American Hysteria

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To this day, glossy tabloids show the face of a six-year-old pageant girl murdered in a wine cellar in 1996, and 20 years later, an NBC special about the unsolved case still pulled in more viewers than the Emmys. Over the last few years, America has experienced a serious boom in True Crime entertainment; endless docuseries, TV shows, films, podcasts, and books, but our fascination with crimes that have nothing at all to do with us is a part of American history, and in fact, a part of human history as well. On this episode we will explore our most sensational boogiemen: uncaught sadistic geniuses, sociopathic hippy cults, allegedly handsome men with broken arms calling you into their cars, and silent killers slipping into your window at night. But we will also chart our historical reactions to this content, our intrinsic desire to become armchair sleuths and what that says about the psychology and biology of this thing called Justice, and how the public fear of these rare, sensationalized murders has aided Law and Order policies by making us all into future victims. Please consider donating to the Insight Prison Project American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research and cowriting assisted by Riley Smith Co-Produced by Miranda Zickler Voice Acting by Will Rogers Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
Over our summer break, we will be rereleasing some of our old episodes as they become relevant in the present moment with an intro explaining their new context. This episode talks about a brand new conspiracy theory called #WayfairGate which alleges that the furniture company is trafficking children in boxes through the mail. We'll explore the theory first and then give you a chance to re-listen to the related topic of satanic ritual abuse we covered in season one in our episode called Satanic Panic Part 2.
“I would like to step out of my heart/and go walking beneath the enormous sky”, poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote in 1918, probably consumed with a similar human anxiety to the one we each bear every weirdass day of our lives. This is the first episode of our new biweekly Patron’s-only podcast where you’ll come on a walk with me, either literally or figuratively, from wherever you happen to be. Walks facilitate, by nature of our very biology, more creative ways of thinking about the world; they are a liminal place where small things happen that feel big, things that can change you. Fair warning, this new show is very different from American Hysteria, and you’ll have to be willing to roll with me out of history and logic and into that dreaded contemplative, meditative territory of ethereal questions and embodied experience, and perhaps worst of all, the joy at the miracle of being alive. I hope you might be willing to share your own thoughts eventually too, so that we can turn this into a kind of ramblin’ collaboration. So, in this time when walks are one of the only things we know are safe to do, I hope you’ll come and walk with me. If you like this episode, become a patron now for a new episode every two weeks as well as more bonus content! Music by Miranda Zickler Hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith
Today we are talking to two scholars of religion, Professor Lerone A. Martin of Washington University in St. Louis and Professor Anthea Butler of the University of Pennsylvania about the relationship between white and black evangelicalism and televangelism in the 20th century through the present day. Lerone is also the author of Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Making of Modern African American Religion and Anthea is the author of Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making a Sanctified World, and the forthcoming White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America. Next week, you’ll hear episode one of our new Patrons' only podcast, Walk with Me. Find our Patreon here! After that we will be covering Charismatic Leaders. Produced by Miranda Zickler (check out her band's new single here) Sound by Clear Commo Studios
At this point in American culture, televangelists are often seen as overblown parodies, with their pleas for private jets, their fiery sermons, their many scandalous falls from grace. However, millions of people believe in the messages of these celebrity Christians who preach the Prosperity Gospel, that money donated to their megachurches will return to the donor in fantastical ways. Since the 1950s, conservative political preaching has slowly weaved into the gospels of prominent televangelists who have hidden ulterior motives under stories of societal decay. Since the 1970s, these pop-preachers have been able to rally the coveted ‘white Evangelical vote’ to advance right-wing policies and presidents, with 80% voting for Donald Trump in 2016, contributing profoundly to his victory. Next time on the show: Charismatic Leaders Consider donating to Jay Bakker’s Revolution Church Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Sound design by Clear Commo Studios Research and co-writing by Riley Smith Co-produced and edited by Miranda Zickler Voice Acting by Will Rogers Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
Today we are talking to Jason Stanley, Jewish-American professor of philosophy at Yale University and author of the New York Times bestselling book 'How Fascism Works'. He'll help us understand more about the relationship between conspiracy theories, moral panics, and the tactics of fascist movements. Make sure you check out Jason's book 'How Fascism Works', it's vital! Next time on the show: Televangelists Hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced by Miranda Zickler Sound by Clear Commo Studios Become a Patron for extra content every month!
PLEASE VOTE!!! Fake news was the unofficial buzzword of 2016, as incendiary disinformation spread prolifically across the tabloids, TV news reports, and social media, along with accusations of liberal media bias and even accusations of a democratic satanic cult. Some of what we are covering today are fantastical hoaxes that duped a gullible American public, priming future generations with a preference for the almost-unbelievable. But we’ll also look at how atrocity propaganda has been used by opportunist media outlets and politicians to get rich and to help incite literal and cultural war. Through examining fascist tactics, we’ll also see the dangers of constructing alternate realities, and how stories that hit on our most base emotions are controlling our personal and national consciousness and the future of our democracy at large. Please consider donating to First Draft News Check out the awesome Wild Wild Tech podcast Check our voice actor Will Rogers and his sister Kristen Anderson in the hilarious and spooky podcast Guide to the Unknown American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Sound design by Clear Commo Studios Research and co-writing by Riley Smith Co-produced and edited by Miranda Zickler Voice Acting by Will Rogers and directed by Kristen Anderson Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
Today we’ll be talking with one of the big influences for our True Crime episode, Rachel Monroe, author of Savage Appetites: Four True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession. Rachel talks to us about true crime fandom, getting to know the real people behind the sensational stories, and the impact of crime narratives on public policy. Next time on the show: Fake News PLEASE VOTE OMG PLEASE VOTE!!!!! Hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced by Miranda Zickler Sound by Clear Commo Studios Sponsored by Anchor Podcasts
American Hysteria is back for season four beginning October 19th! Join us as we investigate our ‘vehicles of hysteria’, everything from True Crime to Televangelists, Tabloid Talk Shows to Fake News to see how pop culture, the media, misinformation, and disinformation have influenced and manipulated the reality we share, and sometimes, the reality we don’t. Become a Patron for more content every month Follow us on social media Instagram: @americanhysteriapodcast Twitter: @amerhysteria
Just in time to kick off this Halloween season, I got to be a guest on the amazing podcast ‘You’re Wrong About’ talking what else, but killer clowns. Mike Hobbes and Sarah Marshall are super smart and hilarious journalists obsessed with the past. Every week they reconsider a person or event that's been miscast in the public imagination. They talk about everything and everyone from Tonya Harding to Koko the Gorilla, from sexting to acid rain, and of course the Satanic Panic. 'You're Wrong About' is so much like American Hysteria, we call it a sibling show. American Hysteria will be back in mid October, in the meantime follow us on Instagram @americanhysteriapodcast and Twitter @amerhysteria Go subscribe to You’re Wrong About! Here are links to Apple and Spotify. Follow YWA on Twitter: @yourewrongabout @remember_sarah @rottenindemark
Presenting the first episode of the latest season of Uncover: Dead Wrong from CBC Podcasts. It dives deep into a botched police investigation, missing evidence, and a wrongful conviction in a city plagued with more than a hundred unsolved missing and murdered cases. Dead Wrong takes you through the twisting, unbelievable story of Glen Assoun who spent more than 17 years in prison for the murder of Brenda Way, a crime he did not commit, and asks who really killed Brenda? Listen to the rest of the season now! (https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/187-uncover)
We finally have the extremely dope merch you’ve been asking for, and it's ready for preorder! The design (from Brothers Design Co (https://brothersdesignco.com/) ) reimagines our razor-blade-in-the-apple logo with brand new nods to the illuminati and the Satanic Panic. Shipping in September just in time for our season four premiere and Halloween, find the design on our social media or our website. Links below!   Get a special discount code with you follow us on social media. Click here to order! Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast All proceeds from our preorder are going to BEAM, Black Emotional and Mental Health, a nonprofit dedicated to breaking down the barriers to healing for the Black community. All our products are made eco-friendly and Fair Labor Certified in the USA.
For our season finale, we will be exploring our ultimate human fear, our number one cognitive dissonance that arguably leads to all our American hysterias, all our archetypes, beliefs, and delusions, our moral panics. We’ll be taking at look at the historical progression of how Americans have dealt with mortality starting with a place known as the Disneyland of Death, then traveling back to learn about the Puritan idea of the Good Death, and then see how the mass casualties of the Civil War and Lincoln’s embalmed corpse changed our relationship to bodies and immortality, all the way up to the present day tech billionaires funding strange new science to live forever. But we’ll also explore how, historically, the deaths of Black people have been treated in an almost polar opposite way to the deaths of white people, and how the echoes of this reality reach into the present day. Through a psychological concept known as the Terror Management Theory, we’ll try to understand how this uniquely human knowledge of our inevitable deaths shapes our psychology, society, and culture. We will be taking a hiatus for the summer but please stay with us, stay subscribed, follow us on social media or if you can, become a Patron. We love you all so much, thank you for being the best audience we could ever hope for <3 American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research and cowriting assisted by Riley Smith Co-Produced by Miranda Zickler Show art by Roache Voice Acting by Will Rogers Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Consider donating to the nonprofits and organizations we mentioned in this episode. This week's #AmericanHysteriaBookClub (on Instagram) Worm at the Core by Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczynski  Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
It's February 2nd 1922, and all of Hollywood is about to wake up and learn that William Desmond Taylor, the most famous film director in town, was murdered in his home last night. The investigation will shine a light on some of Hollywood's most scandalous affairs, backroom deals, and underground drug dens. This real life Murder Mystery is one of the most iconic "whodunnit" cases of the 20th century that will leave you guessing and second guessing who killed William Desmond Taylor for weeks to come. Listen today at wondery.fm/americanhysteriaMiH (http://wondery.fm/smalltownMiH)
The national and international protests over the death of George Floyd have generated larger and more widespread conversations about systemic racism in the United States. We hope to use our platform to help provide context and understanding around our shared moment in history, to show how our past creates our present, and to help illuminate how anti-Black racism has been passed on through our culture and politics, changing with each generation but also very much staying the same. Here are some books by Black authors that helped create this episode that we strongly recommend for further reading: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi Choke Hold by Paul Butler Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay This episode was put together by Chelsey Weber-Smith, Riley Smith, Rod Rodriguez, and Miranda Zickler.
Introducing the newest Audioboom original podcast, Truth vs Hollywood. Join Film lovers David Chen and Joanna Robinson as they do a deep dive into well known films and discuss how similar they are to the actual story.  Truth vs Hollywood premieres 6/12. Subscribe to Truth vs Hollywood on Apple Podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/truth-vs-hollywood/id1510582080) or wherever you listen. **Proceeds from this ad will be donated**
Like many shows, we are taking a break this week. We will be back next Monday with an audio guide that we hope can provide historical context and understanding around the nation-wide protests. After that we will be back with our season finale. Please take care of yourselves and others. Here are some nonprofits and groups to support: People's Kitchen Collective Reparations Homeless Backpacks GiveDirectly
The internet hate campaign known as #gamergate began in February of 2013 when video game developer Zoe Quinn put out a simple, text-based game called Depression Quest that attempted to show players what it was like to live with this illness. After receiving positive reviews and write-ups, a swath of misogynistic trolls in the gaming community took to message boards to rail on the game they saw as a feminist, political correctness conspiracy to infiltrate their male dominated space, and the fire was only stoked by a long-winded “call out” by Zoe’s ex-boyfriend leading to mass harassment including death threats, rape threats, and the leaking of Zoe’s email, social media, phone number, home address, and nude photos. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written by Riley Smith Co-produced by Miranda Zickler Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
In 2014, a young man named named Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree as revenge for the beautiful women who had denied him the sex he believed he was entitled to. In February of 2020, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was presented with one of the highest national honors, a man who has never shied away from his theories about the oppressive forces of “Feminazis.” There are growing subcultures of men who subscribe to the idea that is is American men, not women, who are the true victims of oppression, while at the same time, condoning and even committing violence against women. But we’ll look at the far more gentle roots of both the Involuntary Celibacy culture and Men’s Rights Movement, and how they were once spaces of support and solidarity. In order to understand the problems of toxic masculinity, we’ll have to look at all its victims, not just women, but the men that suffer under its demands as well. Please consider donating to A Call to Men American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research and cowriting assisted by Riley Smith Co-Produced by Miranda Zickler Show art by Roache Voice Acting by Will Rogers Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
Have you ever heard of the Curse of the Lottery? The legend that most, if not all big winners eventually face everything from bankruptcy to untimely death? We’ll explore whether there is any truth to this alleged phenomenon through a handful of stories that both support and refute this modern urban legend, a kind of folkloric Monkey’s Paw story that tells us, be careful what you wish for. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written by Riley Smith Co-produced by Miranda Zickler Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
The search for untold riches has always been at the heart of America, from its very beginning as a nation founded on the search for gold. For this episode, we’ll look at several manifestations of this hope to “get rich quick” and the psychology of luck and ritual, of dreams themselves, both dreams of the future, and dreams that predict it. We’ll start with the most modern get rich quick ideas in the style of The Secret, the 2006 self-help book that make Americans believe that all you need to do to become wealthy is to manifest it with your thoughts, and that the poor are poor because they are attracting poverty to themselves. Then we’ll look at the way that the colonies were funded by early lotteries, the strange rituals of treasure hunting, and the way the gold rush changed American psychology. We’ll look too at the stories happening in the background, the far more modest dreams of black enslaved and oppressed people, who had their own rituals and had their own dreams to get rich quick in a different sense, buying their freedom through winning the lottery and finding economic stability through the underground Harlem lottery known as the numbers game. We’ll ask the question of just who can get rich quick and ask if hope is the greatest American hysteria of them all. Please consider donating to Friends of Public School Harlem. Voice acting by Tamika Lawrence, check out her music here American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research and cowriting assisted by Riley Smith Co-Produced by Miranda Zickler Show art by Roache Voice Acting by Will Rogers Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
Join Lindsay Graham, the host of Wondery’s show American Scandal as he dives deep into the heart of the most shocking moments of fraud and deception in American history. In this six-part series “The Hare Krishna Murders” he explores an eastern religion with pure intentions that, in the hands of its western followers, became a criminal enterprise of drug running, molestation and murder. For the full episode go to wondery.fm/americanhysteriaAS.
Every week Bethany and Kathleen get together to chat about their lives and what's weird in the world, and they're inviting you to join them! Pull up a chair. Pour yourself something warm or strong or bubbly. There's room at the Table for everyone! Subscribe now on Apple! (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/an-acquired-taste-podcast/id1138061190)
Since the tragedies of the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville and the Charleston Church shooting that killed nine black members, the display of monuments and flags representing the fallen Confederacy have been hotly debated. Are they racist symbols of hate or are they symbols of an unshakable Southern pride? Arguing that the American Civil War was fought over states' rights instead of the preservation of slavery, this alternative narrative called The Lost Cause is still taught in the majority of high school classes today. On this episode, we will explore the true reasons for the Civil War in the words of confederate leaders as well as the words of Union president Abraham Lincoln, words which demonstrate that this heroes-versus-villains story isn’t as simple as it seems. We will also trace these monuments and symbols back to the movements for Civil Rights, when most of them were actually constructed, during the second rise of the KKK in the 1920s and the battles over segregation in the 1950s and 60s. We’ll ask the question, does the veneration of the Confederacy really represent Southern pride, or does it degrade it? And more importantly, is the story we tell worth the cost? American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written by Riley Smith Co-produced by Miranda Zickler Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
For this episode we are dissecting the archetype of American rednecks, hillbillies, and those we call white trash, a group often accused of being the “real” racists who make up the deplorable “Trump Country." But we'll be examining who is really to blame, starting with the plantation elites of the 1700s who created categories of race to break up the poor who were revolting against the government, resulting in centuries of brutal slavery and what we now know as white privilege. We’ll look at the region of Appalachia and the construction of the dangerous, deviant, simple minded white hillbilly created by local color writers. I’ll explain how this area’s union battles that united black and white folks in a dramatic fight for their workers’ rights led to the migration of “hillbillies” into cities, eventually aiding in the success of the eugenics movement. By the civil rights era, we’ll see more racial solidarity, with Black Panther Fred Hampton’s Rainbow Party Coalition in the city of Chicago. Soon after, famous “hillbilly horror” movies of the 1970s like Deliverance reinforced and solidified our view of the banjo playing blood-thirsty backwoods idiot who is a direct threat to the white middle class. In the current political climate, those scapegoated as the “real racists” are often the working class rural poor, though history and modern culture tell a very different story. Please consider donating to the Highlander Research and Education Center American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research and cowriting assisted by Riley Smith Co-Produced by Miranda Zickler Show art by Roache Voice Acting by Will Rogers Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
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Podcast Details

Created by
chelsey weber-smith
Podcast Status
Active
Started
Nov 30th, 2020
Latest Episode
Nov 30th, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
Episodes
101
Avg. Episode Length
26 minutes
Explicit
No
Order
Episodic
Language
English

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