowed.

Leaving You in Stitches, Part 2: Human Tissue Theft

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. 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.

Leaving You in Stitches, Part 1: Human Tissue Theft

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. With 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 organ-stealing sorcerers, this episode has a load of squeam for you! Transplant tourism and organ brokers, donors who will sell body parts for the price of a car or even just a new pair of dentures, you’ll hear it all… Just remember: no squeam allowed!

Too Much of a Good Thing: Everyday Toxins

“The dose makes the poison.” 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, this episode has all the details for which you never thought to ask! Just remember: no squeam allowed!

…And You Thought Dad Jokes Were Bad: Bad Dads in History

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 (killing their own children) and influencing the line of succession in Russia and Korea (Joseon), to a professional man who fathered up to 75 children in his area without the mothers’ knowledge or consent (increasing the risk of giving those children a horrible inheritance through inbreeding), this episode has it all… just remember: no squeam allowed!

Episode of a Thousand Downloads: Sawney Bean

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 more… you’ll hear all the horrible details, right down to the depths of the cannibal family’s caves. We hope you enjoy this special treat!

Mementos of You: Human Trophies

What do you think your survivors (friendly or foe) might keep to remember you? How would you feel 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 heads with carved tattoos, this episode has all the gory details you’d expect from humanity’s horrific history! Just remember: no squeam allowed!

A Horrible Inheritance: Inbreeding

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! Hapsburg’s jaws, club feet and cleft palates, Co-hosts Curtis Bender and Eric Slyter fill this Horrific History Podcast with the tragic details on what can happen when you keep the genes inside the family! As always, no squeam allowed!

Poison, Pokers & Pee, Oh My: Death Duel

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. 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! Opium and wolfsbane, royal affairs and anal impalement, we’ve included all the sordid details but remember, no squeam allowed!

Making Your Blood Boil: Decompression Sickness

How well do you cope with being under pressure? Does it make your blood boil? Horrific History’s co-hosts 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 the first Russian space walk. This episode has all the explosive details and the violent dismemberment you’d expect to find in humanity’s horrific history, including accounts of the Byford Dolphin incident and Japan Airlines 123! Just remember: No squeam allowed!

Black Broth & Broken Vines: Rites of Passage

What would you suffer or risk to become a full member of your community? Co-hosts Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender discuss real historical rites of passage, 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!

For a Healthy Glow: Radiation Poisoning

What would you sacrifice for the advancement of science? Horrific History Podcast’s co-hosts discuss the horrifying things that came with the development of radiation research including blindness, loss of appendages, and even slow painful demises! Cancer, radium condoms and assassinations, you’ll hear all the disgusting gory details, right down to the glowing snot! Just remember, no squeam allowed!

Have a Friend for Lunch: Winter Cannibalism

Who would you eat first, family member or friend?  Co-hosts Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender discuss winter cannibalism in history, specifically the Donner Party and the Colorado Cannibal, Alferd Packer. Grave scavenging and murders, prison breaks and lynching, you’ll hear it all! So sit down with some fava beans and a nice Chianti while you enjoy our latest Horrific History Podcast episode!

One Night with Venus, Part 2

This episode primarily covers accounts of gonorrhea and syphilis from the Renaissance to more modern history including receiving purple flowers, masks and prosthetic noses, animal gut condoms, and historical poultices for testicular swelling. And if that’s not gross enough for you, we’re also covering urethral lavage, gonorrheal aprons, pustules, rotting brains and mobsters!

One Night with Venus, Part 1

Part 1 of our special debut-episode for Valentine’s Day covering those horrible gifts some might share for the occasion… venereal diseases! Gonorrhea and syphilis are under the microscope, from period accounts to gruesome treatments in history.