Homemade Air Fryer potato chips in a paper lined wire basket on dark background

The Fakelore of Food Origins

Where did potato chips come from? How about clams casino? Are the origin stories for these foods true, or do they fall into the category of “fakelore”?
A ouija board and a planchette

How to Use a Ouija Board

Read on, but beware, these tales of spine-tingling ghosts and eerie spirits...
Grizzly Adams

The True Story of Grizzly Adams

In order to invent a legendary hero of the Wild West, John Adams shook himself free from his life as shoemaker in Massachusetts.
Portrait of Helena Sulima, actress, as Gorgon

What If We’ve Been Misunderstanding Monsters?

Fictional evil creatures might be more nuanced—and have more to teach us—than has long seemed.
Photograph: Marley Shelton, Marla Sokoloff and the rest of the girls at a sleepover in a scene from the film 'Sugar & Spice', 2001

Source: Getty

Slumber Parties and Folklore

Slumber party rituals are indeed alive and well, and being passed down to the next generation in person and online.
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.