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American Hysteria explores moral panics, conspiracy theories, urban legends, and fantastical thinking and how they shape our psychology and culture. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying, sometimes heartfelt, host Chelsey Weber-Smith tells the strange stories that have created the reality we share, and sometimes, the reality we don't.
 
Is something taking over your brain? Zombified is a new podcast about how we are vulnerable to being hijacked by things that are not us. From microbes hijacking behavior, to humans influencing each other, to our brains being taken over by social media, we talk about why zombification happens, why we are susceptible to it, and what we can do about it. Hosted by Dr. Athena Aktipis, a Psychology Professor at Arizona State University and the founder of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Alliance, an ...
 
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This Thanksgiving, join HI, Ed, Nathan Jr., Sarah and Alex on a race across the desert to find the true meaning of family. We’re going to land not too far away, where all parents are strong and wise and capable, and all children are happy and beloved. We don't know. Maybe it’s Utah. Here is the Skid Row Plant Zaddy shirt, only available through Nov…
 
Sarah Marshall and Alex Steed host the feelings/movie podcast 'You Are Good'. On this episode, we talk about our own self-esteem, the movies that made us, and break down the secular myths we've created. Sarah is also the host of 'You’re Wrong About', so expect lots of Satanic Panic content too. Become a Patron, a new 'Hysteria Home Companion' is ou…
 
Piss off, ghost! This week Fangirl Jeanne shows us that Asgard isn’t a place, it’s a people, as we discuss Thor: Ragnarok. Petulant Batman, Lois Lane, and Tevye the Milkman also appear. You can find Jeanne on Twitter! The Music of You Are Good: Vol I can be found on Bandcamp here! You can stream the album here! We made a playlist to accompany this …
 
In the late 1980s, a New Age America began telling children that they were special, that if they just believed in themselves all their dreams would come true. Not only that, but spiritual seekers and psychologists began making claims that programs in self-esteem could solve all our most pressing national issues, an idea soon supported by law and or…
 
Be still my beating vagina. We have a good cry whilst discussing ABBA, parents dying, and the orgy of jukebox musical dads that is Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. We're joined by the fabulous Joy Hui Lin. You can find Joy on Twitter! The Music of You Are Good: Vol I can be found on Bandcamp here! You can stream the album here! The Verge wrote about ho…
 
This rerelease episode is about America's lifelong obsession with Get Rich Quick magical thinking. It will help us put into context next week's brand new episode called Self-Esteem and the magical thinking behind a movement that promised to solve all of America's ills, inside and out, based entirely on a lie. To listen to Flash Forward, head to fla…
 
Hold on to your butts! Chaos reigns and life finds a way in this conversation about dinosaurs, feelings and Jurassic Park. We're joined by the marvelous Candace Jane Opper! You can find Candace on Twitter and right here on the Internet. The Music of You Are Good: Vol I can be found on Bandcamp here! You can stream the album here! We made a playlist…
 
If you want to learn more about the topics covered on American Hysteria, subscribe to our Patreon talk show with myself and producer Miranda Zickler in which we gossip about all the juicy stuff left out of the episodes, share our own experiences with the content, and chat about what else we've been interested in this month. Today we reveal a little…
 
Why would the master give us candy? We talk Hocus Pocus—one of the horniest, hardest-going, virginity-obsessed Disney movies of all time—with our pal Mara Wilson. You can find Mara here: Twitter and on Substack. The Music of You Are Good: Vol I can be found here! We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to min…
 
Today we talk to the wonderful Shar Mayer, a 45-year veteran of Scare Acting known in the haunt community as "The Mother of Monsters". Become a Patron, 'Hysteria Home Companion' starts Monday Learn more about Shar Mayer Watch Haunters: The Art of the Scare Check out Web Crawlers here American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Web…
 
Today we'll be talking about the fake-blood-covered history of Haunted Attractions, their raucous origins wrangling violent pranksters, the gory charity haunts that once ruled the scene, and the extreme iterations that still scandalize and fascinate the nation. We ask the burning question: Why do some of us love to be scared? Become a Patron! 'Hyst…
 
NEW EPISODE! It's just a jump to the left! Let's The Rocky Horror Picture Show [and do the Time Warp] with the fabulous Chelsey Weber-Smith of American Hysteria! You can find Chelsey / American Hysteria here: Twitter and on the Information Super Highway. The Music of You Are Good: Vol I can be found here! We made a playlist to accompany this episod…
 
Does this look inanimate to you, punk? Let's talk about Little Shop of Horrors with the fabulous Dana Schwartz! You can find Dana here: Twitter and on the Information Super Highway. You can pre-order Dana's book Anatomy here! The Music of You Are Good: Vol I can be found here! We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs th…
 
We took a secret vote. We're not leaving. We're never leaving. Let’s talk grief, joy, gallows humor and The Big Chill with Olivia Giovetti. You can find Olivia online here. You can find Olivia on Twitter here. Order The Music of You Are Good: Vol. I here! We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind when w…
 
As a wise teenaged pirate radio DJ once said, "Feeling screwed up at a screwed up time in a screwed up place does not necessarily make you screwed up." Join us as we talk hard about Pump Up the Volume with Zoe Whittall. You can find Zoe on Twitter here. You can find Zoe's book The Spectacular here. Pump Up the Volume is very hard to find in distrib…
 
Come with us, o captain, my captain, as we roll around in a pile of autumnal Dead Poets Society feels with Emily Edwards of Fuckbois of Literature. You can find Emily on Twitter here. We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind when we all think about this movie. You Are Good is a show in which Sarah Mars…
 
Our little Tracy is a clean teen! Join us for some big time slumber party vibes with us, our great pal Aubrey Gordon, and Hairspray! You can find Aubrey over at Maintenance Phase, and you can find Aubrey's book here! We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind when we all think about this movie. You Are G…
 
We’ll show you how valuable Elle Woods can be. Join us and rejoice in all things Legally Blonde (2001) with our wonderful pal Alyssa Songsiridej. You can find Alyssa on THE INTERNET here! Her first novel, Little Rabbit, is forthcoming from Bloomsbury. We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind when we al…
 
Hi, hi, hiya! We head to Camp Hope and talk Heavyweights (1995) with our pal Carmen Maria Machado You can find Carmen here! We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind when we all think about this movie. You Are Good is a show in which hosts Sarah Marshall and Alex Steed attempt to understand what the hel…
 
Our family's always been in meat. Join us and our pal Brad Bannon for a conversation about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Whether you're an avid fan or a person who will never see this movie, we assure this episode is for you! You can find Brad on Twitter here. We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind w…
 
You've never seen us very upset! Join us as we deconstruct the ocean of daddy issues in Mission: Impossible with Nicholas Russell. You can find Nicholas online here! And on Twitter here! We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind when we all think about this movie. You Are Good is a show in which hosts S…
 
In preparation for our upcoming *Weirdest Episode of All Time*, we are rereleasing this minisode on a mysterious phenomenon where large numbers of people remember an event or cultural detail differently than it really was. From the spelling of 'Berenstain Bears' to the funeral procession of Nelson Mandela, people have explored these cognitive discr…
 
Hello! My name is Harley Quinn. You killed my sandwich. Prepare to die. Let's talk Birds of Prey with the delightful JV Hampton-VanSant! You can find JV on Twitter here. You can find JV's audio sequel to Birds of Prey here. We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind when we all think about this movie. Yo…
 
What is tiramisu? You’ll see. We talk about the 1993 Nora Ephron parasocial romantic comedy classic with Jeffrey Cranor. You can find Jeffrey on Twitter here. You can find all things Night Vale here. You can find Jeffrey's forthcoming novel here! We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind when we all thi…
 
(Make sure you listen to part one first!) Today, Chris shares his experience becoming a sudden villain in the fringe conspiratorial zeitgeist, and then we move gracefully on to sharing the value we have found in talking to strangers, him as a podcaster who has conversations on an anonymous hotline, and myself as a former hitchhiker. Chris hosts the…
 
Who are you, Robert De Niro? Yes, we are talking to you... about The Parent Trap [1998]. Join us as we head to camp, celebrate Lindsay, and crush on Chessy with Isa Burke [of Lula Wiles]! You can find is on Twitter here. You can find Lula Wiles new record Shame and Sedition here. We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs…
 
Chris Gethard is a stand-up comedian, podcaster, actor, filmmaker and author of Weird New York as well as an editor at Weird New Jersey and Weird US, all of which cover local ghost stories, urban legends, and roadside attractions. Over the next two episodes we will be discussing the most dangerous waterpark in history, the last vestiges of American…
 
If nary a goose is seen, the development shall beguine! In which we grieve by literally becoming Mother Goose. We get into the marshy weeds of Fly Away Home with the tremendous Ilana Masad. You can find Ilana on Twitter here. You can find Ilana's writing, and Ilana's novel All My Mother's Lovers, here. We made a playlist to accompany this episode! …
 
Danny Ocean is married to the sea. This week we talk about fisheries, late capitalism’s guilty love letters to the American worker, and Linda Greenlaw with Brianna Bowman King. Also, the surprising origin story of the Filet-O-Fish. You can find Brianna and her writing here. Two quick notes: Sarah wants you to know she knows she confused Super Fly a…
 
Susan Styker is the author of Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution as well as a filmmaker, distinguished professor, and longtime activist for the LGBTQ community. She began transitioning in the late 1980s, a very different era for gender nonconformity than the one we find ourselves in today. In this episode we discuss fragmentation …
 
We dream about dead guys, and all the daddies in The Mummy [1999], with Neeraja Viswanathan. You can find Neeraja on Twitter here, and you can find Neeraja's writing on mystery movies here. We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind when we all think about this movie. You Are Good is a show in which host…
 
If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it's... well... broken. We talk Grosse Pointe Blank with Chris Gethard. You can find Chris online here, and you can find his special Half My Life here. We made a playlist to accompany this episode! It's comprised of songs that come to mind when we all think about this movie. You Are Good …
 
Over the last ten years, Gender Reveal Parties have exploded, figuratively and literally. Parents, communities, and social media followers alike can witness the moment that parents and families find out the sex of their future baby, but lately, these parties have gotten so out of hand as to cause massive wildfires, explosions, damage to homes, inju…
 
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