Archive for the 'Storytelling' Category

The finale of our miniseries comes to a close as we cover several real historical instances of people actually being buried along with a few who had some uncomfortable close calls. We hear about the incredible case of Mathew Wall and find out why on October 2nd for the last 450 years or so, the town of Braughing in Hertfordshire has celebrated “Old Man’s Day.” We learn about the curious cases of Nicephorous Glycas from Lesbos and Anne Green from Oxfordshire who nearly made it to their own funerals and/or dissections. We learn about Alice Blunden and why you should always check twice, maybe even three times, before you bury someone. After that we hear about the unfortunate case of Anna Hockwalt in 19th century Dayton, Ohio, before making a pit stop in France to visit Angelo Hays and find out just what a toilet was doing in a coffin in the 1970’s.

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It’s Halloween season, and that means it’s time for some spooky history. And what is spookier than being buried alive? Nothing really, and that’s where this two-part miniseries is headed. Today in Part 1 we cover taphophobia-the fear of being buried alive-and examine some of the ways we’ve dealt with this fear throughout history. Safety coffins, devices built to save the prematurely buried, and the death tests we used to determine if a person was really, completely dead, are showcased. Edgar Allen Poe, Houdini, and some ill-fated escape artists even make an appearance. If you love the macabre, you don’t want to miss this one. Come get your spook on.  

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In 1822 on Mackinac Island, French Canadian Fur Trader Alexis St Martin was shot in the side at a distance of less than one meter. The experiments following his miraculous survival just may be the weirdest piece of history ever seen in the Straits of Mackinac.

The bullet wound left a hole in St Martin’s side giving Dr. William Beaumont the first ever access to a living human stomach. The doctor would tie pieces of food to a silk string and dangle them down into St Martin’s stomach in order to better understand the process of digestion. But the experiments didn’t stop there. Nearly 250 experiments were performed over nearly a decade.

Dr. Beaumont’s book on the experiments first published in 1833 entitled “Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion” paved the way for our understanding of the human gastric system and earned Beaumont the title of Father of Gastric Physiology.

St Martin lived his entire life with a bullet hole his side, which became a gastric fistula, or “passageway” that never closed. He was buried in a secret location eight feet below ground with two feet of rocks on his coffin to deter grave robbers from stealing his corpse or his stomach, which was highly sought after when he died.

Come hear the true story of Dr. William Beaumont and Alexis St Martin in this extra strange episode of the History Cache Podcast.

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We continue our way through the life of Leadbelly in Part 4. In this episode we see Leadbelly make a plea for a pardon with his music, and watch as he tries adjusting to life outside of prison. As hard as he tries starting life anew, he finds himself once again behind bars, this time in Angola, known as the Alcatraz of the South, one of the bloodiest prisons in US history.

 

We finally meet John Lomax and his son Allen who would become key figures in Leadbelly’s life as they traveled the South searching for American folk music to preserve for the Library of Congress. We clear up some Leadbelly myth with primary sources, learn a bit about the earliest attempts at musical preservation through recording, and even get to hear a 130-year-old Passamaquoddy war song recorded by anthropologist Jesse Walker Fewkes.

The adventure continues.

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Music and murder collide in the third installment of the series highlighting the life of one of America’s greatest musical legends: Leadbelly. Ledbetter was already a fugitive when he murdered Will Stafford on a dirt road in Texas. No longer able to run from the law, Huddie faced difficult times in the brutal early 20th century prison system where he wrote some of his most profound music. But Leadbelly wouldn’t go down without a fight (and at least two more prison breaks). In this episode, we explore the next chapter of his life, as well as learn the dark history of convict leasing and why the remains of 95 inmates, known as the “Sugarland 95,” lie buried just below the surface of a small, Texas town.

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In Leadbelly Part 2 we continue the story of Huddie Ledbetter, one of the most influential musicians of all time. We cover his early adult life in Dallas, his collaboration with the great Blues legend Blind Lemon Jefferson, and hear some of the music that earned him the moniker “King of the Twelve String Guitar.”

He was known for his tumultuous life as well as his musical genius. We explore his first arrest, his escape from prison that made him a wanted fugitive, his new life under the alias “Walter Boyd” and the murder that would change the course of his life forever.

Join me for Part 2 as we uncover more of the legend behind the man we now know as Leadbelly.

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Huddie Ledbetter was easily one of the most influential American musicians of all time, yet today he has become one of the most historically overlooked. Musical artists like Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, the White Stripes, and countless others have been covering Huddie’s songs for almost a century, however, most listeners have never heard his name. The life of Ledbetter, more widely known as Leadbelly, was fraught with complications, repressed by a world policed with Jim Crow laws, and often filled with violence.

Leadbelly was viewed by audiences as a murderer and criminal, but also as a poet gifted with an incredible musical talent. Separating and understanding the real man from the legend is a difficult task. His life was as epic as his music, and we’re going to explore all of it, starting with this first episode on the life of the legendary Leadbelly, King of the Twelve String Guitar.

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This week we travel back in time 430,000 years to find some of the first examples of compassion in the fossil record. This time we fuse psychology and science with history as we discuss why compassion exists, its potential health benefits, the consequences of stress, fight or flight, and what that all has to do with human happiness. This one packs a scientific punch as we turn up the nerd level to 11.

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This week in continuation of our Compassion Series we highlight the incredible story of Lieutenant John Robert Fox, one of seven African American soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor for acts of valor in WW2. We also examine the history of America’s Buffalo Soldiers, and discuss how black soldiers have served courageously in America’s armed forces since the inception of the United States military. Fox’s heroic tale is one that has gone down in history, and the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers remain an integral and interwoven part of the US’s military history. In this episode, we travel across America’s Great Plains during the 19th century before heading all the way to Sommocolonia, a small village in the Italian countryside during the second world war, where we find one soldier who truly gave everything for survival of others.

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During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the Dutch Resistance to Hitler was strong, with many Dutch citizens risking their lives to hide, transport, and secretly support those that his policies oppressed. In this episode, we continue or compassion series that showcases good people doing good things in times of crises. This week, we follow the life of Miep Gies, a woman who risked everything to hide and protect a group of her Jewish friends, including one young girl who would inspire millions throughout the world with the words she would write down while hidden away in a secret annex.

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This episode is the first in a series highlighting extraordinary people doing extraordinary things in times of crises. This week we travel to Belfast during the Blitz of 1941 and meet Denise Weston Austin. She worked as one of the Belfast Zoo’s first female zookeepers, and the friendship she developed with Sheila, the zoo’s baby elephant, would become an inspirational part of Irish history. For decades, Denise’s identity remained a mystery until an old black and white photo of a woman and a baby elephant in a backyard surfaced from the zoo’s archives. Come hear the story of the woman who risked everything to save a small, plucky elephant, and why Denise has become known around the world as the Elephant Angel. 

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The finale is here! In the final episode we explore the final years of Olympias’s epic life. We cover how she cultivated her own power at court, watch her rise to even greater heights after the death of Alexander the Great, see a war waged between two incredible women of the ancient world, and find out just how this mother of an empire met her end.

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In Part 2 we continue to uncover the hidden history of Olympias of Epirus. Assassination, murder, and the political intrigue of an ancient royal court all take center stage in this episode. Come discover the next chapters in the life of one of the most vilified women in history as we sift through the propaganda of two millennia to get a glimpse of the incredible life of the most powerful woman in ancient Greece. Find out what she did next, at the budding of one of history’s largest and most fascinating empires, as we see just how far she would go to ensure the success of her dynasty.  

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Robots have revolutionized our world and are continuing to do so at an exponential rate. But what was the first robot? Who invented it? What will the future of robotics look like? And what happens when robots kill? This episode examines the evolution of robots, the history behind them, our fear of them, and where it all might be headed. 

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Why does Fruitcake even exist? Can we blame the ancient Romans? How old is eggnog? What exactly is a Yule Log? Discover the ancient origins of our favorite--and not so favorite--holiday food traditions in this special holiday history byte. I even give you George Washington's actual recipe for eggnog! After that, we'll head to Iceland and meet Gryla the Christmas troll, her menacing Yule cat, and find out why you should thank your grandma for getting you those socks for Christmas. 

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The finale is here! Come find out just how one of the most inspiring stories of human endurance ended. We head back to Antarctica and watch the crew of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition make history as Shackleton attempts one last desperate attempt at a rescue mission. This episode has all the answers you've been waiting for. 

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In 1914 the 28 member crew of the Endurance left to trek across the continent of Antarctica on foot. It is now the beginning of 1916. Their ship has been crushed, they've been stranded on the ice with no way out, and they've taken to the boats in a last ditch effort to escape the ice melting beneath them. In Part 4 we hear what happens next as they head for the yet unexplored Elephant Island, and Shackleton with a sets out on an 820 mile open boat journey on the roughest sea passage in the world to either find rescue, or doom them all to an icy grave. 

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In Part 3 of Shackleton's Lost Voyage, we join the stranded crew of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914, who have been stranded on the ice now for well over a year. Their ship has been crushed, starvation and madness have begun to set in, and they've been trapped by the ice and sea with no way out. In this episode, we watch as they make a desperate escape attempt while the ice splits beneath them, before heading out towards the unknown on the open sea. 

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Join me on a tour of Père Lachaise Cemetery and explore the tombs of some of histories most incredible icons including Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Isadora Duncan, Abelard and Heloise, and Chopin. We examine the cemetery's history, make a side tour to the catacombs beneath Paris, and explore the dark moments in history that have occurred in Père Lachaise since its establishment by Napoleon. Let's go to Paris! 

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In this two story episode we travel to Guanajuato, Mexico, and discover a cache of mummies that were literally evicted from their graves. Then we head to Beni Hassan, Egypt, where a farmer digging a well in 1888 accidentally stumbled upon one of the largest hoards of cat mummies ever found, and, possibly, an ancient, illegal crime ring of cat killers (seriously). We also meet Bastet, the ancient Egyptian goddess that started it all. 

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In this episode we explore history's first monsters. From the prehistoric beasts that stalked our ancestors to the first mythological oral traditions, then to the first ancient written accounts through the modern day; this is the history of what scares us. What were the first monsters, why do we fear them, and why do we need them? Let's find out and examine the first things that appeared from the darkness. 

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In Part 2 of Shackleton's Lost Voyage, the crew of the Endurance find themselves frozen fast in the Antarctic pack ice in 1915. In this episode, we examine the psychology behind what happens to the human mind during the long Polar Night as we join the crew on the next leg of their journey. Disaster, heartbreak, and uncanny resilience unfold in this second chapter before the finale of Part 3. 

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Poet, adventurer, bard of the Yukon, and British cowboy (that's a thing) Robert W. Service (1874-1958) is showcased in this week's history byte, followed by a retelling of his spookiest of poems, The Cremation of Sam McGee

This is the first of THREE EXTRA episodes premiering this month just for your Halloween season enjoyment, so pumpkin up that coffee, put in those ear buds, dust off that Necronomicon, and go nuts. 

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In 1914 the crew of the Endurance left to trek across the continent of Antarctica on foot. Led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, they believed their journey would bring them adventure, scientific discovery, and fame. What actually unfolded would become one of the greatest stories of human endurance the world has ever seen. Crushed by ice, lost, and wandering at the bottom of the world, they would harrow the most severe environment on Earth as they gave everything to make it home again. Come hear the story of the Trans Antarctic Expedition and the polar explorers that colored in the last pieces of the world's map. 

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Come and meet Ham the astronaut chimp and discover how the animal astronauts of history just may have saved us all. Also featuring Space Dogs and one phenomenal Astro Cat for an episode that's literally out of this world. 

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