Narratively

The forgotten and untold stories that shape who and where we are today.
                   

The King Who Ordered a Quarantine to Flatten the Curve 4,000 Years Ago

Little was known about the mystery disease that was ravaging the ancient kingdom of Mari. But King Zimri-Lim knew the key to stopping it was social distancing — and no small...

The Black Investigator Who Went Undercover as a White Man in the Jim Crow South

Walter Francis White helped the NAACP document the truth about lynchings in America. The fact that he could pass as caucasian came in very handy.

The Indigenous Rebel Who Took the Fight to White Settlers

As colonists spread across North America, Louis Riel took up arms — and was demonized in Canada’s history books. After 150 years, it’s time to reevaluate his legacy.

The King Who Became a Pirate

When King Erik VII of Denmark was forced from the throne, he did the only thing any self-respecting descendent of Vikings could: He joined the warriors of the sea, and hit right...

The Acrobatic Immigrant Who Invented Pilates in a Prisoner of War Camp

Interned during WWI, circus entertainer Joseph Pilates used found materials and his fellow prisoners as his test lab, and imagined an exercise system that would captivate millions.

The Woman Who Found a Snail in Her Soda and Launched a Million Lawsuits

Sixty-six years before the infamous spilled McDonald’s coffee, May Donoghue drank a ginger beer with a dead mollusk in it and changed personal-injury law forever.

The 19th-Century Nurse Who Was Secretly a Serial Killer

“Jolly Jane” Toppan overcame a miserable Dickensian childhood to become a medical professional patients adored. She was also slowly murdering them one by one.

Judges Gone Wild

Bribery! Impeachment! Drug smuggling! Gambling! Justices getting drunk in the chambers! The Florida Supreme Court scandals of the 1970s make today’s political circus look tame...

The Unsung Black Musician Who Changed Country Music

From the moment DeFord Bailey stepped onto a stage in Nashville, country music would never be the same. It was decades after his death before he finally got his due.