Charlie Brown

How the Great Pumpkin Became Great

The origins of Linus's pumpkin deity, who "rises out of the pumpkin patch and flies through the air and brings toys to all the children in the world."
Tom Cruise is sprayed with water during an interview

The Offensive Joke Trap

The audience for a joke has options. They can “support” a joke—for example by laughing at it—or they can respond with “unlaughter."
The apostles

The Pious Undead of Medieval Europe

Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg's eight-volume history contained stories of the living dead—and, he believed, proof of the Christian resurrection.
Illustration from "The Nights of Straparola" (1894)

The Invention of the Passive Fairy Tale Heroine

European fairy tales featured bold, independent female characters—until the Reformation forced shifts in cultural attitudes towards women.
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.