When Europeans Feared the Wind
In early modern Europe, various sorts of winds were associated with illness and even death.
Elixirs of Immortal Life Were a Deadly Obsession
What Does History Smell Like?
Scholars don't typically pay that much attention to smells, but odors have historically been quite significant.
Our Long Relationship with Leather
A recently-discovered skeleton wearing leather boots inspires a walk through our history of wearing animal hides.
How the Brownie Camera Made Everyone a Photographer
Eastman Kodak used folklore to sell a modern technology, and ended up creating new communities and forms of expressions along the way.
The Landlord Asks for a Christmas Rose
Bizarre customs of landholding—from demands for flowers to ritualized flatulence—reflect the philosophy that developed under the feudal system.
Why Ancient Egyptians Loved Cats So Much
Ancient Egyptians' love of cats developed from an appreciation of their rodent-catching skills to revering them as sacred creatures.
The Tangled History of Weaving with Spider Silk
Spider silk is as strong as steel and as light as a feather, but attempts to industrialize its production have gotten stuck, so to speak.
A Recipe for Flies and Frogs
And other wonders of spontaneous generation.
Finding a Murderer in a Victim’s Eye
In late 19th-century forensics, optography was all the rage. This pseudoscience held that what someone saw just before death would be imprinted on their eye.