The most common question I get about this site is how I choose what to write about. This is something that I’ve put a fair bit of thought into myself. After all, this is a site devoted to odd and interesting history. So, then, what exactly is “odd” history? There isn’t an answer that is going to satisfy everyone, of course, because different people see different things as odd.
So, I thought I might take some time and explain how I pick my topics. The short answer is that anything that makes me think, “huh, weird,” is a candidate for a post on this blog. Some choices are obvious, like the story of Elmer McCurdy and how his mummy wound up on the set of an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man (on a side note, I talk about mummies a lot on here because I have always found them fascinating.) Less obvious choices might be the post I did about the wrong turn that helped spark WWI. That the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the event that precipitated the Great War is (hopefully) well known, but the fact that the event was brought about by a simple miscommunication is, perhaps, not. Besides, the role of coincidence in history is fascinating, and it’s always fun to speculate how things might have been different if one small event had been different. An event doesn’t have to be completely bizarre to make you scratch your head and go “huh, weird.”
On that note, now and then I simply pick a topic because it is obscure. I have lists of little known historical figures; some had a big impact, but some didn’t, but regardless they are mostly unknown. Some are badasses, some are villains, and some were unjustly written out of history by rivals.
Technology and science is always good post fodder as well. This blog was originally going to be devoted to weird instances in the history of science, but I felt that topic was too narrow to sustain a blog and broadened my focus to include, well, everything. Still, from Cold War engineering shenanigans, to surprisingly advanced ancient weapons, to bizarre 20th century ideas, there’s a lot of material to be found in the world of science.
There are a lot of miscellaneous areas I focus on, from propaganda to mass hysteria. One that I debated whether to include or not was urban legends. I used to run a site devoted to ghost stories and urban legends, but eventually quit that to focus on things of a more factual nature. But I still find such stories fascinating. While I will not include anything of a supernatural or paranormal nature on this site, I don’t mind occasionally adding some odd bit of urban legend that is actually rooted in history. The post that comes to mind is this one about the legend of Bunnyman Bridge, which shows how, sometimes, reality is stranger than the stories it spawns.
Long story short, there isn’t much of a process that goes into choosing material for this blog. I simply have some loose criteria, and I make the final decision whether to include it when it comes time to do research. Regardless of whether we all agree that a bit of history is weird, I hope that you all at least enjoy reading!