Halloween

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. 

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. 

See STBYM Live at NYCC: Stranger Science!

With another season of “Stranger Things” just around the corner, the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast explores the mind-rending science and pseudoscience behind government psychic research, sensory deprivation tanks, interdimensional travel and the real-life researcher lurking behind the fictional Dr. Brenner. Join hosts Robert, Joe and Christian as they take your scientific understanding of reality deep into the upsidedown.

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.

Final Girls: Feminism, Slashers & Culture

The "final girl" trope has become a standard horror cinema convention, in which a single strong female character outruns, outsmarts and outstabs her murderous pursuer to stand victorious amid the slain. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the film roots, cultural resonance and symbolic power of the final girl.

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 and Christian for a fittingly seasonal look at enclothed cognition and deindividuation.

Halloween Mixes To Combat Decision Fatigue III

The Horror Movie Aphrodisiac

Are horror movies a sure-fire aphrodisiac? Does the haunted house really exit into the bed room? Join Robert and Julie as they examine the old scary movie seduction trope and look for the scientific connection between scares and sexual arousal.