A podcast about myths we think are history and history that might be hidden in myths! Awesome stories that really (maybe) happened!
Episode #171- Who Was The African Samurai? (Part I)
Near the end of Japan's "Warring States" period a remarkable visitor arrived in the country with a group of European Jesuit missionaries. He was a soldier originally from East Africa acting as a bodyguard for the ranking Jesuit in Japan. The Japanese would come to know this man as Yasuke and through a surprising series of events he would go on to become the first non-Japanese person to be recognized as a Samurai. Unfortunately, sources concerning the life of Yasuke are few. With only a handful of primary sources and a few colorful legends how much can we know for sure about the African Samurai? Tune-in and find out how Indian slave-soldiers, brawling saints, and the Wu-Tang Clan all play a role in the story.
Episode #170- Who Knows Houdini? (Part III)
Houdini had a truly impressive run as an entertainer. In the decade between 1904 and 1913 he developed a number of escapes and illusions that are still considered the gold-standard for stage magicians. Houdini's "Milk Can" and "Chinese Water Torture" escapes are still inspiring magicians to this day. Houdini's stock and trade was deception and yet by the early 1920's he became tireless campaigner against people he considered frauds. He became convinced that "spiritualist mediums" were using magicians tricks to con grieving families into believing that they could communicate with the dead. He believed that his quest to expose the spiritualists would become his greatest legacy. Sadly, Houdini's life was cut short after a strange incident in Montreal. Is there more to the story of Houdini's death? Tune-in and find out how Orson Wells, Sherlock Holms, and ectoplasmic goo all play a role in the story.
Episode #169- Who Knows Houdini? (Part II)
Over the course of 1899 Harry Houdini went from being an obscure circus performer to being one of the best known entertainers in America. He became known as the "Handcuff King" and made headlines challenging police departments to lock him in a pair of cuffs that could hold him. His rise to fame was aided by his savvy understanding of the media and an ability manipulate the papers. These manipulations would overtime become part of the Houdini myth. Houdini lived a life filled with misdirections. Is it possible he was secretly living a double life as a spy? Tune-in and find out how provincial "lunatic asylums", mouth needles, and remarkably timed deaths all play role in the story.
Episode #168- Who Knows Houdini? (Part I)
The word "iconic" gets thrown around pretty loosely these days, but there are some figures who truly earn the descriptor. Micheal Jordan and Mohammed Ali are icons because they truly transcended their sport. In the same way Harry Houdini is bigger than magic. Houdini is easily the best remembered performer in the history of stage magic. Despite his enduring fame his life story remains clouded by myth. Houdini was a professional liar, but he also considered himself to be deeply moral. He took other performers to task for their deceptions, while also cultivating a rich tapestry of legend around his life and career. Was Houdini a hypocrite or is there such a thing as a "moral lie"? Tune-in and find out how raw meat injuries, bullet-catch catastrophes, and a rabbi-for-hire all play a role in the story.
Episode #167- Who Was The Fake Asian?
In 1703 a curious character arrived in London claiming to be a native of the island of Formosa. These days Formosa is better known as Taiwan, but in early 18th century it was a place barely understood by most Europeans. The Formosan visitor, George Psalmanazar, was eager to teach his English hosts everything there was no to know about his home island. The only problem was that Psalmanazar was a fraud. He was a European who had never travelled east of Germany. He concocted elaborate tales about Formosa's history, politics, and religion. Psalmanazar even invented his own language, that was complex enough to pass as authentic. The oddest thing about this case was that Psalmanazar in no way disguised his appearance.He was a light-skinned, blond haired, European who was able to convince most people he encountered he was from East Asia. How did he get away with this? Tune-in and find out how naughty priests, Halley's comet, and the hearts of 20,000 sacrificed children all play a role in the story.
Episode #166- Who Was Liver Eating Johnson? (ft. Daniele Bolelli)
Some of the most legendary figures to emerge from the history of the American West were the rough-and-ready "mountain men". But, the most legendary mountain man of all had to be the cannibal, Liver Eating Johnson. Stories would have us believe that sometime in the mid-1800's Johnson waged a one-man war against the indigenous Crow tribe to avenge the killing of his pregnant wife. Along the way he developed a taste for human flesh and started eating the raw livers of those that he killed. It's a wild story. Could any of it be true? Sebastian is joined by history professor, author, and host of History on Fire, Daniele Bolelli who helps him unpack the strange tale of one of the Old West's most grisly characters. Tune-in and find out how videogame cannon fodder, Wild West shows, and a frozen severed leg, all play a role in the story.
Check out History on Fire here: http://historyonfirepodcast.com/
This podcast is great and I’ve been a long time listener. Very interesting and in-depth info. The only thing I could say would be an improvement is that sometimes the start is very slow. Thanks for creating this content!
Fantastic podcast. Well researched and engaging presentation. And the opening music: can’t beat it!
Interesting and Entertaining
It’s history, with a twist. Sebastian has combined history and detective work all of which results in a very interesting and entertaining podcast. I can’t recommend this podcast enough.
I have definately learned some things I didn’t know, but more interestingly, I’ve UNLEARNED some things I thought I knew!
I wish I had Sebastian Major as a history teacher! (Although, I guess I sort of do!)