Three of the four hostages and bank robber Clark Olofsson, standing right, in a bank in Stockholm, Sweden, Aug. 27, 1973

Stockholm Syndrome

What really happened that summer day in 1973? And what does it reveal about our cultural attitudes toward violence?
A love potion against a colorful background

What’s in a Love Potion?

Besides the infamous Number Nine, that is.
Tarantella dancers, 1828

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!
creepy old house at night

There’s Someone Buried under the Floor!

The story of a building that will not stand until a living human being is imprisoned in its foundations is so common as to form it own genre.
Telling the bees painting

“Telling the Bees”

In nineteenth-century New England, it was held to be essential to whisper to beehives of a loved one’s death.
Glyptodon

Megafauna Memories?

Some folklorists have hypothesized that the mythical beasts and monsters of legend were actually inspired by shadowy collective memories of megafauna.
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.
Michelle Obama portrait

What Amy Sherald Tells Us with Michelle Obama’s Dress

How do the artistic inspirations that portrait artist Amy Sherald cites for Michelle Obama’s dress impact our visual and cultural understanding of the portrait for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery?
1940s ghost stories

Why Were Americans Obsessed With Ghosts in the 1940s?

In 1940s America, two folklorists undertook the task of collecting and studying the "modern" ghost stories of their time.
9/11 memorial, New York

The Shrines of September 11th

In the immediate aftermath of September 11th, impromptu shrines appeared.