magic

Poison and the Rhino Horn

Can a chalice made of rhino horn detect poison? Can its ground powder serve as an aphrodisiac? The science is at best sketchy on both fronts, but such beliefs continue to endanger the world’s remaining rhinoceros species. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the magical beliefs surrounding rhino horn and exactly what science has to say about the matter.

There But For Science: Blood Navigation

Imagine a world in which sailing ships navigate by the yelps of tormented dogs and nuclear submarines whisper to each other via the screams of rabbits and their murdered young? In both of these cases, science won out over magical thinking -- and actual scientific advances stepped in to solve the problems. Join Robert and Joe as the discuss the powder of sympathy and 20th century state-sponsored paranormal research.

Escape Velocity: Jack Parsons and the New Magick

Jack Parsons wanted to break free, from both the limits of Earth and the boundaries of traditional early 20th century American thought. He devoted his short life to the scientific pursuit of rocket engineering and the occult exploration of magick. As such, Parsons is a contradiction -- a counterculture figure that continues to fascinate us with his mystery. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the work and wonder that moved his life.

When the Moon Rains Shark Teeth

How to Make a Homunculus and Other Horrors

In researching "How Frankenstein's Monster Works," I did quite a bit of reading about the homunculus. If you're not hip to this terminology, all you need to know is that a homunculus is an artificial humanoid created through alchemy. While not quite a human, this creature is a "rational animal" and another fictional page in humanity's dreams of mastering life and death.

In most accepted mythoi, Santa Claus is a being of at least supernatural whimsy, if not divine purpose. Seriously, in the MSTed Mexican classic "Santa Claus," he battles the devil, and in TerryPrachett's "Hogfather," the Discworld's own version of Kris Kringle helps ensure the sun comes up Christmas morning. Hey, he breaks natural laws and does it with a smile, so he must be magic, right?