Narratively

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

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.

The Deadliest Marksman’s Cold, Brave Stand

Eighty years ago this winter, a freezing Finnish farm boy took aim at the unstoppable Red Army — and became the greatest sharpshooter the world has ever seen.

The Pope Who Wrote an Erotic Novel

Before his rapid rise to the top of the Catholic Church, Pius II had a secret passion for scandalous stories. And they may have been inspired by his own life.

The Gruesome and Heroic Afterlife of Peter the Dog

The grisly murder of Athol McCowan gripped a sleepy coastal region in Australia. But even more shocking was how the killer’s exhumed pet dog served as star witness in the trial.

The Day the Native Americans Drove the KKK Out of Town

The North Carolina Klan thought burning crosses would scare the Lumbee tribe out of Robeson County. That’s not how things went down.