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A literary prank that ‘Hansel and Gretel’ was based on a real story (atlasobscura.com)
46 points by samclemens 59 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments



This makes me think of the Australian novel (and film based on it) "Picnic at Hanging Rock", which is entirely fictional yet is widely believed to be based on true events.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picnic_at_Hanging_Rock_(novel)...


You might be interested then in the horror movie Darkness Falls [1] ... the DVD has an additional short 'documentary' in which people in a small Australian town are interviewed about the historical figure that inspired the film.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkness_Falls_(2003_film)


Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Truth_About_Hansel_and_Gre...

The book is still available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Die-Wahrheit-über-Hänsel-Gretel/dp/34... (and the movie listed on IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093684/)

Wish I could read German; seems fun!


Not so much "real" as "based on a real story". It's not like Hansel and Gretel is about adult baker siblings stealing the recipe for Lebkuchen and burning the inventor, it's about young siblings held captive by a carnivorous witch breaking out by burning her alive.

Still an interesting story, the headline is just too click-baity for my taste.


The headline is an accurate summary of the article.


At the point I wrote the comment the headline was "A literary prank that led Germany to believe ‘Hansel and Gretel’ was a real story" which is not an accurate summary.


Ok, we'll add that qualifier above.


Semi-OT: I really don't like HN being used for quirky historical curiosities (like those found in every atlasobscura.com submission). I want to downvote these, but can't, and I don't think they rise to the level of deserving being flagged.

What should I do?


I think these posts are the #1 encouraged kind of item to submit to HN when you read the newsguidelines. https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

So I think it is your expectation with HN that may need to change, as I would be shocked to see this content disappear. It's exactly "On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups.", the first sentence of the guidelines.


That means things that hackers as hackers would find interesting. There’s significant overlap between hackers and “men who could benefit from dating advice” but that doesn’t make dating advice topical. The same logic applies to historical curiosities.


You're interpreting the guidelines too narrowly. Historical material has always been welcome here: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20"historical%20materi....

One way of looking at this is that the contours were originally defined by what pg's own intellectual curiosity (https://news.ycombinator.com/hackernews.html). He knows more about history than probably anyone I've ever met.


Sure, I guess what bothers me more is how indiscriminate it is, like how Atlas Obscura just gets fast tracked to the point that it (and related oh-so-clever) stories make up a disproportional share of the links.


I think some dating advice made it to the front page a while ago, it was a link to someone's wiki of life lessons.


Visit new and upvote submissions you like.

Submit articles you think should be here.

Accept that good articles about history are firmly on-topic for HN, and you're going to have to do some ignoring of those submissions.

I can't speak for the mods but here are some posts dang made 5 years ago.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7616566#7617402

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7712692#7713447

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7830805#7832079

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7493856#7494538


Upvote or submit other stories you’d prefer to see rise to the top, then. It might be possible to filter out submissions from certain domains yourself using a browser extension, similar to how you can filter Google by domain in search results using a personal blacklist extension.


The irony here is that the literary prank described is in some ways a parody of the quirky historical articles you don't like. So you might actually like this article. I found it quite interesting and it wouldn't surprise me if Thomas Pynchon had some exposure to it before he wrote his major works.


I like articles about Dance Dance Revolution too, but I don't want HN to become a DDR site.


this is in no way a piece about the GDR


Use an RSS reader and filter the domains you dislike.

This is hacker news, is it not? Pro-tip: naive bayesian classification on headlines works pretty well.


Read discussions before you join them so posters don’t have to make the same reply twice:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20788910


> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20788910

Lad, I have absolutely no clue what Bayesian classification in an RSS reader has to do with dance games.


The point was that it’s more than just an issue of what I personally see but the topic drift of the site.

And please be respectful.


Is it respectful to make demands of what other people discuss, instead of simple [automated] avoidance of topics you personally have no interest in? I have no interest in that sort of respect.




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