One interesting story about popcorn is that the oldest popcorn was discovered in central New Mexico. It's believed to be about 5,600 years old. It's said that ancient popcorn found in Peruvian tombs is so well-preserved it can still pop.
Popcorn was important to the Aztec Indians, and they often used it in religious ceremonies. The explorer Cortes related a story of witnessing Aztecs adorning themselves with popcorn. Another early Spanish account talks about Aztec priests scattering parched corn in front of the statue of a god. The corn popped, and the Aztecs called the popcorn, "hailstones given to the god of water."
Some of the most interesting stories about the history of popcorn are untrue. For instance, one story relates that popcorn was part of the first Thanksgiving feast, with Squanto having taught the Pilgrims how to prepare the delicacy. One legend relates that it got so hot one summer that the corn in the fields started popping out of the ears. The farm animals thought it was a blizzard, and they lay down and froze to death.
Charles Cretors invented the first popcorn machine in Chicago, Illinois, in 1885. Legend has it that he had to test his machine on the street to properly assess its functionality. It worked, and eventually the machine became a popular fixture on the streets of Chicago.