Uses of the Insanity Defense


Fuse/Thinkstock
Fuse/Thinkstock

The idea that a person who can't understand the crime they've committed is wrong lets them off the hook from culpability for their actions is a longstanding pillar of Western criminal law. Learn about some of the prominent and overlooked cases where the accused has plead insanity in this episode of Stuff You Should Know.

Announcer: Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from howstuffworks.com.

Josh: Welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark, I'm hungry, and here's Charles W. (Chuck) Bryant.

Chuck: Did that make you hungry?

Josh: It did.

Chuck: We were just talking about I made my last chili of the season and Josh is over here mouth watering.

Josh: Yeah because you're talking about tortilla soup and white chili, red chili. I'll eat any kind of chili really.

Chuck: And Jerry always eats in here. People don't know that, she eats lunch while we record.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: So the smell of her stuff always wafts over.

Josh: It's delicious. That avocado looks top notch Jerry.

Chuck: It's insane how good that stuff is.

Josh: Oh man. It's funny that you bring that up Chuck because we are talking today about the insanity defense. Is that why you just did that?

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: You know Chuck, for a very long time basically since there was such a thing as law you know prior to the advent of law in Western civilization if I killed your brother you would come kill me.

Chuck: Yeah, eye for an eye.

Josh: Right. That was actually the first law, that code of Hammurabi.

Chuck: Yeah, from the Bible.

Josh: But a little after that, right, and actually I think it predates the Bible, Hammurabi.

Chuck: Oh yeah.

Josh: Yeah, I mean it's like a black obelisk. Yeah, that's old is what I mean. Pretty much the whole idea behind law from the get go was the idea of what was going on in your head when you did something.

Chuck: Right.

Josh: Motive, your intent. There's a difference between accidentally killing somebody and killing someone on purpose and this was the idea behind law, to get to the bottom of it and then punish accordingly.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: And so it's a pretty short hop, skip and a jump from getting to the bottom of what someone was thinking at the time to finding that some people weren't thinking anything that any sane human being would recognize as rational.

Chuck: Right.

Josh: And with that understanding came the beginnings, the premise of what we recognize now as the insanity defense. But this whole idea that the insane, those who are mentally ill, can't understand or grasp the criminality, the moral wrongness of their act, the idea that that's out there, that people like that are out there, has moved us I think quite compassionately. Like this check one for humanity in my opinion to protect them. We need to make sure they don't do that again but that's not evil. And the point of law is to punch evil. Right?

Chuck: Evildoers.

Josh: Yeah, it's true you know. So from the beginning of understanding this even to today the insanity defense has undergone evolution after evolution after evolution.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: You know quite a bit about this.

Chuck: A little bit. It started out in 16th century England and at the time they had their wild beast tests in England where a person was so depraved of understanding or memory of like what they had done that "no more than an infant, a brut or a wild beast could be found not guilty of his crimes." And it's important to say insanity is not a medical condition, like you can't look it up and define insane in like the medical - what the book, the DS -

Josh: DSM.

Chuck: DSM.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: Insanity's not in there I don't think. And there's no single standard in the United States for defining it in the court system.

Josh: Is that right?

Chuck: As far as the defense goes.

Josh: Even today.

Chuck: Yeah, like different states have different methods.

Josh: Oh, gotcha.

Chuck: There's not like a single federal standard.

Josh: Yeah and there's actually a conversation now of whether or not that's a constitutional right protected by the 8th Amendment.

Chuck: Yeah, exactly.

Josh: That you have a right to plead insanity or try to prove that you were insane. Yeah, because some states don't recognize it, right.

Chuck: Yeah, as we'll find out. So there's a couple of different tests that the United States generally operate under. And the first one is the M'Naghten test. How do you pronounce that?

Josh: I think M'Naghten.

Chuck: M'Naghten.

Josh: It's M-'-Naghten. And it looks like it should be McNaughten but they left the C out and replaced it with an apostrophe.

Chuck: Exactly.

Josh: He's very stylish.

Chuck: M'Naghten. And that was in the UK in the 1840s and I guess we should go ahead and talk about that case now.

Josh: Well Daniel M'Naghten.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: Yeah. He was a Scottish woodworker who believed that Prime Minister Robert Peel and the Pope were plotting against him.

Chuck: Oh, the Pope too?

Josh: Yeah. So M'Naghten went to London and he shot and killed Peel's secretary.

Chuck: Now was that a mistaken identity thing or was it just a bad shot?

Josh: I didn't see.

Chuck: Okay. So he killed the wrong person then.

Josh: Yes. But he did kill the person with the intent of killing Peel because he thought that Peel was out to get him.

Chuck: Right.

Josh: And so he was tried but he was acquitted by reason of insanity and he was sentenced to life in Bedlam which was not a nice place to be.

Chuck: No it just sounds like why would you name it Bedlam unless it was just awful.

Josh: Well you know --

Chuck: Is that where it comes from?

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: Okay.

Josh: Because Bedlam is like kind of a British - I think it was open in 1247 and it was kind of short for Bethlehem.

Chuck: It was the first mental asylum in Europe.

Josh: Yeah. And this guy was sentenced to life there - that as not a nice thing to have happen to you. But even still the fact that some guy tried to kill the prime minister and was not thrown into prison which I imagine was even worse than Bedlam, Queen Elizabeth herself came out and said what are you guys doing. Courts explain yourselves.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: And what the courts came up with was what came to be known as the M'Naghten rule. They said here's a test for insanity. If somebody doesn't know what they're doing at the time they commit the crime or they don't know what they're doing was right or wrong - it's also called the right wrong test.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: From now on under British law we're going to uniformly say that that person is insane and can be acquitted of a crime.

Chuck: They really called it the right wrong test.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: That's [inaudible] don't you think. So that's the M'Naghten test and we'll get to how that applies today. And then came along American Law Institute, the ALI, established an insanity test in 1962 laid out in the model penal code and they then began to consider what they called irresistible impulse. So if you're a defendant you could not refrain from doing something you knew was wrong.

Josh: Like you know.

Chuck: Like you see red.

Josh: Right.

Chuck: You know it's wrong to kill someone but you just couldn't help yourself.

Josh: Like what you might call like a crime of passion or something like that, like you're so overwhelmed with rage or vengeance or whatever. You know what you're doing is wrong but you can't stop yourself. It's also called the volition rule.

Chuck: Yeah and that's --

Josh: You're doing it under your own volition.

Chuck: Like Shawshank for instance. Although he didn't really kill anyone but that's what that thought was Tim Robbins had walked in on his wife and like shot this guy.

Josh: Right. Yeah.

Chuck: So under this test you were criminally insane if you're unable to "appreciate the criminality of conduct or to conform your conduct to the requirements of the law." So you can still go out and kill someone and use gloves and dispose of the body and all that stuff and still be considered insane under the standard.

Josh: Used to.

Chuck: Well it was pretty controversial.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: And then 20 years after that a guy named John Hinckley changed all that again which led to the Insanity Defense Reform Act of '84 so what happened with Hinckley, we all remember that right.

Josh: Yeah he went after Reagan to impress Jody Foster.

Chuck: That's right, and he shot Reagan.

Josh: And he was acquitted. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. And the nation went crazy.

Chuck: Yeah, people were like - because it was the President you know, like how can you acquit this guy.

Josh: Right. Well not only that - it was when M'Naghten was sentenced to Bedlam and the M'Naghten rule came about, for about 100 years after that, maybe a little less, if you were found insane whether or not you were acquitted you still spent the rest of your life in an insane asylum.

Chuck: Sure.

Josh: As psychology progressed further and further and got to the point where they're like hey this person's cured, this person's cured, that person's cured, you sometimes when you were found not guilty by reason of insanity you weren't even, like you got out after a couple of years.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: It was basically tantamount to getting off. And by the time Hinckley was acquitted the public kind of saw that that was the case, like he wasn't going to get any kind of punishment and we need to do something. So they came up with a reform for the insanity defense.

Chuck: Yeah. And basically that sort of put the ALI standard aside and brought us back to something more like the M'Naghten rule. And even more significantly probably the federal and state shifted the burden of proof after Hinckley to defense.

Josh: Right.

Chuck: So you had to instead of being in on the prosecution it was on the defense to prove with clear evidence that they were legally insane at the time. So that was a big deal, that shift.

Josh: Yeah. They did away with the volition rule too, right.

Chuck: I think so. And it's important to know that there's two ways to use the insanity rule. You can go guilty by reasons of insanity or not guilty by reasons of insanity, which is interesting that you can use the same thing for guilt or not guilty. But it's there to protect the mentally ill you know so it's a good thing. And it's pretty tough to get it through, like only 1 percent of cases are successful and then only 15 to 25 percent of that 1 percent are actual acquittals.

Josh: Right.

Chuck: So it's not like you know oh I was insane at the time and so you can't throw me in jail.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: It's pretty rare.

Josh: At the time is a really big thing too. You can't just be like oh I'm mentally ill so you've got to let me off because then I have blanket immunity from any of my actions. You have to be able to prove that at that time you didn't understand that what you were doing was wrong. You were not competent to I guess stand trial for that.

Chuck: And convince a jury of that which that's the trick.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: So we have some famous cases here.

Josh: Yeah. M'Naghten, his case came in 1843 but he wasn't the first one in the west to I guess get off for being insane, acquitted by reasons of insanity. In the United States back in 1835 a guy named Richard Lawrence who was a house painter was acquitted by reason of insanity.

Chuck: For trying to kill the President.

Josh: Yeah, trying to kill him really hard too. Andrew Jackson was the President at the time.

Chuck: Yeah, I don't think I knew this until this article.

Josh: I didn't either.

Chuck: You didn't know it?

Josh: Uh-uh.

Chuck: Okay. I'm not a dummy then. He had a derringer and I think derringers at the time were notorious for not firing all the time.

Josh: This fired, it fired but it didn't shoot a bullet. So it went off but the bullet didn't come out.

Chuck: Well yeah, that's what I'm saying. They were known for not firing correctly.

Josh: I gotcha.

Chuck: And he actually had two derringers and they both misfired. And apparently Jackson went after him with his cane, like he was trying to kill me. Like there was no Secret Service at the time, I guess Secret Service was his cane.

Josh: Right. He happened to be coming out of a state funeral and so not only did Andrew Jackson beat this guy with his cane. None other than Tennessee Senator Davy Crockett helped to subdue the guy.

Chuck: Really?

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: Of course he did.

Josh: Yeah. Richard Lawrence was like this is awesome. I'm getting beaten by Davy Crockett and Jackson. I'll be remembered forever.

Chuck: And he was and is if you know about him. But he was acquitted and committed to a mental asylum and that was the end of Richard Lawrence as far as we know.

Josh: Yeah and we should say it wasn't just going after the President that made him insane. He believed he was Richard III, the king who was recently found buried beneath the parking lot.

Chuck: Oh yeah.

Josh: He thought he was Richard III and Andrew Jackson had killed his father. And that by killing Andrew Jackson a lot more money would be available, this was during the depression. And Jackson actually for his part came to believe that Richard Lawrence was a patsy in an assassination attempt carried out by the rival I think Whig party.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: Who wanted him out of the presidency.

Chuck: Which wasn't true.

Josh: No, but he spent the rest of his life paranoid about it.

Chuck: Oh really?

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: All right, so Ezra Pound, poet, writer and unbeknownst to me anti-Semitic and Fascist.

Josh: I had no idea.

Chuck: I didn't either. He was - this was a tricky case because most people believe now that he wasn't insane and that he just really knew the right people and pulled the right strings to get out of a crime.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: So he was a big Mussolini guy. Moved to Italy in 1925 and started doing radio broadcasts, began writing and broadcasting these anti-Semitic anti-Roosevelt rants during World War II that doesn't sit well with the United States of course.

Josh: Especially not when we invade Italy and take over.

Chuck: Yeah. And so it was an act of treason and he was arrested and imprisoned in Italy. And then after Mussolini died he was extradited, faced these charges, and he pled insanity and was actually found not competent to stand trial and spent the rest of his days in a mental asylum, St. Elizabeth's in Washington D.C.

Josh: He didn't spend the rest of his days, he got out in 1958.

Chuck: Oh, I thought he died in 1958.

Josh: No, and while he was at St. Elizabeth's which was headed by a devote of Ezra Pound, a guy named Dr. Winfred Overholser Sr.

Chuck: That's not a real name.

Josh: I swear. He was the head of St. Elizabeth's and he though Pound was just one of the greatest literary figures alive.

Chuck: Oh, I thought he died there.

Josh: And no, and so he vouched for him and basically Pound was allowed to have like visitors over for sex anytime. He had a really cushy life while he was there and got out and got around being tried for treason even though he was never declared insane. No doctor ever said this man's insane, they just vouched for him that he was - I can't remember how they put it but basically they got around it with semantics.

Chuck: Off his rocker. Is that a legal term?

Josh: That's what they called him.

Chuck: The next one is pretty interesting too. Anthony and William Esposito, brothers dubbed the mad dog killers in 1941 in January in New York City. They held up an office manager for about $650.00 and then shot and killed him and then this wild police chase on foot down 5th Avenue or up 5th Avenue in Manhattan like darting in and out of department stores shoot and stuff. One of the guys gets popped in the leg, goes down, plays dead and then shoots and kills an officer as he approaches him.

Josh: That's a dirty rat.

Chuck: Oh man, that's such a dirty rat move.

Josh: The other guy, or when he shot and killed the cop he got up and started to run off and a bunch of New Yorkers got on top of him, beat him unconscious.

Chuck: That's the beauty of New York.

Josh: Yeah. And they found the other guy, his brother, in a convenience store and so they were caught and tried. And throughout the trial they barked and drooled and banged their heads on the desk because apparently that's what insane people do.

Chuck: Exactly.

Josh: And the jury didn't buy it and convicted them both, sentenced them to death actually.

Chuck: Yeah, and while they were at Sing Sing they continued this - I mean I don't know if people thought it was real or not so I'm hesitating to say continue the charade because maybe they were a little off. But they continued this in prison and basically didn't care in Sing Sing and they were put to death in 1942.

Josh: Yep.

Chuck: So unsuccessful in their bid to get off on the insanity rule.

Josh: Yeah. Like you said it's only effective in 1 percent of cases.

Chuck: Andrew Goldstein.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: I remember this going down.

Josh: Do you really?

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: This is such a sad case.

Chuck: 1999 he pushed a woman named Kendra Webdale in front of the N train at the 23rd Street station during a psychotic episode and this was a true case of someone who was deeply deeply troubled you know. It wasn't someone who said let me use the insanity defense because I didn't know what I was doing at the time. He started off his life as a pretty bright guy and then started suffering delusions in college and had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals, had violent episodes with his mother, violent behavior, basically self-committed 13 times over a two-year period and was just released a few weeks before he had pushed this poor woman in front of the train which killed her.

Josh: Yeah and as a result of her death New York came up with something called Kendra's Law which gives judges the power to forcibly commit people they think need psychiatric attention for up to 72 hours which is a big deal. But in this case it doesn't quite jive from what I understand because Goldstein did voluntarily seek treatment.

Chuck: Yeah, I guess it makes sense.

Josh: It's just a sad case. He was tried three times for it.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: The first time there was a hung jury. He pled insanity. The second time he was found guilty but that finding - what would that be called?

Chuck: Verdict.

Josh: Yeah, that verdict. Man, something's up with me. That was thrown out on a technicality as I understand it. And then in 2005 he was tried for a third time and pled guilty.

Chuck: Yeah to manslaughter though, not murder.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: And he is in prison and he was sentenced to 23 years plus five of probation. And like you said Kendra's Law was passed as a result. So yeah, very sad case.

Josh: Yeah, nobody comes out a winner on that.

Chuck: You got one more?

Josh: Yeah. John Delling, who I mentioned that there was a discussion about whether or not someone has a constitutional right to plead insanity.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: This is the guy that brought it up most recently. Back in 2007 over the course of a couple of months he shot three of his friends.

Chuck: Oh they were his friends.

Josh: Yeah, and killed two of them. One was a childhood friend.

Chuck: Wow.

Josh: They were friends since childhood. And he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and he was under the impression that people were stealing his powers, I guess the people he killed.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: The thing is even the defense and the judge said you know the whole reason that you did this was because of your mental illness and this is a perfect insanity defense. Idaho doesn't recognize the insanity defense so he was sentenced to two life terms in solitary confinement without parole for the killings.

Chuck: Yeah and like everyone agreed that this guy was mentally ill. But like you said wrong state, wrong crime, and that's what prompted like you were talking about, should this be a federal right.

Josh: And you know after the Hinckley verdict a lot of states repealed the insanity defense. And then a lot of them went back and reinstated it.

Chuck: Under different terms.

Josh: Yeah. Like Utah for example repealed it and then allowed it to come back but it's next to impossible to prove it under the definition that it's out there. But Idaho was like no, there's no insanity defense. And I think there's a couple of other states too.

Chuck: Wow. Well that's all the cases I have.

Josh: Same here man.

Chuck: Got any more?

Josh: No.

Chuck: It's definitely, I mean it's there to help the mentally ill. But I think you're right, for a little while there it was you know plead insane, go to a hospital for a few years, get out.

Josh: Well you know what's interesting is we talked about them getting rid of the volition rule, right.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: But like just quickly Lorena Bobbitt, she was basically temporarily insane and she was acquitted of her actions, assault.

Chuck: And the Dahmer was a very famous case too.

Josh: Yes but his insanity plea didn't work out.

Chuck: Yeah.

Josh: Because the jury believed he knew what he was doing was wrong.

Chuck: Neither did his prison stay.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: You know that guy's trying to write a book, the guy who killed him.

Josh: No, I didn't know that.

Chuck: Yeah. I'm kind of interested too because there's not a whole lot of information on what's his name --

Josh: Somebody Carver.

Chuck: Clarence Carver I think.

Josh: No, you're thinking of the saxophonist for the Bruce Springsteen Band.

Chuck: That's Clarence Clemons and he's passed away.

Josh: His name is Christopher Scarver.

Chuck: Clarence Carter, Carver, Christopher Scarver.

Josh: Clarence Clemons passed away?

Chuck: Yeah man.

Josh: When?

Chuck: Like last year I think.

Josh: I didn't know that.

Chuck: Yeah, it's sad. So anyway he's trying to write a book and I was always curious because there's not a lot of information like why he killed those two guys that day.

Josh: Oh he killed someone else that day?

Chuck: Yeah, he was on bathroom duty with two other murderers, Dahmer and another guy. And I think he got a piece of - like a metal bar from the gym and beat them to death. And he wants to write a book now to explain why he did it and to reveal Dahmer's final words which you know that's very salacious but of course I'm like ooh what did he say.

Josh: Well I hope he does do it and then finds out later on that you're not legally allowed to profit from your crime.

Chuck: You know that's true.

Josh: So he wouldn't be able to - if you're listening to this I didn't just say that Scarver.

Chuck: I don't think he's listening.

Josh: Okay. People do listen to this in prison. We know that for a fact.

Chuck: Yeah, he's probably making mulled wine in a sock.

Josh: Have you got anything else on mulled wine?

Chuck: Nope.

Josh: Okay. If you want to learn more about the insanity defense there is a great article on howstuffworks.com called Ten Uses of the Insanity Defense. And there's another one called What is the Definition of Insanity, right.

Chuck: Yeah, which we'll go back. We may want to do that one in full. We'll see if it's got more stuff in there.

Josh: Yeah. You can check both of those out by typing insanity in the search bar at howstuffworks.com. As I said search bar, that means it's time for this.

Chuck: Josh, odds are that you and I are most productive when we're at a desk and working. So if we're going to the Post Office and standing in line for awhile then it's just going to really slow us down, it's not very efficient.

Josh: Yeah. So we need stamps.com.

Chuck: Exactly.

Josh: At stamps.com we can buy and print official U.S. postage right from our own computer printer. Stamps.com will send us a digital scale, will send you a digital scale friends. And that scale automatically calculates the exact postage you need for any package, any letter, any class of mail.

Chuck: Yeah, so that means no more wasting time at the Post Office because you can do it all right from your own desk with stamps.com, print the postage you need, put it on the letter or package and then go out there and meet your mail carrier and say a kind word to them.

Josh: And you're done.

Chuck: Yep.

Josh: We have a special offer for you. Right now you can use our promo code stuff for it. It's a no risk trial plus $110.00 bonus offer that includes the digital scale and up to $55.00 in free postage.

Chuck: Wow. All right. Don't wait folks, go to stamps.com before you do anything else. Click on the microphone at the top of the home page. Type in stuff at stamps.com, enter stuff.

Josh: [Inaudible] right now.

Chuck: Okay Josh, part three. Not listener mail but part three of what? Okay. Administrative details if you haven't learned by now it's when we thank people for sending us nice things.

Josh: And we're almost done, like we're caught up man.

Chuck: I have a few in my desk but that's nothing. Like a few is no big deal.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: All right, we've got some awesome aluminum prints from Dan Gaffney of Tech Lab Photo in Baltimore.

Josh: Yeah, thanks Dan.

Chuck: Yep.

Josh: You remember him. We corresponded with him recently.

Chuck: Oh yeah.

Josh: Good guy. Thanks Dan. Is their website on there?

Chuck: No but Tech Lab Photo of Baltimore. Use the old search engine of your choice to figure that out.

Josh: Yeah. Or you can just drive there.

Chuck True.

Josh: We got a nice postcard of Jesus' Baptismal site in the Jordan River from Christina Curtis who researches water resources in Jordan. Thank you for that.

Chuck: We got some coffee from singingroostercoffee.com. 100 percent of the proceeds go to help projecthaiti.org and I think I just said 100 percent of the proceeds.

Josh: You sure did.

Chuck: So that's pretty awesome. So support singingroostercoffee.com.

Josh: Yeah. We got a postcard of Minar-e-Pakistan tower from Erfan. Thank you very much for that.

Chuck: Don Cooby, our buddy Coob sent us the awesome - it was on glass, right.

Josh: Yeah, it's like a cutting board.

Chuck: Oh, is that what that is?

Josh: I believe so. That's what I've been using it for.

Chuck: I don't know if that's what it's for.

Josh: It's got like her photograph underneath, a photograph that she took of a landscape. But I'm pretty sure it's a cutting board.

Chuck: All right.

Josh: You should probably let us know Cooby.

Chuck: Don't break it. And we also got a letter from Boy Scout Brayden W. who wrote us to earn his communications merit badge.

Josh: We got a handwritten note card suggesting we do 3D printers from I think another Erfan.

Chuck: We're going to have to do that. Everyone is asking for 3D printing.

Josh: Okay.

Chuck: It's the hot thing.

Josh: I know.

Chuck: And it's super cool.

Josh: That's what all the kids are into.

Chuck: Yeah. Atlanta Corps Vet Drum and Bugle Corps Patch. And I don't know who sent it and I apologize that we don't have the name.

Josh: Yeah, sorry.

Chuck: But the Atlanta Corps Vets Drum and Bugle Corps is a patch and I might put it on my hat.

Josh: Oh wow.

Chuck Yeah.

Josh: Wow. We got some nice letters requesting info on unsolved questions like the Bermuda triangle, the Hindenburg, exorcism, from Andrea P., Jake M., Jason S. Stephanie B and Vanessa B all from the 8th grade class at North Carol Middle School in Hampstead, Maryland. Sorry we didn't write back in time. I believe they're all in high school now.

Chuck: Oh really?

Josh: Yeah. But thank you for writing in guys.

Chuck: Keep growing up. Awesome insect science illustration postcard from Martha Eiserman of bigredsharks.com and New Zealand's Not Down Under postcard in New Zealand Facts. And we can't really see who signed it because the Post Office stamped over it. So see our USPS podcast for why that happens. But we thank you for that.

Josh: We got a letter from Benjamin from Gardeners Avenue School in Levittown, New York, who wanted info on the Statue of Liberty. Thank you for that.

Chuck: National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico sends a postcard from Dillon C. and he's in the Navy and an amateur astronomer.

Josh: Yeah, he said it was like going to I can't remember where but it was like a pilgrimage for him.

Chuck: Nice.

Josh: Yeah. Let's see, we got an exceptional hand drawn postcard from Alex who is an artist in North Carolina. We got a CD of the album The Broken Record by Twink which is the toy piano band. Did you hear that?

Chuck: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Josh: They're pretty awesome.

Chuck It was great.

Josh: Yeah.

Chuck: La Serena, Chili, we got a postcard from Margaret C. from Chili. And coffee and coffee tips from Otto Kempa.

Josh: Oh yeah.

Chuck: I didn't see the coffee tips.

Josh: Is there a question mark at the end of that [inaudible]?

Chuck: No.

Josh: We got a Mexican pizza menu from Christie Thead which includes like peach, leg of pork, avocado, tuna.

Chuck: Let of pork, that struck my fancy.

Josh: I would eat some avocado pizza. As a matter of fact I'm putting avocado on my next pizza.

Chuck: All right. Got some more coffee from Alyx with a Y-X and our friends at the Edina, Minnesota Dunn Brothers Coffee place.

Josh: Yeah, thank you for that.

Chuck Boy, you've been getting lots of coffee, huh. Like have you had to buy coffee in a couple years?

Josh: Oh it's all gone.

Chuck: Is it?

Josh: Yeah, that's all from the coffee podcast.

Chuck: Okay. Portrait book.

Josh: And I shared, I shared.

Chuck: Oh sure, yeah. Or at least offered and I was like no you take the coffee.

Josh: No, I shared. I think I gave some to Connell Byrd.

Chuck: Oh really?

Josh: And I think Jerry got some too, didn't you Jerry. You got coffee. Yeah.

Chuck: Jerry's like what? Are you guys still here? We got a portrait book of Justin and his cat waffles. Everythingwaffles.com.

Josh: Yeah it's definitely worth checking out.

Chuck: And a postcard of a man with a giant fish from Reagan T. And I think you have one more.

Josh: I do. Let's see, we've got a lovely floral note congratulating Eumie and me on our wedding.

Chuck: That's nice.

Josh: From Lea Ray. Thank you very much for that, it was very nice.

Chuck: Boy you have been holding onto these for awhile, huh.

Josh: I know. It was the February before last.

Chuck: Okay.

Josh: Thank you for that finally. Thank you to everybody who's been sending us stuff. We really genuinely appreciate all of it.

Chuck: It's super sweet. And if you want to send something you can find the address on the How Stuff Works homepage. If you scroll down at the bottom of the homepage under contacts and click on that, it has our address and you can send us something.

Josh: Well done. And if you want to get in touch with us just to say hi or whatever, you can tweet to us at SYSK Podcast. You can us on Facebook.com/stuffyoushouldknow. You can send us an email to stuffpodcast@discovery.com. And you can join us at our home on the web stuffyoushouldknow.com.

Announcer: For more on this and thousands of other topics visit howstuffworks.com.

End of Audio

Duration: 32 minutes