5 ways to get your culture on at home

From building your own museum to top notch sofa friendly courses – we’ve got you covered

Right now the vast majority of us are in self isolation and social distancing ourselves from others. But just because you can’t leave your house and visit a museum, gallery or class, doesn’t mean that you can’t get your culture on!

In fact, the cultural world is at your fingertips and you can access it all from your sofa. Learn a new skill, uncover archives and explore the worlds best museums. How? Well to get you started we’ve popped together 5 of the best ways to get your cultural fix right now

1.Build your own museum

Yes. You read that right. Your own museum.

Art Steps is a really easy to use app (it’s free for those wondering) that not only allows you to create your own museum but also to explore other self made galleries from around the world.

art steps example
Example of an ArtSteps digital exhibition. Pot plants optional!

I stumbled across the app about a year ago when I used it to create an online museum of my work for a job interview (why yes I am that extra, thank you for asking) and I’ve been hooked ever since.

It’s kind of like if museum nerdom and sandbox gaming had a baby. What I’m saying is the possibilities are endless.

You can create anything you want. An exhibition you’ve always dreamt of, a retrospective you missed (or let’s be real, one you saw but kind of knew could be better). Hell, you could even create an online museum for a loved one. Stuffed full of their favourite artwork or goodies from a much thumbed through era, all for them to enjoy from the comfort of their sofa. The perfect pandemic gift.

example of art steps interface
Just to give you an idea of the ArtSteps interface – seriously it is stupidly easy to use

2.Google Arts and Culture 

Look I know it might seem obvious, but I swear, Google Arts and Culture is so severely underrated it is ridiculous.

From street view tours of the worlds most incredible museum galleries, to exploring endless retrospectives of different work and diving into high res art work. You could spend the whole isolation period on this site and still never get bored. Seriously there are over 500 art institutions to digitally walk around – and that’s just the art galleries!

Sure it might look like I’m sat on my broken sofa in London, but I’m actually on a private tour of the Musee Dorsay

But the real jewel in the Google Arts and Culture crown has to be it’s archives collections.

Many were created to tie in with a major anniversary of history week and contain the highlights of museum digitised archives and collections from across the world, along with specially made videos.

It’s an ideal way to really delve into a subject matter and not only read about it, but really get hands on (admittedly through a screen, but still, it’s bloody fantastic!)

Here are some of my favourite collections:

3.Delve into the archives

Speaking of archives, one of the many (many) great things the internet has given us is access to archives from across the globe. Now admittedly you used to have to order most archive resources but that’s not the case now.

This is 2020 and you better bet your bottom dollar that top quality shit is digitised.

If you’ve never tried out accessing archive records, now is a great time to learn how. After you’ve used Google Arts and Culture to get a feel of how to use archived resources, check out The National Archives and start searching for whatever takes your fancy.

Study like a boss

They have over 32 million records from 1000 years of history, with some of that digitised (or described). 

You could test out archive digging by searching for your family history, an area of local history you’ve always been interested in or something more broad, like passenger lists from The Titanic or military records.

If you’re stuck, check out National Archive Discovery, which has some great archive collections, or their always fantastic blog, for inspiration.

4.Visit your local library at home 

Most libraries are now shut, but you can still borrow e-books, audio books and sometimes even magazines from the comfort of your sofa.

If you visit you’re local libraries website, then they’ll probably have a link to an online library like RBdigital, BorrowBox or Libby.

All you need to do is pop in your library card details and as if by magic you can download all the literary gems you might like to your phone or tablet.

Plus it’s all for free! 

Now, as with any library, there aren’t infinite amount of books, so there may be a waiting list for what you initially want, but it’s also a great chance to explore types of books that you might not normally read.

Because as the old adage goes:

library card


Everyday is school day, even when the schools are closed and even when you haven’t been to school in like…er, actually lets not get into how long it’s been since I graduated.

One of the best ways to spend isolation has got to be by learning a new skill or immersing yourself into an era of history you’ve always wanted to know more about.

My personal favourite place for online courses is Future Learn, which has some amazing free courses (as well as many that you need to pay for access to) 

They’re put together by leading academics and universities, so there can be no quibbles over their quality. I’ve done their  Tudor History course, which I can definitely recommend (it takes place over six weeks with five hours a weeks work). Oh and they even have a course on Covid-19, so you can become an expert and dispel all that BS you find on WhatsApp and Facebook.

tudor course
Oh did I mention Suzanna Lipscombe teaches the Tudor History course?

The Open University also has over 1000 free courses that you can choose from. With a ton of amazing introductory history courses, as well as some for languages. Courses vary in length from one hour all the way up to thirty. So you can find something to fit whatever free time you have right now.

Plus the courses give you a certificate at the end, which is a handy way for you to show off all that new knowledge you’ve learnt. 

I don’t know about you but I’m really excited to put all this into action, escape my sofa and explore a world of knowledge. 

Me when isolation ends

The 5 best historic finds in Red Dead Redemption 2

A look at the best hidden (and not so hidden) historic finds in Red Dead Redemption 2

Set in 1899, Red Dead Redemption 2 has become one of the year’s best selling games. It’s a sweeping western, taking place at the turn of the century, just as the old west is starting to fall and a new world rises. And believe me when I say this game is packed with incredible historical story arcs, themes and (of course!) Easter eggs

Now before we get to looking at the best hidden and not so hidden history gems in RDR2, let’s get this out the way – In no way am I saying RDR2 is historically accurate all the time. It’s not. Like at all. It’s a game; it’s entertainment, not a documentary.

Think of RDR2 as a really long (like 60 hours long) western film. It can’t be accurate all the time because it would massively impact the pace, plot and entertainment.

But that doesn’t mean that the history it does contain isn’t incredible!

Historic events are intertwined with several of the games main quests. Then there’s the Easter eggs and nods to the macabre side of US history. And all that’s not even mentioning the stunning turn of the century backdrop!

Basically, if like me, you’re both a gamer and a history nerd, it’s Christmas.


1.The real life murderers!

During the course of RDR2 you might come across two sets of really messed up serial killers, both of whom are based on real life murderers of the old west (yes this stuff actually happened! Sleep tight.)

First up we have the ‘Aberdeens’ and their pig farm. Upon coming across the farm you’ll be invited in by Bray Aberdeen to have dinner with him and his wife, Tammy.

It quickly transpires that Tammy and Bray are in fact super close siblings. And if you stay for their offer of dinner and drinks, you’ll wake up in a blood soaked mass grave, having had all your money and valuables stolen.

And this all happened in real life! In the 1870s The Kansas based Bender family opened up a general store come inn, The Wayside Inn, right by the Osage Trial. Run by the John Sr and his wife, Elvaria, as well as grown up children, John and Kate (who claimed to be brother and sister, but also, separately, claimed to be married)

The Benders took the Osage trails tired travellers into their inn. They’d offer them a warm bed for the night, feed them and thenbeat them to death with a hammer (slitting their throat for good measure) before robbing and throwing the corpse into a mass grave. Sound familiar?

Meet the Benders, history’s most fucked up family

The Bender family soon realised that people were starting to suspect something was up with them. So they fled.

By the time the authorities arrived at the Benders inn, it was completely empty. Inside was a foul smell, the source of which turned out to be the mass grave that was hidden underneath the floorboards.

Around a dozen victims were found, but it’s suspected the Benders killed many more. Though, as the family successfully disappeared without a trace, we’ll never know what other bloody secrets they were hiding. (Shout out to historian, Mike Stauchberry, who was the first person to spot the Bender Aberdeen link!)

RDR2s second serial killer is the fully deranged, Edmund Lowry Jr, who you meet as part of the American Dreams side-quest.

Throughout the game you stumble across several male corpses, all brutally murdered (with by the looks of it, an axe) their body parts strewn around the landscape. Clues are left to track the killer; which is how you’ll find Edmund Lowry Jr and his kill bunker.

The bunker is littered with hacked apart bodies. And, by the differing size of bodies, as well as the several posters for missing children, we can tell that Edmund really isn’t picky about who he murders.

Edmund himself is a gentleman, well spoken and dressed, but with a deranged look in his eye.

Now, Edmund Lowry Jr is some Inception level Easter eggery. His character name is a nod to serial killer, Eddie Low, from Rockstar games other series, GTA. AND, he is also based on real life serial killer, Stephen Richards

Stephen Richards and Edmund Lowry Jr

Richards was Nebraska’s first serial killer (earning him the nickname, The Nebraska Fiend). Much like his RDR2 counterpart he murdered wherever he went. Shooting 4 men between 1876 and 1877 in both Nebraska and Iowa. With most of the victims killed either because they bored Richards, or they’d had a minor falling out.

Then in 1978, Richards proved himself to be totally indiscriminate in killing, when he murdered the Harleson family.

He crept in their house in the dead of night. Taking an axe and murdering a lone mother, her young daughters and baby.

For some reason, after butchering an entire family, Richards decided to stay in Kearney, the town where he had just committed one of the eras most brutal crimes. But Richards being Richards, he couldn’t just lay low and within months had to flee Kearney after beating his neighbour to death with a hammer.

Running from the law initially went well for Richards. Despite the fact that behind his calm smile he was clearly unhinged, he just didn’t look the part of a murderer. In fact the only reason he was caught was that police had time to catch up with, after Richards took the night off being on the run to go to a ball!

Moral of the story: don’t go to social gatherings

2. The suffrage of it all

Now, there’s been a lot of bad press about the inclusion of the suffrage movement in RDR2.

With the setting of the game 20 years before much of America gained equal voting rights across the genders, the player comes across several suffrage campaigners throughout the course of the game. Both as side characters and characters you go on side missions with.

So of course, the internet being the internet, a few YouTubers decided to use RDR2’s open world mechanics to film themselves brutally murdering suffrage campaigners. The media immediately fell on this and decried RDR2 for encouraging players to kill women’s rights campaigners.

But that’s just not true, because:

RDR2 is really good at exploring & explaining suffrage!

The game slowly introduces the concept of suffrage. It works as a sort of playable history lesson. Introducing individual suffrage campaigners before immersing the player into a local suffrage group.

Early on we see a woman campaigning on the street. And, my god, the details around her peaceful protest are just fantastic.

In fact I’d be surprised if her paper set up and stance weren’t partly inspired by the below picture of English suffragette, Sophia Dulep Singh.

At one point, the player actually helps facilitate a suffrage rally. Driving a wagon of campaigners through streets of people jeering at the women.

The whole time, the leader of the suffrage branch explains the movement and what they’re campaigning for. It’s a fantastic way of introducing people to a chapter of history that everyone knows happened, but many don’t actually know much about.

3.The landscape inspired by a 19th century art movement

RDR2 arguably has one of the most stunning explore-able landscapes in any game. And that takes your breath away, luminous rural art is all inspired by 19th century art movement, The Hudson River School. 

That’s right all this high tech beauty is straight 19th century art

Started in the early 19th century by a group of landscape painters led by Thomas Cole, the Hudson River School created dramatic and somewhat enhanced depictions of America’s great sweeping lands.

But it’s this movements second generation that clearly had the biggest impact on RDR2.

From around 1850 until the mid to late 1870s, artists like Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Beirdsadt pushed the movement out West. Going to extreme lengths to get inspiration, they’d join Westward Expeditions. Putting themselves at the forefront of America’s quickly changing landscapes.

These artists also bought the new style of ‘luminisim’ to the Hudson River School. Experimenting with how light effected an environment and creating hyperreal worlds of hazy skies and glowing streams of light.

These paintings took America by storm. Often standing at 6ft (or taller!) people would pay to come and look up at this new world that was being created around them.

Albert Beirdsadt , The Sierra Nevada, 1868

In Oct 2018, RDR2s studio, Rockstar ,welcomed the comparisons with Hudson River School and it’s citation as a source for inspiration. However, in a December email exchange with Polygon, the studio denied having used any art as a source of inspiration.

Now I’m really polite, so I’m hesitant to call straight up bullshit on Rockstar’s statement from December…. instead let’s use this as an amazing example of how such iconic art movements ingratiate themselves into our societal psyche.

Even though the movement was created more than 150 years ago, The Hudson River School lingers. It helped shape how America saw itself and that impact lasts for centuries. All the way from the canvas to the computer screen.

William Louis Sonntag, Golden Sunlight

4.The Pinkerton Detectives

Throughout RDR2, pretty much every major character either has a run in or a bitch session about ‘The blasted Pinkertons’ (these guys are criminals after all!)

And oh my, have these guys found fame online. With countless threads excitedly chatting about how the Pinkertons were actually real (and not a yarn created for westerns)

The Pinkertons were the FBI before there was an FBI. Founded in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton, the agency were essentially super cops for hire. Contracted out by everyone from the government and private business groups.

Allan Pinkerton, detective agency founder and owner of exceptional facial hair

In 1861 the agency successfully uncovered a plot to kill Abraham Lincoln, eventually foiling the murder (though Lincoln would still be assassinated 4 years later)

Forerunners in crime, the Pinkertons hired one of the world’s first female detectives and created arguably the first modern crime data system.

By the 1890s the agency had grown so much that there were more Pinkertons than there were standing US army (so Arthur wasn’t lying, you really couldn’t get away from them!)

But just like in RDR2, these ‘good guys’ weren’t always nice. Take for example the time when the Pinkertons threw flares into Jesse James family farm, in an attempt to flush the outlaw from his hiding place. Except Jesse James wasn’t there. And one of the flares exploded, killing James kid brother and leaving his mother armless.

Fun fact: this logo supposedly helped popularise the term ‘private eye’

5. You get tuberculosis!

Ok, this might seem like a wierd one to end on, but for a game jam packed with guns, knives, shoot outs and the odd blood thirsty bear, it’s fair to say that it’s surprising when the big nasty turns out to be tuberculosis.

But… is it surprising? After all, Red Dead 2 is set in 1899, when tuberculous was a massive killer! You were way more likely to die from tuberculosis than bounty hunters or rival gangs.

The US census shows us that in 1899, TB was the biggest killer in America (gun shot wounds coming in last on the list of causes of death). And TB wasn’t just ravaging America. It was an epidemic that was attacking both Europe and the US so much, it became known as the white plague.

Tuberculosis related deaths were now so common that they were just a fact of life. The illness even became romanticised! Poet, Lord Byron, actually once commenting that he would ‘like to die of consumption.’

So of course, if anything was going to put the games protagonist, Arthur, in real mortal peril, it’s TB. And what makes this even better (historically speaking at least) is that when Arthur, is diagnosed with tuberculosis, there is no cure.

Because it’s 1899 and if you have tuberculosis, you’re pretty fucked.

Though in 1882, Robert Koch successfully demonstrated the exact causes of TB, medical science just wasn’t ready to use this information to provide a cure. In fact it would be anouther 50 years until a widespread TB medicine would be available.

So, when Arthur gets diagnosed with TB, it’s a real death scentence.

And the fact that RD2 sticks to its historic guns on this one is amazing and rare!

To give you an idea of how rare this is in gaming – swathes of Red Dead players are still hitting up the internet looking for a cure to save Arthur.

Spoiler: there isn’t one. Sorry lads.

Sorry Arthur!

And that’s the list, for now! I couldn’t fit in so much and I know that 2nd time around, I’m going to find even more. So let me know what you think I’ve missed and what should make the list next time.

The incredible stories behind 5 of history’s most important quotes

Here at F Yeah History we love a history quote, but more than that, we love both the stories behind how those quotes came to be and how they still create change today!
So we were delighted when Radical Tea Towel asked us if we wanted to write something inspired by their collection of history infused home-ware and accessories. And so, we’ve delved deep into the Radical Tea Towel collection and come out with the real stories behind 5 of history’s most important quotes
Not only that, but at the end of this article you can find a giveaway for goodies inspired by these very quotes! 
OK then, got all that? Lets jump into this:

1.“You judge a society by the decency of living of the weakest.” Zygmunt Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman grew up a polish Jewish refugee, having escaped the Nazis with his family to the USSR. There he became a hailed military hero, thanks to his actions during the Second World War, where he fought tirelessly against those that had thrown him out of his country.
After the war he returned to Poland, becoming a sociologist. However in 1968, Zygmunt once more became a refugee, after he was forced out of his homeland thanks to a political purge.
So you could say that when it comes to how societies treat those most in need, Zygmunt had some experience!
Zygmunt Buaman
Zygmunt Bauman
Zygmunt created a life for himself in the UK, dedicating his life to decades worth of incredible sociological thinking. He set out the case for historians and well, everyone, to not see The Holocaust as solely a chapter of Jewish history, but rather a crucial part of our shared history. He analysed the sudden rapid rise of right wing politics in Europe and America and how as a society the way we now have less tangential fears, directly impacts the way people treat those other than themselves.
So with that in mind, the phrase, ‘You judge a society by the decency of living of the weakest’ is in no way an indication of how to view a ruling body, or a quip to throw out whilst rolling your eyes.
Its decades worth of Zygmunt Baumans work rolled into one sentence. That the way societies around the world, continue to treat those ‘other’ or ‘weak’ is intrinsically wrong. But (and here’s the important part) people have the capacity to change. To confront their wrongs and to amend them. That we, as a collective, can always fight for what’s right.

2. “If I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution” Emma Goldman

Now this is a pretty interesting quote, because, erm… Emma Goldman never said it…
That’s right, feminist and anarchist, Emma, never said or wrote those words. But before you scroll on, wait! Because the story behind how this quote came to be and its ever growing legacy is frankly, fascinating.
go on gif
well, if you insist Idris
In 1991, women’s lib radical and writer, Alix Kate’s Schulman, busted the myth behind the quote, showing it to be a paraphrase from Emma Goldman’s 1931 autobiography, Living My Life, rather than a direct quote.
In her biography, Emma recounts a time when she was pulled aside by a man for dancing to wildly at a party. He told Emma her actions were out of line. That being so publicly enthusiastic belittled her standing as an anarchist, along with the cause itself. Emma was having none of this.
‘I told him to mind his own business, I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy.
I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement should not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.” Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world–prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own comrades I would live my beautiful ideal’
The essence of this is: ‘If I cant dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution’. It’s a perfect summary of everything Emma Goldman was about. The kind of thing that always had to be a paraphrase of something, because it’s too perfect not to be. So it makes sense then, that this crowd sourced ‘quote’ sparked its very own movement!
Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman
‘If I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution’ became a rallying cry during the second wave of feminism. And through this, an entirely new generation discovered Emma Goldman and her prolific litany of work.
But it doesn’t end there. Today you can still see this quote, relevant as ever. It’s at women’s marches. At Pride. At political protests. And I think Emma would have loved this.
Emma Goldman dedicated her life to working out a new way of doing things. A way that lifted up the downtrodden and returned rights to those denied them. So the fact that today, It’s those very people, fighting and holding up placards which convey her very essence, well I think she’d be proud.

3.“Still like air, I rise” Maya Angelou

Writer and civil rights legend, Maya Angelou left behind one of the worlds most culturally important bodies of work, with her most well known piece being the poem, Still I Rise.
Written in 1978 it encapsulates the struggle of America’s civil rights movement (which is what Maya Angelou had in mind when she wrote it)
‘You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.’
Maya weaves her personal experiences into the piece. Both as a civil rights activist, but also as a victim of abuse.
Maya Angelou was raped by her mother’s  boyfriend, when she was just 7. After telling her family what the man had done, he turned up dead a few days later. Young Maya convinced herself that by speaking out she had effectively killed this man. So she silenced herself. Not speaking for 6 years.
Still I Rise takes all of this. The abuse, the trauma and the despair. The individual and shared experience. But most importantly, the resilience. To continue to live, to fight and rise.
Maya Aneglou
Maya Angelou
What truly makes ‘Still I rise’ endure, is that its message is universal.
Though written with American civil rights in mind, it was read by Nelson Mandela at his 1994 Presidential Inauguration. Years after he had first read those words whilst imprisoned.
The message remains as relevant as ever. In 2018 alone, Maya’s words have inspired a charity campaign supporting children’s advocacy in third world countries, think pieces, music and art. Words that are still held aloft by protesters, and held closely by those that need them most.
maya angelou gif.gif

4. “I do not wish for women to have power over men, but for themselves” Mary Wollstonecraft

This is a real favourite of mine! Considered a feminist pioneer, Mary Wollstonecraft made it clear that she wasn’t fighting for dominance, but equality.
The quote comes from her 1792 book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. The book was groundbreaking in its era, acting as a revolutionary bible of sorts. But what made this book even more incredible was the woman that wrote it.
Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary grew up with an alcoholic abusive father. He beat her mother, Mary would try and stop him, so he’d beat her.
She was sent to school and gained the most basic education possible, whilst watching her brothers allowed an education that pushed and challenged them.
Just like her sisters, Mary was being set up to take on the role of wife and mother, whether she wanted it or not. So far so, unfortunately, normal.
But here’s the thing. Mary refused to go down the path laid out for her. She defied every single social norm and set out to become a self made woman, when such a concept didn’t really exist.
There was no clear indicator that of all the women in the world, Mary would be the one to shake everything up. She was just an average wilful woman who’d had enough.
Along with coming up with this quote (which more than 200 years later is still the perfect definition of feminism) she laid the groundwork for all the movements that would come after her. Arguing for women’s right to reason, right to education and right to having rights. And she did all this, self-educated, self-sufficient and self motivated.
yes gif!
Seriously, talk about inspiration overload

5.“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools” – Martin Luther King Jr

In December 1963, Martin Luther King gave a speech at Western Michigan University. It came at the end of a year that had seen a huge rise in civil rights activism. King had led a march on Washington and all across America, owners of segregated businesses were finding themselves the subject of mass picket and protest. The tide was turning. But it didn’t come without tragedy.
In September, 4 young black girls were killed when a bomb was detonated outside a church in Birmingham, Alabama. Though the perpetrators were known (all members of the KKK) no justice was bought.
Across the country peaceful civil rights protesters faced escalating violence. And across in Vietnam, the rising discord in the war was matched by a rise in racial tensions.
America was at a crossroads. And then as all this tension and protest started to reach boiling point, the unthinkable happened. The president was assassinated.
JFK, MLK and March on Washington campaigners
JFK meets with Martin Luther King and campaigners from the March on Washington, Aug 1963
Martin Luther King Jr took to the stage in Michigan, less than 1 month after JFKs death.
2000 people, scared, raw and on edge, came to see King speak. He sat alone for half an hour to collect his thoughts and then walked out to the waiting crowd.
Facing the crowd, King gave an ultimatum. That America needed to learn to live together as brothers or the country would die as fools. Segregation was at an end and in its death throes, it was poisoning the country. America had to make a choice and to survive, it needed to learn to live together. To fight for justice for all and also to forgive:
“In spite of the difficulties of this hour, I am convinced that we have the resources to make the American Dream a reality….””With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation to a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
More than 50 years later it’s a message that’s as true today as it ever was.
Martin Luther King gif
Now Onto…

The Giveaway!

Inspired by these quotes? Good! Even better, the lovely folks at Radical Tea Towel are offering F Yeah History readers a fantastic giveaway, so you can fill your home with badass history. For a chance to win 5 tea towels adorned with each of these incredible quotes, all you need to do is CLICK HERE  
The giveaway finishes on 20th Decemeber 2018, so make sure to get in before then! 
Radical Tea Towel is family run company hailing from South Wales. They not only create home ware and accessories inspired by history’s most incredible people and movements, but they also do some really fantastic charity work. Every year they organise a charity giveaway and also have lots of products that include a charity donation. For more info on that, click here.
*we were not paid for this article. We just like the company!

F Yeah’s Top Historical Fiction

The nights are getting longer, it’s getting colder so what better to do than curl up on the sofa/in bed with a delightful book. “BUT WHAT BOOK?!” I hear you cry. Don’t worry guys, we got you.

We’re going to look at some of our favourite historical fiction. We’ve got something for everyone! Crime! Romance! Fancy Dandies with tight tights! All the literary food groups.

Regency Buck

The author Georgette Heyer is my home girl. For reals. I love her with a passion that will never be quenched, even when the earth is swallowed up by the sun. My love for Heyer novels will still burn bright.

Sorry, that was a bit much… but if you’ve not read any of her books I thoroughly recommend them as well researched and witty as hell.

Heyer was well known for writing Regency period love stories and 1920’s set detective novels. We’re focusing on the Regency Romance side of things so prepare yourself for some fine and fancy Dandies and heavy swooning.

RegencyBuck Wikipedia
Phwoor look at those calves!

In most of Heyer’s books the female lead is always utterly kickass, charming and quick witted, but none more so than Judith Taverner, the main bitch from Regency Buck. Judith travels to London with her useless and troublesome brother Peregrine so she can be introduced to high society.

She goes to stay with their guardian The Earl of Worth, turns out this Earl is a bit younger than she was expecting as the previous Earl popped his clogs some months before. So he’s stuck with the much younger Julian as her ward, and she takes an IMMEDIATE disliking to him.

Giving you HEAVY Regency side eye

You can see where this is going. Judith makes a real splash in high society and scandalises Regency London by driving her own carriage of horses! This was shocking for the time, but our gal Judith spends the book bucking traditions and earning the respect and admiration of her peers. Including Julian.

It’s an utterly charming book, full of misunderstandings and mishaps that will make you chuckle out loud. And BOY is it a brilliant look at Regency high society, everything is described in such a way that you can really visualise it, Heyer takes delight in describing the dress of all the dandy gentlemen and muslin covered ladies.

Yes it’s fluff, but it’s well researched and BRILLIANTLY executed fluff.

Regency Buck is available at Waterstones for £8.99 

Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders

I picked up this book for the title ALONE! The Kitty Peck series from Kate Griffin is a real treat for history and crime series lovers! The books are set in Victorian London and here at F Yeah we’re big fans of Victorian crime.

Kitty Peck via goodread
The gorgeous book cover. Via Waterstones

The first novel Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders takes place in 1880 and the city is in the grip of hysteria after a series of mysterious disappearances. There’s a connection between the victims. They’re all Music Hall Girls! One venue in particular has been hit hard, The Paradise operated by nefarious crime boss Lady Ginger.

The story follows our heroine Kitty Peck who works backstage at The Paradise. Suddenly she’s dragged into London’s criminal underworld when Lady Ginger blackmails Kitty into becoming the latest music hall starlet, so she can lure the culprit out from the shadows.

She’s gotta learn to sing AND do it while perched on a trapeze. We’re not going into that further… READ THE BOOK! There’s also a missing brother, she must contend with, while she figures out how to keep all her friends safe and not get herself killed in the process!


The book really showcases the seedier side of Victorian London, the Music Halls, factories and rough side streets of the East End and the stark contrast with the affluent upper classes. It’s brilliantly researched and is an absolute page turner. Kate is one of our favourite authors working today.

It’s available as an ebook as is for sale at all good bookshops. It retails for £7.99 at Waterstones

The Paying Guests

We couldn’t do a Historical Fiction list without putting Sarah Waters on it somewhere! But instead of going for Tipping The Velvet or Fingersmith we’re raving about her early 20’s set novel The Paying Guests.

Book Cover via Waterstones

It’s 1922 and Frances lives with her mother in their family home in Camberwell, London. It’s considerably more empty with her brothers all being killed during The Great War and her father having passed on recently. He left them both with heavy debts so they make the decision to take on lodgers.

Enter Leonard and Lillian Barber, a working class couple who shake things up for their new tenants in SO MANY WAYS!

The book looks at interwar domestic life through the eyes of women and the tension in the book comes from changing societal attitudes towards class and gender constraints. Frances isn’t content with her lot in life, she wants more so she’s intrigued by Lillian.

‘Intrigued’… we know what you mean 

The setting, while wonderfully mundane, really does frame the entire story perfectly. The Camberwell villa that was once full of life is a sad spectre of what it once was, and it becomes divided with the new tenants. The tension in this book is utterly thrilling. You can feel Frances’ story building as she gets accustomed to her new lodgers, and as her fascination grows with them.

At its heart this is a crime novel, though it takes a while to get to the actual crime bit, the payoff is huge! And the final third of the book deals with repercussions and the fracturing of relationships between the characters.

If you like a slow build of tension and a great payoff then this book is for you!

Available from Waterstones and all good bookshops! Retails at £8.99 

All The Perverse Angels

A first release from author Sarah K Marr All The Perverse Angels is a beautiful look at love and relationships between present day and Victorian women.

ATPA COVER from Unbound

The story opens on Anna, an art curator who has just left a psychiatric hospital after a breakdown. She and her partner, Emily, have rented a cottage in a quaint little English village to ease her back into reality.

Anna finds a painting of two Victorian ladies in the attic of the cottage and she becomes obsessed with finding out the story of these two women. Then the story shifts between Anna and Emily to Penelope and Diana, two students who have started attending a ladies College in Oxford during the 1880’s.

The mystery of what happened to these two women consumes Anna and as she finds out more about them and the nature of their relationship, we also learn more about Anna and what happened in her past to make her get to this point.

This was my position once I finished reading this

The book gives a fascinating insight into the Victorian University life, specifically the problems women have in striving for further education. There’s also an amazing art angle here, Anna keeps herself grounded by her love for classical artworks and there’s so much detail about these paintings that we spent a lot of time googling the artwork referenced in the book, because the descriptions are so compelling!

I’d describe this book as if Jane Austen and Sarah Waters had a book baby, this would be that book baby. It’s heartfelt, BEAUTIFULLY evocative and a really fascinating read. The central mystery is really gipping and Sarah winds all the loose threads together in the finale in a way that feels satisfying, but so melancholy. You might need a box of tissues at the end.

If you’re in London then you can pick up a copy from legendary LGBT+ bookshop Gays The Word, or it’s available from Waterstones for £16.99 and all good bookshops (is there such a thing as a bad bookshop?!) 

That’s the end of our list, so have you read any of them? What’s your favourite historical fiction? Sound off in the comments section below or let us know on our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Happy reading!

Sara Westrop is passionate about making history accessible (and fun!) for everyone. A disabled, queer writer from just outside London, who loves writing about the unsung chapters of history.

Death Omens: A magical mystery tour through weird British history

Britain is a very superstitious little island. Every single country and county has different superstitious beliefs passed down from families, sometimes for generations.

My Nan would tell me that seeing a solitary magpie would mean bad luck was coming. There is even a weirdly jolly if somewhat morbid rhyme for it:

“One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold

Seven for a secret,

never to be told.”

So, if I see one lone magpie I have to follow it until I find another one, or I am convinced I’ll have bad luck (seriously, I once spent an hour hunting for a second magpie. The fear is real) In some parts of the UK, instead of following the magpie, you salute it (which tbh  feels like the laziest form of meaningless superstition).

So whats the deal with magpies? Well, the magpie has long been associated with death and bad luck in the UK as far back as the 16th century, with some version of the rhyme being almost as old.

Historically speaking, death was a much more common occurrence before the age of medicine and more understanding around the mechanics of our own biology, so people looked to nature for ways of foreshadowing coming troubles. Which gave birth to many of the superstitions we still have today.

This continued to be backed up through the centuries, particularly when we hit the Victorian era, thanks to the their obsession with the occult. In fact almost everywhere you go in the UK, you’ll find a new or slightly different centuries old death superstition.

So lets embark together on a magical mystery tour of Britain’s fascination (and fear) of death and the symbols that may just herald its arrival…. starting with: 

1. Birds

There’s so many ways death can announce itself but none more so than birds!

the birds gif.gif

Once more, the good old magpie crops up here, with the belief that if a magpie taps on your window that’s a sure sign death is on the way. The bird is trying to warn you.

And much like my Nan, the Victorians were particularly superstitious about magpies, with the belief that seeing one solitary magpie is a very bad omen, gaining a lot of traction in this era.

There’s also the belief that hearing an owl screech three times or landing on your bedpost meant death was going to pay a visit.

And of course, crows have long been known as a deathly omen, linked to witchcraft and satanism since the Medieval age.

In fact both owls and crows are closely associated with death in Celtic folklore often being ambassadors for the gods of death and the underworld.

owl and crow
So if you see this….RUN

And it’s not just live birds that will get you. One old wives tales, which came about during the 16th century’s outbreak of witch trials, warned that if a bird happens to fly into your window/wall and die, then thats a very good indication that you can expect a  fatality within the week.

2. Animals

Ah, man’s best friend. Because of dogs supposedly close connection to humans, it was thought that they could sense trouble coming for their owners. With one belief citing that if a dog continued to howl by your bedroom window at night you could expect to die pretty immanently.

But not all dogs are friendly in folklore though (well, if you count friendly as predicting your death…)

In Wales there’s the legend that if you see Cwn Annwn, a white dog with glowing red eyes the size of a calf, then you’re predicted to die within a matter of days. These dogs are said to belong to Gwyn ap Nud, Lord of the Underworld. You can hear their bark before you see them, and terrifyingly they get quieter the closer they get to you.

Meanwhile, over in Scotland, they aren’t fond of black sheep or any kind of black animal. The colour black has been associated with Satan by them since the 15th century. The birth of a black lamb would foretell misfortune and bereavements, and if two lambs with black faces were born then you’d be said to lose your flock by the end of lambing season.

Black cats are good or bad luck depending on which part of the UK you’re in. Obviously, Scotland believed a black cat crossing your path was a sure sign death was coming to someone in your family. And, black cats were associated with witchcraft, so were seen as a very bad omen.

This kind of superstition is sadly still prevalent today, with black cats actually being the least likely to be adopted from rescue shelters.

salem gif.gif
Which makes no sense, because Salem taught us that black cats are the best

3. Household Items

During the medieval era, it was a tradition that brooms shouldn’t be used during the month of May. Because if you did use a broom, then you were inviting death into your home. Similarly, if your broom fell over of its own accord, then that meant death announced itself to your household. So basically don’t clean.

Umbrellas were also frowned upon. With the Victorians believing that umbrellas being opened inside the house meant a member of the culprit’s family would be murdered! This is an interesting one in that it spread across the western world and to this day, its commonly seen as a sign of bad luck to open a brolly indoors (even if most people don’t know why/how its bad luck)

And if you thought that you could escape death omens when sleeping..think again.

freddy gif.gif
To be fair, sleep hasn’t been safe for a while

4.Dreams and Doubles

Dreams were seen as a precursor and warning of impending bad luck or a bereavement. If, in your dream you saw your doppelgänger, the devil or a solitary crow this meant death was coming for you. They made it personal.

The double as a death omen has been around for hundreds of years. Queen Elizabeth I was rumoured to have seen her doppelgänger reclining in her bed looking pale and lifeless a few days before her own passing!

In Celtic folklore there’s a legend of a fairy creature known as a ‘Changeling’ who should steal children and replaced them with doubles who became sickly and died within days. This explanation meant parents could hold on to the belief their children were alive with the fairies somewhere.

Dante Rossetti, How They Met Themselves, 1864
Dante Rosetti’s doppelganger masterpiece, How They Met Themselves, 1864

5. Funeral Processions

As you’ve probably noticed, the Victorians feature heavily in the world of folklore and death omens. They had a curiosity around death and the supernatural. With one popular and very much believed death omen was around funeral processions.

If you saw a real life funeral procession going on you should not cross paths in front of it or you risked inviting death into your family.

There was also the belief that if you saw a ghostly funeral procession this foreshadowed the end of your life. So, to keep yourself safe you had to turn and walk away from the procession, disrespect be damned!

There was also the legend of Corpse Candles, flickering lights that seemed to hover. These were seen by folks from their window or out walking. They were said to lead the souls of the dead to their resting place. With corpse candles, heralding an oncoming bereavement. And if you were very unlucky, the corpse candles would come towards your house, foreshadowing a death in the household.

An example of the Corpse Candle.

It’s funny to think of how we dismiss these old omens nowadays. This has come with more of an understanding of how our bodies work and fighting back against many diseases that today we don’t even register but used to kill in great numbers.

There’s still a few that are held onto which have been passed down in families, inexplicably followed almost automatically. We don’t want to give up on these small beliefs and our desire to understand the unknown… and why should we?

This was interesting, where can I find out more? I thoroughly recommend the book A Treasury of British Folklore by Dee Dee Chainey, there’s a chapter around folklore in Death & Burial, but the entire thing is a fascinating read.

Sara Westrop is passionate about making history accessible (and fun!) for everyone. A disabled, queer writer from just outside London, who loves writing about the unsung chapters of history.

The 7 Fiercest Warrior Queens: Part 2

Well here is the second part of our look at some of history’s most BADASS WARRIOR WOMEN! We can’t tell you how much fun we’ve had reading about all these amazing and inspiring ladies.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading about them all!

Rani Lakshmi Bai

Manikarnika was born to a noble family in Jhansi, India in 1828. She grew up to lead a resistance against the British Raj that instilled a sense of hope and admiration that has lasted through to this day.

Her mother died when she was only 4 and her father worked in the court of the Peshwa of Bithoor, a Prime Minister type position. The Peshwa took a shine to her and she was encouraged to learn how to shoot, fence and ride horses along with the other boys in the court.

Damn right babe! Via Giphy

In 1842 Manikarnika was married to the King of Jhansi, who was a widower and 25 years her senior. Her name was changed to Lakshmi Bai and she was now royalty, ruling over Jhansi with her husband, though she didn’t act like other royal wives, continuing to shoot, fence and ride as well as any other pursuit that took her fancy.

At the time of British Imperial rule over India, the British only recognised Kingdoms with legitimate heirs. Manikarnika did bear a son, but he died a few months after his birth, they decided to adopt an heir and hope this kept their kingdom under their rule.

Portrait of Rani Lakshmi Bai. Via Wikipedia

The king passed away in 1853 and the British Empire took this as their shot and pushed to take over Jhansi as they saw no legitimate heir. They offered her an annual pension and told her to get the fuck out of dodge.

Manikarnika was not having this, and in 1857 to 1859 she rallied her armies and fought a bloody rebellion to keep the British out of her lands. She dressed as a man and made a fearsome sight on the battlefield, riding with a sword in each hand.

FUCK YES! Via Giphy

However eventually the British broke through her ranks at the fort of Gwalinor so Manikarnika had to flee with her adopted son. She strapped him to her back and fought her way through the battle on horseback with a sword in each hand, holding the reins in her mouth!

She got away to safety but was mortally wounded. She was said to have been found by a hermit, and she handed her son to him and asked that he burn her body so the British couldn’t defile it. 


Lozen and her brother Victorio were part of the Chihenne Chiricahua Apache tribe. Victorio was the chief and Lozen was his personal warrior and a prophet.

Her tribe was forced to relocate to the harsh San Carlos Reservation, it was known as Hell’s 40 Acres… probably not a nice place.

No shit… Via Giphy

The conditions were deplorable, so the tribe left the reservation in 1877 and they began raiding the lands that had once been there’s while avoiding military capture.

Victorio said of his sister

“Lozen is my right hand… Strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people.’

Lozen was also kind at heart. She led women and children from her tribe to safety across the Rio Grande, encouraging the terrified group to cross the river by going in first. An account from that time from James Kaywaykla (one of the children) paints an amazing picture

“I saw a magnificent woman on a beautiful horse—Lozen, sister of Victorio. Lozen the woman warrior! High above her head she held her rifle. There was a glitter as her right foot lifted and struck the shoulder of her horse. He reared, then plunged into the torrent. She turned his head upstream, and he began swimming”

Her beloved brother was killed in 1881, during a battle she was not present at (she was safely accompanying a mother and new born back to her tribe) and Lozen immediately rode to the survivors’ aid.

Us too. What a woman!!! Via Giphy

Lozen and the survivors took a bloody revenge and teamed up with Geronimo as they fought against the American Military who were taking over their homes. She was eventually captured, and she died while a prisoner of war. Her body was released to her tribe, so she could be buried with honour.

Nakano Takeko

Nakano was an Onna-bugeisha, a female Samurai. That’s badass.

She was born in Edo, Japan in 1847, and was the daughter of an Aizu official. Her Dad was off on official business a lot, so Nakano was adopted by martial arts trainer Akaoa Daisuke and he trained her up trained up in various forms of martial arts and weapons combat. She was also educated to a very high standard and was just an all-round excellent pupil.

Photo of Nakano. Via Wikipedia

She ran a martial arts school with Akaoa for a while, which is just an amazing achievement in itself, but Nakano went to her father in Aizu in 1856. Our girl was destined to fight in the Boshin Civil War that raged on in Aizu from 1886 to 1889.

The Imperial Japanese Army of the Ogaki domain mounted a campaign to take over the lands there and a resistance in Aizu was forming. Nakano trained up 20 women in the art of combat and weaponry. She trained her own all female killer army!!!


They fought alongside the all-male Aizu Army, though they weren’t officially recognised. Nakano’s weapon of choice was a naginata, which is a long pole, with a curved blade at the end.

During a high point of one battle Nakano led a charge against the Imperial Japanese Army. She was fatally shot in the chest. She didn’t want the opposition defiling her remains or using her as a scapegoat so she persuaded one of her army to decapitate her and bury her head where her enemies wouldn’t find it.

Understatement here… Via Giphy

She was buried under a pine tree at the Hokai Temple (modern day Fukushima) and a monument to her was erected beside her grave. She’s still celebrated now! For the Aizu Autumn Festival women take part in the procession, wearing traditional hakama and headbands  to commemorate Nakano and her women army.

Sara Westrop is passionate about making history accessible (and fun!) for everyone. A disabled, queer writer from just outside London, who loves writing about the unsung chapters of history.

The 7 Fiercest Warrior Queens: Part 1

This year as we celebrate the centenary of women getting the right to vote we wanted to focus on bringing you some of our fave ass kicking (and we mean this literally) bitches.

None of these babes is backing down from a fight, so let these glorious women empower you and enjoy part 1 of History’s Fiercest Warrior Queens!

Lady Triệu

Born in the 3rd century Lady Triệu was a Vietnamese warrior who grew up under the regime of the Chinese, her parent died while she was a child, so she lived with her older brother and a total bitch of a sister in law.

One day she decided she’d had enough. So she killed off her sister in law and decided to raise an army to fight off the Chinese. As you do.

It’s so fucking on 💀

She managed to raise an army of some 1,000 soldiers with the plan to fight off the Wu Chinese armies who’d been invading their towns.

Her brother was obviously a little wary of this plan and begged her to reconsider. Her response was thus;

“I only want to ride the wind and walk the waves, slay the big whales of the Eastern sea, clean up frontiers, and save the people from drowning. Why should I imitate others, bow my head, stoop over and be a slave? Why resign myself to menial housework?”

Lady Triệu was said to be a fearsome sight on the battlefield, dressed in bright yellow tunics, and riding into battle on a war elephant!

Lady T
Apparently she threw her sizeable tits over her shoulders when riding. NICE!

She beat the Chinese back and reclaimed her territories, BUT the Chinese army eventually took them down because they just couldn’t compete with the sheer number of soldiers they had at their disposal.

Lady Triệu fled and then committed suicide at the age of 23.

Her bravery inspired Vietnam for centuries, where she’s still a well beloved figure of resistance; there’s even streets named after her today.


Tomyris was a ruler of a nomadic people known as the Massagetae, who lived in central Asia waaaaay back in 6th Century BC .

They were known for being fierce warriors and had a cannibalistic rep because they had a ritual that involved them sacrificing and eating one of their elders in a stew!


Now the tribe occupied a sweet spot which would become modern day Iran and this dick King of Persia, Cyrus the Great (eyeroll) really had his eye on their land.

First, he tried proposing to the widowed Tomyris. She told him to do one, so he took it well, and as plan B declared war on the Massagetae.

He captured Tomyris’ son who commanded her armies. Kind of but not really luckily, Tomyris’ son immediately killed himself, so he couldn’t be used as a bargaining chip.

Tomyris was obviously enraged and sent a letter to Cyrus challenging him to a battle, he accepted, convinced he’d have an easy victory…


Tomyris’ armies won and absolutely massacred Cyrus’ forces. Legend has it he was crucified and then beheaded.


Tomyris then took his head and stuffed it into a wineskin full of human blood before declaring

‘”I warned you that I would quench your thirst for blood, and so I shall”



We cannot have a list of warrior queens and not mention Boudicca, the scourge of the Romans.

Boudicca looking fly as fuck!

Boudicca was Queen of a Celtic Inceni tribe (basically the East of England), while her husband was alive he ruled over their domain and had a will drawn up that left his land to be split between the Roman Empire his daughters.

Well, hubby popped his clogs and the Romans basically ignored the will and flogged Boudicca and raped her daughters.

Big fucking mistake.

Boudicca was rightly very pissed off and wanted revenge. She was a well-respected figure and had no trouble raising her tribe and some of the surrounding tribes to join her in a revolt against the Romans.

She gave a speech to her armies before their first assault on her need for revenge;

“It is not as a woman descended from noble ancestry, but as one of the people that I am avenging lost freedom, my scourged body, the outraged chastity of my daughters,”

She’s gunna murder you all 🗡

Her army tore through three major cities of Camulodunum, Verulamium (what’s now St Albans) and Londinium (guess what that one is).

They burned the cities to the ground and smashed their way through Roman and their British allies alike.

It’s estimated Boudicca and her armies killed between 70,000-80,000 Romans and British during her campaign of revenge. But every party must end sometime.

Eventually Boudicca and her armies were defeated at the Battle of Watling Street in 61 CE and then it was rumoured she committed suicide by poison, rather than being captured.


Now Khutulun was born a badass, after all, she was the great grand daughter of history’s bloodiest tyrant Genghis Khan, AKA that bloke who liked putting heads on spikes.

Born into a fearsome Mongol Horde back in 1260, she grew up learning the fighting skills of her tribe (because women were also trained to fight in battle) learning archery, horsemanship and physical combat.

Khutulun’s father, Kaidu, made her the leader of his armies and he trusted her skill and intelligence above his 14 other sons.

I repeat: She beat her 14 brothers to a position at her father’s side.

YES KHUTULUN! Let ‘em know who’s boss!

Her Dad was desperate to marry her off, but Khutulun wasn’t interested.

Our girl K was a seriously gifted wrestler, so to appease her Dad she challenged any potential suitor to a wrestling match asking or 100 horses against her promise to marry the victor. SHE WAS UNDEFEATED!

Apparently she ended up with 10,000 horses and eventually went on to marry a man of her choosing.

Her father wanted Khutulun to take over a head of the tribe when he died but her brothers were not keen on that idea. (boo!!!)

Eventually the tribe went to someone else and Khutulun passed away five years after her father when she was in her late 40s.

A fictionalised version of her life was made into this swanky opera.

She was the last of the Mongol warrior princesses.

Sara Westrop is passionate about making history accessible (and fun!) for everyone. A disabled, queer writer from just outside London, who loves writing about the unsung chapters of history.

Creepy Christmas Folklore

It’s Christmaaaaaaaas! Time for presents, stuffing your face and hugging family…


We’re going to  show you why Christmas is one of the creepiest times of the year (with the weirdest Christmas lore from across the globe.


The Krampus gets more recognisable every year, his PR team are working magic.

This demonic fucker-up of tiny children is a Germanic folklore (i.e the most fucked up folklore-IT’S FANTASTIC) Krampy is also one of the oldest on the list!

Shitting kids up since ancient times! Via Giphy

So the legend goes that old Kramps kidnaps and then gorily devours children who’ve been naughty that year.

Festive images of The Krampus ripping up kids have been around for hundreds of years. What a lovely tradition.

Krampus himself looks like the lovechild of Satan and a demonic billy goat.

Think gnarled horns, hooves and a face only a mother could live… If the mother was blind, deaf and had no sense of smell.

So very festive! Makes me feel all warm inside.

In Schlanders (a Germanic city in Italy) it’s still tradition for grown ups to dress as Krampus on Christmas Eve and run around scaring the shit out of children… sign me up please!

After scarring children for life they enjoy a lovely glass of Schnapps by the fire.


The first of some terrifying Icelandic legends, this evil mountain witch has a similar M.O as most Christmas creepies, in that she likes to punish naughty children.

She is an Icelandic giantess with hooves, a wrinkled face and 13 tails.

Damn sneaky kids…

She comes down from the mountains on Christmas eve and kidnaps all the naughty children, taking them back to her home in a giant sack.

Then boils them alive in a stew, which sustains her till the next year.

Tasty AND efficient, this babe does not fuck around!

She also has an equally horrendous extended family!

You’ll meet her sons later in this list, but Grýla also had three husbands… who she murdered because they were shites and they bored her.



Jólakötturinn: The Yule Cat

Cats are dicks. Fact.

This is the biggest dick cat of all: A CAPITALIST LOVING MOGGY NIGHTMARE.

They eat poor children… just poor children.

Now most of us can’t say Jólakötturinn so we just call this bastard ,the Yule Cat, which feels very misleading since their entire thing is slaughtering poor folk.

Capitalist Cat Dick

Lemmie explain: Christmas is a time to celebrate by buying fancy new duds, splurging on a spiffy hat or a shiny new pair of shoes…and if you don’t, this cat will use its particular set of skills to hunt you down and kill you along with your entire family.


Basically this Icelandic folklore was meant to inspire poorer people to work harder during the winter months so they could afford new garments for their family. CAPITALISM FOLKS!

13 Yule Lads

LADS LADS LADS! These guys are the pinnacle of unwanted Christmas guests.

If you thought creepy Uncle Alan was bad then wait till you meet these guys.

These are the spawn of Gryla, y’know the mountain witch!

Meet her asshole children, they’re basically the seven dwarves shit-head cousins.


These guys don’t have the catchy names of Doc, Sleepy and Sneezy, but they are… descriptive, featuring; Spoon-Licker, Sausage-Swiper, Pan-Scraper, Door-Slammer, Window-Peeper (WTF?!), Meat-Hook (My Wrestling name), Gully-Gawk, Stubby, Bowl-Licker, Skyr Gobbler, Doorway-Sniffer and finally Candle-Stealer

Them’s some fucking jazzy names! Get the reference… via Giphy

Firstly they don’t all arrive together, they arrive one day at a time, and you’re stuck with them for 13 days.

They leave some nice prezzies for the kiddlywinks who have been good.

But the bad kids get all their shit fucked up.

Though they don’t murder you, like their dear old Mum does. They kick stuff over and pinch food, just more general oikness


This lovely little Goblin bum nugget comes from Southern European Folklore, jumping out of hiding during the twelve days of Christmas to be a total pain in the arse.

Descriptions of them vary from country to country, but everyone agrees they are ugly as hell and causers of lots of mischief.

What a handsome chap! Via Wikipedia

To keep them away during the 12 days people would light a fire to ward them off or leave a colander outside.

The colander is out there because the Kallikantzaros can’t resist counting stuff apparently… also if they say the number 3 out loud THEY WILL BLOW UP because it’s a holy number.


Via Giphy

Happy Holidays y’all!

Sara Westrop is passionate about making history accessible (and fun!) for everyone. A disabled, queer writer from just outside London, who loves writing about the unsung chapters of history.

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