Our Fake History

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A podcast about myths we think are history and history that might be hidden in myths! Awesome stories that really (maybe) happened!

ourfakehistory / Entertainment One (eOne)

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    2018 Education


  • Sep 21, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
  • every other week NEW EPISODES
  • 56m AVG DURATION
  • 313 EPISODES

4.7 from 2,672 ratings Listeners of Our Fake History that love the show mention: fake history, thank you sebastian, sabastian, trojan war, atlantis, sebastion, like dan carlin, sebastian's, thanks sebastian, deep research, learning about historical, history based, common misconceptions, horrid, definitely try, primary sources, history shows, always interesting and entertaining, fun history, history on fire.



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Latest episodes from Our Fake History

Episode #162- Real Amazons? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2022 73:12


Did you know that the Amazons once waged war on Atlantis? According to the ancient historian Diodorus of Sicily, the Amazons conquered Atlantis while carving out an empire in Northern Africa. This may have all been pure legend, but Diodorus, like most ancient historians, believed that the Amazons had been an historical people. Other historians believed that the Amazons eventually interbred with the nomadic Scythians were slowly integrated into their society on the Eurasian steppe. In fact, one modern author believes that archaeological evidence has demonstrated that female warriors were quite common among the Scythians. Could these Scythian warrior-women have been the "Historical Amazons". How seriously should we take this hypothesis? Tune-in and find out lovestruck Greeks, comic book nerds, and a brigade of young hunks all play a role in the story.

Episode #161- Real Amazons? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2022 67:04


When the conquistador Francisco Orellana was attacked by a band of female warriors deep in the heart of South America, he thought immediately of the Amazons of Greek mythology. His encounter with this group would end up inspiring the name for the river he was navigating: the Amazon. The original Amazons were said to be society of ferocious female warriors who lived at the edge of the known world. In myth the Amazons tangled with many of greatest Greek heroes. Their all-female society stood in stark contrast to the deeply patriarchal ancient Greek city states. Were these fearsome women just a product of the ancient Greek imagination, or is there some truth to their story? Tune-in and find out how improvised brigantines, casual kidnappings, and the most slept-on epic battle in Greek myth all play a role in the story.

OFH Throwback- Episode #61 - What's the Problem with Socrates?

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2022 70:20


In this OFH throwback episode Sebastian is throwing you back to Episode #61 - What's the Problem with Socrates? Socrates has been celebrated as the “father of western philosophy”. This is particularly remarkable when you consider the fact that we know almost nothing about him for sure. What we consider “Socratic Philosophy” is what has been reported to us by his students. Should we trust what they are telling us about him? Tune in and find out how ancient fart jokes, free lunch, and a wrestler-turned-playwright-turned-philosopher all play a role in the story.

OFH Throwback- Episode #96- What is America's Weirdest Secret Society?

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2022 73:50


In this "throwback episode" we look back at episode #96. In the 1930's a famous California history professor thought he had discovered a long lost historical treasure. It was a brass plate apparently inscribed by the famous English adventurer Sir. Francis Drake. The plate was heralded as an amazing discovery, but it was actually an elaborate hoax orchestrated by an irreverent secret society. The group behind the hoax is known as E Clampus Vitus and it may be America's weirdest secret society. Tune in a find out how tin-can medallions, “widders”, and a Grand Noble Humbug all play a role in the story.

Episode #160- Who Knows Toronto?

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2022


In this SUPER SIZED season finale Sebastian explores the many myths and misconceptions about the city of Toronto. In his attempt to get a deeper understanding of the city he has called home, our host embarks on a series of probing conversations with a handful of Toronto storytellers. Author and feature writer Katie Daubs, Toronto educator Bryan Tran, Toronto Star investigative journalist Brendan Kennedy, local music legend Dave Bidini, and Governor General's Literary Award finalist Liselle Sambury all pop by to share their thoughts on the city of Toronto. Tune-in and find out how a fly killing contest, a hot copy of Rush Hour 2, and something called the "Roller Boat" all play a role in the story. To get your copy of Missing Millionaire by Katie Daubs follow this link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/561290/the-missing-millionaire-by-katie-daubs/9780771025174 To get your copy of Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury follow this link: https://www.simonandschuster.ca/books/Blood-Like-Magic/Liselle-Sambury/Blood-Like-Magic/9781534465299 Check out the West End Phoenix here: https://www.westendphoenix.com

Episode #159- How Should We Remember Attila the Hun? (Part III)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2022 83:41


In the stories of saint's lives written in the medieval era Attila the Hun was often used as a stock villain. He was called the "Scourge of God" and was understood as a blunt instrument used by God to punish the impious and test the resolve of martyrs. But, Attila certainly did not see himself as the tool of a Christian God that he did not worship. These medieval hagiographies presented Attila as one of history's most brutal monsters, but is that reasonable? Attila was an ambitious conqueror who sacked and looted his way across Europe, but does that make him all that different from the Caesars? Tune-in and find out how a psalm reading severed head, a marriage proposal, and 11,000 martyred maidens all play role in the story.

Episode #158- How Should We Remember Attila the Hun? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2022 76:24


The Huns were not a literate culture, which means their version of history was never written down. As a result we rely on sources written by outsiders to trace the rise of the Hunnic empire and the career of King Attila. This means that the record is patchy, incomplete, and deeply affected by the anti-Hun prejudices of the authors. But despite that, there are still a number of remarkable stories that have survived in the historical record that help us get a more nuanced picture of Attila the Hun. The man had a truly ferocious reputation and yet he could also be gracious, merciful, and patient. Attila was certainly no stranger to violence, but he was also no mindless brute. Does he deserve to be cast as one of history's great villains? Tune-in and find out how Australian propaganda, a scheming palace eunuch, and 50lb bag of gold all play a role in the story.  

Episode #157- How Should We Remember Attila the Hun? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 15, 2022 77:17


Attila the Hun has been saddled with a truly terrible historical reputation. In many parts of the world his name is synonymous with barbarism. But, despite the fact that Attila the Hun has excellent name recognition for an ancient historical figure, the details of his life remain obscure to most. Like most conquerors, opinions on Attila swing widely depending on which side of those conquests your ancestors happened to be on. Was Attila a bloodthirsty sadist or a noble nation builder? Can you be both? Tune-in and find out how German dragon slayers, an ancient refugee crisis, and meat warmed between a man's thighs all play a role in the story.

Episode #156- What Became of the Benin Bronzes? (Part III)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2022 73:24


In the last year the global conversation around the fate of the Benin Bronzes has shifted dramatically. In April of 2021 the German government announced that the vast majority of Benin Bronzes kept in German museums will be returned to Nigeria. This announcement was followed by a rash of other institutions making pledges to return objects that had been plundered from the Kingdom of Benin. Most recently, in March of 2022, America's Smithsonian institute pledged to return it's entire collection of Benin Bronzes. However, the one institution that has yet to commit to returning it's plundered artefacts is the British Museum, which holds the world's largest collection of Benin Bronzes. This is especially painful given Britain's role in the destruction of the Kingdom of Benin. How exactly did the the death of one British official result in the destruction of a 1000 year old city and the wholesale looting of Benin's heritage? Tune-in and find out how Maxim guns, turn of the century rockets, and one magical warrior all play a role in the story.

Episode #155- What Became of the Benin Bronzes? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2022 70:05


In 1897 Queen Victoria marked her diamond jubilee and Britain was in a celebratory mood. The British Empire had never been stronger. Few could imagine that this world-spanning empire might very well be peaking. But in 1897 Britain was in no mood for painful self-reflection. Instead Britons were gaily celebrating the what they perceived to be the "triumphs" of empire. Earlier that year a British punitive expedition sacked the West- African city of Benin. The victorious Brits carried off thousands of priceless cultural treasures, many of which were then displayed as trophies of war and instructive curios at the British Museum. The British press had painted Benin City as a hopelessly "savage" place, but these artworks instead reflected a society of great sophistication and artistic skill. Perhaps Britain had been wrong about Benin. How did a British expeditionary force end up at the gates of Benin City in the first place? Tune-in and find out how miscommunications, shady treaties, and pageants with machine guns all play a role in the story.

Episode #154- What Became of the Benin Bronzes? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2022


Looting has been a part of warfare since the earliest times. Despite the fact that looting was common for much of history, it was always recognized as an especially harmful and humiliating by-product of armed conflict. By the late 19th century, the looting of sacred objects and culturally significant works of art was widely considered a war crime and was forbidden by a number of international treaties. But despite these high minded treaties, the treasures of Indigenous people, Africans, and South Asian people were still considered "fair game" by European colonialists. In 1897 the British returned from the West African Kingdom of Benin with a remarkable haul of looted art of religious objects. Many of these objects, known collectively as the Benin Bronzes, are still in Britain today as part of the collection held by the British Museum. What do these works of art mean to the people of Benin? How did they fall into the hands of the British? Why are they still considered some of the most controversial museum objects in the world? Tune-in and find out how tamed lice, a leopard sacrifice, and wall five times longer than the Great Wall of China, all play a role in the story.

Episode #153- What Is The Titanic Myth? (Part III)

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2022 76:37


The Titanic myth isn't really built on lies, so much as a series of amplified "half-truths". Stories about the Captain imploring his crew to "Be British" and the band playing even as water sloshed around their waists, all helped make the disaster feel meaningful. These stories helped turn a tragedy into a triumph. Contradictory accounts were often ignored, or faded into obscurity, when they didn't fit with the myth. It should come as no surprise that the Titanic has also been the subject of an elaborate conspiracy theory. Which stories should we believe? Tune-in and find out how out of control pianos, famous last words, and the phrase "practically unsinkable" all play a role in the story.

Episode #152- What Is The Titanic Myth? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 6, 2022 73:19


When the wreck of the Titanic claimed over 1500 lives in 1912 the tragedy seemed too full of irony and meaning for it simply to be a freak accident. Surely someone was to blame. There had to be villain. Since that time many figures have been put forward as the villain of the Titanic story. Can responsibility for this disaster be laid at the feet of a reckless captain or a greedy businessman? Or even better, was the Titanic actually the victim of 3000 year old Egyptian priestess? Tune-in and find out how an annoying eavesdropper, a spoiled prince, and the mother of the occult all play a role in the story.

Episode #151- What Is The Titanic Myth? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 22, 2022 79:47


The sinking of the RMS Titanic is one of the best remembered nautical disasters in history. Over 1500 passengers died after the luxury ocean liner struck an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic in April 1912. Since that time there have been many more disasters at sea that have been deadlier and arguably more historically consequential. And yet, all of those subsequent tragedies are still dwarfed in public memory by the Titanic. This is at least partially due to the fact that the Titanic story has been so thoroughly embraced by pop-culture. But, it goes deeper than that. Perhaps the reason the Titanic story has been so embraced by novelists, playwrights and screenwriters is because it is, what one scholar has called, a "modern myth par excellence." But, has this myth clouded our understanding of the historical facts? Tune-in and find out how a giant vengeful bird, an icy representation of nature's supremacy, and K-Ci and Jojo all play a role in the story.

OFH Special Presentation - What Should We Believe About the Knights Templar? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 9, 2022 64:01


In part two of this OFH Special Presentation Sebastian pulls a little something out from behind the Patreon paywall. What was once a massive extra episode on the history and weird mythology of the Knights Templar is now being presented as a two part series for the wider OFH audience. Founded in the aftermath of the first crusade, this order of warrior monks would eventually become one of the most wealthy and influential organizations in the medieval world. However, the Templars' sudden fall from grace in early 14th century would create a mystery that future generations couldn't help but try and solve. How was it that a group of medieval knights became the topic of so much modern conspiracy writing? Tune in and find out how mislabeled buildings, demon rings, and idolized bearded heads all play a role in the story.

OFH Special Presentation - What Should We Believe About the Knights Templar?

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 23, 2022 59:26


In this OFH Special Presentation Sebastian pulls a little something out from behind the Patreon paywall. What was once a massive extra episode on the history and weird mythology of the Knights Templar is now being presented as a two part series for the wider OFH audience. Founded in the aftermath of the first crusade, this order of warrior monks would eventually become one of the most wealthy and influential organizations in the medieval world. However, the Templars' sudden fall from grace in early 14th century would create a mystery that future generations couldn't help but try and solve. How was it that a group of medieval knights became the topic of so much modern conspiracy writing? Tune in and find out how mislabeled buildings, demon rings, and idolized bearded heads all play a role in the story.

Episode #150- Why Didn't You Tell Us That?

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 9, 2022 69:44


Over the course of 150 episodes there have been theories, stories, and sidebars that have fallen through the cracks. Tales that don't quite fit the main thrust of an episode sometimes get cut for time. Interesting, but obscure, takes on historical controversies can go unexplored. Sometimes Sebastian will learn a great story about a figure only after he has wrapped a series on them. These odds and ends are usually left to languish in podcast limbo. Today Sebastian celebrates 150 episodes by taking a look back and rescuing some of these orphan stories from the void. Tune-in and find out how misunderstood midwives, a salt covered lions heart, and a very special announcement all play a role in the story.

Episode #149- Who Was the Real Stagger Lee?

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 26, 2022 74:52


The character of Stagger Lee has been one of America's most enduring folk heroes. There have been over 400 songs written about the swaggering, gun-toting, bad man. He has gone by many names: Stacks Lee, Stagolee, Staxs O'Lee. Sometimes he is presented as a malevolent villain, others a heroic defender of the oppressed. No matter the telling Stagger Lee is always a badass. Is this figure just a piece of fiction dreamt up by blues musicians and perpetuated by their rock'n'roll progeny, or was there a real man behind the murderous myth? Tune-in and find out how Biggie Smalls, 19th century fightin' words, and a milk white stetson hat all play a role in the story.

Episode #148- Who Was First in Flight? (Part III)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 12, 2022 101:46


In 1906 Alberto Santos-Dumont performed a number of short flights in front of a large crowd in Paris. These were done in his newly constructed heavier-than-air flying machine, the No.14-Bis. After these successful hops newspapers roared that Santos had once again "conquered the air". Until at least 1908 he was widely recognized as the inventor of the first airplane. Now very few remember the achievements of Santos-Dumont outside of his native Brazil. What changed? It turns out that there are many potential contenders for the first "controlled" heavier-than-air flight. This story goes well beyond the Wright Brothers. Tune-in and find out how gliding Germans, pesky catapults, and some guy named "Bamboo Dick" all play a role in the story.

Episode #147- Who Was First in Flight? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 73:55


The late 19th century in France sometime gets called La Belle Époque or the "Beautiful Era". As the name suggests, this is a time that has been fondly remembered as an age of optimism marked by artistic and scientific triumphs. However, this era is also sometimes called the Fin De Siecle. When this nickname is evoked it's usually to cast this era as a cynical and pessimistic time, when people openly fretted about how different the 20th century would be from the 19th. This period was also marked by the first attempts at controlled manned flight. Perhaps the contrasting Belle Époque and Fin De Siecle attitudes can act as a helpful analogy to help understand the "lighter-than-air" and "heavier-than-air" approach to flight? The figure who somehow embodies all of this (Belle Époque optimism, Fin De Siecle ennui, lighter-than-air triumphs, and heavier-than-air controversies) is the Brazilian inventor Alberto Santos-Dumont. Tune-in and find out how bar-hopping dirigibles, hydrogen explosions, and a gingerbread Santos all play a role in the story,

Episode #146- Who Was First in Flight? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2021 74:50


In mythology from around the world the ability to fly was reserved strictly for the gods. Stories about human beings constructing flying machines were usually punctuated with a moral about hubris. Vain attempts at flight were an easy metaphor for the limits of human ingenuity. Even in the late 19th century, when technology was progressing quickly and inventors were becoming celebrities, those who devoted themselves to flying machines were written off as daredevils or cranks. However, the stigma did not deter a handful of obsessed would-be aeronauts. Around the turn of the century a number of inventors from different corners of the world raced to be the first in flight. The Wright Brothers have gone down in history as the inventors of the airplane, but were they truly the first people to create a working flying machine? Tune-in and find out how Olympic opening ceremonies, Eagle Thrones, and the world's tiniest balloon all play a role in the story.  Check out the I.O.U Trio at ioutrio.bandcamp.com 

Episode #145- Real Gryphons?

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 75:18


The legendary hybrid creature known as the gryphon was said to have the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. Despite this fantastical descriptions the ancient Greeks and Romans truly seemed to have believed that gryphons were real animals. It was thought that gryphons lived in arid steppes and deserts of central Asia where they guarded stashes of gold. Stories of gryphons made their way to Mediterranean by way of the nomadic Scythian people, who hunted for gold in the gryphon's homeland. Stanford Professor Adrienne Mayor thinks she may have solved the mystery of this puzzling creature. Could the gryphon stories be an early form of paleontology? Tune-in and find out how giant hoaxes, paleo-art, and one eyed gold hunters all play a role in the story.

Episode #144- Who Was the Mother of Empires? (Part III)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 69:49


Eleanor of Aquitaine has been called the "Queen of the Troubadours" by fawning biographers. She has been credited with transforming medieval European culture through her patronage of the arts. It's also been written that she presided over elaborate "Courts of Love" where she made rulings on matters of the heart. However, this image of Eleanor may just be another aspect of the so-called "Golden Myth". Some historians have argued that it was only after Eleanor became a widow that she really stepped into her role as the "Mother of Empires". Has Eleanor's formidable widowhood coloured our perceptions of her entire life. Tune-in and find out how romantic lawsuits, secret love nests, and Blink-182 all play a role in the story.

Episode #143- Who Was the Mother of Empires? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 68:37


When the King and Queen of France went on crusade in 1147 it nearly destroyed their marriage. The campaign led by King Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine was an unmitigated disaster. But despite (or perhaps because of) it's failure the Second Crusade would remain a potent part of Eleanor's legend. It was rumored that she dressed like an Amazonian Queen and carried on affairs with everyone from the Muslim General Saladin to her own Uncle. Are any of these stories true or is just another part of Eleanor's so-called "Black Legend"? Tune-in and find out how lost epics, cousin divorce, and Pope inspired conception all play a role in the story.

Episode #142- Who Was the Mother of Empires? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 69:35


Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of the best remembered medieval Queens. She has been celebrated as one of the most daring and consequential women of her age. But despite her fame Eleanor is often misunderstood. Some writers have sullied Eleanor's historical reputation by spreading scandalous rumours about the Queen. Other writers, in an attempt to revive her reputation, have overcorrected and have presented her as a completely exceptional “woman out of time.” These two skewed understandings of Eleanor have been called the “Black Legend” and the “Golden Myth.” Is it possible to bring some balance back to our understanding of Eleanor? Tune-in and find out how Oscar acceptance speeches, a convent-themed harem, and the craziest month ever, play a role in the story.

Episode #141- Who's Afraid of the 30 Years War? (Ft. Zack Twamley)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 87:38


The 30 Years War has reputation among history buffs as one of the most complicated conflicts you can study. Even though the war is filled with fantastic stories, it can sometimes scare away history podcasters (like Sebastian). The complexity of the war makes it difficult to break down simply and clearly. Luckily, in this episode Sebastian is joined by the one podcaster who has managed to bring the war to life, host of When Diplomacy Fails, Zack Twamley. Zack has also just written his first piece of historical fiction set against the tumultuous backdrop of the 30 years war. Can Zack help Sebastian wrap his head around this war? Tune-in and find out how confusing maps, mysterious black masks, and big pile of poop all play a role in the story. Find Zack's new book Matchlock and the Embassy here: https://books2read.com/matchlockbook1

Episode #140- What Became of the Great Library of Alexandria? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 78:00


There are three main culprits in the alleged burning of the Great Library of Alexandria. But weirdly they all lived roughly 300 years apart from one another. How is that even possible? It's weird anomalies like this that complicate the history of the Great Library. Many have written poetically about the dramatic burning of this ancient institution, but is this cataclysm just an elaborate myth? Tune-in and find out how past life regression, The Great Gatsby, the Sandy Koufax of Roman Emperors all play a role in the story.

Episode #139- What Became of the Library of Alexandria? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2021 73:46


The Egyptian city of Alexandria was once the most magnificent city on the Mediterranean. It was a city of wonders, whose culture was the envy of the Greek world. Tragically many of Alexandria's ancient treasures have been lost to time. Of all of these lost wonders none has been more deeply mourned than the Great Library of Alexandria. For generations people have lamented the day that the Library was consumed by fire. But when was that day exactly? It turns out the time and circumstance of the Library's demise is surprisingly controversial. Tune-in and find out how stolen corpses, Cleopatra's marble head, and an old friend of the pod all play a role in the story.

OFH Throwback- Episode #37- Did Robert Johnson Sell His Soul to the Devil?

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2021 63:59


In this throwback episode Sebastian takes a look back at a show that explores one of the greatest legends in 20th century popular music. Did the legendary blues musician, Robert Johnson, really trade his immortal soul for superhuman musical talent? In the newly recorded intro, Sebastian shares one of the wildest pieces of listener mail he ever received--- a weird and spooky tale of a listener searching for the grave of the famous bluesman. This episode is a must for anyone obsessed with the blues, rock'n'roll, the guitar... or just great stories. Tune-in and find out how king snakes, hell hounds, and haunted paintings all play a role in the story.

OFH Throwback- Episode #83- Who Invented Your Favourite Food?

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2021 69:23


In this OFH Throwback episode Sebastian takes a look at one of the most fun and accessible episodes in the OFH catalog. The world of food and drink is filled with colourful mythology. How much should we believe about the origin stories of our favourite foods? Could this be the best episode to recommend to someone who thinks they don't like history shows? Tune-in and find out how all night gambling sessions, the taste of the stars, and guy named Gino Spaghetti all play a role in the story.

OFH Throwback- Episode #77- Was There a Real Pied Piper?

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2021 68:18


In this throwback episode we take a look at an episode Sebastian thinks may have been the best "one-off" show created over the podcast's six seasons. Take a listen to how the host thinks this one has held up. Is this oddball episode about a German fairy tale secretly the best place to start listening to OFH? Tune-in and find out how perfect band names, a breadcrumb trail, and non-stop boogying all play a role in the story.

OFH Throwback- Episode #10- Did the Aztecs Think Cortes Was a God? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2021 66:06


In this throwback episode Sebastian revisits "Part II" in the Season One series on the conquest of Mexico. In the freshly recorded introduction the host reflects on criticisms that this episode first received when it was originally published in 2015. Do you think Sebastian goes too hard on Cortes and the conquistadors? Tune-in and find out how far-out flute concerts, the Wizard of Oz, and a creep with an agenda all play a role in the story.

OFH Throwback- Episode #9- Did the Aztecs Think Cortes Was a God? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2021 47:18


In this throwback episode Sebastian revisits a series from Season One of OFH. After the shows on Jared Diamond it seemed like a good time to take another look at the conquest of Mexico. This was also the first time "Ancient Aliens" came up on the show. Tune-in and find out how regrets about pacing, scallywags, and Christopher Walken all play a role in the story.

Episode #138- Any Questions? (2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2021 71:59


Season 6 wraps up with Sebastian taking questions from the listeners! He gets into everything from the name of the podcast, to his most loved shows, to the nature of humanity itself. Tune-in and find out how obscure Canadian playwrights, stubborn Stratfordians, and a "wombly child" all play a role in the story.

Episode #137- What's the Deal with Guns, Germs, and Steel? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2021 78:52


Is Jared Diamond's 1997 bestseller a work of staggering genius, or a piece of intellectual garbage? Has it moved our understanding of humanity forward, or has it set us back by decades? Are these binary choices ridiculously limiting? Totally! In this episode Sebastian does his best to parse the good ideas from Guns, Germs, and Steel, while also engaging with some of the best and most memorable criticisms of the book. Tune-in and find out how cantankerous zebras, the neglected history of India, and the Sapa Inca all play a role in the story.

Episode #136- What's the Deal with Guns, Germs, and Steel? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2021 64:09


When Sebastian first read Jared Diamond's Pulitzer Prize winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel as an undergrad, he thought it was brilliant. That was until a Professor he deeply respected, dismissed it as being little better than the Da Vinci Code. It turns out that while the 1997 bestseller earned many high profile plaudits, it also spawned legions of of critics. What's in this book that has inspired such passionate responses? Did Jared Diamond crack the code of human history, or was he playing a little too fast and loose with his pop-science? Tune-in and find out how Charles Darwin, expletive laden academic journals, and Will Smith all play a role in the story.

Episode #135- Who Won the War of 1812? (Part III)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2021 86:44


Every spring thaw between 1812 and 1814 seemed to inaugurate a completely new war in North America. The momentum in the War of 1812 would swing wildly between the Americans and British until the two sides eventually hammered out a peace in 1814. Before the war was over the Niagara frontier would be desolated, York and Washington would both be ravaged by fire, and thousands would be dead. The war also remained somewhat inconclusive. Can Sebastian make a thoughtful case about who the true "winner" of 1812 really was? Tune-in and find out how rocket's red glare, bombs bursting in air, and the worst campaign slogan ever, all play a role in the story.

Episode #134- Who Won the War of 1812? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2021 69:11


When Sebastian first learned about the War of 1812 when he was a Canadian middle-schooler, there were two words he was told he had to remember of the test: manifest destiny. Back then it was heavily implied that this nefarious ideology was the most important cause of the war. Since then historians have largely dismissed this interpretation. But, that is just the start of misconceptions about this conflict. Canada beat the odds by resisting the first American invasion in 1812. How was this even possible? Tune-in find out how a pan-indigenous prophet, a war decree bordering on criminal negligence, and "Teddy Burns" all play a role in the story.

Episode #133- Who Won the War of 1812? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2021 64:39


American historians sometimes refer to War of 1812 as the "Forgotten War", but this has never really sat well with Canadians. You know who has not forgotten about the War of 1812? Canada, that's who! In the Anglo-Canadian historical imagination the War of 1812 looms large. Canadians (and especially Ontarians) learn that 1812 was a hard won Canadian victory against American aggression. But, it turns out, many Americans have learned that the war was more of a stalemate, and might even be considered an American victory. Who has it right? Tune-in and find out how bad YA historical fiction, The Guess Who, and gangs of navy kidnappers all play a role in the story. 

Episode #132- Does Ethiopia Have the Ark of the Covenant? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2021 69:36


Ethiopia's history is nothing short of remarkable. The East African nation is home to one of the worlds oldest Christian traditions. For centuries the country was ruled by a line of kings who claimed to be descended from the biblical King Solomon. They also claimed to be the caretakers of the long lost Ark of the Covenant. However, Ethiopian archaeology and other historical sources can sometimes complicate these claims. How should we fit the story of the ark into a balanced understanding of Ethiopian history? Tune-in and find out how massive obelisks, ancient war gods, and an incense burning guardian all play a role in the story.

Episode #131- Does Ethiopia Have the Ark of the Covenant? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2021 68:29


The Ark of the Covenant is one of the most fascinating objects mentioned in the Old Testament. The ancient Israelites believed the Ark held a divine power that made them unstoppable on the battlefield. When Solomon's temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587BC, most assumed the Ark was lost. That is, except the Ethiopians. According to many pious Ethiopian Christians, the Ark was not destroyed in the sack of Jerusalem, because the Ark wasn't there that day. Could it be that the Ark of the Covenant has been safely squirreled away in Ethiopia for centuries? Tune-in and find out how thirst potions, Bob Marley, and the tiny space between cherub wings all play a role in the story.

Episode #130- Was There a Real Gilgamesh? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 7, 2021 72:29


The search for a historical Gilgamesh is filled with red herrings. As Mesopotamia's best loved epic hero, images of Gilgamesh are littered throughout the ruins of the ancient cities of the Tigris and Euphrates. Ancient documents produced by Kings looking to bolster their image would claim that Gilgamesh was their "friend and brother". But despite these bits of historical misdirection, there is some evidence hinting at a real man behind the myth. Tune in and find out how distant radio stations, arty metaphors, Saddam Hussein's novel all play a role in the story.

Episode #129- Was There a Real Gilgamesh? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 24, 2021 88:36


The oldest known piece of literature on the planet is the epic tale of Gilgamesh, king of the Mesopotamian city-state of Uruk. The story was a staple of middle-eastern storytelling for well over a thousand years. However, after the destruction of Assyrian city of Nineveh in the 600's BC, key manuscripts were lost and the tale faded from memory. When the story was rediscovered in the 1870's, by an unlikely assistant curator in the British Museum, it resumed its place among the great works of world literature. But the rediscovery came with questions. Was anything in this epic tale based in fact? Could the Epic of Gilgamesh actually be used to substantiate history as revealed in the Old Testament? Tune-in and find out how naked translators, civilizing sex workers, and Will Farrell all play a role in the story.

Episode #128- Did St. Patrick Kill a Wizard?

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 10, 2021 78:48


There are few Christian saints more misunderstood than St. Patrick. Ireland's patron saint is best known for driving the snakes off the island, but that isn't even close to the most interesting thing about him. Both the legend of St. Patrick and the details of his real life have been poorly remembered. Driving the snakes out of Ireland is nothing compared to the wizard duels described in the medieval sources. Have we completely missed the boat on what makes St. Patrick worth remembering? Tune-in and find out how poisoned wine, miracle pigs, and demon fossils all play a role in the story.

Episode #127- Who Was the Blood Countess? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 24, 2021 80:11


In 1611 a the Hungarian Countess, Elizabeth Bathory, was confined to her castle of Cachtice, never to leave again. This sentence was imposed on her by the Lord Palatine of Hungary. But strangely, even though Bathory had been accused of some truly heinous crimes, she was never formally charged, or given a proper trial. If she was so clearly guilty, then why was she denied due process? Elizabeth's case becomes even more suspicious once you consider that most of the testimony used to incriminate her was either procured through torture, or was riddled with hearsay and inconsistencies. Is it possible that she was actually the victim of a conspiracy? Tune-in and find out how old crones, a fake diary, and the Guinness Book of World Records all play a role in the story.

Episode #126- Who Was the Blood Countess? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 10, 2021 55:00


Throw the name Elizabeth Bathory into your favourite search engine and you will quickly find superlatives like “history’s most prolific female serial killer” and leading questions like “Was Dracula Woman?” She is a figure with a reputation so terrifying that her name has been endorsed by Black Metal bands as a suitably evil band name. In 1611 the Hungarian Countess was imprisoned for allegedly torturing and killing as many as 600 young maidservants. It was not long before a vampire-like legend grew up around Bathory. But did she really bathe in the blood of virgins to remain forever young? Tune-in and find out how medieval dragon slayers, the elixir of life, and a whole lot of inbreeding play into the story.

Bonus Episode- What Did He Say About Karate?

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 3, 2021 17:27


In episode #125 a historical myth about the origins of karate snuck past Sebastian! In this bonus episode the host does his darndest to set the record straight. Many thanks to listener Philipp Surkov for pointing out the error and recommending sources.

Episode #125- What Are the Origins of Martial Arts? (Part II)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 27, 2021 78:30


Martial arts myths are have been described as "savvy marketing". But, the most enduring bits of of fake martial arts history also combine Zen tradition, a Confucian veneration of the past, and a healthy dose of nationalism. Schools of martial arts will sometimes bend of backwards to prove that their form is a "pure" expression of their particular national culture. Sebastian is joined by history podcaster, and martial artist, Daniele Bolelli, to help separate the fact from the fiction. Tune-in and find out how Flower Knights, mysterious Buddhist monks, and a violent white crane all play a role in the story.

Episode #124- What Are the Origins of Martial Arts? (Part I)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2021 59:08


Asian martial arts are often coated in a thick layer of of legend. Many fighting styles have elaborate origin stories and mystical founding fathers. These stories often help enhance the prestige of a particular school and inspire new students. However, the "histories" of many of these martial arts disciplines are completely made up. The granddaddy of all of these martial arts myths is the tale of the Zen mystic, Bodhidharma, teaching the monks of the Shaolin Temple Kung Fu. Is any of it true? Tune in and find out how Buddhist philosophy, eyelid tea, and the "Crown Prince of Death" all play a role in the story.

Bonus Episode- What Did He Say on Ripples of History?

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2020 42:37


For this Bonus Episode Sebastian is sharing something he recorded earlier this year for a project curated by Daniele Bolelli, host of History on Fire. Sometime last year Daniele got the idea to pull together a rogues gallery of history podcasters including Sam Davis (Inward Empire), CJ Killmer (Dangerous History), Alexander Rader von Sternberg (History Impossible), Darryl Cooper (Martyrmade), and Sebastian. The idea was that each of these podcasters would explore historical event, or figure, that had a surprising or unexpected historical impact. Daniele dubbed this project Ripples of History. In this bonus you will hear Sebastian laying out his take on the surprising impact of the Trojan War on history. Tune-in and find out how history's greatest scallywag, fake Trojan ancestors, and a giant named Gogmagog all play a role in the story. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Bonus Episode- What Did He Say on Ripples of History?

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2020 45:36


For this Bonus Episode Sebastian is sharing something he recorded earlier this year for a project curated by Daniele Bolelli, host of History on Fire. Sometime last year Daniele got the idea to pull together a rogues gallery of history podcasters including Sam Davis (Inward Empire), CJ Killmer (Dangerous History), Alexander Rader von Sternberg (History Impossible), Darryl Cooper (Martyrmade), and Sebastian. The idea was that each of these podcasters would explore historical event, or figure, that had a surprising or unexpected historical impact. Daniele dubbed this project Ripples of History. In this bonus you will hear Sebastian laying out his take on the surprising impact of the Trojan War on history. Tune-in and find out how history's greatest scallywag, fake Trojan ancestors, and a giant named Gogmagog all play a role in the story.

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