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Narratively Out Loud
The diverse human storytelling of Narratively.com, spoken out loud.
40 mins ago
The Great Cottonmouth-Catching Get-Rich-Quick Scheme of 1956
As a reptile-obsessed teen, I ran away to hunt lizards in the Everglades, then hatched a plan to milk venom from deadly snakes. It went even more comically wrong than you're thinking.
Apr 7, 2021
The World War II Hero Who Proved It’s Possible to Beat the NRA
A half-century after he helped liberate Dachau, Felix Sparks lost his grandson to gun violence. His surprising victory reminds us how one determined person can take on political giants.
Mar 30, 2021
The Royal Spy Who Became the Feminist Answer to Shakespeare
Aphra Behn was the first English woman in history to work as a professional writer. The only thing more colorful than her boundary-pushing stories was her own secretive life.
Mar 24, 2021
The Lost Prince of Yacht Rock
In 1978 he was music’s next big thing. Then his album bombed, he began a long slide into obscurity, and a bizarre fraud sent him to prison. Will Dane Donohue finally get his encore?
Mar 17, 2021
How I Wrote Myself into a Real-life Romantic Comedy – That Turned into a Survivalist Thriller
As a filmmaker, I thought I could write the screenplay for my own love life. When I got lost in a hailstorm at 12,000 feet, searching for my ex, I realized I desperately needed a new ending.
Mar 10, 2021
The Audacious Tabloid Couple Who Scammed Their Way Into New York’s High Society
The vaudeville dancer and his beguiling Parisian wife arrived in Manhattan in 1911 with secret identities in tow. They enjoyed wealth and notoriety for years—until it all came crashing down.
Mar 3, 2021
The Killer Doctor, the Swirling Fire, and the World’s Most Haunted Building
This block in Brazil has been home to one of the deadliest skyscraper disasters in history, a doctor with a murderous secret, and—some say—a curse that goes back centuries.
Feb 17, 2021
The Extraordinary Trial of the Child Soldier Who Became a Brutal Rebel Commander
Kidnaped at 9 by Joseph Kony’s vicious guerilla army, Dominic Ongwen was groomed to kill. Is he a lost soul deserving of mercy, or a cold-blooded war criminal who must face justice?
Feb 3, 2021
How Kenny Washington Broke the NFL’s Color Barrier...And Why You’ve Never Heard of Him
He pushed past brutal racism to become the first Black player in major league sports—a year before Jackie Robinson—yet even his own kids never knew his full story. It’s time everyone did.
Jan 27, 2021
The Masked Vigilantes Coming for Your Horrible Boss
Jan 20, 2021
The Heroines of Halifax and The World’s Greatest Explosion
In 1917, a ship collision caused the biggest accidental blast the world has ever seen. While the city’s male leaders dithered, a band of volunteer nurses leapt into action.
Jan 14, 2021
The Secret Society of Lightning Strike Survivors
After the sudden and intense drama of getting hit, they suffered from devastating symptoms that wouldn’t go away. It seemed like no one could help—until they found each other.
Jan 7, 2021
Her Best Friend Was Her Secret Stalker
A 19-year-old student was inundated with lewd messages and fake Facebook profiles pretending to be her. The most shocking part was the person behind it all.
Dec 23, 2020
King Chaos, Queen Cricket and One Long, Strange Year in a Roadside Homeless Camp
At this lawless encampment of rickety RVs, residents face eviction, addiction and machete battles, but their self-made community is the only thing they have.
1 hr 2 min
Dec 10, 2020
The Obsessive Life and Mysterious Death of the Fisherman Who Discovered The Loch Ness Monster
A humble Scotsman saw something strange in the water—and daringly set out to catch it—only to have lecherous out-of-towners steal his fame and upend his quest.
Nov 19, 2020
How to Learn About Sex When Your Famous Sex-Advice Father Teaches You Nothing
My dad, Dr. Drew, spent decades hosting Loveline, which gave guys the wrong idea about my own expertise in bed. No one ever saw me for me—until I figured out how to see myself.
Nov 12, 2020
The Distinguished Medieval Penis Investigators
In fourteenth-century England, one of the only ways a woman could get a divorce was if her husband was impotent. But first, she had to prove it in court.
Nov 5, 2020
And the Cure for Millennial Burnout Is ...This Giant Penguin
Pengsoo was created for children’s television, yet it became such a surprise sensation with adults that it was named South Korea’s person of the year. Now it's ready to take over the globe.
Oct 29, 2020
Snowed in with a Ghost
I moved into a haunted building in a ritzy resort resort town and sank into a terrifying depression. I never dreamed the thing that saved me would be the woman who died in my apartment.
Oct 22, 2020
How Ted Bundy’s Killing Spree Launched a Legion of Feminist Karate Masters
When a serial killer terrorized 1970s Seattle, these women banded together to defend themselves. Now they’re teaching a new generation to take control.
Oct 15, 2020
The Pandemic Ruined My Poly Relationship—But Saved My Marriage
I should have expected my relationship with my boyfriend to crumble during quarantine. More surprising is that I fell back in love with my husband.
Oct 8, 2020
The Secret Sisterhood of Offshore Oil Workers
Living on a remote oil platform 60 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico is no easy assignment. Now imagine being one of the first women to ever step on board.
Sep 30, 2020
The Warriors of a Failed Revolution
Fifty years ago, young idealists swore to end American injustice. When their movement splintered, their lives diverged—from quiet college prof to infamous kidnappers to filthy-rich hotelier.
Sep 24, 2020
My Journey Into the Secret Subculture of Gays With Guns
With anti-LGBTQ hate crimes on the rise, groups like the Pink Pistols have seen membership soar. After an attack in my hometown, I understood their need to defend themselves.
Sep 17, 2020
My Dad, the Globetrotting Businessman, Paleographer...and Spy?
Growing up, I thought everyone’s parents told them bedtime stories about being chased by the secret police and dodging bullets. As an adult, I started to wonder just who Dad really was.
Sep 10, 2020
Food Fads Have Always Been Ridiculous. Just Ask the Great Masticator.
Horace Fletcher preached the gospel of fanatically chewing food until it completely dissolved in the mouth. Even celebs like Upton Sinclair and Franz Kafka drank the Kool-Aid.
Sep 3, 2020
I Professed My Love at Mile 15...But Not to My Husband
I married my childhood best friend when we were still young...then fell in love with my running partner. Welcome to a love triangle more intense than any marathon.
Aug 27, 2020
How to Subvert a Democracy, Stage 6: Cover Your Tracks
Once you have obtained the future you were fighting for, it’s time to rewrite history.
Aug 27, 2020
How to Subvert a Democracy, Stage 5: Showdown
After legitimizing your fake news channel, transition into all-out information warfare. (And bring in a few real guns, too.)
Aug 27, 2020
How to Subvert a Democracy, Stage 4: Divide and Conquer
You can rile up the public by confusing and polarizing them. The key is to exploit their own existing vulnerabilities.
Aug 27, 2020
How to Subvert a Democracy, Stage 3: Create Your Own News
To get the people on your side, you need to change the media narrative. A few hired hacks and a “passive sabotage program” will do the trick.
Aug 27, 2020
How to Subvert a Democracy, Stage 2: Condition the Masses
In advance of full-blown psychological warfare, seeds of doubt and conspiracy must be planted and watered.
Aug 27, 2020
How to Subvert a Democracy, Stage 1: Propaganda and Puppets
Before launching an information assault, build out a network of agents and scapegoats that will allow your own government to maintain “plausible deniability.”
Aug 27, 2020
The (Literally) Unbelievable Story of the Original Fake News Network
Once upon a time in Guatemala, the CIA hired a cocky American actor and two radio DJs to launch a revolution and oust a president. Their playbook is being used against the U.S. right now.
Aug 20, 2020
America’s Most Flamboyant Private Eye and the 8,000-Mile Manhunt
Jay J. Armes is a legendary and controversial Texan investigator with hooks for hands and six decades chasing criminals. This was his most epic murder case ever.
1 hr 2 min
Aug 13, 2020
The Secret Life of Russia’s Remote Freedom Fighter
After being threatened with her life, this democracy activist packed up and fled. Now she’s fighting from afar—with one eye always over her shoulder.
Aug 10, 2020
My Lifelong Journey to Find Pee-wee Herman
My first attempt to meet him turned out to be a cover story for my parents' messy split. Thirty years later, I decided to find Pee-wee on my own terms.
Aug 6, 2020
Daughters of the Bomb: A Story of Hiroshima, Racism and Human Rights
On the 75th anniversary of the A-bomb, a Japanese-American writer speaks to one of the last living survivors—and traces connections from Malcolm X to the fight to end nuclear war.
Aug 3, 2020
The International Murder Case That Changed My Reporting Career
As a jaded TV news producer covering a murdered musician, a sexist mayor, and a brewing protest movement, I had no choice but to become a part of the story.
Jul 27, 2020
An American Tragedy: The Colorful Life and Shocking Death of Ovid Neal III
On the dark streets of a college town, two teenagers hoisted a rock and ended a man’s life. His loved ones want to know when we’ll finally value the lives of homeless people.
Jul 23, 2020
Longshot Dreams and Slapshot Fiends in the Ultimate ’90s Pro Sports League
In the age when Rollerblades were king, a crew of wide-eyed rookies and grizzled NHL vets brought hockey-on-wheels to the cusp of the big time.
Jul 20, 2020
My Wild Escape Into the Parrot Protection Program
I was the only woman on a volunteer crew sent into the jungle to defend a dwindling bird population from pet-trade poachers. And I saved my sense of self in the process.
Jul 16, 2020
Two Geniuses, One Wheelchair and an Audacious Plan to Swim with the Whales
When the oceanographer who discovered whale songs met the paralyzed disability rights leader, they began a quest that grew more dangerous and beautiful than they ever imagined.
Jul 13, 2020
The Dangerous Undersea Search for Missing Military Heroes
From the English Channel to the Pacific, one band of volunteer divers look for the remains of American M.I.A.s. I joined and discovered this mission can be perilous — even deadly.
Jul 9, 2020
The New Sisterhood of Black Female Homesteaders
From the South Side of Chicago to tiny off-the-grid Carolina farms, a growing number of Black women are reclaiming the land — and their mental and physical health in the process.
Jul 2, 2020
That Time I Spontaneously Flew Across the World for a Dead Rock Star
I was nursing a devastating breakup when I suddenly found myself in Switzerland, trying to talk my way into Freddie Mercury’s birthday party. It was the best decision I ever made.
Jun 30, 2020
Conscripted Into The Emperor’s Private Orchestra
What do a crew of talented musicians do when forced to serve at the pleasure of a notoriously cruel dictator? They play like their lives depend on it.
Jun 25, 2020
The Crime Victim Who’s Obsessed with True Crime Shows
After I was injured in a school shooting, I found unexpected comfort in binging grisly TV shows and podcasts. And I’m not the only one.
Jun 22, 2020
How the World’s Most Venomous Fish Convinced Me to Stop Working Myself to Death
I spent years practically glued to my computer. Then one heartstopping encounter left me thankful to be alive – and made me realize I wanted to live much differently.
Jun 18, 2020
The Quarantined Hippies Trapped in a Jungle Paradise
When COVID flared in Panama, 20 travelers from 18 countries holed up in this eco-village and shut the gates. Things in the outside world got worse, and now they might never leave.
Jun 15, 2020
My Father's Fanatical Feud With the Bullies Next Door Became an All-Out War
When the neighbor boys harassed me, my dad grabbed his rifle and set booby traps. Cops were called. Death threats were made. One thing was certain: He would never let them win.
Jun 10, 2020
The King Who Ordered a Quarantine to Flatten the Curve 4,000 Years Ago
Little was known about the mystery disease that was ravaging the ancient kingdom of Mari. But King Zimri-Lim knew the key to stopping it was social distancing — and no small amount of patience.
Jun 8, 2020
The American Medical System Doesn't Care How Much My Vagina Hurts
Living with a rare vulvic condition is painful enough. But the worst part is navigating the nightmarish health care maze that can make women feel invisible.
Jun 4, 2020
The Indigenous Woman Behind South America's Biggest Male Chefs
Patricia Pérez uses her grandmother’s ancient map of the desert to forage for plants and herbs no one else on Earth can access.
Jun 1, 2020
My Secret Life as a Personal Assistant to “America’s Most Eligible Man”
The diverse human storytelling of Narratively.com, spoken out loud.
May 28, 2020
The Black Investigator Who Went Undercover as a White Man in the Jim Crow South
Walter Francis White helped the NAACP document the truth about lynchings in America. The fact that he could pass as caucasian came in very handy.
May 21, 2020
My Father, the QAnon Conspiracy Theorist
After my parents got divorced, Dad began a slow slide into isolation. Eventually he found consolation in the darkest corners of the web. Can I help him get back out?
May 18, 2020
My Unhealthy Obsession with My Dead Middle School Crush
We barely knew each other as kids, but years later I was still so fixated about his death that I got a tattoo of his name. At 30, I decided it was finally time to figure out why.
May 14, 2020
Meet the People Who Believe They’ve Traveled to a Past Life
Christopher was an ancient Egyptian prisoner. Stephanie's dating the man who had her murdered. They and many others swear by the controversial benefits of past-life regression.
May 11, 2020
The Teenage Prank That’s Lasted 60 Years
I was a bored high schooler when I made up a harmless story about the creature from the sandpits. Decades later, its legend still haunts our small Southern town.
May 7, 2020
The Indigenous Rebel Who Took the Fight to White Settlers
As colonists spread across North America, Louis Riel took up arms against the state — and was demonized in Canada’s history books. After 150 years, it’s time to reevaluate his legacy.
May 4, 2020
The Secret Society of Self-Stingers
Nothing worked to ease the pain of chronic illness — until I discovered bee venom therapy. Now I’ve stung myself thousands of times, and found a community of people who became my closest friends.
Apr 27, 2020
Help! I Think I'm Falling in Love Over Zoom
I vowed to spend the coronavirus quarantine focused on looking inward and improving myself. Then I went on one virtual date and everything changed.
Apr 23, 2020
The Pirates of the Highways
On America’s interstates, brazen bands of thieves steal 18-wheelers filled with computers, cell phones, even toilet paper. And select law enforcement teams are tasked with tracking them down.
Apr 20, 2020
The King Who Became a Pirate
When King Erik VII of Denmark was forced from the throne, he did the only thing any self-respecting descendent of Vikings could: He joined the warriors of the sea, and hit right back at his enemies.
Apr 16, 2020
Where Journalists Prepare for the Worst the World Can Throw at Us
At these frighteningly realistic boot camps, reporters like me train to cover everything from endless war to deadly pandemics — and create camaraderie that we’ll carry to every assignment.
Apr 13, 2020
The First Family of Counterfeit Hunting
Robert Holmes taught his sons everything he knew about exposing black-market knockoffs. Now they take down the world's biggest scammers while dodging threats from the mob.
Apr 8, 2020
The Black Widow Bank Robber’s Web of Secrets
Through a life of crime that spanned five decades, Linda Calvey’s husbands and lovers kept turning up dead. Now she’s out of prison, turning 72 today, and determined to clear her name.
Apr 6, 2020
Secret Life of an Anonymous Speechwriter to the Stars
At work, I’m a ghost: always heard, never seen. But mastering the voices of celebrities and politicians helped me learn to speak for myself.
Apr 2, 2020
The Astonishing Rise of “Blair the Flair”
He’s been a Beverly Hills rich kid, a teen on the run with his drug-kingpin dad, and a homeless father scraping to get by. Next stop for Blair Cobbs: world champion boxer.
Mar 30, 2020
My Secret Life as a Coronavirus Nomad
As a freelance journalist, I’ve struggled financially for years. Then the pandemic hit and I got thrown on the street. But I will go on — I always do.
Mar 26, 2020
Music Saved Her Life. Now She Wants to Save Yours.
After the loss of three loved ones, Jacqui McLoughlin was debilitated from grief. Then one moment at a Flaming Lips concert changed everything.
Mar 23, 2020
Searching for the Woman Who Saved My Immigrant Family from Homelessness
In this time of Islamophobia and hatred, I needed to understand what made a white stranger open her home to us.
Mar 19, 2020
The Acrobatic Immigrant Who Invented Pilates in a Prisoner of War Camp
Interned during WWI, circus entertainer Joseph Pilates used found materials and his fellow prisoners as his test lab, and imagined an exercise system that would captivate millions.
Mar 16, 2020
How Conquering the Disney Cosplay Universe Helped Me Finally Love My Body
As a kid, I thought I was too fat to dress up as my favorite cartoon characters. As an adult, I discovered a subculture that became one of the greatest joys of my life.
Mar 12, 2020
Lifelong Quests! Lawsuits! Feuds! A Super-Serious Story About Cereal.
The world’s most obsessive breakfast-food fans demonstrate just how far humans will go for the sweet taste of nostalgia.
Mar 9, 2020
My Name-Twin Was Arrested for Robbery...and Everyone Thought It Was Me
When I bumped into the other Davon Clark in college, it was funny. When friends confused our dating profiles, it was weird. When he got in trouble with the cops, my life started to fall apart.
Mar 5, 2020
The Woman Who Found a Snail in Her Soda and Launched a Million Lawsuits
Sixty-six years before the infamous spilled McDonald’s coffee, May Donoghue drank a ginger beer with a dead mollusk in it and changed personal-injury law forever.
Mar 2, 2020
My Secret Life Tracking Down Medical Debtors
Only in America does a friendly substitute teacher with a mountain of medical debt spend her nights serving summonses to other desperate people like me.
Feb 27, 2020
Unmasking the Spiritual Scammers of Paris
Legions of phony psychics have twisted an ancient West African tradition into a billion-dollar business that cons desperate and lovelorn people. One band of volunteers is determined to stop them.
Feb 24, 2020
The Million-Dollar Scammer and His Many Mormon Marks
How an audacious con man with fake ties to the pinnacles of the church ran an epic scheme and swindled those who trusted him most.
Feb 20, 2020
The 19th-Century Nurse Who Was Secretly a Serial Killer
“Jolly Jane” Toppan overcame a miserable Dickensian childhood to become a medical professional patients adored. She was also slowly murdering them one by one.
Feb 17, 2020
All Hail Yo-Yo, 4-Year-Old Mayor of the Cancer Ward Clowns
My mission as a hospital clown was bringing laughter to life’s darkest moments. One little kid in chemo taught me what the job was really all about.
Feb 13, 2020
The Donkey Farmer’s Magical Matchmaking Book
In the era of online dating, one septuagenarian Irishman clings tight to a method passed down through the generations—and thousands of happy couples are luckier for it.
Feb 10, 2020
How to Transition When Your Models of Masculinity Are Macho Biker Dudes
By night I was a queer butch artist. By day I worked with guys who were handy with a hammer and quick with a gay joke. Both worlds taught me about being a man.
Feb 6, 2020
This Millennial’s Alter Ego is a Forgotten Female Surgeon From WWI
Most war reenactors are older men, but 27-year-old Lillian Fehler stands out for designing uniforms that are historically accurate down to the tiniest details.
Feb 3, 2020
What I Learned About Life at a Company That Deals in Dead Bodies
My thankless, bizarre job made me feel like I’d be more valued if I just died at my desk and gifted them my corpse.
Jan 30, 2020
The Greatest Political Sh*tshow That Ever Was
Bribery! Impeachment! Drug smuggling! Gambling! Judges getting drunk in the chambers! The Florida Supreme Court scandals of the 1970s make today’s political circus look tame by comparison.
Jan 27, 2020
I Was Taught to Hate My Lesbian Neighbors. They Took Me In Anyway.
The summer my parents’ marriage was falling apart, my best friend’s two moms saved me—even though my dad said they were going to Hell.
Jan 23, 2020
The Unsung Black Musician Who Changed Country Music
From the moment DeFord Bailey stepped onto a stage in Nashville, country music would never be the same. It was decades after his death before he finally got his due.
Jan 20, 2020
How Stripping in Gay Bars Brought Me Back to God
When I came out, I rejected the church before it could reject me. But an unlikely friendship formed over cash-stuffed briefs showed me a new way to have faith.
Jan 16, 2020
Two Gay Chinese Dads. One Long and Winding Trip to Fatherhood.
Their journey starts in a country where gay marriage and surrogacy are illegal, and spans four years, two continents, and hundreds of thousands of dollars—all to get a kid of their own.
Jan 13, 2020
I Survived My Own R. Kelly Story
At first it seemed like the talent scout genuinely wanted to help. Before I knew it, I was trapped in a middle-aged man’s house with creepy rules and sadistic, cult-like punishment.
Jan 9, 2020
The Deadliest Marksman’s Cold, Brave Stand
Eighty years ago this winter, a freezing Finnish farm boy took aim at the unstoppable Red Army — and became the greatest sharp-shooter the world has ever seen.
Jan 6, 2020
Secret Life of a Broke Personal Finance Guru
The diverse human storytelling of Narratively.com, spoken out loud.
Jan 1, 2020
I Quit My Job at 50 to Reinvent Myself. Pro Tip: Don't Do This.
My fantasy was to escape from the corporate grind. After a taste of freedom and months of hare-brained schemes, I begged to be captured again.
Dec 23, 2019
The Invisible Boy Who Became Mr. Invincible
One man's unlikely journey from servant and prisoner of war to bodybuilding champion — with an epic, trans-continental love story along the way.
Dec 19, 2019
The Pope Who Wrote an Erotic Novel
Before his rapid rise to the top of the Catholic Church, Pius II had a secret passion for scandalous stories. And they may have been inspired by his own life.
Dec 16, 2019
My Long, Strange Journey Writing About the Minecraft Universe
I was raising two young boys after my husband died, taking any writing gig I could. My 40 novels about dragons and exploding creepers helped connect us more than I ever imagined.
Dec 12, 2019
The Mystical, Mind-Sharing Lives of Tulpamancers
Drawing on ancient Tibetan practices and a very human need for companionship, these people believe they have figured out how to create sentient beings within their own bodies.
Dec 9, 2019
My Secret Lives in The Facebook Role-Playing Universe
As a shy teen, my cure for loneliness was a weird and wonderful world where we created fake celebrity profiles — and formed surprisingly intimate connections.
Dec 5, 2019
The Gruesome and Heroic Afterlife of Peter the Dog
The grisly murder of Athol McCowan gripped a sleepy coastal region in Australia. But even more shocking was how the killer’s exhumed pet dog served as star witness in the trial.
Dec 2, 2019
I Had a Postpartum Mental Breakdown—and Was Convinced I Was Dead
When I became a mom at 19, my depression spiraled out of control until I reached a delirious state. I was very much alive, but certain I'd been dead for years.
Nov 28, 2019
A Whaleship Full of Cannibals (Who Happen to Be My Family)
My parents love the tale of how our ancestors’ whaling ship capsized, turning the crew into cannibals. As an environmental reporter, there’s no story I dread hearing more.
Nov 25, 2019
My Secret Life as a Reporter for “Doll Reader” Magazine
The diverse human storytelling of Narratively.com, spoken out loud.
Nov 18, 2019
The First and Final King of Bloodless Bullfighting
He pioneered a version of this ancient sport in which animals aren’t hurt, drawing legions of fans to a sleepy Texas border town. His last wish: someone to carry on his legacy.
Nov 14, 2019
The Sea Farming Sisters in Recovery
How one enterprising Mainer is harvesting a new cash crop — and building a powerful support network for women who need it most.
Nov 11, 2019
How Living with Baboons Prepared Me for Living Through High School
The world of mean girls and cliques was a startling change from working alongside my primatologist parents. Fortunately, I’d learned a bit about navigating vicious social structures.
Nov 7, 2019
The Secret Life of a Professional Statue
How staying perfectly still for tips — despite tourists’ bewildering lack of boundaries — taught me to stand my ground in life.
Nov 4, 2019
My Father Scared Me Speechless. Here’s How I Got My Voice Back.
After years of terror and abuse, the simple act of speaking paralyzed me with fear. Now I will never be silent again.
Oct 31, 2019
No Sex in the Bunkbeds! Tales from the Most Intimate Sharing Economy Startup Yet
Privacy is rare, quiet hours are sacred, and don’t even think about hooking up. Meet the grown-ups who call the glorified dormitories of PodShare home.
Oct 28, 2019
Diary of an Awkward Teenage Balloon Artist
Entertaining kids with inflated animals is tough—and when you’re a math-team nerd competing for gigs against your charismatic crush, it can blow up your entire life.
Oct 21, 2019
The Secret Revenge of an Assault Survivor
At 11, Estella killed her rapist and fled to the U.S. Fifty years later, she’s revealing the story that made her the resilient woman she is.
Oct 14, 2019
Confessions of a Fainting Man
My whole life, any time something has unnerved me — from high school math to childbirth class — my heart rate slows, the blood stops pumping to my brain, and I drop like a rock.
Oct 14, 2019
The Day the Native Americans Drove the KKK Out of Town
The North Carolina Klan thought burning crosses would scare the Lumbee tribe out of Robeson County. That’s not how things went down.
Oct 10, 2019
The Pen Pal Who Changed a President
When corruption threatened the administration of Chester A. Arthur, one ordinary woman put pen to paper. Julia Sand’s passionate letters caught his attention, and rewrote history.
Oct 7, 2019
My Secret Life as an Underage Massage Therapist
As my hands addressed their aches and pains, my clients shared their fantasies and fears with 15-year-old-me. Little did they know, I was dealing with family drama of my own.
Oct 3, 2019
The Diver Who Brings Up the Bodies
So many Indian farmers are killing themselves that bodies pile up at the end of one long canal. Gurbaksh Singh helps their families find closure.
Sep 30, 2019
That Time I Conducted an Autopsy Without Any Medical Training
I thought it was hilarious when my friend in medical school snuck me into the exam room—until I was asked to lead the procedure.
Sep 26, 2019
The Swift and Merciless Execution of Corrine Sykes
When a wealthy white woman turned up dead in 1944, Philadelphia wasted no time sending her black maid to the electric chair. But did anyone care about the truth?
Sep 23, 2019
My Secret Life as a Mysterious Multimillionaire’s Personal Assistant
It started with a simple Craigslist ad. Before long I was being sent on sketchy tasks, pocketing wads of cash, and trying not to think about where his money came from.
Sep 19, 2019
The 11-Year-Old Girl Taking Skateboarding By Storm
Sky Brown wowed the internet with her jaw-dropping videos before she even hit grade school. Her next trick: earning a spot in the 2020 Olympics.
Sep 16, 2019
Stand-Up Comedy Saved My Life. Literally.
I had a gun in my hand when I decided to finally give that open-mic night a shot. Seven years later, I’m a professional comedian.
Sep 12, 2019
The Great Everywoman Outfit Contest of 1915
A century ago, a cadre of women demanded to be freed from the tyranny of fashion. Their innovative ideas and radical demands—pockets!—took the country by storm.
Sep 11, 2019
The Unlikely Style Icon Teaching Older Women to Be Fashion Rebels
Judith Rizzio has spent a lifetime on the frontlines of feminism. She thinks there’s nothing more radical than women of a certain age declaring fashion is for them, too.
Sep 9, 2019
I Escaped the Cult. But I Couldn’t Escape the Cult Mentality.
After leaving the Children of God, I was so proud to join the Army. But then I had to ask myself: Was I trading one culture of blind obedience for another?
Sep 6, 2019
The Mysterious Evacuation of Sunspot Observatory
A year ago today, the FBI suddenly shut down a remote mountaintop observatory with no explanation. The Internet went wild with theories.
Sep 2, 2019
I Wrote Erotica Before I Ever Had Sex
My detailed fantasy life began with explicit X-Files fan fiction in junior high. It took a long time for real-life sex to catch up.
Aug 29, 2019
The Rapid Rise and Sudden Fall of a Kratom Kingpin
He built at $60,000-a-month business selling opioid alternatives out of his apartment. His clients say he saves lives. The government wants to shut him down.
Aug 26, 2019
How My Song Became an Unlikely Protest Anthem—in Hong Kong
I'd given up on a music career when a song I posted online took on a strange new life. Suddenly I had a #1 hit, and an entire new life on the other side of the world.
Aug 22, 2019
The Curse of Playing the Wicked Witch of the West
After nearly dying while filming “The Wizard of Oz,” Margaret Hamilton spent the rest of her career trying to escape her character’s evil shadow.
Aug 19, 2019
Confessions of a Professional White Asshole
How I built a lucrative career (and gradually sold my soul) playing caricatures of awful white dudes on black TV shows.
Aug 15, 2019
The Secret Order of Swiss Medical Saviors
In a country known for being modern and precise, an ancient healing practice passed down from the heavens has surprising staying power.
Aug 12, 2019
Confessions of a Misfit on the Dog Show Circuit
Being a young, tattooed queer person in this hoity-toity world hasn’t always been easy. But I’ve found a way to follow my passion while letting my freak flag fly.
Aug 8, 2019
Meet the Paranormal Moms Society
These suburban mothers are deadly serious about chasing ghosts.
Aug 5, 2019
How Theme Parks Kept My Globetrotting Family Grounded
Through diplomatic placements that sent us all over the world and a scandal that changed everything, we always returned to Disney World.
Aug 1, 2019
The Pregnant Scientist Who Raced Against Death to Transform Physics
In 1749, Emilie du Châtelet feared bearing a child at 42 would be the last thing she did. In her final year, she worked furiously on a magnum opus that would change the world.
Jul 29, 2019
Risking Life and Limb to Catalog the World’s Plants
“Plant collection” may not sound perilous, but while scaling boulders and dodging snakes, I learned just how much these intrepid explorers risk to help understand our world.
Jul 25, 2019
Secret Life of a Leftist Doomsday Prepper
When it comes to preparing for the end of civilization, gun-loving red-staters aren't the only ones taking matters into their own hands.
Jul 22, 2019
The Man with the Golden Airline Ticket
My dad was one of the only people on Earth with a good-for-life, go-anywhere-you-choose pass from American Airlines. Then they took it away. This is the true story of having—and losing—a superpower.
Jul 18, 2019
The Chinese Park Where Senior Citizens Go Looking for Love
In a country where wealth and divorce are increasingly common, older people are preparing for their leisurely retirements—by searching for spouses in a public park.
Jul 15, 2019
My Secret Life as The World's Worst Professional Matchmaker
I don't know how I landed this job. But the most surprising part is that instead of helping my clients find love, they helped me get out of an abusive relationship.
Jul 11, 2019
The Tow Truck Turf War and the Driver Left for Dead
In Pittsburgh, the tow truck business is notoriously cutthroat. This winter, two rivals arrived at the same wreck and the feud crossed a line.
Jul 8, 2019
The Curious Case of the Socialite Who Sterilized Her Daughter
Did Maryon Cooper Hewitt want to suppress “bad genes” or steal her child’s inheritance? Their battle over genetics and motherhood riveted the nation in 1936.
Jul 3, 2019
The High Priest of Heavy Metal
First he found God. Then he found death metal. But Father Robert Culat believes there’s no reason the two can’t co-exist.
Jul 1, 2019
Confessions of a 30-Something Hanson Fanatic
How rediscovering the boy band I obsessed over when I was 12 —and connecting with other super-fans from all over the world—helped me navigate life as an adult.
Jun 28, 2019
The Outcasts of Drag Have a New Kind of Queen
As this once fringe cultural scene goes mainstream, women and gender-nonconforming artists like Ata Racks are challenging notions of who can take the stage.
Jun 26, 2019
I Spent My Childhood Helping My Mom Sell Dead People’s Junk
I was only 8 when I began working as an undercover security guard at estate sales. Among the dusty trinkets and used shampoo bottles, I learned a lot about human nature.
Jun 21, 2019
The Revival of a Bloodthirsty Obsession
Leeches were once a popular medical treatment for everything from headaches to hemorrhages. Now a subculture of true believers is reclaiming this ancient practice.
Jun 20, 2019
Secret Life of a Mermaid
Their lavish costumes and group swims provide a community they could never find on land — so much so that they don’t identify as human.
Jun 17, 2019
How Starting a Pet Euthanasia Business Saved My Life
I was devastated when I lost my dream job as a mortician. But I found a new sense of purpose guiding pet owners through the worst days of their lives.
Jun 13, 2019
The Curse of the Ship of Gold
How a brilliant scientist went from discovering a mother lode of treasure at the bottom of the sea to fleeing from authorities with suitcases full of cash.
Jun 7, 2019
Confessions of an Outsider in Elite Black America
As a scholarship student at a fancy private school, I gained entry to a world few Americans see: rich, privileged and black. I decided I wanted no part of it.
Jun 6, 2019
History’s Greatest Horse Racing Cheat and His Incredible Painting Trick
In the sport’s post-Depression heyday, one audacious grifter beat the odds with an elaborate scam: disguising fast horses to look like slow ones.
Jun 3, 2019
Secret Life of a Children’s Party Princess
I thought a summer job at the Princess Academy would be a carefree escape. But I learned some hard lessons about real life while playing make-believe.
May 30, 2019
The Real Story of Black Martha’s Vineyard
Beyond the beautiful beaches and glitzy galas, Oak Bluffs is a complicated community that elite old families, working-class locals and social-climbing summerers all claim as their own.
May 27, 2019
An Accidental Sailor Vs. the Storm of the Century
I had zero experience when I signed up for a week at sea on an ancient wooden vessel. I got enough to last a lifetime.
May 23, 2019
The Book Thief of Monastery Mountain
When priceless texts began disappearing from a seventh-century hilltop abbey, the police were mystified. They were even more befuddled when they finally caught the culprit.
May 20, 2019
They’re Fed Up With America’s Racism. So They’re Moving to Africa.
Ghana’s capital is home to a booming economy, a thriving tech scene, and a growing number of professionals who’ve decided to stop chasing the American dream.
May 16, 2019
Rapper on the Run
When Spanish authorities sentenced this provocative musician to prison for “glorifying terrorism,” his dedicated fans helped him make a daring escape across the border.
May 13, 2019
A Casino Card Shark’s First Time Getting Caught
As a struggling grad student, I happened upon a lucrative side hustle with an elite team of card-counters—and found the community I'd been looking for.
May 10, 2019
American Doctors Are Reconstructing the Youngest Faces of a Brutal War
These Syrian children survived attacks that left them burned beyond belief. One program thousands of miles from home is offering them life-changing treatment.
May 10, 2019
My Secret Life as a Rogue Romance Writer
I thought penning steamy books about sex-crazed werewolves was the dumbest job ever. With a little subversion and a huge thesaurus, I learned to love it.