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Calling All Student Detectives: What are the greatest historical mysteries?

October 22, 2019

What are the most history-changing crimes ever committed? We want to hear from you, but we have a few in mind.

Midgard’s recently published book, Mysteries That Changed History: Hot Takes on Cold Cases presents six crimes that became hinge points in the history of civilization. Packaged as detective case files, each chapter brings the reader to the scene of the crime. Detective notebook entries contain all the relevant details, forensic reports describe the damage to the bodies, depositions from witnesses give background and motivation, and primary source evidence reveals more clues. Each chapter in the book provides guided questions to give students a chance to investigate the circumstances around these events. After the facts are in, the students become lawyers and prosecute or defend a variety of suspects.

The whodunit aspect is thoroughly covered, but so is the howdunit and the whydunit, not to mention the whathappenedafteritwasdun. The book includes investigative materials for the untimely death of King Tut, the convenient poisoning of Alexander the Great, the political conflicts surrounding Anne Boleyn, the cultural conspiracy against Mahatma Gandhi, the international cascade of tragedies causing and resulting from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and a digression into the limits of historical investigation in the case of the missing queen of Sheba.

But we want to hear from you. Teachers and students who have interesting mysteries they’d like solved, or at least looked into by our consulting detectives. What are some of the suspicious circumstances that you think led to historical upheavals, events so impactful that they changed the course of history? It doesn’t have to be murders. Sometimes, it’s missing persons or grand thefts, sneaky usurpations, the occasional kidnapping or blackmailing, an illegal adulterous affair, an insider trade deal that rocked the economy. Crimes are as diverse as the criminals who commit them.

We’ll weigh the facts, scour the evidence, dig into the deepest corners of the historical record, and present our findings. Solving mysteries is a great way for students to get into history.

So do a little leg work and tip us off to your suggestions for more Mysteries That Changed History.

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