The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong

46 EpisodesProduced by Mark Chrisler

Did you know that Europeans used to believe that sheep grew from Mongolian trees? Have you heard about the misbegotten discovery of a new form of water in the 1960s that set off a cold war arms race? Ever seen the gleaming Las Vegas hotel that accidentally shoots heat rays at poolside guests? The Co… read more

46 Episodes | 2017 - 2019

Is There Life on Mars?

March 5th, 2019

58:59

Take a look at those star men, gazing at the night sky. Oh man, wonder if they'll ever know? on October 30th, 1938, Orson Welles and The Mercury Theatre on The Air unleashed the most infamous media prank of all time. …

Broadcasting The Barricades

February 26th, 2019

30:23

This is the story of the first radio hoax. No, not that one. On January 16th, 1926, a Catholic priest took the mic at BBC Radio and threw all of …

What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Ship and Understanding?

February 19th, 2019

59:07

War! Good God, y'all. What is it good for? According to Henry Ford: Absolutely nothing. So in 1915 he launched a ship, bound for Europe, with a …

Let's Kill Mike

February 12th, 2019

25:14

How do you survive in 1932, when The Great Depression is at its peak and prohibition is in full force? How about a little insurance fraud? It's easy: …

GulliBottle

February 5th, 2019

14:01

In January of 1749, a London advertisement promised an impossible show at The Haymarket Theatre: a full-grown man would jump into a wine bottle and, …

The Idea that Broke America

January 29th, 2019

1:00:40

Mesmerism didn't stop with Mesmer. This week, we pick up where we left off, tracing the idea of animal magnetism to America, where it went through some... changes. Get ready for a whirlwind tour of American enterprise, …

Mesmerizing

January 22nd, 2019

57:58

What is this? Are you some kind of hypnotist? We're doing a deep dive into one of the single most fascinating mistaken ideas and the fascinating man who thought it up. This story has got it all: demonic possession, …

A Sticky Situation

January 15th, 2019

19:31

Happy 100th birthday to one of the strangest disasters in American history: Boston's Great Molasses Flood. For our season 5 premiere, we're looking …

Join Us

January 8th, 2019

1:51

New season begins Tuesday, January 15th. Join us.

It's Wonderful

December 24th, 2018

21:55

On today's holiday special we're looking at a Christmas classic: It's a Wonderful Life. A movie that was almost never made, that was almost forever …

Introducing 'Safe for Work'

December 20th, 2018

4:21

Just a couple of days before our Christmas special, here's a little gift for you: Safe for Work. Safe For Work is an advice show that reminds you that while your office may be crazy, you don’t have to be. Office MVPs …

No Ragrets

December 18th, 2018

9:20

Alright, there are two ways this can go down. Scenario 1: Mark finds the story of the worst tattoo ever and feels heartened by it, going through with finally getting his own. Scenario 2: Mark finds the story of the …

Way to Go Again, Einstein!

December 11th, 2018

26:59

Because you wonderful, amazing jerks helped reach our stretch goal, Mark's got a promise to fulfill. To explain that promise--and the title of this …

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

October 30th, 2018

32:30

It's Halloween and that means it's time for a spooky one. This week, for the last episode of our Kickstarter season, we've got a real-life story of ghosts, possession and a weird nexus where superstition meets science. …

What The Fork?

October 23rd, 2018

14:40

Forks! A handier, less-controversial item would be difficult to imagine. Yet, for hundreds of years Europeans recoiled from the fork with a hilarious …

Typis and Errirs

October 16th, 2018

26:13

To honor all the flubs of our first year, we're going down the rabbit hole of the worst typos and mistakes in history. From sacrilegious Bibles to …

Dis-Covered

October 9th, 2018

32:50

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And then... well, that's the question. What exactly did this dude do? And where did the myth of Columbus come …

It's a Gamble

October 2nd, 2018

1:36

Four weeks, four new episodes. Starting Tuesday, October 9th.

Diabolical Devices of The Demon of Darkness

August 7th, 2018

36:23

It was a dark and stormy night. A dark and stormy year, really. And it gave birth to a monster, a New Prometheus which descended upon the panicked world, leaving death and destruction in its wake. For this, our season …

Make It Rain

July 31st, 2018

33:44

In the late 19th century, Americans moved into the western states because of one simple phrase. But despite what you learned in junior high, it wasn't "manifest destiny." Today we're talking about the real maxim …

The Ox and The Shark

July 24th, 2018

14:17

This week we're back at The Paper Machete for more political comedy, talking about Trump and Russia. Which is probably the last thing you need to …

Turks, Turks!

July 17th, 2018

26:13

Without accidents, mistakes and foolishness, there would be no military history. Nearly every war ever fought was determined, to some large degree, …

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

July 10th, 2018

17:58

In 1926, the quiet, small-town of Kittanning, Pennsylvania was descended upon by a mob of salesmen and hucksters selling solutions to a peculiar …

Boom Town

July 3rd, 2018

14:00

In 1896 two trains, going full-speed, slammed into one another in the middle of the 2nd largest city in Texas. Just like they were supposed to.

Here Be Dragons

June 26th, 2018

23:16

Through nearly all time, humankind believed in leviathans and krakens and mermaids. People didn't give up believing in sea monsters until the turn of the 20th century. Then, in 1925, one washed up on the shores of Santa …

The Reflex

June 19th, 2018

28:34

In the 1840's, a mysterious disease was running roughshod through a Viennese hospital, killing new mothers in terrifying numbers. On this, our season 3 premiere, we're looking at one of the greatest medical mysteries of …

Catchup

June 6th, 2018

1:12

Season 3 begins June 19th. In the meantime, we'll be dropping a couple of these meta-ads. Hope you enjoy. Share, like, subscribe, rate, review and... catchup.

Lord Morton's Mare

May 3rd, 2018

16:04

A fly bites, a sickness spreads, a horse is born, an idea returns. This week we attempt to correct an oversight.

Let's Talk About Sex, Babies

April 17th, 2018

50:00

Did you ever wonder where babies come from? So did all these guys! But only one of them managed to figure it out. This week, for our season finale, the remarkable story of how we came to know the most fundamental and …

People This Isle

April 10th, 2018

21:34

Look, out in the sea: it's an earthquake, it's a boat fire, it's a sea monster! It's a tiny, newborn volcanic island! In 1831, a small scrap of land …

Everyone Loves a Mystery

April 3rd, 2018

17:58

Today the story of a mysterious grave in the foothills of Appalachia, and the two wannabe detectives that set about deciphering it. This episode is a little different than most. It's a personal story. And we want more …

Do Good Carefully

March 27th, 2018

23:12

Here's something you don't see everyday: parachuting cats. It did happen, though. In the 1950s, The Royal Air Force airdropped parakitties onto the …

Everything Aristotle Said is Wrong

March 20th, 2018

16:55

We give Aristotle a pretty hard time here at The Constant. But we can't hold an Aristotle-hating candle to the guy in this episode. A man whose …

Ice and Fire and Fury

March 13th, 2018

20:30

It started off as an innocent enough idea: what if the moon was made of ice? But from there it grew. Into an alternative-science, into a grand conspiracy theory and, finally, into one of the greatest evils in history.

Bitcoin, Bitcoin, BITCOIN!

March 6th, 2018

12:16

Would you like a serious deep-dive into the technical history of cryptocurrency? Too bad. That does sound like something we'd do, but instead we're …

Shipwreckless

February 27th, 2018

27:30

In 1867, The Eliza set out to sea with a fresh crew, a full hold and fair weather. Yet no one expected her to ever make land again. This episode we …

Tidbits and Trimmings

February 13th, 2018

10:22

While we work away on season 2, here's a few extra stories related to the content from season 1 that didn't make their way into the episodes. More art hoaxes! More diligent prime number seekers! More birds on The Moon!

Way to Go, Einstein!

January 30th, 2018

25:28

We could've called this show "Whoopsie!" or "Oops!" or "People Believe The Strangest Things." But instead, we called it "The Constant." On this, the …

Fire-Proof Lizards, Vegetable Sheep and Ball-Biting Beavers

January 23rd, 2018

22:26

Throughout time people have twisted the most humdrum of creatures until they were fantastical, bizarre, unbelievable monsters. From a logistically unfeasible hybrid to a self-castrating quarry, we're bringing you a …

Take None of These and Call Me In The Morning

January 16th, 2018

18:29

This week: a whirlwind history of bad medical practices, worse medical practices and medical practices that--while still pretty awful--looked …

We're Still Here

January 9th, 2018

15:29

"Threatening the world with Famine, Plague and War: To Princes, Death! To Kingdoms, many Crosses; To all Estates, inevitable Losses! To Herdsmen, Rot; to Plowmen, hapless Seasons; To Sailors, Storms, To Cities, Civil …

Art is Dead

January 2nd, 2018

18:47

You don't know this story. You don't know the killer. You don't know the victims. You don't know the artist and you don't know the artworks. But in 1998 Yugoslavia, a series of mutilated corpses shocked the public, …

Three Years of Sundays

December 26th, 2017

It's difficult to honor the spirit of the season when you're making a show about mistakes, foibles and failures, but we've done our best. This week, …

1% Inspiration

December 19th, 2017

10:07

In the 1960's, scientists discovered a new form of water, kicking off millions of dollars of research, Nobel Prize consideration and a new Cold War …

Why Do Birds Suddenly (Dis)Appear?

December 12th, 2017

17:48

Have you ever wondered where birds go in the winter? Of course not. But throughout history, many people have. On this, the season premiere of The Constant, we dive into some of the incredible explanations people …

You Gotta Fry a Few Eggs

December 5th, 2017

9:22
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