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Fascinating True Stories from the Flip Side of History

Category Archives: Podcast

Le Mars Trilogy: Part 1 – T.M. Zink’s Library

Useless Information Podcast

The first of a 3-part series on Le Mars, Iowa from the 1930’s. Le Mars was thrust into the national spotlight by the actions of just one man: a successful lawyer named T.M. Zink, who left nearly his entire estate for the establishment of a very unusual library. Was Zink was truly mad or was he simply playing a good practical joke on the world?

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Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

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Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman in United States history to have been awarded the Medal of Honor, only to have it rescinded later in her life. Some would argue that she was way ahead of her time, while others see her as a crackpot. Continue Reading

 

Where There’s a Wilby, There’s a Way

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Between 1942 and 1943 Ralph Marshall Wilby appeared to pull off what appeared to be the perfect crime. An incredible story which has many of the elements of an international thriller: deception, false identities, international kidnapping, and the drop dead gorgeous woman who brought his capture.

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A Miracle Birth in Mexico

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On March 5, 2000, Ines Ramirez Perez went into labor but was unable to get any medical care to help with the delivery. In a panic, Ines concluded that she had no other option than to deliver the baby herself. She used an ordinary kitchen knife to perform a cesarean on herself. Find out what happened afterward and stories of other self-cesareans.

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Millionaire for a Day

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Back in 1911, Wilkes-Barre, PA resident John Jay “Butch” McDevitt won the Democratic Primary for county treasurer. The only problem was that the Democratic Committee didn’t want McDevitt on the ballot. Find out how the party got rid of him and how he capitalized on this for the rest of his life.

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Silent Susan

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On October 6, 1946, not far from the former site of the Palisades Amusement Park, on US Route 9W of New Jersey’s Palisades Park, a young woman passing through town made the fateful decision to hitch a ride. Fateful because she made the mistake of thumbing a police car… Continue Reading

 

The Ice Cream Wars

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There is nothing better than tasty, ice-cold ice cream on a hot summer day. Since the early part of the twentieth century, ice cream trucks have roamed the streets of our cities bringing these delectable treats right to your door. What few people know is that behind the scenes, there has been an intense and sometimes violent turf war going on between ice cream vendors. Drivers have been beaten and robbed, trucks smashed, burned, and bombed, and death threats have been made.

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Yonkers Anti-Shorts Law

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Perfect story for the first days of summer: it’s about a ban that the city of Yonkers put in place back in 1935 to prevent women from wearing shorts and halter tops. Even more timely: at one point they proposed building a giant fence around Tibbetts Brook Park to keep the offending people from NYC out.

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Brassiere Brigade

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Here’s the story of a number of women who worked for Southern Bell in Miami back in 1950. Poorly paid and dreaming of a much better life, they figured out a unique way to smuggle money out of the coin counting room at the company’s headquarters. It was such a profitable operation that they were able to pay their legal fees in quarters.

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The Ugliest Thing the President Ever Saw

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An official portrait has been commissioned by every single person who has served as President of the United States. They serve to remind generation after generation of those that have been elected to that office. Some are great, some are so-so, and others are just downright awful. My personal vote for the worst presidential portrait is that of Andrew Jackson, but you are welcome to disagree.

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