The Strange Life and Death of Tycho Brahe

If you’ve heard of Tycho Brahe, it is probably his achievements in astronomy that you are familiar with.  His observations of the positions of stars and planets, all made without a telescope, were critical for his successors in later establishing that the sun was the center of our solar system. As accomplished as he was,…

History’s Strangest Animal Lover

History is full of eccentric characters, but James “Jemmy” Hirst may be one of the strangest. This animal-loving inventor’s life would be worthy of a Hollywood film. Jemmy was born in 1738 in a small Yorkshire town in England to a respectable and successful farming family. From a young age, he stood out from his…

America’s Army of Two

Many heroic tales emerged from the War of 1812. One of the most famous is the story of Dolley Madison’s flight from the White House before the British burned it in the middle of the war in 1814. In her escape, she managed to save an important painting of George Washington. But there is a…

The Trial of the Dead Pope

Church trials used to be a regular feature of life in Europe. The Inquisition was the most famous set of church trials, but there were many more, including everything from witch trials to mundane family court issues. The prize for the most outlandish trial in the history of church courts, though, must go to the…