Let me set the scene for you. You’re in your highschool history class and the teacher is telling the story of Rasputin’s weird death. “It’s an amazing tale. He was poisoned but then the poison didn’t take. Then he was shot and he seems to come back to life after he was shot and then they’ve got to shoot him a bunch more times. Even then they have to wrap him up in this carpet and take him down to the river in St. Petersburg and when they find his body it looks like he was trying to claw his way out of the ice.” You’re suspicious. You raise your hand and ask if this is real. “Isn’t that story completely made up?” Your teacher admits he isn’t sure and goes home and does a ton of research only to come back and teach the class how to do that research themselves. You go on with your life, but he’s found something he loves. And that’s how he, Sebastian Major, launched his podcast Our Fake History.
Talking to Sebastian about his show was a lot of fun because he clearly loves what he does as a history teacher and Our Fake History is just an awesome extension of his love of history, storytelling, and wild legends. “The show looks at historical myths,” he explained, telling me that includes myths we believe that aren’t true to history or things we think are only myth but may have some truth to them. “It’s partially a storytelling show and partially a little historical detective work.” Sebastian “tries to keep it as global in scope as possible” and loves covering “fake history” from all over the world.
After the Rasputin incident, Sebastian felt he had “stumbled upon a pretty good idea” and began looking around to see if anyone else was making the podcast he was imagining. When he didn’t find one, he “started making episodes in [his] apartment in Toronto and it found an audience. The internet is a crazy place and it’s been really cool that people have been listening.” Having listeners definitely helps, but Sebastian loves just researching new stories and, when he gets really excited about a topic, dives as deep as necessary to get to the bottom of the mystery. “I’m basically writing a fifteen page double-spaced essay every other week to get the podcast out,” he explained when I asked about his research process.
While Sebastian loves the work, that level of commitment can be exhausting. He told me the most unexpected difficulty of making the show has been the time commitment by far. “You start it thinking ‘this will be a fun little hobby’ and then before you know it it’s taking up huge chunks of your life.” Research takes a lot of time because Sebastian is committed to providing the best possible content for his listeners. After all, they’re the reason he does what he does.
Listeners keep Sebastian going and have been his favorite part of making Our Fake History. “I do really love the topics and I care about them, but the coolest thing is the community that kind of grows around the show. There are people out there that really care about it and like it.” Seeing listeners support him both on social media and on Patreon has been “really beautiful and kind of humbling” for Sebastian and he is excited to see more and more people join the community.
Looking forward, Sebastian is excited to make more shows and see them “get better and better.” He told me that the number of listeners has reached that “critical mass” that starts opening up more opportunities and he is looking forward to where those take him. So if you love history, a good myth, or a lot of investigation, listen to Our Fake History and be sure to leave a rating and review to let Sebastian know what you think!
Chasing Pods is a Podchaser blog series dedicated to letting our readers know about podcasts they may not have heard of or provide a sneak peek into the making of their favorite podcast. We talk to podcast creators about their journey into podcasting, the creation of their shows, the ups and downs of the work, and what they’re looking forward to for their podcast
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