Thank you @TalonMan for all your hard work, I just played around with it and it worked perfectly!
I'm not an expert with markdown, so I might be doing something wrong. I got it to work by just using the * symbol on both sides of a word,
when i did **test the output was **test
when I did **test** the output was test
Correct - that is how markdown is used (text is wrapped in some symbols). If you put a "*" on either side, you get italics - if you do two "*" on either side, you get bold. There is a TON of other formatting functionality available - if you're interested, I provided a link in my OP.
The bottom line is that this is basically a standardized syntax format for enabling "rich text" formatting, in non-richtext entry boxes...