11 episodes

Forbidden History is a documentary podcast series which explores the past’s darkest corners, sheds light on the lives of intriguing individuals, and uncovers the truth buried deep in history’s most controversial legacies. Hosted by Janine Harouni, each episode will delve into the history archives to reveal new perspectives on familiar stories. 

Show Notes
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Forbidden History Like A Shot Entertainment

    • History
    • 4.7 • 54 Ratings

Forbidden History is a documentary podcast series which explores the past’s darkest corners, sheds light on the lives of intriguing individuals, and uncovers the truth buried deep in history’s most controversial legacies. Hosted by Janine Harouni, each episode will delve into the history archives to reveal new perspectives on familiar stories. 

Show Notes
This show contains an advertisement from Better Help.
With over 1,000 therapists in the UK already, BetterHelp can provide access to mental, health professionals with a wide variety of expertise in mental health.
Our listeners get 10% off their first month at betterhelp.com/fh

    The Woman in the Wych Elm

    The Woman in the Wych Elm

    In April 1943, during the dark days of World War II, four teenage boys in Birmingham, England were hunting for birds’ eggs in a remote woodland called, Hagley Wood.
    The slightest of the boys stopped at a large Wych Elm tree. Climbing up and peering down he discovered it was hollow. Spotting something in the centre, the boy carefully reached through the branches and pulled out the item for a closer look.  
    His hope for a bird’s nest were soon forgotten when he realised what he was holding was a human skull.  
    Their chance encounter upon the remains of a woman in the Wych Elm sparked a murder case that has gone unsolved for 80 years. To this day her identity and the circumstances surrounding her death are still unknown; the mystery continuing to both baffle and surprise investigators.  
    With an unknown phantom graffitiing clues to the victim’s identity, case files being redacted, and vital evidence seemingly disappearing, many conspiracy theories have circled this story capturing worldwide attention. Some speak of government interference, others drawing direct links to Nazi Germany and espionage. 
    With the help of new technology can we finally crack this 80-year-old case? In this episode we re-examine the remaining evidence of the case, unravel the conspiracies surrounding the mystery, and with the help of new forensic facilities finally try to shine a light on the true identity of the Woman in the Wych Elm. 
     
    Cast List: 


    Joyce M. Coley 

     The author of the book ‘Bella: An unsolved Mystery’. 


    Andrew Sparke 

    An independent publisher and the author of ‘Bella in the Wych Elm’. 


    Richard Lund 

    The Son of Dr John Lund, a forensic scientist from the West Midlands Forensic Science Laboratory, who examined the victim’s remains and fragments of clothing. 


    Giselle K. Jakobs 

    A palaeontologist and author of ‘The Spy in the Tower’, she is the granddaughter of Josef Jakobs, a German spy with mysterious connections to the Woman in the Wych Elm.


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    • 36 min
    The Triumph and Tragedy of Nikola Tesla

    The Triumph and Tragedy of Nikola Tesla

    It’s 1943, and a tall moustached man is crossing the road to his hotel in New York City, pausing only to feed the birds. He rides the elevator up to the 33rd floor, and heads to his room, 3327. He is nothing more than an old man whose life is clouded by unpaid debts and whose only real interest seems to be caring for pigeons.
    It's hard to believe that this is a man who once changed the world.  
    In this episode we follow the story of Nichola Tesla. The father of the modern electricity system, the showman who dazzled audiences of hundreds, and a true visionary of the modern age. A life seemingly straight out of the script of a Hollywood blockbuster; he rose from nothing, had the world at his feet, and then lost it all. 
    He was unknown to most of the world and yet the father of our modern age. Most would accredit the great technological advancements of the modern world, such as electricity and radio, to the famed inventors of Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi, but it was the work of Tesla that created the foundations for it all. A true visionary who was born to the wrong century, a man who dreamt of sending images to watches while the world still came to grips with the light bulb.  
    So how did an obscure young man from Serbia create the modern world? And why did someone to whom we still owe so much today end his life destitute and alone? 
     
    Cast List: 


    Alan Butler 

    A writer, researcher, and recognized expert in ancient cosmology and astronomy.  


    The Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe 

    A journalist, author, lecturer, and former editor of the Fortean Times magazine.  


    Andrew Gough 

    A Researcher, writer, and the editor of the Heretic Magazine.  


    Keith Tutt 

    A historian and author whose previous works include “Unexplained Natural Phenomena” and “The Search for Free Energy”. 


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    • 41 min
    The Madness of King Ludwig II

    The Madness of King Ludwig II

    On the 13th of June 1886, the body of Ludwig II, the so-called Mad King of Bavaria, was found floating in two feet of water on Lake Starnberg, Germany.
    The official verdict given by the authorities was suicide by drowning. But the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, and the strange events that took place in the lead up to it have led many to believe it was no suicide. 
    Instead, they believe he was in fact killed by his own government, who have covered up his murder for over 100 years.  
    If you unravel the life of this unconventional monarch, you reveal the story behind one of Germany’s most enduring mysteries. A king loved by his people but hated by his government. Throughout his life, the young king did repeatedly test the patience of his ministers. More interested in music, the arts and architecture, the royal’s fascination for the whimsical seemed to leave little time for affairs of state. With expenditures growing and debts mounting as he chased his dreams for romantic architecture, is it only a story that his government would form a plot to seize power?  
    The death of King Ludwig II of Bavaria has been the subject of intrigue and investigation for over a century. How did a king once famous for his eccentric behaviour and fairy-tale castles end up being declared insane, removed from his throne, and found floating face down in shallow water near the shores of a remote Lake? 
    In this episode we explore the history of Bavaria’s supposedly mad king and question was his death the result of a deteriorating mental state, or were more darker forces at play? 
    Cast List: 


    James Sherwood 

    An author, curator and broadcaster specialising in sartorial and royal history, fashion and bespoke tailoring, whose work has featured in the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, and the Independent on Sunday.  


    Ann Marie Ackerman 

    A former American prosecutor, now a successful True Crime writer specialising in unusual German historic crimes, her latest work being “Death of an Assassin”.   


    Guy Walters 

    A British author, historian, and journalist, he has written several books on WWII. As a journalist for The Times, he writes on historical topics for the national press. 


    Ken Hollings 

    A writer, broadcaster and cultural theorist, whose work includes “Welcome to Mars”, and “The Bright Labyrinth”. He is currently a lecturer at the Royal College of Art specialising in experimental communication and the evolving relationship between culture and technology.  


    Dr Gerhard Immler 

    The Chief Archive Director of the Bavarian State Archives in Munich.


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    • 38 min
    The Murder Bureau

    The Murder Bureau

    It is August 1978; Georgi Markov is in his London flat when the phone rings. He’s greeted by the sound of a cold and distorted voice.
    “Georgi Markov you’re going to die”.  
    Markov is used to these death threats; he could set his watch by them. And so, he replies in his usual laconic way, “Killing me will only make me a martyr”.  
    He is about to hang up but for once the voice has a comeback.  
    “Not this time. This time you will not become a martyr. It will look as if you died of natural causes. You will be killed by a poison that the West can neither detect nor treat”.  
    A month later, Markov would be dead. But little did the murderer know that by giving Markov this warning they would turn what looked like a natural death into a full-scale murder inquiry.  
    It would become the most famous assassination of the Cold War, and yet to this day no one has been charged with his murder. However recently declassified documents may shed light on who was responsible and uncover the shadowy work of a mysterious organisation known as Service 7 or, more bluntly, the ‘Murder Bureau’.  
    In this episode we re-examine the case files of this long unsolved assassination, explore the tactics and gadgetry used in a secret war played out across Europe and unravel the history of the illusive Murder Bureau. 
     
    Cast List: 


    Guy Walters 

    A British author, historian, and journalist, he has written several books on WWII. As a journalist for The Times, he writes on historical topics for the national press. 


    Boris Volodarksy 

    A former officer in Russian Military Intelligence, now a historian and author specialising in Soviet intelligence operations. He is the writer of several works, the most notable being “The KGB's Poison Factory: From Lenin to Litvinenko”.  


    Alexenia Dimitrova 

    A Bulgarian journalist and author with 27 years experience in journalism. Her books include “War of the Spies” and “Murder Bureau”.  


    Richard Felix 

    A historian and lecturer specialising in local and paranormal history.  


    Natalia Mehneva 

    The daughter of Traycho Belopopski, a former target of the Murder Bureau.


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    • 35 min
    Finding Mary Magdalene

    Finding Mary Magdalene

    According to all four gospels, Jesus chose one person as the first witness of his resurrection. One person, who was entrusted with spreading this momentous news; a follower whose life is still shrouded by conspiracy, the mysterious Mary Magdalene.  
    2000 years on, Mary continues to be one of the churches most disputed subjects. Some believe she was a prostitute; many claim she was Jesus’s most devoted disciple and was at the heart of the Christian faith. However, some suggest she was much more.   
    In Southern France two treasure hunters are pursuing a new lead in their search for her remains, arguably the remains of the most significant woman in history.   
    Pat Jokl and his friend Ronnie are history enthusiasts who have spent 20 years trying to uncover the whereabouts of Mary Magdalene’s Tomb. After the resurrection, the Bible sheds little light on what happened to her next with many believing she was deliberately written out of history. In this episode we follow Pat Jokl and his team on their biblical treasure hunt, tracing what many believe to be the journey Mary Magdalene took after the resurrection to spread the true word of the Christian faith.  
    With an unearthed set of 13th century documents from the French archive suggesting a medieval aristocrat stole the Saint’s remains, Pat believes he’s one step closer to finding Mary Magdalene’s burial site in Southern France. Armed with new equipment and this vital lead could this be moment he solves one of the bible’s greatest mysteries? Could this be the moment he finally finds Mary Magdalene? 
    Cast List:  


    Pat Jokl 

    A treasure hunter who has been searching for Mary Magdalene’s remains for over 20 years.   


    Tony McMahon 

    A former BBC news producer, award short-listed author, print journalist and historian.  


    Dr Karen Bellinger  

    An anthropologist, archaeologist and historian whose work focuses on early modern European culture and society and its colonial expansion throughout the Atlantic world.  


    Lynn Picknett 

    A historian and researcher specialising in exposing historical conspiracies, she is co-author to several notable works including “Turin Shroud: How Leonardo da Vinci Fooled History” and “War of the Windsors” 


    Father Florian Racine 

    The rector of the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene church in Saint-Maximin.


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    • 38 min
    The Hitler Diaries

    The Hitler Diaries

    It is the early 1980s, and in a house in West Germany a man called Gerd Heidemann is flicking through a book with mounting excitement. Sentences leap from the page:  
    ‘The burning of the books was not a good idea of Goebbels’,   
    ‘I have violent flatulence, and – says Eva – bad breath’,   
    ‘The measures against the Jews are too strong for me’.  
    The book he is reading is one of over sixty volumes of the revelatory personal diaries of Adolf Hitler himself. Through Heidemann they will be purchased for millions of dollars and published in the world’s leading newspapers and magazines. However, on publication day, with the world captivated by the opportunity to read the inner-most thoughts of the most notorious dictator in history, the scoop of the century falls apart. The diaries are total fakes and not even particularly good ones.  
    In this episode we explore the story of Gerd Heidemann and how he and many others fell victim to a now notorious conman and forger. Starting with how Heidemann was captivated by a historic find he couldn’t ignore, to how simple forgeries made their way through authentication unscathed, to finally how the historic find of the century was shattered on the day of its publication.  
    So how were some of the world’s foremost journalists conned, and who was behind a fraud that has gone down in media history? 
     
    Cast List:  


    Guy Walters 

    A British author, historian, and journalist, he has written several books on WWII. As a journalist for The Times, he writes on historical topics for the national press. 


    Dr Linda Papadopoulos  

    The Reader in Psychology at London Metropolitan University, with a 17-year career working as a research scientist and practicing psychologist.  


    Magnus Linklater 

    A journalist, writer, and former newspaper editor, he was the Executive Editor of Features at the Sunday Times during the Hitler Diaries scandal.  


    Gerd Heidemann  

    A former journalist for Stern Magazine, he was the first to bring the diaries to the attention of the media.


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    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
54 Ratings

54 Ratings

JKohan ,

Outstanding !!!

This is the way investigative products should be done. I hope they produce more of them.

OriginalItchy ,

Over Produced

This is the way podcasts are headed.

KateM1995 ,

Way too over-the-top

The experts are great, but I could only last 10 minutes into an episode about a fascinating figure about whom I wished to learn much more: Tesla. The narration and music in this podcast were overly dramatic, I could not continue. There is only so much eye-rolling one can do while driving and (trying to) listen to this contrived drivel before it is unsafe.

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