One person's cult is another person's inarguable truth, and over millenia many spiritual or cultural belief systems have been called cults. Typically organizations called cults have a few commonal traits, one of the chief of which is isolation. So can cults continue to exist in the digital age, where the average smartphone user is only a few clicks away from learning almost anything they desire? What do these movements look like in the era of instantaneous communication? Join the guys as they delve into the strange concept of digital cults.
Nowadays, most people in the West associate exorcism with horror movies instead of real-life terror. However, people around the world still feel that they have been possessed, and experts from various faiths across the planet still conduct exorcisms in the modern day. Join the guys as they delve into the story of the Catholic organization founded to fight possession: The International Association of Exorcists.
We’ve heard the legends of vampires for thousands of years, and while the vast majority of modern humans relegate the stories to the domain of myth and folklore, more and more experts are wondering if technology will allow us to create something very much like the monsters of myth. Could transfusing blood from the young rejuvenate the bodies of the old? What ethical consequences could we encounter? How far has the research already gone?
For decades Saudi Arabia has been at the heart of numerous controversies, from the policies of its strict theocratic, gender-segregated government to its influence over the oil market and continual involvement with religious extremist groups. Recently, the young Mohammad bin Salman became Crown Prince. Over the past few months since his ascension, Salman has spearheaded numerous reforms, routed many of the country’s billionaires, and signaled a fundamental change in the course of Saudi Arabian history. At least, to some, this appears to be the case. To others serious questions remain unanswered: What’s going on behind the scenes? What is the future of Saudi Arabia?
Recently, the New York Times broke a story that baffled most ordinary readers -- until about 2012, the Pentagon had run a multi-million dollar, secretive program to collect numerous reports of unexplained aerial phenomena and unidentified flying objects. So what did the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program actually find? Join the guys as they interview returning guest and filmmaker Jeremy Corbell for a peek behind the curtain into the Pentagon's search for UFOs.
For decades people knew that sexual abuse occurred in Tinseltown. It was an open, dirty secret just behind the curtain of the most popular films, tv and stage shows in the country. And the victims of abuse rarely spoke out -- when they did, they risked the ruination of their careers (or worse). In 2017 this began to change. World famous producer Harvey Weinstein was outed as a serial sexual and physical abuser, prompting his exile from his film company and encouraging numerous other victims of abuse to speak out. As the world wrestles with these revelations, more and more questions surface: Who knew what, and when? How far does this system go? And what happens next?
Sure, we worked way too hard for that pun in the title, but it's a serious question: CERN, or the European Organization for Nuclear Research is one of the world's largest, most prominent centres for scientific research. The experts at CERN use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the fundamental building blocks of matter, and over the years it's become the subject of numerous rumors, allegations, concerns and conspiracy theories. Join the guys as they delve into the fact, fiction and controversy surrounding CERN and the Large Hadron Collider.
The Grand Canyon is a breath-taking natural formation, and every year more than 4 million people visit. Despite its popularity, areas of the canyon remain dangerously remote, and it’s no secret that numerous people have disappeared in or around the canyon over the years. But what if there was more to the story than missing couples and individuals? Is it possible that an entire civilization went missing in the canyon?
For centuries people in countries across the planet have reported seeing mysterious, glowing lights that appear to move of their own volition through the darkness. Whether you call them Ghost Lights, Spook Lights, Will o' the Wisps or any other number of names, chances are there's a local version of this legend somewhere in your region. So what exactly are these things?
What’s going on with all these stories about strange skeletons? From legends of the crystal skull to allegations of ancient extraterrestrial remains and giants, it seems the world is chock-full of mysterious, semi-humanoid remains. Join Ben, Matt and Noel as they delve into some of the strangest cases, attempting to separate fact from fiction … and cover stories from coverups.
In the near future, your doctor may begin prescribing 'smart pills,' medicines that remain in contact with your hospital, pharmacy or doctor's office and tell your health care providers whether you're sticking to the treatment schedule, along with other medical information. To the supporters of smart pills, this is a life-saving breakthrough. To critics, however, the potential threats of this technology outweigh the benefits. Are smart pills a new way to keep patients healthy longer, or another step in the construction of a biomedical Big Brother?
In 1933, a composer named Rezső Seress created one of the world's most infamous tunes -- a melancholy, mysterious piece known as 'Gloomy Sunday.' Over the following decades, this song became notorious for the sinister effects it had on anyone who listened to the song in full. Join the guys for a special end-of-the-year episode as they explore the story of the original recording -- where it came from, who wrote it, and, most disturbingly, why.
Disney World is one of the planet’s most well-known travel destinations, and over the decades it’s been the subject of bizarre rumors -- some more plausible than others. But how did this gigantic park get started? Join the guys as they delve into the murky history of Disney World’s foundations, the story of how Walt Disney himself raised the Magic Kingdom above the law.
When authorities arrested members of the Manson Family for the Tate-LaBianca murders, they'd intended it to be the final chapter of a terrifying story. However, as the trial progressed, it quickly became evident that this was only the beginning of a much longer, stranger saga. In the years following the murder, conspiracy theories concerning Manson, his followers, the US government, splinter religions, secret drugs and the occult all proliferated wildly throughout the American zeitgeist. So do any of these theories have a grain of truth? Join the guys as they separate fact from folklore in the conclusion of this two-part series.
After spending decades in prison, former cult leader Charles Manson passed away in November of 2017. In the wake of his death, millions of people re-examined his strange, disturbing life story, tracing his evolution from an abused child to one of the most infamous prisoners in U.S. history. So how exactly did he get started? What led him and his followers down their grisly path? Join the guys as they separate fact from folklore in part one of this two-part episode.
We've all seen the space-age secret bases in science fiction and blockbuster films, but could a government or corporation really build a secret, permanent deep-sea base? Where would they do it? Why? Join the guys as they dive into (get it?) the murky world of militaries beneath the waves.
How old is the phenomenon we call consciousness, and where did it come from? Was humanity always capable of metacognition -- the ability to think about thinking? If it wasn't, then how did our ancestors process the world around them, and how did they struggle with internal conflicts? Join Ben, Matt and Noel as they interview returning guest Joe McCormick about the strange theory of the bicameral mind.
For decades after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans -- and millions of people across the planet -- have had lingering, troubling problems with the US government’s official narrative of the tragedy. Now, recently declassified documents may shed light on the story, either confirming or contradicting the official tale of Kennedy’s death. Or will they?
Today's episode comes from the heart of the Cold War -- when Lionel 'Buster' Crabb disappeared on a mysterious spying mission, his relatives and colleagues refused to believe the official story. Over time, this story changed. As investigators attempted to separate fact from fiction, they found themselves stonewalled, tangled within a web of rumor, speculation and conspiracy. So what really happened to Commander Crabb?
What if believing in success became the same thing as succeeding? Religious figures around the world encourage their followers to equate financial donations with future material gains. Join Ben, Matt and Noel as they dive into the heart of Prosperity Theology to find the facts, fiction, and the stuff Prosperian Theologists don't want you to know.