Futility Closet Podcast #004: Mystery Airships, Marauding Lions, and Nancy Drew

Hosted by Greg and Sharon Ross, Futility Closet is an interactive exploration of the popular website that catalogs more than 7,000 curiosities in history, language, mathematics, literature, philosophy, and art. In each episode we answer listener questions, discuss recent popular posts on the site, share readers' contributions on previous topics, present intriguing leads that we've encountered in our research, and offer a contest in which listeners can match their wits.

In 1896 a strange wave of airship sightings swept Northern California; the reports of strange lights in the sky created a sensation that would briefly engulf the rest of the country. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll examine some of the highlights of this early "UFO" craze, including the mysterious role of a San Francisco attorney who claimed to have the answer to it all.

We'll also examine the surprising role played by modern art in disguising World War I merchant ships and modern cars, discover unexpected lions in central Illinois and southern England, and present the next Futility Closet Challenge. (See show notes for the episode.)

GET Futility Closet: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode | Listen on Stitcher