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.
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.
Introducing Safe for Work
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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...
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UI #62 - The Ghost of Guam
True story of a US Navy radioman who was hunted by the Japanese during World War II.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UI #39 - Samuel Resnick Buys His Own Murder
Albany jeweler Samuel Resnick retired to Phoenix, Arizona, but something went wrong. He ended up paying to have himself murdered. Check out this podcast to find out all the details in this oddball story.
UI #38 - The Cardiff Giant
The 1869 discovery of this fossilized giant provided the first definitive proof that giants once did inhabit the Earth. Listen to find out the real facts in the story.
UI #37 - The 34-Year Nightmare
Stephen Dennison was sent to prison for stealing $5.00 worth of chocolates back in 1926. He never committed another crime, yet he was still there in 1960. Listen to find out how this happened and how Steve ultimately gained release.
UI #36 - The Greatest Escape
lavomir Rawich's escape from a Siberian prison camp is among the greatest stories of survival ever. So great that it seems totally unbelievable at times.
UI #35 - Dumpy the Dog
For a while it seemed like Dumpy the Dog could survive just about anything, but a puppy-hood illness came back to haunt him. Be sure to check out this incredible true story.
UI #34 - Death by Exploding Playing Cards
William Kogut decided to end his life using a deck of ordinary playing cards. Learn how he managed to do so in this fascinating true story.
UI #33 - The Little Widow of Herald Square
Ida Mayfield Wood lived as a recluse in the Herald Square Hotel in NYC for 24 years. When she died, 1,103 people claimed to be the heir to her fortune. Eight years later not a single one of them got a penny. Listen to this great story to find out who did.
UI #32 - The Sterilization of Ann Cooper Hewitt
Wealthy Ann Cooper Hewitt was sterilized at age 20 by her mother and two doctors, yet had no knowledge that the procedure was being done. Find out how they tricked her into the surgery.
UI #31 - The Phantom Sniper
The Phantom Sniper terrorized women of the Los Angeles area in the early 1950's. He was captured because of one minor mistake that most people would have easily overlooked.
UI #30 - The Strange Kidnapping of Milly McGill
Long forgotten story about the strange kidnapping of Milly McGill back in 1945. It is what happened after Milly was returned back to her parents that is the oddest part of this true story.
UI #29 - The 1913 Calumet Christmas Party Disaster
A Christmas Eve celebration for the children of Calumet, Michigan turned into a death trap. Listen to find out the details of this tragic story.
UI #28 - The Cranberry Crisis of 1959
Can you imagine Thanksgiving without cranberries? That actually happened in 1959 when cooks across America tossed out all of their cranberry products.
UI #27 - The Great Elephant Caper
Eleven circus elephants died from arsenic poisoning within a one-week period. The search for the murderer was on...
UI #26 - You've Got the Wrong Men
One of the best stories ever covered on this podcast. It's the story of two men placed on trial for murder and were saved from almost certain death by an event that occurred many miles away.
UI #25 - Escape in a Homemade Submarine
Fascinating true story of three Milwaukee men that started bombing Milwaukee Sears stores in an effort to obtain $100,000 and escape in their homemade submarine.
UI #24 - The Kidnapping of Caleb Milne IV
Long forgotten story about the sensational kidnapping of Caleb Milne IV back in 1935.
UI #23 - The Day the US Dropped 4 H-Bombs on S...
The residents of Palomares in Spain are still dealing with the effects of the four hydrogen bombs accidentally dropped on this small fishing village back in 1966.
UI #22 - The Fake Epidemic
Incredible true story of two Polish doctors that used the microbe Proteus OX19 to create a pseudo typhus epidemic, which saved the lives of over 8,000 people.
UI #21 - The Court Martial of Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson is best remembered for being the first African American to play for one of the Major League baseball teams, but his 1944 court martial for his refusal to "go to the back of the bus" nearly derailed his career.
UI #20 - US Army Bicycle Corp
Hard to believe, but the United States Army once had a bicycle corp.
UI #19 - The Radium Girls
When the radioactive element radium was discovered, it quickly found its way into many products. One of those was glow-in-the dark watch faces, which were painted by women who licked their paint brushes to keep them pointed. This was a deadly mistake.
UI #18 - Come Dancing with Henry Ford
For many years, the most popular episode recorded on this podcast. Henry Ford is best remembered as the father of the Model T and the assembly line, but his efforts to get the American people dancing is nearly forgotten.
UI #17 - Extracting Gold from Seawater
The true story of the 1897 invention of the "accumulator" that was designed to extract gold from the world's oceans.
UI #16 - The Flubber Fiasco
The unbelievable story of how to deal with the disposal of millions of pieces of the toy Flubber. It's the product that they just couldn't put down!
UI #15 - The Spirits of St. Louis - NBA's Most ...
The long defunct Spirits of St. Louis basketball team may actually be one of the most profitable of all time, earning more annually than most likely any team in the NBA. Listen to this fascinating story to find out why.
UI #14 - Disaster of the USS Indianapolis
The sinking of the USS Indianapolis caused the worst at-sea loss of life in the history of the US Navy. Hundreds of lives could have been saved if the US Navy had not forgotten about the ship.
UI #13 - Henrietta Swan Leavitt Unlocks the Un...
The largely untold story of human computer Henrietta Leavitt and how she unlocked the key to the vast universe.
UI #12 - Antarctica's Red Light District
Yes, it appears that scientists may have finally found what appears to be Earth's southernmost red-light district. This is a story about penguins and what they do in their spare time. This time, however, it is the betrayed husband who is left home crying.
UI #11 - The Great Toilet Paper Shortage
Learn about one of the most unusual shortages ever in US history - one that was all started by Tonight Show host Johnny Carson.
UI #10 - The Hanging of Will Purvis
Will Purvis hanged for the murder of another man, yet was able to walk away after the hanging was over. Possibly a case of divine intervention, but we will never know for sure.
UI #9 - The Terminal Starring Sir Alfred???
Do you recall the Tom Hanks' movie The Terminal? His character was stuck in the airport and was unable to leave. Believe it or not, this was very loosely based on a true story, one that was much more unusual with a sadder ending.
UI #8 - Fight! - Shiloh Baptist Church Disaster
The true story of the 1902 Shiloh Baptist Church Disaster, which explains why you should never scream the word "Fight!" in a crowded room.
UI #7 - Philo Farnsworth
What were you doing when you were 14 years old? At that very young age Philo Farnsworth invented something that would change the world forever. There is a very good chance that you are using his invention right now, yet he is largely forgotten today.
UI #6 - U.S. Camel Corp
As the U.S. expanded into the Southwest, the heat and lack of water prevented long-term use of horses. The federal government found camels to be the perfect solution. While the camel experiment was successful, it ended just as quickly as it began.
UI #5 - The Gimli Glider
The true story of a Boeing 767 that ran out of fuel at 41,000 feet and lost total power. With no airport within gliding range, find out how these courageous pilots dealt with this frightening live or die situation.
UI #4 - Titanic - The Unsinkable Violet Jessop
The incredible true story of the unsinkable Violet Jessop and her survival of the collisions of the three sister ships - Olympic, Titanic, Britannic. The story that the movie should have been based on.
UI #3 - Bath School Disaster
While most people know about the massacre at Columbine, few realize that the deadliest act of US school violence occurred in Bath, Michigan in 1927. Listen to this fascinating story to find out the who, what, and why...
UI #2 - Bat Bombs - The Other Secret Weapon
Fascinating true story of the development by the US government of incendiary bombs carried by living bats during World War II. One can't help but wonder if WWII would have ended differently if this weapon had been used.
UI #1 - Useless Information Podcast - Introduc...
A introductory podcast that gives a brief overview of who I am, where these stories originated from, and what to expect in the future.