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Monsters

The Body Illithid: Science of the Mind Flayers

If Dungeons and Dragons has ever touched your life, then you’re probably familiar with the tentacled, brain-sucking Illithids. Even in a fantasy world so rich in bizarre monstrosities, the Mind Flayers stand out as shockingly alien. Yet the Illithids are not without their parallels in the natural world -- and even in human civilization. Join Robert and Christian for a science-grounded look at everyone’s favorite Underdark horror.

Mystery of the Myth-Fleshed Fossil

Are the fossilized monsters of paleontology and the fantastic monsters of myth one and the same? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the realm of of geomythology, entailing the possible ancient real-world origins of dragons, griffins, giants the cyclops and other wonders.

Holiday Monsters & Listener Mail

Christmas is here again, so join Robert, Joe and Christian as they discuss a few holiday monsters and tend to your listener mail.

Ghouls: Myth, Fiction and... Evolutionary Heritage?

If your fictional diet contains significant quantities of horror or dark fantasy, then you've likely encountered the ghoul: a scavenging, grave-robbing race of unnatural beings with an insatiable hunger for the dead. As Robert and Joe explore in this episode, the roots of ghouldom sink back into pre-Islamic Arabic folklore -- as well into the distant evolutionary history of humanity itself.

The Science of Dune: Biology

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert's "Dune," the game-changing 1965 sci-fi novel full of space-age feudalistic intrigue, rampaging sandworms and prescient mind drugs on a desert world. Even today, the work resonates with scientific wonder and philosophical intrigue, so join Robert and Joe for a two-part exploration of the science of "Dune." In this episode, explore the lifecycle of the sandworm, mentats and the power of the spice.

Poison Arrows, Chinese Medicine and Werewolves

Perhaps you've heard of wolf's bane as curative or even causal agent in the mythology of lycanthropy, yet the appeal of this very real plant reaches far beyond the realm of werewolves. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian consider the role of wolf's bane in traditional Chinese medicine, early biological warfare and natural insect defenses.

The Strain: Dissecting del Toro's Vampires

Guillermo del Toro's "The Strain" continues to enthrall readers and viewers -- and, love it or hate it, there's no denying the complexity and creativity that del Toro and co-author Chuck Hogan poured into the series' vampires. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore some real-world organisms that line up nicely with the science of "The Strain."

10 Mind-Blowing Visions of Alien Life

Explore 10 dreams of extraterrestrial life...

Deconstructing the Grinch

Find out why the Grinch had the personality of a toadstool sandwich, with arsenic sauce. Robert and Julie explore the physiology of the Green One, not to mention his self-imposed social isolation, which may have contributed to the woefully diminutive size of his heart.