History

The Missing Airmen of Charles Fort’s Wild Talents

From the archives, Paul Chambers investigates the bizarre case of the vanishing airmen in Chapter 17 of Charles Fort’s Wild Talents.

Mrs Gaskell’s Elephant: the true story of a hoax

From the archives, Chris Willis writes about a hoax elephant story which fooled several experts on nineteenth-century culture.

The paradox of progress: how some social improvements paper over unfairness and inequality

It's easy to argue that society is progressing, but when we replace overt oppression with covert oppression, is it reasonable to really count that as progress?

Rapa Nui: European myths mask the reason for societal collapse on Easter Island – colonialism

The belief that the islanders – and not Europeans – destroyed Rapa Nui minimises the devastating impacts of European colonialism.

Spontaneous Human Combustion: The truth behind the myth of Mary Carpenter

Stories of spontaneous human combustion have been retold since the 1920s, but do those retellings reflect the truth?

What William Radam’s “Microbe Killer” can teach us about modern stem cell quackery

When new medical breakthroughs occur, pseudoscientists are often quick to jump on the bandwagon in order to sell their quackery

Are you smarter than an 800 year-old? Our ancestors were more skeptical than you think

As historians continue to deconstruct the myth of the Dark Ages, we shouldn't be so fast to write off the intelligence of our ancestors.

Nesta Helen Webster: the far-right author who popularised the antisemitic Illuminati conspiracy

The Qanon movement regurgiates old antisemitic tropes that echo back to the Illuminati conspiracy theories pushed by Nesta Helen Webster

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