In 1810 someone told hundreds of London merchants that Mrs. Tottenham at 54 Berners Street had requested their services. She hadn't. For a full day the street was packed with crowds of deliverymen struggling to reach a single door -- and the practical joker was never caught.
In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll hear descriptions of the chaos in Berners Street and meet Theodore Hook, the man who probably planned the whole thing. We'll also revisit the mysterious corpse found on an Australian beach in 1948 and puzzle over an octopus stuck in a tree.
In the 1930s, Sinto boxer Johann Trollmann was reaching the peak of his career when the Nazis declared his ethnic inferiority. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe Trollmann’s stand against an intolerant ideology and the price he paid for his fame. We’ll also consider a British concentration camp and puzzle […]
In 1957, 14 boys from Monterrey, Mexico, walked into Texas to take part in a game of Little League baseball. What followed surprised and inspired two nations. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll tell the story of the Monterrey Industrials and their unlikely path into baseball history. We’ll also have dinner […]
In 1932, Yorkshireman Maurice Wilson chose a startling way to promote his mystical beliefs: He would fly to Mount Everest and climb it alone. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow Wilson’s misguided adventure, which one writer called “the most incredible story in all the eventful history of Mount Everest.” We’ll […]
Maybe you had a piano teacher as a kid that drove you off the instrument forever. Or maybe you always wished for some serious training, but never found the time. Whether you have dreams of tossing off a Beethoven or Chopin piece at the drop of a hat or you have visions of being the […]
When you see that curved arrow on the side of a cardboard box, you instantly know that box came from Amazon. The unfurled rainbow feathers of a peacock immediately scream NBC. And a partially eaten piece of fruit in the profile is a world-recognized symbol of tech titan Apple. Icons are powerful symbols, condensing volumes […]
Call it retro. Call it a throwback. Even call it kitsch. But the 80s are still a singular time in pop culture history. From Ghostbusters and Back to the Future to your neighborhood arcade and the Atari 2600, artifacts of that seminal decade still resonate, evoking audible excitement and sighs of pleasant yesteryear remembrance. But […]