Category Archives: Historical Myths

The US Civil War and Historical Revisionism

It’s very common these days to hear claims that the US Civil War, often referred to by southerners as “The War of Northern Aggression,” was not in fact caused by a debate over slavery. It was, so modern apologists claim, a matter of states’ rights and resistance to the “tyranny” of the Federal government by […]

Yellow Journalism, Sensationalism, and the Decline of American Reason

The conversation on Facebook started innocently enough, when an old friend posted a link to an article expressing disgust at a recent “revelation” that the Planned Parenthood group was “selling aborted fetal body parts on the open market.” I’d seen a link about this on another site, and decided to take a quick look at […]

The Year of the Money Pit

It seems the “History” channel, after having already broadcast one short series on the Money Pit in 2014, decided once was not enough and is running another series on the same subject. Different bat-time, but the same bat-channel and equally bad bat-material, with the usual parade of “theories” (read: “guesses”) and faux science. I guess […]

Oak Island: back in the news again

“in 1795, three boys went on an adventure to visit an island reputed to be the site of a pirate lair…” This is, more or less, how typical accounts of the Oak Island legend begin. And over the last month, the latest in a series of TV “docudramas” about the story has been playing on […]

Art Imitates Life

From time to time, someone manages to write an article that, while fictional in terms of context, contains a lot of very solid facts. I happened across one of these today and wanted to share it with all and sundry, because it’s total gold in terms of its content. Here’s the link: Archaeologists Officially Declare […]

Creating Lies for Fun and Profit

I’m not going to sugar coat this. We all know, or at least I hope we do, that the Internet is a sewer. One of the major issues with an free-form setup like the ‘Net, where anyone can open a website and publish anything they want, is that, well, they can publish anything they want. […]

The Tea Party Myth

One of the fundamental underpinnings of the American system is the concept that we broke away from Britain over issues like “taxation without representation”, or the idea that the American colonies were somehow excessively taxed. One of the grounding rods of this myth is the infamous Boston Tea Party, which is said to have been […]

Myth of the Empty Continent

For many Americans, the traditional imagery of pre-Columbian North America is one of small or medium sized native tribes living in vast, primeval forests or on rolling plains largely unaltered by human hands. The first part of this evocative description is relatively accurate, since settlers moving West often traveled through large swaths of unoccupied land, […]

No, It Wasn’t Columbus

“In the Year of Fourteen Ninety-Two…” begins the bit of doggerel that nearly every American schoolchild learns. That’s when “Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue” and, some people still believe, discovered America. To this day I know people who entertain a vision of old Chris sloshing ashore (probably in Virginia) with a priest and Portuguese flag, […]