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To The Best Of Our Knowledge
October 28, 2019
Listen to This Week's Show

Friday Night Fright Lights

As I take my kids to haunted forests staffed by zombies and ghoulish dolls and clowns and look for horror movies to watch with my husband, I am struck by how, especially as the leaves turn to orange each year, we seek out fear.

There are real, psychological reasons why Stephen King has sold more than 350 million copies of his books, and why films like “The Sixth Sense,” “The Exorcist,” and, the one that ruined camping for some people, “The Blair Witch Project,” have become part of our pop culture of terror. We love to be scared.

Writer Amy Stewart takes things further. She planted a garden of deadly delights, full of poisonous plants and a few creepy skeletons. We talk with her and others in this week’s show, "Rituals of Fear," about why we thrive on fright. Is it like roller coasters, where we know it’s going to end, and it gets our heart racing without completely stopping? Or maybe these moments of sheer terror make us more grateful for our everyday lives, knowing we can drive away from the haunted house, or turn off the slasher movie. But we’ll remember that fear buzz and revisit scarier things next year.

What are your October rituals, and how do you embrace your inner fears? Let me know at listen@ttbook.org.

—Shannon

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Listener Ghost Story: 'You Are What You Eat'

haunted burger
Listener Jonathan Blyth sent us a ghost story that might make you think twice about what — or whom — is on your plate.
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Listener Ghost Story: 'Presidential Phantasm'

president ghost
A ghost story for the election season from listener Eric Van Vleet.
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Listener Ghost Story: 'The Lake'

demon lake
Listener Sophia Derbes sent us this ghost story about a boy, a girl and the divide between them.
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Listener Ghost Story: 'Reset'

texting people in the dark
Could being digitized be a way for all of us to become immortal? Maybe, but not in a way we would particularly enjoy, as this story from listener Mark Pantoja illustrates.
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The Not-So-Subtle Subversiveness Of Satan Worship

satan
Former Church of Satan High Priestess Blanche Barton says that worshipping the devil is "ridiculous." She calls Satanic worship less an act of evil, and more an act of subversion and questioning norms.
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How A Novel About 'Monster Dogs' Can Help Us Rethink Our Relationship with Our Own Canine Companions

Monster Dogs
Kirsten Bakis first wrote her story of biomechanically-enhanced, hyper-intelligent dogs 20 years ago, and it’s been a cult favorite ever since. So why create a post-modern Frankenstein story with dogs at the heart of the tale?
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A Year Of Wearing Clothing Only Made By Hand

Carolyn Smith
Could you trade the convenience of instant-purchase online clothing stores for a wardrobe you made yourself? Carolyn Smith went for an even bigger challenge: only wearing clothing she made by hand for a full year.
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From High Fashion to Heather Gray T-Shirts, Choosing Your Style Is A Privilege

Avery Trufelman
Avery Trufelman hosts "Articles of Interest," a six-part podcast from "99 Percent Invisible" about some iconic items of clothing — from blue jeans to Hawaiian shirts to pockets. Anne wanted to know how that work connects to what she wears every day.
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