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.

Born Under the Caul

While all humans develop inside an amniotic sac, only a rare few are born with part of it enveloping their face. These membranous veils protect us in utero, but what does it mean when a newborn is covered in one at birth? In this episode of Stuff To Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore what a birth caul is and the many superstitions and omens attached to their presence.

Gazing into the Eclipse

Amid the regular cycle of sun and moon stalks a darkness -- a darkness that ancient humans perceived as cosmic abandonment, portent and demonic disruption. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the celestial mechanics, mythology and terrestrial ramifications of solar and lunar eclipses.

Art Spotlight: Marqueste's Perseus and Medusa

Leprechaun Hallucinations

It's Saint Patrick's Day, so our minds inevitably turn to the little people of Irish folklore. But diminutive fairy folk pop up in folk traditions around the world. Listen in for a celebration of the myth and science behind those Leprechaun encounters in this classic STBYM podcast episode.

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.

Art Spotlight: The Death of Actaeon

Art Spotlight: Saturn Devouring His Son

Artatomical: 'Marsyas' By Anish Kapoor

The Scientist and the Shaman: Hallucination

In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and Robert continue their discussion of the overlap between shamanism and cognitive neuroscience. In particular, what sort of hallucinatory experiences do substances like DMT, psilocybin and salvia grant users? Why do humans have trace elements of DMT in their bodies? All these questions and more will be discussed.