Viking mythology contains tales of a mystical stone that could help identify the location of the sun on days when foul weather made it impossible to spot with the naked eye. Matt and Charlie question whether such a stone actually existed.Read More
Unlike other mythologies, vikings myths paint a positive picture of wolves and ravens. Could it be that vikings benefited from wolves and ravens? We travel to Yellowstone national park to find out.Read More
CH: Matt's new book has just been released, he's busy with traveling with his book tour to update the site so it's up to the computer guy to do it. The new book title "Science of the Magical", if you like the stuff you hear from us, you'll love what's in the book.
Mythology is rich with tales of saints curing the ill and of wounded heroes travelling to sacred sites to be made well. Is this all just the stuff of fiction? Matt and Charlie take a sceptical look at the healing power of prayer.Read More
The witch Circe was infamous in ancient Greece for her ability to turn men into animals. Might there have been something real to this? Learn more as Matt and Charlie discuss the facts in this fiction.Read More
Matt: We said we'd put up an image so here we go
Matt: What is?
Charlie: I've seen so many pictures and I've never considered there might be a functional element to their makeup.
Matt: In fairness, why would you? We don’t wear makeup for magical or medicinal reasons and, until the research was done that we discussed in our podcast last week, there was no reason to believe that our ancestors did this either.
The apple of Eden is typically disregarded as nothing more than myth but Charlie and Matt are not so sure. Join them as they question whether this story was created by our ancestors to help explain confusing things that they saw in the natural world.Read More
Egyptian followers of the god Horus were well known to paint their faces such that they ended up looking much like their falcon-headed deity. They even believed that this practice granted them divine protection against disease. Matt and Charlie question whether there might have been some reality behind this.Read More
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Zombies in modern pop culture create other zombies by biting or killing the living. This is not what they were like when they first came to be as a monster. They started as slaves, slaves who had once been free-willed people who were killed by sorcerers and then brought back from beyond the grave to do their bidding as undead. It sounds like it cannot possibly have a grain of truth to it but there are likely both poisons and twisted psychology behind this foul monster.Read More
Matt Kaplan: "While we mostly disregarded the idea of zombie mythology having been linked to people getting buried alive after accidents that involved them being knocked out (as opposed to after being poisoned by witch doctors on the island of Haiti), I realized after we ran our podcast last week that there is a really creepy side to this that we didn’t mention. Corpse bells."
Charlie Hsu: "What?!?!"
MK: "They were bells placed above ground that had strings attached to them which ran below to buried coffins where they were fed through holes and placed in the hands of people who were presumed to be dead. The idea was that if someone got buried alive and woke up entombed in their own coffin they could pull the string to let the living world know that they were (A) alive and (B) rather keen to be exhumed."
CH: "There’s something really wrong with you Matt."
MK: "True, but you have to admit it is an intriguing concept. Wouldn’t you like your future coffin to be “corpse bell-enabled” just in case you go down after eating a bit of fugu fish or hitting your head in a car accident?"
CH: "Just out of (morbid) curiosity, where do you get this stuff?"
MK: "Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of our Most Primal Fear by Jan Bondeson."
CH: "That seems like quite a statement. You really think it is our most primal fear?"
MK: "No. I’d think that would have to be getting eaten by a large cat or asphyxiated by a boa constrictor."
MK: "Incidentally, I suspect our innate fear of predators is likely why most of the monsters in our earliest stories are just big carnivorous animals."
CH: "The Roc? The Calydonian Boar? The Nemean Lion?"
MK: "Not to mention ROUS’s."
MK: "Rodents Of Unusual Size"
CH: "I don’t think they exist"
What is a vampire and where do the stories about them begin? How did our ancestors come up with this remarkably odd concept of a monster that sucks blood and dwells in a grave? Is there any science behind all of this? Learn more than you ever wanted to know as Charlie and Matt explore the facts behind this horrific fiction.Read More
Welcome to A Matter of Fact and Fiction where two very curious people explore the intersection of science, myths, and legends. So many of our stories are thought of as just that, stories, but when you take a closer look, there's often a reason these stories have survived, and in that reason there's often a lot of interesting science. Join us
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Podcasts are not all we do, look forward to our videos where Matt inflicts all manner of things on Charlie in the name of experimentation!