Weird History is a podcast focusing on out-of-the-way, obscure, weird, and forgotten corners of history, from Joe Streckert, an independent journalist in Portland, Oregon. New episodes appear on Thursdays.

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107 Squanto, Tisquantum

Squanto and other Native Americans are a fixture of popular depictions of what has retroactively been termed the First Thanksgiving, such as in the fanciful, inaccurate 1914 painting pictured below, by Jennie Brownscombe. That popular image, reproduced so much in […]

106 Live at the Jack London, the Portland Vice Scandal

In 1950s Portland, police and racketeers worked hand-in-hand to provide the city with gambling, protitution, and other in-demand vices such as pinball. The man in charge of all of this was Jim Elkins who, for a brief period, was Portland’s […]

105 The Giants of Patagonia

For about 250 years, Europeans thought that giants lived in Patagonia. The inventor of this myth was Antonio Pigafetta, a member of the Magellan expedition who, in his memoir of the circumnavigation, reported seeing a huge man approximately ten feet […]

104 Thomas Jefferson, Mastodon Hunter

Thomas Jefferson loved mastodons, in part because he wanted to prove that American animals were not degenerate. In the late 1700s a French naturalist, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, published a massive, multi-volume natural history called, appropriately Natural History. In […]

103 How Gothic Got Goth

“Gothic” has described a lot of things: Mustachioed barbarians just outside the Roman empire, grand cathedrals such as Notre Dame and Chartres, eerie literature like Dracula and Frankenstein, and music by bands such as Joy Division and The Cure. This […]

102 Five Scary Clowns

Anymore it seems like scary clowns outnumber standard, whimsical clowns. Clowns are monsters, figures of fear, and they seem more likely to laugh with homicidal mania than laugh with joy. How did that happen? How did a figure of fun […]