229 episodes

Welcome to Strange Country, a podcast devoted to bizarre, surreal and extraordinary stories that make America the weird place it is. Co-hosts Kelly and Beth are former newspaper reporters turned school librarians who have always had a soft spot for a good story--the stranger the better. Discover the first woman to survive a barrel ride over Niagara Falls and the man who invented “complex marriage” in one of the most successful utopian experiments. Things get weird pretty quickly around here.

Strange Country Strange Country

    • Comedy
    • 3.4 • 154 Ratings

Welcome to Strange Country, a podcast devoted to bizarre, surreal and extraordinary stories that make America the weird place it is. Co-hosts Kelly and Beth are former newspaper reporters turned school librarians who have always had a soft spot for a good story--the stranger the better. Discover the first woman to survive a barrel ride over Niagara Falls and the man who invented “complex marriage” in one of the most successful utopian experiments. Things get weird pretty quickly around here.

    Biosphere 2

    Biosphere 2

    Could we actually replicate the biomes of Earth on other planets? In September 1991, eight intrepid explorers entered Biosphere 2 in the Arizona desert to spend two years seeing if humans could sustain life in the same way biosphere 1, the Earth, does. And it wasn’t so great, unless you’re heavily into mites, cockroaches, Steve Bannon and pot-bellied pigs. Strange Country cohosts Beth and Kelly discuss this failed experiment and why it might more sense to fix this planet than try to ruin other ones.
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands
    Cite your sources:
    Bruck, C. (2017, May 1). How Hollywood remembers Steve Bannon. The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/01/how-hollywood-remembers-steve-bannon
    Cooper, M. (1991, April 2). Take this terrarium and shove it. Village Voice. http://www.science-bbs.com/184-skeptic/fde8be2039817870.htm
    Dewdney, A. Kee. Yes, We Have No Neutrons: An Eye-opening Tour through the Twists and Turns of Bad Science. New York City, Wiley, 1997.
    Reider, Rebecca. Dreaming the Biosphere: The Theater of All Possibilities, Albuquerque, U of  New Mexico  P, 2010
    Report Urges Biosphere 2 to Spend More Time on Science to Succeed. (1992, July 26). New York Times. https://link-gale-cay.orc.scoolaid.net/apps/doc/A174904647/STND?u=nysl_sc_ahs&sid=bookmark-STND&xid=f39c5a28.
    Rose, Steve. "Eight go mad in Arizona: How a lockdown experiment went horribly wrong." Guardian. The Guardian, www.theguardian.com/film/2020/jul/13/spaceship-earth-arizona-biosphere-2-lockdown. Accessed 13 June 2022.
    Science beyond reproach. (2001, September 26). Arizona Daily Star [Tucson, AZ], B1. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A80229662/STND?u=nysl_sc_flls&sid=bookmark-STND&xid=276e0926
    Spaceship Earth, directed by Matt Wolf, Neon, 2020.
    Stern, E. (1996, May 30) Project had a ‘secret’ cult. Tucson Citizen. http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue2/1996/05/30/113-project-had-secret-cult/
    Wylie, I. (2001, May 5). Play your part in the Big Brother house: Win four months at the Biosphere 2 project. Guardian [London, England], 8. https://link-gale-cay.orc.scoolaid.net/apps/doc/A74296697/AONE?u=nysl_sc_ahs&sid=bookmark-AONE&xid=453bcf7a
    Zimmer, Carl. "The Lost History of One of the World's Strangest Science Experiment." The New York Times, 29 Mar. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/sunday-review/biosphere-2-climate-change.html. Accessed 13 June 2022.

    • 53 min
    Margaret Sanger

    Margaret Sanger

    Where do you fall on the abortion debate? Some people like to believe that if you are pro choice, you must idolize Margaret Sanger. But wait. . . do you even know who that is? Listen today, dear Dash Hounds, as we hear who this outspoken woman was. A thumbs up or a thumbs down? Is Margaret worthy of her name being on the building or her name being taken down? Your call. We do our best to give you some info. As we seem to keep learning on Strange Country, people are complicated, the world is complex, and hang on, we are about to experience everything all over again. $10 please for your fortune. Much love and thanks always for listening, it is an act of love.
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands
    Works Cited:

    • 49 min
    Gordon Kahl

    Gordon Kahl

    Nothing is certain but death and Strange Country’s guarantee of exquisitely-designed mousepads. Oh, and taxes. But some people really don’t like paying taxes and take their ire too far. Strange Country co-hosts Beth and Kelly discuss Gordon Kahl, an avid anti-government pro-Posse Comitatus fan who took his anger to the extreme when he killed two US Marshalls in 1983. Luckily, we’ve seemed to address domestic terrorism now…oh wait. And sorry about the little audio glitch midstream.
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands
    Cite your sources:
    Cameron, L. (2019, May 28). During the 1980s farm crisis, Minnesota lost more than 10,000 farms. MinnPost. https://www.minnpost.com/mnopedia/2019/05/during-the-1980s-farm-crisis-minnesota-lost-more-than-10000-farms/
    Corcoran, J. (1990). Bitter Harvest: Gordon Kahl and the Rise of the Posse Comitatus in the Heartland. Penguin Publishing Group. 
    Dyer, J. (1997). Harvest of rage: Why Oklahoma City is only the beginning. Basic Books.
    King W. (1990, Aug. 21). Books of the Times; A farmer’s fatal obsession with Jews and taxes. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/08/21/books/books-of-the-times-a-farmer-s-fatal-obsession-with-jews-and-taxes.html
    Levitas, D. (2002). The terrorist next door: The Militia Movement and the radical right. St. Martin’s Press

    • 53 min
    Recovered Memory Therapy

    Recovered Memory Therapy

    Our memories are fallible and malleable. In the 1980s and 1990s, recovered memory therapists convinced patients they had been sexually abused in some cases by satanic cults and repressed all memory of it. Strange Country cohosts Beth and Kelly discuss the trial of George Franklin who was convicted of murder based solely on the testimony of his daughter who “recovered” memories of witnessing him kill her childhood friend.
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands
    Cite your sources:
    Carpentier, M. (2021, Oct. 8) Where Is Eileen Franklin, Whose Recovered Memories Convicted Her Father, Now? https://www.oxygen.com/true-crime-buzz/where-is-elaine-franklin-lipsker-from-showtime-docuseries-buried-now
    Guendelman, Y. and Pines, A. (2021). Buried. Showtime. 
    Ofshe, R. and Watters, E. (1994) Making Monsters: False Memories, Psychotherapy and Sexual Hysteria. Diane Pub. Co. 
    Romanova, N. (2021, Oct. 21) Eileen Franklin-Lipsker Now: what is she doing today? Blurred Reality. https://blurred-reality.com/eileen-franklin-lipsker-now-today/#:~:text=All%20we%20know%20about%20her,as%20long%20as%20she%20could.

    • 50 min
    Dismantling of Roe v. Wade

    Dismantling of Roe v. Wade

    On this episode of Strange Country, Ofterry and Ofbryan talk about the U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion dismantling women’s reproductive freedoms. Forced birth advocates are rejoicing. The rest of us, not so much.
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands
    Cite your sources:
    Campoamoar, D. (2022, March 18). New tennessee bill would allow rapists' families, friends to sue if victims have an abortion. Today. Retrieved May 3, 2022, from https://www.today.com/parents/pregnancy/Tennessee-bill-rapists-sue-abortion-rcna20581
    Chamie, J. (2021, March 3). America's single-parent families. The Hill. https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/543941-americas-single-parent-families/
    Columbus Daily Enquirer, 13 Jan. 1956, p. 13. NewsBank: America's Historical Newspapers, infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=EANX-K12&docref=image/v2%3A1126A744DB722B38%40EANX-K12-16A327FFA6234DD0%402435486-16A30E62DDBE96DF%4012-16A30E62DDBE96DF%40. Accessed 3 May 2022.
    Frank, G. (2015, December 22). The death of Jacqueline Smith. Slate. from https://slate.com/human-interest/2015/12/Jacqueline-smiths-1955-death-and-the-lessons-we-havent-yet-learned-from-it.html
    Hartig, H. (2021, May 6). About six-in-ten americans say abortion should belegal in all or most cases. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/05/06/about-six-in-ten-americans-say-abortion-should-be-legal-in-all-or-most-cases/
    Kitchener, C. (2022, May 2). The next frontier for the antiabortion movement: A nationwide ban. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/05/02/abortion-ban-roe-supreme-court-mississippi/
    Levin, B. (2022, March 3). GOP senator Mike Braun claims he didn't mean to say states should be able to ban interracial marriage, despite saying it multiple times. Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 3, 2022, from https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/03/mike-braun-supreme-court-interracial-marriage
    Plain Dealer, 22 May 1956, p. 5. NewsBank: America's Historical Newspapers, infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=EANX-K12&docref=image/v2%3A122AFBBA107AC9E4%40EANX-K12-12AC90D16DF657D6%402435616-12AC5404A0306B0C%404-12AC5404A0306B0C%40. Accessed 3 May 2022.
    Plain Dealer, 24 May 1956, p. 6. NewsBank: America's Historical Newspapers, infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=EANX-K12&docref=image/v2%3A122AFBBA107AC9E4%40EANX-K12-12AC90D42B600569%402435618-1278F359D4F878E9%405-1278F359D4F878E9%40. Accessed 3 May 2022.
    Stracqualursi, V. (2021, November 16). Majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade being upheld, new poll shows. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/16/politics/americans-abortion-roe-v-wade-poll/ index.html
    Supreme Court Live Updates: Calls For an Investigation and Possible Charges After Supreme Court Draft Leaked. (2022, May 3). The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/05/03/us/roe-wade-abortion-supreme-court

    • 39 min
    Mildred Fish Harnack

    Mildred Fish Harnack

    In a time when democracy ruled, women had all the freedoms, people went to college and news sources were plentiful and trustworthy Wisconsin native Mildred Fish Harnack and her husband, Arvid, chose to begin their newlywed lives in the fun city of Berlin. Have you heard of it? Beth may have mentioned she has been there. That was Berlin in the 1920’s. Things were about to change. Laws were passed to keep certain people down, the rich and poor gap was widening, Mildred got let go from her professorship, and two men, Hitler and Goebbels, were really making a name for themselves talking about the ills of democracy. And Mildred from Wisconsin saw the whole city and country unravel. But instead of hightailing it back to the midwest, Mildred and her sweetheart stayed in Berlin and headed the resistance efforts. Listen as Beth and Kelly discuss the similarities of Hitler’s efforts and those of the current opposition parties trying to undermine America today. Fun times on Strange Country.
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands
    Cite your sources:
    Commonwealth Club of California. Mildred Harnack/American Grad Student/Berlin Resistance Leader. Sept. 17, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRGtZb7N6bg
    Donner, Rebecca. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days. Little Brown and Company, New York. 2021.
    Wisconsin Women Making History. Mildred Fish-Harnack. https://womeninwisconsin.org/profile/mildred-fish-harnack/

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5
154 Ratings

154 Ratings

LBA1978 ,

Potential but too much off track and pointless chatter

This podcast has potential but one of the hosts (Kelly) interrupts and giggles like a teenager. As a result the discussions are very superficial. I wish the conversations stayed on track and were deeper.

VLevan ,

They’re woke.

I was interested in listening and 3 minutes in they were already spreading your wokeness. Plenty of other podcasts to listen to.

Danno Cook ,


Figure out your sound levels!

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