Alvin Kelly and the Flagpole Sitters of the 1920s: They Weren’t Sick, but They Weren’t Well…

It was the 1920s, and it felt like humanity could do anything—and it took the opportunity to do really stupid stuff, like pass off urinals as art, chase after nascent fascism, and—yes—sit around on flagpoles for days at a time.

Videogames Probably Don’t Cause Violence, but They Sure Seemed like a Good Scapegoat in 1993

Joking aside, though, I’m sure you’re wondering—do violent videogames cause violence? The answer, according to science, is “Well, mayb…no. Prolly not.”

The Sisters Who Pulled a Prank and Accidentally Started a Religion

For Kate (age ten) and Maggie (age fourteen), the whole thing started as a harmless prank, but evolved into a movement of millions trying to talk to the dead.

For a Few Years, Everyone in France Was Wearing Squid Hats, and the Guy Who Wrote Les Misérables Was to Blame

So-called cephalomania first took off in France, where it suddenly became fashionable to host octopus- and squid-themed parties, and for a few years, squid-shaped hats were considered to be the height of fashion among French women.

How Lava Lamps Made Sex Boring Again

Walker described the lamp as “Freudian” and evocative of the primordial ooze, because apparently no one bothered to take him aside and say, “It’s just a lamp, Ed.”

McCarthyism Was Driven by a Lot of Bluster, Paranoia, and Hearsay, Which for Legal Purposes Is a Fact Unrelated to the Present Political Moment

These hearings, like everything McCarthy had done up to this point, were fueled mainly by McCarthy’s desire to further his own career.

Why Tickle Me Elmo Is the Key to Understanding Our Current Political Chaos (Sort Of)

It was obviously a touch ironic that Sesame Street, as a show created for poor inner-city kids, was inspiring such rabid suburban consumerism, but at the time, it was actually exactly what Sesame Street needed.

No, There Isn’t a Global Satanic Cult That Ritually Abuses Millions of Children, but for a Long Time We All Really Wanted to Believe There Was

It’s not really a mystery why people yearn to believe bizarre and dramatic tales of evil: the actual truth about evil is that it’s mundane, pervasive, and unfixable, at least to us mortals.

Why Tulips Briefly Cost More Than Mansions

If you don’t have any sort of hope beyond death, the absurdity of everything tends to hit you hard. And then you end up doing stupid stuff, like betting the family farm on a bunch of tulips.

Virtual Reality was Virtually Real, for About Five Minutes in the Nineties

Ultimately, the problem with VR was that it, like so much that happened in the nineties, put technology ahead of content.

In the Middle Ages, Dance Crazes Were Literal, Actual Crazes

Accounts of unstoppable, contagious dancing fools date as far back as the seventh century, and hail from nearly all parts of Europe.

This Lent, Let’s Fast from Toilet Paper (No, For Real)

Let’s give generously to the ones who need it and the ones who are helping. And maybe, I dunno, put that giant pack of Quilted Northern back on the rack.

Pet Rocks Were Actually a Thing, and Were Almost Political in How Apolitical They Were

Dahl wasn’t selling people rocks—not really—he was selling them a joke.

On the Third Day of Christmas, CAPC Gave to Me: Three Memes a-Meme-ing

Every once in a while, the internet still manages to provide a bit of clarity to (semi-) important issues.

The Saint Who Baptized Herself in a Tank of Rabid Sea Lions

Having thus cheated death twice, you might think that Thecla would abandon Christianity in favor of staying alive, but of course you’d be wrong.

Why the John 3:16 “Rainbow Man” Is Serving Multiple Life Sentences

We all expect to have important, dramatic lives. We all think we’ll turn out to be heroes. We’re just like Rainbow Man.