Welcome to Epic. Extraordinary True Stories New Flag
You know that feeling you get when a good true-life tale grabs you right from the start? You can’t stop turning the page — because you realize incredible things happen to real people — and it's hard to believe that what you’re reading is non-fiction. That is the kind of story we like to tell.

Epic writers travel the world searching for encounters with the unknown. Wartime romance, unlikely savants, deranged detectives, gentlemen thieves, and love struck killers: stories that tap into the thrill of being alive.

Epic publishes extraordinary true stories that get noticed. More than 25 of our articles have been optioned by Hollywood, including Argo, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and Fox Film Studios has signed a first look deal with us.

Welcome aboard.
Matador, sumo wrestler, impulsive drift racer, Contributing Editor @Wired for a decade. Davis has reported from inside prisons on three continents.
Bearman is a magazine writer and contributor to This American Life. True story: he wrote the true story that became the movie Argo.
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AS FUN AS FICTION,
BUT FULL OF FACTS.
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Heaven's Gate: The Sequel

Heaven’s Gate:
The Sequel

BY JOSHUAH BEARMAN

Remember Heaven’s Gate? It’s been two decades since 39 members of a millenarian, UFO-obsessed cult laced up identical Nike sneakers, donned matching jumpsuits (with an embroidered patch identifying them as the “Away Team”), ate some applesauce laced with phenobarbital, and laid down to die in unison in a rented mansion outside San Diego.

"Heaven's Gate: The Sequel" is a reprint of a 2007 article about the group, originally published in L.A. Weekly. The piece tells the story of the cult, its members and its beliefs, and a lone survivor named Rio. Because Rio did not stay on Earth because he lost faith or got cold feet. There was a reason, he said, that he was left behind.


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Old School: The Man Who Forgot He Was A Rap Legend

The Man
Who Forgot
He Was a
Rap Legend

BY JOSHUAH BEARMAN

T La Rock was one of the pioneers of hip-hop, an old-school legend sampled by Public Enemy and Nas. But after a brutal attack put him in a nursing home, he had to fight to recover his identity, starting with the fact that he’d ever been a rapper at all.


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What Goes Up

What Goes Up

BY JACK HITT

If you looked up into the Phoenix sky in the 1970s and saw a helicopter, it was likely Jerry Foster. An airborne cowboy, exploring a new frontier. He'd fly five feet over morning traffic, beaming his footage to local news, and then head to the desert for an afternoon of search and rescue. Until, of course, he flew too close to the sun.

The things that made Foster want to fly were the things that eventually brought him back to Earth. His is a tale of bravery and mid-air chases and heroic rescues, but also of hubris, drugs, and dark nights of the soul. Foster fell, but not before he lived an incredible life of adventure in the air.


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The Door Is The Party

The Door Is The Party

BY JOSHUA BEARMAN

During Joshuah Bearman's first trip to The Sundance Film Festival in 2007, he wound up floating through the social scene and seeing almost no movies. That year, and all years since, Sundance has felt the same: a weirdly balanced amalgam of high art, modest commerce, and meaningless social frenzy  —  from which Bearman distilled a strangely adaptable principle of life: The Door is the Party.


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Unfathomable

Unfathomable

BY JAMES NESTOR

Charles and John Deane knew it would be dangerous. But the brothers—raised in the slums of Victorian London—also knew that plundering undersea shipwrecks could make them phenomenally rich. And so, in 1828, they invented the world’s first practical deep-sea diving rig.

Largely forgotten by history, the brothers opened a new frontier for human exploration—and exploitation. They achieved glory but paid the price in suffering, estrangement, and madness.


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Silicon Is Just Sand

Silicon Is Just Sand

BY STEPHEN ELLIOTT

It began with a murder. Writer Stephen Elliott arrived in Venice Beach soon after the killing of a homeless man. As he grapples with the meaning of the crime, he begins to see that the influx of tech money has made Silicon Beach a very complicated place.

Elliott's journey through the underbelly of the tech boom brings him into contact with a commercial landlord who wears a pink leotard, a dominatrix who wants a roommate, and a venture capitalist who ran psychological operations for the US military in Iraq. In the end, the truth about this place is as murky as the haze over the Pacific Coast Highway.


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The Cold War

The Cold War

BY DAVID WOLMAN & JULIAN SMITH

Dennis Roeper didn’t want to start a war. He drove an ice cream truck in Salem, Oregon, and liked to say that he was in the business of “selling smiles.” He loved rolling into a park and seeing that look of delight in kids' eyes. It was his dream job.

Then Efrain Escobar rolled into town. Efrain worked non-stop and seemed to ignore the informal code of conduct of the Salem ice cream trade. What began as a simple turf war, erupted into an all out ice cream offensive. Before long, the two men couldn’t even remember why they were fighting. Soon, they were on the verge of destroying the thing they loved the most: the joy of ice cream.


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Arab Spring Break

Arab Spring Break

BY JOSHUA DAVIS

Chris Jeon was determined to make it to Wall Street. But after landing his dream college internship with BlackRock, something unexpected happened. Spreadsheets and financial analysis made him feel anxious, stifled. Sitting in his cubicle, he decided it was time to do something drastically different: join the rebels fighting in Libya.

In the midst of one country's revolution to rebuild, grow, and change, Chris saw an opportunity to do the same for himself. But what started as an effort to break with the past escalated into something different; it wasn't long before Libya unleashed a side of Chris that he couldn’t control.


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Silk Road Part II

Silk Road Part II

BY JOSHUAH BEARMAN

All systems are vulnerable to corruption. In Part II of the true crime saga of the Silk Road, federal agents are mounting a wide-ranging manhunt for the ruthless Dread Pirate Roberts. They are counting on the fact that in the era of informational perpetuity, you only have to be careless once. As they follow the digital breadcrumbs linking DPR to Ross Ulbricht, it becomes clear that Ross’ remarkable transformation from Eagle Scout to ruthless kingpin is complete, proving that ordinary people--sons, friends, boyfriends, idealists--are capable of terrible things.


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Silk Road Part I

Silk Road Part I

BY JOSHUAH BEARMAN

Ross Ulbricht was a young, handsome, and charming physics student who played in drum circles, made crystals, and lived in cheap Craigslist shares. Online, he was also the Dread Pirate Roberts, multi-millionaire proprietor of a 21st Century drug empire and the target of a massive federal manhunt.

This extraordinary story chronicles Ross’ transformation from Eagle Scout to Silk Road kingpin, and follows the government’s nationwide race to bring him down. It is a true crime saga for our digital age, a non-fiction novella in two parts that tells a tale of corrupted ideals and the allure of power, and how easy it is to become lost.


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Spare Parts

Spare Parts

BY JOSHUA DAVIS

The kids at Carl Hayden High School were never expected to succeed. Many were poor and the drop out rate was high. The last thing anyone thought they would do was enter the national underwater robotics championship.

After all, Carl Hayden didn't even have a swimming pool and their robot team consisted of four immigrant kids with no budget. But they figured they'd give it a try, pitting themselves against the best college engineers in the country. MIT would be there, backed by Exxon-Mobil, but these kids didn't know enough to be scared. All they knew was that they had built a damn good robot.


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Pipino Gentleman Thief

Pipino Gentleman Thief

BY JOSHUA DAVIS & DAVID WOLMAN

On October 9, 1991, a centuries-old painting was brazenly stolen from the Ducale Palace, one of Venice, Italy’s most famous landmarks. Newspapers declared that “expert thieves” had pulled off the incredible heist, but detective Antonio Palmosi knew it was the work of one man: Vincenzo Pipino, the most accomplished thief the city had seen in a generation.

Pipino had been robbing the rich for decades, but the Ducale caper upended his life. The police knew he was responsible and gave him 20 days to get the art back. The problem: Local mob boss “Angel Face” Maniero now had the painting.

The heist, as it turned out, was only the beginning.


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Into The Zombie Underworld

Into The Zombie Underworld

BY MISCHA BERLINKSI

On November 7, 2006, something terrible happened to Nadathe Joassaint, a 26 year old Haitian beauty. Somebody called her out of her house and, when she came back in, she collapsed and died. There were no visible wounds.

Two months later, a large mob gathered in front of Judge Isaac Etienne's home. They demanded a trial and shoved forward two badly beaten men. Nadathe's mother then leveled one of the few accusations in the criminal code more spectacular than murder:

"He turned my daughter into a zombie!" she shouted. "Give her back."


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The Mercenary

The Mercenary

BY JOSHUA DAVIS

When a gold mine was robbed and two guards killed, Roy Peterson got hired to track down the loot in Southern Peru. Problem was, he had two replaced hips and one blind eye. But the former Special Forces operative was sure that one good job could fix everything.

Maria was a cop in Lima who had been divorced and sitting at a desk for a decade. She wasn’t looking for adventure anymore. Then she met Roy. In the rugged mountains of Peru, the two set off to solve the case with the hope that this time, things would be different for both of them.


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Argo

Argo

BY JOSHUAH BEARMAN

In 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Iran was overrun by an angry mob. Fifty-two employees were taken hostage, but six Americans escaped and were hiding in Tehran.

CIA agent Tony Mendez got the job of bringing them home. His plan: pretend he was a producer making a science fiction film in Iran, hook up with the hostages, and sneak them out. It wasn't the usual cover for "exfiltrations." Then again, there's a fine line between statecraft and stagecraft. And why not use a movie as cover? This wasn't just any movie. It was a movie that would save six people's lives.


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Deep Sea Cowboys

Deep Sea Cowboys

BY JOSHUA DAVIS

In 2006, a Coast Guard helicopter plucked the panicking crew off the deck of a capsized ship off the coast of Alaska, leaving behind its $100 million dollar payload.

That's when the salvage experts at Titan Maritime showed up, and helicoptered on to the ship. Their mission: flip the 654-foot vessel upright and sail it to shore.

Over 10 days, the Titan team fought the weather, each other, and time to save the stricken vessel. They'd make millions if they succeeded. If they failed, they'd all die.


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La Vida Robot

La Vida Robot

BY JOSHUA DAVIS

The kids at Carl Hayden High School were never expected to succeed. Many were poor and the drop out rate was high. The last thing anyone thought they would do was enter the national underwater robotics championship.

After all, Carl Hayden didn't even have a swimming pool and their robot team consisted of four undocumented immigrant kids with no budget. But they figured they'd give it a try, pitting themselves against the best college engineers in the country. MIT would be there, backed by Exxon-Mobil, but these kids didn't know enough to be scared. All they knew was that they had built a damn good robot.


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