Episode #36 – Did Pocahontas Really Save John Smith? (Part II)
In the early 1600’s most English people assumed that Captain John Smith was a liar. His memoirs were peppered with romantic stories of shipwrecks, duels to the death, and exotic lovers. His contemporaries were pretty sure he had made it all up. This included his most famous exploit— when he was saved from execution by Pocahontas. (more…)
Episode #35 – Did Pocahontas Really Save John Smith? (Part I)
The story of Pocahontas is one of the most enduring legends of America’s early colonial period. Her relationship with the Englishman John Smith would become the inspiration for everything from cheesy romance novels to Disney films. However, the reality behind this beloved story is far more grim. (more…)
Episode #34 – Did Archimedes Build a Death Ray?
Archimedes was one of the ancient world’s most important mathematicians. His discoveries would form the foundation upon which all future western science was built. However, he’s probably best remembered for his amazing inventions that saved his city from attackers during the siege of Syracuse. The most discussed of all of these amazing devices has to be Archimedes’ “Death Ray”. (more…)
Episode #33 – Who Was The Prince of Humbugs? (Part II)
P.T Barnum did everything he could to curate his own historical legacy. He was deeply concerned with how people would remember him after he was gone. Would he go down as a greasy hustler, or would he be celebrated as a great entertainer? (more…)
Episode #32- Who Was the Prince of Humbugs? (Part I)
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. (more…)
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 #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 #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 #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…)
Episode #25 – Any Questions?
Our Fake History is celebrating its one year anniversary! In honour of this milestone we have turned the show over to the listeners. (more…)
Episode #24 – Did Ty Cobb Kill a Guy?
Ty Cobb has been remembered as one of baseball’s greatest villains. Despite being universally recognised as one of the game’s most talented players, Ty Cobb is mostly remembered as violent racist who was hated by all who knew him. However, a new biography is claiming that Ty Cobb’s reputation was unfairly tarnished by an unscrupulous biographer looking to make a name for himself by exposing the “real Ty Cobb”. (more…)
Episode #23 – How Do You Explain Joan of Arc? (Part III)
It has been nearly six hundred years since Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in Rouen. Since that time there have been no shortage of conspiracy theorists and armchair psychologists who have tried to explain the girl who stubbornly resists explanation. (more…)
Episode #22- How Do You Explain Joan of Arc? (Part II)
If Joan of Arc’s rise to fame was unexpected, then her success on the battlefield was completely flabbergasting. Joan would score a series of impressive victories over the English and clear a path to Rheims so her Dauphin could become King of France. (more…)
Mini-Episode – What Did He Say About the Middle Finger?
An historical myth managed to get loose and pass itself off as a fact in Episode #21! In this “Mini-Episode” Sebastian does his utmost to wrangle the loose myth and banish it to the pit. (more…)
Episode #21 – How Do You Explain Joan of Arc? (Part I)
The story of how Joan of Arc, an unassuming peasant girl, became the leader of French armies is one of the most dramatic in all of European history. In many ways Joan’s biography can read like a fairytale, or like the classic hero’s journey. (more…)
Episode #20 – Who Was the First Person to Sail Around the World? (Part II)
There are few expeditions from the so-called “age of discovery” as harrowing as Ferdinand Magellan’s attempted circumnavigation of the globe. The journey was plagued by storms, scurvy, starvation, and mutiny. (more…)
Episode #19 – Who Was the First Person to Sail Around the World? (Part I)
Famous historical “firsts” tend to be controversial as a rule, and the world’s first circumnavigation is no exception. Ferdinand Magellan is often celebrated as the first person to sail around the world, but is that actually true? (more…)
Episode #18 – Was There a Female Pope?
The story that a woman disguised as man was once elected Pope has been floating around since the 1200’s. In fact it was widely believed for hundreds of years that there had once been a real female Pope. (more…)
Episode #17 – Was There a Real Trojan War? (Part III)
We have explored the myth of Trojan War and we have sung the Ballad of Heinrich Schliemann. All that’s left is to answer the question that has inspired this entire trilogy of episodes. (more…)
Episode #16 – Was There a Real Trojan War? (Part II)
In our quest to discover if the Trojan War was a verifiable historical event we have to grapple with the amateur archaeologist who first tried to solve that mystery. Heinrich Schliemann believed that he had found real proof that the city of Troy actually existed. (more…)
Episode #15 – Was There a Real Trojan War? (Part I)
The story of the Trojan War is one of humanity’s oldest tales of armed conflict. For the Ancient Greeks the war represented the bloody end of an historical epoch. The fall of the city marked the end of the so-called “Age of Heroes”, and heralded a new era where superhuman demi-gods would no longer walk the earth. (more…)
Episode #14 – Did Gods Colonize the Pacific?
The Pacific Ocean is the most expansive body of water on planet earth. Despite this fact ancient people managed to venture forth into its immensity and create a civilization of incredible sophistication. (more…)
Episode #13 – Who Was the Real Braveheart? (Part II)
The Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace is so deeply enveloped in mythology that finding the real man can seem almost impossible. His life story has doubled as both entertainment and propaganda since it was first recounted by the minstrel Blind Harry in the 1400’s. (more…)
Episode #12 – Who Was the Real Braveheart? (Part I)
William Wallace is not only one of Scotland’s best loved national heroes, he’s also one of the most internationally well-known. His role as a leader in Scotland’s medieval wars of independence against the English made him famous, but the poetry of an obscure minstrel named Blind Harry made him a legend. (more…)
Episode #11 – What is the Spear of Destiny?
The spear that pierced the side of Jesus as he hung on the cross has been one of the most fabled holy relics in history. The so-called “Spear of Destiny” is said to possess incredible supernatural powers that can make its carrier unbeatable in battle. (more…)
Episode #10 – Did the Aztecs Think Cortés Was A God? (Part II)
The story of the war between the Aztec (Mexica) empire and the Spanish conquistadors is one of the most dramatic in world history. The accounts of the conquest are diverse and, at times, contradictory. (more…)
Episode #9 – Did the Aztecs Think Cortés Was a God? (Part I)
Before the Spanish arrived in the early 1500’s, the Aztec, or Mexica, people had built an impressive civilization. Their empire was composed of bustling cities that were larger, cleaner, and more architecturally sophisticated than most cities in Europe at that time. (more…)
Episode #8 – Who Were the Hash Smoking Assassins?
When Marco Polo returned from his travels in Asia he brought back with him tales of lands previously unimagined by Europeans. One of his strangest stories was that of the so-called “old man of the mountain” and his band of devoted assassins. (more…)
Episode #7 – Napoleon Bonaparte: Man or Myth? (Part II)
After seizing power in 1799 Napoleon’s legend would only continue grow. In the years after the coup d’etat that brought him to power Napoleon would redraw the map of Europe and refashion himself as an emperor. (more…)
Episode #6 – Napoleon Bonaparte: Man or Myth? (Part I)
Napoleon is simultaneously one of the most well-known and most misunderstood figures in Western history. He has been portrayed as both the ultimate romantic hero and the most despicable war-mongering dictator. (more…)
Episode #5 – Did Shakespeare Write the Plays?
William Shakespeare is easily the most well-known playwright in the English language. His works are praised as some of the greatest feats of writing and are still required reading throughout the English speaking world. But what if the man from Stratford-upon- Avon was not the true author of the plays? (more…)
Episode #4 – Real Ninjas?
Ninjas, Japan’s shadow warriors, have been a pop-culture staple for generations. The legend of the ninjas has become so overblown, that some have gone so far to suggest that they never truly existed. But that is just what the ninjas want us to believe! (more…)
Episode #3 – Was There a Real Labyrinth?
Is the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur just a bedtime story for morbid children or does it contain the kernels of real history? (more…)
Episode #2 – Did Nero Really Fiddle as Rome Burned?
The “Great Fire” of 64 AD was the 9/11 of the ancient world, complete with it’s own “truther” conspiracy. Could Emperor Nero actually have been behind the great fire? Did he play the fiddle as Rome burned? (more…)
Episode #1 – Was Queen Elizabeth Actually a Man?
Queen Elizabeth I is easily one of England’s most celebrated monarchs. The so-called “virgin queen” has been credited with leading England through a golden age. However, she is also the subject of countless historical myths and conspiracy theories. (more…)