True stories behind American Tall Tales

True Stories Behind American Tall Tales

jackalope

These days, nobody pretends that a superhero like Captain America is a real dude. But back in the centuries before the internet made fact-checking into a spectator sport, a variety of zany “tall tales” lifted up the stories of ordinary mortals and made them into metahuman gods, capable of insane feats of strength, supreme marksmanship, and more. Real American history looks boring compared to the fantastical version told around campfires, where a towering giant carved out the Grand Canyon, a carnivorous “Red Ghost” haunted the desert, and the first U.S. president was such a swell guy that he never, ever lied.

Read More: https://www.grunge.com/131142/true-stories-behind-american-tall-tales/?utm_campaign=clip

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Grunge.com: Fake archaeological finds that nearly changed history

Good morning, folks! Got another piece I wrote for Grunge.com, telling the history of archaeological hoaxes that made the world spin backwards—until they got found out, anyway. From the Cardiff Giant to the Kensington Runestone, here are some of the craziest.

Fake Archaeological Finds That Nearly Changed History

At some point in your childhood, you probably wanted to be an archaeologist. Depending on your age, it probably had a lot to do with either the Indiana Jones movies or Tomb Raider. Either way, nothing seemed cooler than digging out old bones, relics, or religious items, and then forcing those snobby history book editors to make revised editions. Real-life archaeology might not involve magical arks that melt people’s flesh off, but it’s still insanely cool: When archaeologists uncover ancient plumbing, statues, or fossils, they reveal the history of humanity, plug up the holes, and sometimes prove old theories wrong.

Every once in a while, though, a prankster gets in the mix and tries to cash in on some fake discovery. These turkeys always get found out sooner or later, but not without breaking some hearts on the way. Here are some of the biggest archaeological hoaxes that would have changed history.

Read More: https://www.grunge.com/131569/fake-archaeological-finds-that-nearly-changed-history/?utm_campaign=clip

Real life people who had medical conditions named after them

Everyone wants to leave their mark on history, and there’s no better way to do that than having something important named after you. A bridge? Awesome. A new invention? Great! An obscure scientific theory? Well … everyone who understands it will appreciate it. It’s no different when it comes to the world of medicine and psychology, where long and unique names like Alzheimer, Klinefelter, Münchausen, and Tourette now fly off any nurse’s tongue as easily as a kid spouting Latin dinosaur names. While critics oppose the practice of naming medical conditions after people, it’s definitely easier for non-medical folks to remember a unique name than a string of letters.

This raises a question, though: What does an ambitious person have to do if they want a medical condition named after them? The answer isn’t so clear. Sometimes doctors get the credit, sometimes it goes to a well-known patient, and sometimes, telling a few exaggerated stories will do the trick.

Read More: https://www.grunge.com/125859/real-life-people-who-had-medical-conditions-named-after-them/?utm_campaign=clip

Time for a Grunge Roundup

Greetings, everybody! As longtime readers know, one of my regular assignments is writing for Grunge.com, where I explore topics from the sociological to the bizarre and otherworldly, depending on the day.  It’s been a while since I’ve linked you all to some of my more recent pieces, so here are a few favorites:

 

Messed up things about elementary school you only notice as an adult

messed up elementary school kid trauma problems

We all remember our elementary school days, but those memories aren’t always so happy. In this article, I examine some of the most inane and problematic policies guiding elementary schools in the United States, including the emphasis on competition (spoiler alert: competition actually inhibits learning), forcing kids to ask for a bathroom pass (who came up with that nonsense?) and why taking away recess actually makes unruly kids more unruly. Read on!

 

 

The bizarre true story of Bigfoot, America’s missing ape

sasqets bigfoot sasquatch native american

Is there really a hairy, humanoid creature wandering through the woodlands of the United States? Probably not, but you never know, and the world would be a lot more fun if there was. Regardless, the legend of sasquatch goes back surprisingly far: various versions of a bigfoot-like figure played key roles in the spiritual belief systems of multiple North American indigenous peoples. Here’s the story!

 

Secrets of living in Antarctica

antartica john kerry research south pole ice snow

Ever wondered who lives in Antartica, how long they stay there, or what they do? Ever wondered what kind of job applications those Antarctic stations might be taking? Wonder no more, because here are (some) answers. Learn the ropes, seek out the iciest continent, and who knows: maybe one day soon, you’ll join the ranks of the 300 Club, the esteemed group who do naked races from a 200 °F  sauna out into a -100 °F Antarctic night. Yes, really.

All right, yanny or laurel?

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the audio file that’s tearing up the internet. Take a listen, and tell us what you hear:

 

So, is it “yanny” or “laurel?”

Yes, there is a technical explanation for this, which has to do with frequency (read that here, on Vox). However, what’s so interesting about this whole shebang—and what was also interesting about the infamous “dress”—is how it tests the limits of perception: we experience reality in a certain way which we often think of as being somewhat objective, which is why it’s so alarming when others perceive the same things in totally different ways. This then calls into question the very method (I.E., our senses) which we use to define the universe around us. Sure, reality exists. But do our eyes, ears, nose, or hands actually understand it? Not so much. It’s probably no surprise to anyone that this interests me, considering it’s one of the big themes in Intraterrestrial

Anyway, when you folks play the clip, what do you hear?

(For what it’s worth, I’m definitely hearing yanny.)

 

REBLOG: Something in the Nothing: A Radio Play

Nicholas Conley

Something in the Nothing Nicholas Conley Alzheimers radio play dementia nursing home new hampshire

From the author of Pale Highway comes a radio play that aired live on WSCA 106.1 FM in New Hampshire, on August 23rd, 2016. Set in a nursing home, Nicholas Conley’s Something in the Nothing tells the simple story of a conversation between an Alzheimer’s patient and his caregiver — a conversation that will have a dramatic impact upon both of their lives, forever.

Something in the Nothing stars the voices of John Pearson, Erika Wilson, Jessica Rainville, Jessie Duthrie, David Phreaner, and Suzy Manzi. The play was directed by John Lovering from an original script by Nicholas Conley.

Listen to Something in the Nothing below:

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Benjaman Kyle: The Crazy True Story of the Guy Who Lost His Memory

It’s hard to forget the story of Benjaman Kyle, the man found unconscious by a dumpster with no identity, no past, and no way to recover it. Benjaman Kyle’s bizarre tale blew up across the internet for years (I wrote about him here, for instance), as countless people tried to help figure out his identity, or at least get him some form of identification.

Well, in 2015, Benjaman Kyle’s true identity was discovered: William “Bill” Powell. And his past is an interesting tale unto itself.

For those who are interested in reading more about Benjaman’s story, I recently wrote a piece on him for Grunge. Check it out below:

The crazy true story of the guy who lost his memory

Benjaman Kyle Bill Powell