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American Hysteria

American Hysteria

By chelsey weber-smith
American Hysteria explores the moral panics, conspiracy theories, urban legends, and fantastical thinking that shape our culture and why we end up fearing and believing in the unreal. Using sociology, psychology, biology, and a whole lot of research, poet-turned-podcaster Chelsey Weber-Smith charts their own journey from fantastical thinker to flexible skeptic, while detailing the sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying stories of American freak-outs from the Puritans to the present, and the complex social issues around race, gender, sexuality, and class that they often act to cover up.
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Gender Reveal Parties
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, injuries, and death. For this episode, we will try to figure out what in the world is going on here by exploring the history of gendered baby items, of the strange divination methods once used to guess the biological sex, and take a look at the idea of rituals around the mystery of pregnancy. Of course, we’ll also ask questions about the regressive nature of this blue and pink gender binary, and I will share a little about my own childhood growing up as a non-binary kid, a word I wouldn’t know for two decades. Become a Patron to get access to Chelsey's other podcast Walk with Me 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 Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
40:57
June 14, 2021
Talking to My Christian Friends About Gay Stuff (Rewind)
Pride Rerelease! This is a listener favorite. Back in 2018, I had my two Christian friends on the show, who wished to remain anonymous, as they shared some pretty anti-establishment opinions. Brianna is a poet who got her masters with me at the University of Virginia, and her husband Patrick has a master’s degree in biblical and theological studies and teaches the bible at a private high school. Brianna and Patrick are dedicated to questioning and exploring their faith in big ways, and today we’ll talk about their changes of heart as young Christians, what the the Bible says about homosexuality in its historical context, and how the philosophy of queerness just might help save the Christian faith. Next week: Gender Reveal Parties Become a Patron to get access to Chelsey's other podcast Walk with Me Head to brickhousesleep.com and use promo code HYSTERIA for 15% off your first order
25:51
June 7, 2021
THE GAY AGENDA (Pride Re-release)
Listen or re-listen to learn all about our panics surrounding what amounts to the queer illuminati and their evil plans to recruit children and overthrow the government, plus some queer history of the US dating back to precolonial indigenous tribes. We are leading up to our pride special coming later in the month on our new and dangerous American obsession, Gender Reveal Parties. Look for more Pride content all through June! Become a Patron to get access to Chelsey's other podcast Walk with Me     Head to tryfirstleaf.com/hysteria to get 6 bottles of wine for $29.95 Head to brickhousesleep.com and use promo code HYSTERIA for 15% off your first order  
36:23
June 1, 2021
The Skeleton of Chelsey Weber-Smith
Finally, it is ME CHELSEY WEBER-SMITH as our interview guest, questioned lovingly by our producer Miranda Zickler. We will discuss season four, what I learned, what we didn’t cover and why, the power of the Rainbow Coalition solidarity, couples we would make out with in a haunted house, a dream dinner party with Mary-Kate and Ashley, the importance of Teen Dramas, and yes that’s right, I talk for too long about my spiritual journey and current relationship to the Great Unknown. Thank you for a great season everyone! We will be back soon. Become a Patron to get access to Chelsey's other podcast Walk with Me   Head to tryfirstleaf.com/hysteria to get 6 bottles of wine for $29.95 Head to brickhousesleep.com and use promo code HYSTERIA for 15% off your first order This episode was hosted by Miranda Zickler (listen to Shiny Little Corners now!) Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
49:08
May 10, 2021
Urban Legends
The kids' book series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was based largely on urban legends, and when I read them for the first time I realized that I had heard them before, but as something true that happened to a friend of a friend. For our season four finale, I will be sharing my own journey with contemporary myths, from that first book series through the 1998 teen slasher Urban Legend, the landmark work of Mr. Urban Legend, and the man who finally got to the bottom of the most memorable story from my mom’s own childhood: The Bunny Man (I’ll let her tell you about it). So come sit around the midnight campfire, listen to some of the greatest hits, and see what they have to tell us about ourselves and our society, and what they have to do with the tangled mess of conspiracy theories we find ourselves in today. Become a Patron to get access to Chelsey's other podcast Walk with Me Head to tryfirstleaf.com/hysteria to get 6 bottles of wine for $29.95 Finding You is out May 14th 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 (listen to Shiny Little Corners now!) Voice acting by Will Rogers Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
01:00:02
May 3, 2021
Rewind: The Momo Suicide Challenge
In preparation for our season finale next week on Urban Legends, we wanted to replay our deep dive into the 2018 viral internet urban legend about "Momo", a creepy humanoid figure with giant eyes, an uncanny too-wide smile, and grotesque chicken legs. Momo was somehow believed to be involved in mysterious texts that teens and kids were receiving on messaging apps, giving them escalating dangerous challenges sometimes ending in self-harm and suicide. Obviously, these kind of stories abound in the days of the viral internet, but they are actually part of a much older folklore tradition. Next week we will look at the last 50 years of American urban legends to see how we started to figure out that many of the stories we love to tell are simply too good to be true. Become a Patron! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
15:15
April 26, 2021
Horror Movies, pt. 2
The genres of modern scary movies known as slashers, meta-horror, torture porn, and social thrillers, each tell us about the anxieties of the generation in which they came to exist. Like part one, this episode explores the themes present in some of the most important films in the horror canon; themes of feminism and satanic ritual abuse, of Reagan-era morality and greed, of moral ambiguity in times of war, and those that are coming to define the smoldering culture wars we find ourselves in today. With a never-ending series of sequels, each new American terror resurrects our collective fear, making it perfectly clear that horror never dies. Become a Patron to get access to Chelsey's other podcast Walk with Me Check out Hark here to experience podcasts in a new way! Head to tryfirstleaf.com/hysteria to get 6 bottles of wine for $29.95 Check out the Queery podcast today! 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 Friggin incredible voice acting by Will Rogers and Miranda Zickler (Check our Miranda's band Kuinka and their new single All Mine) Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
56:47
April 19, 2021
Rewind: Monsters
We need a little extra time for Horror Movies II, so here is a re-release of a very related and very important episode. Monsters come from the darkness, from the depth of lakes and swamps, from the shadows of forests and hills, and live too in the dark parts of all of us. However, this episode is less about Bigfoot and more about the idea of the monstrous, and how it has been used as a tool to demonize black folks since the first slave ships landed in America, both through folktales and famous works of fiction. We also explore how Darwin's theory of evolution affected white Americans and led to the actual creation of human zoos that displayed African people as both the missing link and blood-thirsty monsters. Become a Patron! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
34:22
April 12, 2021
On Haunted Houses with Carmen Maria Machado
Carmen Maria Machado is the author of three books, the award-winning Her Body and Other Parties, a collection of vibrantly haunting short stories, In the Dream House, a bestselling memoir and examination of queer relationship abuse, and most recently, a graphic novel horror story called The Low Low Woods. She has also taught several courses at the University of Pennsylvania, most relevant today, a fiction course called The Art of Haunting. Today we are over the harvest moon to talk to Carmen about haunted house motifs in American horror movies, the emotional core of these stories, and our personal experiences with various kinds of ghosts, both the scary and the beautiful. Get yourself a copy of Carmen’s books!: In the Dreamhouse, Her Body and Other Parties, and The Low Low Woods Next time on the show: Horror Movies pt. 2 Head to TryFirstLeaf.com/HYSTERIA to get six customized wines delivered to your door for just $29.95! Become a Patron to watch our entire Live Variety Hour and our brand new podcast Walk with Me Produced by Miranda Zickler Sound design by Clear Commo Studios Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch and more at americanhysteria.com
55:05
April 5, 2021
SATANIC PANIC EMERGENCY RE-RELEASE
Lil Nas X and the sexy-ass Satanic imagery featured in Call Me By Your Name has sparked a mini Satanic panic, especially after his Satan Shoes went viral, the ones that contain a drop of human blood. This two-part re-release of our Satanic Panic episodes dives deep into evil cartoons, toys, and games, heavy metal's backward messages, the suspicion of hypnotized teenaged devil worshippers, fake memoirs by alleged members of Satanic cults, and the unfortunate union between feminist and fundamentalist therapists that caused a wave of false accusations of outrageous ritual abuse committed against children. ENJOY. Follow us on social media IG: @americanhysteriapodcast Twitter: @amerhysteria
01:07:52
March 30, 2021
Horror Movies, pt. 1
Horror movies, consistently written-off by critics, exist unbound from mainstream respectability and because of this, they can often tell us the brutal truth. For this two-part series, we will be investigating what horror movies, their plots, their victims, and their villains reflect back to us about the dominant repressed fears of each generation. From the Big Bug movies of the atomic era, the earliest monster movies of post-WWI eugenics, the psychotherapy gender-panic of Psycho inspiration Ed Gein, to the new age of gore born from the violence of the late 1960s, horror movies may be vital in helping us survive the true terrors of American life. Come back next week for Return of the Horror Movies where we cover the 1970s to the present with all the teenaged blood and guts you could ever dream of! Subscribe to Euphomet now! Subscribe to Lolita Podcast now!   Become a Patron to get access to Chelsey's other podcast Walk with Me 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 Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
54:15
March 29, 2021
Rewind: Believing in the Blair Witch
Leading up to our two-part Horror Movies series, we wanted to return to this little prequel focused on one of my most favorite horror movies ever and the wild story behind one of the most successful horror hoaxes of all time. So listen for the first time or rewind this old Blockbuster VHS and listen again. For more on horror movies and their link to culture, check out our other episodes on Monsters, Rednecks, the Satanic Panic, Phantom Clowns, and Talking to the Dead. There is always more content on our patreon at patreon.com/americanhysteria
16:39
March 22, 2021
Unmasking Matilda with Mara Wilson
Mara Wilson is a writer, actor, and the former star of the 1996 classic movie Matilda as well as the author of the memoir 'Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame'. In this episode, Mara shares her relationship to the character that many in the public still see her as 25 years later, and we talk about the dramaturgy of living, our on-stage and off-stage personas, and for Mara, the pressure that comes from yet another mask. We’ll also talk about mental health, queerness, drag and burlesque, and finding one's self among those who most fully embrace the performance. Get a copy of Mara's book Where Am I Now? Subscribe to Queery now! Become a Patron to watch our entire Live Variety Hour and our brand new podcast Walk with Me Produced by Miranda Zickler Sound design by Clear Commo Studios Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch and more at americanhysteria.com
45:39
March 15, 2021
Influencers
The new American archetype known as the “Influencer” has existed in various forms long before the advent of social media, and long before Kendall Jenner and the offensive brand activism of a now infamous Pepsi commercial. For this episode, we will trace the history of how corporate brands have used the idea of personal “authenticity” to sell us shit we don’t need since the mid 1800s: we’ll hear about the early form of visual social media that swept America in the 1860s, the story of the first living brand, Aunt Jemima, the handcrafted PR industry created by Sigmund Freud’s propagandist nephew, the skateboard sponsorships of the late 1990s. We’ll look too at the psychological and biological imperatives behind the “brand”, both those of companies and those of our own, and whether this thing we call authenticity even exists at all. Subscribe to Lolita Podcast now! Become a Patron to get access to our brand new podcast Walk with Me   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 Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
54:03
March 8, 2021
Gen Z and the Millennial with Gael from Teenager Therapy
Gael Aitor is a senior in high school and the host of the podcast Teenager Therapy, a show where he and four other teenagers talk about mental health and the experiences they share with a rare and empathetic nuance. Today Gael and I will explore the differences and similarities between Gen Z and Millennials and the importance of moving through our egos and being vulnerable. Today, I’ll check in with the kids to find out if they are, in fact, alright. Next week: Influencers Make sure you subscribe to Teenager Therapy! Subscribe to Beach Too Sandy Water Too Wet Become a Patron to watch our entire Live Variety Hour and our brand new podcast Walk with Me Produced by Miranda Zickler Sound design by Clear Commo Studios Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch and more at americanhysteria.com
38:55
March 1, 2021
American Hysteria: LIVE VARIETY HOUR (Watch the full show!!)
Our Live Variety Hour is not your run-of-the-mill podcast live show, but an actual two-hour theatrical production performed in 2019. For the first time ever, you can get access to the full video on Patreon (pay what you can)! Using my background as a drag and performance art producer, a handful of my brilliant creative partners and I created a vaudevillian bananas bonanza with skits, drag, dance, stand-up comedy, and videos from clips you'll remember from season one. Expect a lot of weird surprises along the way. Special guests include Satan, Tinky Winky, John Harvey Kellogg, and Alex Jones.  Head to our Patreon for access to our live show and so much more! *No one turned away for lack of funds, email americanhysteriapodcast@gmail.com for link* Acting, writing, and production by Lily Orrey Erin McCarthy Will Rogers Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced/edited by Riley Smith
02:08
February 22, 2021
Children's Programming
As the nation grapples with a volatile culture war over just what version of American history our children will grow up learning, in this episode we will see that the Public School has always been a complicated, explosive, sometimes bizarre socio-political battleground. We’ll look at the messy transformations of children’s curricula through the conservative and progressive clashes over the bible, evolution, Black anti-literacy laws, Indian boarding schools, anti-commie-patriotism, good suburban morals, multiculturalism, and a radical public television program called Sesame Street. Become a Patron to get access to our brand new podcast Walk with Me Subscribe to Everyone's a Critic! American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Sound design by Clear Commo Studios Research and co-writing by Riley Smith Voice acting by Will Rogers Co-produced and edited by Miranda Zickler   Please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen, it really helps us out!   Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
52:07
February 15, 2021
We Were Teenage Conspiracy Theorists
Ellen Cushing's recent piece in The Atlantic called “I was a teenage conspiracy theorist” tells her story as a young Illuminati-truther during the post-9/11 years. Her history with conspiracy theories isn't all that different from my own, so I asked Ellen to join me to talk about our experiences to try to explain what these stories were like back in the 2000s, and how they intersect with the stories we hear now. We’ll also ask the biggest question of all, how do we combat this alternate reality? As the subtitle on Ellen’s article reads, “Want to know why wild conspiracism can be so irresistible? Ask a 14-year-old girl.” Read Ellen's piece, I Was a Teenage Conspiracy Theorist Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly, including our brand new podcast Walk with Me This episode has sound by Clear Common Studios Produced by Miranda Zickler Please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen, it really helps us out!   Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
47:35
February 8, 2021
Animatronic America with Sarah Marshall of 'You’re Wrong About'
Join me and our Disney darling of the day, podcaster Sarah Marshall of ‘You’re Wrong About’ and ‘Why Are Dads?’ as we discuss our love for Disney parks, the weird history of animatronics, and Disneyland’s hilarious, disastrous opening day. So grab a Dole Whip, sit back and enjoy the tour through this gleefully haunted mansion of America. Listen to You’re Wrong About Listen to Why Are Dads? Subscribe to the One Strange Thing podcast today!   Thanks to our sponsor Skillshare, get your free trial of Premium Membership skillshare.com/hysteria Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly, including our brand new podcast Walk with Me   Produced by Miranda Zickler Sound design by Clear Commo Studios Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch and more at americanhysteria.com
46:03
February 1, 2021
Disneyfication
Disney has been presenting a fairytale reality within a reality since the 1920s, a far cuter reality that mimics our reality until reality is no longer reality at all. Make sense? For this episode, we will look at the possible underlying biological reasons for the success of the Disney corporation and the history of this ever-softening societal construction we call childhood. We’ll explore both the finished and unrealized projects of the company, and how they have long presented us with a much sweeter version of our past, present, and future. So join us as we trace the American dream that started with a mythic man named Walt Disney and see if you can tell what’s real. Next week: Animatronic America with Sarah Marshall of ‘You’re Wrong About’ and ‘Why Are Dads?’ This episode was sponsored by Anchor, head to Anchor.fm to make your own podcast! Subscribe to the One Strange Thing podcast today!   Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly, including our brand new podcast Walk with Me     American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Sound design by Clear Commo Studios Research and co-writing by Riley Smith Voice acting by Will Rogers Co-produced and edited by Miranda Zickler Please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen, it really helps us out! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
56:10
January 25, 2021
The Theater of Trash with Alissa Bennett
Alissa Bennett is co-host of The C-Word podcast on Luminary as well as a decorated historian of bad behavior. “By sifting through the cultural trash heap of history,” her podcast dives deep into the lives of famous women who have been called "Crazy" throughout history, the stories that we’re told about them through the tabloid press, and the real life that was happening behind the scenes. Alissa is also the author of four zines; collections of essays reflecting on dozens of fascinating characters in pop culture deviance. She mines the depths of the internet for strange truths and even stranger gossip, while weaving in personal anecdotes of her own. Today we will be discussing why we love trash media of all kinds. We’ll even give The Final Thought, usually reserved for Jerry Springer, to Alissa’s child genius Ollie. Let's get trashy. Check out the C-Word podcast and Alissa's Zines Subscribe to the One Strange Thing podcast today! Thanks to our sponsor Skillshare, get your reef trial of Premium Membership skillshare.com/hysteria Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly, including our brand new podcast Walk with Me Produced by Miranda Zickler Sound design by Clear Commo Studios Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
42:14
January 18, 2021
Trash Talk Shows
There are few pieces of popular culture as problematic as the trash talk shows of the 1980s and 90s. Many of us remember Jerry Springer, Geraldo, Jenny Jones, and so many others trying to outdo each other in a parade of sensationalized deviance. The more outrageous, the better, but some of what was considered outrageous then is different than it is today. These programs certainly reinforced stereotypes and exploited their guests for profit, but like the Freak Shows of the past, they also offered national visibility for unseen individuals and the groups they represented. This episode explores how this platform changed American culture for better and for worse, the elitist attitudes that looked down on this low brow entertainment, and how these hallmark American productions are mirrored in our fist fights today, online and off Thanks to our sponsor Skillshare, get your reef trial of Premium Membership skillshare.com/hysteria Subscribe to the One Strange Thing podcast today! Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly, including our brand new podcast Walk with Me   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   Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
56:59
January 11, 2021
'Falling for Fascism' Emergency Re-Release
Due to the what appears to be an attempted coup happening right now at the Capitol, I wanted to re-release this vital interview immediately. Please listen and share if you can. This is the colossal power of conspiracy theories. 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!
32:59
January 6, 2021
War on Christmas (Re-Release)
This is a re-release of our War on Christmas Special from 2019, which definitely still feels relevant in this very different year of 2020. From all of us at American Hysteria, we send you our love and our cautious hope for 2021, and we wish you Happy Holidays. This episode was sponsored by BetterHelp, head to betterhelp.com/americanhysteria
49:55
December 21, 2020
Seekers and Swindlers with Glynn Washington
Podcaster and storyteller Glynn Washington grew up in an extremist religious sect called the Worldwide Church of God and also hosted the Heaven’s Gate podcast about the UFO cult that famously committed a mass suicide in 1997. He’ll tell us all about this experience and how it shaped him, and together we will talk about how cults draw well-meaning people in, and what it means to be a seeker. For more monthly content become a Patron and get access to our new exclusive podcast called Walk with Me This episode was produced by Miranda Zickler, check out her band Ladies and their new cover of Blue Christmas with more at listentoladies.com Sound by Clear Commo Studios
23:13
December 14, 2020
Charismatic Leaders
The charismatic leaders we are talking about today offer utopia and doomsday, salvation and absolute truth, perfection of the self and of the world at large, as long you dedicate yourself completely to the reality of these embodied Gods. Their radical alternate realities can draw in hundreds, thousands, even millions, as they preach spiritual wholeness and heaven, equality and communalism, or apocalyptic visions of a degrading nation, promising they alone can make it great again. For this episode, we’ll look at some lesser known leaders of cults and new religious movements from the puritans to the present, and we’ll also investigate Narcissistic Personality Disorder, collective narcissism, and cognitive dissonance to try to make sense of how these leaders have molded our history and how they are radically affecting our present. Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly, including our brand new podcast Walk with Me 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 Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Find our merch at americanhysteria.com
01:04:47
December 7, 2020
Walk with Me
“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
39:37
November 30, 2020
Black Evangelicalism and the Christian Right with Anthea Butler and Lerone A. Martin
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
53:36
November 23, 2020
Televangelists
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
53:16
November 16, 2020
Falling for Fascism with Jason Stanley
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!
34:11
November 9, 2020
Fake News
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
52:39
November 2, 2020
CrimeCon and Columbiners with Rachel Monroe
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
45:36
October 26, 2020
True Crime
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
52:57
October 19, 2020
Happy Halloween, It's Season Four!
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
02:14
October 5, 2020
KILLER CLOWNS with 'You're Wrong About'
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
55:45
September 21, 2020
WE GOT MERCH
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.
02:14
July 31, 2020
Rewind: #WayfairGate // Satanic Panic
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.
44:20
July 27, 2020
Death
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
47:56
June 22, 2020
What We Inherit: A Brief History of American Racism
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.
39:51
June 15, 2020
A message from the team
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
03:21
June 8, 2020
#Gamergate
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
21:57
June 1, 2020
Men's Rights
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
52:48
May 25, 2020
The Curse of the Lottery
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
26:15
May 4, 2020
Get Rich Quick
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
49:29
April 27, 2020
Confederate Monuments and The Lost Cause
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
23:07
April 6, 2020
Rednecks
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
54:48
March 30, 2020
Beards
On this episode we explore the history of one of the most hipster of trends, how facial hair has come to represent masculinity, the pastoral fantasy, and of course, white supremacy. Whether our men wear beards or go clean-shaven says more than you might expect about the culture of the time, and it certainly says some interesting things about the trend that defines the modern hipster. 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
19:13
March 23, 2020
Hipsters
Throughout my lifetime I have been both a middle class college student and a summer hitch-hiker dead set on finding the real heart of America, and on this episode I’ll cop to the facts: I’m a poser. We will explore one of the most hated archetypes of the modern age: the ironically-dressed middle and upper class young adults whose aggressive individuality is anything but. The hipsters we know today are not a new phenomenon, and neither is the phenomenon we know as ‘cool.' We’ll look at the long term history of the hippest white kids who shirked their privilege to experience to the life of the marginalized, copying black, queer, and blue collar culture and pouring into spaces where the mainstream forbade them to go. From the transcendentalists of the 1800s and the ‘slumming parties’ of their urban counterparts, to the jazz age popularity of cool black musicians and wild queer drag parties, to the beat poet Jack Kerouac’s hitchhiking days and Nirvana’s grungy working class flannel trend, hipsters have always sought to emulate those without the same privilege, and maybe, in the process, absolve themselves of their own. Please consider donating to Black Art Futures Fund 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
51:09
March 16, 2020
School Spirit
Whether you were a cheerleader, a football player, a painted fan, or a bad kid under the bleachers, you will certainly remember this very American phenomenon called school spirit. Beginning with the creation of the modern high school after the Great Depression, we’ll take a look at the development of this aggressive pride, of cheerleading, of the pledge of allegiance, and how school spirit has acted since its beginnings as a kind of training wheels for nationalism. 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
18:42
March 9, 2020
Suburbia
For this episode, we are covering the uncanny cul-de-sacs of American suburbia, how this way of life formed, and how it has served as both a wholesome and creepy national archetype since a devastating 1871 Chicago fire caused the first affluent white flight from the city. We’ll look at how architects designed the manicured, identical, segregated white suburbs that popular culture eventually turned into horror movie fodder. Along with the lawns and trees that represent a long term obsession with nature and its conquering, we’ll look too at the anxiety and grinding boredom that housewives faced, and the exciting danger suburbanites have simultaneously hidden from and yearned for, a realness that would turn their black and white lives into color. Consider donating to the Preservation of Affordable Housing 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
48:45
March 2, 2020
Got Milk?
Growing up in the 90s, kids were targeted by a widespread campaign featuring what felt like every single cool celebrity sporting an iconic white mustache and singing the praises of milk. But, nutritionally, milk isn't all its cracked up to be. So where did this uniquely American obsession start, and how did this beverage, one that humans are not naturally designed to drink, become a symbol for our nation and even for white supremacy? 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
16:37
February 24, 2020
Burgers
Welcome to our season three premiere! Whether we’re conscious of it or not, hamburgers have always been an American symbol, a metaphor for our special brand of cognitive dissonance as well as our obsession with masculinity, dominance, and conquering. We have heard a lot about the horrors of factory farming, but this episode hopes to look at our relationship to meat and animals in a different way. We’ll look at the plains of the west where colonizers killed millions buffalo to make way for the cows we know today, the cowboy fantasies enshrined by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows, the beef scandals that have rocked our nation since the 1800s, the fast food chains that put a smiling face back on meat, and the War on Burgers that conservative forces are invoking today. we’ll see how our long term attachment to our culinary contribution to the world is really a kind of long term hysteria, an attachment to an original manifest destiny, a story that has long disguised hard truths with happy meals. Please consider donating to the One Spirit Lokota nonprofit 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
44:52
February 17, 2020
Season Three Trailer
We are stoked to announce that our season three premieres this coming Monday, February 17th! On this season we're going to explore our most ingrained beliefs, delusions, and archetypes, how cognitive dissonance shapes our culture, and how our reality is created by the stories we tell, especially the stories we tell ourselves.  Listen to American Hysteria's season three premiere February 17th wherever you get your podcasts.
01:54
February 10, 2020
Team Huddle: An American Hysteria Q&A
For this episode, we gather the American Hysteria team together to answer some of the questions asked on social media. We share our experience making the show and just what goes into the production, both literally and emotionally. We also share some intel about our newest season, premiering February 17th. Hear from: Host Chelsey Weber-Smith Producer Rod Rodriguez of Clear Commo Studios (https://clearcommo.com/) Research Assistant Riley Smith With this episode hosted by Panic Monday's Miranda Zickler Make sure to check out my interview and all the amazing LGBTQ interviews on the Pride podcast (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/pride/id1460038024) wherever you listen. This episode is sponsored by Native Deodorant, head to http://www.nativedeodorant.com and use promo code AH at checkout. Our season 3 premieres on February 17th! Stay tuned!
39:53
February 3, 2020
Celebrity Urban Legends: 'Panic Monday' Off-Season Talk Show
This is our off season talk show, ‘Just Another Panic Monday.’ If you are new to American Hysteria, head to the main episodes of season one or two to get a feel for our show, and then catch up with us here! Season three will premiere February 17, 2020. Whether it was Marilyn Manson's rib removal, Mr. Rogers's secret tattoos, George Bush's Satanic lineage, Tommy Hilfiger's racist comments, or Katy Perry's past as Jon Benet Ramsey, it's more than likely that you've gossiped about at least one of the urban legends we are covering for this episode. So come enjoy the salaciousness Americans need as we explore the origins and legacies of the most bizarre and enduring tales about the celebrities we love to hate. American Hysteria: Just Another Panic Monday is co-hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith and Miranda Zickler Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios
34:26
January 20, 2020
Looking for An Alien Vortex with Euphomet
Since we are on a break this week, I wanted to share with you my former work with an incredible paranormal podcast called Euphomet. Together with host and my good friend Jim Perry, we were once invited to Sedona, AZ to climb to the top of Bell Rock in search of alien vortexes with a man famous in his time-- the only attorney to actually sue the US Government for UFO information under the Freedom of Information Act. So today, balance your healthy skepticism with a little bit of magic, or at least, a more heartfelt look at the great unknown. Listen to 'Euphomet' wherever you get your podcasts. 
24:46
January 6, 2020
War On Christmas Special
This is a surprise early Season Three premiere! Merry Whatever y'all! Learn about the history of America's relationship to Christmas, and the several wars that have been fought in the name of and against this always controversial holiday, as well as some of the darker sides and forgotten traditions that may change your perspective on the season of giving for good. 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
50:30
December 26, 2019
Bloody Mary: 'Panic Monday' Off-Season Talk Show
This is our off season talk show, ‘Just Another Panic Monday.’ If you are new to American Hysteria, head to the main episodes of season one or two to get a feel for our show, and then catch up with us here! The urban legend Bloody Mary has long acted as a rite of passage for slumber partiers all over the United States and beyond. Perhaps you once heard stories from your peers of this terrifying phantom's appearance in dimly lit mirrors, or even saw something sinister yourself, candle in hand. Pop culture often writes-off sleepovers as frivolous mush, but today Miranda and I are diving deep into the folklore of Bloody Mary, Light as a Feather Stiff as a Board, M.A.S.H., the concentration game, and rec room séances to show that these secret rites are vital to the process of growing up. We’ll explain some of the sociology and psychology, as well as the possible biology, behind these bizarre rituals that allow the young to test the boundaries of reality and themselves, acting as portal through which they can view their possible futures, both the bleak and the beautiful.  Just Another Panic Monday is co-hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith and Miranda Zickler Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios
38:40
December 16, 2019
We need your help!
Join our Patreon now! American Hysteria has officially left our network and we are striking out on our own for the very first time. We need your help to keep the show going strong while we work on season three. If American Hysteria has been important to you, please consider donating to our Patreon and actively join us in the work that we do. You'll get extra content each month, live streams, shout-outs on the show, and even a chance to help us with the process of creating American Hysteria. Thanks so much for all your support and care so far! It means the world to us.
02:21
December 3, 2019
Black Friday: 'Panic Monday' Off-Season Talk Show
For the next several weeks, my co-host Miranda Zickler and I will explore a handful of our favorite American freak-outs in a more casual way, while still giving you the same stories you love. This week’s topic: Black Friday. We'll learn the history of this strange American phenomenon that sees consumers fight, sometimes violently, to score the best deals of the year. We'll dive into some of the wildest stories from first fights to shoot outs, and talk about the psychology behind Black Friday, and just how corporations manipulate Americans into shopping until they drop...dead. American Hysteria: Just Another Panic Monday is co-hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith and Miranda Zickler Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios
34:31
December 2, 2019
Disney Subliminal Messages: 'Panic Monday' Off-Season Talk Show
This is our off season talk show, American Hysteria: Just Another Panic Monday. Our regular season will return this winter.   For the next several weeks, my co-host Miranda Zickler and I will explore a handful of our favorite American freak-outs in a more casual way, while still giving you the same stories you love. This week’s topic: subliminal messages in Disney movies, from the dicks in the Little Mermaid to Aladdin’s apparent command for teenagers to take off their clothes, we’ll see if there’s any truth to these urban legends while we look at the history of subliminal messages, as well as what the conspiracy theorists say. Spoiler alert: It’s the Illuminati and Satanic cults, as always.   Just Another Panic Monday  is co-hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith and Miranda Zickler Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios   Opening theme song cover by Miranda Zickler with help from CWS
23:10
November 4, 2019
Mind Control
For our season finale, I am going to step into the unknown recesses of the mind, especially my own. I’ll share my upsetting brush with a self-actualization program that taught me that life is empty and meaning when I was ten-years-old. I’ll give a partial history of psychology’s changing ideas about how we think about thinking. Then we’ll look at the Cold War beginnings of this concept called brainwashing when American POWs suddenly became communist sympathizers, and how the US government tried their hand at the same thing. After that, we’ll check out the human potential movement and the new age philosophies that helped influence the Manson Family’s murders. Moving into the 1970s, we’ll follow a kidnapped heiress turned domestic terrorist, and see how the mass deaths at Jonestown influenced her fate. We’ll meet the man who invented cult deprogramming, paid for by families to abduct their wayward loved ones back. At the close, I’ll share more about my modern-era spiritual journey and how it’s informed my own mental health. Does life have meaning? Who knows, and who cares. Come hang out for more more special episode, and let’s get weird, man. 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
54:19
October 21, 2019
Terrorism: Part Two
In part one of Terrorism, we looked at the history of domestic extremists on both the left and the right, from the slave revolts of the 1700s up through the formation and then rebranding of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as their violence during the era of desegregation. From there we looked at far left groups that developed in the late 1960s and early 70s, the Black Panthers and their sometimes allies, the Weather Underground. For part two, we'll move into the modern era, with the militia movements of the 1990s and the rise of white supremacist groups following Obama's election. In the last few years, we have seen movements like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter investigated as terrorist organizations, while the far left group known as Antifa battles in the streets with the newest iteration of organized white supremacists known as the Alt Right, whose young male members are radicalized through victim narratives on online message boards and disturbing meme propaganda. We'll end up in the park where I was once arrested as part of Occupy Charlottesville, the same park that just a handful of years later would see the most famous far right rally in recent history, as neo nazis carried tiki torches around a confederate monument, with one driving his car through a crowd of counter protesters, while the white supremacists screamed and chanted together about their terror at being replaced. 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
33:52
October 14, 2019
Terrorism: Part One
Since 9/11, the fear of terrorism has centered on what we call Islamic extremism, but this two-part episode will instead explore a topic that is becoming more and more prevalent in our news cycle: domestic terrorism, the kind that is directed at Americans by Americans. We will explore both the radical movements of the far left and far right since this nation’s dark beginnings, and how one movement sought to use violent intimidation to maintain the status quo of white supremacy while the other side fought up upend it. We’ll start with the slave revolts of the 1700s and the “slave catchers” that represent the earliest version of what we now know as the police. We’ll reach the Ku Klux Klan’s beginning as well as the blockbuster hit that led to their rebranding in the 1920s, and their rise again during desegregation, just as the allegedly dangerous Black Panther Party of the late 1960s and their problematic white allies, the bomb-making Weather Underground, inspired serious government intervention that caused more death than it stopped. It becomes obvious that the far right and far left have always battled in the streets, just as we see today.    For part two, we will explore how we got to the modern versions of domestic terrorism, what we have come to know as the Alt-Right and Antifa. Coming next Monday, October 14th. 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
38:05
October 7, 2019
Wardrobe Malfunction
Eighty-four million Americans witnessed the greatest pop culture spectacle of 2004, when Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson headlined the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Their live performance ended with what became known as a “wardrobe malfunction” when Justin ripped away a portion of Janet’s leather top, revealing her right breast complete with nipple piercing. This salacious scandal, sometimes called Nipplegate roused a moralistic America, even helping President George W. Bush to win his second term. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written by Riley Smith Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
13:17
September 30, 2019
Pornography
Pornography has existed all over the world for all recorded time, and now porn websites are visited by an estimated 60 million Americans every month. With each new technological advancement, porn soon follows, and each generation subsequently fears for our vulnerable women and our uncontrollable men. For this episode, we’ll spend most of our time in the 1970s, also known as the “Golden Age of Porn,” when America was introduced to Andy Warhol’s Blue Movie, Deep Throat, Playboy, and Hustler. We’ll explore the subsequent feminist and fundamentalist fallout and the war on porn in the 1980s, spurred on by a surprising gruesome advocate. Porn has long been charged with corrupting the youth as well as normalizing, glorifying, and even causing sexual violence. Today we ask the question: What does porn do to us, or more accurately, what can porn make us do?  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
35:53
September 23, 2019
Violent Video Games
AFTER SHOCK: Since the 1970s, violent video games have been a popular scapegoat used by Republicans and Democrats alike to explain mass shootings. From the extremely simplistic Death Race to the more realistic Mortal Kombat, Doom, and Call of Duty, what do our most comprehensive studies tell us about the effects of gory video games? How much have they truly influenced school shooters? And what does this manufactured panic act to cover up? American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written by Riley Smith Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
13:07
September 16, 2019
Dangerous Teens
Despite how these last few years have felt, schools are still statistically the safest place our kids and teenagers can be. Our evolving archetype of the goth mass shooter that was born out of the Columbine massacre isn’t accurate to who those young men really were, nor what they hoped to to achieve. From the Reagan and Bush era wars on crime and drugs came another kind of juvenile threat known as Superpredators, as The Central Park Five case demonized black kids as a violent mob wrecking havoc all over the nation, eventually leading social scientists and politicians to predict that their numbers would explode into the hundreds of thousands. With this in mind, when we demand political actions again extremely rare, though devastating, event of the school mass shooting, the angry young white men we have come to view as the most common perpetrators are not the ones stopped by the rising presence of school police. Today I ask the question: When we panic about school shootings on both the left and the right, who are the invisible victims of our collective outrage?   *Note: This episode states the chance of a K-12 student being killed by a school shooter as 1 in 614 million. This is the risk faced each day, not for an entire lifetime. My apologies for not making this clear. Thanks to statistician Chandler Piché for reaching out.* 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
36:20
September 9, 2019
Furby
AFTER SHOCK: Many of us were gifted a strange robotic creature in the last years of the 1990s, a furry animatronic friend that children taught to speak, or so America believed. With misconceptions around the technology of Furby came strange urban legends and conspiracy theories about its possible use as spy equipment, the possibility of it crashing planes and stopping life support machines, and its alleged demonic possession that left an entire generation of kids haunted for years to come. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written by Riley Smith Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
12:30
September 2, 2019
Toy Riots
After the heavy first half of this season, I wanted us to take a little break together and have some fun. We will be covering the volatile toy riots of the 1980s and 90s, from Cabbage Patch Kids to Tickle Me Elmo to Beanie Babies to Pokemon. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to when adults created a market for these toys out of thin air, with pointless plush selling for tens of thousands of dollars, and we’ll even hear a little from my Grannie about her personal mission to find a precious Tickle Me Elmo. I’ll explore just what it is about these fad toys that have led adults to fight each other in the aisles, to break each other’s arms, to create smuggling rings, and even commit murder, sometimes trampling the very children the toys were made for.  Thanks to my Grannie Sheila Haagenson! 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
36:05
August 26, 2019
LIVE VARIETY HOUR
For this very special episode, we present to you a mash-up of some of our favorite parts of American Hysteria’s LIVE VARIETY HOUR in Seattle. Special guests include Tinky Winky, Satan, Alex Jones, and John Harvey Kellogg. Expect drag, banned dances, urban legends told in the high school halls, favorite PSAs from the 80s and 90s, and even a little romance. CWS hosts this round up of the most hilarious and horrifying moments from season one. You’re gonna want to see our videos, make sure you head to our social media now! Guest hosted by our producer Rod Rodriguez Produced by Clear Commo Studios Assistant Produced by Riley Smith Co-written, Produced, and Starring Lily Orrey, Erin McCarthy, and Will Rogers Produced, directed, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith 
40:02
August 19, 2019
Two Flexible Skeptics Contemplate the Unknowable Universe: American Hysteria in Conversation with the Something Scary Podcast
Today I plan to lose all creditability among our dedicated skeptics by sharing my ghost experiences, talking about astrology, and even getting a tarot card reading. Instead of abandoning me, I ask you to indulge yourself into the unknown for just one episode. With the amazing Sapphire Sandalo of Something Scary asking me the kinds of questions I love, I promise to keep my skepticism alive while also respecting the great mysteries that have always fueled me, and led me here, to American Hysteria. Thanks to Sapphire Sandalo, make sure you follow her and her projects on Instagram @awkwardsapphire 
38:39
August 12, 2019
The Mad Gasser of Mattoon
AFTER SHOCK: In the summer of 1944, Americans saw terrifying headlines about a possible Nazi chemical weapons strike in the form of an invisible poison gas. Underneath those headlines, a small town in Illinois began experiencing apparent “anesthetic attacks” by a mysterious figure that would come to be known as the Mad Gasser of Mattoon. Could it have been an escaped Nazi hellbent on the town's destruction? An urban legend leading to a mass hysteria? Or a sadistic homosexual trying to poison his intolerant neighbors with invisible gas?  American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research and co-writing assisted by Riley Smith Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
13:03
August 5, 2019
Monsters
Monsters come from the darkness, from the depth of lakes and swamps, from the shadows of forests and hills, and live too in the dark parts of all of us. However, this episode is less about Bigfoot and more about the idea of the monstrous, and how it has been used as a tool to demonize black folks since the first slave ships landed in America, both through folktales and famous works of fiction. We also explore how Darwin's theory of evolution affected white Americans and led to the actual creation of human zoos that displayed African people as both the missing link and blood-thirsty monsters.  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 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
33:15
July 29, 2019
Ted Bundy
AFTER SHOCK: This 1970s rockstar biopic of a man whom we can all agree should be deeply reviled isn’t a new or shocking concept in America, the country with the world record for serial killers in the last 100 years. Zac Efron's sculpted and lovable Ted Bundy personifies an ongoing American obsession with this allegedly handsome killer turned celebrity, a man who confessed to 30 murders and brutal sexual assaults. What does it mean that these boogeymen for which we carry pepper spray, check our backseats, and deadbolt our doors have also become our sex symbols and household names? And what of women who love serial killers? How different are we from them when we cannot seem to look away? American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research and co-writing assisted by Riley Smith Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
10:58
July 22, 2019
Celebrity
Whether we like to admit it or not, we have celebrities that we follow, and we can watch their dramatics play out on a public stage, their dramatics that remind us of our own. On this episode, we will trace the major events that shaped American fame as we know it, forming our fantastical ideas about celebrities and their personas on and off screen. We’ll explore the anthropology and psychology behind our celebrity celebrity obsession, a process that is actually embedded in our very DNA. We’ll also look at the history of the concept of personality, something that only came to be at the turn of the 19th century, that would shift our focus from what a person does to who a person is. The value of “character” was replaced with the value of “personality,” a philosophical shift has gotten us where we are today, for better and for worse. 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 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
34:22
July 15, 2019
Parrot Fever
AFTER SHOCK: On this week's show we talk about a disease known as Parrot Fever that frightened the nation in 1929, leading to parrots being abandoned in the streets and thrown overboard from ships. But just as quickly, the hysteria gave way to ridicule as America and the media made Parrot Fever into a joke, a made-up illness, a silly panic. But in reality, sickness and death struck 20% of those who contracted Parrot Fever, and though the concern was overblown, the denial of its existence was too.  American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research assisted by Riley Smith Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
10:27
July 8, 2019
Quackery
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Lifestyle-brand ‘Goop’ and the expensive products it peddles are just the newest in a long line of medical quackery leading back to the 1800s. America has a long history with selling and buying Snake Oil, bogus cures to any ailment you can imagine, starting with the cowboy showman of the wild west, who sold to the masses through traveling vaudevillian performances. In addition to fake cures, historical American doctors and scientists also have a dark history of identifying and pathologizing both biological and mental illnesses that simply didn’t exist, ones that said much more about the culture’s values than it did about the people who were said to be ill. At the same time, the rich were being diagnosed in spades with a disorder known as Americanitis, leading to much more luxurious treatments. American alternative medicine, as dubious as it may be, formed as citizens rightly grew suspicious of the flawed medical establishment. Though fake cures are not grounded in science, researchers are actually finding that alternative medicine does work to help relieve us of our pain, just not in the ways you might think. 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 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
38:15
July 1, 2019
Cooties
We all remember the very real threat of cooties, a contractable playground malady that developed out of the adult fear of germs. Cooties have long acted as a tool of kiddy quarantine as well as a tool to define who are the social others of the school hierarchy. Today we will dive into the long history of cooties, from wartime trenches to the jungle gym.  American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research and cowritten by Riley Smith Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
11:11
June 24, 2019
Germs
In a real sense, germs are our only modern predator and they are invisible and impossible to detect; what could be scarier? America has adjusted to the threat of germs by not only working toward cures and vaccinations, but by making uncleanliness in general a cultural symbol meant to separate social others from the affluent. Anxieties about race and immigration, about gender and sexuality and class, played out in the way products were marketed, as well as in how public policy and public opinion were formed, leading to several needless quarantines and travel bans throughout history. American’s obsession with cleanliness has become a kind of religious ritual, and scientists and psychologists now believe that the fear of germs may influence all our political and moral opinions without us evening knowing it.   American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research assisted by Riley Smith 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
33:22
June 17, 2019
Griefbots
American Hysteria presents the AFTER SHOCK, a follow-up minisode to the main episode before it, basically The Shit They Didn't Show or From The Cutting Room Floor. We'll cover one interesting story every other week. This episode is about 'griefbots,' a new form of AI that app developers are creating. By scouring social media posts and text messages of deceased persons, they work to design chat bots that loved ones and future generations can actually interact with. One developer is even offering a way to contribute to a future digital version of yourself, that could live on long after you die.  American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research assisted by Riley Smith Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
14:05
June 10, 2019
Talking to the Dead
For the season two premiere, we are exploring the rich American history of Spiritualism, a massive 80-year trend of popular culture lasting from the Civil War to the Jazz age in which mediums began speaking to, and then speaking for, the spirits of the dead. A sudden craze of magical, fun, gross, and sexy parlor room séances swept the nation, materializing during the awe-inspiring age of invention and scientific inquiry. But the movement also had a political side; for the first time women were given a voice for social and political change, a voice that just happened to be channeled from beyond the veil. How they used that otherworldly voice, however, was both revolutionary and problematic, much like the progressive movements we experience today.  American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research assisted by Riley Smith 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
32:19
June 3, 2019
Presenting American Hysteria: Season Two
Join us next week, Monday, June 3rd, for the premiere of season two where we cover the creepy, sexy, gross, and surprisingly political American movement of Talking to the Dead. Find out what more you can expect from our coming season, from terrorism to dangerous teens, from medical quackery to the dangers of the crossword puzzle. In the meantime, if you love the show, please leave us a five star review, it really helps the show out.
01:39
May 27, 2019
Viral: Believing in the Blair Witch
This is the 20 year anniversary of one of my favorite movies of all time, The Blair Witch Project, a movie that masqueraded as real found footage of three college students who went missing in the woods while recording a documentary on the local legend. The story of the missing students and the lore of the Blair Witch were both widely believed during its monumental release, and we are covering just how the directors and marketing team were able to pull off one of the greatest hoaxes in American history, creating an original urban legend and facilitating its spread while also using a truly unorthodox method of filming, essentially becoming the Blair Witch, that encouraged true fear out of the actors. These mini episodes will cover the strangest viral phenomena of the world wide web, coming every two weeks during our off-season. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research assisted by Riley Smith Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
15:55
May 6, 2019
Viral: The Mandela Effect
Our culture, our society, our very sense of self, relies heavily on a faith in our memories as perfectly accurate. But what if our memories aren’t as reliable as we think? What if we can recall vividly, things that never actually happened? And what if that can extend out to an entire culture, a whole group collectively remembering something wrong? The Mandela Effect, however, says that parallel dimensions are to blame for discrepancies of mass childhood memories, such as the spelling of Berenstain Bears and the Sinbad's 90s genie movie Shazam.  These mini episodes will cover the strangest viral phenomena of the world wide web, coming every two weeks during our off-season. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research assisted by Riley Smith Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
12:50
April 22, 2019
Viral: The Momo Suicide Challenge
The newest viral internet urban legend focuses on an entity named Momo, a creepy humanoid figure with giant eyes, a strange too-wide smile, and grotesque chicken legs, said to message teens and kids on messaging apps with escalating dangerous challenges ending in self-harm and suicide. On this mini episode, we'll explore this and other panics that look for something to blame for the issue of adolescent mental health. These mini episodes will cover the strangest viral phenomena of the world wide web, coming every two weeks during our off-season. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
13:11
April 8, 2019
The End of the World
It has been said that the apocalypse is as American as apple pie, and for our season finale we are exploring different versions of the end of the world, the hyper-religious, the new age, and the scientific, as well as Chelsey’s personal experience with the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse. The stories we tell about the end of time tend to involve not only a series of cataclysmic, devastating events, but also the saving of an elect few, and the punishing and death of the rest. While none of the end times predictions have come to pass, major leaps in technology have opened us up to both the potential nuclear war and the potential for climate disaster, terrifying realities that prove more difficult to face than our fantasies. What comes next is up to us.  American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research assisted by Riley Smith 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
41:51
March 25, 2019
The Calm Down: The Morality of Drugs and the Opioid Crisis
This week we will be discussing the history of drug panic in the United States and its effects in the present day. My guest is Sarah Deutsch, a friend of mine from high school who received her masters in Public health from the City University of New York. Sarah went on to become the Director of Outreach and Prevention for a syringe exchange in Washington Heights, where she worked for many years. Currently, Sarah is working in Washington State to scale up programs that serve people who use drugs. For this episode, Sarah will share her expertise as we discuss the morality of drugs, and the differences and similarities in cultural perceptions in the current opioid crisis. \ My guest this week is Sarah Deutsch This episode was produced by Clear Commo Studios Join me next week for our season finale on The End of the World Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
26:23
March 18, 2019
Drugs
When a security camera caught footage of a 31-year-old Florida resident eating the face of a homeless man, the news and social media dubbed him the Miami Zombie, and it was widely speculated that he was under the influence of a new synthetic drug called Bath Salts, a claim that was later found to be false. Hysterical drug rhetoric has long talked of zombies and monsters and aggressors with superhuman strength and an imperviousness to police bullets, and panic around drug use has long been manufactured by politicians with specific groups in mind, to dehumanize those who appear to cause a threat to the established social order, marking them inhuman groups in need of social control and even long-term imprisonment. Many of us were drafted into the War on Drugs as kids and teens through faulty programs implemented by D.A.R.E. police officers, and taught to mimic this unreasonable rhetoric that has caused irreparable harm to many American communities and continues to do so to this day. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Research assisted by Riley Smith Show art by Roache Voice Acting by Will Rogers Thanks to Sarah Deutsch for advising Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
31:10
March 11, 2019
The Calm Down: Murdered on Lovers' Lane
For this week's episode of the Calm Down, my guests are the women of Feminist Folklore, our partner podcast at Skylark media. Each week Carela Holl-Jensen and Rachael Marr consider what fairytales, folk stories, and urban legends can tell us about culture at large, about beliefs surrounding gender and sexuality and the prescribed roles of women. Today we’ll be discussing different interpretations of the Hook man urban legend as well as the true crime stories of Lover’s Lane, while we dissect the phenomenon of the teenage urban legend and what it has to do with American traditions. This week's were Carela Holl Jensen and Rachel Marr of Feminist Folklore Hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith This episode was produced by Clear Commo Studios Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Next episode we will talk about American Drug panics.
23:20
February 25, 2019
Teenage Sex
In 1996, Scream taught American teenagers the first rule to surviving a horror movie. Never, ever have sex. Classic slasher movies have their roots in an urban legend we all heard growing up: a guy and a girl are parked on a deserted lover’s lane making out while a hook-handed killer is on the loose. The 2000s gave us urban legends about dangerous teen sex games, Rainbow parties and sex bracelets, as well as bans on high school dances over grinding and twerking, and with the recent outrage over teen sexting, it seems that kids these days are out of control. But since the invention of the American teenager, rumor and outrage has swirled around this reckless developmental stage. Through looking at the start of teenage culture in the 1920s, when risqué dance trends and controversial make-out parties scandalized the nation, we’ll find the roots of these modern moral panics, and see how our battles around sex education have left them in an uneducated limbo, creating suburban legends to make sense of their parents’ utter horror at their private lives. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios 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
33:39
February 18, 2019
The Calm Down: Talking to My Christian Friends About Gay Stuff
For the Calm Down this week my guests are my two Christian friends who wish to remain anonymous, as they are sharing some anti-establishment opinions. Brianna is a poet who got her masters with me at the University of Virginia, and her husband Patrick has a master’s degree in biblical and theological studies and teaches the bible at a private high school. Brianna and Patrick are dedicated to questioning and exploring their faith in big ways, and today we’ll talk about their changes of heart as young Christians, what the the Bible says about homosexuality in its historical context, and how the philosophy of queerness just might help save the Christian faith.  This is American Hysteria’s The Calm Down Hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith This week’s guests were Brianna and Patrick This episode was produced by Clear Common Studios Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast Join us next week for the panics surrounding Teenage Sex.
26:09
February 11, 2019
The Gay Agenda
The purse-carrying, tutu-wearing purple Teletubby Tinky Winky was outed as a homosexual in 1999, capping off a decade of conspiratorial anti-gay writings and videos that influenced politics straight up to supreme court. Accused of using kids shows and public schools to influence impressionable minds and recruit new young homosexuals, the gay militants were secretly powerful agents of a massive conspiracy to bring down traditional American values and take over the country. The creation of the Gay Agenda theory borrowed from a long history of devastating misinformation and a concerted effort to rid America of this apparent moral disease without mercy, a process that began as the first puritans encountered tribal communities with ways shockingly different than their own, and began their own anti-gay crusade that has lasted centuries. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios 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
32:29
February 4, 2019
The Calm Down: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Clown
On the Calm Down this week we are talking Phantom clowns, horror movies, and the uncanny valley. My guest is John Campopiano, an independent filmmaker, writer, and film collector who works for PBS’ Frontline His debut documentary explored Stephen King's Pet Sematary, and his latest project, now in post production, is an all encompassing look at the 1990 miniseries IT starring Tim Curry. John has also co-written a new short film inspired by IT called 'Georgie,' which is due out in the spring, both of which I AM SO EXCITED FOR. We’ve already covered the panic, now here’s the calm down. Follow John's Pennywise doc American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios 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 me next week for our next episode on The Gay Agenda
25:05
January 27, 2019
Phantom Clowns
For most of us living in the US, clowns have become much more associated with horror than the laughter of kids. The “killer clown” epidemic went viral in 2016, with reports across the nation of evil clowns trying to lure children into the woods, attacking adults, and threating harm to local schools, but as you might guess, they were all hoaxes or hysteria. However, it wasn’t the first time that America was invaded by Phantom Clowns. For this episode, I will trace the history of our relationship to the clown as a cultural archetype, explore a strange theory of creepiness known as the uncanny valley, and try to understand why these particular creatures emerge from the woods when they do.
 American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios 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
35:15
January 21, 2019
The Calm Down: Kids in Cauldrons and Satanic Ritual Abuse
For this week’s Calm Down we are talking about part two of Satanic Panic that focused on Satanic ritual abuse. My guest is American Hysteria’s editor and producer Rod Rodriguez of Clear Commo Studios. A US Army Reserve Intelligence Officer, Rod earned his masters in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University in 2015\. He surprised the hell out of me the other day by revealing his experience both growing up embroiled in his own hometown Satanic scare and as a grad student studying traumatized children, learning hard lessons from the the Satanic ritual abuse investigations, experiences he is going to share today. We are both so happy this episode is behind us, join us as we try to process it all together. Hosted Chelsey Weber-Smith  Our guest this week was Rod Rodriguez and this episode was produced by Clear Commo Studios Join me next week for our next episode on Phantom Clowns! American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios 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
25:55
January 14, 2019
Satanic Panic: Part Two
*Please be aware that this episode talks about child sexual abuse* We recommend listening to part one of Satanic Panic first. In 1980s America, when 60% of people believed that devil worship was a serious problem, two new characters, Stranger Danger’s murderous pedophile and the Satanist, blurred into a new villain and psychological archetype: The Satanic pedophile. In part one, we saw how Satanic hysteria was sown through pop culture, sensational media, and religious hucksters, causing the widespread fear of Satan’s influence over children and their behavior. We touched on the cultural anxieties that were raging during this time, with women beginning careers and leaving kids in daycare for the first time in history, and the Moral Majority pushing fundamentalism into the political sphere. For part two, Chelsey covers ‘satanic ritual abuse’, the belief that Satanic cults were using daycare centers as fronts to physically, sexually, and emotionally abuse children in horrifying religious rituals allegedly described by the children themselves. This moral panic has been called the Salem Witch Hunt of our modern era, including the longest and most expensive trial in US history, with some of the accused wrongly imprisoned for twenty years. Chelsey will try to understand this shocking moment in our recent history, how something like this could have happened, and the cultural issues it was really about. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios 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
33:54
January 7, 2019
Satanic Panic: Part One
This episode is part one of our two-part series on perhaps the most mystifying moral panic in US history, the 1980s and early 90s 'Satanic Panic.' For this episode, Chelsey covers the rise of organized Satanism beginning in the late 60s, as well as the adversarial countercultures of the hippies and the metalheads, and their apparent Satanic crimes that would be hailed as proof of their evil, as well as proof that teens, as well as children, were in serious moral peril. Satan was allegedly hypnotizing the youth with secret messages in backwards rock songs, teaching them occult magic in Saturday morning cartoons, and causing suicides through a popular role-playing game, all while helping religion blur into politics for good. For part two Chelsey will cover what came next, a serious investigation into an imagined network of Satanic cults ritually abusing children in daycare centers all over the country. Chelsey will try to understand this shocking decade in history, why it happened, and the cultural issues it was really about. Part two is coming after the holidays. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios 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
35:42
December 10, 2018
The Calm Down: Hidden Anti-Semitism in Conspiracy Thought and Getting to Know Satan
The Calm Down is a mini episode of American Hysteria coming every other week. Today we’re following up on last week’s show about the illuminati, please listen to that episode first. My guest is Mark Gunnery, a queer Jewish journalist who produces the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU, Washington DC's NPR station. He is currently working on a podcast series about Sabbatai Tzvi, a 17th century false messiah who changed the course of Jewish history. We’ll talk about the Jewish Illuminati conspiracy theories and where they come from, and then scratch surface of the coming episodes on the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. This week's guest was Mark Gunnery, visit his website here Hosted Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced by Clear Commo Studios Join us next week for a new episode of American Hysteria, Part one of Satanic Panic. Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
21:44
December 3, 2018
The Illuminati
For this episode, we'll explore the mother-of-all conspiracy theories, the Illuminati, an alleged secret society and their evil world domination plan known as the New World Order. Chelsey takes a stroll down memory lane with friend Austin Smith, to a time when they believed in the Illuminati and found what seemed like proof. We’ll explore the history of the theory itself, why some people are more prone to believing than others, and how at the heart of the theory lies a dark ideology that has affected our culture into the present. Check out A Culture of Conspiracy by Michael Barkun for further reading American Hysteria is written and produced by Chelsey Weber-Smith
 Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios
 Show art by Roache 
 Voice acting by Will Rogers Thanks to my guest, Austin Smith, check out his new book of poems Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
35:20
November 26, 2018
Poisoned Halloween Candy
This episode takes a look at our history with candy, the desire and the panic, and explains why sweets have always been a source of fear for parents. Starting with the strange 1800s religious beliefs of Dr. Harvey Kellogg, about candy leading to sexual deviancy, we'll move through the goofy urban legends of the 1970s, to the 80s and 90s when people allegedly began finding dangerous objects in their foods, like syringes in Pepsi cans and poison in Halloween candy. American Hysteria is written and produced by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Rod Rodriguez Show art by Roache Voice acting by Lily Orrey and Will Rogers Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
33:12
November 12, 2018
Stranger Danger
This episode explores the evolution of American's bogeyman, the Stranger, and reveals how rare these types of kidnappings really are. Through looking at the sensational child snatching crimes that have shaped our culture from the 1800s to the 1980s, and how we have responded to them in the media, in books, with PSAs and made-for-TV movies, host Chelsey Weber-Smith explains the problem with Stranger Danger and what this moral panic might be covering up. American Hysteria is written and produced by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Rod Rodriguez Show art by Roache (xroache.com](xroache.com) Thanks for Jake Weholt for the interview Thanks to Corinne Manning for advising Check out Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America by Paula Fass for further reading  Become a Patron for extra episodes, interviews, and videos monthly! Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: @AmerHysteria Instagram: @AmericanHysteriaPodcast
31:45
November 12, 2018
Introducing American Hysteria
American Hysteria is a brand new podcast exploring our moral panics, urban legends, and conspiracy theories, how they shape our psychology and culture, and why we end up believing them. Host Chelsey Weber-Smith will attempt to understand why we fear the wrong things, explore how these fears shape our past, present, and future in sometimes hilarious and sometimes devastating ways, and also what these bizarre panics might be covering up. Topics range from Stranger Danger to Poisoned Halloween Candy to Satanic Panic to the Illuminati. Subscribe now where ever you get your podcasts. The first two episodes drop November 12th.
01:00
November 5, 2018