A view of the outlet of the Cloaca Maxima by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, ca. 1776

Venus of the Sewers

The Roman sewer, the Cloaca Maxima, was presided over by a goddess whose shrine stood near the Forum.
Brothers Grimm

The Fairytale Language of the Brothers Grimm

How the Brothers Grimm went hunting for fairytales, accidentally changed the course of historical linguistics, and kickstarted a new field of scholarship in folklore.
Dracula in a 1931 movie poster

The Real Vampires of Europe

In general, a vampire is a malicious spirit or soul of the deceased who is not confined to the grave. Where did the idea come from?
circa 1955:  American humorist and author John Henry Faulk (1913 - 1990), narrates the history of early America in a still from the television program,'They Call It Folk Music.'  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Hearing Harriet Smith

In the University of Texas library, our writer found a previously unknown audiotape of an interview with a woman who'd been born into slavery.