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Mike Dash

9 articles

The Amazing (If True) Story of the Submarine Mechanic Who Blew Himself Up Then Surfaced as a Secret Agent for Queen Victoria

The life and times of James McClintock, the man behind the famed H.L. Hunley who also may or may not have faked his own death.


The Octogenarian Who Took on the Shoguns

On Japan’s Hokkaido, an island the size of Ireland, and its rebel leader of lore, Shakushain.


For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II

In 1936, Karp Lykov whisked his family into the Siberian wilderness to escape Bolshevik persecution. They remained there, alone, until discovered by a helicopter crew in 1978.


Cockford's Club

On William Cockford and his 1800s gambling hall in London, where much of the British aristocracy lost its fortune.


Quite Likely the Worst Job Ever

The sewer hunters, or “toshers,” of 19th century London.

Knowing where to find the most valuable pieces of detritus was vital, and most toshers worked in gangs of three or four, led by a veteran who was frequently somewhere between 60 and 80 years old. These men knew the secret locations of the cracks that lay submerged beneath the surface of the sewer-waters, and it was there that cash frequently lodged.


The Mysterious Mr. Zedzed: The Wickedest Man in the World

Few men have acquired so scandalous a reputation as did Basil Zaharoff, alias Count Zacharoff, alias Prince Zacharias Basileus Zacharoff, known to his intimates as “Zedzed.” Born in Anatolia, then part of the Ottoman Empire, perhaps in 1849, Zaharoff was a brothel tout, bigamist and arsonist, a benefactor of great universities and an intimate of royalty who reached his peak of infamy as an international arms dealer -- a “merchant of death,” as his many enemies preferred it.

The Most Terrible Polar Exploration Ever: Douglas Mawson's Antarctic Journey

A story of endurance in the face of unimaginably brutal conditions.


The Body on Somerton Beach

Beyond the fact that he lacked a pulse, little is known about the man found on an Adelaide beach in 1948.