Interviews By Topic

Antigone

Writer, classicist, and stand-up comic Natalie Haynes makes a strong case for reading ancient Greek and Roman literature in the modern age.More

Circe

Circe, the all-powerful goddess from Homer’s “The Odyssey,” is known for turning men into swine, and for her mastery of potions. The artwork “Circe,” imagined by Romare Bearden, is a black woman surrounded by mystical animals and a skull, wearing West African garb with a calm but defiant look on her face.More

That Tree in April 2017

Mark Hirsch took 365 photos — one a day for a year — of a single Bur oak tree. The project changed his life.More

Tree

Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” is overturning a lot of conventional thinking. It’s been called “visionary” and “monumental” — and it earned him the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Though human characters shape the plot of this 500-page epic, the real heroes are trees.More

foggy trees

Suzanne Simard is a forest ecologist who's revolutionizing our understanding of trees. She has discovered that trees use underground networks to communicate and cooperate with each other. It turns out that whole forests can exist as a superorganism.More

Covalanas panel in the Bernifal Cave.

There's no better way to get a feel for the origins of the human mind than to go and see ancient cave art. Anthropologist Christine Desdemaines-Hugon took Steve and Anne to two French caves with paintings dating back more than 10,000 years.More

Ghosts

Steve Paulson's family has lots of stories of the paranormal, but Steve is the family skeptic. So he did his own investigation, talking with skeptic Michael Shermer, religion scholars Tanya Luhrmann and Jeff Kripal, channeler Paul Selig, and his Aunt Marge Bradley.More

A house in Savannah, Georgia — one of America's most haunted cities.

The Sorrel-Weed House has been called the “most haunted house” in Savannah, Georgia, and its “ghost tour” is a big tourist attraction. But historian Tiya Miles found another story of slavery and racial stereotypes buried in this history.More

Horror

Writer Gemma Files' Dangerous Idea? There are upsides to embracing horror — spending time playing out negative scenarios in fiction can lead to a more positive life.More

NYAS panel on wonder

Steve asked a panel of experts— social psychologist Michelle Shiota, writer Caspar Henderson, and astrophysicist Alex Filippenko — to unpack the emerging science behind the emotions of awe and wonder, including their role in our ongoing quest for understanding and knowledge.More

haunted burger

Listener Jonathan Blyth sent us a ghost story that might make you think twice about what — or whom — is on your plate.More

president ghost

A ghost story for the election season from listener Eric Van Vleet.More

demon lake

Listener Sophia Derbes sent us this ghost story about a boy, a girl and the divide between them.More

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.More

haunted grocery store

Dan Chaon’s collection of short stories, "Stay Awake," is horror. But horror in a way that many of us can relate to. It’s stories of people who are alive but feel like ghosts.More

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.More

cave paintings

Renowned filmmaker Werner Herzog was awe-struck when he saw the Chauvet cave paintings dating back 32,000 years. "You can see clearly that this is the beginning of modern man," he says.More

tree bark

Lorrie Moore's long-anticipated new collection of stories is out. Here's Steve's extended conversation with her about "Bark: Stories."More

Pages