Our Fake History

A Society, Culture and History podcast featuring Sebastian Major
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King Arthur is easily the most requested topic in the history of this podcast. This probably isn't a surprise given Arthur's stature in world of mythology. But is Arthur more than a myth? Was there a real person who lived around 500 AD who inspired…
OFH will return on April 9th after a short hiatus. Sebastian announces what topic he will be covering when the show returns! 
Vodka may be the most controversial alcohol in history. The origin of the distilled liquor continues to be one of the culinary world's most bitterly contested historical debates. This is partially due to the fact Vilyam Pokhklebkin, the worlds fore…
Some of the most enduring historical myths have to do with food and drink. Food history can sometimes be seen as frivolous, which makes it particularly vulnerable to myth-making. As a result some of the world's most popular foods are saddled with b…
Recounting the atrocities that took place in the Congo Free State during the reign of King Leopold II is a daunting process. It was a state where sadism was the norm and severed human hands became a grizzly form of currency. Still, a proper account…
The creation of the Congo Free State was one part cheap hustle and one part military occupation. King Leopold II managed to convince Europe he was a noble humanitarian while he was secretly building one of the most exploitative colonial states in A…
There are few colonial enterprises as infamous as the Belgian King Leopold II’s Congo Free State. While most people have a vague understanding of the atrocities that took place there, many don’t know the strange story of international fraud that le…
Graham Hancock's hypothesis that an advanced global civilization was lost from history after a cataclysm at the end of the last ice age, sounds like it should be fun. It isn't. Wading through all of Hancock's claims can be exhausting. Nevertheless,…
They are few researchers as controversial as Graham Hancock. He first found fame in 1995 when he published his international bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods. In that book he first proposed his hypothesis about a super-ancient global civilizatio…
The fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm can often surprise modern readers with their violence and cruelty. There is something particularly haunting about the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the spurned rat-catcher who used his magical f…
When I spoke to Jon Waterlow he reminded me that George Orwell once said that every joke is a tiny revolution. Well, it turns out jokes can be even more than that. In his fantastic new book, It's Only a Joke Comrade: Humour, Trust and Everyday Life…
There are few moments in Joseph Stalin's life that are not the subject of historical controversy. These controversies inevitably become more heated when we start discussing the deaths that occurred during Stalin's reign. Perhaps the most destructiv…
Stalin's biography may be one of the most contested in modern times. As early as the 1930's his life story was being written by friends and foes alike. The competing versions of Stalin's past has made finding the truth particularly difficult. How i…
The are few 20th century figures as perplexing as Josef Stalin. Historians widely agree that Stalin was responsible for the deaths of some 20 million human beings. Despite that his legacy has remained the topic of serious debate. This is because th…
In the first episode of Season 4 Sebastian looks at the historical reputation of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Hadrian has been celebrated as one of Rome's "five good emperors", but is that reputation actually deserved? Hadrian's reputation is complic…
In this final episode of Season Three Sebastian turns his attention to sports! The question of who invented a particular sport can sometimes be a matter of national pride. As such sports history can become hotly contested. It should then come as no…
In a small town outside of Canada's capital city of Ottawa there sits a remarkable relic of the atomic age. It is a massive bunker that would have become the headquarters of the Canadian government if the country was the target of a nuclear attack.…
When I was researching Helena Blavatsky I was often amazed at how someone so weird, with such an outrageous life story, could inspire so much dull writing. That was until I discovered Gary Lachman's 2012 biography Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Mo…
In the final chapter of our series on the occult guru Helena Petrovna Blavatsky we look at her surprising move to India and the scandal that ultimately destroyed her reputation. After being publicly called out as a fraud Blavatsky's Theosophical So…
Occult guru Helena Blavatsky lived a life that defied explanation. However, her books might be even harder to explain. Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine are massive collections of esoteric thought that defy description. Her supporters have hail…
There are few stranger figures from the 19th century than Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Her absolutely unbelievable life story has puzzled biographers since the 1800s. Nevertheless, her occult spiritual philosophy would end up being remarkably influen…
The legend of the fountain of youth is one of humanity's oldest pieces of lore. Tales of magical water sources that can reverse the aging process exist in dozens of different cultures around the world. But perhaps the person most associated with th…
An essential part of Cleopatra's legend is her relationship with the Roman Marc Antony. Everything from their first meeting, to their decadent courtship, to their inevitable suicides has become the stuff of legend. Despite being remembered as two o…
Ancient authors would have us believe that the Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, used an intoxicating blend of sexuality and extravagant living to manipulate powerful men. In fact some have gone so far as to lay every bad decision made by her lovers at he…
There are few ancient women as well-known as the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. However, most of what we know about her comes from sources that were edited and censored by her enemies. She has been portrayed as a manipulative seductress whose influence …