Ghosts of Landed Gentry, But Never the Ghosts of Serfs
Psychical researcher Harry Price combined the power of academic language with a cultural identity crisis to build a reputation as a “scientific” ghost-hunter.
Walking Streetlamps for Hire in Seventeenth-Century London
Much in the same way we hail cabs in cities today, a medieval Londoner could hail a torch-bearer (a link-boy) to light their way home from a night on the town.
Halloween: A Mystic and Eerie Significance
Despite the prevalence of tricks and spooky spirits in earlier years, the American commercial holiday didn’t develop until the middle of the twentieth century.
How to Use a Ouija Board
Read on, but beware, these tales of spine-tingling ghosts and eerie spirits...
Kuda Bux: Fire-walking for Fame and Fortune
The Kashmiri American illusionist and mystic drew on his legendary powers of concentration to entertain and astound (in)credulous audiences.
The True Story of Grizzly Adams
In order to invent a legendary hero of the Wild West, John Adams shook himself free from his life as shoemaker in Massachusetts.
The Wright Brothers: Babysitters Extraordinaire
Wilbur and Orville Wright may not have been “first in flight,” but they were first in taking care of their nieces and nephews on the weekends.
A Tale of Two Times: Edo Japan Encounters the European Clock
In country that followed a time-keeping system with variable hours, the fixed-hour clock of the Europeans had only symbolic value.
Keeping Time with Incense Clocks
As chronicled by Chinese poet Yu Jianwu, the use of fire and smoke for time measurement dates back to at least the sixth century CE.
The “Trapeze Disrobing Act”
Strongwoman Charmion used Thomas Edison’s experiments with moving pictures to encourage women to embrace strength and physical activity.