77 episodes

American Hysteria is a podcast exploring the fantastical thinking and irrational fears of Americans through the lens of moral panics, urban legends, and conspiracy theories, how they shape our psychology and culture, and why we end up believing them. Poet-turned-podcaster Chelsey Weber-Smith explores the sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying stories of historical and modern American freak-outs, and the real social issues they act to cover up. An in-depth alternative history, the show also analyzes how issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class have informed our beliefs from the Puritans to the present.

Subscribe now on Apple, Google, Spotify, or where ever you get your podcasts.

American Hysteria Chelsey Weber-Smith

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.3, 1.3K Ratings

American Hysteria is a podcast exploring the fantastical thinking and irrational fears of Americans through the lens of moral panics, urban legends, and conspiracy theories, how they shape our psychology and culture, and why we end up believing them. Poet-turned-podcaster Chelsey Weber-Smith explores the sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying stories of historical and modern American freak-outs, and the real social issues they act to cover up. An in-depth alternative history, the show also analyzes how issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class have informed our beliefs from the Puritans to the present.

Subscribe now on Apple, Google, Spotify, or where ever you get your podcasts.

    9: Death

    9: Death

    For our season finale, we will be exploring our ultimate human fear, our number one cognitive dissonance that arguably leads to all our American hysterias, all our archetypes, beliefs, and delusions, our moral panics. We’ll be taking at look at the historical progression of how Americans have dealt with mortality starting with a place known as the Disneyland of Death, then traveling back to learn about the Puritan idea of the Good Death, and then see how the mass casualties of the Civil War and Lincoln’s embalmed corpse changed our relationship to bodies and immortality, all the way up to the present day tech billionaires funding strange new science to live forever. But we’ll also explore how, historically, the deaths of Black people have been treated in an almost polar opposite way to the deaths of white people, and how the echoes of this reality reach into the present day. Through a psychological concept known as the Terror Management Theory, we’ll try to understand how this uniquely human knowledge of our inevitable deaths shapes our psychology, society, and culture.

    We will be taking a hiatus for the summer but please stay with us, stay subscribed, follow us on social media or if you can, become a Patron (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) . We love you all so much, thank you for being the best audience we could ever hope for 3

    Consider donating to the nonprofits and organizations we mentioned in this episode. (https://audioboom.com/posts/7602307-a-message-from-the-team)

    Check out the new season of CBC’s Uncover: Dead Wrong (https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/uncover/id1364665348)

    Get two audiobooks for the price of one when you sign up for a monthly membership to Libro.fm (libro.fm/redeem/HYSTERIA) , promo code HYSTERIA

    Written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith (http://www.chelseywebersmith.com/)

    Audio production by Clear Commo Studios (https://clearcommo.com/)

    Co-researched and written by Riley Smith

    And co-produced by Miranda Zickler

    Voice acting also by Will Rogers

    Follow American Hysteria on social media:
    Twitter: AmerHysteria (https://twitter.com/AmerHysteria)

    Instagram: AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast/)
    Facebook: Americanhysteriapodcast (https://facebook.com/americanhysteriapodcast)

    This week's #AmericanHysteriaBookClub (on Instagram)

    Worm at the Core by Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczynski 

    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

    • 51 min
    Wondery presents Murder in Hollywoodland

    Wondery presents Murder in Hollywoodland

    It's February 2nd 1922, and all of Hollywood is about to wake up and learn that William Desmond Taylor, the most famous film director in town, was murdered in his home last night. The investigation will shine a light on some of Hollywood's most scandalous affairs, backroom deals, and underground drug dens. This real life Murder Mystery is one of the most iconic "whodunnit" cases of the 20th century that will leave you guessing and second guessing who killed William Desmond Taylor for weeks to come.

    Listen today at wondery.fm/americanhysteriaMiH (http://wondery.fm/smalltownMiH)

    • 6 min
    8: What We Inherit: A Brief History of American Racism

    8: What We Inherit: A Brief History of American Racism

    The national and international protests over the death of George Floyd have generated larger and more widespread conversations about systemic racism in the United States. We hope to use our platform to help provide context and understanding around our shared moment in history, to show how our past creates our present, and to help illuminate how anti-Black racism has been passed on through our culture and politics, changing with each generation but also very much staying the same.

    Here are some books by Black folks that helped create this episode that we strongly recommend for further reading:
    The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

    Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

    How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

    Choke Hold by Paul Butler

    Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay

    Find these and more on our Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast)
    #AmericanHysteriaBookClub

    This episode was put together by Chelsey Weber-Smith, Riley Smith, Rod Rodriguez, and Miranda Zickler. 

    • 41 min
    Introducing Truth vs Hollywood

    Introducing Truth vs Hollywood

    Introducing the newest Audioboom original podcast, Truth vs Hollywood. Join Film lovers David Chen and Joanna Robinson as they do a deep dive into well known films and discuss how similar they are to the actual story.  Truth vs Hollywood premieres 6/12. Subscribe to Truth vs Hollywood on Apple Podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/truth-vs-hollywood/id1510582080) or wherever you listen.
    **Proceeds from this ad will be donated**

    • 14 min
    A message from the team

    A message from the team

    Like many shows, we are taking a break this week. We will be back next Monday with an audio guide that we hope can provide historical context and understanding around the nation-wide protests. After that we will be back with our season finale. Please take care of yourselves and others.
    Here are some nonprofits and groups to support:
    People's Kitchen Collective (http://peopleskitchencollective.com/)
    Reparations (https://www.facebook.com/groups/reparations.me/) (Facebook group)
    Homeless Backpacks (https://homelessbackpacks.org/)
    GiveDirectly (https://www.givedirectly.org/)

    • 4 min
    #Gamergate

    #Gamergate

    The internet hate campaign known as #gamergate began in February of 2013 when video game developer Zoe Quinn put out a simple, text-based game called Depression Quest that attempted to show players what it was like to live with this illness. After receiving positive reviews and write-ups, a swath of misogynistic trolls in the gaming community took to message boards to rail on the game they saw as a feminist, political correctness conspiracy to infiltrate their male dominated space, and the fire was only stoked by a long-winded “call out” by Zoe’s ex-boyfriend leading to mass harassment including death threats, rape threats, and the leaking of Zoe’s email, social media, phone number, home address, and nude photos.
    Here are the episodes to revisit and share with those who may need more context and understanding around the current protests:
    -Monsters (S2E5) is about how the language of the monstrous has been used to create fear around black folks.
    -Drugs (S1E9) is about the way substances have been used to criminalize and imprison black folks since the first laws.
    -Terrorism (S2E9) is about the history of the KKK as well as the Black Panthers and their amazing contributions to their communities despite being labeled terrorists (like BLM).
    -Dangerous Teens (S2E7) is about how fear around school violence as well as panics around “super predators” and “wilding” have contributed to the school to prison pipeline.
    -The Lost Cause (S3E5.5) is about the rewriting of history around the Civil War and how confederate monuments have been placed throughout history during important moments in Civil Rights as intimidation.
    -Suburbia (S3E3) is about the history and violent reinforcement of suburban communities
    -Rednecks (S3E4) is about how the powerful have long turned poor white people and black people against one another (and their fight for solidarity)
    This week, consider donating to Black Visions Collective (https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/) //
    Campaign Zero (https://www.joincampaignzero.org/) //
    I run with Maud (https://www.gofundme.com/f/i-run-with-maud) //
    Reclaim the Block (https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home)
    For 15% off your first order of Ray Con headphones, head to http://www.buyraycon.com/ah
    If you are living in Seattle, check out Black Caviar Catering (http://www.blackcaviarcatering.com/) to get delicious pre-made meals delivered to your door
    American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted
    by Chelsey Weber-Smith (https://www.chelseywebersmith.com/)
    Sound production by Clear Commo Studios (https://clearcommo.com/)
    Co-written by Riley Smith (https://www.instagram.com/rileymsmith96/)
    Co-produced by Miranda Zickler (https://www.instagram.com/mirandatheswampmonster/)
    Follow American Hysteria on social media:
    Twitter: AmerHysteria (https://twitter.com/amerhysteria)
    Instagram: AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast/)
    Facebook: Americanhysteriapodcast (http://www.facebook.com/americanhysteriapodcast)

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
1.3K Ratings

1.3K Ratings

Paddy451 ,

Come for the story. Stay for the sermon.

Overall, I like the podcast. It is well researched, produced and delivered. I also like the way it reminds me of the popular culture and angst of my childhood. However, the show is very preachy.

parishilton42069 ,

One of my favorite podcasts of all time probably

I just discovered this show like yesterday but I love it so much!! If any important podcast network people are reading these reviews, please pick it up lol I want more episodes so badly.

Emilie Stafford ,

My conservative dad and his college liberal daughter love it

I love this show and so does my dad, who is a boomer conservative. I am a gen z liberal and we can actually find common ground on the shows that are political in nature (like Monsters and the Terrorism episodes). He and I can even laugh at the stupidity of people (like first part The Satanic Panic episode) and have meaningful/often hard conversations (especially with the Stranger danger episode), we talked about my experience with sexual trauma in the second part of the satanic panic and why I empathized with the kids and McMartins involved. I’m seeing a lot people taking issues with the political nature and yeah it’s obnoxious sometimes, but if two different individuals can find this entertaining, than I highly recommend it.

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