19th Century

Esther Cox and the Great Amherst Mystery

After a traumatic event, strange things began happening around Esther Cox. In the 1870s, Amherst, Nova Scotia was abuzz with theories as to whether the phenomena were the work of a poltergeist, strange electrical charges, or a hoax.

SYMHC Live at NYCC: Rodolphe Töpffer and the First Comic Book

Before there were superheroes, a Swiss teacher drew entertaining doodles for friends. As he developed his sketches into stories told with multiple captioned images, he inadvertently invented the first sequential art comics in the Western world.

The Mystery of the Devil’s Footprints

In February 1855, mysterious prints that looked like hoof marks appeared all over the English seaside county of Devon. But figuring out who or what made those prints is a puzzle that continues to befuddle people.

The Crash at Crush and Other Train Wreck Spectacles

For a brief window from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, people in the United States were watching train wrecks for fun. These staged spectacles would draw thousands and thousands of paying onlookers, but why exactly were they so popular?

Emin Pasha, I Presume? (Part 2)

When we left off in part one, Emin Pasha had become governor of Equatoria in what's now South Sudan. But things took a dramatic turn in the 1880s, leading to Henry Morton Stanley mounting a relief expedition to go get him.

Emin Pasha, né Eduard Schnitzer (Part 1)

Emin Pasha's story connects to so many other historical things, particularly in the context of both the Ottoman Empire and African history. First, we'll talk about his time in Albania and how he made his way to Africa and took a new name.

Marchesa Luisa Casati

While many have admired heiress Casati over the years for her life led entirely based on her aesthetics, when you examine her biography, you find a woman who was incredibly selfish and was even described by close friends as megalomaniacal.

Five First Flights

When people say the Wright Brothers were first to fly, they're talking about a very particular set of circumstances. There are other contenders to the title of "first in flight," and each has their own compelling story and list of achievements.

The Sinking of the H.L. Hunley

The story of the H.L. Hunley really begins with the Union blockade of the Confederacy during the Civil War, which was ordered less than a week after the fall of Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

Frederic Tudor, the Ice King

Tudor hatched a clever plan: In cold weather, he would harvest ice for cheap, and then sell it all around the world when it was hot, singlehandedly turning ice into a commodity and becoming vastly wealthy in the process.