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Our Fake History

A History, Education and Society podcast featuring Sebastian Major
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Best Episodes of Our Fake History

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Episode #46- What Went Down at the Siege of Vienna? (Part III)
The 1683 Siege of Vienna often gets described in apocalyptic terms. It has been characterized as the ultimate showdown between Christianity and Islam. There is no doubt that it was a dramatic and significant moment in European history, but should it be mythologized as the ultimate battle for the fate of European civilization? Tune in an find out how the Riders of Rohan, mole wars, and knights with freakin' wings on their backs all play a role in the story.    
Episode #73- What Can We Believe About Stalin? (Part 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 the history of his regime was actively distorted by both Stalin himself and his many enemies. Stalin tried to make himself myth. His enemies tried to show that he was monster. Who was he really? Tune in and find out how pools of urine, webbed toes, and unpaid library fines all play a role in the story.    
Episode #68 - Who Was the Mother of the Occult? (Part III)
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 Society never really regained it's prestige. But how legitimate were the accusations that were leveled against the so-called "mother of the occult"? Tune in and find out how Thomas Edison, a mysterious hole in a wall, and Ghandi all play a role in the story.    
Episode #47- Who Was the Queen of the Pirates?
Piracy on the high seas has existed for as long as human beings have had boats. For most of history these maritime marauders were almost exclusively men. However, there have also been a handful of notable women who lived the pirate life. Their stories can often blur the line between myth and history. Tune in and find out how severed ears, guardian lizards, and the real life Captain Jack Sparrow all play a role in the story.
Episode #75- What Can We Believe About Stalin? (Part III)
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 destructive myths about Stalin are those that deny his involvement in the mass famines and political purges of the 1930's. How do you stay objective when the facts are so upsetting? Tune-in and find out how dead hockey teams, secret poisonings, and anti-communists sunspots play a role in the story.     
Episode #45- What Went Down at the Siege of Vienna? (Part II)
In July of 1683 the Ottoman Turks were closing in on the city of Vienna. The outnumbered Austrians frantically prepared their defenses and did their best to manage the panic that was gripping the city. The battle that was about to begin would be so dramatic that it would give birth to countless myths and legends. Just how important was the 1683 Siege of Vienna? Did civilization really hang in the balance? Tune in and find out how rotten wigs, bands of brothers, and Austrian pee pee baths all play a role in the story.   
Episode #69- What Does Gary Lachman Think About the Mother of the Occult?
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 Modern Spirituality. Gary graciously agreed to join me on the podcast to discuss Blavatsky, the challenges that come with writing about the occult, and even David Bowie. Tune in and find out how cats named Khoot Hoomi, female body guards, and rock n' roll occultists all get mentioned in the interview. 
Episode #74- What Can We Believe About Stalin? (Part II)
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 important was Stalin in the early days of the Bolshevik Party? Was he a shadowy political nobody or one of the impetuous leaders of the revolution? Tune in and find out how clever pigs, Big Brother, and Michael Corleone all play a role in the story.    
Episode #44- What Went Down at the Siege of Vienna? (Part I)
The 1683 Siege of Vienna has been remembered as one of the most dramatic moments in European history. The Ottoman Turks threw the might of their empire against the walls Vienna in an attempt to capture a prize they called the "Golden Apple". This event would give birth to countless myths, both big and small. Tune in and find out how J.R.R Tolkien, a seven headed dragon, and 280 terrifying burlap bags all play a role in the story! 
Episode #66- Who Was the Mother of the Occult? (Part I)
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 influential. Was Helena Blavatsky truly a modern sage gifted with improbable spiritual powers? Or, was she just another 19th century huckster duping the naive? Tune in and find out how Tartar Shamans, ghost boxes, and a magician who pretends to be Chinese all play a role in the story.      
Episode #24- Did Ty Cobb Kill a Guy?
Ty Cobb has been remembered as one of baseball's greatest villains. Despite being universally recognised as one of the game's most talented players, Ty Cobb is mostly remembered as violent racist who was hated by all who knew him. However, a new biography is claiming that Ty Cobb's reputation was unfairly tarnished by an unscrupulous biographer looking to make a name for himself by exposing the "real Ty Cobb". Was Ty Cobb really the monster that so many believe him to be? Tune in and find out how forged letters, pistol whippings, and Tommy Lee Jones all play a role in the story.
Episode #90- How Bad Was Blackbeard? (Part II)
Thanks to the mysterious pirate historian Captain Charles Johnson, Blackbeard became a truly legendary villain. According to the Captain, Blackbeard indulged in practically demonic behavior. The devil himself was rumored to be a crew member aboard Blackbeard's infamous flagship, The Queen Anne's Revenge. However, most of the really scandalous stories about the pirate cannot be verified by independent sources. Does Blackbeard really deserve his terrifying reputation? Tune in and find out how sniveling puppies, swimming headless bodies, and the ultimate double-cross all play a role in the story.
Episode #59 - How Do You Explain the First Crusade? (Part II)
Peter the Hermit was one of the most important people of the medieval era. He was instrumental in rousing the peasants of Europe and convincing them to march east on crusade. However, for someone so significant we can say almost nothing about him for sure. His life is basically one big legend. In our quest to explain the First Crusade we first need to try and explain its most charismatic leader. Tune in and find out how fake massacres, holy visions, and donkey riding all play a role in the story.
Episode #79- Who Are the Magicians of the Gods? (Part II)
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, Our Fake History has taken on the task. Does Hancock present any compelling evidence in his book? Tune in and find out how Vulture-men, decoder rings, and a real life archaeologist all play a role in the story.  
Episode #77- Was There a Real Pied Piper?
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 flute to kidnap over one hundred children. The most disturbing part of the story is that it might be true. While there was probably no magical flute, there may have been a real historical event that inspired the fairy tale. Tune-in and find out how ska bands, jester skeletons, and Stephen King all play a role in the story.
Episode #30- Will the Real Anastasia Please Stand Up?
When Tsar Nicholas II was executed in 1918 the Bolsheviks pumped the Russian media full of misinformation. The official story was that the Tsarina and the Prince had been spared and moved to a safe location. Absolutely nothing was said about the four imperial princesses. This would give rise to one of the most robust historical myths of the twentieth century--- that the Princess Anastasia had escaped the execution and made her way to freedom. Soon impostors started popping up all over Europe claiming to be the missing princess. But were any of these claims legitimate? Tune in find out how "Dad behaviour", Jamie Lee Curtis, the German Kaiser, and the best brother in the world all play a role in the story.
Episode #35- Did Pocahontas Really Save John Smith? (Part I)
The story of Pocahontas is one of the most enduring legends of America's early colonial period. Her relationship with the Englishman John Smith would become the inspiration for everything from cheesy romance novels to Disney films. However, the reality behind this beloved story is far more grim. Should the story of Pocahontas be written off as a romantic fable, or is there some truth to be found? Tune in and find out how international men of mystery, legitimate piracy, and three severed heads all play a role in the story. 
Episode #10- Did the Aztecs Think Cortés Was A God? (Part II)
The story of the war between the Aztec (Mexica) empire and the Spanish conquistadors is one of the most dramatic in world history. The accounts of the conquest are diverse and, at times, contradictory. Some sources claim King Montezuma truly believed the conquistador Hernan Cortés was the god Quetzalcoatl. But can these sources be trusted? Tune in and find out how psychedelic flute concerts, the Wizard of OZ, Scrooge McDuck, and novelist Vladimir Nabokov all play a role in the story!  
Episode #4- Real Ninjas?
Ninjas, Japan’s shadow warriors, have been a pop-culture staple for generations. The legend of the ninjas has become so overblown, that some have gone so far to suggest that they never truly existed. But that is just what the ninjas want us to believe! The ninjas were very real, and they played a pivotal role in Japan’s “warring states period”. Nevertheless, separating ninja-fact from ninja-fiction continues to be a tall order. Listen and find out how medieval water noodles, puppet emperors, toilet warriors, and Seb’s horrific pronunciation of Japanese names all fit into the story!  
Episode #48- What Does Mark Adams Think About Atlantis?
The podcast is celebrating its second birthday! For our season finale we have something a little special. This week Sebastian is joined by New York Times Bestselling author Mark Adams. Mark is the author of the excellent book Meet Me in Atlantis, an incredibly readable exploration of the weird world of Atlantis research. Sebastian and Mark get deep into Atlantis theories and commiserate about the professional hazards of dealing with historical mysteries. Tune in and find out how google earth, cooky theorists, and snarky McClean's reviewers all play a role in the story.    
Episode #52- How Lionhearted was Richard? (Part II)
Richard the Lionheart did his best to make himself a legend in his own time. He was flamboyantly chivalrous in a way that was designed to get attention. His charm campaign seemed to work. Generations of minstrels and storytellers were happy to pick up on this thread and embroider his life story with colourful legends. But is Richard really deserving of this romantic reputation? Tune in and find out how brothel chicken, frying pan shields, and weird three-way handshakes all play a role in the story. 
Episode #72- Did Emperor Hadrian Murder His Teenage Lover?
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 complicated by the mysterious death of his teenage lover, Antinous. What should we believe about this strange chapter in the life of one of Rome's most celebrated emperors? Tune in and find out how radical beards, fantastical walls, and ancient man-love all play a role in the story.    
Episode #97- Who Built the Pyramids? (Part I)
The Egyptian pyramids are easily the most mythologized pieces of architecture on the planet. They have inspired historical myths and misconceptions essentially as long as "history" has been a literary genre. The so-called "father of history" Herodotus was one of the first writers to try and explain the construction of the Pyramids. But should we really trust a guy who has been called the "father of lies". Tune in and find out how my weird dating system, ancient machines, and Egyptian bathroom habits all play a role in the story.    For tickets to the upcoming OFH 100th Episode LIVE event follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/our-fake-history-100-live-podcast-tickets-78201840811?aff=eac2 
Episode #55- Who Was Japan's Greatest Swordsman? (Part I)
The samurai swordsman Miyamoto Musashi is the archetypal lone-wolf warrior. Legend has it that in course of his life he fought over sixty duels and never once lost. His psychological strategies and unique two sworded fighting style made him one of the most famous martial artists in Japan's history. However, many of Musashi's most celebrated exploits have been distorted by centuries of myth-making. What should we believe about the famously scruffy swordsman? Tune in and find out how flabbergasted monks, Harry Potter, and the Samurai Forest Gump all play a role in the story.     
Episode #3- Was There A Real Labyrinth?
Is the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur just a bedtime story for morbid children or does it contain the kernels of real history? This week we dive into this classic myth and discover how it might hold clues about a real conflict between ancient bronze-age civilizations. Tune in to discover how bull jumpers, volcanic eruptions, boys with double-daddys, and the real life Indiana Jones all play a role in the story! 
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Podcast Details
Jul 21st, 2015
Latest Episode
Nov 6th, 2019
Release Period
No. of Episodes
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
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