History

Indo-European languages in Europe. Note that the borders are not country borders. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Iolaafi)

The Proto-Indo-Europeans: The Lost Culture Connecting Europe to India

In Indian mythology, the god Indra rescues the world by killing an evil serpent with a thunderbolt. In Norse mythology, Thor famously slays the serpent Jörmungandr with thunder. This similarity is one tantalizing clue to the fact that the mythologies and languages of Europe and India share a common source—a lost culture about which we know little, but owe much.

Mad Jack Churchill (far right) leads a training exercise, sword in hand, from a Eureka boat in Inveraray, Scotland. (Photo: Wikimedia/War Office)

Mad Jack Churchill, Sword-Wielding Nazi Slayer

Mad Jack Churchill was the only soldier during World War Two credited with dispatching an enemy with a longbow. If his longbow wasn’t handy Mad Jack was just as comfortable with a Scottish broadsword.

The Bob Semple Tank used corrugated iron instead of armour plating. Fortified by 6 bren guns it housed a crew of 8. Only 3 were ever built for a total cost of £10,225. (Photo: YouTube/New Zealand Archives)

The Bob Semple Tank: Worst Tank Ever

When his country needed him Bob Semple stepped forward. Some wished he hadn’t bothered. Fearing Japanese invasion, New Zealand desperately needed to boost an armoured force which only numbered 6 Bren gun carriers in the whole country. The Bob Semple Tank was born.

The countess, having taken a dose of laudanum nears death, and is kissed by her sickly child held towards her by an elderly maid; her father slips her ring from her finger. Engraving by Louis Gérard Scotin after William Hogarth, 1745. (Source: Science Museum, London)

Laudanum: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Super Drug

In an era before the invention of aspirin, painkillers and sleeping tablets, to be in pain was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Laudanum’s medical role, as a tool for pain management in sickness and end-of-life care, was crucial.

Jenny Hanniver

Jenny Haniver: The Original Fake Mermaid

Everyone has a side hustle these days don’t they? Even 16th century sailors took part in the gig economy by making particularly horrendous looking Jenny Hannivers for extra income. However, these ‘devil fish wouldn’t look out of place on the movie set of Aliens.

Frozen Charlotte Dolls

The Grisly Tale Behind Frozen Charlotte Dolls

What was bath time like for you as a child? Loads of bubble-bath, maybe the obligatory rubber duck or some colorful plastic cups? Did you ever enjoy your soapy adventures with a porcelain doll embodying the spirit of a teenage girl who froze to death on her way to a New Year’s ball? Those Victorians were a dark bunch.

Snap Crackle and Pop

The Snap! Crackle! Pop! Origin Story

Snap, Crackle and Pop have been around since 1932 and pocketed their creator, Vernon Grant, a cool $250,000. They even have a lesser known fouth ‘band member’ called Pow who made a brief appearance in the 1950’s.

A traditional Viking wedding couple, Trelleborg, Sweden (Photo: Flickr/Maria Eklind)

The Ultimate Guide to a Viking Wedding

Your knowledge of Vikings weddings and Vikings may begin and end with the antics of Ragnar Lothbrok and his clan in the TV show Vikings. However, a Viking wedding was an elaborate and meticulously planned event, from the opening of financial negotiations to the ending bestowment of the morning-gift.