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“Taylor Sapp had done it again – this time with his merry band of historians! This is a valuable teaching tool to get students reading and writing!” — Nate Conrad, ELS Instructor

“A very impressive work! Recommended for teachers whose students want to some explore some unusual topics of history in the classroom.” — Hall Houston, author of Provoking Thought and Creative Output

“The authors manage to create deep and engaging opportunities for critical thinking, writing, reading, and speaking all at the same time….the supplemental activities provide valuable connections to current events and the real world, adding almost infinite possibilities for authentic student interaction while supporting ease of use in the classroom for busy teachers.” — Collen Loboy, Academic Director, ELS Portland

“…this book prepares students to interact in the real world – to have confidence to have an interesting conversation, to explore themselves, to understand opinion vs. fact, fake news and evaluating sources, to learn to ask questions, and to think more openly.” — Shelly Ridder, Coach/Trainer/Educator


utsie the Box – 

History’s Mysteries

Research, Discuss and Solve Some of History’s Biggest Puzzles!

Creative history-based projects that get high-school and college students to research, explore, analyze, and then write about or discuss some of history’s most intriguing controversies, conspiracies, and puzzles!

In this original collection of research and writing history-based projects for high-school and college, students take on the role of Historical Secret Agents.

Their mission? To go back in time and explore some of history’s most intriguing puzzles.

Why? To find out what really happened.

  • Who assassinated President John F. Kennedy? Why? How can you stop them?
  • Is the famous photo of the Loch Ness monster real or a hoax?
  • Did Christopher Marlowe write Shakespeare’s plays? Is that why he was killed?
  • Who built the mysterious Pacific city of Nan Madol and how? Why did they disappear?
  • Is there a reason musicians tend to die at age 27?
  • Was the death of Bessie Coleman, an African-American pioneer in flight, an accident or murder?

Each unit takes a historical mystery or conspiracy theory from the well-known to the obscure to the truly weird! Background briefings give key factual information and spell out the controversy, puzzle, or conspiracy. Discussion questions lead to analysis and research on what happened and what is still disputed or unknown. Writing prompts guide students to say what really happened or how they would change history if they could. Follow-up projects encourage students to dig deeper and make personal connections to history! Will students stick to the facts or get a bit creative? That’s up to you!

These original history-based projects are the perfect resource for bringing history and writing together in the classroom!


Link to Alphabet Publishing

Amazon Link

Features of the Book:

  • 40 Historical mysteries spanning human history across the globe!
  • Each mystery is supported with questions and vocabulary activities to introduce the briefing, discussion questions, and a variety of creative projects.
  • An appendix of 14 supplemental history and research-based  activities. These includes summaries, evaluating sources, fun mini mysteries, and many more!

As a HSA (Historical Secret Agent) you’ll be tasked with not only learning about history…but deciding how to change it! 


Check out the reviews!

ELT Planning: 

Book review: History’s Mysteries (Alphabet Publishing)


Sponge ELT: 

Review: History’s Mysteries – Sapp, Noble, Lacey, Gavell and Lawrence


EL Gazette: