History

From the Vault: Greek Fire

To engage the ships of Byzantine Empire was to risk the horrors of Greek fire, a medieval weapons system that empowered ships to spew forth flaming liquid on enemy ships and crew members. The secrets of Greek fire are lost to history, but historians and scientists continue to theorize its formula and deployment details. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss the weapon’s history, predominant theories on its specifics and the risks and rewards of secret keeping. (Originally published Aug. 22, 2017)

The Ark of the Covenant

What was the Ark of the Covenant? A mere ceremonial vessel for sacred items? A radio for speaking to God? The golden chest of the ancient Hebrews has fascinated historians, theologians, scientists, dreamers and Nazi-punching archeologists for ages. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick consider some of the more thought-provoking ideas concerning its nature. 

From the Vault: Satanic Panic

What are we to make of alleged ritual satanic abuse and the moral panic that spread in the 1980s and 90s? Robert Lamb and Christian Sager enter a world of religion, fear and demons of the mind. (originally published April 16, 2015)

From the Vault: Dangerous Foods III

Thanksgiving is a time of feasting and the wages of feasting, and so Robert and Joe are here to dish up a third installment of Stuff to Blow Your Mind’s “Dangerous Foods” series. Do you dare bite into the likes of licorice, giant Namibian bullfrog, hallucinogenic fish and wriggling octopus tentacles? (Originally published Nov. 23, 2017)

Stone Age Technology with Dietrich Stout

Paleolithic tools inform not just our understanding of prehistoric lives, but also the evolution and nature of the human mind. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick chat with Emory University’s Associate Professor of Anthropology Dr. Dietrich Stout about the hand ax, tool use and even ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.” 

The Curse

What does it mean when a beggar, wizard or witch spits a curse at another human being? Why does this particular work of magic weigh so heavily in human history? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick take a scientific, historical and cultural look at various curse traditions. 

From the Vault: John C. Lilly

The figure of John C. Lilly as psychedelic dolphin communicator burns in the collective memory as a counterculture avatar, yet his legacy embodies far more than the mythologized and/or vilified figure that most of us know. Join Robert Lamb and Christian Sager as they examine the life, career and ideas of Lilly the scientist, Lilly the counterespionage researcher and Lilly the psychonaut. Welcome to the province of the mind. (Originally published Feb. 23, 2016)

From the Vault: Syphilis

Doctors have called it the great imitator because this destructive venereal disease can manifest almost any symptom. Initially spreading through sexual contact, Syphilis can remain dormant in the body for decades before flaring up again in brutally disfiguring, debilitating and deadly ways. It's difficult to overstate the impact of syphilis on the Western world, and it remains a threat to this day despite effective antibiotic treatments. In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Julie Douglas explore the history of the illness and its cultural effects, from powdered wigs and false noses to surgical advances and vampire myths. (Originally published August 26-28, 2014) 

Divine Weapon: The Trident

What are we to make of the trident? The three-toothed spear has seen service as the divine weapon of mythic deities, the fishing implement of common mortals and a symbolic weapon in gladiatorial combat. What does it mean, and was it ever a practical weapon? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick look for answers in myth, archaeology and military history. 

The Ashen Light

Does the dark side of Venus occasionally glow with a dim, haunting phosphorescence? It’s one of astronomy’s oldest and most enduring mysteries. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for an examination of the ashen light.