Sweeney Todd is a well-known fictional character, a murderous barber who colludes with a cook to bake his victims into pies. There are many instances of the demon barber story being touted as a tale based in real-life events, but how true is that?
Robin Hood-style characters have been showing up in literature since the 14th century. Historians disagree about whether there was any truth to the legend, and we're wondering: Was Robin Hood real, and if so, who was he?
When Adam Worth stole a portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire, he fell in love with the painting. But a botched theft in Belgium landed him in prison, where the story of his life reached Arthur Conan Doyle and inspired the character of Professor Moriarty.
Professor Moriarty was based on a real man: Adam Worth. After being falsely reported as dead during the Civil War, Worth began a life of crime. When Worth moved to London he began his Moriarty phase, but his peculiar criminal quirks led to his near ruin.
Although Lucas and Spielberg claim Indiana Jones was only inspired by adventure movies and pulp fiction, people have still suggested real-life inspirations. Tune in to learn more about several contenders, including Roy Chapman Andrews and Otto Rahn.
The Lone Ranger has traditionally been portrayed by white actors, but many believe this character is based on an African-American named Bass Reeves. A former slave, Reeves became one of the most successful lawmen in U.S. history. Tune in to learn more.
It's no secret that Mary Shelley's infamous novel has influenced generations of writers, but is completely based on fiction, or was Shelley inspired by real-life events? Tune in to learn more about the real Dr. Frankenstein.
In 1695, Alexander Selkirk ran away and joined a band of buccaneers. In 1704, after a fight with his captain, Selkirk was put ashore on an uninhabited island about 400 miles west of Valparaiso. Tune in to learn more about the real-life Robinson Crusoe.
Arthur Conan Doyle wasn't the first person to write a mystery novel, but his focus on scientific methods and brilliant protagonist made the stories of Sherlock Holmes world-famous. Yet is Sherlock Holmes based on a real person? Tune in to find out.
"Bluebeard" is one of Charles Perrault's most disturbing and grisly stories -- but could it be true? Join Sarah and Katie as they explore the depraved life and crimes of Gilles de Rais, the real-life basis for Perrault's Bluebeard.