Right Now in Stuff to Blow Your Mind

Anthology of Horror, Volume 1

From “Night Gallery” to “Tales From the Crypt,” everyone loves a great horror anthology show. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a new ghoulish tradition, as they pick a few notable installments from horror anthology TV and cinema history in order to explore the real-life science and history behind the blood and madness. 

Bret Wood on 'The Control Group'

Bonus episode! Join Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they chat with Bret Wood, writer and director of "The Control Group," a fiction podcast from How Stuff Works that explores the dark history of CIA-funded mind control experiments. The entire series is out now and ready for your Halloween binge-listening. 

From the Vault: The First Monster

Humans love monsters, but when did we first dare to dream up bestial hybrids and chimerical horrors? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick consider the 35-40 thousand-year-old Löwenmensch statues. Who created these images of lion-headed men? What do they represent and what do they reveal about human cognition? (Originally published October 27, 2017)

Art Spotlight: Jenny Greenteeth by Ross Hayes

Robert shares some creepy Jenny Greenteeth art from STBYM listener and illustrator Ross Hayes!

The Slayer

Myth and folklore are full of monsters and the heroes who slay them. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick meet some of these fabulous slayers and discuss the science and potential meaning of their bloody endeavors. 

Quetzalcoatl: The Winged Serpent

From the Aztec temples of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica to the 1980s monster film “Q: The Winged Serpent,” the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl soars high over the human imagination. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the history of this winged wonder -- as well as the prehistoric Quetzalcoatlus named after the ancient Lord of the Dawn. 

From the Vault: The Halloween Costume Made Me Do It

What happens when we slip into a costume? Be it a monster pelt, a sexy witch or a simple children's ghost mask, a psychological transformation takes place. Join Robert Lamb and Christian Sager for a fittingly seasonal look at enclothed cognition and deindividuation. (Originally published October 8, 2015)

Vampire Clinic, Part 2

Vampire legends are a global phenomenon, and the trope of the blood-sucking humanoid shows no signs of vanishing from human traditions. But can we trace its origins back to any specific diseases and medical symptoms? In this blood-stained episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick haul up the vampire’s casket and look for signs of rabies, syphilis, dermatitis, tuberculosis and more.

Vampire Clinic, Part 1

Vampire legends are a global phenomenon, and the trope of the blood-sucking humanoid shows no signs of vanishing from human traditions. But can we trace its origins back to any specific diseases and medical symptoms? In this blood-stained episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick haul up the vampire’s casket and look for signs of rabies, syphilis, dermatitis, tuberculosis and more.

From the Vault: Ghoul

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 Lamb and Joe McCormick 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. (Originally published October 29, 2015)

The Curse

What does it mean when a beggar, wizard or witch spits a curse at another human being? Why does this particular work of magic weigh so heavily in human history? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick take a scientific, historical and cultural look at various curse traditions. 

The Great Basilisk

Behold the Great Basilisk, the crowned monster whose mere glance can kill a mortal and reduce wilderness to desert ash. Medieval bestiaries attest to its might, but today some futurists dread its name as an all-powerful malicious artificial intelligence. Will it imprison all those who oppose it within a digital prison of eternal torment? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick consider the horror of Roko’s Basilisk. 
Related Content: Machine God: Artificial Superintelligence (podcast)World Science Festival 2018 Field Report (podcast)
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From the Vault: Carnivorous Plants

Are humans truly safe from the hunger of meat-eating plants? Can we trust the trees that loom over us? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss myths and fictions of killer trees, the science of carnivorous plants and the curious absence of mean-eating plants in our natural world. (Originally published October 18, 2016)

The Killer's Mask

The masked psychopathic killer is a staple of horror fiction, and yet almost no real-life serial killers employed masks in the commission of their crimes. Why is this? What does the discrepancy between fact and fiction reveal both about the reality of murderer and the nature of our myth-making? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. 

Jenny Greenteeth: Horror at the Water’s Edge

According to certain English folktales, a vile creature lurks in the slime-caked dark of local ponds. When little ones wander too close to shore, she lashes out to drown them in her slippery embrace. She has many names: Nelly Longarms, Peg Powler, the Grindylow... and Jenny Greenteeth. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss these old tales of aquatic terror, their instructional nature and the real-world predators who swim the shores in search of terrestrial prey. 

From the Vault: John C. Lilly

The figure of John C. Lilly as psychedelic dolphin communicator burns in the collective memory as a counterculture avatar, yet his legacy embodies far more than the mythologized and/or vilified figure that most of us know. Join Robert Lamb and Christian Sager as they examine the life, career and ideas of Lilly the scientist, Lilly the counterespionage researcher and Lilly the psychonaut. Welcome to the province of the mind. (Originally published Feb. 23, 2016)

Listener Mail: Robots of Theseus

It's listener mail time again and the plan to gradually replace every part of our mailbot Karnie is complete. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they read and respond to various listener mail from the past month. 

Salamander Talk with Mark Mandica

Wade into the amazing and weird world of salamanders and other notable amphibians as Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick chat with Mark Mandica, executive director of The Amphibian Foundation. Gain a new level of appreciation for these fabulous organisms and learn what you can do to help them. 

Mini-Review: Mandy (2018)

Robert Lamb discusses the 2018 film "Mandy," directed by Panos Cosmatos and starring Nicholas Cage, Andrea Riseborough and Linus Roache.

From the Vault: Mixologia

While the cocktail is an inherently American invention, the history of combining alcohols with other substances to create potent, drinkable concoctions dates back to ancient times. While you might expect dangerous ingredients to have a place in a wizard’s potion or a philosopher's goblet, modern cocktails and spirits have also dabbled with nefarious elixirs. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they explore the history, myth and science behind it all in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. (Originally published Jan. 12, 2017)