18th Century

The Orphan Tsunami

In January of 1700, a tsunami struck the coast of Japan. While the connection between earthquakes and tsunamis was known, it actually took a very long time to figure out where the catalyzing earthquake had taken place.

The Montgolfier Brothers and Their Balloons

As man was looking to the skies and yearning to fly, two inventive brothers came up with an idea to set humans aloft. The Montgolfiers were among many inventors working toward flight in the 18th century, but they often get all the attention.

Thomas Day’s Quest for the Perfect Wife

Eighteenth-century Englishman Thomas Day decided that the only way to have a perfect wife was to create one. So he adopted two orphans and attempted to train them, sometimes in incredibly abusive ways.

Anglo-Cherokee War

During the French and Indian War, a clash between Cherokee tribes and the British -- who had been allies -- slowly escalated on the southern end of the larger conflict.

Anne Bonny & Mary Read

Famed lady pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read are often requested as a topic by listeners. But telling their story requires navigating some rather suspect historical accounts.

The Jacobite Rising of 1745

Portrayals of this piece of Scottish and English history are often simultaneously romanticized and oversimplified. It's a great deal more complicated than any one event, and is instead the result of many contributing factors.

Tarrare, a Case of Polyphagia

Insatiable hunger completely dominated every aspect of this French man's existence in the 18th century. His life took a series of twists and turns, but his condition was never truly diagnosed or cured.

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

No starving artist, Vigée Le Brun was the first woman to ever become a court painter in France when she was commissioned to paint Marie Antoinette. She painted royalty and nobility throughout Europe, even as her personal life had its ups and downs.

Hercules Mulligan, Spy on the Inside Pt. 2

After years of protesting and resisting British rule in New York, Mulligan passed important information on to George Washington, possibly saving his life. How did that one-time act of happenstance blossomed into a career as a full-time spy?

Hercules Mulligan, Spy on the Inside Pt. 1

Hercules Mulligan was indeed a real person who passed intelligence to George Washington, mostly through two means - one was an enslaved man named Cato, and the other was the Culper Spy Ring.