History vs. Myth

You don’t need fiction when history provides you with tales as crazy as the ones we’ve collected for you. Read up while your jaw drops.

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How did the Greek goddess Lamia, once said to be a queen of Libya, become a child-murdering monster feared for her malevolent nature?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

This was no mere execution. In addition to being hanged until "almost" dead, body parts were taken out and burned before the head was cut off. And we haven't got to the quartering yet.

By Dave Roos

Chastity belts were supposedly worn by women in the Middle Ages to keep them from having sex. A literal lock for a woman's nether regions. But how much truth is there to this torture device?

By Joanna Thompson

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She was said to be the most beautiful woman in Greece and the bearer of the "face that launched a thousand ships." But who was Helen of Troy, really?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

The mega-hit Netflix show 'Bridgerton' has struck a chord with viewers who love the costumes and the sexy storylines, as well as the diverse casting choices for dukes and duchesses. But is the series just fantasy?

By Alia Hoyt

It may seem that the ouroboros came into existence with the flowering of tattoo culture, but in truth, this symbol is centuries-old and has a fascinating history.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

For almost two centuries, Andrew Jackson's inauguration blowout has been cited as the wildest party ever thrown at the White House. But should we take that depiction with a grain of salt?

By Dave Roos

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You might say there are two Montezumas: the real one who lived and the one who was invented after his death by conquistador Hernán Cortés.

By Dave Roos

The Philistines often show up in the Bible as a ferocious tribe waging war on the Israelites. But what do we know of them from archaeology?

By Dave Roos

She was also the goddess of marriage, women, the sky and the stars of heaven.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Many of us may have a passing familiarity with Norse mythology because of the 2011 film Thor, but there's a lot more to it than Chris Hemsworth's abs.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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The goddess of the hearth, Hestia set the Greek bar for perfection in domesticity, hospitality, the family, the home and the state.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Ask many what they remember about the man who succeeded Stalin and ruled the Soviet Union for a decade, and they'll tell you it's the shoe.

By John Donovan

A story remarkably similar to the Noah's Ark flood account in Genesis was discovered in the Epic of Gilgamesh, a text 1,000 years older. Does that confirm the account or make it more of myth?

By Dave Roos

With two sides to his personality, Dionysus represents joy, ecstasy and merriment, but also brutal and blinding rage, representing the dual effects of overindulgence.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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Prime god Ra died every night and was reborn every morning. The goddess Neith defied gender norms and stereotypes as a great warrior. These are just two of the fascinating stories from the pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

We often think of Puritans as those pilgrims to America whose twin passions were long church services and burning witches. But the truth is far more interesting.

By Dave Roos

The Bible says that God caused Nebuchadnezzar to become insane and live like an animal for seven years as punishment for his arrogance. But is there any historical evidence for this?

By Dave Roos

Ivan the Terrible's sobriquet may have been due to a mistranslation but he sure lived up to it, torturing and killing his many enemies. Still, he didn't start out so evil.

By Nathan Chandler

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In the 1760s in the fields and forests around the town of Gévaudan in southern France, a monster lurked, killing as many as 100 people. But, to this day, the identity, or even the species, of the Beast of Gévaudan remains unknown.

By Nathan Chandler

Persephone, the wife of Hades, lived one-third of the year in the Underworld with him and the other two-thirds of the year on Earth with her mother, Demeter. Pomegranate seed, anyone?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

The Gullah Geechee people of the southern coastal U.S. painted their porch ceilings blue to trick the haints — witchy, shape-shifting spirits — into thinking their houses were surrounded by water, which everyone knows a haint can't cross.

By Katie Carman

Half man, half bull, this raging hybrid could be a perfect symbol of the oft-pondered dual nature of man.

By Robert Lamb

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Is that Henry VIII on the king of spades? If not, then who is it?

By Alia Hoyt

Yep, total power move, swallowing the wife. As king of the gods, Zeus could also, from his commanding position in the sky, blast any human or monster with his lightning bolt.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky