About Ridiculous History
History is beautiful, brutal and, often, ridiculous. Join Ben Bowlin and Noel Brown as they dive into some of the weirdest stories from across the span of human civilization in Ridiculous History, a podcast by iHeartRadio.
If you land on a deserted island, you might be tempted to search for the basic stuff first -- food, water, shelter, and so on -- but don't forget to keep an eye out for guano! Why, you ask? Well, due to a relatively obscure law, the presence of guano on a deserted island may allow you to declare it property of the United States! Sort of. Tune into today's classic episode learn more. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
At its best, architecture is a kind of poetry made tangible, frozen in time for generations to come. But, as it turns out, architecture can also be a tremendous avenue for all sorts of less cool emotions: pettiness, spite, vengeance -- you name it. In the first part of this recurring series, Ben, Noel and Max explore the wide, surprising (and, frankly, ridiculous) world of spiteful architecture. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
If you've ever been stuck in traffic, you know turn signals are a vital part of safe driving (though not everyone seems to think so). But where did these nifty little blinking lights come from? Why didn't they come along until years after the invention of the automobile? Join Ben, Max and Noel as they explore the strange evolution of signaling, from the early days of on-the-road hand gestures all the way to modern, electronic turn signals. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
These days, many people associate the idea of a 'haunted house' with horror novels, campfire tales and scary movies. But what happens when someone goes to court, claiming their new house is haunted? In celebration of International Women's Day, guest hosts Lauren Vogelbaum and Mykal Alder June take over to explore the strange series of events that led to New York officially declaring at least one house legally haunted. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
As automobiles took the world by storm, manufacturers quickly realized they needed to make a ton of safety improvements -- and fast. But how could you accurately determine what happened in a car crash, without risking human lives? In today's episode, Ben, Noel and Max dive into the evolution of crash testing... along with the little-known dark side of crash test dummies. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nowadays, most people can agree that fascism is, well, a bad thing. But back in the 1930s, life absolutely sucked for most Americans, and fascism still had a sort of new car smell. Wall Street bankers were convinced they could take their country back from the clutches of ‘class traitors’ like Roosevelt, sink the New Deal and put the United States on a better – meaning more profitable – path. They had the money. They had an army. Now all they needed was a leader. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Did you know there’s a Patron Saint of (repentant) murderers? And another one for ugly people? In today’s episode, Ben, Noel and Max explore how some Catholic Saints became the holy intercessors for some — frankly, weird — things. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
As the daughter of Josef Stalin, it's safe to say Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva was never destined for a normal life. Still, no one could have predicted the bizarre globe-trotting adventures she would take as she escaped the Soviet Union and became the world's most famous defector. In today's episode, the guys sit down with award-winning playwright and screenwriter Dan Kitrosser to learn more about his newest project, a deep dive into the story of Svetlana -- much of which remained untold until today. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
What makes people laugh uncontrollably, for hours at a time? Whatever happened to that 'Sweating Sickness,' and why did so many parents in Japan become convinced their children might die if those kids watched a certain Pokemon episode? Tune in as Ben, Noel and Max explore the strange commonalities of past epidemics. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Let's say you're a scientist -- how far would you go to carry out a study? Back in the 1930s, two intrepid researchers went into full spy mode, stalking college students in an effort to determine how they behaved when they didn't know they were being observed. In today's classic episode, we join Ben and Noel as they explore the strange, ridiculous and, at times, disturbing history of informed consent. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
While many celebrities and public figures are known for achievements in just a few specific fields, almost everyone has had more than a few odd jobs on the way to fame. Before she became a legendary actress, Whoopi Goldberg flexed her acting chops on some... mature phone lines. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was a jack of all trades before he finally entered politics. And iconic performer Steve Buscemi was, it turns out, one heck of a heroic firefighter both before -- and during -- his acting career. Tune in for the full scoop on this next installment of Ridiculous History's Surprising Former Careers. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Hey, Ridiculous History listeners! The newest hit docuseries of another star-studded podcast, The Last Soviet is live. Go check out the beginning of this thrilling journey with Lance Bass, NSync Superstar, and Russian-trained astronaut!” About The Last Soviet: Lance Bass, NSync Superstar, and Russian-trained astronaut takes you on a wild ride into space. He tells the story of the last Soviet cosmonaut who is trapped on the world’s only space station, as the country he knows and loves collapses beneath him. On this journey through Earth’s atmosphere in the form of a podcast, Lance introduces you to the woman who won a reality show cosmonaut contest, a ham radio operator in Australia who became a lifeline for the Soviet Space Station, a hustler from Chicago who tried to sell coca-cola to the Russians and the editor of Playboy who took part in a revolution. It’s one man’s dream to go to space, his dedication to the country he thought he knew and 313 days spent orbiting the Earth. 313 days that changed our world. Plus, Lance’s own dream to go to space and the lengths he went to make it a reality. Listen to The Last Soviet on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
If you've ever tried to buy beer at the wrong time in certain parts of the US, you may have run into the odd proscriptions known as blue laws. Originally intended as a way of enforcing Christian religious practices, these laws ban certain business and recreational activities -- not just booze! -- on Sundays. But what are these things, exactly? How did they come to be, and why did the Supreme Court ultimately rule them constitutional despite their religious origins? Tune in as Ben, Noel and Max set the record straight on blue laws... and don't worry, you can still listen to this episode on Sundays. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Captain George Pollard Jr. was just 29 years old when his whaling vessel, the Essex, met with disaster. As the hapless crew struggled (and largely failed) to survive their horrific time at sea, they encountered starvation, madness, exposure and some fates arguably worse than death. In the second part of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max explore the harrowing, doomed journey of the Essex -- and how the tale later inspired Herman Melville's masterpiece, Moby Dick. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today, Herman Melville's magnum opus Moby Dick is lauded as a classic of American literature -- but it turns out Melville didn't invent the whole thing on his own. In the first part of this special two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max dive into the story of a real-life white whale named Mocha Dick, and how his tragic story inspired Melville to create a fictional white whale all his own. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nutrition is a big deal -- across the United States, tons of kids learned the basics of nutrition through a handy infographic called the 'Food Pyramid,' which laid out how much of a given food group the average person should consume. But there's much, much more to the story than what you'd see in the average textbook. Join Ben, Noel and Max as they dive into the story of the food pyramid -- and how big business successfully, time and time again, went up against science to make sure consumers kept, well, consuming. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
If you've ever been to a great concert or a banging dance party, then you know sometimes the spirit can overwhelm you -- you might feel compelled to dance. For most people this is a delightful experience... however, this wasn't the case for several unfortunate communities in Medieval Europe. In today's episode, Ben, Noel and Max explore the strange store of Europe's Dancing Plagues, also called St. Vitus' Dance. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
After just three seasons, the original run of Star Trek reached syndication -- which would become key to everything that happened afterward. In the second part of this series, Ben, Noel and Max explore the fundamental cultural shifts triggered by Star Trek, and how the depiction of a more equal society (however fictional that depiction might be) genuinely changed the world. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nowadays Star Trek is more than just a show -- it's a global pop culture phenomenon, with measurable impacts on the real world. In part one of this special two-part series, Ben, Noel and resident Trexpert Max explore just how close Star Trek came, multiple times, to extinction. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Cereal is everywhere these days. While diet trends come and go, those ubiquitous boxes and mascots seem here to stay -- and, in some cases, it seems people are buying an idea as much as buying a foodstuff. In part two of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max trace the brilliant, at-times Machiavellian marketing moves that led cereal to glory... and ask how long those days may last. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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