The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong

Mark Chrisler


Did you know that Europeans used to believe that sheep grew from Mongolian trees? Have you heard about the misbegotten discovery of a new form of water in the 1960s that set off a cold war arms race? Ever seen the gleaming Las Vegas hotel that accide...Show More

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01:51 | Jan 8th

New season begins Tuesday, January 15th. Join us.

Three Years of Sundays

0:00 | Dec 26th, 2017

It's difficult to honor the spirit of the season when you're making a show about mistakes, foibles and failures, but we've done our best. This week, the most uplifting story about prime numbers you'll hear all season. Promise.

You Gotta Fry a Few Eggs

09:22 | Dec 6th, 2017

A preview of things to come: this is our "stress test" mini episode to try to work out all the kinks. Music byLee Rosevere http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/  and Animeistrash

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

17:58 | Jul 10th, 2018

In 1926, the quiet, small-town of Kittanning, Pennsylvania was descended upon by a mob of salesmen and hucksters selling solutions to a peculiar problem: a mysterious and inexplicable epidemic of baldness. This week, we look at the weird and wacky hi...Show More

Boom Town

14:00 | Jul 3rd, 2018

In 1896 two trains, going full-speed, slammed into one another in the middle of the 2nd largest city in Texas. Just like they were supposed to.

Lord Morton's Mare

16:04 | May 3rd, 2018

A fly bites, a sickness spreads, a horse is born, an idea returns. This week we attempt to correct an oversight.

Bitcoin, Bitcoin, BITCOIN!

12:16 | Mar 6th, 2018

Would you like a serious deep-dive into the technical history of cryptocurrency? Too bad. That does sound like something we'd do, but instead we're giving you a political comedy piece by host Mark Chrisler, performed for The Paper Machete, a weekly l...Show More

Is There Life on Mars?

58:59 | Mar 5th

Take a look at those star men, gazing at the night sky. Oh man, wonder if they'll ever know? on October 30th, 1938, Orson Welles and The Mercury Theatre on The Air unleashed the most infamous media prank of all time. But The War of The Worlds wasn't ...Show More

Broadcasting The Barricades

30:23 | Feb 26th

This is the story of the first radio hoax. No, not that one. On January 16th, 1926, a Catholic priest took the mic at BBC Radio and through all of England into panic with... a joke. Unfortunately, the original recording was lost long ago. Fortunately...Show More

What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Ship and Understanding?

59:07 | Feb 19th

War! Good God, y'all. What is it good for? According to Henry Ford: Absolutely nothing. So in 1915 he launched a ship, bound for Europe, with a simple if outlandish mission: to end World War I. On this episode we look at the ill-fated voyage of The O...Show More

Let's Kill Mike

25:14 | Feb 12th

How do you survive in 1932, when The Great Depression is at its peak and prohibition is in full force? How about a little insurance fraud? It's easy: all you need is an undertaker willing to fake a cause of death, a couple of life insurance policies ...Show More


14:01 | Feb 5th

In January of 1749, a London advertisement promised an impossible show at The Haymarket Theatre: a full-grown man would jump into a wine bottle and, from within it, sing. You won't be surprised to find out that the show didn't happen. But you will be...Show More

The Idea that Broke America

1:00:40 | Jan 29th

Mesmerism didn't stop with Mesmer. This week, we pick up where we left off, tracing the idea of animal magnetism to America, where it went through some... changes. Get ready for a whirlwind tour of American enterprise, religion and entertainment that...Show More


57:58 | Jan 22nd

What is this? Are you some kind of hypnotist? We're doing a deep dive into one of the single most fascinating mistaken ideas and the fascinating man who thought it up. This story has got it all: demonic possession, mysterious seductions, beheadings, ...Show More

A Sticky Situation

19:31 | Jan 15th

Happy 100th birthday to one of the strangest disasters in American history: Boston's Great Molasses Flood. For our season 5 premiere, we're looking at the weird and deadly 35 foot tall wall of syrup that destroyed Boston's North End a century ago, an...Show More

It's Wonderful

21:55 | Dec 24th, 2018

On today's holiday special we're looking at a Christmas classic: It's a Wonderful Life. A movie that was almost never made, that was almost forever forgotten, and that almost missed its chance to change a woman's life.

Introducing 'Safe for Work'

04:21 | Dec 20th, 2018

Just a couple of days before our Christmas special, here's a little gift for you: Safe for Work. Safe For Work is an advice show that reminds you that while your office may be crazy, you don’t have to be. Office MVPs and corporate veterans Liz Dolan ...Show More

No Ragrets

09:20 | Dec 18th, 2018

Alright, there are two ways this can go down. Scenario 1: Mark finds the story of the worst tattoo ever and feels heartened by it, going through with finally getting his own. Scenario 2: Mark finds the story of the worst tattoo ever given and feels t...Show More

Way to Go Again, Einstein!

26:59 | Dec 11th, 2018

Because you wonderful, amazing jerks helped reach our stretch goal, Mark's got a promise to fulfill. To explain that promise--and the title of this very show--we're rebroadcasting our season 1 finale. Einstein was a genius, but that didn't save him f...Show More

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

32:30 | Oct 30th, 2018

It's Halloween and that means it's time for a spooky one. This week, for the last episode of our Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/468920813/the-constant-a-history-of-getting-things-wrong) season, we've got a real-life story of ghosts...Show More

What The Fork?

14:40 | Oct 23rd, 2018

Forks! A handier, less-controversial item would be difficult to imagine. Yet, for hundreds of years Europeans recoiled from the fork with a hilarious zeal: condemning anyone who used one to jokes, shame and even death. For the third episode of our Ki...Show More

Typis and Errirs

26:13 | Oct 16th, 2018

To honor all the flubs of our first year, we're going down the rabbit hole of the worst typos and mistakes in history. From sacrilegious Bibles to doomed space missions to a certain cartoon Sailor Man and his super-powered vegetable. This is the seco...Show More


32:50 | Oct 9th, 2018

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And then... well, that's the question. What exactly did this dude do? And where did the myth of Columbus come from? For the first episode of our new Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/468920813/t...Show More

It's a Gamble

01:36 | Oct 2nd, 2018

Four weeks, four new episodes. Starting Tuesday, October 9th.

Diabolical Devices of The Demon of Darkness

36:23 | Aug 7th, 2018

It was a dark and stormy night. A dark and stormy year, really. And it gave birth to a monster, a New Prometheus which descended upon the panicked world, leaving death and destruction in its wake. For this, our season finale, we give you the most fri...Show More

Make It Rain

33:44 | Jul 31st, 2018

In the late 19th century, Americans moved into the western states because of one simple phrase. But despite what you learned in junior high, it wasn't "manifest destiny." Today we're talking about the real maxim responsible for westward expansion, a ...Show More

The Ox and The Shark

14:17 | Jul 24th, 2018

This week we're back at The Paper Machete for more political comedy, talking about Trump and Russia. Which is probably the last thing you need to hear more about, because the world is a confusing, terrifying morass of impossible contradictions that's...Show More

Turks, Turks!

26:13 | Jul 17th, 2018

Without accidents, mistakes and foolishness, there would be no military history. Nearly every war ever fought was determined, to some large degree, by someone getting something wrong. Napoleon, Hitler, Robert E. Lee, Hannibal... you name it. So to te...Show More

Here Be Dragons

23:16 | Jun 26th, 2018

Through nearly all time, humankind believed in leviathans and krakens and mermaids. People didn't give up believing in sea monsters until the turn of the 20th century. Then, in 1925, one washed up on the shores of Santa Cruz.

The Reflex

28:34 | Jun 19th, 2018

In the 1840's, a mysterious disease was running roughshod through a Viennese hospital, killing new mothers in terrifying numbers. On this, our season 3 premiere, we're looking at one of the greatest medical mysteries of all time, the tragic story of ...Show More


01:12 | Jun 7th, 2018

Season 3 begins June 19th. In the meantime, we'll be dropping a couple of these meta-ads. Hope you enjoy. Share, like, subscribe, rate, review and... catchup.

Let's Talk About Sex, Babies

50:00 | Apr 17th, 2018

Did you ever wonder where babies come from? So did all these guys! But only one of them managed to figure it out. This week, for our season finale, the remarkable story of how we came to know the most fundamental and critical of human questions, and ...Show More

People This Isle

21:34 | Apr 10th, 2018

Look, out in the sea: it's an earthquake, it's a boat fire, it's a sea monster! It's a tiny, newborn volcanic island! In 1831, a small scrap of land suddenly formed in The Mediterranean. Lifeless, inhospitable, fiery and useless. So, naturally, the w...Show More

Everyone Loves a Mystery

17:58 | Apr 3rd, 2018

Today the story of a mysterious grave in the foothills of Appalachia, and the two wannabe detectives that set about deciphering it. This episode is a little different than most. It's a personal story. And we want more of them going forward. To that e...Show More

Do Good Carefully

23:12 | Mar 27th, 2018

Here's something you don't see everyday: parachuting cats. It did happen, though. In the 1950s, The Royal Air Force airdropped parakitties onto the Island of Borneo. Why would they do such a thing? Stick around and find out.

Everything Aristotle Said is Wrong

16:55 | Mar 20th, 2018

We give Aristotle a pretty hard time here at The Constant. But we can't hold an Aristotle-hating candle to the guy in this episode. A man whose distaste and distrust for Aristotle is responsible for the birth of the enlightenment, and--maybe--his own...Show More

Ice and Fire and Fury

20:30 | Mar 13th, 2018

It started off as an innocent enough idea: what if the moon was made of ice? But from there it grew. Into an alternative-science, into a grand conspiracy theory and, finally, into one of the greatest evils in history.


27:30 | Feb 27th, 2018

In 1867, The Eliza set out to sea with a fresh crew, a full hold and fair weather. Yet no one expected her to ever make land again. This episode we look at why, and why, throughout the 19th century, hundreds of ships sank every year in entirely preve...Show More

Tidbits and Trimmings

10:22 | Feb 14th, 2018

While we work away on season 2, here's a few extra stories related to the content from season 1 that didn't make their way into the episodes. More art hoaxes! More diligent prime number seekers! More birds on The Moon!

Way to Go, Einstein!

25:28 | Jan 30th, 2018

We could've called this show "Whoopsie!" or "Oops!" or "People Believe The Strangest Things." But instead, we called it "The Constant." On this, the season finale, we finally explain why. That means it's time to fawn about Einstein, and the thing he ...Show More

Fire-Proof Lizards, Vegetable Sheep and Ball-Biting Beavers

22:26 | Jan 23rd, 2018

Throughout time people have twisted the most humdrum of creatures until they were fantastical, bizarre, unbelievable monsters. From a logistically unfeasible hybrid to a self-castrating quarry, we're bringing you a suite of four stupefying animal myt...Show More

Take None of These and Call Me In The Morning

18:29 | Jan 16th, 2018

This week: a whirlwind history of bad medical practices, worse medical practices and medical practices that--while still pretty awful--looked fantastic by comparison. Western medical history began with a madman who threw himself into a volcano to pro...Show More

We're Still Here

15:29 | Jan 9th, 2018

"Threatening the world with Famine, Plague and War: To Princes, Death! To Kingdoms, many Crosses; To all Estates, inevitable Losses! To Herdsmen, Rot; to Plowmen, hapless Seasons; To Sailors, Storms, To Cities, Civil Treasons!" -John Gadsbury, 1665. ...Show More

Art is Dead

18:47 | Jan 2nd, 2018

You don't know this story. You don't know the killer. You don't know the victims. You don't know the artist and you don't know the artworks. But in 1998 Yugoslavia, a series of mutilated corpses shocked the public, rocked the art world and, maybe, ch...Show More

1% Inspiration

10:07 | Dec 19th, 2017

In the 1960's, scientists discovered a new form of water, kicking off millions of dollars of research, Nobel Prize consideration and a new Cold War arms race between the USA and USSR. This episode we investigate the history of the miraculous discover...Show More

Why Do Birds Suddenly (Dis)Appear?

17:48 | Dec 12th, 2017

Have you ever wondered where birds go in the winter? Of course not. But throughout history, many people have. On this, the season premiere of The Constant, we dive into some of the incredible explanations people concocted for this seemingly obvious q...Show More