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Squaring the Strange

Squaring the Strange brings evidence-based analysis and commentary to a wide variety of topics, ranging from the paranormal to the political.


Investigating ghosts. Debunking conspiracies. Dodging chupacabras.

If a claim seems strange, Ben and Pascual will try to square it with the facts.


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Dec 31, 2021

In this final installment of our moral panic series, as well as our final episode of 2021, we go into various banned books, fears about literature's effect on "weaker minds," the hearings on comic books and juvenile delinquency, and what makes a moral panic. Whether it's murders attributed to Catcher in the Rye or the...

Dec 24, 2021

This penultimate episode in our moral panic series starts with a discussion of the TikTok worries that interrupted schools last week as authorities braced for possible gun violence. Then we talk cinema and television from old to new, and the themes in moral panicking that jump out repeatedly -- such as worrying about...

Dec 10, 2021

In part 2 of our 4-part series, we talk about moral panics in music history. Some will seem quaint to our modern ears, while others are a bit more recent. From jaunty tunes interfering with factory work in the 1940s to rock artists in the 1980s defending their lyrics in congressional hearings, we look at a long...

Nov 27, 2021

So this week we start by looking at the similarities between Q-Anon fans awaiting JFK Jr. in Dallas and doomsday cults moving their predictions. Then we start our series on moral panics with an overview of what exactly constitutes a moral panic, moving into the many games and novelty items that have caused parents and...

Nov 12, 2021

First Tim Mendham from the Australian Skeptics pops in for a quick visit, then we sit down for a discussion with Vegas magicians Matt Donnelly, R.J. Owens, and Vinny Grosso. Each of them has a perspective on magic and skepticism, and we learn about things like gospel magic; how some of them work "woo" like tarot or ESP...