Futility Closet

Greg Ross

+33 FANS
Forgotten stories from the pages of history. Join us for surprising and curious tales from the past and challenge yourself with our lateral thinking puzzles.

33:25 | Feb 12th, 2018

In World War II, the U.S. Army experimented with firebombs carried by live bats.

30:10 | May 1st, 2017

Here are five new lateral thinking puzzles to test your wits and stump your friends -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. Here are the sources for this week's puzzles. In a couple of places ...Show More
Get the best podcast recommendations in your inbox every week. 😎

31:13 | Apr 24th, 2017

In 1941, Catalonian chicken farmer Juan Pujol made an unlikely leap into the world of international espionage, becoming a spy first for the Germans, then for the British, and rising to become one of the greatest double agents of World War II. In this...Show More

30:28 | Dec 2nd

In 1961 a Goya masterpiece disappeared from London's National Gallery.

29:46 | Nov 25th

Frances Glessner Lee created miniature death scenes to train investigators in the 1940s.

32:29 | Nov 18th

In 1909, Alice Ramsey set out to cross the United States by car.

31:51 | Nov 11th

In 1822, eight desperate prisoners fled a penal colony in western Tasmania.

32:18 | Nov 4th

In 1902, scam artist Cassie Chadwick posed as the illegitimate daughter of Andrew Carnegie.

34:03 | Oct 28th

In 1978, Kim Jong-Il abducted a South Korean actor and director to make films in North Korea.

30:48 | Oct 21st

In 1631, Barbary pirates abducted 107 people from an Irish village.

32:36 | Oct 14th

Ferdinand Demara impersonated 30 people in 20 years.

32:11 | Oct 7th

Detective novelist Arthur Upfield invented the perfect murder -- and then watched a killer adopt it.

32:49 | Sep 30th

Play along as we untangle seven strange-sounding situations using yes-or-no questions.

34:07 | Sep 16th

In the 1800s, Britain grew a thousand-mile hedge across India.

33:10 | Sep 9th

In 1868, a Scottish castaway made a new home among the people of the Solomon Islands.

33:36 | Sep 2nd

Detained in a Soviet prison camp, Polish painter Józef Czapski lectured on Proust to the other prisoners.

33:03 | Aug 26th

In 1968 Richard Proenneke flew to a remote Alaskan lake to take up a life of self-reliance.

33:13 | Aug 19th

In 1840, a killer cut Lord William Russell's throat as he slept.

32:56 | Aug 12th

In 1934, two women set out to travel the length of Africa by motorcycle.

35:00 | Aug 5th

An 1849 dispute between two actors led to one of the bloodiest riots in New York history.

33:55 | Jul 29th

In 1855, a band of thieves planned an elaborate heist to steal gold bullion from a moving train.

32:57 | Jul 15th

In 1943 an isolated Greenland sledge patrol discovered a team of German interlopers.

31:36 | Jul 8th

In 1930 Harold Lasseter announced he'd discovered a huge gold deposit in central Australia.

34:07 | Jul 1st

In 1914, 132 Newfoundland sealers were trapped on the ice as a blizzard approached.

32:25 | Jun 24th

Actress Gay Gibson met a mysterious death on an ocean liner in 1947.

31:54 | Jun 17th

A 56-year-old British noblewoman stood up to Nazi occupiers on the tiny island of Sark.

33:40 | Jun 10th

In 1800, a 12-year-old boy emerged from a forest in southern France.

31:16 | Jun 3rd

In 1830, Joseph Palmer outraged Fitchburg, Massachusetts, by wearing facial hair.

33:55 | May 27th

In 1904 a sidewheel steamboat caught fire on the East River.

31:13 | May 20th

In 1954, a psychologist started a war between fifth graders at an Oklahoma summer camp.