Armchair Historians

Deadly Victoriana, Lindsay Valenty, Ye Olde Crime Podcast

November 03, 2021 Lindsay Valenty
Armchair Historians
Deadly Victoriana, Lindsay Valenty, Ye Olde Crime Podcast
Show Notes Transcript

It's literally sickening. In this episode Lindsay Valenty talks to Anne Marie about how deadly it was to live during the Victorian era. From toxic Scheele's Green to ballerinas on fire...literally, find out some of the many ways the Victorians were hell bent on destroying themselves on this 

Lindsay Valenty is the host of "Ye Olde Crime" podcast, where she and her sister Madison discuss the funny, strange, and obscure crimes that took place before the 1900's. She's also one of the co-hosts of "Pineapple Pizza Podcast," which shares the myths, cryptids, and urban legends of different countries around the world.

Resources

Website: Ye Olde Crime Podcast: https://www.yeoldecrimepodcast.com
Twitter: @yeoldecrimepod
Instagram: @yeoldecrimepodcast

Scheele's Green: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2018/05/02/scheeles-green-the-color-of-fake-foliage-and-death/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheele%27s_Green

Episodes Mentioned in the Show
Ye Olde Crime Podcast
Wig Snatching Episode:
Ching Shih Episode: Terror of South China: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ye-olde-crime/id1514461061?i=1000486533552
Elizabeth Báthory Episode: Forever Young Episode: https://www.yeoldecrimepodcast.com/episodes/36-elisabeth-bathory

Armchair Historians:
Loving Episode: Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell, Loving...: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/armchair-historians/id1510128761?i=1000501937814



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Anne Marie Cannon:

Hello, my name is Anne Marie cannon and I'm the host of armchair historians. What's your favorite history? Each episode begins with this one question. Our guests come from all walks of life. YouTube celebrities, comedians, historians, even neighbors from the small mountain community that I live in people who love history and get really excited about a particular time, place, or person from our distant or not so distant past. The jumping off point is the place where they became curious, then entered the rabbit hole into discovery, fueled by an unrelenting need to know more, we look at history through the filter of other people's eyes. I'm Chair historians is a Belgian rabid production. Stay up to date with us through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Wherever you listen to your podcast that is where you'll find us. I'm Chair historians as an independent, commercial free podcast. If you'd like to support the show and keep it ad free, you can buy us a cup of coffee through coffee, or you can become a patron through Patreon links to both in the Episode Notes. Hello fellow armchair historians. This episode is literally sickening. Today I talked to Lindsay Valenti about how deadly it was to live during the Victorian era, from toxic shields green to ballerinas on fire. Literally find out some of the many ways the Victorians were hell bent on destroying themselves. Lindsay Valenti is the host of the old crime podcast, where she and her sister Madison discuss the funny, strange and obscure crimes that took place before the 1900s. She's also one of the CO hosts of pineapple pizza podcast, which shares the myths cryptids and urban legends in different countries around the world. Before I roll the tape, I'd like to warn you that some of the topics we talk about you might find a little disturbing specifically we do talk about death and being poisoned. Lindsay Valenti, welcome, and thank you for being here today.

Lindsay Valenty:

Yeah, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Anne Marie Cannon:

So as I was saying, before we started recording. I love true crime. And I love history. So I get giddy when I think about your podcast. Thank you. And I really enjoy the banter between you and your sister. Yeah. Madison has a very infectious laugh.

Lindsay Valenty:

She does. Yes, I hear that quite often. That's one of the comments we get most often as people find our, our laughter infectious.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Definitely is. So but Whoa, we're getting ahead of ourselves. And we will definitely talk about the old crime podcast. After we talk about what's your favorite history that we're going to be talking about today?

Lindsay Valenty:

Sure, I thought in Sticking with the theme of my podcast, that my response would be very fitting in saying that I really enjoy the Victorian era, particularly because they unknowingly did so many things to kill themselves.

Anne Marie Cannon:

That is so true. I could think of a couple things when you said that. So go on. Yeah, I'm invested.

Lindsay Valenty:

Okay. All right. One example is, at the time, there was a specific color of green called Scheels. Green or Paris green that was extremely popular. It was used in wallpapers, paintings, fabrics, especially for dresses, it was a very sought after color. They use it on artificial flowers for hats. And they even use it in children's toys, which is horrifying, but it was made with copper, and white, arsenic, and potassium.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I've heard of this before, but I didn't realize that that was the combination.

Lindsay Valenty:

Yeah, so as we know, arsenic is super poisonous. And so it's not really that surprising that people who wore these sorts of garments and stuff ended up having sores and damaged tissue, but they'd also get nauseous. Get physically ill have constant headaches. And there are several reported stories of families who had the shield's green wallpaper in their in their homes. And doctors were thinking maybe they had like tuberculosis because some other symptoms were very similar. And he just told them to rest. Well, that's the worst thing they could do if they're trapped in this room, surrounded by arsenic powder that they're just inhaling And of course, they never thought, oh, maybe I should open a window or things like that. So they're all these reports of years later, we understand, oh, well, here you go. But at that time, you know, they didn't know any better. Like it was just, this was a very sought after color. And it could only be achieved by combining these three things. So it's another, it's another one of those. So

Anne Marie Cannon:

when did they figure it out?

Lindsay Valenty:

I think they started to kind of figure it out in the late 19th century, just because the color and sort of the fashion started to change a little bit. But I know there's a museum. And now I'm blanking on what the museum is called. But they do have a book that is kept in a specific case that no one is allowed to touch. But it has samples of all the wallpaper that was made with this color combination. I think someone described it as one of the most dangerous books in existence, because you have to wear specific gloves. It's in like a sealed thing where you can have to like put your hands in the gloves to be able to handle it and things like that, because it's, it will kill you if you expose yourself to it. So

Anne Marie Cannon:

do you know about when they stop producing this color without the poison? I'm asking because I'm thinking I used to be in charge of the collections in a museum here in town. And there's this stunning green Victorian dress. And I'm like thinking about all the times I handled it. And if it was

Unknown:

unserious, it's stunning

Anne Marie Cannon:

to, I have to find it. So I caused it for the episode and social the 19th

Lindsay Valenty:

century. So they eventually became obsolete. So it was the shields green. And then there was a cobalt green, which is also known as like zinc green, which wasn't as toxic as the shields green, but it was still very toxic. And funnily enough, they ended up using that shields green as an insecticide all the way up to the 1930s. So it's just one of those weird things where it's like, yeah, so that was one. That's, that's just one thing that, you know, affected really everyone because it was such a popular color. And it was the worst thing you could have possibly had on your person or in your home or around your children. So not only that, but close at that time. Were also extremely flammable. So you'd have because an 1809 tool was invented, and that became a big thing for ballerinas. Yeah. And at that time, you know, they had lots of like the, the tool and so the ballerinas had to be very careful, because at that time during performances, they used gasline. Yeah, yeah. So if you got too close to one, when you were performing on stage, you'd basically go up as if you were discovered in gasoline. And there are many reports of ballerinas who suffered horrific burns wearing they were literally on fire dirt. They were literally on fire it were so and in fact, cotton at the time was more flammable than like wool and silk. And a lot of it had to do with like, the really big crinolines that the women would wear underneath their dresses to achieve that really like pretty much Yeah, so you're basically just walking or like a walking kindling stick pretty much. As I was researching this, I stumbled upon this cloth that was called a flat net, which was basically cotton. That was brushed to kind of resemble flannel, okay, so they brushed it in a certain way. And it was really popular as an option for like, undergarments and Night shirts. But it was also extremely flammable and a lot of the incidents of it going into flames involved children wearing so it's like this horrible thing that ended up spawning a product that they ended up labeling non flam. Which sounds like the most kid friendly thing that you'd want to purchase. Whoa, I want to make sure you either nonflammable pajamas. So it's just It's crazy to think of the things that, you know, as the industrial revolution is continuing to unfold, and things are starting to improve, all these things are happening and changing that. You know, it's almost like by trial and error, and they don't realize at the time, kind of just what they're doing as far as what they're exposing themselves to. And

Anne Marie Cannon:

well, yeah, because you're not even thinking about it. You're totally oblivious. And instead, you're thinking that they're thinking, Oh, we have this great new thing. It's so wonderful. Oh, it's so vivid, that green, that the last thing you're thinking of is, it's going to poison and kill people.

Lindsay Valenty:

Yep. Yeah. And it's just, it's just not something that you would have ever thought of when you go out to the store and you purchase this beautiful dress.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I think we're more aware of it now. But I think back at, like, the pajamas that I used to wear when I was a kid at Christmas, like the videos, the film we have, because it was a long time ago. But um, yeah, so we didn't know. I could have just gone up in smoke.

Lindsay Valenty:

Yeah, I mean, this isn't like a new thing. Like there are things that were still popular in the 80s and 90s, that were almost just as bad as far as flammability is concerned. Yeah. So

Anne Marie Cannon:

we you know, what I think of today that is maybe the closest to that is because we don't really know too much about it is the what they I can't think of the name of it, what they use for smoking. The vape ban. vaping. Yeah, so that was supposed to be that was invented by these college grad students or something. And it was supposed to be a way for people to be healthier and get off the nicotine, but it turns out that it's starting to have all kinds of repercussions, right?

Lindsay Valenty:

Yeah, cuz it's got just, I mean, at the end of the day, you're still inhaling something into your lungs.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Right? Right. So we are in it, and we are still doing this shit.

Lindsay Valenty:

Yep. Yep, we are still doing it. Yeah. But it's not just dresses and stuff. Like there's, you know, hats were a very big thing back in the Victorian era for women and men. And I didn't really realize until I was looking into it a little bit more. But women used to have like, actual dead birds on their hats. Oh, because it was fashionable to have this like bird figurine with like fake flowers and stuff on your hats. And in order to preserve these animals is like the taxidermists of the time, would use like arsenic laced soaps. So again, you're putting arsenic on your head, you know, for the sake of fashion. And I don't know that I would particularly want to have a dead animal on my head. But that's just me, you know, so, but it was kind of the same thing with men's hats because the top hats were extremely fashionable. And they were typically made with beaver pelt, you know, and that, to get the right feel for the firm and stuff, they use mercury to process it. Because that's what gave it it's really smooth and glossy texture. And so when you think about you know, like Alice in Wonderland, and Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter, yes, a lot of that had to do with the fact that people would act like that when they had mercury poisoning. Like it was known to cause convulsions and trembling, abdominal cramps, wacky speech, because you know what's on your head, so it's seeping into your head. Yeah. Not to mention, if you were an actual milliner, and you were making these hats, you'd have it on your hands, you'd be you'd be inhaling the fumes from it. So that's kind of where that Mad Hatter concept comes from, is from how they would be handling this mercury to make these houses My

Anne Marie Cannon:

goodness, okay, this is really disturbing. I'm glad I wasn't born during the Victorian era, even the stories in the Victorian era, but

Lindsay Valenty:

I know it's, it's one of those things where, you know, you read all these stories, and there's so many aspects of Victorian, you know, like England and other areas in the Victorian era that are so fascinating. But then there's this, this part of it that you don't really realize or really think about, because it doesn't come up very often. You know, like, it's not something that just, they call out like, oh, by the way, do you realize how dangerous Victorian era was? Yeah. You know, not to mention how awful corsets were. I mean, we know how I

Anne Marie Cannon:

was hired. they ever do that to themselves? I don't know.

Lindsay Valenty:

Ah, yeah, like, Don't even get me started. That's just

Anne Marie Cannon:

I wonder what they think if they could see the future and see us like, the way we dress and all that.

Lindsay Valenty:

Yeah, and like our, our definition of beauty standards now, as opposed to then and that the most interesting thing to me is that the hourglass shape was such a big deal for them, like, you had to have this like, very narrow waist. But then they would spend all this time making this really large like bustle in the back. So it was like, you could hardly move because the skirts were so big. And that was another thing that was hard for women, because there'd be times when if they weren't careful wearing these giant skirts. They trip and fall down the stairs. And they could end up like severely injuring themselves if not dying from falling down the stairs, wearing these giant skirts because that's what was expected. Or you know, you'd hear stories of them falling out of coaches because they couldn't step out of the coaches. And I and I remember when I was researching, the week snatching episode that I did with Madison on yo crime along with that, along with having this giant skirt like you're wrestling with, there were many coaches that were if you were rich enough, we're sort of repurposed so that you would be kneeling on the floor because your wig was so tall, that you would need the space for your not only your wig, but also your skirt. So you couldn't even sit when you're when you're writing in these coaches, because it was just, it was making all this room for your hair. And your skirt. My knees are hurting just thinking about

Anne Marie Cannon:

it.

Lindsay Valenty:

I know. It's not, it's not like they went very quickly, anywhere. So I can only imagine how long you would be kneeling in this coach to go to a party, like how uncomfortable would you be? Yeah, and I doubt you would sit when you got there. You know what I mean? Yeah, like, how would you sit?

Anne Marie Cannon:

I don't know. I can't imagine isn't that what those fainting chairs were for? So that you could lay down like in the ladies lounge or something?

Lindsay Valenty:

Yeah, like the chase lounge where you kind of like just kind of slumped over, because you can't necessarily sit. I imagine it would be much easier to get up that way than trying to I don't know, how would you even get up in those skirts? I can't even imagine it.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I don't know. I think that it was a way to keep I mean, of course, we're talking about people of means that we're doing all these crazy things. And in a way, I think it was just another way to hold a woman down. True. And I mean, obviously we were complicit in it, because we had to have the newest nicest things.

Lindsay Valenty:

Mm hmm. Yeah, speaking of beauty standards, unrealistic beauty standards. Obviously, cosmetics were a huge thing. And there were these cosmetics that both men and women would wear that were like there was like this white powder. And it was really popular starting all the way in the 17th century, up to like the 19th century and one of the most popular products was called Laird's bloom of youth because it was supposed to give you this like glowing white complexion. Well, it had led in it.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Well, yeah, the clowns they use the LED white face. Yeah. Okay.

Lindsay Valenty:

And it said that part of the reason it started becoming so popular is because people have means would use it to cover up smallpox scars after the after the epidemic would come through. But, you know, using this product would cause you know, eye inflammation, it could cause your teeth to rot, baldness and the skin after a while it starts to darken because it's absorbing this these chemicals. And so you'd have to put even more powder on to try to cover up the darkening skin. So it was like this never ending cycle of putting more and more of this

Anne Marie Cannon:

does anybody faces that's a long time it starts in, you're saying the 1700s. And it goes on? Didn't anybody ever make this connection?

Lindsay Valenty:

I think there had to have been some sort of connection. But I'm sure there were some people who were like, well, it's, it's worth it. Because I don't want people to see all these horrible scars on my face, or it's fine. If I only use it when I'm going out to court or whatever, it's, you know, I don't need to wear it when I'm in my private chambers, or, I mean, with arsenic. Arsenic was something that was used in tons and tons of things, all the way up into the 19th century. One thing that I thought was very interesting is you know how having dilated pupils means that you are infatuated with somebody, like if you look at somebody and your pupils are very large, that means you're infatuated with somebody in order to dilate their pupils. So they would have that like wide eyed look about about them to be very seductive. Women would put Deadly Nightshade delay night shade in there.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Oh, my word,

Lindsay Valenty:

which we know can cause headaches and blurry vision and vertigo. But we still use a very diluted alternative to it, when you go to the eye doctor, you know, when they dilate your pupils. And so we don't put night shade in our eyes anymore. But we use something similar. When you go to the eye doctor when they give you the drops. Okay, yeah, it has the same kind of effect, but it's a lot less poisonous this time around.

Anne Marie Cannon:

So we're all these things related to fashion and our vanity.

Lindsay Valenty:

A lot of them were a lot of them were just ways to improve like improve your complexion. So one of the standards of beauty at that time, along with the you know, the white complexion, it was the very pale complexion because the paler you were the higher of status you were. Because if you worked out in the fields, or if you worked outside, you'd have much darker skin. So having extremely pale skin was very desirable at that time. So women would use arsenic to make their skin lighter. Arsenic, spring baths were a big thing among the elite Z would go to a special bath and bathe and arsenic. Arsenic wafers, were also a thing where you would have these special crackers you could eat that had arsenic in them, that were supposed to make you look younger and more attractive. Well, what were the labels that

Anne Marie Cannon:

it did what it did it literally lighten your skin up.

Lindsay Valenty:

It fanned out the skin enough where it would lighten up. So it would thin out your skin it also, if you use it on your face, it would give you like this rosy complexion, which was in actually along with that. It it gave you very similar looks to when you had tuberculosis. So you would have the pale skin, your lips would be very red, your cheeks would be very rosy. And I even read reports that there were women who would purposefully expose themselves to tuberculosis in the hopes of achieving this look, which I'm just like, why would you do that? Why but you know, if

Anne Marie Cannon:

vanity is so powerful,

Lindsay Valenty:

it's such a crazy thing to me, like in reading about these things that women would do just to make themselves more appealing and more desirable. It's it's both shocking and extremely sad that they would go to such extremes and expose themselves to such horrible things. Because, you know, arsenic is no joke, you eat that and that does horrible things to your body. And same thing with mercury. I mean, it's not just women, I mean, with the men having mercury and mercury and lead. We're in I paints at the time, so you'd have that. So they would paint that on their eyes for their, you know, eye shadows and stuff which would could cause kidney disease. And they also mix it with antimony oxide, which is a carcinogen. Oh, well, so it has, you know, that sort of effect in arsenic was labeled as a bunch of different things at the time, like they use it in, you know, like tonics and things of that time. And because it was Also, it could be used as a pesticide, you could purchase it at the pharmacy. So you could just go to the drugstore and purchase arsenic. That's one of the most popular tools of poisoners at in the day, because you could just go to the drugstore and buy Oh, sure, okay. Because Because you could say, oh, I have a rat problem, I'm so I need to buy this amount of arsenic so I can take care of my rat problem. Okay. So it wasn't just women that use it. But apparently, there was a belief that it had the same properties as Viagra in men. So men would take it thinking that it was going to help them in the bedroom. I don't know how effective it was. But I would imagine it's not very effective. I would assume it didn't do anything. But that's just me. You know, and there's some crazy things that they would use for like their red lip paint, very popular red lip polish color at the time was made from of Carmine from crushed insects. So that was a pigment that they would get from crashing a certain insect. I think it was kind of like a ladybug. And they would mix ammonia into it. As they were killing these bugs. They use the ammonia as a way to like, kill the bugs. And I don't know why they would think Oh, cuz it's killing the bugs. It's it's safe to put in my mouth, you know, like it's safe to put on my face. But, you know, again, going to that whole unrealistic beauty standard thing of, you know, well, it's pretty, it makes me look pretty, so I'm sure it's fine. Trying to think of what some other ones were. Oh, this one was really good about teeth. So you know how much dental hygiene was such a big deal in the Victorian era? Wink, wink, nudge nudge. So apparently, if you were to mix a teaspoon of ammonia in a glass of water, and swallow it, it was supposed to improve your breath and prevent tooth decay if you had acid reflux. And for toothpastes, you could just use charcoal twice a day to brush your teeth charcoal. Yeah, so they would use like burned bread approached or tea. didn't really realize,

Anne Marie Cannon:

I mean, I've heard of charcoal for combating certain kinds of poison. So it might have helped with combating the shit that they were putting in their bodies.

Lindsay Valenty:

Right. So maybe that was helpful in that respect. It was just, it was helping with the ammonia they had just ingested. But they said a common remedy if you had a tooth that was starting to decay was to use a mouthwash the head brandy, which Alright, myrrh and camphor? Well canfor is extremely poisonous. So if you swallow that you're, you're probably going to die. But, you know, as long as you rinse it, it's probably fine. You know. So it's just the weirdest things. And so curling irons were also a thing they were starting to use curling irons more because the wigs weren't as in fashion anymore in the Victorian era, or they were starting to go out of fashion. So they didn't have the fake curls anymore that would be attached to the wigs so they wanted to they'd have to curl their own hair. And early curling irons had to be heated up on a fire obviously. So if you put it in your hair too quickly, you could literally burn your hair off because the iron so hot, so that was something you had to be very careful of when those crazy

Anne Marie Cannon:

Victorians oh my god, goodness gracious.

Lindsay Valenty:

I think the last one I'll share with you which is just kind of also a little bit horrifying but apparently along with the pale complexion is you didn't want to have any body hair on your arms and stuff when you if you were a woman of means you know as because it'd be ghastly to have a hair on your arms when you're dancing with your suitor or whatever. So to get to remove the hair and also have the added benefit of whitening your arms. You would use chloride of lime, which my god they would use the bleach cotton and then you would use a vinegar rinse afterwards to get the rest of it off. But that also kind of eats away at your skin and a half to Yeah, yeah,

Anne Marie Cannon:

that reminds me of a murder and The town that I was living in in Ohio. I don't know if you've ever heard of it that what was the name of it? It's escaping me. But they buried the bodies of a family and they put lime on it. So I always Yeah, I don't I think alive. I think that's a safe thing around Nope. Flash.

Lindsay Valenty:

Nope. Because it's it eats away at it. That's the whole thing. So, again, like, there's just so many things that they did. All in the name of beauty that today, just thinking about it is horrifying. But it's also a bit fascinating to read about. And just kind of see to what extremes people were willing to go just for the sake of either being fashionable or for finding somebody to love. You know. So it's, it's both fascinating and extremely sad. But that's one of the things that I find so fascinating about the Victorian era is there's just so many things that that came into vogue without them really realizing just how harmful they were in the long run.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Well, and it makes it's making me think about fads in general. And how I mean, the the things that we do, kind of like a knee jerk reaction so that we can be in, we think it's a good idea. And then we find out later, like the vaping. Like, oh, this is good. We can we can vape and it's it'll be healthy, healthier for us. But it's really not, it's not

Lindsay Valenty:

well think about how fashionable tanning beds were for so long. I went to 10 how bad and how bad that was for you. You know what I mean? Like, that's something that was really popular for a really long time, and how people really wanted to achieve that really dark tan. And I know it's a lot. It's improved a lot since it first came about since it first became a thing that you would go to but

Anne Marie Cannon:

do people still do that.

Lindsay Valenty:

There are still some places where you can go and do like the traditional tanning in a tanning bed. But most I think a lot of places now do the spray tan, which that also kind of freaks me out. I'm I'm pale as a ghost and I'm, I've learned to live with it and accept it.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I do try to be more careful than I ever was before. But back in the Victorian era, you would be considered higher class.

Lindsay Valenty:

There we go. All that book reading and sitting inside and not playing outside would have done me very well in the Victorian era.

Anne Marie Cannon:

That's right. You love books. I read that today. So is that it for the story time?

Lindsay Valenty:

I think so. Yeah. Okay, well,

Anne Marie Cannon:

let's talk about what you do and how I found you.

Lindsay Valenty:

So I am one of the hosts of the yield crime podcast. And it's a podcast that I run with my younger sister Madison, where we cover cases that take place before the 1900s. So a lot of the cases we cover are crimes that involve poisoners. A lot of strange murders, we do go into some cannibals, not a lot. But some, I tend to look for stories that are less well known and kind of obscure. A lot of them are ones that you don't really hear about on other true crime shows. You may hear them mentioned here and there. But overall, they're not something you would hear on one of your more popular true crime shows. And it's just a lot of fun to find these stories and find these cases and really dive into the people of the time what they did. And so much of it is the same, the same in the sense that we're not that different from how we were way back when, like we like to think that we have improved a whole lot over the past hundreds of years 1000s of years. But people were still committing really dumb crimes back in the 1700s. Just like how there are people today that still commit very dumb crimes. And it's fascinating to learn about these people and the things that they did and bring them back to light because one of the things I think one of the best compliments that I ever get on the show is when someone tells me they they walked away learning something new about history that they never heard of before. And I honestly can say that for every single episode that I've written, and right now we're sitting at 70 episodes as of the time that we're having, we're conducting this interview together, I learned something new each time I write an episode, because I may think I know the story, because there are some stories where I will know kind of before I start researching a little bit about the case or, but I go away learning so much more about these people, or whatever the event was. And it's just fascinating, like some of the things that you learn in history, one of the fav my favorite people that we've covered on the show is Shing. She, who was this pirate queen in China, and you don't hear about her, but she was one of the most successful Pirates of all time, she had this huge fleet of pirate ships. And she protected herself against the British, like, that's almost an unknown thing. At that time. You know, could you consider the naval power of the

Anne Marie Cannon:

British was at a recent episode.

Lindsay Valenty:

That was one of my early early ones, I think that was episode nine. She was just awesome. And she, at a time when being a female and being in leading a bunch of men, especially in a pirate profession, was unheard of. And she was a total badass, who went from being went from working in a brothel, to having a fleet of hundreds of pirate ships. And then she ended up leaving it to her husband. And then she just own she became a mme at another brothel until she passed, because that was something that she was like, I don't need I don't need the power anymore. Like I did it. That's like I did it. I don't need to do it anymore. But it's characters like that, that you discover, that are just fascinating. Because you think to yourself, as you're hearing about them, or you're reading about them, why don't more people know about these people? Yeah. You know, like, why isn't this something that

Anne Marie Cannon:

because they've been erased? They've been erased from the history, they're not held? You know, like a gang is con, they're not held to that esteem. Because it's a woman. We know why we know why

Lindsay Valenty:

we know why. I know. And that's one thing that I really want to try and make sure when I find these female characters that did some really cool things. If it fits within the context of the show. I want to bring them to light like and Lister was another Oh, yeah, character. That one that was fascinating fame lately, because of there was at Netflix or Amazon. Yeah, I can't remember which one it was. But yeah, it was like maybe it was BBC or one network had a show on her. I can't remember which one it was, but and she didn't commit any crimes. She just happened to be a lesbian at a time when and being a lesbian was unheard of. And her story is fascinating. And the fact that she had this coded language that she would use in her diaries to document her illicit affairs with other women is both hilarious and fascinating. Yeah, you know, so there, there are so many people in history that you're never going to read about in history books, they're they weren't part of a, a great battle, a great military battle, they weren't part of a clever, well known coup, to a government downfall or anything. They're just these tiny little carry background characters that still have a lot to offer as far as historical context is concerned.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Yes. Yeah. So I agree. And that's what I look for in my guests is trying to find people that one of my favorite episodes was when I interviewed the married couple, they wrote the book, loving a photographic history of men in love 1859 to 1959. And that was, you know, such an amazing, it's a it's an erased, it's a hidden history. And yet, you know, they they collected these photographs that they would find because they love to go to flea markets and things like that. Oh, yeah, for sure. You know, and there was there's a lot of history in that, you know, visual media that you know, I think, and one of the reasons I like your show is because I know that we align with what because you say the snarky comments that I'm thinking.

Lindsay Valenty:

Yeah, I have no problem with being snarky. So that's for sure.

Anne Marie Cannon:

So I like to bring, you know, I think there is a movement for history to be accessible to people. Somebody in my Twitter feed, wrote something today about, they got an email from somebody who said that their history is too casual. And it's like, really? Yeah, that's the gatekeeper mentality. And it is. And it's like, no, it's not it's it's inspiration. It's, you know, it's education, things to learn, hopefully, and carry forward with the message of, you know, what happened in the past. And hopefully, we don't repeat it, although we're kind of stupid. And we do.

Lindsay Valenty:

Yeah, that's one of the one of the many great and awful things about humanity is we have a tendency to repeat things, whether they're good or bad. So the goal is always to repeat the good things and learn from the mistakes, right

Anne Marie Cannon:

and hold people up to, you know, the light that haven't had the exposure that maybe they deserved. And I love that you do that you do that you guys do that. And it seems like Madison is the Ed McMahon to your Gianni.

Lindsay Valenty:

She is. The great thing about this show is for people who are unfamiliar with the format, so I do all the research and the writing for the episodes. And then I'm essentially telling Maddie a story. So all of the her reactions are genuine and real time because she's never heard the story before. So whatever I'm sharing with her, it's fresh for her. And there are, there have been a few episodes where she's had a kind of an idea of what we're going to be talking about. But I will still I'm still able to kind of surprise her with some things that she didn't know or things that she thought she knew, but they're actually a little bit different. And one thing I really enjoyed, when we did the airs about battery episode, or Elizabeth Bathory, as she is most commonly referred to, is being able to go through her history and really be like, there's no way she could have done what people were accusing her of doing. And the reason these tails were being spun about her is because she owned quite a bit of land as a woman during a time when powerful men wanted what she had in Hungary. And by spinning these tails and discrediting her, they were able to get what they wanted from her, again, vilifying the woman for, you know, doing what she was doing, and spinning her in a light so that unless you really dig into it, you view her as this horrible villain that's done all these horrible things, when, in reality, there's no real evidence that she was ever abusive to any of the people who worked for her things of that nature. So that's another thing I enjoy about these deep dives into these people is because so much of what we are taught can be wrong, like there are there are certain things, certain spins, we like to put on things, we like to take our our viewpoint of certain things and like, put our values and things on other cultures. So it fits within our lens or our view or understanding of things. And it's nice to be able to take that filter off and to try to view history and peoples in the way they should be viewed instead of by putting our values on them, I guess.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Yeah. Well, and I think, I don't know why I'm thinking about this. But I don't know. I think a lot of history is fiction, even. I don't know, the way that I see it. It's fiction. It's based on my values and my perceptions and my desires. And I think that it just helps to look at it through a bunch of different lenses. Mm hmm. Yeah, I think about that play. It's not the Wizard of Oz, but it's the one about the witch wicked, wicked. Thank you.

Lindsay Valenty:

That's a really good play, by the way. Oh,

Anne Marie Cannon:

I have CI SATs Very good. Sat in London. It was quite amazing. Oh, I bet but it's that idea. It's like, really? Who was she? Oh, this is a completely different perspective. And I know what it is fiction. It's all fiction, but it's kind of I keep thinking about that as we're having this conversation.

Lindsay Valenty:

Yeah, like there are there are certain characters in history that, to an extent have become characters, because their story has been so warped by time, or the things that are documented about them our village gossip or its fanciful tellings of the time based on what era in history it was and how the reporting was done. So you end up getting these people who have these like tall tale esque stories written about them. Whereas, once you peel back the layers, they might not actually be nearly as fascinating as they're painted out to be. Or maybe they're more fascinating than they were painted out to be depending on who the what the telling is and who the character is. So it's, that's one thing I love about history is that there are depending on who's telling the tale, and what source you use, when you're researching. There are certain people who can be seen a number of ways depending on who is telling the story. And I love discovering these hidden figures that aren't, you're famous, everyday people, and being able to share their stories with other people who may not know about them, who may have heard of them, but don't really know a whole lot about them. And I guess at the end of the day, my hope is that I do a fairly decent job sharing their story. I share it themselves.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I think you do. I like the banter. But I also like that there's not too much banter, because there's some really popular podcasts that they spend the first half hour and banter and I hate them. I, I feel like you have just enough and it breaks up the tension in because a lot of the stories that you tell have, you know, tension is innate in the stories. So I think you do a marvelous job. And I've added you to my queue. And thank you. Why did you choose this history?

Lindsay Valenty:

I think I kind of chose it, because given the nature of what I do for the podcasts, you know, obviously it's something that I have a vested interest in because it gives me content. But it's also interesting to read about and hear about the people of the time and learn a little bit more about kind of their motivations. As far as what they were looking for, as far as beauty standards and things like in popularity and things like that. One common thread that I've discovered when whenever we typically when we cover a story that takes place in the Victorian era, as I mentioned before, is like how prolific arsenic poisoning was, yeah, easy to get. You know,

Anne Marie Cannon:

that's a really good point. Yeah.

Lindsay Valenty:

Like that was it was such a prolific thing because it was so readily accessible. And at the end of the day, the motivation for so many of these women that would poison their husbands or poison neighbors or things was for money monetary gain, which again shows you that it's all about putting ourselves at a higher level than we are currently at, or achieving a certain standard achieving a certain status. And it's like their caissons like, like Maryann cotton, who, I think she poisoned two or three husbands, something like that, but made sure that she did she got the insurance money so that she could, you know, get more things and become more popular and marry up in the world. And there are other women that did similar things that were basically like family annihilators, in order to get more money. And it's interesting learning about these people, and what sort of desperate circumstances they felt they were in, in order to commit the acts that they did. In in order to gain something from it, whether that's money or status or even sympathy. You know, because there were some people who, you know, we think of Munchausen by proxy as a as a fairly recent thing, but it was still

Anne Marie Cannon:

when you think about it, because like you said, we go back to what you said is that You really haven't changed much. Like we're saying happened.

Unknown:

Same shit.

Lindsay Valenty:

Yep. Yeah, there were so many stories I can't. It's bothered me that I can't remember who it was because I've covered so many female poisoners on the show. But there was one woman who had a lot of children. And she would, would do that where she was slowly poisoned them to gain sympathy from friends and neighbors and things. And, you know, it wasn't until much later that they kind of realized she's killing them all. Like she poisoned all of them, you know, and a lot of the times, they would get away with it, because the symptoms were similar to, you could write it off as tuberculosis, or you could write it off as, like scarlet fever or some other disease that was common at the time, based off the symptoms. And so, in that respect, I think it was much easier to get away with murder back then, because the science wasn't there to be able to determine what was actually happening. Yeah.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Yeah, that's interesting. And tell us where we can find you again. Sure.

Lindsay Valenty:

So we're yield crime podcast. You can find us online at yield crime, podcast calm. We're also on Twitter, we have at yield crime pod. We're on Instagram eel crime podcast. We have a YouTube channel, which is basically just audio grams of our episodes. If you like the same listen on YouTube. That's what I do. Yeah, those are the most popular places you can find us we're pretty much on every podcast platform you can think of. So wherever you are listening to this podcast, you can probably find deal crime.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Okay, excellent. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed hearing yours. horrible stories.

Lindsay Valenty:

I know. I was like, is she gonna regret asking me to be because of all the horrible things I talked about? True.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I love I told you and history. So this was great. Thank you so much. And I look for you on Twitter.

Lindsay Valenty:

Sounds great. Thank you very much for having me. This was really fun.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Oh, good. Okay. There you have it. Lindsay Valenti, host of the old crime podcast talking about those crazy Victorians, be sure to check out our episode notes to find out more about Lindsay and both of her podcasts as well as the topic discussed today. Also, I'd like to take a moment to remind you of some of the ways you can support the show that won't cost you anything other than your time. First, you can follow us on social media, including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Once you're following us join in on the conversation. Also, it really helps when you rate and review the show on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts that have reviews. And that's it. Thanks for joining us. Have a great week.