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Underwater timbers related to the Batavia shipwreck being tagged by researchers off the coast of Western Australia.

Skeleton found at shipwreck site is a reminder of a brutal massacre off the Australian coast

On June 4 th 1629, a contrived dispute in order to instigate a mutiny on the Duch East India Company vessel, the Batavia, culminated in the deaths of over more than 120 people. The bodies of the dead...
People using a Ouija board

Out with the Ouija Board! How the Popular Divining Tool Influenced A Modern Murder Case

A convicted double murderer has won the right to a retrial on the basis that four of the jury had used a Ouija board the night before finding him guilty. Does this mean that the UK judicial system...
Was Wang Mang a visionary, or a murderous villain – or both? (Wang Mang art italkcafe.com, The Analects of Confucius; Deriv)

The Emperor is Dead, Let Confucianism and Chaos Reign! The Rise and Fall of Wang Mang and the Xin Dynasty

Some saw Wang Mang as an evil usurper – others a selfless visionary. Either way, an emperor lay dead, and a learned Confucian scholar sought to bring peace and harmony, but the dynasty would descend...
Detail of a Fresco from the North wall of the Tomb of the Diver in Paestum, Italy depicting Pederastic couples at a symposium.

Assassins in Ancient Athens: The Tyrannicides, Harmodius and Aristogeiton

Harmodius and Aristogeiton: the citizens of Athens knew the names of these lovers all too well in the 6th century BC. But it isn’t their love story that captured attention. These two men are...
Some Saxon Queens had killer reputations. (Public Domain);Deriv.

Killer Queen: Meet Queen Elfrida – The Original Wicked Stepmother

History has seen some incredible, cut-throat politics and lurid scandals, including the reign of Queen Elgiva: a teenage Saxon princess who was caught enjoying a threesome (along with her mother!),...
Ötzi or Kelab as portrayed by Jürgen Vogel in Der Mann aus dem Eis (Iceman).

Ötzi the Iceman Becomes a Movie

Inspired by Ötzi’s fascinating story for survival, German filmmaker Felix Randau attempts to revive the life of the most famous natural mummy in history though a feature film. Der Mann aus dem Eis (...
Detail of the Castelinho da Rua Apa.

Castelinho da Rua Apa: The Brazil’s Little Castle of Horror

In 2015, work began on Castelinho da Rua Apa, or Little Castle of Apa Street, to restore it to its original grandeur. This house originally resembled a medieval French castle, but due to years of...
Detail of a Phoenician grinning mask, 4th century BC, found in a grave at San Sperate, Cagliari, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

An Ancient Method of Forced Euthanasia: The Disturbing Truth Behind a Sardonic Grin

Creepy and more than a little uncomfortable to behold, one usually thinks of DC Comics' Joker when hearing the phrase "sardonic grin." A "smile" that pulls up the corners of the mouth in a way that...
Mysterious man on a creepy night. Who really killed the King?

Who Killed the King? Was it Eochaid the Slayer? An Ancient Irish Murder Mystery

It might almost be a shocking moment from a Shakespeare play or even a plot-line from Game of Thrones, but the murder of an ancient Irish king, Crimthann mac Énnai, is an event which actually took...
The Medieval ring found in Kavarna, Bulgaria (Image: Kavarna Municipality)

Jewelry to Die For: 14th-Century Bulgarian Ring with a Killer Dose

When a medieval ring was uncovered by Bulgarian archaeologists excavating the remains of the medieval fortress on Cape Kaliakra, near the town of Kavarna on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, they were...
Detail of ‘The Martyrdom of St. Andrew’ (1646-1647) by Charles Le Brun.

The Violent Birth of ‘Martyrdom’ – How the Ancient Concept Informs Modern Religious Violence

Gervase Phillips / The Conversation The word “ martyr ” has evolved into one of the most emotive terms in the English language. The faithful venerate their memories, celebrate their feast days, name...
Section of skulls at the tzompantli found near the Templo Mayor, Mexico City

Gruesome Remains of Aztec Skull Tower Discovered in Mexico Include Women and Children

Archaeologists have uncovered a tower of human skulls beneath the heart of Mexico City. The new find has given birth to new questions about the culture of sacrifice in the Aztec Empire after numerous...
Yorkshire Photo Walks (Tom Marsh/CC BY 2.0), and Grey Lady. (CC BY 2.0); Deriv.

Staked Through the Heart and Buried at the Crossroads – The Profane Burial of Suicides

I uncovered a curious tale about a scrubby patch of land while writing a book on the folklore and history of East Anglia. Marked on modern maps as Lushbush, you pass it heading eastwards out of the...
The Ill-fated Elling Woman: An Iron Age Sacrifice to Appease the Gods?

The Ill-fated Elling Woman: An Iron Age Sacrifice to Appease the Gods?

Elling Woman is the name given to a well-preserved bog body that was discovered in Denmark during the first half of the 20th century. By then, this type of remains had already been found in Denmark’s...
A 700-Year-Old Murder Mystery: Who Bludgeoned the Bocksten Man to Death and Why?

A 700-Year-Old Murder Mystery: Who Bludgeoned the Bocksten Man to Death and Why?

Around 700 years ago, a young man, who has come to be known as ‘Bocksten Man’, was struck three times on the head, then tossed into a peat bog and impaled with three wooden poles to prevent his body...
Face of a Pictish Male Who was Violently Murdered 1,400-Years-Ago is Reconstructed in Incredible Detail

Face of a Pictish Male Who was Violently Murdered 1,400-Years-Ago is Reconstructed in Incredible Detail

A team of Archaeologists excavating a cave in the Highlands of Scotland, were amazed to discover a superbly preserved skeleton of a Pictish man at the entrance. With the help of technology,...

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