12 Jun / 2018

It’s a Trap…?: Booby-traps in History

Have you ever wondered about the use of booby-traps in history or the source of inspiration for common Hollywood tropes? 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?

 

As we search through burial sites for signs of traps, we find too much of a good thing from ancient Egypt and questions about whether any ill effects from examining a site is caused by an intentional trap or merely correlated to ritual practices of the period. In the Mayan city of Palenque, we find a burial chamber with a royal sarcophagus and two other bodies. We find a collapsing temple filled with sand in Cambodia before discussing the use of booby-traps in guerrilla warfare tactics during the Vietnam War, and the difference between venom and poison. Finally, we’ll discuss a Chinese tomb believed to contain mercury lakes and crossbows traps to protect its contents from grave robbers before looking at the modern cases which may dissuade you from using homemade booby-traps for your own home defense.

 

Hematite and cinnabar powders; deadly snakes, toads, trees and poo-covered punji stakes, this episode has a lot of traps (or not) for speculation. Learn about what case can be made for booby-traps in history and why using them today might not be in anyone’s best interest. So sit down with a nice cinnabar cinnamon roll and iron supplement while you listen to this latest Horrific History episode through one of your favorite podcast services (iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and more). Just remember, no squeam allowed! Join us again in two weeks when we’ll explore forbidden zones!

 

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Some of our favorite resources from this week’s episode:

 

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Commercial break music by Dead but Dreaming.

Slideshow photo credit: INAH

Blog photo credit: JAVIER HINOJOSA/INAH

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