Episodes
Published 10/03/22
Julian and Matthew take a long look at the 1999 film Teal Swan was reportedly obsessed with as a teen. Girl, Interrupted is a bold adaptation of a 1993 memoir by the writer Susanna Kaysen about the 18 months she spent undergoing treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder in a Massachusetts psychiatric facility in the late 1960s.  This study is provoked by a memory recounted by Swan's childhood friend, Diana Hansen Ribera, that Swan identified with the character of Lisa Rowe in the film....
Published 10/03/22
The book is filed. Our mental health is in check. And, as it turns out, Matthew found a new guru. We return to trio work by investigating his fellow Canadian's cure for, uh, anything, or maybe something, as well diving into two biohacking conferences and the conspiritualist's new favorite fascist on the block. Show notes Tip of the iceberg: erectile dysfunction and COVID-19 | International Journal of Impotence Research  Will in the News, TV & Internet Culture  Umberto Eco Makes a List...
Published 09/29/22
If you tune into your favorite Instagram wellness influencer or financial life coach, you’ll learn that money is really a state of mind—right? Thinking the right thoughts is the truest judge of character, and therefore indicative of your bottom line. This week Derek looks at research from behavioral economics, which found the perceived relationship between wealth and morality dates back to post-WWII America—and has damaged the poorest among us for generations. He weighs evidence from this...
Published 09/26/22
Some of the most valuable material that come to us from Paula Marino's Open Shadow film of 2017 is an extended interview with Swan's parent's, the Bosworths. They speak about Swan's sensory sensitivity as a young child, and how that morphed into a staunchly independent but sometimes isolated social life. They describe Swan's secret runic writing, their belief in her capacities as a medical intuitive, and discuss the gaps in psychiatric care that failed them all when her mental health needed...
Published 09/24/22
Are you ready to biohack your brain with buttered coffee? How about going “within” at the Drybar of acupuncture? What if we told you that cannabis will catapult your chakras into higher consciousness—all it costs is a $5,000 retreat entry fee, not including airfare and hotel? In the $4.4 trillion wellness industry, is any cost really too expensive to achieve true self-care—even if it never really seems like you arrive anywhere at all?  Rina Raphael was getting burnt out as a millennial...
Published 09/22/22
Christina Flinders returns for the second of a two-part tour through her experience with cultic dynamics, conspirituality, and the long road towards finding her place in the world.  Picking up where she left off, Flinders discusses breaking free of the sexually abusive cult of Eknath Easwaren, finding ambivalent agency as a stripper, and then graduating to yoga teaching—where she then had to dodge being redpilled.  Thanks again to Christina for her generosity and lucidity, and her family for...
Published 09/19/22
Did you know that Joe Biden is a Satanic alien Nazi pedophile intent on bringing about the New World Order? Or that Donald Trump is the only thing that will save us from complete tyranny? How about the fact that COVID vaccines are bioweapons destroying the global population? But that’s okay, because colloidal silver is the magic bullet that will boost your immune system to help you fend off this scamdemic. Add that to your herbal stack alongside Lung Health Organic Herbal Spray which is...
Published 09/15/22
Christina Flinders is our honoured guest today for the first of a two-part tour through her  experience with cultic dynamics and conspirituality. Matthew and Julian learn about her family's enmeshment in the cult of Eknath Easwaren, and her subsequent journey through rebellion, self discovery, and political awakening. We'd like to thank Christina for her generosity and lucidity, and her family for supporting her in this.  We hope that this will be the first in a series. If you'd like to share...
Published 09/12/22
On May 31st, 2014, Morgan Geyser stabbed her onetime best friend Bella Leutner nineteen times, while her new best friend, Anissa Weier, looked on. All three girls were twelve years old.  Geyser was living with schizophrenia, and Weier had introduced her to the crowd-sourced internet phantasm known as Slenderman, who first appeared on Something Awful, the message board at the root of chan culture. Together, Geyser and Weier came to believe that Slenderman was demanding a sacrifice in...
Published 09/08/22
As we're all with family over the holiday weekend, here's a 2018 interview that Derek conducted with neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga after the publication of his last book, The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind. Michael revolutionized the field of neuroscience in the 1960s with his work on split-brain patients and remains a towering figure in his field. 
Published 09/05/22
Do you ever stop to think about whether or not you can afford organic food—and then consider that many people don’t have such an option? Is Goop’s $295 incense holder a sign of feminine empowerment or merely another Gwneth Paltrow grift? Will that $32 spin class that features an endless litany of positive affirmations make you more likely to slip $5 to the homeless person camped outside of the studio—or does it increase your happiness or contentment levels at all, once the endorphins wear...
Published 09/01/22
The homestretch of our study of Michelle Remembers zeroes in on the literal symbols—and symbols gone literal—of the Satanic Panic. Archetypes, gore, anxieties about sex and babies and filth: Lawrence Pazder mined it all, using modes of abstraction and dehumanization as old as religion itself to weave a story he claimed was all about Michelle—but was really an exercise of his own fetishes. Michelle Smith could have received proper care for her understandable stresses. She could have offered up...
Published 08/29/22
Fitness is the beating heart of America. No, wait, that’s opportunistic capitalism. But opportunistic capitalism, as it turns out, is the beating heart of fitness. Yet fitness has a soul too—in fact, mysticism, capitalism, and fitness have been dancing together for a very long time, while politics calls the tune, as historian and assistant professor at The New School, Natalia Petrzela, is here to tell us about today. We should also note that Natalia is our only four-time guest. She’s also the...
Published 08/25/22
JP Sears constantly refers to himself as a freethinker. His increasing religiosity is counter to critical thinking, however. Derek responds to two recent videos that detail his religious thinking and transphobia, showing how a specific strain of Christianity—and binary thinking—is not freethought, but propaganda. 
Published 08/22/22
In this episode of the Swan Song Series, Matthew interviews Paola Marino about why she found Teal Swan a fascinating subject to film for 2018’s “Open Shadow.” They discuss aesthetics, the mystery of personality, why Swan’s parents agreed to sit down with her. Matthew also surprised her with the newly-revealed translations of Swan’s coded journal pages. Prefacing the interview is a discussion between Julian and Matthew about art, artifice, the risks of doing and not doing hard journalism on...
Published 08/18/22
In the second of three episodes on Michelle Remembers, we recap its Catholic contexts, and Lawrence Pazder's quest to transcend the limitations of psychiatry through mystical nightmares. We then explore the front matter: how Pazder introduces his project (and himself), and the ambivalent endorsement of Remi de Roo, Archbishop of Victoria. In Pazder's many clerical alliances, a crucial theme is established: the rapprochement between psychiatry and the priesthood, in which the former submits to...
Published 08/15/22
Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient medical system that has persisted in its homeland for countless generations before being exported to the rest of the world—right? Well, not exactly, but that doesn’t mean the varying sets of practices have not made an impact in China and abroad.  This week, historian Tamara Venit-Shelton joins the podcast to talk to Derek about the history of Chinese Medicine in America. The author of Herbs and Roots: A History of Chinese Doctors in the American...
Published 08/11/22
There's no Teal Swan without the Satanic Panic. And there's no Satanic Panic without the 1980 publication of Michelle Remembers, by Lawrence Pazder and Michelle Smith.  In this first of three segments on this melted book, Matthew and Julian cover its historical, cultural, and mass media context. We start with a review of a 1985 20/20 episode called “The Devil Worshippers” for a taste of how mainstream outlets hosted cranks like Pazder, giving him a hall pass on evidence, and overlooking how...
Published 08/08/22
We can't understand Teal Swan without understanding the Satanic Panic. And we can't really understand that historical disaster with out feeling our way into the mysteries of memory, fantasy, shame, and terror.  Many of you will have heard about therapists interfering in a family constellation by insinuating the client has has memories of abuse to uncover, and that they can’t go forward in their lives without doing that work. This is the bread and butter of Swan's technique, with the result...
Published 08/06/22
Matthew sits down with ace journalist EJ Dickson to explore her deep archive of reporting on the policing of women's bodies, and how it reflects on her own experience of childbirth. This episode opens and closes with reference to the essay that first introduced Matthew to this world, "Giving Birth in Yogaland," written by his partner Alix, after two C-section deliveries. Links: "Giving Birth in Yogaland" —Alix Cale raggapunzel on Instagram —water birth on the beach Pieces by EJ...
Published 08/04/22
A recent review questioning the serotonin theory of depression has revived a generations-long debate over the very notion of "chemical imbalances." While there are plenty of important debates about the roles of pharmacology and psychotherapy in mental health disorders, conspiritualists from both wellness spaces and the far right have been using mental health to promote (and monetize) their own agendas. Derek investigates. Show Notes The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella...
Published 08/01/22
Life is scary. Natural disasters, violent intruders, and deadly viruses threaten our survival and endanger our loved ones. When ordinary solutions and institutions are not trusted, we may reach for talismanic help; crystals, herbal remedies, ritual prayer and magical thinking, or we might consult the charismatic oracle who channels prophecies from the Great Beyond—right on your iPhone. But what about weaponry? Even though guns exert devastating real-world impact, our guest argues that they...
Published 07/28/22
Some of the most valuable material that comes to us from Paula Marino's Open Shadow film of 2017 is an extended interview with Swan's parent's, the Bosworths. They speak about Swan's sensory sensitivity as a young child, and how that morphed into a staunchly independent but sometimes isolated social life. They describe Swan's secret runic writing, their belief in her capacities as a medical intuitive, and discuss the gaps in psychiatric care that failed them all when her mental health needed...
Published 07/25/22
We spend so much time on this podcast discussing the wellness industry’s paranoia around anything from the medical “establishment” or the Luciferean nature of “Big Pharma,” but there’s another devil that’s lurking around every corner: the Mainstream Media.  Derek has long argued that there’s no such thing. Media organizations are competing businesses, and while there can be sloppiness when trying to break a story or laziness when rewriting press releases for clicks, the notion of a media...
Published 07/21/22