In the village of Ponar, in present-day Lithuania, occupying Nazis shot nearly 100,000 people, then exhumed and burned the bodies in an effort to remove all traces of the atrocity. The prisoners forced to dig up and burn the bodies of their countrymen knew there was only one way to get out alive: escape.
In 1931, the historian James Truslow Adams defined the American Dream as “a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable.” His book, The Epic of America, may have popularized the term, but the dream dates back at least to […]
My boyfriend and I share a love of cryptozoology and hidden places. For Valentine’s Day, he bought us matching “explorer” jackets with Nessie and Mothman patches affixed to the sleeves. We have standard hobbies, too—reading, writing, listening to music—but podcasts about Bigfoot and poring over Atlas Obscura is where things get a little weird. In this collection, you’ll meet folks who look at planes, at compasses, at building blocks and at each other (in full Civil War uniform, no less).
Inside Harvard historian Karen King’s discovery of an ancient papyrus fragment that includes the phrase, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife’”: What it does seem to reveal is more subtle and complex: that some group of early Christians drew spiritual strength from portraying the man whose teachings they followed as having a wife. And not […]
Inside 19th Century London’s sewers with “toshers,” who made a living by scouring for trash and waste to be resold: They were mostly celebrated, nonetheless, for the living that the sewers gave them, which was enough to support a tribe of around 200 men–each of them known only by his nickname: Lanky Bill, Long Tom, […]
Tracing the modern Olympics back to their origin in rural England, where there was a very different set of competitive events: Ah, but in Much Wenlock, the Olympic spirit thrived, year after year—as it does to this day. Penny Brookes had first scheduled the games on October 22, 1850, in an effort ‘to promote the […]
On June 10, 1912, a family was brutally murdered in a small Iowa town. The murders remain unsolved: The Moores were not discovered until several hours later, when a neighbor, worried by the absence of any sign of life in the normally boisterous household, telephoned Joe’s brother, Ross, and asked him to investigate. Ross found […]