Ectoplasm Helen Duncan

Ectoplasm and the Last British Woman Tried for Witchcraft

Spiritualist medium Helen Duncan was photographed emitting ectoplasm, supposedly proof of her ability to contact the dead.
Hannah Cullwick

The Bizarre Victorian Diaries of Cullwick and Munby

Arthur Munby was an upper-class man of letters who "collected" working class women, including his servant Hannah Cullwick, whom he married in 1873.
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.
Punch Jack the Ripper

How Jack the Ripper Became a Legend

In 1880s London, an anti-prostitution campaign, anti-immigration feelings, and a deep class divide set the scene for the Jack the Ripper media frenzy.
Tube London Blitz

What Life Was Like During the London Blitz

During WWII, 150,000+ people sought shelter in London's Tube stations each night. Over time, the various stations developed their own mini-governments.
trial by combat

Trial by Combat? Trial by Cake!

The medieval tradition of deciding legal cases by appointing champions to fight to the death endured through 1817, unlike its tastier cousin.
Ploughman painting

The Toadmen, Masters of Equine Magic

A strange initiation ritual involving a toad was required for members of a secret caste of nineteenth-century horse mystics.
Jane Austen Sanditon

What Exactly Is Jane Austen’s Sanditon?

An unfinished, fragmentary Austen novel is being adapted for television. Can we ever know what Austen meant for this book to eventually become?
Vernon Lee 1881 by John Singer Sargent 1856-1925

The Forgotten Master of the Ghost Story

Vernon Lee was a widely-read writer of 19th-century ghost stories, called the "cleverest woman in Europe." Her life story was pretty fascinating, too.
Bread Turkey roasted baked

Baking Vs. Roasting

We cook bread, meat, and vegetables much the same way: in our ovens. So why do we say we "bake" bread, but we "roast" meat and veggies?