Useless Information Podcast
It really is all true! Stories about stuff that you never needed to know, but your life would be incomplete without. They serve no real purpose other than to entertain. If you're the curious type and have a few minutes to spare, then spend some of it listening to this ever-growing collection of stories. Great for those that are looking for a little bit of trivia in their lives.
History
Comedy
Society & Culture
1
UI #133 - A Nose for Fishing
Sometimes a person can accomplish a great deal over the span of his or her lifetime but is forever defined by one thing that took just a brief moment while they were still young. Harry Morse was one of those men.
19 min
2
The Dating Game Killer
8 min
3
UI #132 - In the Blink of an Eye
In 1925, the parents and sisters of 9-year-old Evelyn Castle were killed after their car collided with a train. What came next for Evelyn was totally unexpected. It's a story that is both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.
37 min
4
UI #131 - An Inside Job
The incredible story of how James Rufus Landis stole $160,000 in $20 bills from the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing on New Year's Eve of 1953.
35 min
5
UI #130 - A Christmas Eve Kidnapping
On Christmas Eve of 1937, a man in Centerville, Indiana kidnapped a young boy and his babysitter. Minutes later, the boy's mother and the local grocer were taken prisoner by a second thug. A shootout between the bandit and the boy's father then followed.
33 min
6
UI #129 - Soul Searching
Miner James Kidd made an incredibly unusual request in his will that would take more than 21 years for the courts to resolve.
42 min
7
UI #128 - The Prick of Death
In 1933, a young man was walking through a busy train station in India when he was pricked in the arm by a man walking in the opposite direction. He would soon be dead and the shocking truth as to how and who murdered him was revealed.
28 min
8
UI #127 - The Case of the Doctor-Doctor Kidnapping
In 1933, a medical doctor and a chiropractic doctor were found severely injured a short distance from one another. The two had never met before, but their lives had somehow violently crossed on that fateful day.
24 min
9
UI #126 - The Transcontinental Taxi Ride
An offbeat story from 1966 about a woman requested that a taxicab drive her all the way from Toledo, Ohio to San Francisco, CA
23 min
10
UI #125 - The Snoring War
A fun story from 1964 in which Brooklyn neighbors Sam Gutwirth and Sam Scheir ended up in court due to Scheir's loud snoring.
27 min
11
UI #124 - Flying Blind
A great story about a Navy pilot who was blinded during a bombing run over North Korea in 1952 and the attempt by another pilot to land him safely.
26 min
12
UI #123 - The Many, Many Murders of Michael Malloy
Back in 1933, more than 30 attempts were made on the life of Michael Malloy before he finally succumbed.
12 min
13
UI #122 - 1st Jewish Couple Married on TV (Part 2)
Part 2 of my interview with cartoonist Leigh Rubin during which we discuss how he got into cartooning and went on to become a successful syndicated cartoonist.
28 min
14
UI #121 - 1st Jewish Couple Married on TV (Part 1)
Natalie and Stan Rubin were the first Jewish couple ever married on national TV, but it almost never happened.
40 min
15
The Great Podcast Switcheroo!
For the Great Podcast Switcheroo, hear an episode of the Historical Blindness podcast titled The Camden Wonder.
36 min
16
UI Bonus Episode #4 - An Incredible Life of Lea...
The story of Ronald McLean who started his career as a soda jerk in a pharmacy and ultimately made his way to be appointed as the Interim Dean at the Albany College of Pharmacy.
28 min
17
UI #120 - The Coal Mountain Casanova
In 1952, Jesse Garrett had recently divorced and was in search of a new wife. He seemed like a catch and 100's of women contacted him to let them know that they were interested. In the end, Jesse Garrett was financially ruined,
33 min
18
UI Bonus Episode #3 - Interview with John Murphy
Part 2 of my interview with John Murphy. Here we discuss John's involvement with inventor Dean Kamen (of the Segway fame) and their work to establish the FIRST Robotics competition that now involves tens of thousands of students worldwide.
13 min
19
UI #119 - A Punishment That Went Horribly Wrong
The parents of Linda Marie Ault were in a panic when their daughter didn't return home after attending a dance. When she returned home the next morning, they came up with a punishment that would teach her a valuable lesson. Everything went horribly wrong.
28 min
20
UI Bonus Episode #2 - Salem Trade School Interview
Bonus episode is an interview with John Murphy. His dad was a member of the Salem Trade School, which was the subject of Useless Information Podcast #90 in January 2016.
23 min
21
UI #118 - Christmas Time in Santa Heim
Fun story from the 1940's about a man named Harry H. Heim who converted a defunct mill town into the ultimate Christmas wonderland.
33 min
22
UI #117 - The Adventure of a Lifetime
In 1957, three Chicago aluminum awning salesmen decided to quit the jobs and sail to Africa to join in on the lucrative illegal diamond trade. They were in for a wild ride along with a very big surprise waiting for them at the end.
41 min
23
UI #116 - The Walking Murphys
Long forgotten headline story about a family who lost everything in the Great Kansas flood of 1951. Yet, all was not as it seemed...
40 min
24
UI #115 - The Monster Crash at Crush
As a publicity stunt, W.G. Crush crashed two trains head-on near West, Texas in 1896. More than 20,000 spectators were in the audience when it all went horribly wrong.
45 min
25
UI #114 - Baby Moses
Pearl River, LA resident Effie Crawford made the most startling discovery in 1936. Moving through the brush near her home she spotted a large dog carrying an unusual package in its mouth. She grabbed the bundle and found that it contained a baby.
27 min
26
UI #113 - Mile-A-Minute Murphy
The world's fastest bicyclist in the 1890's was Charles Minthorp Murphy and he was certain that there was no locomotive on Earth that could go faster than he could. To prove this, Murphy set a goal to ride one-mile in one-minute.
40 min
27
UI #112 - A Journey to the Center of the Earth
John Cleves Symmes asked Congress to fund a voyage to the North Pole so that his crew could sail into the Earth's interior. You may be surprised to find out how many of our elected officials approved the voyage...
36 min
28
UI #111 - Dick the Dog
Pennsylvania resident Jacob Silverman made national headlines back in 1922 for the crime of owning a dog named Dick within the commonwealth. The law at the time required that Dick be killed simply because he was owned by Jacob. Could Dick's life be saved?
33 min
29
Useless Information Podcast Bonus Episode #1
Bonus episode that includes an interview that I did back in 2014 with Lene Bech Sillesen and a recording of the NBC live news report when Pearl Harbor was bombed.
25 min
30
UI #110 - Wife for Sale
In 1948, Dorothy Lawlor decided to take an ad out in the Newsday newspaper seeking a husband in exchange for $10,000. Within twenty-four hours she became a media sensation. Did she really marry one of these men? The answer may surprise you.
43 min
31
UI #109 - The Case of the Phantom Vegetable Oil
Tino De Angelis was once ran a salad oil empire. Learn about his shocking downfall, how JFK’s assassination ties into the story, and how one of the world's richest men made a good chunk of change off of everyone else’s misfortune.
43 min
32
UI #108 - The Man Who Gave Away His Birthday
When author Robert Louis Stevenson learned that young Vermont native Annie Ide hated her Christmas birthday, he decided to deed his own birthday to her. Learn how she celebrate her new birthday and what happened after she died.d
46 min
33
UI #107 - The First Transatlantic Airplane Race
In May 1929, Old Orchard Beach in Maine was the site for a race that pitted the smaller, more nimble American Green Flash against larger, more powerful French Yellow Bird. Anticipation mounted for weeks as the two planes attempted to get off the ground.
49 min
34
UI #106 - Elixir of Death
When the S.E. Massengill Co. introduced its Elixir Sulfanilamide in September 1937, there was no law in the US requiring pharmaceutical companies to test their medicines for toxicity. As a result, more than 100 people lost their lives.
33 min
35
UI #105 - Le Mars Trilogy: Part 3 - Maybelle Tr...
During desperate times some people are forced to do desperate things. The trick is to not get caught. Let's just say that Maybelle Trow Knox was not very good at that last part.
44 min
36
UI #104 - Le Mars Trilogy: Part 2 - Farmers in ...
The Great Depression was an awful time for farmers in Iowa. It culminated with the near hanging of a judge in Le Mars. This particular farm was owned by the womanless library creator T.M. Zink.
27 min
37
UI #103 - Le Mars Trilogy: Part 1 - T.M. Zink's...
Le Mars, Iowa was thrust into the national spotlight by the actions of just one man: T.M. Zink, a man who left nearly his entire estate for the establishment of a womanless library.
33 min
38
UI #102 - Dr. Mary Edwards Walker
Dr. Mary Edwards Walker was one of the first female doctors in the United States and is the only woman to ever receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, until the government rescinded her award.
30 min
39
UI #101 - Where There's a Wilby, There's a Way
In the 1940's Ralph Marshall Wilby appeared to pull off what was the perfect crime. An incredible story that has many elements of an international thriller: deception, false identities, international kidnapping, and more.
33 min
40
UI #100 - A Miracle Birth in Mexico
On March 5, 2000, Ines Ramirez Perez went into labor but was unable to get any medical care to help with the delivery. In a panic, Ines used an ordinary kitchen knife to perform a cesarean on herself.
20 min
41
UI #99 - Millionaire for a Day
What is a political party to do when they don't want their candidate on the ballot? The Democratic party in Wilkes-Barre, PA found themselves in such a predicament when John Jay "Butch" McDevitt won their primary.
40 min
42
UI #98 - The Trick-or-Treat Dentist
The Halloween episode. Learn about a reputable California dentist named William Shyne who supposedly gave the children of his neighborhood lollipops and laxative pills for Halloween.
21 min
43
UI #97 - Silent Susan
On October 6, 1946 a young woman was arrested in Palisades Park, NJ for refusing to provide a police officer with her name. She had been cooperative in every way but refused to provide that single piece of information.
27 min
44
UI #96 - The Ice Cream Wars
The everything ice cream episode! Learn about an ongoing war between ice cream vendors, which included bombings, gunfire, torching of trucks, and threats.
34 min
45
UI #95 - The Yonkers Anti-Shorts Law
Back in 1935, Yonkers, NY made international news for arresting five NYC women who wore shorts and bandana halters. At one point, a Yonkers' aldermen proposed the building of a fence around Tibbetts Brook Park to keep the undesirables out.
26 min
46
UI #94 - The Brassiere Brigade
In September of 1950, a young woman contacted Miami police to let them know that someone had stolen money from her, money that she had helped to steal from Southern Bell originally. This led to the discovery of a highly unusual theft ring.
25 min
47
UI #93 - The Ugliest Thing the President Ever Saw
President Lyndon Johnson was never one to hold back his words, whether they be good or bad. Listen to this episode to learn what he felt was the ugliest thing that he had ever seen.
21 min
48
UI #92 - A Dog Day in Court
The drowning of Brockport, NY resident Maxwell Breeze in 1936 was the basis for one of the most unusual death penalty cases ever. Find out who was placed on trial, the court decision handed down, and what happened to the accused murderer.
28 min
49
UI #91 - Unfit to Teach
In the past, teachers could be fired some of the craziest reasons such as wearing turtlenecks, pantsuits, not going to church, or smoking a cigarette. Listen to learn about one of the more unusual ways a teacher could be denied a teaching license.
20 min
50
UI #90 - The Salem Trade School
The Salem Trade School was the worst high school football team in the Boston region in the 1920's. Any team that played against them was guaranteed to win. The Salem Trade team had a big secret that they kept under wraps for six years.
20 min
51
UI #89 - The Singing Mouse
The comical true story of an ordinary house mouse that could sing. Next came a one-year contract with NBC radio and an international contest to find the world's best singing mouse.
24 min
52
UI #88 - The Last Man on Earth
Back in 1960, the San Francisco Chronicle decided to send their columnist Bud Boyd up into the Marble Mountains of California for six weeks to find out if one could really survive. Let's just say that everything did not go as planned...
21 min
53
UI #87 - The Rescue of Charles Nalle
When escaped slave Charles Nalle was arrested in Troy, NY on April 27, 1860, no one could have anticipated what happened next. With the help of Harriet Tubman, Nalle is the only person in US history to have been rescued from slavery four times.
29 min
54
UI #86 - The Monk and his Hypnotist
Crazy true story about an elderly monk and his wife who decided to adopt their 63-year-old doctor. The doctor was then arrested for supposedly murdering his new mother.
19 min
55
UI #85 - Cinderella Girl
Just what happens when you write to the President of the United States to let him know that you have the same birthday as him? A 13-year-old girl named Anna Sklepovich did just that and the results did not turn out as she had planned.
19 min
56
UI #84 - The Honest Man with an Evil Eye
In 1935 a man stumbled across the find of a lifetime: A wallet containing a large number of stock certificates. Find out what the press said that he did with the certificates, what really happened, and how he killed a man simply by staring at him.
18 min
57
UI #83 - Michigan's Flying Bandit
Back in 1928, Clarence Frechette made national news for a bizarre attack that he made on the pilot of an airplane, possibly making him the world's first hijacker. Amazingly, he was back in the news in 1935 for an equally bizarre crime.
21 min
58
UI #82 - That's the Ticket
Back in 1955, Evert Stenmark was out hunting alone for ptarmigan when he became buried by an avalanche. Day after day he remained trapped under the snow. Learn how he survived and the one thing that he had in his wallet that probably saved his life.
15 min
59
UI #81 - The Shoeless Hillbilly
When Peter Grainger walked into a US Army recruiting center in 1951, he had quite the story to tell. He had spent nearly his entire life living high in the mountains of New Mexico with virtually no contact with the outside world.
15 min
60
UI #80 - Murder in the Mail
On an October day back in 1941, John Kmetz received a trial supply of herbal pills that would supposedly restore vitality to his 54-year-old body. Shortly after taking the pills, Kmetz was dead. A truly bizarre story.
21 min
61
UI #79 - The Great Venus Swindle
In 1953 Harold Jesse Berney, head of a television antenna manufacturing operation, was chosen by the US government to be its main contact with Uccelles, a prince visiting our planet from Venus. One of the most fantastic swindles ever conceived.
22 min
62
UI #78 - The Bowery's Santa
The Christmas episode. Learn about a man named Joe Bonavita who returned to the Bowery in New York City every year to celebrate Christmas with those less fortunate.
20 min
63
UI #77 - The Woman with the X-Ray Camera
One of the most bizarre stories ever presented on this podcast. The nearly unbelievable true story about a woman hired to investigate another woman suspected in a jewel heist.
20 min
64
UI #76 - A Life Forgotten
Did you ever wonder what would happen if you completely lost your memory? In this true story, a man went nearly twenty years without remembering a single detail about his life.
17 min
65
UI #75 - The Citicorp Tower Revisited
When the Citicorp Tower in New York City opened in 1977, no one could have ever imagined that building was fatally flawed. A phone call from a college student in NJ to the building's structural engineer may have saved tens of thousands of lives.
38 min
66
UI #74 - Arrest the Parents
Should parents be held responsible for the crimes that their children commit? Listen to this story from 1947 detailing just what happened when New York City tried to do just that.
22 min
67
UI #73 - The Canary Funeral
Back in 1920, Newark, NJ was host to one of the most bizarre funerals ever. An estimated 10,000 people lined the streets to witness the funeral procession of Jimmie the singing canary.
20 min
68
UI #72 - The Fever Girl
Fun story from 1923. Newspapers around the United States reported daily on the health of the Fever Girl - a woman with the highest temperature ever recorded to that date. Would she live or die?
24 min
69
UI #71 - Baltimore's Buried Treasure
You may have heard about the Californian couple that found five cans of gold coins on their property. Two Baltimore boys made a similar discovery back in 1934, but this pot of gold proved to be anything but lucky.
27 min
70
UI #70 - Busman's Holiday
Have you ever just had enough of your job and wanted to walk away from it? Bus driver William Cimillo found himself in this position back in 1947 and his unique solution made him an instant celebrity.
25 min
71
UI #69 - Tunnel Joe Holmes
Joseph Ellsworth Holmes was a career criminal serving a twenty year sentence for being the "dinner-time burglar". His great escape in 1951 elevated him to celebrity status overnight.
24 min
72
UI #68 - The Blaze Incident
A long-forgotten front page story from January of 1945 that involved the US military, the White House, a Hollywood actress, and one big dog.
23 min
73
UI #67 - Mr. Moneybags
Alexander Ector Orr Munsell was an incredibly wealthy man during the Great Depression. He seemed to have it all, until he suddenly gave it all away to live among the poor in a flophouse. Find out why he chose to do so and what happened after that.
21 min
74
UI #66 - The Baby is in the Mail
It's absolutely true: When the United States started Parcel Post service in 1913, both babies and small children were mailed. Listen to this story to learn why it was done and how it came to an end.
21 min
75
UI #65 - The Short Life of Suzy Dewey
The sad story of a little girl that was diagnosed with terminal leukemia who was the victim of a hoax during the last few months of her short life.
20 min
76
UI #64 - Operation Bodysnatch
At the end of World War II, the United States was faced with the task of reburying four bodies of former German nobility. The three men assigned to the task ran in obstacle after obstacle.
26 min
77
UI #63 - Attack of the 50-Foot Garden Hose
Some mysterious force was bringing garden hoses all over the United States to life back in 1955. Find out what they did and how one owner named George Di Peso put an end to all of the madness.
21 min
78
UI #62 - The Ghost of Guam
True story of a US Navy radioman who was hunted by the Japanese during World War II.
25 min
79
UI #61 - The Pleasant Hill School Bus Tragedy
Sad, yet true, story of a 1931 school bus disaster in the Pleasant Hill school district in Colorado.
32 min
80
UI #60 - Ivory Soap Murders
The Easter Sunday 1937 murders of Veronica Gedeon, her mom Mary, and Frank Byrnes in NYC launched an intense nationwide hunt for the killer. There were few clues to go on, but two bars of soap provided police with the conclusive evidence that they needed.
30 min
81
UI #59 - The Sky is Falling
Alvin Rodecker and his wife chose to celebrate his 60th birthday in style. It was to be an incredible, memorable trip to New York City. If only he had looked up after upon leaving a ritzy restaurant...
21 min
82
UI #58 - Dead Ringers
Akron, Ohio citizen Larry Bader and Omaha, Nebraska sportscaster Fritz Johnson were complete opposites of each other. Yet, they were dead ringers for each other. Find out what happened when one was thought to be the other.
21 min
83
UI #57 - The Sikorsky Sweater Girls
Back in 1943, 53 women were fired by Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft for wearing sweaters to work. Listen to this story to find out the details and how it was ultimately resolved.
21 min
84
UI #56 - Apple Annie
Long forgotten story about a poor woman named Helen McCarthy who was able to live a fairytale life for 24 hours. Sadly, she did not live happily ever after.
20 min
85
UI #55 - Will the Real Dr. Brown Please Stand Up?
Amazing true story of a small town doctor who was loved by all. When he was arrested for committing a crime that could have endangered fellow community members, they didn't abandon their faith in him.
27 min
86
UI #54 - The Case of the Misplaced Belly Button
Viginia O'Hare underwent tummy tuck surgery and then sued her doctor for $1.5 million dollars. Why? Because her belly button was supposedly 2" off-center.
21 min
87
UI #53 - The Patron Saint of the Vocally Challe...
Florence Foster Jenkins is considered to be the forerunner of today’s talentless celebrities. Her operatic recordings are considered among the worst of all time. Yet, she sold out Carnegie Hall.
26 min
88
UI #52 - Jack the Stripper
An odd true story about a San Diego robber dubbed "Jack the Stripper" by the press in the early 1960's. Listen to this episode to learn about his unusual motus operandi.
22 min
89
UI #51 - Tinker the Toad
Tinker the toad was found buried under a 6-inch thick concrete floor. The slab had been poured nine years earlier. Find out if and how Tinker survived this long entombment.
16 min
90
UI #50 - The Corpse Bride
Incredible true story of Count Karl von Cosel and the girl of his dreams. It was discovered that they slept together in the same bed every night - nine years after she had died.
28 min
91
UI #49 - Midnapore's Wolf Children
The story of Amala and Kamala, two girls in India that were claimed to have been raised by wolves. Find out the facts of this unusual story.
22 min
92
UI #48 - The Double Life of Clarence King
The first director of the US Geological Survey, Clarence King, was a famed scientist, explorer, and author. Yet, few people knew that he spent the last thirteen years leading a secret double life.
24 min
93
UI #47 - The French Nobleman
The death of an elderly man in Chicago in 1941 was initially unnoticed. Then it was learned that he was a French nobleman that gave it all away for the chance to love the woman of his dreams. Find out if he ever got the girl...
17 min
94
UI #46 - Grady the Cow
After giving birth to a stillborn, Grady the Cow just bolted from sight. It was then that her owner realized she had somehow gotten her large body through the tiny door to the concrete silo.
21 min
95
UI #45 - The Fly Paper Murderess
Six men died in a Chicago woman's home over a three-year period, all of whom were married to 47-year-old Margaret Summers. She had taken out 19 life insurance policies, all naming her as the sole beneficiary.
18 min
96
UI #44 - The Man Buried Alive
On August 21, 1933, Jack Loreen was dug up after spending the previous 64 days buried in a coffin. That was just the start of a crazy competition to survive the longest at six feet under.
22 min
97
UI #43 - Lyndon Johnson's Camel Driver
On May 20, 1961, then US Vice President Lyndon Johnson had a casual conversation with a camel driver named Bashir Ahmad. The next thing you know, Bashir was on his way to the United States in the feel-good news story of 1961.
25 min
98
UI #42 - Noach Goldberg's Wooden Leg
Frank Laiken skipped town to avoid paying alimony in 1928 and was never to be seen again. His ex-wife Rose learned of a man named Noach (Noah) Goldberg who had died in Vienna. It was his wooden leg that made her certain that Noah was her husband.
16 min
99
UI #41 - Conrad Cantzen's Shoes
Conrad Cantzen died in 1945 and is long forgotten, but his shoe fund still lives on. Listen to the story of this bizarre provision in this down-on-his-luck actor's handwritten will.
19 min
100
UI #40 - Coney Island's Baby Incubators
A premature baby born prior to the 1940's had little chance of survival unless the baby was lucky enough to be part of a popular sideshow exhibit at Coney Island.
20 min