Welcome to The Unusual History of Every Thing, Season 6!
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 6, Episode 18
The Unusual History of the First Museums
On this episode, we take a step back in time to when museums were considered collections of objects and not institutions, and Cabinets of Curiosities were prized possessions.
Season 6, Episode 17
Got Blood? Rituals, Sacrifice and Speaking to the Gods
Blood is the life force of humans and animals alike. And so for thousands of years it was believed that blood would in turn give the gods life, which would make the gods want to do nice things for the people. These blood rituals weren’t just animal and human sacrifices, they also included small amounts of blood used in ritualistic ways. On this episode, we examine some archaeological finds that point to a time when blood rituals allowed people to communicate with the gods and seek glory in the afterlife.
Season 6, Episode 16
That Time of the Month: Where ‘Period’ and ‘Mittelschmerz’ Came From
While researching our previous podcast on feminine products, we came across two words that made us stop and think for a minute. On this episode, we take a look at the bloody history of the words “period” and “mittelschmerz.”
Season 6, Episode 15
If the Foot Fits: Cinderella’s Origin Stories
One of the most known and treasured fairy tales in history, as it is today, is Cinderella. Almost everyone knows the tale about a young girl who is forced to live as a servant and becomes a princess who lives happily ever after when good triumphs over evil. However, where this story originated, the original meaning, and the full impact of this fairy tale on American society is not as well known.
Season 6, Episode 14
The Strange Histories of Some Kick-Ass Female Rulers
There are many incredible, strong, talented women in the world – dead and alive. And in this episode, we focus on a small handful who ruled for an unusual length of time, did some odd things along the way, and kicked their enemies’ butts up and down their lands.
Season 6, Episode 13
Dirty Hands, Dirty Bodies: The Evolution of Bathing
Washing your hands seems like common sense, especially if they’re dirty. But forget about what we know now about germs, viruses and bacteria. Forget how gross the feeling of gritty dirt is in your mouth because your hands were in the mud when you picked up that apple to take a bite. Forget about changing a baby’s diaper and then rubbing your eyes and getting pink eye. Instead, let’s focus on how society in general went from cleanliness to dying from infections, back to cleanliness. On this episode, we take a look at the uncommon history behind one of the most common things we know – washing our hands and bodies.
Season 6, Episode 12
From Brain Hooks to Poison Tea: How Different Cultures Preserve their Dead
When you think about mummification, I’m sure Ancient Egypt is the first thing that springs to mind. Although that culture’s mummies are absolutely some of the coolest, they’re not the only ones who mummified their dead. In fact, mummification is still going on today thanks in part to Mother Nature and some odd things live people do to themselves. On this episode, we unwrap the layers of mystery around mummification and get to the heart of how various cultures preserve their dead.
Season 6, Episode 11
The Unusual History of the Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal
On this episode, we’re going to suck you into the unusual history of the Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal – the Straw. In order to fully grasp the unusual history of the straw (get it, grasping at straws? Ha Ha), we need to go back in time before Friedman’s patented “Drinking Tube,” a.k.a., the bendy straw; before a man named Marvin Stone discovered how to make straws not disintegrate in his mint juleps. We have to go all the way back to 3000 BC. Underground, as a matter of fact. Into the tomb of Pu-Abi, a Sumerian queen of Ur, which is modern-day Iraq.
Season 6, Episode 10
Vampires in Venice
Vampires in Venice. It sounds like the title of an Anne Rice novel, a dark supernatural romance. But alas, this podcast episode isn’t a dark romance, rather it’s the true story of how humans take what they do not understand and create legends that endure through the centuries – and make great Halloween costumes. On this episode, we’re going to take a bite out of vampire history and dig deep into some vampire burial grounds around the world.
Season 6, Episode 9
The Month San Diego Almost Drowned
It all began in 1915 during yet another drought affecting Southern California. The San Diego City Council, in a 4-1 vote, decided to hire a man named Charles Hatfield, a self-proclaimed Moisture Accelerator, to make it rain – and all for the low, low price of $10,000, to be paid only if he succeeded. His chemical cocktail would soon prove too successful, and that’s when everything began to go awry.
Season 6, Episode 8
Wedding Spiders, Watchdog Crickets & Other Good Luck Bugs
Whenever you think of good luck charms you automatically think of bugs, right? Afterall, who wouldn’t want tiny critters flying around you, crawling all over you or even being consumed by you as long as good fortune followed? Humans are always concocting new and interesting ways of using the things around them for random things, and we’re going to tell you about a few creepy crawlies that do their jobs well. Itchy yet?
Season 6, Episode 7
Wedding Cakes: From Testicle-Filled Bridal Pies to Sweet Confections
Nowadays most weddings include a beautifully decorated, sweet-filled cake with layers and tiers and all sorts of fun stuff. But it wasn’t always like that. On this episode, we talk about the evolution of the wedding cake from being filled with testicles, pieces of throat and rooster combs to being smashed on the bride’s head. Bon Appetit!
Season 6, Episode 6
The Unusual History of Things You Can Throw at Weddings
Warding off evil has been a thing forever. People don’t want it around them, and part of the evil that lurks about is called bad luck. Who wants that? No one, especially brides, grooms and people attending weddings. And since it’s wedding season, we thought we’d start our journey into things people have historically thrown at weddings by looking underneath the wedding dress first. You probably don’t think there’s much of anything to throw under there, but you’d be wrong! On this episode, we explore the history behind some of the things people used to throw at weddings – and sometimes still do.
Season 6, Episode 5
Armpit Apples & Other Unusual Courtship Rituals
On this episode, we take a look at how courting someone used to be, strange dating rituals that led to marriage, and how stinky sweat-infused apple slices and the severed heads of your enemies used to be tokens of love. Yes, they say, “love makes the world go round” and “love is strange,” and throughout most of human history both phrases are true.
Season 6, Episode 4
The Neanderthal Hashtag
Three-hundred feet inside Gorham’s cave just east of the Strait of Gibraltar, a team of European researchers uncovered strange markings on a bedrock ledge that jutted out from the wall a few feet above the cave floor. The really strange part: The markings were very similar to our modern-day hashtag. But that’s just “scratching the surface.” On this episode, we do some digging into the mystery of the Neanderthal hashtag found carved in a cave near the Strait of Gibraltar.
Season 6, Episode 3
Death Dresses & Victorian Fashion
Tuberculosis has a long track record of death and devastation throughout human history, but only one era romanticized it and created a fashion trend because of it: consumptive chic. On this episode, we explore how tuberculosis transformed the world of Victorian-era fashion.
Season 6, Episode 2
The Unusual History of Atlantis
The myth of Atlantis has captivated the hearts and minds of many for over 2000 years. People work endlessly to discover the long-lost city, making guesses as to where it could have sunk and how. Could it be near the Straits of Gibraltar, in the Mediterranean Sea, or off the coast of Everglade City? Could an earthquake or volcano sink an entire civilization? Some venture to say that the Atlanteans were aliens and have long gone home to their planet. Still others believe this civilization became what we today call mermaids. On this episode, we travel to the depths of the ocean and try to figure out where the fabled Atlantis now rests.
Season 6, Episode 1
From Dwarves to Elves to Gardens: The Origin of the Gnome
Welcome to Season 6 of The Unusual History of Every Thing, where we will be revamping a few of the episodes you heard all those years ago in Season 1, and sprinkling them in with new ones. On this episode, we’re taking you back to Season 1, Episode 1 where we’ll show you how gnomes went from dwarves to elves to gardens.