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Episode 107 - Crystal Skullduggery

Squaring the Strange

Release Date: 11/29/2019

Episode 202 - Reincarnation Ruminations show art Episode 202 - Reincarnation Ruminations

Squaring the Strange

This episode is a deep dive on a slippery subject. Many cultures believe in reincarnation, the recycling of souls into new bodies again and again. Reincarnation is an underlying principle behind the idea of karma, and many non-Buddhists believe in reincarnation to some degree. Why? What signals do we interpret as proof of reincarnation, and what would count as actual evidence? Are there any harms that come with the idea of reincarnation? Ben asks many questions, and we go over some interesting cases.

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Episode 201 - Miraculous Chimayo show art Episode 201 - Miraculous Chimayo

Squaring the Strange

After some discussion of Ed Sheeran's day in court, and then Celestia's day in Calgary for the WeCanReason conference, Pascual and Ben take us on a nostalgic and investigative journey through Chimayo, a small town in New Mexico. Why do 30,000 penitent pilgrims travel here each year? Can the dirt here heal people? Pascual walks us through the tale of a mysterious buried crucifix and Ben details his effort to investigate one man's story of a miraculous healing that took place over fifty years ago.

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Episode 200 - Circus of the Scars show art Episode 200 - Circus of the Scars

Squaring the Strange

For our 200th episode we are joined by Matt "The Tube" Crowley and Tim Cridland, aka Zamora the Torture King, to discuss the new documentary about the rise and fall of the Jim Rose Circus. This rock n' roll version of sideshow oddities reintroduced the art of sideshow to many who had never seen it. As two of the original four marvels of the Jim Rose Circus, Matt and Tim share tales of the road, their philosophy of what sideshow is -- and what it may evolve into -- as well as giving away a few secrets of their acts.

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Episode 199 - Richard Saunders and the Great Australian Psychic Prediction Project show art Episode 199 - Richard Saunders and the Great Australian Psychic Prediction Project

Squaring the Strange

After some news on Mike Lindell and a few points about popular TV shows, we are joined by the inimitable Richard Saunders, who gives us the details on his Herculean undertaking, a 12-year roundup of psychic predictions made in Australia's popular media since the year 2000. While there were no surprises, the sheer amount of data he and his teammates collected and categorized provided some interesting insights. How did the media respond? Will there be similar projects? What is the value of having such a macro-view of purported prognostication?

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Episode 198 - Rabbit Roundup! Folklore, Horror, and Fertility show art Episode 198 - Rabbit Roundup! Folklore, Horror, and Fertility

Squaring the Strange

Happy Easter everyone! Rabbits are a fluffy bag of contradictions . . . represented as tricksters but also as victims, lucky or unlucky, clever or depressed, harmless or scary, rabbits and hares have a solid place in the folklore pantheon. We go over tales of hares as witches' familiars, stories about how the rabbit lost its tail, pareidolia-inspired legends about a rabbit on the moon, how rabbits figured into pregnancy tests and common vernacular, and also give shout-outs to our favorite rabbit appearances in horror films and cartoons. Let's hop to it!

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Episode 197 - Peter Ash of Under the Same Sun show art Episode 197 - Peter Ash of Under the Same Sun

Squaring the Strange

We are joined by Peter Ash, founder and director of Under the Same Sun, a nonprofit dedicated to the education and empowerment of persons with albinism in Africa. Due to superstition-based persecution, the hardships endured by those born with this condition in rural African communities are staggering to list: from abandonment, discrimination and untreated skin cancers to outright murder by one's own family. Peter felt called to help others with albinism and has dedicated years to growing his efforts in Tanzania. With a systematic, consistent, multi-pronged approach his organization has helped...

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Episode 196 - News Grab Bag and Ben's Time in Malawi show art Episode 196 - News Grab Bag and Ben's Time in Malawi

Squaring the Strange

We were inundated with news this week, so first we cover prehistoric bugs in Arkansas, the Desert Monkey King glyph in Southwest Las Vegas, the folkloric accuracies in Netflix's "Troll" movie, a new report on Havana Syndrome, and alleged gas poisonings of schoolgirls in Iran. Then Ben recounts his time late last year in Malawi, where he was able to spend time with an activist and reporter covering the latest case of witchcraft persecution and lend some moral support to those on the front lines defending people accused of witchcraft.

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Episode 195 - The Bible Code Resurfaces, with David Thomas show art Episode 195 - The Bible Code Resurfaces, with David Thomas

Squaring the Strange

Ben and Celestia discuss the nostalgic sense of deja vu when hearing about UFOs and cults these past weeks. Then we are joined by David Thomas, who investigated author Michael Drosnin's notions of a code hidden in the text of the Hebrew Bible and how cracking that code could foretell the future. These ideas were popularized in a series of books published over 20 years ago, but the same number games are resurfacing today in the form of gematria, a type of numerology advocated by QAnon conspiracy theorists. Dr. Thomas discusses the data-mining programs he wrote in order to demonstrate how...

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Episode 194 - The Missing 411 with Kyle Polich show art Episode 194 - The Missing 411 with Kyle Polich

Squaring the Strange

First we nosh on some interesting tidbits about a long-dead casino magnate, a mysterious fortune teller with a prophecy about rom-coms, and a prematurely dead Simon Cowell. Then Kyle Polich of the Data Skeptic podcast joins us to talk about the Missing 411, a concept pushed by several books and movies produced by David Paulides. What or who are the Missing 411, and how are Bigfoot and UFOs involved? Is there a coherent theory about what's going on, and is it based on actual happenings or fabrications? And how does misunderstanding (or completely ignoring) data analysis come into play?

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Episode 193 - Coke + Folklore = Cokelore! show art Episode 193 - Coke + Folklore = Cokelore!

Squaring the Strange

It turns out the all-American fizzy sweet cola is also a veritable cornucopia of myths, rumors, urban legends and misinformation. We're not just talking about the explosive properties of Pop Rocks or Mentos. Can a Coca-Cola douche prevent pregnancy? (It can't, please don't even think about it). How many mice ended up sealed into bottles of Coke? Does Santa owe his whole look to Coke's ad agency? We go over these and many, many more tales involving the most popular carbonated beverage in the world.

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More Episodes

Fresh from a convention of caricature artists and with heads full of pareidolia, Ben and Celestia discuss a few topics of the day and then dig into crystal skulls. Can we trust what Dan Ayrkroyd tells us on his fancy vodka bottle? Are there really thirteen of these ancient and powerful relics? What is the Skull of Doom, and does it have strange properties that baffle scientists? These skulls provide a fascinating look into rewritten histories and the power of priming. We even look at an ill-conceived lawsuit against Steven Spielberg involving the crystal skulls featured in the latest Indiana Jones installment.