Interviews By Topic

Pick your poison

Throughout history, we've been surrounded by substances that seemed benign and innocent in our food, in our gardens, in our medicine cabinets — until we realized they could be slowly killing us.More

"We Have Always Lived in the Castle" By Shirley Jackson (Penguin Classics)

Laurence Jackson Hyman, son of the famed horror author Shirley Jackson, recommends her 1962 classic tale for its scares, suspense, and strangeness. 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

"Disappearance at Devil's Rock" by Paul Tremblay

The horror and fantasy novelist recommends a chilling pair of ghost stories from Paul Tremblay that flip genre conventions on their head. 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

Math of the universe

On October 10, Steve spoke with physicist S. James Gates, Jr. and science writer Margaret Wertheim about the universal language of the universe: math. Can we see the hidden order of the natural world by studying the equations that govern it? And can we see true beauty in numbers?More

"Skin" by Kathe Koja

Citing the book's enormous influence on her own work, novelist Gemma Files recommends Kathe Koja’s horror story set against the backdrop of 1990s counterculture scenes of art, body modification and underground music.More

striped floor

In collaboration with David Lynch, Mark Frost co-created one of the most enduring fictional universes of all time — Twin Peaks. Bookending the series' return to TV in 2017 after 25 years, Frost has written two innovative novels that take a deep dive into the history of the surreal logging town. More

Guy under stress

According to one estimate there may be as many as 50 million workers in the on demand economy, and they're not all Uber drivers or freelancers. Economist Guy Standing has a word for this new and very insecure economic class: "the precariat."More

Students testing their DNA

What's it like to discover that your own genetic ancestry is both black and white? At West Chester University in Pennsylvania, Anita Foeman leads the DNA Discussion Project, where students use DNA testing to learn about their mixed bloodlines.More

Half brothers Robert Lafayette Gee (right) and Henderson Gee (left). Robert was Ruben Gee‘s first child to his white wife, Aurelia. Henderson was his second child to his slave, Venus. Henderson was born a slave.

Rev. Alex Gee is fascinated by geneology. So he took a DNA test and discovered one of his ancestors was a white slave owner. Then he went down to New Orleans to meet his white relatives — and that meeting sparked a slew of complicated emotions.More

Robot boy

Alexander Weinstein’s “Children of the New World” is a collection of cautionary tales about extreme emotional attachment to software and silicon.  More

"Poison Squad" Volunteers taking in a dinner with a side of Borax.

Science writer Deborah Blum on the government scientists who made the case for food regulation by "eating dangerously."More

Art Official Age cover

Chuck Klosterman thinks the Internet has ruined a lot of things, including death.More

"I Will Bear Witness" by Victor Klemperer

The author of "Lincoln in the Bardo" recommends Victor Klemperer's two-volume diary that reads as a slow-motion picture of what the Holocaust looked like before it was known Holocaust.More

A poison garden

Amy Stewart is a serious gardener with a side gig – writing about all the plants that could kill you.More

Poison tea

Kathryn Harkup is a chemist with an expertise in poison. She’s made a close study of a famous poisoner that employed everything from arsenic to cyanide to knock off close to 300 (fictional) victims: Agatha Christie, the mystery writer.More

A glowing radium clock.

How painting radium on watches and instrument dials killed more than 50 young women working in Ottawa, Illinois.More

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