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Bonus Mini-Not-So-Mini-Episode!

Squaring the Strange

Release Date: 08/19/2019

Episode 106 - Leo Igwe on Modern Witchcraft Accusations show art Episode 106 - Leo Igwe on Modern Witchcraft Accusations

Squaring the Strange

Dr. Leo Igwe joins us to discuss the dangers posed by so-called "witch hunters" in Africa today: from the entrenched nature of magical beliefs to the complicated power structure that props up those who accuse others of witchcraft. Islam and Christianity now mix with traditional beliefs; witch hunters are often pastors or church leaders. Victims are typically the elderly, disabled, or children. Dr. Igwe also talks of the challenges of getting the message to international agencies such as the UN.  

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Episode 105 - Pop Culture and Music in the Shadow of the Satanic Panic show art Episode 105 - Pop Culture and Music in the Shadow of the Satanic Panic

Squaring the Strange

The Satanic Panic is rife with skeptical angles, and for this episode we limit ourselves to a look back at the cultural feel of the 80s and early 90s and some seminal court cases that brought musicians to court to defend their craft. Along the way we reminisce about D&D, Geraldo, and Sony walkmans. The panic led to theatrical bands embracing demonic imagery further, sometimes seriously. Today, Satanic metal is almost a quaint cliché and real-life Satanists resemble Shriners more than they do boogeymen. 

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Episode 104 - A Brief History of Clown Panics show art Episode 104 - A Brief History of Clown Panics

Squaring the Strange

Just in time for Halloween, when scary clowns abound, Ben takes us on a tour of the modern clown panic phenomenon . . . from bands of phantom clowns in white vans showing up in the 1980s to the "Great Clown Panic of 2016" that went worldwide, to more recent fears about effects of homicidal clowns in our media. Clown panics touch on quite a few currents of fear, from unknown assailants to viral copycats to public outrage and urban legends about tainted Halloween candy.

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Episode 103 - Mysterious Animal Deaths and the Great Elk Murder Conspiracy show art Episode 103 - Mysterious Animal Deaths and the Great Elk Murder Conspiracy

Squaring the Strange

First, we look into an outrage-inspiring headline about a woman arrested for being topless at her home. Then we dive into why dead animals have unnerved us throughout history. Hailed by Biblical prophecies as a portent of doom, or blamed on aliens, cryptids, Satanists, or (more realistically) corporate polluters, mysterious animal deaths have a long history in the library of the strange. We unravel a few cases, including the Great Elk Murder Conspiracy, in New Mexico, which Ben got to cover as it unfolded.

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Episode 102 - Alienstock, Joker Fears, Homicidal Dwarves, and the Ica Stones show art Episode 102 - Alienstock, Joker Fears, Homicidal Dwarves, and the Ica Stones

Squaring the Strange

First, in a longer-than-usual opening segment: Ben recounts his latest chupacabra-related TV appearance; AlienStock happened, or tried to; two unsettling clown movies open this weekend--one of them contains Ben; and we look at a story that mirrors the film Orphan. Finally, Ben tells us about the Ica Stones, a hoax wrapped in a riddle tucked into a little Peruvian museum. Are these little tchotchkes proof of aliens, or a Biblical young earth, or both? One man's obsession holds many skeptical lessons.

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Episode 101 - Vaccines with Dr. Hans House and Academic Snake Oil with Kenny Biddle show art Episode 101 - Vaccines with Dr. Hans House and Academic Snake Oil with Kenny Biddle

Squaring the Strange

First up, Dr. Hans House schools us on infectious diseases, especially some little-known facets of ebola, measles and the flu. He explains public health efforts and how we can do our part to save lives. Then we chat with Kenny Biddle about his recent investigations into diploma mills and paranormal credential fakery. Ben shares a personal experience, which goes down some unexpected paths as he tells us the surprising discoveries he made while researching a college professor's background some years ago.

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Episode 100 - Episode 100 - "Alienstock" and Numerology

Squaring the Strange

It's our 100th episode! We begin with a discussion of "Alienstock," the planned alien-themed music festival being imposed upon Rachel, NV, in the coming weeks. Then for our main topic we look at numerology and the mystical-seeming quality of numbers from a few different angles involving Pythagoras, power chords, and ocean waves, as well as the arbitrary decoder-ring version of fortune-telling that is numerology today and how its applied to everything from client names to historical dates to the Bible. 

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Episode 99 - Movie Curses with Erik Kristopher Myers show art Episode 99 - Movie Curses with Erik Kristopher Myers

Squaring the Strange

Join us for a deep dive into some popular movies of the past few decades and their associated curses . . . some that are due to genuinely tragic or strangely coincidental circumstances, others that have been a bit cultivated by those wishing to market the movie or just tell a good yarn years after its release. Filmmaker and friend of the show Erik Kristopher Myers joins Ben and Celestia to look at several horror films and a couple of superhero movies that have been rumored to have curses attached to them.

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Bonus Mini-Not-So-Mini-Episode! show art Bonus Mini-Not-So-Mini-Episode!

Squaring the Strange

This started off as a little bonus mini-episode (in between episodes 98 and 99) where we have a little roundtable about some frustrating patterns of thought we have spotted on social media and other types of public discourse; some have actual fallacy names, some don't necessarily have a label. Lo and behold, once we got chatting it turned into a regular length episode. Just a bit less formal. Hope you enjoy. 

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Episode 98 - Talking Bigfoot Conferences and the Skookum Cast with Matt Crowley show art Episode 98 - Talking Bigfoot Conferences and the Skookum Cast with Matt Crowley

Squaring the Strange

Ben and special guest Matt Crowley reminisce about their first encounter, at a Bigfoot conference in Idaho about a dozen years ago. We look at some cultural aspects of Bigfootery, and Matt walks us through his "I can't unsee this" moment involving the Skookum cast, which has been touted as the best piece of Bigfoot evidence since the Patterson-Gimlin film.

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More Episodes

This started off as a little bonus mini-episode (in between episodes 98 and 99) where we have a little roundtable about some frustrating patterns of thought we have spotted on social media and other types of public discourse; some have actual fallacy names, some don't necessarily have a label. Lo and behold, once we got chatting it turned into a regular length episode. Just a bit less formal. Hope you enjoy.