This past Monday, people from around the world aimed their cameras upwards in hopes of catching a glimpse of the “blood moon” lunar eclipse. But as this 19th century manuscript shows, it’s a phenomenon that’s been chronicled long before the advent of camera phones and telescopic lenses. »
Sometimes the name a person is given just isn’t enough. They’re too bad, too great, too weird, or the nickname you give them is too fun. Here are the ten greatest nicknames in history—and the people who inspired them. »
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the first time in history that one nation tried to defeat another using airstrikes. Here’s how the Nazis thought they could do it—and how agonizingly close they actually came to achieving victory. »
This chart from the USDA shows just what’s been going on in the American landscape over the last six decades. Part of the takeaway is what has changed—the rise of cities and we’ve stopped grazing so much of the forestlands—but it’s also just as notable for what hasn’t changed.
More than 50 items have been recovered at the site of the ancient Greek shipwreck that yielded the famous Antikythera mechanism. Working at a depth of 180 feet (55 meters), archaeologists managed to pull up the remains of a bone flute, glassware, luxury ceramics, and a bronze armrest.
A century before Bonnie and Clyde held up banks—and half a century before the Bloody Benders took out settlers on the prairie—there was another criminal power couple targeting travelers in the south. Their names were John and Lavinia Fisher, and they were in love. »
Castration for the purpose of singing wasn’t ever officially legal, but that didn’t stop people from filling their choirs, and occasionally their courts, with castrati. But what caused the singers to have that beautiful voice? And what were the other effects of the operation? »
Was one of the great divisive figures of Spanish history a loyal servant betrayed by the king or a vicious schemer who committed regicide twice? Take a look at the life of Álvaro de Luna and judge for yourself. »
From 1968 until 1973, the US military spent about $1 billion a year on a new computer-powered initiative intended to end the war in Vietnam. It went by many names over the years — including Practice Nine, Muscle Shoals, Illinois City and Dye Marker. But today it’s most commonly known as Operation Igloo White. »
This feudal right was established around 1000 AD. At the time, it was a reasonable law. Unfortunately it benefited the rich and powerful, so it was extended over nine centuries.
This historical mystery is not a “whodunnit.” It’s more of an “ifdunnit.” In 1908 the emperor of China died a very suspicious death. It took until 2008 for people to know that the person who almost definitely did murder him actually did murder him. »
An undisturbed Samnite tomb has been unearthed at a burial ground beside Pompeii’s famous Villa of the Mysteries. The discovery will help archaeologists study a relatively unexplored era of Pompeii’s history—a time when the Samnites fought bitter battles against the Romans. »
For centuries, humans have placed way too much importance on people playing fictional characters on stage. And when you’ve done that for as long as we have, things are bound to get weird occasionally. Here are five of the strangest stories from the history of theater. »
Late last month, news emerged that two European men had discovered a Nazi ghost train in Poland. Now, a pair of ground-penetrating radar images have apparently leaked, purportedly showing the train buried underground—including what appears to be a row of tanks. »
After a violent storm ripped through the Irish town of Collooney, locals were shocked to discover the remains of a 1,000-year-old skeleton hanging from the roots of a fallen tree. »
If you think magic is just for Dungeons & Dragons players and Criss Angel, you’re sadly mistaken. Magic is totally real, and was totally practiced by totally real people who lived in history! Here are just 10 real-life wizards and sorcerers who used magic for a lot more than just party tricks. »
CROATOAN. The word was found written on a fencepost in the lost colony of Roanoke, and it still intrigues us after 425 years. But this 16th century settlement is more than a legend. It’s also the subject of archaeological and historical investigations that are now starting to yield answers. »
From 1932 to 1943, the Soviet ambassador to London kept a personal diary, the details of which were only recently revealed. It tells the exceptional story of a diplomat who tried to harmonize Soviet and British interests, while also demonstrating how events could have unfolded very differently. »