European History

Live From FanX: Nazis, the Occult and Indiana Jones

It's fairly common knowledge that the Nazis were prolific looters and that there was occult interest among the officers of the organization. How weird did things actually get, and how close are the Indiana Jones movies to what really happened?

Denmark's Early Royalty and the Jelling Stones

The beginning of Denmark's monarchy more than a thousand years ago is linked to two large rune stones at Jelling. Is it possible that the stones were part of an effort on Harald Blåtand's part to revise the history of his parents, Gorm and Thyre?

A Brief History of the Pietà

While Michelangelo's sculpture of Mary holding the deceased body of Christ is the most famous depiction of that moment in art, that scene has been the focus of many works. And once, the famous version took a trip across the ocean.

Courrières Mine Disaster of 1906

One of the worst mining tragedies in history, the explosion that sent fire through the Courrières mine tunnels claimed more than a thousand lives. It also created awareness of dangerous issues in mines that hadn't received much focus up to that point.

Gilles Garnier, the Werewolf of Dole

Sixteenth-century France had a serious case of werewolf panic. Did Garnier really transform into lupine form and attack and eat humans? Or were the gruesome deaths of several children merely the work of wild animals?

The Franco-Mexican Pastry War

When a French pastry chef complained to King Louis-Phillippe that his shop in Mexico was destroyed in a riot, it catalyzed a conflict between the two nations. But the military action of the Pastry War was really about a trade agreements and unpaid debts.

A Brief History of Harmonicas

The deceptively simple harmonica has roots as far back as ancient China, though it really came into its own in Europe in the 1800s.

Charles IX of France

Much like many of the other mad royals that have been discussed on the podcast through the years, Charles IX of France was prone to fits of rage so intense that people at court feared for their lives.

The Night Witches

The Night Witches were an all-female bombing regiment in the Soviet Air Force. Flying biplanes meant for dusting crops and training new recruits, they dropped 23,000 tons of bombs on German forces in WWII. Read the show notes here.

Artemisia Gentileschi

She's often called the greatest female painter of the Baroque period, though there were only a few to compare her to. Her work is extraordinary, and reflects the influences of her father Orazio Gentileschi and Caravaggio.