Episode 15: The Scarlet Pimpernel & Baroness Orczy

The Scarlet Pimpernel The Scarlet Pimpernel is a character now long disconnected from his origins in a 1903 novel. The Pimpernel is a mysterious Englishman who uses elaborate disguises to heroically rescue French aristocrats from the guillotine during the French Revolution. Naming himself after a small red flower, the enigmatic read more…

Episode 6: Neurasthenia, Cowboys, and Feminists

Neurasthenia: The “National Disease of America” In 1881 an American neurologist named George Miller Beard published a hugely influential book: American Nervousness. In it, he laid out the symptoms, cures, and implications of what he called “neurasthenia”, essentially what one might call nervous exhaustion. Beard didn’t coin the term but read more…

Episode 2: Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, and Spiritualism

Sherlock Holmes is the most rational and scientific detective of them all. So why did his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, passionately believe in ghosts, fairies, and telepathy?   Arthur Conan Doyle Arthur Conan Doyle is now best remembered as the creator of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, his creation has long taken read more…