Destitute and Dissected
How the archaeology of workhouse burials shows that the destitute poor were regularly dissected post-mortem against their own wishes.
The Royals Who Shared Their Beds With Mummies
The idea of royalty sharing their beds with the shrivelled corpse of a man yanked out of a grave is nothing short of shocking, but it wouldn’t have been an unusual sight in the court of the Spanish Habsburgs.
The Gruesome Medieval Masquerade That Inspired Edgar Allan Poe
How an obscure episode from 14th-century France inspired one of Poe's most macabre tales.
The Summer of Monsters
In the summer of 1816, as skies darkened across the world following a volcanic eruption, a group of Romantic writers gathered in a house on the shores of Lake Geneva and told one another ghost stories.
Throughout history, people have tried to distinguish themselves from the common herd by turning to fashion and cosmetics, even when the results could be bizarre, harmful and even fatal, giving the expression “fashion victim” a literal meaning.
The return of Gothic Romance
Guillermo del Toro described his recent film Crimson Peak as a “classic Gothic Romance”, a subgenre that has been consigned to oblivion for nearly four decades. But what is Gothic Romance, what makes it different to horror and why did it fall into obscurity?
The lost children of Hamelin
The tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin is based on a tragic event that dates back to 1284. What happened in Hamelin, and who was the mysterious Pied Piper?
Pilgrims from hell
The legend of the Holy Company, a procession of the dead, still provokes superstitious fear in rural areas in Spain. Early sources reveal its similarity to Celto-Germanic myths.
Image: Åsgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo
Who’s the darkest of them all?
Murder, cannibalism, necrophilia. The first versions of Snow White are much darker than the recent adaptations that claim to have given the classic tale a dark edge.
Image: Joseph Jacobs John Dickson Batten [Public domain]