In the 19th century there were few Americans more famous than P.T Barnum. Long before he founded the circus that would bear his name, Barnum made a name for himself by pulling off elaborate hoaxes. Barnum’s so-called “humbugs” walked the line between charming practical jokes and cynical frauds. Continue reading “Episode #32- Who Was the Prince of Humbugs? (Part I)”
Episode #31 – What Was the Charge of the Light Brigade?
The Crimean War cavalry action known as “the charge of light brigade” was immortalized by the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson . The poet described a glorious charge into the mouth of hell carried out by men who would sooner die than disobey their orders. But is any of this actually true? (more…)
Episode #30 – Will the Real Anastasia Please Stand Up?
When Tsar Nicholas II was executed in 1918 the Bolsheviks pumped the Russian media full of misinformation. The official story was that the Tsarina and the Prince had been spared and moved to a safe location. Absolutely nothing was said about the four imperial princesses. This would give rise to one of the most robust historical myths of the twentieth century— that the Princess Anastasia had escaped the execution and made her way to freedom. (more…)
Episode #29 – Who Killed Rasputin? (Part II)
If there is anything stranger than the life of Grigori Rasputin, then it has be his unbelievable death. As Rasputin’s influence at court increased the rumours about his debauched personal life became even more intense. Could it be that he had actually seduced the Tsarina? (more…)
Episode #28 – Who Killed Rasputin? (Part I)
There are few twentieth century figures as mysterious as Grigori Rasputin. The Siberian mystic has been portrayed as a scheming dark magician who seduced the Russian Queen and made a cuckold of Tsar Nicholas II. He’s been blamed for everything from the First World War to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. (more…)
Episode #27 – Did the Chinese Beat Columbus to the New World? (Part II)
The deeper you dig into the claims made in 1421: The Year China Discovered America the weirder the story becomes. The author Gavin Menzies boldly asserts that the fleets of the Chinese Admiral Zheng He managed to circumnavigate the globe some 100 years before Europeans. But he is not content to stop there! (more…)
Episode #26 – Did The Chinese Beat Columbus to the New World? (Part I)
One of the most controversial historical theories to emerge in the last 15 years is the so-called “1421 thesis”. The theory was originally formulated by the former British submarine commander Gavin Menzies. He contends that during the Ming Dynasty the Admiral Zheng He led an impressive fleet of Chinese junks on an unprecedented journey of discovery. (more…)
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