Episode #171- Who Was The African Samurai? (Part I)
Our Fake History
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1w ago
Near the end of Japan's "Warring States" period a remarkable visitor arrived in the country with a group of European Jesuit missionaries. He was a soldier originally from East Africa acting as a bodyguard for the ranking Jesuit in Japan. The Japanese would come to know this man as Yasuke and through a surprising series of events he would go on to become the first non-Japanese person to be recognized as a Samurai. Unfortunately, sources concerning the life of Yasuke are few. With only a handful of primary sources and a few colorful legends how much can we know for sure about the African Samurai ..read more
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Episode #170- Who Knows Houdini? (Part III)
Our Fake History
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3w ago
Houdini had a truly impressive run as an entertainer. In the decade between 1904 and 1913 he developed a number of escapes and illusions that are still considered the gold-standard for stage magicians. Houdini's "Milk Can" and "Chinese Water Torture" escapes are still inspiring magicians to this day. Houdini's stock and trade was deception and yet by the early 1920's he became tireless campaigner against people he considered frauds. He became convinced that "spiritualist mediums" were using magicians tricks to con grieving families into believing that they could communicate with the dead. He b ..read more
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Episode #169- Who Knows Houdini? (Part 2)
Our Fake History
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1M ago
Over the course of 1899 Harry Houdini went from being an obscure circus performer to being one of the best known entertainers in America. He became known as the "Handcuff King" and made headlines challenging police departments to lock him in a pair of cuffs that could hold him. His rise to fame was aided by his savvy understanding of the media and an ability manipulate the papers. These manipulations would overtime become part of the Houdini myth. Houdini lived a life filled with misdirections. Is it possible he was secretly living a double life as a spy? Tune-in and find out how provincial "l ..read more
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Episode #168- Who Knows Houdini? (Part I)
Our Fake History
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1M ago
The word "iconic" gets thrown around pretty loosely these days, but there are some figures who truly earn the descriptor. Micheal Jordan and Mohammed Ali are icons because they truly transcended their sport. In the same way Harry Houdini is bigger than magic. Houdini is easily the best remembered performer in the history of stage magic. Despite his enduring fame his life story remains clouded by myth. Houdini was a professional liar, but he also considered himself to be deeply moral. He took other performers to task for their deceptions, while also cultivating a rich tapestry of legend around ..read more
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Episode #167- Who Was The Fake Asian?
Our Fake History
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2M ago
In 1703 a curious character arrived in London claiming to be a native of the island of Formosa. These days Formosa is better known as Taiwan, but in early 18th century it was a place barely understood by most Europeans. The Formosan visitor, George Psalmanazar, was eager to teach his English hosts everything there was no to know about his home island. The only problem was that Psalmanazar was a fraud. He was a European who had never travelled east of Germany. He concocted elaborate tales about Formosa's history, politics, and religion. Psalmanazar even invented his own language, that was compl ..read more
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Episode #166- Who Was Liver Eating Johnson? (ft. Daniele Bolelli)
Our Fake History
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2M ago
Some of the most legendary figures to emerge from the history of the American West were the rough-and-ready "mountain men". But, the most legendary mountain man of all had to be the cannibal, Liver Eating Johnson. Stories would have us believe that sometime in the mid-1800's Johnson waged a one-man war against the indigenous Crow tribe to avenge the killing of his pregnant wife. Along the way he developed a taste for human flesh and started eating the raw livers of those that he killed. It's a wild story. Could any of it be true? Sebastian is joined by history professor, author, and host of Hi ..read more
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Episode #165- What Was The Galileo Affair? (Part III)
Our Fake History
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3M ago
There is a story that as Galileo stood in front of the Inquisition and listened as they declared that the Earth did not revolve around the Sun, he whispered under his breath "and yet, it moves". This moment of defiance has been celebrated as Galileo's true "martyr" moment. But, there is no way that Galileo ever said that. While the official records produced by the Inquisition might make it seem like the "Galileo Affair" had been about the question of the Earth's motion, a closer look at the affair reveals that it was for more complicated (and personal) than that. Galileo did not valiantly defe ..read more
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Episode #164- What Was The Galileo Affair? (Part II)
Our Fake History
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3M ago
Galileo is often credited with inventing the telescope, but he never made that claim. He simply whipped up his own take on the device and sold it to the Republic of Venice before his Dutch competitors could beat him to the punch. Galileo also gets credit for being the first person to point the telescope at the night sky. This is also untrue, but when he did start observing the moon, stars, and planets, his observations would turn astronomy on its head. In 1610 Galileo published Sidereus Nuncius, a short book outlining what had appeared to him through the lens of his telescope. The myth of Gali ..read more
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Episode #162- Real Amazons? (Part II)
Our Fake History
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4M ago
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 ..read more
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Episode #161- Real Amazons? (Part I)
Our Fake History
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5M ago
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 p ..read more
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