Rank #1: Episode #97- Who Built the Pyramids? (Part I)
The Egyptian pyramids are easily the most mythologized pieces of architecture on the planet. They have inspired historical myths and misconceptions essentially as long as "history" has been a literary genre. The so-called "father of history" Herodotus was one of the first writers to try and explain the construction of the Pyramids. But should we really trust a guy who has been called the "father of lies". Tune in and find out how my weird dating system, ancient machines, and Egyptian bathroom habits all play a role in the story.
For tickets to the upcoming OFH 100th Episode LIVE event follow this link:
Oct 23 2019
Rank #2: Episode #38- Was There a Real Atlantis? (Part I)
In 360 BCE the Greek philosopher Plato wrote of a powerful island nation that had been sunk to the bottom of the ocean by wrathful gods. Plato called this lost city Atlantis. Little did he know that this story would go on to launch an entire genre of pseudo-historical speculation. The myth of the dazzling lost civilization would inspire countless amateur theorists and would-be archaeologists. Was a there a real city that inspired Plato's story, or was Atlantis just a figment of the philosopher's imagination? Tune in and find out how Graham Hancock, Charles Darwin, and the OFH drinking game all play a role in the story.
Mar 08 2017
Rank #3: Episode #58 - How Do You Explain the First Crusade? (Part I)
There are few medieval events that are still as politically loaded as the Crusades. Even though the First Crusade was launched well over 900 years ago people are still debating it's merits. The debate becomes even more complicated when you consider all of the mythology, falsehoods, and popular misconceptions that surround this event. How should we make sense of this deeply complex and sometimes downright unbelievable story. Tune and find out how people being hung from their bits, the Sultan of Rome, and the end of the world all play a role in the story.
Jan 23 2018
Rank #4: Episode #73- What Can We Believe About Stalin? (Part I)
The are few 20th century figures as perplexing as Josef Stalin. Historians widely agree that Stalin was responsible for the deaths of some 20 million human beings. Despite that his legacy has remained the topic of serious debate. This is because the history of his regime was actively distorted by both Stalin himself and his many enemies. Stalin tried to make himself myth. His enemies tried to show that he was monster. Who was he really? Tune in and find out how pools of urine, webbed toes, and unpaid library fines all play a role in the story.
Sep 26 2018
Rank #5: Episode #98- Who Built the Pyramids? (Part II)
The most elaborate theories concerning the pyramids of Giza usually position those monuments as deeply different and distinct from all other Egyptian pyramids. However, to fully understand the pyramids of Giza we need to understand them in the context of the monuments that came both before and after. As soon as we add that context some of the more audacious claims about Egypt's pyramids become much harder to believe. Tune in and find out how Pimp My Ride, missing mummies, and way too many OFH call backs all play a role in the story.
Follow this link for tickets for OFH Live 100th Episode!
Nov 06 2019
Rank #6: Episode #85- Was There a Real King Arthur? (Part I)
King Arthur is easily the most requested topic in the history of this podcast. This probably isn't a surprise given Arthur's stature in world of mythology. But is Arthur more than a myth? Was there a real person who lived around 500 AD who inspired the tales of Arthur? Before we can answer that question we need to dive into the weird history of the medieval scholar Geoffrey of Monmouth. Tune in and find out how Trojan refugees, Wile E. Coyote style deaths, and a giant named Gogmagog all play a role in the story.
Apr 10 2019
Rank #7: Episode #62- What Should We Believe About Cleopatra? (Part I)
There are few ancient women as well-known as the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. However, most of what we know about her comes from sources that were edited and censored by her enemies. She has been portrayed as a manipulative seductress whose influence destroyed her powerful lovers, but is that actually accurate? Tune in and find out how Hollywood flops, cadaver theft, and centuries of incest play a role in the story.
Mar 20 2018
Rank #8: Episode #96- What is America's Weirdest Secret Society?
In the 1930's a famous California history professor thought he had discovered a long lost historical treasure. It was a brass plate apparently inscribed by the famous English adventurer Sir. Francis Drake. The plate was heralded as an amazing discovery, but it was actually an elaborate hoax orchestrated by an irreverent secret society. The group behind the hoax is known as E Clampus Vitus and it may be America's weirdest secret society. Tune in a find out how tin-can medallions, "widders", and a Grand Noble Humbug all play a role in the story.
Oct 10 2019
Rank #9: Episode #88- Are the Dark Ages a Myth?
There are few periods in history as hotly contested as the so-called "Dark Ages". Traditionally, the 5th to 10th centuries in Europe have been characterized as "bizarre and monstrous". But is this perception justified? Also, if there was a "dark age" should it be understood as a global phenomenon? Tune in and find out how Chinese paper, the biggest domed roof in the world, and Matt Damon movies all play a role in the story.
May 22 2019
Rank #10: Episode #49- Was There a Real Robin Hood? (Part I)
Robin Hood is easily one of the most beloved characters in English storytelling. For centuries the forest outlaw has been the ultimate hero of the downtrodden. He steals from the rich, gives to the poor, and resists tyranny in all of its forms. But is Robin Hood just a fictional character, or could there have been a real person who inspired the legend? By taking a close look at the earliest Robin Hood ballads perhaps we can find some clues about the true identity of this mythic outlaw. Tune in and find out how forest elves, Kurt Cobain, and Kevin Costner’s bad accent all play a role in the story.
Sep 11 2017
Rank #11: Episode #21- How Do You Explain Joan of Arc? (Part I)
The story of how Joan of Arc, an unassuming peasant girl, became the leader of French armies is one of the most dramatic in all of European history. In many ways Joan's biography can read like a fairytale, or like the classic hero's journey. As you might imagine it is a story that is coated in a healthy layer of mythology and exaggeration. Parsing the legends from the verifiable historical facts can get messy when it comes to France's most unlikely national hero. Tune in find out how a man made of glass, the history of obscene gestures, and the best way to shut down a cat-caller all play a role in the story.
May 24 2016
Rank #12: Episode #28- Who Killed Rasputin? (Part I)
There are few twentieth century figures as mysterious as Grigori Rasputin. The Siberian mystic has been portrayed as a scheming dark magician who seduced the Russian Queen and made a cuckold of Tsar Nicholas II. He’s been blamed for everything from the First World War to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. But how much should we believe about this strange Russian peasant? Is there anything to the legend of Rasputin? Tune in and find out how children with iron teeth, religious sex-parties, Robert Redford, and Homer Simpson all play a role in the story.
Oct 04 2016
Rank #13: Episode #39- Was There a Real Atlantis? (Part II)
The world of Atlantis research can be a very strange place. Some researchers believe that Atlantis was a real Bronze Age city whose ruins might one day be found near the rock of Gibraltar. Others believe that the true "lost civilization" is actually far more ancient. Perhaps the real Atlantis was a sophisticated maritime society that existed during the last ice age. Could it have been that the climate change that accompanied the end of the ice age also wiped away this amazing civilization? Tune in and find out how sleeping prophets, Noah's Arc, a brave muskrat, and our buddy Graham Hancock all play a role in the story.
Mar 21 2017
Rank #14: Episode #3- Was There A Real Labyrinth?
Is the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur just a bedtime story for morbid children or does it contain the kernels of real history? This week we dive into this classic myth and discover how it might hold clues about a real conflict between ancient bronze-age civilizations. Tune in to discover how bull jumpers, volcanic eruptions, boys with double-daddys, and the real life Indiana Jones all play a role in the story!
Aug 24 2015
Rank #15: Episode #78- Who Are the Magicians of the Gods? (Part I)
They are few researchers as controversial as Graham Hancock. He first found fame in 1995 when he published his international bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods. In that book he first proposed his hypothesis about a super-ancient global civilization wiped out by a catastrophic event. In 2015 Hancock updated his theory in a new book entitled Magicians of the Gods. The remarkable findings at the archaeological site of Gobekli Tepe, along with a new geologic theory, have been incorporated into his hypothesis. Is it any more compelling? Tune in and find out how Gandhi, hunter-gatherers, and weird carvings all play a role in the story.
Dec 05 2018
Rank #16: Episode #65- Was There a Real Hunt for the Fountain of Youth?
The legend of the fountain of youth is one of humanity's oldest pieces of lore. Tales of magical water sources that can reverse the aging process exist in dozens of different cultures around the world. But perhaps the person most associated with the fountain of youth is the Spanish conquistador Ponce de Leon. For generations it was believed that he discovered Florida while on a hunt for the fabled waters. But is this story actually true? Tune in a find out how a land of darkness, the "father of lies", and history's most influential dick-joke all play a role in the story.
May 02 2018
Rank #17: Episode #26- Did The Chinese Beat Columbus to the New World? (Part I)
One of the most controversial historical theories to emerge in the last 15 years is the so-called "1421 thesis". The theory was originally formulated by the former British submarine commander Gavin Menzies. He contends that during the Ming Dynasty the Admiral Zheng He led an impressive fleet of Chinese junks on an unprecedented journey of discovery. According to Menzies this journey took them to the New World nearly 80 years before Columbus. But is there any proof to support this incredible claim? Tune in and find out how dragon thrones, giraffes masquerading as unicorns, and the Chinese Luke Skywalker all play a role in the story.
Sep 05 2016
Rank #18: Episode #66- Who Was the Mother of the Occult? (Part I)
There are few stranger figures from the 19th century than Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Her absolutely unbelievable life story has puzzled biographers since the 1800s. Nevertheless, her occult spiritual philosophy would end up being remarkably influential. Was Helena Blavatsky truly a modern sage gifted with improbable spiritual powers? Or, was she just another 19th century huckster duping the naive? Tune in and find out how Tartar Shamans, ghost boxes, and a magician who pretends to be Chinese all play a role in the story.
May 17 2018
Rank #19: Episode #4- Real Ninjas?
Ninjas, Japan’s shadow warriors, have been a pop-culture staple for generations. The legend of the ninjas has become so overblown, that some have gone so far to suggest that they never truly existed. But that is just what the ninjas want us to believe! The ninjas were very real, and they played a pivotal role in Japan’s “warring states period”. Nevertheless, separating ninja-fact from ninja-fiction continues to be a tall order. Listen and find out how medieval water noodles, puppet emperors, toilet warriors, and Seb’s horrific pronunciation of Japanese names all fit into the story!
Sep 07 2015
Rank #20: Episode #15- Was There A Real Trojan War? (Part I)
The story of the Trojan War is one of humanity’s oldest tales of
armed conflict. For the Ancient Greeks the war represented the
bloody end of an historical epoch. The fall of the city marked the
end of the so-called “Age of Heroes”, and heralded a new era where
superhuman demi-gods would no longer walk the earth. But is the
Trojan War just a myth, or was there a real conflict that provided
the inspiration for the story? It’s going to take three whole
episodes to find out, so strap in! Tune in and find out how Oceans
11, heroes in drag, and divine bribery all play a role in the
Feb 28 2016