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Description:

History that's stranger than fiction. 5 minutes long. Updated once a month.

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Podcast Episode's:
I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 27 Dude! Where’s My Poe
Author Edgar Allan Poe is known for some of the best horror fiction around. He's also a bit of a sad sack for whom things never seemed to go right. In the days leading up to his death, he vanished. He was found in clothes that didn't belong to him, unconscious. Though he did wake, no one could make sense of his ravings before he died. Join author Melanie Miller Fletcher and I as we discuss our favorite theories about what might have happened to Poe.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 26 The Birth of the Byronpire
Author Melanie Miller Fletcher is my special guest for this episode. Join us as we discuss the birth of Science Fiction and the modern vampire (A.K.A. the Byronpire).
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 25 Lifestyles of the Rich and Poisonous
Though the Robert Browning poem The Laboratory is a fictional poem, it may be based on a true event. A scandal that swept 17th century France, leading all the way to the Sun King's inner circle, and right to the doors of his official mistress.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 24 The Real Rapunzel
There is a story of a girl who is locked away in a tower and forbidden to see her one true love.  But this is no story about a signing princess with a talking animal friend.  And the king in this story is the bad guy.  
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 23 Why You Shouldn’t Order The Lincoln Special
When you’re a high-profile figure, your life isn’t really your own. This can even be true of elected officials. Particularly martyred elected officials. Such was the case with Abraham Lincoln, who was sent on a farewell tour after his death that would have been worthy of any rock band.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 22 He Gave His Life For Tourism
When he was born, about 1342 BC, Tutankhaten’s life wasn’t his own. But the boy who would become known to us as Tutankhamen would be especially noteworthy because even in death his story isn’t his own.
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I am Not Making This Up: Ep. 21 The Fabulous Fox Sisters
Imagine if you were 11 years old, and your April fool's prank got out of hand. So out of hand that it spawned a major religion? This actually happened to Kate Fox. She, along with her two sisters, Maggie and Leah ended up helping to found the Spiritualism movement after a practical joke got out of hand.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 20 Tell My Friend Willie Brown
Robert Johnson is known as the king of Blues and the granddaddy of Rock and Roll, influencing some of the biggest names in music from Bob Dylan to Eric Clapton. Johnson's life is shrouded in myth, and fans have filled in the gaps with even more myth. Legends say that he sold his soul at a crossroads in Mississippi to gain his legendary guitar skills.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 19 How The West Was Spun
Go anywhere in the world, and ask people what they think of Americans, and the word "cowboy" is likely to pop up. How is it that a brief 50 year period involving the least populated part of the United States has come to define the country as a whole? You can thank - or blame depending on your viewpoint, a man named Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West show.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 18 Barnum’s Burning Buildings
Recently it was announced to the world that in May of 2017, the Ringling brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus would be rolling up it's tents for the last time. P.T. Barnum revolutionized entertainment for a country that was just starting to have leisure time. But One thing Barnum is not known for, but maybe should be, is the many, many times a building that he owns burned down.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 17 Warrior, Princess, Badass
If I asked you to name a badass warrior princess, you might mention Xena or Wonder Woman. But one real life woman left them all behind. Her name was Khutulun, and she was the great-great-granddaughter of Genghis Khan.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 16 When Frederick Law Olmsted Changed The World
In 1857, if a New Yorker wanted to get away from the city, he or she would go to a cemetery. That all changed with the establishment of Manhattan's Central Park, and it's architect and superintendent, Frederick Law Olmsted.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 15 Would The Real Anastasia Please Stand Up?
It was a cold February night in Berlin, 1920, when Franziska Shanzkowska jumped into the Landwher Canal. We know why she jumped: she’d lost her fiancee during the war.  She’d also suffered from an accident in the munitions plant where she worked.  She had scars, a head injury, possibly survivors guilt and definitely depression. In […]
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I am Not Making This Up: Ep. 14 Agatha Christie’s Personal Mystery
Agatha Christie is the bestselling author of all time.  Her works outsell Shakespeare, J. K. Rowling, and Stephen King.  Even if you’ve never read her work, you’ve probably heard of Murder on the Orient Express, or And Then There Were None. But a greater mystery sits at the heard of Christie’s life.  In 1926, after […]
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 13 Tale Literally As Old As Time
Out of all the fairy tales known worldwide, Beauty and the Beast, or “La Belle et la bete” as it is known in French, may be one of the most popular.  The themes of the fairy tale are even recycled in such popular and well-known works as The Phantom of the Opera and Twilight. Versions […]
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 12 The Titanic Man
 All Carlos Hurd wanted was to take a vacation.  But when he boarded the Carpathia for Italy with his wife, Katherine, the reporter and his wife were put on the path to the most Titanic scoop in Carlos’s life.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 11 People Were Once Paid To Be Garden Gnomes. This Is A Thing That Happened.
In the 18th century, the English took conspicuous consumption to a whole new level when they hired actual old men to live in their gardens as ornamental hermits.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 10 The Littlest Pirate
Lots of kids talk about running away to join the circus or become pirates. But few actually do it. However in 1716, one boy did. His name as John King, and he was around ten years old.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 9 That Time Edwin Booth Could Have Changed Everything
Let's talk a little about Edwin Booth. People don’t remember the other two Booth brothers. John Wilkes Booth casts a long shadow. And when they do, it’s because Edwin once rescued Robert Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son, from being crushed by a train. There’s a certain neatness in the symmetry of that. One brother saves a son, while the other murders a father. But there was a time when Edwin’s name outshone his more infamous brother. There was a time when, by the right word or the right action, Edwin might have put his brother on a different path.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 8 Why Some People Hate History
Until you saw the musical Hamilton, You probably got the impression that the founding fathers all got along and always knew exactly what they were doing. That's because people like to tell stories.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Special Announcement
If you don’t have a lot of patience to listen to the audio, it says that starting next week, I’ll be producing the I Am Not Making This Up podcast twice a month instead of only once.  From now on, look for it on the first and third Monday of every month.  
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 7 Herodotus. The Michael Bay of the Classical World
Imagine if that massive solar flare that scientists worry about actually hits Earth and wipes out all electronics.  What if in 2,000 years time, the only record we have of WWII (or that WWII even happened) is the massively lucrative yet historically inaccurate film Pearl Harbor, directed by Michael Bay? Believe it or not, something […]
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 6 That Time the Catholic Church Put A Corpse on Trial
If you think politics now is strange, we have nothing on the ancient Catholic Church. At one point, a sitting pope put a former pope on trial. It went a little like the Monty Python dead parrot sketch.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 5 That Time the French King Was Cannibalized (Podcast Version)
If one of your party guests has a reputation for eating anything, perhaps you shouldn't pass him a prized family heirloom. Especially if it's the mummified heart of a famous King.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 4 The Most Bonkers Race in Olympic History
Next time someone mentions the plight of the Olympic athlete, remember that it's not that bad. They could be forced to run a marathon through a cloud of dust while wearing cutoff shorts, having cramps & being chased by dogs while their trainers try to poison them.
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 3 That Time Someone Caught a Shark In Illinois
Herbert Cope and his fishing partner Dudge Collins knew they had a big catch in their fishing trap.  Maybe some kind of Muskie or Catfish.  But when they hauled it in, they never expected a 5 foot long shark. They were after all, in Illinois.  Research links: Sharks In Illinois The Strangest Shark Story Ever
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 2 The Curse of the Little Bastard
My short story, The Hobos, The Devil and James Dean’s Car is featured over at the pulp magazine Crimson Streets. You can read it here. In honor of the publication, I’m podcasting an abridged version of the article that inspired the story.  If you’d like to read the longer article, you can do so here. […]
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I Am Not Making This Up: Ep. 1 That Time Wallpaper Killed Napoleon
During the Industrial Revolution, nearly everything could kill you. You could catch the flu from your big, drafty manor house, catch illness from your unpasteurized milk, or poison yourself wearing an arsenic green silk dress..
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