October 6, 2020
In October 1974, ascendant horror writer Stephen King and his wife spent a night in a cavernous old hotel at the foot of the Colorado Rockies. With the winter barrage of snow and cold looming, the hotel was about to close for the season, leaving King and his wife as its sole guests. After eating in a grand yet empty dining room — with the chairs up on every table except his — and walking through the endless empty hallways, a new novel began to take shape in King’s mind.
September 18, 2020
On the morning of September 18, 1970, paramedics arrived at the Samarkand Hotel in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood to find Jimi Hendrix covered in vomit and unresponsive. The apartment door was wide open and nobody else was there.
They rushed Hendrix to St. Mary Abbot’s hospital where Dr. Martin Seifert tried and failed to revive him. According to Seifert, the guitarist’s body was already cold and blue when he got to the hospital and he called the attempt to resuscitate him “merely a formality.”
Jimi Hendrix was pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m. He was just 27 years old. The autopsy listed his cause of death as asphyxiation, and his death was presumed to be accidental. But other theories have emerged in the 50 years since that fateful day, including suicide and even murder.
August 26, 2020
On August 18, 1920, the ratification of the 19th Amendment granted American women the right to vote after a century-long struggle. But the win was bittersweet as not all women were now welcome at the polls. Women of color had endured racism within the women’s suffrage movement from the start, at times being asked to start their own organizations or to hold their own separate demonstrations. Among those activists was Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a sharp and talented Black journalist, teacher, and demonstrator who spoke out extensively against both sexism and racism. This is her story.
August 11, 2020
On the night of April 22, 1987, Ruthie Mae McCoy called 911 at about a quarter to nine to report that someone was trying to break into her Chicago apartment through the bathroom mirror.
She made two calls to 911 that night, and two neighbors who heard her screaming called as well, but nobody came to her aid. McCoy was found dead in her apartment two days later with one shoe off and one shoe on, lying in a puddle of blood. She had been shot four times by two young men who had indeed come in through her bathroom mirror.
And if this sounds like something out of an urban legend, that’s because it soon became one. Five years later, Ruthie McCoy’s murder helped inspire the cult classic horror film “Candyman.”
July 30, 2020
On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis had just completed a top-secret drop off at Tinian Island in the Philippine Sea. Her crew of 1,195 believed their part in World War II had ended and now they could return home. But just after midnight, they were torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The ship exploded and 300 men went down with it immediately. They were lucky.
The remaining 900 were left adrift under an oppressive sun for four days before they were discovered missing. The sailors struggled to avoid hordes of circling sharks, but approximately 150 of them were eviscerated. When help finally arrived on August 2, only 316 men were left.
June 30, 2020
In this episode, we talk about some of the darkest elements of our otherwise revered Founding Fathers.
You’ve likely heard the legends about these men because they were unprecedented in our nation’s history, indeed they founded the nation. They were essential in drafting the U.S. Constitution, declaring our independence, and sculpting a nation out of turmoil.
But these men were men, they were human and they existed in a time where both slavery and pistol dueling for bragging rights were acceptable behaviors.
So naturally, there’s a crass and uncomfortable dimension to each of them. Let’s explore those.
May 26, 2020
On July 14, 1518, a woman identified only as Frau Troffea stepped out of her house in Strasbourg, Alsace -- in what is now France -- and started to dance. After many hours, drenched in sweat and twitching, she finally collapsed. Then, a few hours later, she got up and started again -- and then again the next day. By the third day, her feet were bruised and blood soaked through her shoes, but still she continued to dance.
May 2, 2020
On September 15, 2007, villagers in the remote Peruvian town of Carancas saw a glowing fireball soar toward Earth — then felt the meteorite crash into the ground.
Not only was the meteorite able to reach Earth without burning up in our atmosphere — but its arrival sparked a mysterious plague that caused hundreds of people to inexplicably fall ill. These strange circumstances have baffled scientists to this day.