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Futility Closet

Jan 11, 2021

In 1977, West German tourist Erwin Kreuz spent three days enjoying the sights, sounds, and hospitality of Bangor, Maine. Unfortunately, he thought he was in San Francisco, on the other side of the continent. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll describe Kreuz's unlikely adventure, which made him...


Jan 4, 2021

In 1931, a 93-year-old widow was discovered to be hoarding great wealth in New York's Herald Square Hotel. Her death touched off an inquiry that revealed a glittering past -- and a great secret. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll tell the story of Ida Wood, which has been called "one of the...


Dec 28, 2020

Here are eight new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions.

Intro:

In 1940, the Venezuelan post office was said to deliver love letters at half price.

In 1890 Mark Twain composed a holiday message for the New York World.

The sources for...


Dec 21, 2020

In 1928, Belgian financier Alfred Loewenstein fell to his death from a private plane over the English Channel. How it happened has never been explained. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll describe the bizarre incident, which has been called "one of the strangest fatalities in the history of...


Dec 14, 2020

When a mysterious illness blinded him at age 25, British naval officer James Holman took up a new pursuit: travel. For the next 40 years he roamed the world alone, describing his adventures in a series of popular books. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll describe Holman's remarkable career and...