Bart Roberts pirate

The Pirate Creed

Examining the 18th-century social contract of Captain Bartholomew Roberts and his men shows just how organized and codified pirate societies could be.
Jabir ibn Hayyan Geber

How to Create a Human Being

The Book of Stones, a central alchemical text, contained formulae with the power to create living tissue from ordinary matter, supposedly.
a Book of the Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by al-Jazari

The Marvelous Automata of Antiquity

Centuries before the computer, whimsical automata pushed the uncanny boundary between human and machine.
Charles I royal touch

The Divine Power of Kings to Heal by Touch

Healing ceremonies showed that monarchs ruled by God’s will, as divine power worked through anointed hands.
George Washington's Yelp Reviews

George Washington’s “Yelp Reviews”

Staying at inns allowed Washington to examine the state of the infrastructure for traveling in the new federal Republic. The only problem was, he hated it.
April Fools kid Denmark

The Completely True History of April Fools’ Day

The door to spring is guarded by fools, but that's ok, because they're not all that serious. And everybody knows the password: April Fools!
Bedridden King Charles VI

The French King Who Believed He Was Made of Glass

King Charles VI of France was the most exalted representative of a rash of "Glass Men," who appeared throughout Europe between the 15th and 17th centuries.
New Years Eve 1910

The Lost Tradition of New Year’s Day Calling

The colonial Dutch tradition of making social calls on New Year's Day in New York was no match for 19th-century-style partying.
sleeping

The Age of the Bed Changed the Way We Sleep

One historian reconstructs what nighttime was like in early modern Europe, and how the darkness affected people's sleep patterns.