Why Did the Victorians Harbor Warm Feelings for Leeches?
Medical authorities wrote about leeches as if they sucked blood out of the goodness of their hearts.
When Cemeteries Became Natural Sanctuaries
In the 19th century, bucolic, park-like cemeteries started cropping up on the outskirts of American cities.
The Extremely Real Science behind the Basilisk’s Lethal Gaze
According to the extramission theory of vision, our eyes send out beams of elemental fire that spread, nerve like, to create the visual field.
Witches’ Marks Protected Spaces from Evil
Throughout history, people tried to protect spaces from evil with apotropaic marks, ritual concealments, and other charms.
Why Did “Thieves’ Cant” Carry an Unshakeable Allure?
If thieves’ cant—a language known only to criminals—was the Devil’s cabinet, bourgeois society couldn’t help but peep inside.
The Strange Story Behind Your Breakfast Cereal
Kellogg's Corn Flakes were originally created by a doctor who believed bland food would reduce people's urge to masturbate.
When Victorian Scientists Caught Ballomania
In a moment when scientists were working to fashion a credible identity for themselves, they had to decide how much showmanship was too much.
When Was the First Handshake?
A Curious Reader asks: When and how did the handshake originate?
Public Dissection Was a Gruesome Spectacle
Renaissance-era anatomists taught people to “knowe thyself” by reading the books of bodies.
When Dancing Plagues Struck Medieval Europe
The tarantella is named for a peasant woman from southern Italy whose tarantula bite started a contagious dancing fever!