History Uncovered

Join us on the History Uncovered podcast where we explore the uncharted corners of the natural world and the world past. Each episode we take a deep dive into a topic we haven’t been able to stop thinking about. Email us at [email protected], or check out the CC Attribution licensed music we have used.

Episode 42 - The Truth About Hitler’s Descendants

It’s hard to believe that a man as monstrous as Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people during the Holocaust and World War II, was born to a mother and a father just like everyone else, that he grew up surrounded by a loving family, and that he had siblings and cousins and nephews as so many of us do. 

Likewise, it's hard to stomach the idea that Hitler has descendants who’ve lived on long after his own demise in 1945, that there are embodiments of his legacy still walking the Earth today – and yet that’s all too true as well.

Read more...

Episode 41 - The Real-Life Gangsters Behind Don Corleone

When The Godfather premiered in 1972, its depiction of the American Mafia both stunned and fascinated audiences who’d never seen anything quite like it ever before. A commercial and critical smash, the film went on to win three Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Marlon Brando, who played the film's iconic mob boss, Don Vito Corleone. But what most audiences probably didn’t realize at the time was that Don Corleone was much more than just a fictional creation. 

Read more...

Episode 40 - Ed Gein, The Butcher Of Plainfield

Most people have seen Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and The Silence of the Lambs, all of them classics within the horror genre, anchored by some of the scariest villains in movie history. But what many don't know is that the terrifying killers depicted in all three of these iconic films were actually inspired by the same real-life murderer: Ed Gein, the Butcher of Plainfield. 

When police entered his home in Plainfield, Wisconsin on November 16, 1957, following the disappearance of a local woman, they had no idea they were walking straight into a house of horrors unlike almost anything else in history. Not only did they find the woman they were looking for — dead, decapitated, and hung from her ankles — but also a number of gruesome, stomach-churning objects, including a chair upholstered with human skin, and a window shade string fashioned out of human lips. 

What the police would soon learn is that Ed Gein had spent the last decade collecting human bodies — some belonging to those he’d killed himself — to use for his many twisted purposes. The main purpose, as he unashamedly explained to investigators, was simple: he wanted to create a suit out of human skin, which Ed could use to reconstruct his deceased mother. 

And that was just the tip of the iceberg. This is the story of Ed Gein, perhaps the most horrifying serial killer in American history. 

Read more...

Episode 39 - Skinwalkers

In Navajo lore, there's one creature so terrifying that the Navajo themselves rarely dare to even utter its name. That creature is the skinwalker, also called yee naaldlooshii, or ‘with it, he goes on all fours,' and it’s perhaps the most bone-chilling monster in the entirety of Native American mythology. 

However, the skinwalkers actually aren’t monsters at all — they're people, often former healers or medicine men who have crossed over into darkness. Able to transform into animals and wear their skins, skinwalkers are said to be pure evil, capable of spreading disease, disaster, and death. 

But what’s scariest about these supernatural creatures is that they’re not merely confined to legend. Many witnesses have claimed to see skinwalkers and their glowing red eyes in real life. There's even a hotbed of activity in Utah called Skinwalker Ranch, where some have reported unsettling encounters in the depth of night…

This is the legend of the skinwalker, the elusive, violent creature that the Navajo won’t even mention — lest they conjure it straight to their door. 

Read more...

Episode 38 - The Disappearance of Dennis Martin

In June 1969, Dennis Lloyd Martin walked off to play a prank on his dad and never returned, sparking the largest search effort in the history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Read more...

Episode 37 - Natalia Grace: Six-Year-Old Adoptee Or Adult Scam Artist?

Michael and Kristine Barnett of Indiana claim that their adopted daughter Natalia Grace is really a psychotic adult dwarf who tried to kill them — but where does the truth lie?

Read more...

Episode 36 - Genie Wiley

"Feral Child" Genie Wiley was strapped to a chair by her parents and neglected for 13 years, giving researchers a rare chance to study human development.

The story of Genie Wiley the Feral Child sounds like the stuff of fairytales: An unwanted, mistreated child survives brutal imprisonment at the hands of a savage ogre and is rediscovered and reintroduced to the world in an impossibly youthful state. Unfortunately for Wiley, hers is a dark, real-life tale with no happy ending. There would be no fairy godmothers, no magic solutions, and no enchanted transformations.

Read more...

Episode 35 - Dina Sanichar

On a Saturday in February in 1867, a group of hunters in the Bulandshahr district of India came across a shocking sight. After they tracked a lone wolf to a cave in the jungle, they peered inside and saw the last thing they’d ever expect to find: a six-year-old human boy, alive and well, living with the wolves. 

Though Sanichar led a strange and short life, forever trapped at the dividing line between human society and the animal kingdom, his legacy lives on. In fact, he's allegedly the inspiration for Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling's novel The Jungle Book, which was later adapted into a beloved Disney film. 

But the true story of Dina Sanichar is nowhere near as innocent, charming, or joyful as the Disney version might have us believe. 

Read more...

Episode 34 - Indigenous Boarding Schools

In the summer of 2021, Indigenous people across Canada started visiting the sites of former Indian Residential Schools. With ground-penetrating radar devices in hand, they slowly swept the earth, hoping, with heavy hearts, to confirm a long-held rumor about the untold numbers of Indigenous children who had vanished while enrolled in these facilities. 

Although these recent discoveries in Canada have forced a political reckoning there, the United States is only just beginning to grapple with its own history of Indian Boarding Schools. Starting in the 19th century, the US opened hundreds of schools with the explicit mission... to "Kill the Indian, Save the Man." 

Read more...

Episode 33 - Pocahontas

In 1995, Disney released Pocahontas, a film about a doomed whirlwind romance between a Native American woman, Pocahontas, and an English colonist, John Smith. But although both Pocahontas and John Smith were real people, the film takes some definite liberties with the facts of Pocahontas's life. 

Though she is best known as a Disney character today, the real-life story of Pocahontas is even more captivating than what appeared in the film. 

Read more...

Episode 32 - The Beast Of Gévaudan

Between 1764 and 1767, something evil stalked the quiet hills of Gévaudan, France. The so-called Bête du Gévaudan, or Beast of Gévaudan, attacked hundreds of people, often tearing out their throats. No one knew what it was — or how to stop it.

  Read more...

Episode 31 - Tamám Shud

On Dec. 1, 1948, beachgoers came across a dead man on Australia’s Somerton beach. Well-dressed, and with no signs of trauma, his identity and cause of death eluded local police. Soon, investigators dubbed him the “Somerton Man.”

It looked as though he’d simply laid down for a rest and died peacefully in his sleep. But when police arrived and began examining the body, a baffling and disturbing mystery began to take shape. 

The man had no obvious signs of trauma; someone had cut all the tags out of his clothing, and, most puzzling of all, he had a tiny slip of paper sewn into a hidden pocket in his trousers, which simply read "Tamam Shud.” The phrase, mystifying to investigators at first, is Persian for "it is finished” and the slip of paper was torn from a rare edition of poems by the 12th-century writer Omar Khayyam.

Read more...

Episode 30 - Franz Reichelt, ”The Flying Tailor”

On the morning of February 4, 1912, a man named Franz Reichelt stepped out onto the edge of the Eiffel Tower. He paused there for about 40 seconds as if he was gathering his courage. Then, he threw himself into the air. 

He didn't intend to die — this wasn't an Eiffel Tower suicide attempt. Instead, Franz Reichelt had set out to prove that his prized invention, a bizarre parachute suit, could deliver him safely to the ground. 

Read more...

Episode 29 - The Donner Party

In the 1840s, waves upon waves of Americans headed west to forge a new life. Many of these stories had happy endings while some suffered great tragedy -- but then there was the infamous Donner Party. To this day, nearly 200 years later, their torturous journey and especially their desperate turn toward cannibalism cast a haunting shadow over American history. 

Read more...

Episode 28 - Beck Weathers

After he was last seen being blown away by gale-force winds in Mount Everest's "Death Zone," Beck Weathers' wife was notified that her husband was dead. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle: Beck Weathers climbed down Everest on two frozen feet and somehow lived after having his hands, feet, and nose amputated.

Read more...

Episode 27 - Anneliese Michel

In 2005, The Exorcism of Emily Rose terrified movie audiences around the world as it depicted the aftermath of a fatal exorcism and posed lingering questions about whether or not the character of 19-year-old Emily Rose had truly been possessed by the devil. 

But as unbelievably chilling as the movie’s central story was, it had not actually been invented by some Hollywood screenwriter. In fact, it was based on the horrifying true story of a real exorcism that took place in Germany in the 1970s. 

Read more...

Episode 26 - Amy Winehouse

On July 23, 2011, British singer Amy Winehouse was found dead inside her London home. Just 27 years old, she joined the tragic club of other music icons, like Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain, who had died tragically at that same young age. 

To some, Winehouse’s death seemed like a terrible yet predictable end to a long, public downfall. Right in front of the world’s eyes, Winehouse’s frame had grown skeletal and her behavior erratic. Rumors swirled about her drug addiction, her heavy drinking, and her volatile relationship with her then ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. 

This is the story of Amy Winehouse’s tragic death and the downward spiral that preceded it. 

Read more...

Episode 25 - The Death of Jim Morrison

Sometime in the early morning hours of July 3, 1971, Jim Morrison — the iconic lead singer of The Doors — died of heart failure at the age of just 27. He was found by his girlfriend, Pamela Courson, unconscious in the bathtub of their Paris apartment. 

The questions surrounding his death have endured for half a century — did Morrison truly die of heart failure, as the official reports said, or was it a heroin overdose, or perhaps something else altogether? 

In recent years, new witnesses have come forward to challenge the official account of Jim Morrison’s death. They tell quite a different story, one that might finally rewrite the history of this doomed rock star’s untimely demise. 

Read more...

Episode 24 - Delphi Murders

February 13, 2017, started as a surprisingly warm winter day in the small town of Delphi, Indiana. But the events of this one day would, in an instant, shatter a sense of calm and safety that its few thousand citizens had always enjoyed. That afternoon, 13-year-old Abby Williams and 14-year-old Libby German were out for a walk in the woods when they simply disappeared. 

Read more...

Episode 23 - Bass Reeves

In the second half of the 19th century, in a lawless stretch of land in present-day Oklahoma known as Indian Territory, the name “Bass Reeves” struck terror into the heart of any criminal who was on the run. A deputy U.S. marshal with a quick trigger and a reputation for both doggedness and creativity in chasing down outlaws, Reeves was perhaps the greatest lawman of the Wild West. But Reeves — unlike most lawmen of his day — was Black. 

Read more...

Episode 22 - The Mysterious Disappearance Of Holly Bobo

On April 13, 2011, Holly Bobo disappeared into the woods behind her family's home in Tennessee, leaving investigators with few clues or leads.

Bobo’s disappearance rattled her small community of Darden, Tennessee. But despite having an eyewitness who’d seen her being abducted, authorities struggled to develop any leads. For years, the Bobo family had nothing but a handful of disturbing clues, as well as wrenching questions about the fate of their daughter. 

By the time a pair of ginseng hunters finally found Holly’s bones in the woods nearby, several men had been arrested for kidnapping, raping, and killing her. 

Read more...

Episode 21 - Tombstone

On October 26, 1881, a group of nine outlaws and lawmen gathered in a narrow alleyway in Tombstone, Arizona. Their showdown was the result of long-simmering tensions that had been building between these two groups — tensions about good and evil, right and wrong, and the future of the American Frontier. 

Read more...

Episode 20 - The Rise and Fall of Nikola Tesla

On January 7, 1943, Nikola Tesla passed away at the age of 86 from coronary thrombosis. He died alone, and in debt, at a cheap hotel in New York City. His body was only found when a hotel maid ignored the “do not disturb” sign on his door and decided to enter his room after two days of no activity from within.

It was an inglorious end to a remarkable life. Listen to learn more about the rise and fall of Nikola Tesla, the groundbreaking inventor determined to unlock the full potential of electricity.

Read more...

Episode 19 - Maud Wagner

At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, an aerialist named Maud Wagner struck a deal with a tattoo artist. She would go on a date with him — if he taught her how to tattoo. Thus began the two most important love affairs of Wagner’s life: the tattoo artist and tattoos themselves.

Proudly adorned with hundreds of tattoos, renowned circus performer Maud Wagner was unlike most women in early 1900s America. In an era when women couldn't vote and had little say in their own fate, Wagner proudly took control of her body by decorating it with hundreds of tattoos, ranging from animals to military iconography to her own name displayed on her arm. At the height of her fame in the years before World War I, Wagner would earn the equivalent of about $2,000 per exhibition just to show off these tattoos to awestruck crowds — and then give tattoos to those who wanted them. 

This is the wild, heroic tale of Maud Wagner, the first known female tattoo artist in American history.

Read more...

Bonus: Amy Lynn Bradley - Facebook Live Discussion

On March 12th 2021, History Uncovered went live on Facebook to discuss the disappearance of Amy Lynn Bradley. Listen to episode 18 for more of the backstory, and make sure to follow us on Facebook book to catch our next Facebook live discussion.

https://www.facebook.com/HistoryUncovered

Read more...

Episode 18 - The Baffling Disappearance Of Amy Lynn Bradley

On March 24, 1998, 23-year-old Amy Lynn Bradley disappeared— a Royal Caribbean cruise ship en route to the island of Curacao.

The easiest explanation is that Bradley fell overboard and vanished beneath the ocean waves. But Bradley was a strong swimmer. She was a trained lifeguard. The ship was not far from shore. And there was no evidence that she’d fallen into the water. 

Bradley’s disappearance seems much more sinister than a case of someone accidentally lost at sea. Ever since Bradley vanished, there has been a string of odd sightings of her -- or at least a woman who looks just like her, right down to her unique tattoos. In 2005, someone even sent her family a gut-wrenching photograph that suggested she had been trafficked into sexual slavery. 

But even after more than 20 years, chilling clues like these have given us few real answers, and we’re no closer to solving this baffling mystery than we were in 1998…

Read more...

Episode 17 - The Disturbing Death of Elisa Lam

On February 19th, 2013, the naked corpse of a young woman was found floating in the water tank atop downtown L.A.’s Cecil Hotel.

The hotel’s maintenance workers had gone to check on the rooftop tank after guests complained that their water tasted funny. It was then that they found the severely waterlogged and decomposing body of 21-year-old Elisa Lam. 

Read more...

Episode 16 - The Day Malcolm X And Martin Luther King Finally Met

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. are two of the most iconic figures of the 1960s American civil rights movement. But they only met each other once — briefly, and almost by accident — in 1964.

 

Read more...

Episode 15 - DB Cooper

On November 24, 1971, a man who identified himself as Dan Cooper bought a one-way ticket from Portland to Seattle on Northwest Orient Airlines flight #305. He paid for his ticket in cash and made his way to seat 18C. 

Shortly after take-off, he summoned one of the flight attendants, Florence Schaffner, to his seat. He handed her a piece of paper. The flight attendant, believing it to be a phone number or a pick-up line, slid the note into her pocket. But the man leaned forward. “Miss,” he said. “You’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.” 

Read more...

Episode 14 - The Christmas Truce of 1914

In the midst of the unrelenting violence of World War I, a ceasefire suddenly swept across areas of the Western front in 1914. Massive amounts of life had already been extinguished, but there was one circumstance that halted the brutality and bloodshed.

Read more...

Episode 13 - Trail of Tears

Throughout the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson ordered the forced removal of tens of thousands of Native Americans from their homelands east of the Mississippi River. This perilous journey to designated lands in the west, known as the Trail of Tears, was fraught with harsh winters, disease, and cruelty.

Read more...

Episode 12 - The Salem Witch Trials

In 1692, the quiet Puritan settlement of Salem, Massachusetts descended into madness when its residents suddenly began accusing each other of witchcraft. Now known as the Salem witch trials, this phenomenon would go on to be the largest witch hunt in American history. But what caused the Salem witch trials in the first place?

 

Read more...

Episode 11 - The Black Dahlia

Elizabeth Short, aka the "Black Dahlia," was just 22 years old when she was brutally murdered in Los Angeles on January 15, 1947. It remains one of Hollywood's oldest cold cases to this day.

Discover the grisly true story of the Black Dahlia murder case and learn who may have killed 22-year-old Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles on January 15, 1947.

Read more...

Episode 10 - The Shining Hotel

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. ⁠

Read more...

Episode 9 - The Death Of Jimi Hendrix

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. 

Read more...

Episode 8 - Ida B. Wells

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.

Read more...

Episode 7 - Candyman

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.”

Read more...

Episode 6 - The USS Indianapolis

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.

Read more...

Episode 5 - The Founding Fathers

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.

Read more...

Episode 4 - Plague & Pestilence - Siege of Kaffa

In early 1346, Mongol forces were already three years into their siege of the Crimean port city of Kaffa when their soldiers started coming down with a deadly disease. The sick fell quickly, suffering high fevers and grotesque inflammation, and vomiting blood before dying. 

Listen to learn about the siege of Kaffa, which may have been the origin of the Black Death in Europe.

Read more...

Episode 4 - Plague & Pestilence - The Dancing Plague Of 1518

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. 

Read more...

Episode 4 - Plague & Pestilence - Operation Cherry Blossoms At Night

In the spring of 1945, as the Allies approached victory over the Axis powers, Japan considered launching a terrifying attack on the U.S. mainland. Though the plan’s codename, "Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night," sounded perfectly innocent, the plot was anything but.

Read more...

Episode 4 - Plague & Pestilence - The Carancas Meteorite Sickness

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.

Read more...

Episode 3 - The Lost Franklin Expedition

In 1845, two ships carrying 134 men set sail from England in order to explore an unnavigated stretch of the arctic waters between Canada and Greenland in search of the long sought after Northwest Passage. They would never return again.

Read more...

Episode 2 - The Dyatlov Pass Incident

In January of 1959, nine Soviet college students died under mysterious circumstances while hiking through the Ural Mountains in what's now known as the Dyatlov Pass incident.

Read more...

Episode 1 - The Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi

On June 22, 1983, 15-year-old Vatican resident Emanuela Orlandi went missing and was never heard from again. Her disappearance has been linked to the Pope, Turkish insurrectionists, Italian mobsters, and even a potential covert Satanic orgy ring.

Read more...

Episode 0 - The Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi Preview

On June 22, 1983, 15-year-old Vatican resident Emanuela Orlandi went missing and was never been seen again. Her disappearance has been linked to the Pope, to Turkish insurrectionists, Italian mobsters, and even a potential covert Satanic orgy ring.

Read more...