Episode 58: Harvard’s Human Computers Reach for the Stars

During an era more associated with the Wild West, a group of women in Cambridge made historic advances in the field of astronomy, discovering new stars and fundamental principles about how our universe works.  In the beginning, they were treated as menial clerical workers and paid a fraction of what their male counterparts got.  Only decades later did they win academic respect, earning advanced degrees and finally the title Professor.  They were the Human Computers of the Harvard University Observatory.


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Episode 55: The Boy Fiend, Boston’s Youngest Serial Killer

Jesse Pomeroy was a Victorian era serial killer who stalked the streets of Boston. He predated Jack the Ripper by a decade, and the Boston Strangler by almost a century. At only 14 years old, he was known as the Boy Fiend, a child who tortured and killed his fellow children, becoming Boston’s youngest serial killer.


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Episode 46: Aeronauts, Ascents, and the Early History of Ballooning in Boston

Early Boston aeronauts used balloons to perform scientific experiments, cross the English channel, take the first aerial photographs, and provide public entertainment.  Whether by hot air or hydrogen, these pioneers made their way into the air, and into the history books.


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Episode 45: The Skin Book

The Skin Book was written by highwayman George Walton and dedicated to the only man to best him in combat.  While he was a prisoner at Charlestown Penitentiary, Walton wrote a memoir.  According to his wishes, after his death, the book was bound in Walton’s own skin and given to the man who defeated him.  Today, this example of anthropodermic bibliopegy is a prized possession of the Boston Athenaeum.


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Episode 44: Perambulating the Bounds

Since 1651, Boston has had a legal responsibility to mark and measure its boundaries every few years.  Despite advances in technology, the practice of “perambulating the bounds” means that someone has to go out and walk the town lines.  This law is one of the oldest still on the books, but when was the last time Boston perambulated its bounds?  Listen now!


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Episode 43: The Case of the Somnambulist

When young Albert Tirrell killed his lover Maria Bickford on Beacon Hill, it sparked a scandal that rocked Victorian Boston in the 1840s.  It was a tale of seduction, murder, and the unlikeliest of defenses.  In the end, he would be found not guilty, in the first successful use of sleepwalking as a defense against murder.

We apologize for Nikki’s head cold, some rough cuts that resulted from editing out her sniffles, and the couple of sniffles that made it into the final cut.


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