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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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

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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

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 know 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

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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

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

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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

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

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

By Robert Lamb

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

In the 1890s, consumption (now called tuberculosis) was ravaging New Englanders. But what caused it? Could it be ... vampires? They exhumed the dead bodies to find out.

By Nathan Chandler

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She's been portrayed as a repentant prostitute, the secret wife of Jesus, a demon-haunted woman and also the apostle to the apostles. So, who was Mary Magdalene really?

By Dave Roos

Was Sanders a real colonel? Does KFC use real chicken or something else? Find out as we bust some myths about KFC and its founder.

By Nathan Chandler

A fictional paradise created by British author James Hilton in the 1933 novel "Lost Horizon," the mystical Tibetan paradise of Shangri-La remains largely mythical, despite the Chinese effort to make it a "real" place.

By John Donovan

These three numbers are a favorite of horror movies dealing with the occult. But where did they come from, and what or whom do they really refer to?

By Dave Roos

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March 15, the Ides of March, has become synonymous with betrayal, lost loyalty and unwelcome surprises. But should this day still make us wary?

By Laurie L. Dove

In comparison to his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, Hades ended up with a mixed bag, ruling over both the dead and everything under the earth, including seeds, grains, gold and silver. But it's not as though the Greek god got the short straw.

By John Donovan