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Episode 128 - ¡Feliz Cumpleaños, el Chupacabra!

Squaring the Strange

Release Date: 08/21/2020

Episode 133 - A History of Contacting the Dead show art Episode 133 - A History of Contacting the Dead

Squaring the Strange

Ben and Celestia go through a timeline of the different ways people have tried (or pretended) to chat with dead people and get meaningful information back. We go from rap-tap-tapping to music to written words, then books, then actual recordings of a ghost's voice! Or so the theory goes. Spiritualism was of course a major development in the "technology" of dead communications, and we examine the social forces at play in that movement and what benefits it bestowed upon its female practitioners.

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Episode 132 - Pop Music Plagiarism, from Vanilla Ice to Alien Globolinks show art Episode 132 - Pop Music Plagiarism, from Vanilla Ice to Alien Globolinks

Squaring the Strange

Pascual brings some pop song lawsuits to puzzle over, and while some are cut and dry, others enter that weird territory of "what IS originality?" Are we all just a product of our creative influences? Are notes just ingredients that can be combined in limited ways, so recurrent themes in music are inevitable? We go from pop music to operas and Gregorian chants, to see the "universality" of particular note combinations that are recycled endlessly. Plus, alien music!

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Episode 131 - Baby Lake & Sea Monsters show art Episode 131 - Baby Lake & Sea Monsters

Squaring the Strange

Ben brings in two guests, Scott Mardis and Darren Naish, to discuss two different instances of alleged "baby" versions of lake monsters and sea serpents. These cryptozoological cuties have made waves a few times in the history of monster lore. Whether it's pipefish in pails, pickled puppies, or plesiosaur progeny, there's some strange things afoot with these tall tales of terrifying tadpoles.

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Episode 130 - The Bangladesh Toilet Ghost: A Study in Mass Hysteria show art Episode 130 - The Bangladesh Toilet Ghost: A Study in Mass Hysteria

Squaring the Strange

After some chatting about current and upcoming events, we dive into a mysterious entity in a women's toilet in Bangladesh. Ben brings his love of ghosts and mass hysterias to the party, as we examine all the cultural and folkloric factors that play into why female factory workers are experiencing ghostly (or djinny?) encounters in the loo.

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Episode 129 - Faked Abductions show art Episode 129 - Faked Abductions

Squaring the Strange

Who would fake their own abduction? It turns out, plenty of people. Whether it's the "runaway bride," who says the stress of wedding planning made her snap, or the McDonald's worker who claimed a maniacal clown kept her from getting to work, hoaxed kidnapping cases end up taking time away from legitimate crimes as well as creating fodder for news and social media. Ben has researched kidnapping hoaxes for decades and brings us his thoughts on the patterns and repercussions from these bizarre crimes.    

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Episode 128 - ¡Feliz Cumpleaños, el Chupacabra! show art Episode 128 - ¡Feliz Cumpleaños, el Chupacabra!

Squaring the Strange

Ben, Pascual, and Celestia discuss the recurring social media uproar about why something isn't being covered by the media, as well as the recent concern over disappearing mailboxes. Then for our main segment, Ben celebrates the 25th anniversary of his favorite cryptid beastie, the chupacabra, and we examine it's past, present, and future as a legend. Ben digs into his original notes about the very first sighting, and shows us some interesting discrepancies that are always overlooked in the chupacabra lore.

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Episode 127 - Susan Gerbic on Misinfo, Wikipedia, and Psychic Shananigans show art Episode 127 - Susan Gerbic on Misinfo, Wikipedia, and Psychic Shananigans

Squaring the Strange

Susan Gerbic, of Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia, bring us up to date on her recent psychic research as well as her team's ongoing efforts in shoring up the information on various Wikipedia pages in response to pandemic misinformation. Ben shares his thoughts on one of the last theatrical events he attended before Covid-19: the Theresa Caputo Experience! We compare some of the psychological tricks and showmanship in a stage performance and how people get sucked into a celebrity psychic's crafted image.

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Bonus Episode - Rumor Roundup! show art Bonus Episode - Rumor Roundup!

Squaring the Strange

This is a bonus episode (free to all, as I'm not clicking the box that says "charge patrons for this creation"), wedged between episodes 126 & 127, in which we chat about recent rumors--often intersecting with Covid fears and the existential threat of "stranger danger," where people see child-trafficking in otherwise mundane happenings. In addition to other issues the current pandemic is exacerbating, our societal tendency to form and spread rumors is certainly in high gear during this time of uncertainty.

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Episode 126 - Strangeness Set in Stone: Mysterious Statues show art Episode 126 - Strangeness Set in Stone: Mysterious Statues

Squaring the Strange

With statues in the news lately, we decided to take a tour of the stranger side of statues. From graveyard figures that walk around when you're not looking to spooky statues that can't be photographed. Myths involving statues coming to life, or people being turned to stone, reach forward even to our most recent pop culture. Ben recounts cases he investigated of miraculous "weeping" statues, and then we cover statues as guerilla art pieces that appear overnight as publicity stunts and political statements.

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Episode 125 - Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's Covid-1999 show art Episode 125 - Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's Covid-1999

Squaring the Strange

Heard about the college kids intentionally trying to infect themselves with Covid--even throwing parties and betting money on who can catch it first? We sure have, and it provides an intersection of folklore, moral panic, media literacy, and helpful versus harmful "public awareness" that we (meaning Ben) love to dissect. Why has the rumor taken off, and is there anything to it? We also take a look at other disease legends, such as alleged HIV "bug chasers" Rolling Stone (mis)reported on in the early 2000s.

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More Episodes

First, Ben, Pascual, and Celestia discuss the recurring social media uproar about why something isn't being covered by the media, as well as the recent public concern over disappearing mailboxes. Then for our main segment, Ben celebrates the 25th anniversary of his favorite cryptid beastie, the chupacabra, and we examine it's past, present, and future as a legend. Ben digs into his original notes about the very first sighting, and shows us some interesting discrepancies that are always overlooked in the chupacabra lore.