World’s Strangest

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Lessons from America’s Greatest Prankster

Hoax master Alan Abel has been fooling reporters and hoodwinking the public for more than 50 years. Here, he reveals a few of his tricks. Most careers aren’t launched by the sight of a cow and a bull copulating in the middle of a road. But Alan Abel doesn’t have a typical gig. One day in [...]

The Grand Wizards of Elementary School

How the KKK helped get children out of the factories and into the classroom. Members of the Ku Klux Klan liked to think of themselves as white knights. And when it came to compulsory education for schoolchildren, believe  it or not, they actually were. To understand how this bizarre heroism came to pass, you have to [...]

6 Comic Con-troversies

With the New York Comic Con under way, we thought we’d remind you that these brilliant, geeky get-togethers can mean more than just costumes and coveted signatures on first-edition books. Here are a few of the scandals that rocked (or gently nudged) Comic Cons across the country this past year. God Hates Geeks in Superhero [...]

Beulah Land

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Curiously Compelling Bathroom Reader. Here’s a little-known slice of Americana: the story of how freed slaves changed the face of the American West. LAND OF OPPORTUNITY In 1865 the American Civil War came to an end and four million black slaves were free. But to what future? The South [...]

When Political Conventions Go Wild: Four Knock-Down, Drag-Out Convention Floor Fights

by Brendan Spiegel 1. The Convention Turned Klanbake For Americans accustomed to today’s tame, scripted political conventions, the 1924 Democratic Convention went down more like a taping of The Jerry Springer Show. On one side was New York Governor Al Smith, supported by urban, Catholic voters who favored his efforts to repeal prohibition. On the other side [...]

Creating Melodramas in Silhouettes: Kara Walker

(This post was a week in the making, due to the overabundance of articles, reviews, and critiques on Walker and her art.) The American artist Kara Walker had achieved “both notoriety and acclaim in the art world while still in her twenties.” Her art—much of which would be considered “not safe for work”—usually sells at prices [...]

How Superman Defeated the Ku Klux Klan

In the 1940s, The Adventures of Superman was a radio sensation. Kids across the country huddled around their sets as the Man of Steel leapt off the page and over the airwaves. Although Superman had been fighting crime in print since 1938, the weekly audio episodes fleshed out his storyline even further. It was on [...]

The Quick 10: 10 Smurfy Smurfs Facts

Here at MF, we’re taking a break from our regularly-scheduled Halloween posts to bring you this public service announcement: it was 51 years ago this week that The Smurfs were first introduced to our pop culture vernacular. I thought it seemed like a pretty worthy reason to break the spooky string of posts, and anyway, [...]

On The Road: 5 Great Stops Along I-65

Last week, we took a look at the winding stretch of road between Detroit and Cincinnati and a few of the fantastic diversions along the way—everything from a haunted insane asylum to a great place to eat crepes. Continuing our exploration of entertaining locales on American interstates, this week we have five more great locations [...]