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American Hysteria

Skylark Media

American Hysteria is a 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 explores the sometimes hilarious, sometimes distr...Show More

36:14 | Jul 29th

*This episode contains graphic racism* 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...Show More

44:50 | Mar 25th

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 wi...Show More
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27:52 | Mar 18th

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 ...Show More

39:23 | Sep 9th

*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 f...Show More

11:50 | Sep 6th

What is it like to be famous before you’re famous? What is it like to walk in the shoes of another person? Each episode of Imagined Life takes you on an immersive journey into the life of a world-famous person. It’ll be someone you may think you know...Show More

16:10 | Sep 2nd

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 cons...Show More

06:18 | Aug 27th

Joe Exotic loves his animals, his husbands and his animals. He’s a liger-breeding, gun-slinging, polygamous zoo owner from Oklahoma. And throughout his career, he’s made some major enemies. Listen to season 2 of Over My Dead Body: Joe Exotic at http:...Show More

37:03 | Aug 26th

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 ta...Show More

41:31 | Aug 19th

MAKE SURE to follow us on social media to get the visual companions to this episode!! Instagram: @americanhysteriapodcast  ( Facebook: Twitter: @amerhyste...Show More

40:08 | Aug 12th

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...Show More

17:17 | Aug 5th

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...Show More

15:05 | Jul 22nd

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 pers...Show More

38:19 | Jul 15th

Please take our LIVE SHOW survey ( , we want to come to your city! 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 drama...Show More

14:24 | Jul 8th

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 ridicu...Show More

38:37 | Jul 1st

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 ...Show More

14:38 | Jun 24th

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...Show More

36:03 | Jun 17th

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 ...Show More

15:37 | Jun 11th

From the partnership that brought you Dirty John, comes Man in the Window. Pulitzer prize winning reporter Paige St. John investigates The Golden State Killer and traces his path of devastation through the eyes of his victims. Listen now at wondery.f...Show More

16:30 | Jun 10th

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,'...Show More

33:06 | Jun 3rd

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 t...Show More

03:08 | May 27th

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 ...Show More

17:14 | May 20th

After TMZ reported that Britney Spears had been checked into treatment for mental health issues in April, concerns were raised about the state of her conservatorship, the legal agreement that gives her father a great deal of power over her affairs. A...Show More

06:03 | May 15th

Through meticulously crafted storytelling and sound design, American Hysteria's newest sponsor, the Murder Minute podcast, delivers a unique and immersive listening experience in true crime. Murder Minute is the length of a short commute, it’s a perf...Show More

02:56 | May 13th

For the very first time, American Hysteria is putting on a live variety-hour vaudevillian show so that you can experience our first season of moral panics, urban legends, and conspiracy theories in a totally different way. You've never seen a live po...Show More

02:30 | May 7th

Out now, Earth Break is the latest scripted series from Skylark Media. Jenny Slate stars as Lynn Gellert, the last person left on Earth. Her constant and only companion is the voice recorder she managed to salvage from her mother's house. As symptoms...Show More

17:24 | May 6th

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 legen...Show More

02:59 | Apr 29th

Check out another of the Skylark family's podcasts: Blackwood, the story of three teenagers investigating a local urban legend, The Bugman, that turns out to be more fact than fiction. Blackwood is an audio drama written by Will Rogers, American Hyst...Show More

14:19 | Apr 22nd

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 i...Show More

02:56 | Apr 15th

Feminist Folklore is a weekly podcast from Skylark Media, assistant produced by Chelsey Weber-Smith. Each week, Carlea Holl-Jensen and Rachel Marr share a different folk story or fairytale from around the world and dive into what it says about past a...Show More

14:40 | Apr 8th

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 challen...Show More

35:45 | Mar 11th

_This episode contains references to graphic racism_ 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 tha...Show More

24:50 | Feb 25th

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 cu...Show More

35:46 | Feb 18th

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 mak...Show More

27:38 | Feb 11th

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 Patric...Show More

37:39 | Feb 4th

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 an...Show More

03:07 | Jan 29th

Introducing another great podcast from Skylark Media! Feminist Folklore is a weekly storytelling and discussion podcast where each week, hosts Carlea and Rachael share a fairy tale, myth, or legend from around the world, and discuss it from a feminis...Show More

26:34 | Jan 27th

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 Kin...Show More

37:12 | Jan 21st

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, atta...Show More

27:25 | Jan 14th

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 earne...Show More

36:35 | Jan 7th

_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 Dan...Show More

24:51 | Dec 17th, 2018

Welcome to The Calm Down, this week Chelsey is talking Satanic Panic with two friends and coworkers, siblings Will Rogers and Kristen Rogers Anderson. Will is the writer behind Skylark media’s audio drama Blackwood, an amazing series following three ...Show More

36:35 | Dec 10th, 2018

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 t...Show More

23:14 | Dec 3rd, 2018

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...Show More

35:59 | Nov 26th, 2018

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...Show More

25:11 | Nov 19th, 2018

Every other week host Chelsey Weber-Smith will sit down with a guest to breakdown the previous episode, reveal all the stuff that was left out, as well as chat about the next week’s topic. This week, Chelsey and long time friend Jake Weholt, who y...Show More

33:47 | Nov 12th, 2018

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 sexu...Show More

33:15 | Nov 12th, 2018

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, ...Show More

02:30 | Nov 5th, 2018

Skylark Media presents American Hysteria, 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 un...Show More