History Alive - Season 1

The History Channel Premiered May 26, 2006 Between Seasons


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Episode Guide

  • The Antichrist
    The Antichrist
    Episode 59
    How would you recognize the most evil person on Earth? According to many historical texts, you should look for a brilliant, enigmatic public figure who transforms the world for good--for a while. The last person you'd tap as Satan's human emissary. While many believe the Antichrist has come and gone, just as many believe he will soon arrive, if he's not already in our midst. A 2 hour look at an evil so obscure that he answers only to Satan. Real? Our group of prophecy believers and historical experts help sort it out. Follow the emergence of the Antichrist from pre-Judaic texts, through the Book of Daniel and Revelation, into Christian writings of the Middle Ages, and other religious traditions as well.moreless
  • Hell: The Devil's Domain
    The history of Hell begins with the story of a negative near-death experience, in which a man thinks he went to Hell after being declared clinically dead and before resuscitation. Following Lucifer's trail from cave paintings in France circa 6,000 BC to current portrayals in popular culture, this 2-hour exploration shows how Hell and the Devil remain powerful forces--at a church in Texas, where souls are delivered from Satan's grip; in talks with a survivor of the 1980s recovered memory craze, who "recalled" attending Witches' Sabbaths that practiced cannibalism; and at the modern Church of Satan. Review literary landmarks that expanded our ideas of the underworld, from Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost to Mark Twain's anti-hero, and trace development of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist conceptions of the afterlife.moreless
  • Comets: Prophets of Doom
    Comets--these celestial travelers have forever filled us with fear and wonder. Lurking in the furthest reaches of our solar system, they come close to Earth as they orbit our Sun. Could something as destructive as comets hold the key to life? Are the building blocks of carbon-based life forms frozen inside? Might they contain information about the creation of our solar system? At the conclusion of two spectacular NASA missions that sent spaceships to rendezvous with these mysterious objects, examine the scientific and historical record of comets, including man's reaction to them. Did a comet lead the Wise Men to Bethlehem? Did they foretell the death of kings, the destruction of civilizations? How did Halley's Comet provide Isaac Newton with the clues for his theories of gravity? Finally, what comprises this "dirty snowball" and how can we protect ourselves if headed on a collision-course with one?moreless
  • Meteors: Fire in the Sky
    Meteors, comets, and asteroids cross the solar system to offer clues about our planet and universe. Can they destroy civilizations? Did they wipe out the dinosaurs? Have they brought life to our planet? And when will the next one hit? Aided by elaborate animation and live-action footage, we learn what these mysterious space rocks really are and imagine what likely happened 65-million years ago, when an object plowed into the Yucatan Peninsula. See how certain spectacular meteor falls advanced our understanding of what they are and the danger that they pose.moreless
  • Mayan Doomsday Prophecy
    The world is coming to an end on December 21, 2012! The ancient Maya made this stunning prediction more than 2,000 years ago. Peel back the layers of mystery and examine in detail how the Maya calculated the exact date of doomsday. Journey back to the ancient city of Chichen Itza, the hub of Maya civilization deep in the heart of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, to uncover the truth about this prophecy. The Maya were legendary astronomers and timekeepers--their calendar is more accurate than our own. By tracking the stars and planets they assigned great meaning to astronomical phenomena and made extraordinary predictions based on them--many of which have come true. Could their doomsday prophecy be one of them?moreless
  • Countdown to Armageddon
    Asteroids on a collision course with Earth, super volcanoes, global warming, killer viruses--all are potential catastrophes that threaten to wipe out life on our planet. Are these simply natural disasters that have been occurring since time immemorial? Or are the terrifying prophesies from the Bible that are at last coming true? Are our fears overblown? Or are the infamous Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding among us in a countdown to Armageddon?moreless
  • Siberian Apocalypse
    Siberian Apocalypse
    Episode 53
    At 7:15AM on June 30, 1908, a giant fireball, as bright the Sun, explodes in the Siberian sky with a force a thousand times greater than the Hiroshima bomb. It decimates 1,000 square miles of forest--over half the size of Rhode Island, and was the biggest cosmic disaster in the history of civilization. What caused the apocalyptic fire in the sky? Over a hundred theories surround what is called the Tunguska event, varying from asteroids and comets to black holes and alien spaceships. Most scientists agree the Tunguska event will happen again, and next time, the human toll could be unimaginable. Now, NASA and other organizations race against time to stop the next planet killer before it ignites Armageddon.moreless
  • Last Days on Earth
    Last Days on Earth
    Episode 52
    Could the human race become suddenly extinct? Count down seven ways in which the world as we know it could meet an abrupt and untimely end, from a mammoth asteroid strike to the eruption of a super volcano. What would happen as computers literally become trillions of times smarter than we are--would they program our mass murder? Scientists, experts, and witnesses describe these and other vividly pictured disaster scenarios, from super bugs created in secret labs to black holes that could suck earth into oblivion. Using state-of-the-art computer-generated graphics and interviews with the world's top scientists will leave viewers pondering humanity's place in the universe and will reveal the most terrifying truth of all--that our greatest enemy is ourselves.moreless
  • In Search of Christmas
    Is there actual evidence of the birth of Jesus? Was he born in Bethlehem or Nazareth, in December or April? Were the three wise men kings or Babylonian astrologers? What compelled Joseph to believe Mary's implausible tale of a divine impregnation? We'll journey back 2,000 years in a quest for the answer to these and other conundrums. We retrace Mary's arduous odyssey across ancient Israel as a host of scholars attempt to uncover the historical truth of an event as mysterious as it was momentous.moreless
  • Banned From The Bible
    Scrutinize ancient writings that didn't "make the cut" in the battle to create a Christian Bible in the new religion's first few centuries. Biblical archaeologists and scholars examine why they were left out and if others might yet be found. Beginning with the little-known Life of Adam and Eve, peruse the Book of Jubilees, the Book of Enoch, the Gospel of Thomas, the Protevangelium of James, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Nicodemus, and the Apocalypse of Peter.moreless
  • Christmas Unwrapped: This History of Christmas
    Fascinating story of how the bawdy Roman Saturnalia, a week-long festival of food and drink that culminated on December 25, became the centerpiece of the Christian year, and why the holiday is known as much for shopping as the birth of Christ.
  • The Samurai
    The Samurai
    Episode 48
    The knights of medieval Japan, the Samurai held power for over 700 years. Ferocious in combat, these masters of sword and bow were bound by an unforgiving code of ethics. Their legacy of martial artistry, ceremony, self-discipline, and tenacity persists. Explore the history and mystery of this elite warrior class as present-day Samurai demonstrate their ancient skills, historians and experts examine the meaning and ritual of Bushido--the way of the warrior.moreless
  • History of Thanksgiving: Home for the Holidays:
    From the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, Lincoln's 1863 declaration naming it a national holiday, to turkey, Macy's parade, and football, share the abundant feast of Thanksgiving history.
  • Angels: Good or Evil
    Winged messengers have mesmerized humans since the dawn of civilization. Isis, Hermes, Mercury, and Asmodeus set the stage for monotheism's angels--Gabriel, Michael, and Satan. Hebraic, Christian, and Muslim scripture all describe angels and demons that were invoked in magic spells, immortalized in art, trivialized as decorative accessories, and dismissed by science. See how their legacies shaped religion and art and hear from those who testify to firsthand encounters with these curious creatures.moreless
  • Nazi America: A Secret History
    In a 2-hour survey of Nazism in the US, trace the history from the fairly benign organization that gave structure to newly-arrived German immigrants to today's neo-Nazis, who breach the borderline of free speech by using radical action to force their agenda of Aryan purity. It's also a history of the imperfection of American freedom.moreless
  • Viking Raiders
    Viking Raiders
    Episode 44
    Take two teams of trained oarsman and a sprinkling of international yachtsmen and send them back 1200 years into the past. They will race across the North Sea in two replica Viking Longboats from Jutland in Denmark to Lindisfarne on the north east coast of England, site of the first recorded Viking raids. Using Viking navigation techniques find out how these denizens of the North Sea achieved their remarkable journey. How did they manage without maps and compasses? Can modern man in identical situation complete the journey.moreless
  • Exorcism: Driving Out the Devil
    For as long as humans have existed, so too has the belief in evil. Are there malevolent supernatural forces in the world at work against us? Can a demonic force actually overtake a human soul? And, if so, is an exorcism the only way to free someone from the devil's grasp? This two-hour special traces the history of the mysterious ritual of exorcism. It explores how the practice has evolved with the changing times--from a simple rite, to a political tool, to a form of modern-day therapy. Through dramatic recreations we recount several harrowing tales of the demonically possessed and the subsequent struggle by exorcists to save them. We'll also look at the medical and social perspectives. Can episodes of demonic-like behavior be explained by brain disorders or psychological factors?moreless
  • Witch Hunt
    Witch Hunt
    Episode 42
    Devils, witches, ghostly apparitions, spectral disturbances... Whether real or imaginary, the end result proved ghastly--20 people tortured in 1692. Mass hysteria? Psychological stress brought on by the brutal Indian Wars? A devious act of personal revenge? Drug-induced psychosis? Demonic possession? Meld with the world of 17th-century New England Puritans--to whom witchcraft was real, dangerous, and a capital crime--vivid, sometimes shocking, recreations reveal the horrifying hardships of life and how superstition filled inexplicable dark corners. Period transcripts, diaries, and letters bring to life the infamous trials and executions.moreless
  • Haunted History of Halloween
    On October 31, when pint-sized ghouls and goblins trick or treat, they're upholding an ancient northern European ritual dating back thousands of years. From the Celtic festival of Samhain to the mumming tradition and the Christian feast day All Hallows' Eve, we find out why this night is the scariest of the year!moreless
  • Hanson, Hawkins and Boggs/The Black Dahlia
    Insurance scams are hard to pull off--unless the deceased's doctor is in on it! Meet Gene Hanson and John Hawkins, con men who took out huge life insurance policies on each other. When Dr. Boggs identifies a dead patient as Hanson, it seems to be he. Next, study the facts in the case of the Black Dahlia, whose dismembered body was found near Hollywoodmoreless
  • Amazon Adventures
    Amazon Adventures
    Episode 39
    In a 2-hour special shot on location in the Brazilian rainforest, recount the story of intrepid adventurers who tried to tame the Amazon, and investigate tales of heroism, greed, and death in this hostile region. From Theodore Roosevelt to Henry Ford to Hiram Bingham, who uncovered Machu Picchu, travel through time along this magnificent river, and meet unsung hero Walter Earnest Hardenberg, whose bravery brought one of the most harrowing tales of human torture in the 20th century to world attention. Join ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, who embarked on an adventure to seek the botanical source of a plant known as curare, a muscle relaxant that's derivatives are used in surgery today. The Amazon has challenged these adventurers to perform acts of almost superhuman endurance, inspired folly in the cautious, bravery in the coward, and brought great men to their knees.moreless
  • Hurricane Warning
    Hurricane Warning
    Episode 38
    The trouble in paradise, they engulf islands, spawn tornadoes, level cities, and kill thousands. Named after the Carib god of storms Huracan, they form near Africa, feeding off the ocean's heat until maturing to full-fledged hurricanes. Historians, survivors, and weather watchers fly into the eye of the storm in a tempestuous 2-hour special that recreates the horror of history's worst hurricanes and then tracks north to examine New England's deadly Nor'Easters, including the Perfect Storm of 1991.moreless
  • Illuminating Angels & Demons
    Dan Brown's novel, Angels & Demons, describes an ancient cult called the Illuminati that is at work in the modern world and plotting against the Catholic Church. Based on Simon Cox's book, Illuminating Angels & Demons, this fascinating two-hour documentary explores the question of whether the Illuminati still exists. This is also a visually stunning travelogue that guides viewers through the ancient streets and artwork of Rome in its quest to find the facts behind Brown's fiction.moreless
  • Sodom & Gomorrah
    Sodom & Gomorrah
    Episode 36
    Did the sinful Biblical cities Sodom and Gomorrah exist or was the story of their destruction crafted for other purposes?
  • Biblical Disasters
    Biblical Disasters
    Episode 35
    The world of the Bible was one beset by terror, when disasters of truly biblical proportions ravaged humanity. It was a time of global flooding, fiery destruction, plagues, earthquakes, killer epidemics, and famine. Are these biblical accounts fact or fiction?
  • Inside Pol Pot's Secret Prison
    It's been called one of the most evil institutions of the 20th century. Operating under the code name S-21, Pol Pot's secret prison was an interrogation, torture, and execution center used to exterminate suspected traitors of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge. From 1976 to 1979, thousands entered its gates--only seven escaped alive. While focusing on the prison, we see how Pol Pot's campaign of forced labor, starvation, and murder left 1.7 million Cambodians dead.moreless
  • Ape to Man
    Ape to Man
    Episode 33
    The story of a century-and-a-half of tireless research that led humans to discover their ape-like origins. Review several stories of discovery, each a crucial turning point in the understanding of our pre-historical past.
  • Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle
    Since the 15th century, the Bermuda Triangle has mysteriously vanished an untold number of ships, planes and lives with three more known incidents in 2004. Using today's scientific knowledge and investigative techniques, we study the riddle of the Bermuda Triangle. Through computer graphics, highly stylized recreations, and underwater cameras, we will dramatically visualize the accidents as well as investigate the possible causes and explanations. Can the latest science available today finally lay to rest the mysteries of the Triangle?moreless
  • Little Ice Age: Big Chill
    Not so long ago, civilization learned that it was no match for just a few degrees drop in temperature. Scientists call it the Little Ice Age--but its impact was anything but small. From 1300 to 1850, a period of cataclysmic cold caused havoc. It froze Viking colonists in Greenland, accelerated the Black Death in Europe, decimated the Spanish Armada, and helped trigger the French Revolution. The Little Ice Age reshaped the world in ways that now seem the stuff of fantasy--New York Harbor froze and people walked from Manhattan to Staten Island, Eskimos sailed kayaks as far south as Scotland, and two feet of snow fell on New England in June and July during "the Year Without a Summer". Could another catastrophic cold snap strike in the 21st century? Leading climatologists offer the latest theories, and scholars and historians recreate the history that could be a glimpse of things to comemoreless
  • Apocalypse
    Episode 30
    A look at the prophesies and symbolism in the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, which contains the futuristic final showdown between God and Satan.
  • Eighty Acres of Hell
    Our nation is well-versed about the atrocities committed against Union POWs at Andersonville, Georgia, few have heard of the wholesale annihilation of Confederate prisoners at Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois (12,000 inmates were incarcerated, 6,000 never left). Unlike Andersonville, Camp Douglas had the resources necessary to house and care for its prisoners, but calculated cruelty, torture, and neglect by the US military conspired to exterminate Southern soldiers who entered this "80 Acres of Hell".moreless
  • Street Gangs: A Secret History
    For nearly 400 years, street gangs have bullied their way across the American landscape. Fueled by immigration and the desire to live the American dream, street gangs have evolved from groups of petty criminals to ruthless multi-million-dollar drug cartels.
  • The Kings: From Babylon to Baghdad
    The history of the hotspot now known as Iraq was written in blood. Ancient kings leading the world's first armies fought for total control of the fertile lands of Mesopotamia. Their cities and empires, the earliest on earth, rose and fell through warfare, invasion, and conquest.
  • Heaven Beyond the Grave
    A look at how Heaven is viewed from different cultures and religeons.
  • John List/Green River Killer
    In 1971 John List murdered his family and hid for 20 years. The Green River killer struck between 1982 and 1998.
  • The Real Tomb Hunters: Snakes, Curses and Booby Traps
    Fighting Nazis; grabbing golden treasure; fleeing angry natives; dodging pitfalls in a booby-trapped temple, we all know how fictional explorers and archaeologists spend their days. But does real life compare? Follow some of the most daring archaeologists and take on the dangers they face--Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass steps into a booby-trapped tomb; American Arthur Demarest fights looters in the jungles of Cancuen; and in Chiapas, angry villagers kidnap Australian-born Peter Mathews. Also examine stories of past explorers who helped shape the "Indiana Jones" stereotype--paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews battled venomous snakes and Mongol bandits in the Gobi Desert; John Pendlebury, the British archaeologist, fought Nazis on Crete; and Sylvanus Morley, who was the first American archaeologist/spy.moreless
  • Secrets of the Playing Card
    Playing cards are an everyday object used for gambling and game playing the world over. But the familiar deck of cards conceals hidden meanings that have links to secret societies and the occult. Why are there four suits and why hearts, spades, diamonds, clubs? What is the significance of the picture cards? What is the meaning of the symbolism of the Tarot? We look beneath the surface of the playing card and reveal an intriguing journey from their much disputed roots in China, Persia, and Egypt. And we uncover the secrets of card design, investigating rumored Masonic links and the way the design has changed to mirror the cultures and beliefs of the people who used them through the ages. What emerges is an extraordinary story that reveals the mysteries and meanings of the humble playing card--a history that is intimately entwined with the occult, voodoo, and man's fascination with mystical beliefsmoreless
  • The Other Nostradamus
    A look at the psychics and prohets of America, notably early 20th centuty prophet Edgar Cayce.
  • Great Brinks Robbery/Zodiac Killer
    Two historical crimes--one almost perfect and one yet unsolved. First stop, Brinks, Inc.'s Boston headquarters, where nine masked men stole around $2,775,000. Then, search for the Zodiac Killer, who taunted police with letters and calls after his five known murders.
  • Psychic History
    Psychic History
    Episode 20
    John Holland is a psychic medium with an extraordinary talent. At any given location, John can sense what took place there, even if it was 100 years ago. His ability to reveal past events makes him uniquely suited to investigate history as it has never been investigated before.
  • Cyberterrorism
    Episode 19
    Today's world economy is increasingly dependent on the Internet and the computer networks that it connects--including all of America's critical infrastructures, such as telecommunications, transportation, banking and finance, and energy. We explore the possibility of a cyberterrorist attack on these vital infrastructures...an attack in which computers could be used as potential weapons of mass destruction! With most of the Internet in private hands, how can the government fight it?moreless
  • Lost in the Bermuda Triangle
    On December 5, 1945, five Grumman Avengers with a crew of 14 left the U.S. Naval Air Station in Fort Lauderdale for a routine training flight. Three hours later, Flight 19 had disappeared without a trace into the area that would become known as the Bermuda Triangle. A Martin Mariner flying boat, with a crew of 12 and enough fuel for 24 hours, was sent out to search for the missing planes--and never returned to base. What really happened to Flight 19?moreless
  • Hijacker High Jinks
    Hijacker High Jinks
    Episode 17
    At 7:46 on the evening of November 24, 1971, a Northwest Airlines Boeing 727 took off from Seattle en route to Reno. A man claiming to have a bomb onboard had hijacked the airliner. About 20 minutes into the flight and at a height of 10,000 feet, the hijacker parachuted into the night and vanished without a trace. The legend of D.B. Cooper was born.moreless
  • Billy the Kid
    Billy the Kid
    Episode 16
    He was the Old West's most infamous desperado, yet we actually know little about his short life--and more important--his death. Did Sheriff Pat Garrett kill him or fake the death and allow his friend to escape?
  • India
    Episode 15
    Bombay is India's crime capital, powerful crime families have blackmailed producers and threatened celebrities.
  • Jane Doe/Lufthansa Heist
    A dismembered corpse is found near the Wisconsin River--minus the skin from the face along with the nose and ears. For weeks, no clues are found as to the identity of the victim or killer. Then one of the most intriguing cases of mob crime--the 1978 Lufthansa Heist--remains unsolved. Over $8-million in cash, jewels, and gold was stolen from Lufthansa's high-security storage at New York's JFK airport.moreless
  • Border Patrol
    Border Patrol
    Episode 13
    In many ways, America's borders are like battlefields. As the world's wealthiest nation, the US, is the choice destination for smugglers and illegal aliens. Many of them will stop at nothing to gain access to the American Dream, including jumping its borders. Entrusted with stopping them is the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Border Patrol. Created by an act of Congress in 1924, we'll see how the Border Patrol has grown from horse-and-buggy to high-tech.moreless
  • Columbia
    Episode 12
    Is the war on drugs in Colombia winnable? One of South America's most beautiful countries, it's also one of the most dangerous. Since the 1970s, Colombian drug cartels have shipped thousands of tons of cocaine to the US. We investigate two of the most successful--the Medellin and Cali Cartels--and the smaller organizations that arose in their demise, whose cocaine and heroin crops and trafficking airstrips are protected by leftist guerrilla groups for a share of the profit.moreless
  • Nickell/Taylor
    Episode 11
    When Stella Nickel inserted rat poison in her husband's Excedrin gelcaps, she got away with murder...until she got greedy. Next, we examine the evidence surrounding the 1922 unsolved murder of film director William Desmond Taylor, which revealed the seamier side of Hollywood
  • Leopold & Loeb/D.B. Cooper
    This episode's cases for our armchair detectives include the nearly perfect "thrill killing" committed by Leopold and Loeb, privileged youth with extremely high IQs. Then, try to detect what happened to D.B. Cooper, who skyjacked a Boeing 727, demanded $100,000 and four parachutes, and then leapt from the plane into folk history.moreless
  • Baumeister Killings/Gardner Museum Heist
    In the early 1990s, young men in Indianapolis began disappearing. No one paid much attention until private investigator Virgil Vandagriff claimed that a serial killer stalked the streets. Eventually the investigation led to Herb Baumeister's estate, where police found thousands of bones buried in the backyard. With arrest imminent, Baumeister took his life. And, in a picture-perfect crime, thieves lift more than $300-million in rare masterpieces from Boston's Elizabeth Stewart Gardner Museum.moreless
  • Five Star Generals
    Five Star Generals
    Episode 8
    Brief history of 5 star generals from World War I through Vietnam.
  • Marijuana
    Episode 7
    n a series investigating the history of drug use, we begin our trip tracing the rise of marijuana and synthetic amphetamines. Marijuana, from the Indian hemp plant, has been used worldwide as a source of rope, cloth, and paper; its medicinal qualities were first documented 4,000 years ago in China. But it's best known as the drug of choice of the 1960s. During WWII, US troops were given an estimated 200 million amphetamines to fight drowsiness and battle fatigue, and they're still used to fight depression.moreless
  • LSD, Ecstasy and Raves
    How did the psychedelic drugs LSD and Ecstasy journey from a scientific discovery to a popular recreation to banned drugs? Mental health professionals once believed that LSD could treat schizophrenia or alcoholism. Meanwhile, Ecstasy, the "penicillin for the soul", was used in marriage counseling. Now, continuing the cycle of the hallucinogen, some of the latest derivatives in this category of drugs, the "rave" drugs such as GHB and Ketamine, are about to be banned.moreless
  • Trident Missile Submarine
    For over 40 years, the ocean has hidden one of the most awesome weapons ever created. Trident submarines harness atomic energy for power and can unleash nuclear devastation with their missiles. The US submarine-launched ballistic missile program plays a central role in nuclear deterrence, and Trident subs are central to debates over nuclear policy and strategy. We'll follow these silent sentinels of the Cold War that remain on patrol, the entire world within their deadly rangemoreless
  • Hollywood Robber/Kingsbury Run Murders
    In the mid-1990s, when Seattle was plagued by bank robberies, the most feared bandit was the "Hollywood" robber and his band. An enormous task force, including the FBI, teamed up to match wits with one of America's most prolific and luckiest criminals. And in 1935, Cleveland brought in Eliot Ness to fight crime and police corruption. But he was about to do battle with one of the most brutal and devious serial killers in U.S. history, the "Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run"--a battle Ness eventually lost.moreless
  • Russia
    Episode 3
    With the fall of communism, a rapacious new gangster class arose from out of the former Soviet Republics and became criminal millionaires. The Red Mafiya, which seized power with staggering speed in the post-Soviet free-market free-for-all, can be traced back centuries to the Thieves World--a secret criminal culture with a strict code of conduct based on loyalty and opposition to the government. We cover the Redfellas evolution--from roots in Imperial Russia to shocking global reach today..moreless
  • Opium, Morphine and Herion
    An examination of the history of the poppy plant and three of its deadliest derivatives. In ancient times, the poppy was considered divine, but in the 19th and 20th centuries, its addicting and lethal qualities caused unprecedented national outrage, social upheaval, and even sparked two wars. Used by the upper classes as patent medicines, heroin became the bane of society when the working class began to use it. In 1914, Federal law banned heroin and opium, and restricted morphine to medicinal use.moreless
  • Cocaine
    Episode 1
    Derived from South America's coca leaf, cocaine was touted as a cure-all in the late 19th century and was the secret ingredient in many medicines and elixirs such as Coca-Cola. But cocaine's allure quickly diminished as racism entered the picture--the concept of the "cocaine-crazed Negro" even led police to strengthen the caliber of their guns from .32 to .38. We'll see how, though it was outlawed in 1914, its popularity soared in the 1980s and '90s and gave birth to a deadlier form--crack.moreless