Decoding the Morse: The History of 16th-Century Narcoleptic Walruses

Amongst the assorted curiosities described in Olaus Magnus' 1555 tome on Nordic life was the morse — a hirsuite, fearsome, walrus-like beast, that was said to snooze upon cliffs while hanging by its teeth. Natalie Lawrence explores the career of this chimerical wonder, shaped both by scholarly images of a fabulous north and the grisly corporeality of the trade in walrus skins, teeth, and bone. …Continued

Woodcuts and Witches

Jon Crabb on the witch-craze of Early Modern Europe, and how the concurrent rise of the mass-produced woodcut helped forge the archetype of the broom-riding …Continued

Images

Books

Film

Maniac Chase (1904)

One of the very first screen depictions of the now familiar Napoleon delusion trope — in which a mentally ill person believes themselves to be …Continued

Despotism (1946)

Short from Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, published a year after the end of WW2, exploring the characteristics and causes of despotism. …Continued

The Frog (1908)

A sprightly frog circles various come-to-life fountain tableaux, as well as a giant version of itself, an enormous head being drenched by water, and some …Continued

Audio