death

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)

From the Vault: Syphilis

Doctors have called it the great imitator because this destructive venereal disease can manifest almost any symptom. Initially spreading through sexual contact, Syphilis can remain dormant in the body for decades before flaring up again in brutally disfiguring, debilitating and deadly ways. It's difficult to overstate the impact of syphilis on the Western world, and it remains a threat to this day despite effective antibiotic treatments. In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Julie Douglas explore the history of the illness and its cultural effects, from powdered wigs and false noses to surgical advances and vampire myths. (Originally published August 26-28, 2014) 

From the Vault: Jump Into The Void

Ever wrestle with the illogical quasi-compulsion to throw yourself off a cliff or building? Don’t worry! You’re probably not suicidal, but merely touched by the 'call of the void' or 'high place phenomenon.' In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert Lamb and Christian Sager explore some of the more enlightening theories about this experience.(Originally published Feb. 9, 2017)

Divine Weapon: The Trident

What are we to make of the trident? The three-toothed spear has seen service as the divine weapon of mythic deities, the fishing implement of common mortals and a symbolic weapon in gladiatorial combat. What does it mean, and was it ever a practical weapon? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick look for answers in myth, archaeology and military history. 

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

You’ve seen the photos of the famed terracotta warriors, but no one in over 2200 years has glimpsed inside the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. It’s a chamber where rivers of mercury trace the empire’s form beneath a ceiling starscape of precious stones. We know where it is, yet it remains just outside of our scientific reach. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the first emperor’s life and afterlife. Plus Anney and Lauren from FoodStuff drop by to discuss their episode on lunar new year foods.

Creepypasta 4: More SCP, Polybius and Grifter

Dive into a world of indestructible reptiles, killer video games, bizarre god towers and haunted video tapes as Robert and Christian take on a fourth helping of creepypasta. Join them on Stuff to Blow Your Mind as they seek scientific, psychological and cultural connections between the Internet’s weirdest fiction-shrouded urban legends and the human condition.

Jade Immortality: Burial Armor of the Han Dynasty

Chinese aristocracy of the Western Han Dynasty embarked on their journey into the afterlife within garments of stone -- luxurious suits of jade armor entailing thousands of individual plates sewn together with gold, silver or silk. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore this ancient funeral custom and both the scientific and superstitious qualities of jade.

Jump Into The Void

Ever wrestle with the illogical quasi-compulsion to throw yourself off a cliff or building? Don’t worry! You’re probably not suicidal, but merely touched by the 'call of the void' or 'high place phenomenon.' In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Christian explore some of the more enlightening theories about this experience.

Now I am Become Death: Cotard's Delusion

Consider Cotard’s Delusion, also known as Cotard’s Syndrome, that rare mental illness in which the patient comes to believe themselves a corpse. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe investigate tales of the deathly deluded.

Undead Genes: Genetic Activation After Death

While more elaborate visions of the afterlife view mortal existence as a sort of larval stage in a grander human timeline, science tells us that death is the end. The human mind blinks out of existence as the brain dies. The vast multicellular, microbiota-colonized empire collapses into decay. And yet, as things fall apart, certain genes have been observed to activate. Join Robert and Joe as they explore the world of ‘undead genes.’