Whether it’s Lemurians making their home on Mount Shasta, aliens alighting in the middle of Illinois, meat falling from the Kentucky sky, or cows being drained of blood in Oregon, accounts of unexplained phenomena are on the rise. Why have so many Americans opened themselves up to fringe beliefs and conspiracy theories, even as our empirical understanding of the world has increased? Cultural historian Colin Dickey joins us on the show this week to talk about his new book, The Unidentified, in which he traverses the country in search of the cryptids and conspiracies that have stuck with us for the past few centuries, evolving alongside the dramatic changes in our frontiers, scientific knowledge, and cultural mores.
Go beyond the episode:
- Colin Dickey’s Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession With the Unexplained
- Read an excerpt from his previous book, Ghostland, about America’s haunted places
- Learn about the Altamaha-ha, the sea monster of the Georgia coast
- NPR gets in on the cow mute game in October 2019: ‘Not One Drop Of Blood’: Cattle Mysteriously Mutilated In Oregon; Kansas reported a spate of the same phenomenon in 2016; the FBI investigated in the 1970s and concluded it was scavengers, but not everyone was convinced
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
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