In autumn, the air becomes brisk, the leaves turn color, and our daily ration of sunlight grows predictably shorter. Inevitably, we spend more time pursuing indoor activities with friends and family. For MagellanTV members, those activities include viewing and learning from high-quality documentaries addressing a wide array of important, enlightening, or just plain entertaining subjects.
October’s releases include documentaries and series that dive deep into Chinese archeology, travel adventures via motorcycles, a new attempt to solve the Jack the Ripper case, the deadliest snakes in the world, the chilling story of children kidnapped by the Nazis during World War II – and much more.
Here are a few highlights of new MagellanTV documentaries for October:
In 141 BCE, the fourth emperor of China’s Western Han Dynasty, Jing Di, died. During his reign, Jing (also known by his birth family name Liu Qi) had reversed the ascendancy of feudal lords, reduced taxes, used diplomacy rather than military force in disputes with neighbors, and released large numbers of prisoners from state custody.
Befitting a ruler of great wisdom and foresight, work on his massive burial site commenced a full 12 years before Jing’s death. It occupies 12 square kilometers and includes the tombs of Jing Di and Empress Wang, along with 81 burial pits containing over 100,000 terracotta figures. But unlike the more familiar (and earlier) Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s tomb, the statues accompanying Jing into the afterlife represent a broader cross-section of his subjects, including women. And, for almost 2,000 years, the entire site was lost.
Naked Terracotta Warriors presents a fascinating in-depth look at Jing’s final resting place and its importance to Chinese history and archaeology, not to mention the tourists who flock to it every year.
Dust storms are triggered by thunderstorms or cyclonic winds lifting particles of dust from large swaths of arid regions and carrying them great distances. They are especially prevalent in parts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, and China, but can also occur in North and South America and Australia. As global warming progresses, causing changes in weather patterns and desertification, dust storms and their effects are expected to spread into regions where they were previously quite rare.
These events are not merely a nuisance. They can damage infrastructure such as power plants, disrupt transportation routes, and ruin food crops. Equally concerning is the capacity of dust storms to impact human health, especially by causing or exacerbating respiratory illnesses and by spreading diseases such as meningitis.
This documentary explores the growing threat of dust storms – from ground level to NASA satellites observing the phenomena from orbit. It investigates what causes dust storms, why they occur more frequently and severely in certain parts of the world, how to predict them, and, most crucially, what can be done to reduce their impact.
Perhaps no serial murderer in history is more infamous than the slasher known to us all as Jack the Ripper. In 1888, the Ripper terrified London – and especially its seedier districts – by brutally murdering five prostitutes unfortunate enough to have come into his presence. And as suddenly as he appeared on the scene, he disappeared. No one was ever arrested in the case.
Mysteries by their nature live on until they are solved, and there has been a long line of investigators who have sought – and failed – to crack the case once and for all. Was the killer a member of upper crust British society? An insane immigrant? A butcher or a surgeon? For more than 125 years all avenues of inquiry have been inconclusive.
Now, retired murder squad detective Trevor Marriott has organized an international team of experts in criminal psychology, forensic science, and pathology to take a fresh look at the thorny case. In an astounding twist, their investigation leads to a German sailor and New York’s Lower East Side. Could it be that they’ve identified the culprit?
The catalog of Nazi Germany’s crimes against humanity is as voluminous as it is deeply troubling. So much about Hitler’s brief but calamitous Third Reich has been documented, written, filmed, broadcast, discussed, and decried that it is hard to believe that there could be disturbing corners left to explore in this darkest era of human history. But there are.
One less-examined project of Hitler and his minions was the ‘Lebensborn’ program, which sought to populate the Nazi fatherland with “perfect” so-called Aryan children. Designed by the SS in accordance with Nazi eugenics principles, the program started before the outbreak of World War II. It provided financial assistance and adoption services for German women who embodied the Aryan ideal. But late in the war, it expanded to include the outright kidnapping of many “genetically suitable” foreign-born children to be raised in German homes.
When the dust settled, what happened to the progeny of the Lebensborn program? For the first time, Hitler’s Children tells the story of these children who learn the dark secret of their origins.