The Premature Burial by Antoine Wiertz

The Fear of Being Buried Alive (and How to Prevent It)

Pliny the Elder remarked: “Such is the condition of humanity, and so uncertain is men’s judgment, that they cannot determine even death itself.”
Charlie Brown

How the Great Pumpkin Became Great

The origins of Linus's pumpkin deity, who "rises out of the pumpkin patch and flies through the air and brings toys to all the children in the world."
The Dance of Death

A Roman Feast… of Death!

The banquet hall was painted black from ceiling to floor. By the pale flicker of grave lamps, the invited senators coud make out a row of tombstones.
Several beers in a row

Did Humans Once Live by Beer Alone? An Oktoberfest Tale

Some scholars have suggested that humans first started growing domesticated grains in order to make not bread, but beer.
Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (Paracelsus)

The Occult Remedy the Puritans Embraced

Why did the Puritans embrace a medical treatment that looked suspiciously like black magic?
Portrait of Kenelm Digby by Anthony Van Dyck

Treating Wounds With Magic

Spoiler alert: It doesn't work.
Viverra bengalensis

The Strange Case of Daniel Defoe’s Civet Scheme

In the 17th century, these animals were prized for their musk. So when the not-yet-famous writer Daniel Defoe needed quick cash, he turned to civets.
A red popsicle beginning to melt

The Buggy Truth about Natural Red Dye

The slightly disgusting secret ingredient that has historically made food dye, lipstick, and even the cloaks of Roman Catholic cardinals so vibrant.
Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia by Michiel Jansz. van Miereveldt

The Afterlife of Royal Hair

Whether worn as a lovelock or set in elaborate jewelry, the clipped-off hair of Kings and Queens outlived the monarchs themselves.
A coffinette for the viscera of Tutankhamun

Was It Really a Mummy’s Curse?

A slew of mysterious deaths following the opening of King Tut's tomb prompted one epidemiologist to investigate.