Newly-Declassified CIA Document Says Ben Franklin Was A Security Risk

Benjamin Franklin was a man of many talents—but safeguarding state secrets was not among them. According to a recently released article by a CIA analyst, when Franklin was on a diplomatic mission in France, he allowed his offices to be penetrated by British spies during a crucial period in the American Revolution. » 10/01/14 11:10am Today 11:10am

The Real-Life Letter Of Apology Written By The Salem Witch Trial Jury

It's almost October, which means Halloween is just around the corner — the witching hour to end all witching hours is almost upon us. But about the real-life stories of witches who were burned and celebrated? A new book, The Penguin Book of Witches, provides actual documents. And we've got a doozy of an excerpt. » 9/30/14 10:50am Yesterday 10:50am

'Pirate Speak' Is A Myth Perpetuated By Disney

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, but before you get carried away with your ahoys, and your mateys and your timber-shivering, there's something you should know: Pirate-speak, as most of us know it, was invented by Disney; and pirates – real pirates, that is – probably sounded nothing like they do in the… » 9/19/14 10:55am 9/19/14 10:55am

More Weird Facts You Probably Didn't Know About The Original Star Trek

50 years ago, one of science fiction's greatest series was in development. The original Star Trek series was born out of desperation as much as inspiration, and a recent book called These Are The Voyages reveals tons of insane behind-the-scenes details. You think you know Star Trek? Here are tons of details you… » 9/16/14 3:11pm 9/16/14 3:11pm

Thousands Of FBI Documents About Civil Rights Era Destroyed By Flooding

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of COINTELPRO, a major FBI operation to "expose, disrupt and otherwise neutralize" domestic political organizations deemed a threat to the U.S. It's just been revealed that many crucial questions about that period will remain forever unanswered, due to archival… » 9/16/14 1:48pm 9/16/14 1:48pm

Archaeologists Have Discovered a Very Naughty Puritan in Boston's Past

Boston is a goldmine for urban archaeologists. The city's history goes back hundreds of years, and construction projects often unearth caches of historical items that are have been almost perfectly preserved. Such is the case with a buried outhouse, which revealed the naughty life of the lady who used it. » 9/12/14 12:33pm 9/12/14 12:33pm

​For Centuries, This Mystical Jewish Sect Lived Hidden In Plain Sight

New research by an Istanbul-based artist has documented hundreds of haunting, sepia-toned photographs belonging to Turkey's mysterious Dönme community—a once-thriving religious sect that practiced a unique set of beliefs based on Sufi mysticism and Judaism. Today, few remain after their true identity was discovered. » 9/11/14 9:00am 9/11/14 9:00am

Was The Doctor right? A look at the myth and reality of Robin Hood

As The Doctor confidently states in last night's episode of Doctor Who, there's 'No such thing as Robin Hood'. But was he correct? Let's take a closer look at the literary and actual history behind one of Britain's most famous legends - and maybe how the hero of Sherwood can find familiarity with the hero of Gallifrey. » 9/07/14 5:14pm 9/07/14 5:14pm

The Eccentric Polish Count Who Influenced Classic SF's Greatest Writers

You've probably never heard of Alfred Korzybski, but he was famous in the mid-20th century. He didn't just invent a whole new science, he also had a huge influence on Robert A. Heinlein and a ton of other important science fiction authors. Author Lee Konstantinou brings us the strange tale of Count Korzybski. » 9/05/14 8:00am 9/05/14 8:00am

​That Time Lloyds of London Insured The Loch Ness Monster

In 1971, Cutty Sark offered an award of one million pounds ($2.4 million) to anyone who could capture the Loch Ness Monster. But, the whiskey manufacturer began to get cold feet, so it asked Lloyds of London to underwrite the contest. The insurance company agreed, with the condition that it would get to keep Nessie. » 9/02/14 10:30am 9/02/14 10:30am

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

Both cats and dogs have served as mascots and pets during wartime, but while cats were useful for pest control, dogs had a rather different set of duties, including tracking, scouting, serving as sentries, and carrying messages into battle. Here are some of the animal soldiers who served as man's best friend in war. » 9/01/14 3:00pm 9/01/14 3:00pm