Everyone loves a good heist film -- but how accurate are they? Join Ben and Matt as they delve into the stories of modern history's biggest heists, actual criminal conspiracies carried out across the world to steal millions of dollars' worth of loot. Who got caught? Who got shot? Perhaps most importantly... who got away free, and where might they be living today?
It sounds like a quandary straight out of science fiction -- given the opportunity, would you erase your own painful or traumatic memories? Join Ben and Matt as they separate science fiction from science fact (along with the fuzzy border in between), delving into the murky mechanics of memory, the treacherous way our brains handle recollections, and the profound implications posed by living in a world where memories can be artificially created, monetized, or erased.
From ancient stories of shapeshifters to works of fiction like "The Island of Dr. Moreau", humanity has always been fascinating with the line between people and non-human animals -- but modern technology may finally allow us to create real-life chimeras. In fact, it already has. The only question here is how far scientists have actually gone in this regard (and whether that's something they don't want us to know).
In the 1990s international media was captivated by a bizarre epidemic of church arsons in Norway, often attributing these crimes to so-called Satanic groups and individuals in Norway's black metal scene. This was wrapped up in the larger phenomenon of "Satanic Panic", a widespread fear that shadowy, devil-worshipping cabals secretly control human civilization. So is there any truth to the story? Tune in as the guys explore the true story of the infamous Scandinavian church burnings.
Since the late 1990s the former British colony of Hong Kong has existed in a tense, liminal state with mainland China. The region is governed by the "one country, two systems" policy, yet a recently-proposed extradition bill has triggered massive, ongoing protests as the citizens of the region fear their rights will increasingly erode under the thumb of the PRC. Both pro-autonomy and pro-Beijing forces are convinced a conspiracy is afoot -- so which, if any, of their conspiracy theories are true?
Religions are as old as humanity, and predate the written word. They've also been home to a great many secrets -- in fact, some religions have been predicated on secrecy, and others are amalgamations of two preexisting belief systems. Join the guys as they explore the strange rise of religions, the ways in which they have melded over time and, ultimately, ask whether there are any real secret religions active in the world today.
On March 13th, 1997, thousands of people in Nevada, Arizona and Mexico reported seeing bizarre lights in the evening sky -- today, more than two decades later, the Phoenix Lights are still considered to be one of the most significant UFO sightings in recent history. But what exactly were they? What really happened that night in March? Tune in to learn more.
Across the course of his strange and checkered career, pilot and smuggler Barry Seal was called many things: An informant, a criminal, an asset for America's alphabet soup of intelligence agencies and more. He met an ignoble end in February of 1986, when he was fatally shot outside the Salvation Army facility where he'd been ordered to work in court-mandated public service. However, it turns out the official explanation of his death hasn't convinced everyone -- to this day, journalists, theorists and more continue to ask: Who really killed Barry Seal?
Born Nur Maznah Binti Ismail in Kangar, Perlis, the musician Mona Fandey achieved national success with her song Ku Nyanyikan Lagu Ini in 1987 -- yet her career seemed destined to slowly fade away, with Mona and her husband living out their lives in comfortable obscurity. Until, that is, in 1993, when Mona Fandey became the prime suspect in a gruesome murder that led many people to believe she'd secretly been an evil bomoh, practicing the art of dark sorcery for decades before finally being brought to justice. So what's the truth? Was Fandey mentally ill? Was she framed? Or was there something more sinister and sorcerous afoot?
Earlier this year the guys traced the rise of the enigmatic financier and child abuser Jeffrey Epstein, discovering a quagmire of crime, corruption and cover-ups implicating some of the world’s most powerful individuals. It seemed Epstein’s connections effectively placed him above the law - at least, that is, until renewed public scrutiny and criminal investigations found Epstein arrested once again and, this time, placed in a real prison. Many speculated Epstein would never go to trial. On August 10th, he was found dead in what the media described as an “apparent suicide”. So what happened?
Love it or hate it, Facebook is one of the world's most popular social media platforms. Over a relatively short span of time, the company has exploded into numerous areas of human interaction (and created no small amount of controversy along the way). In May of 2009, Facebook experimented with a virtual currency concept called Facebook Credits. It didn't last long, but there may be a new scheme on the horizon. Join the guys as they explore the fact, fiction and conspiracy surrounding the Facebook Libra, the proposed virtual currency that -- according to critics -- could allow this social media platform to function like a central bank.
From the late 1970s to the 1980s, the US Government paid for intelligence officers to undergo weeklong training sessions at a remote place called the Monroe Institute. Training sessions themselves aren't particularly abnormal -- but these officers weren't learning new languages, the latest news about satellites and so on. Instead, the Institute was using hypnosis to teach them astral projection, ESP and clairvoyance. The news went public via a declassified CIA document released in 1984, but questions remain: Was this all a waste of money? Or was there something else to the story?
As police officers, researchers and other professionals can attest, delving into the darkness can take an unexpected — and heavy — toll. In today’s episode, the guys sit down with returning guest Scott Benjamin to learn more about his journey through the world of true crime, the unanticipated consequences of staring into the abyss of human depravity and more in his new podcast Monster Presents: Insomniac.
How did a young, struggling German immigrant build one of the country's most successful criminal empires? In this live episode, the guys join with Holly Frey, cohost of the award-winning podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class, to explore the life, times and reign of America's first mob boss, Marm Mandelbaum.
Henry Kissinger has worn many hats over the course of his long life. To some, his geopolitical career is a study in the ruthless, brilliant application of realpolitik. To others, he is a war criminal responsible for massive waves of death in multiple countries across the globe. Join the guys as they delve into the strange, at times disturbing career of Henry Kissinger -- including the Stuff He Doesn't Want You To Know.
Did the real Paul McCartney die in a car accident, only to be replaced by a doppelgänger? What about the similar stories surrounding Taylor Swift, Avril Lavigne, Saddam Hussein and more? Join the guys as they explore the facts, fiction and plausibility of celebrity body doubles, replacements and more.
What does the science say about climate change? Why do some people seem dead-set against the idea that human beings are driving rises in temperature, pollution rates and so on? Join the guys as they sit down with award-winning journalist Amy Westervelt, creator and host of the podcast Drilled, to explore the rise of climate change denialism -- and the identities of the people and industries funding it.
There have always been conspiracy theories about secret structures on the lunar surface, and in modern decades numerous fringe researchers have alleged that various governments have already built some sort of permanent structure on the moon. It sounds pretty out there, but could there be a grain of truth to the stories? Tune in to learn more about Project Horizon.
In 1982, in Titusville, Florida, construction worker Steve Vandejagt happened across a skull amid the muck and debris of the job site. And this was only the beginning of the mystery. Steve had accidentally uncovered one of the oldest gravesites in the United States, proof of an ancient, mysterious culture that existed more than 7,000 years ago. Join the guys as they dive into the story of the Windover Bog Bodies.
Ads are ubiquitous on the internet, and even if you use an ad blocker or two, you're bound to see a few things slip through. Luckily, those ads don't really give advertisers any new information about you unless you interact with them... right? Not so fast. Eye tracking technology can glean an enormous amount about your attention, as well as your reactions to a given image or piece of language, just by watching how you watch, gaze or glance at an ad. So how much can they learn, exactly? Does eye tracking allow companies to, in some sense, read your thoughts?