Skip to main content
Hobsession

Hobsession

By Selkie and the Anchoress
Welcome to Hobsession - where we get horribly obsessed, highly obsessed, hilariously obsessed with things that other people might find odd. Nothing is too obscure too creepy or too weird for us to research obsessively. We are Heidi and Rebecca, join us in our Hobsessions!
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo

Overcast

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo

RadioPublic

Spotify Logo

Spotify

Stitcher Logo

Stitcher

A Light Supper With The Breatharians
Is it possible to live without food or water? A group of New Age extremists called the Breatharians claim that the human body can survive for years on nothing but air and sunlight. Heidi and Becki shed some (tasty) light on these claims and explore whether or not the Breatharians are full of hot air. There’s also an Australian cult leader, 60 Minutes and 90’s nostalgia for good measure! Tuck in!
47:50
September 13, 2021
The Basement Music of The Shaggs
Helen, Betty and Dot Wiggin had no interest in being pop stars. Their dad, however, shaped his life around his mother’s psychic predictions, and she had said that the girls would grow up to be rich and famous musicians. So he pulled them out of school and insisted that they form a band - The Shaggs. Isolated from the world outside their family and forced to compose on instruments they could barely play, the Wiggin girls lived a life that was as strange as their music. Named the ‘Godmothers of Outsider Music’, The Shaggs found their true audience decades later in the most unexpected places.
42:12
July 28, 2021
Are You Bridget Cleary?
Bridget Cleary wasn’t like the other girls in her rural town in Tipperary, Ireland. It was the late 19th century, and Bridget was in many ways a modern woman - ambitious, independent and secure in her own identity. When she fell ill, her husband Michael declared that his wife had been stolen by the fairies and a changeling imposter had been left in her place. The superstitions, resentments and jealousies of Bridget’s community enabled Michael to murder his wife in a way that is still talked about over a century later. Warning: This episode contains details of domestic violence and coercive control.
45:16
May 16, 2021
The Obsessions of Hans Christian Andersen
It was 1857 and the last thing Charles Dickens and his family (who were in a state of upheaval) needed was a houseguest. They especially didn’t need a neurotic, self-absorbed and tactless houseguest like the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, who decided to stay for an excruciating five weeks. Andersen was suffocatingly obsessive about the people in his life, a trait that he’d had since his troubled childhood and bleak adolescence. Heidi and Becki look at the loves and friendships that caused both inspiration and heartbreak for the eccentric storyteller and the twisted fairytale that was his life.
42:04
March 22, 2021
The Haunting of Humpty Doo House
It was the late 90’s in the small Northern Territory town of Humpty Doo, a place of sweltering heat, humid storms, crocodiles and hardworking people. The house at 90 McMinns Road and it’s inhabitants were dealing with something unexpected and terrifying - an energy so destructive that it could be nothing other than a poltergeist. Flying knives and cascading rocks, however, were almost nothing compared to the unwanted fame and unscrupulous media outlets that were a greater disturbance than a ghost could ever be.
40:44
March 07, 2021
The Eternal Supermodel: Lizzie Siddal and the Feminine Muse
Lizzie Siddal was a young working class woman in Victorian London who longed for more. Desperate to be accepted as a poet and a painter, Lizzie found her way into the art scene by becoming the main muse of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. She may be most recognisable face of the art movement, but her own talents were submerged (much like Ophelia) by the demands of the famous men around her. Heidi and Becki muse on the idea of the muse - must they always be female? How have they changed through history? Will anyone make them a sandwich?
50:11
February 21, 2021
Sing, Frights of Angels!
It’s nearly Christmas and we are surrounded by depictions of angels. On the Christmas tree, on greeting cards, in movies, beautiful humans in fluffy wings and halos abound. But angels were not originally thought of as beautiful and benign helpers. Heidi and Becki look at the sometimes fierce and terrifying history of angelic beings and how we tamed them to match the psychological needs of the time.
31:27
December 07, 2020
The Unholy Death of Anneliese Michel
When Anneliese Michel reached out to Father Ernst Alt, she was desperate. Suicidally depressed and tormented by horrific hallucinations, she pleaded for an exorcism. This isn’t a story about the paranormal. This is the story of a young woman who was pushed into the depths of Hell by the people she trusted the most. Anneliese did have demons, but not the supernatural kind. In the end, the real demons are the people who betray us.
41:48
July 27, 2020
Deadly Dancing: The Dance Marathons of the American Dust Bowl
Most people watch reality TV or follow internet drama, often with the desire to see people in challenging and sometimes humiliating situations. In the days of the Dust Bowl, American audiences could watch people dance for survival. ‘Dance for your life’ and ‘dance till you drop’ weren’t just phrases but a way of life for the desperate and near-destitute of the 1930’s. Crueler than any reality TV show, these dance marathons can reveal something about the voyeuristic nature of humans and our need for sinister and exploitative entertainment.
30:26
July 13, 2020
Uncanny Valley of the Dolls
Why do so many people claim to find dolls creepy?  Are we influenced by popular culture or are we hardwired to find human replicas sinister?  Heidi and Becki open up a toy box of theories and have some laughs along the way.  
39:07
June 29, 2020
We Are The Zombies
What would you do if a loved one told you that they were dead? Not that they felt dead on the inside, but that they believed themselves to truly be a corpse? It was the discovery of a medical phenomenon that led your two favourite nerds down the rabbit hole of zombie tropes. We look at the heartbreaking origins of the zombie and the literary and cinematic depictions of the monsters that reveal our deepest fears.
32:53
June 14, 2020
Just Me and My Shadow: The Odd Story of Emilie Sargee
Nobody at her new school knew why the brilliant French teacher Emilie Sargee had been unable to hold down a job. She seemed to be the perfect teacher - that is, until the students realised her spooky secret! Heidi and Becki chat about doppelgängers, parallel universes and ghostly twins in a way that will have you seeing double!
34:25
June 01, 2020
Mr Split-Foot Visits the Fox Sisters
 People often joke about starting up a religious movement, but in late 1840’s New York, two kids unintentionally did just that.  Maggie and Kate Fox played a prank on their mother that was taken so seriously that the consequences reverberated around the world. Trapped in their own lies and living under the control of a fearsome older sister, Maggie and Kate became the unwitting founders of a spiritual movement that upended their own lives with tragic results.
31:11
May 17, 2020
Agafia of Siberia Part 2 of 2
Agafia Lykova was 35 years old when, for the first time in her life, she met a human being who was not a member of her immediate family. Self-exiled in the wilds of Siberia, the Lykova family was so isolated they did not even realise they’d lived through a Second World War. This is the story of Agafia, the youngest Lykov, and the one who would outlive her entire clan. She’s survived famine, bears, predatory men and extreme winters, living entirely on her own terms. Heidi and Becki explore what is ultimately a love story between a woman and the wilderness she calls home.
31:49
May 11, 2020
Agafia of Siberia part 1 of 2
 Agafia Lykova was 35 years old when, for the first time in her life, she met a human being who was not a member of her immediate family. Self-exiled in the wilds of Siberia, the Lykova family was so isolated they did not even realise they’d lived through a Second World War. This is the story of Agafia, the youngest Lykov, and the one who would outlive her entire clan. She’s survived famine, bears, predatory men and extreme winters, living entirely on her own terms. Heidi and Becki explore what is ultimately a love story between a woman and the wilderness she calls home.
31:15
May 04, 2020
The Political Puppetry of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
The Political Puppetry of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Today we present our analysis of the Netflix prequel to cult fantasy classic The Dark Crystal. Do the politics of Thra run parallel to the political situations of our own world? Do Skeksis have several appendages and why would Heidi bring this up? Why is Heidi so creepy and will Becki ever recover? The adorkable bogans ask all this and more. Join the resistance, roll like a fizzgig and fight like a gelfling!
01:05:54
April 27, 2020
Richard Dadd and the Fairies of Bedlam
In the Tate Gallery there is one of the most beautiful and famous fairy paintings  in the world - The Fairy Feller’s Master-stroke by Richard Dadd. Like all of Dadd’s paintings, it’s loved for its glorious whimsy and exquisite detail, however, its background is far from sweet. This is a case where art history meets gruesome true crime, and we learn that even luminous beauty can grow from dark and sinister soil
24:49
April 20, 2020
Flying Saucers in the Suburbs
The 6th of April 1966 was not an average day for the students and teachers of Westall High, a suburban school in Melbourne.  The largest mass UFO sighting in Australia would take place just before recess and the lives of the eyewitnesses would be altered forever. Disbelieved and mocked, the students were forced into silence, yet even in adulthood they stand firm in their conviction that what they saw that day was real. Heidi and Becki delve into the events, the coverups and the aftermath of the Westall UFO incident.
34:54
April 11, 2020
Bluebeard and the Cathedral of True Terror
Fairytales were not always for children. Fairytales were originally violent, brutal and very scary. This week we look at the origins of Bluebeard and work out possible connections to the world’s first serial killer, Joan of Arc and some unsavoury men.
38:05
March 09, 2020
Murder on the High Cs: The Very Loud Life of Florence Foster Jenkins
Florence Foster Jenkins was a New York socialite with musical ambitions. Equipped with a formidable self esteem and an army of enablers, Florence never let her lack of talent get in the way of her operatic dreams. She was notorious for her costumes, her swagger and her inability to hold a tune. Heidi and Becki look at the life of a cult favourite and analyse what it takes to be ‘so bad it’s good’
59:26
March 02, 2020
Enemy of the State: The Incarceration of ‘Typhoid Mary’
Mary Mallon was once known as the most dangerous and feared woman in New York. An Irish immigrant and hard-working cook, Mallon was chased down by authorities and forced into a life of isolation, despite never having committed any actual crimes. So who was Mary Mallon and why was she considered such a menace to society? Heidi and Becki take a look at the strange and tragic life of the woman history remembers as ‘Typhoid Mary’. Coronavirus Covid19
44:51
February 16, 2020
Fairies Gone Viral : an analysis of the Cottingley Fairy Scandal
What happens when an innocent game spirals so far out of control that it ends up being international news?  Many people recognise the Cottingley fairy photographs as one of the greatest hoaxes of all time, but who were the girls behind it and what were their true intentions?  Why did such intellectual luminaries as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle give them such public support?  Do people have an inbuilt desire to be deceived?   Heidi and Becki attempt to tackle these questions and sprinkle around some glittery insights into the nature of grief, truth and the human need to believe in magic.  
58:51
February 09, 2020
The Woman in the Glass Coffin: The Life and Death of Julia Pastrana - Part 2
Part 2.   A young girl born and raised in Western Mexico became an international celebrity in the mid-nineteenth century, yet now the name Julia Pastrana has fallen into near obscurity. An outcast from mainstream society, Pastrana became one of the most famous performers of her day, but never for the right reasons. We sift through the lies and rumours to find the real woman and the truth about her heartbreaking life.
26:08
January 31, 2020
The Woman in the Glass Coffin: The Life and Death of Julia Pastrana. Part one
Part one.   A young girl born and raised in Western Mexico became an international celebrity in the mid-nineteenth century, yet now the name Julia Pastrana has fallen into near obscurity. An outcast from mainstream society, Pastrana became one of the most famous performers of her day, but never for the right reasons. We sift through the lies and rumours to find the real woman and the truth about her heartbreaking life.
29:26
January 26, 2020
Demon in your doorway
You wake up, yet you can't move.  A figure moves in the doorway, enters the room and sits on the bed. Demon?  Spirit?  Or something that can be neatly explained by science? This week the hobsessives delve into the intriguing topic of sleep paralysis - the science, the myths and the links to historical events and current pop culture mysteries.   Become, HOBSESSED.  
46:56
January 18, 2020
The Ghostwriter and Yeats
Lonely and neglected on her honeymoon, the young wife of Irish poet W.B.Yeats discovers that she has a talent for automatic writing. Believing that his bride is a channel for spirits and divine muses, Yeats is inspired and enchanted. A connection to the world of ghostly poets or the ruse of a frustrated and brilliant woman?
39:17
January 12, 2020