Having put out nearly 600 episodes, we couldn’t have helped but cover some scary topics. Plus, we did it on purpose sometimes. To get in the Halloween spirit, we’ve compiled them all in one place — right here on our blog. Be afraid, and enjoy!
Do Zombies Really Exist? In movies and stories, zombies are undead menaces that lurch around mindlessly, in search of flesh — and braaaaaains! Where did the idea for zombies originate? Do they exist outside of fiction? We answer all that here.
Is the Necronomicon Real? H.P. Lovecraft’s strange, elaborate stories and mythologies have inspired a devoted following. Join Josh and Chuck — and a special guest — as they discuss Lovecraft’s most famous creation, the “Necronomicon.” Featuring special guest Tech Stuff’s Jon Strickland.
How Exorcism Works Is the idea of possession a misunderstanding of physiological and psychological conditions, or has science failed to account for unknown, legitimate factors? Learn whether exorcism and psychology are mutually exclusive in this episode.
How the Real Jack the Ripper Worked In this Halloween episode, Josh and Chuck go way back to late 19th century London to examine the grisly details of the Jack the Ripper murders. They also discuss Ripperology, Jack the Ripper suspects and theories, and the legacy of the murders. Featuring Stuff to Blow Your Mind’s Robert Lamb as Jack.
How Witchcraft Works Witches are perhaps one of the most reviled and misunderstood groups in history — but why?
What makes a serial killer? Serial killers are notorious for their grisly crimes and disturbing behavior, but what makes a serial killer a serial killer? We discuss the history, psychology and methodology of serial killing and serial killers in this episode.
The Tomb In this spooky episode of Stuff You Should Know, Josh and Chuck get you ready for Halloween as they narrate H.P. Lovecraft’s creepy tale “The Tomb.” Click the link to learn more…if you dare!
How Mummies Work A mummy is a human being whose soft tissue has been preserved after death, and there are mummies around the world — including natural mummies, as well as corpses that have been intentionally embalmed.
How Fear Works Fear results from your brain’s reaction to a stressful stimulus, and — though it may be unpleasant — it plays a crucial role in the life of every human being. But how does it work (and why)?
Berenice It’s Halloween again, and this year Chuck and Josh are ringing in the holiday with a special reading of the short story “Berenice,” by Edgar Allan Poe. Click the link to catch Stuff You Should Know’s Poe-rific Halloween episode.
SYSK’s Halloween Horror Fiction Winner Click the link to hear which listener’s scary story won the SYSK Halloween Horror Fiction Contest — and prepare to have your socks scared off just in time for All Hallow’s Eve.
How Vampires Work Out of obligation, Chuck and Josh mention Twilight, but it is the longstanding vampire lore that gets the most attention in this examination of how the bloodsucking undead evolved from baby-stealing demonesses to suave counts in our collective psyche.
How Ghosts Work According to a 2009 poll, more Americans believe in ghosts than don’t. But what are ghosts exactly? If they do exist, what are they made of and why are they hanging around? Josh and Chuck explore both sides of the divide between belief and skepticism on the topic of ghosts and look at some pretty cool explanations for hauntings.
What’s with the Winchester Mystery House? After her daughter and husband died, heiress Sarah Winchester became obsessed with the idea that spirits haunted her and to appease them she had to have a house continuously built for them. So she did – 24 hours a day for 38 years.
How Werewolves Work If you’ve ever been bitten by a wolf, you’re probably familiar with the anxiety of waiting for the next full moon to see if you become a werewolf. Learn all about the lore, mental illness and rules behind lycanthropy, one of civilization’s oldest metaphors.
The Empty House It’s Halloween, and Josh and Chuck are ready to creep you out with this year’s spooky story, Algernon Blackwood’s scary short story, The Empty House. Tune in, turn down the lights and prepare for chills to run down your spine as they read this classic bit of horror fiction.
How Ouija Boards Work Although most people who’ve used Ouija boards don’t think they’re communicating with the beyond, there is something mysterious about how it works. Learn the ins and outs of the popular parlor game that sprang directly from the 19th-century spiritualism movement in this episode.
What are crystal skulls? Back in the early 20th-century mysterious skulls made from polished crystals began to enter the collections of private enthusiasts of the occult. Discovered by adventurers raiding sacred areas of the ancient world, these skulls were said to possess unusual supernatural powers and their owners, who could use them to “will death” to others. Learn about the strange history of these curious and suspect archaeological finds in this lost episode of Stuff You Should Know.
How Haunted House Attractions Work Ever since the Egyptians, humans have been evolving toward haunted house attractions. The level of sophistication in the scares and gore effects continues to rise over time, but the purpose remains the same: to scare the pants off you.