Welcome to The Unusual History of Every Thing, Season 3!
If you love weird history mixed with archaeological findings and some entertaining stories, then Melanie & Karen have a podcast for you!
New episodes air every Tuesday on all podcast outlets, with occasional hilarious accompanying video blogs on our YouTube channel! Check them out and don't forget to subscribe and leave a review!
The Unusual History of Every Thing is co-hosted, written and produced by Melanie Dellas and Karen Lacy.
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Season 3, Episode 19
Christmas Monsters: Krampus and His Cranky Cousins
Most of us know about Santa Claus and his cranky counterpart, Krampus, but did you know that Santa has several other “companions” that lurk around during the Christmas season? Many European cultures welcome good ole’ St. Nick, but they also fear the spirits who follow to punish the bad. From zombie horses to mean yule cats, some of us may have more to worry about than just Krampus!
Season 3, Episode 18
Pines, Fir, and Spruce, Oh My: Christmas Trees (Why being upside down isn’t so crazy)
While Christmas is typically associated with Christianity and the birth of Jesus, the Christmas tree, which tends to be the focal point of our holiday décor within the home, did not have a place in early Christianity. The symbolism of evergreen trees can be traced to the worship of the Sun God Mithras around 600 BC, and became an important aspect of the winter solstice in northern Europe. From being Paradise Trees during Miracle Plays in the 14th century, to Martin Luther using them as examples of the night sky on Christmas Eve in 1605, our love of evergreens as beautiful symbols has never ended.
Season 3, Episode 17
Harvest Rituals: The First Turkey Pardons
The ancient origins of Thanksgiving stem from the tradition of harvest festivals stretching back long before early European colonists reached the New World. In a time when hunger was a constant threat and societies felt at the mercy of the gods, harvest celebrations and rituals were a necessary part of life. In America, we have our own family Thanksgiving traditions ranging from watching the big game to eating turkey with our family. But not all Thanksgiving traditions happen in the U.S. In some countries Thanksgiving is celebrated in a cemetery, or by playing drums to a yam. Regardless of what you do or where you do it, one thing is true for us all: It’s not how you give thanks, it’s who you do it with that counts.
Season 3, Episode 16
Aunt Flo & Her Helpers: Menstruation & Feminine Products
For as long as there have been people, there have been periods. Not periods of time, no, I’m talking about a woman’s monthly visitor, Aunt Flow, the big red dot. And for almost as long, people have been trying to figure out ways to deal with it. From ancient rituals to using some rather odd things to plug up the situation, ancient people have been thinking about this for thousands of years -- Although you wouldn’t know it based solely on the writings they left behind. Across 4000 years of recorded history and among 6 different cultures, there is one thing they all have in common: total avoidance on the subject.
Season 3, Episode 15
Haunted Objects and Spiritual Care
In the spirit of Halloween month, this week’s podcast is dedicated to the cultural and spiritual care of objects. Whether it’s a ritual object, a doll or something that seems as simple as a chair, the care and even disposal is an important aspect of that object’s life...and yours.
Season 3, Episode 14
The Unusual History of Witches
In honor of Halloween month, this week's spooky podcast is a brief overview of Karen's presentation on witches, which she presented to the San Diego County Archaeological Society and the Santee Historical Association. If you thought you knew the history of witches, think again!
Season 3, Episode 13
In the Field at the New Comic-Con Museum
San Diego's Balboa Park welcomes the new Comic-Con Museum! Join Karen Lacy as she goes "in the field" for a behind-the-scenes glance at what they will offer the public when they open in 2020!
Season 3, Episode 12
Wedding Dresses: From Troll Repellant to Fashion Statements
You may think you know everything about wedding dresses: They're white and pretty, there are TV shows about choosing them, etc., but you'd be wrong! You may be surprised to know that wedding dresses have an unusual history that includes evil colors, bad fairies, bridesmaid bodyguards and keeping away trolls! That's right, trolls.
Season 3, Episode 11
In the Field: Conservation of a WWII Japanese Flag
Welcome to another In the Field episode! Today Karen is interviewing one of our private clients. He came to us with his grandfather's Japanese flag from World War II. The flag needed some tender loving care, and while working on it, we discovered its unusual history.
Season 3, Episode 10
The Darker Side of DNA
In the last episode we talked a lot about the happier side of DNA, how our DNA is processed through various companies, and we found out what Karen was made up of! Now we are delving into the darker side: crime scenes, forensics, the Golden State Killer and even Jack the Ripper! So sit back and enjoy, but be careful: Everything you touch, everywhere you go, you leave a little piece of yourself behind.
Season 3, Episode 9
What the DNA?
In the last episode we gave you a little teaser into the world of DNA and what we could possibly find out about Karen's. Today we pull back the veil and tell you all the odd things we uncovered about Karen's ancestry! Could she be related to Queens? Serial killers? Find out now! You'll also get to hear all about these DNA tests, what they're all about, and what they do with our samples.
Season 3, Episode 8
There are so many people who think they are half this and 25% that or even on that rare occasion, 100% of something. In today's world we have the ability to send our spit in the mail and 2 weeks later get the results to the age old question: Who are you? So that is exactly what we had Karen do! In this week's episode we take you step by step through the process of getting Karen's DNA into that little tube, despite her fears of having her DNA become weaponized, so we can find out what exactly she is.
Season 3, Episode 7
In the Field: Texas Archaeological Society Field School
Karen takes you In the Field at the Texas Archaeology Society field school she attends every year! This year they partnered with Texas State Parks & Wildlife in Palo Duro Canyon State Park to look for new sites and check on previously discovered ones. Karen and her father worked on excavating a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp. The CCC was a voluntary public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men. So take a listen to what they found...
Season 3, Episode 6
In the Field: Chacchoben Mayan Ruins
Welcome to our special In the Field episode of our podcast, Muse Stories: The Unusual History of Every Thing. Every so often when Karen and I are out at a special location, we will upload a shorter In the Field podcast, usually accompanied by one or more short videos. This week you are in luck because I have 3 short videos! You can watch them all on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEOpLNsvADXEUdCqJ-21IQg/videos?view_as=subscriber. In April my family and I took a trip down to Florida, where we hopped on a ship and sailed over to the Yucatan Peninsula. Docking at Costa Maya, Mexico, we drove 42 miles inland and spent the day traipsing around the gorgeous step-pyramids of the Chacchoben ancient Mayan ruins. Hear the history, watch the videos, check out our pictures on Instagram (@MuseStories) and Twitter (@Muse_Stories)!
Season 3, Episode 5
The Unusual History of Ancient Drinks
This week's podcast takes you on a quick tour of ancient drinks complete with some odd history and bits of floating lamb fat! Melanie Dellas and Karen Lacy of Muse Curatorial Consulting Group also made an accompanying video where they taste test 6 ancient recipes. Don't miss it, it's kinda gross! Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxryFVhJme0
Season 3, Episode 4
The Unusual History of Ancient Food
Whether ancient or modern, there are few things that occupy our minds most of the day other than that savory first bite, or that decadent delight of dessert. For decades, archaeologists have discovered microscopic remnants of grains and other foods within vessels and around fire pits. Not only are these discoveries important to learn about the eating and drinking habits of people long gone, but genetic evidence can help us pinpoint the location for domestication of plants and animals, and it shows us just how far things were traded. From beer and wine, to bread and falooda, several archaeological discoveries in recent times have uncovered not only a desire to learn, but have awakened within us a desire to revive the recipes.
Season 3, Episode 3
Tooth Fairy Tails: It All Started with a Mouse
We all start out with baby teeth, but interestingly enough, only children in America believe giving their teeth to a fairy is a normal, expected, and dare I say profitable thing. Rivaled only by children’s belief in Santa and the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy has created her own following of millions of kids –- and that number grows daily. I suppose a nice, magical fairy is more comforting to kids who are literally losing parts of their body! But where did this magical tooth-loving sprite come from? And what DOES she do with all those teeth? Digging deeper, as we always like to do, we could not find any exact parallels in other cultures for this toothy goddess. But we found many folk-tails about a Tooth Mouse!
Season 3, Episode 2
The Unusual History of Pizza, Part 2
The history of pizza is so full of yummy goodness (and a few FDA-approved bug parts), that we had to separate it into 2 parts! Bon appetit!
Season 3, Episode 1
The Unusual History of Pizza, Part 1
Welcome to Season 3 of Muse Stories! What better way to celebrate than with some pizza? From pizza ovens made from Mt. Vesuvius lava rocks to flattened teeth from harsh pizza dough grains, we serve it all up in this week's episode. We've also created 2 videos to go along with this podcast, so check them out on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEOpLNsvADXEUdCqJ-21IQg/videos?view_as=subscriber!