The Astronomer and the Witch

You have probably heard of Johannes Kepler, the German mathematician, astrologer, and astronomer who is famous for working out the laws of planetary motion. But his talents extended beyond the fields of math and science. He also worked one time as a defense attorney, and the only client he ever had was acquitted. That client…

Typhoid Mary: The True Story

In the early 1900s, typhoid was one the main killer diseases in the United States. It was also a horrible illness, with its victims often suffering from intestinal bleeding and brain inflammation, along with a dangerously high fever. If you caught it, there was a 30% chance that you would not survive. This was also…

The Legend of the Flying Dutchman

If you’ve seen Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies, or if you’re a fan of nautical lore, you’ve probably heard the tale of the Flying Dutchman at some point. This story tells of a ghost ship that has been cursed to sail the oceans forever. It is even said that seeing the ghostly ship means…

When Columbus Was Saved by an Eclipse

Eclipse mania swept the United States this week when a total solar eclipse caused the sun to almost disappear behind the moon for a few minutes. Interest in this fascinating phenomenon is not new, though. These astronomical spectacles have been wowing people at least as long as written history has been in existence. One eclipse…

The South’s Most Haunted Plantation

The plantations of the southern United States are full of terrible history because of their connection with the cruel institution of slavery. It should come as no surprise, then, that many of them are believed to be haunted because of the terrible things that happened on them. The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana may…

Extinct Penguin Species Never Really Existed

In 1983, scientists discovered four penguin bones in an archaeological site on Hunter Island in Tasmania. The 750-year-old bones were determined to belong to a previously unidentified species of penguin, which they then dubbed the Hunter Island penguin. As no living Hunter Island penguins existed, the species was declared extinct as soon as it was…

The Scottish Head Hunter

Jack Renton followed in the footsteps of many of his fellow Scotsmen when he decided to make his living from the sea. And, like a fair number of his fellow sailors, he found himself shanghaied in 1868 at the age of 20, meaning he was kidnapped and forced to work aboard someone else’s ship. Naturally,…