281 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 • 173 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.

    John Leonard Orr

    John Leonard Orr

    What should you not do if you commit crimes? Write a book where the main character is someone just like you doing the very crimes you are doing. John Leonard Orr, fire captain and arson investigator, wrote a book about a serial arsonist in LA County while he was being that very serial arsonist. Strange Country cohosts Beth and Kelly talk about the strange crime of arson in today’s weekly/bimonthly podcast. Thanks for sticking with us!
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands.
    Cite your sources:
    Antholis, Kary. “A Convicted Fireman-Arsonist and Me: The Facts As I Knew Them.” Crime Story, 24 January 2020, https://crimestory.com/2020/01/24/a-convicted-fireman-arsonist-and-me-the-facts-as-i-knew-them/. Accessed 18 May 2024.

    Hesse, Monica. American Fire: Love, Arson, And Life in a Vanshing Land. WW Norton, 2017.

    “INVESTIGATOR CHARGED IN 3 ARSON CASES.” The Washington Post, 6 December 1991, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/national/1991/12/07/investigator-charged-in-3-arson-cases/cb86ce32-f4fc-40ba-9cd7-21104b1f4e0c/. Accessed 18 May 2024.

    Ricapito, Maria. “My Father John Orr Got Sexual Thrills from His Murderous Arson.” A&E, 5 June 2018, https://www.aetv.com/real-crime/john-orr-arsonist-father-firefighter-murderer-family-lori-orr-kovach. Accessed 18 May 2024.

    Wambaugh, Joseph. Fire lover. HarperCollins, 2002.

    • 54 min
    Quest for Immortality

    Quest for Immortality

    Charles Lindbergh wasn’t only known for that flight, his weird reverence for Nazis and being the public face of America First, he was also interested in literal immortality. In the 1930s, he collaborated with Dr. Alexis Carrel to devise ways to regenerate organs so people could possibly live forever, but not just any people. It’s the 1930s and these two white guys are mainly interested in elongating the lives of other white western dudes. Join Strange Country cohosts Beth and Kelly as they share another Lindbergh story and discuss whether they would want to live forever.
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands.
    Cite your sources:
    Dodes, Rachel. “The One-Body Problem.” Vanity Fair, no. 755, February 2024, 62-67, 97-99.
    Friedman, David M. The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever. HarperCollins, 2008.

    Harding, Luke. “DNA backs Lindbergh family claim | World news.” The Guardian, 28 November 2003, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/nov/29/germany.usa?CMP=gu_com. Accessed 29 March 2024.

    Jehangir, Waqas. “Evolution of Artificial Hearts: An Overview and History.” NCBI, 6 October 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5358116/. Accessed 16 March 2024.

    Mark, Joshua J. “Gilgamesh.” World History Encyclopedia, 15 December 2022, https://www.worldhistory.org/gilgamesh/. Accessed 3 March 2024.

    Stein, Rob. “First human transplant of a genetically modified pig kidney performed.” NPR, 21 March 2024, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2024/03/21/1239790816/first-pig-kidney-human-transplant. Accessed 23 March 2024.

    Tully, Tracey. “The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping: A Grisly Theory and a Renewed Debate.” The New York Times, 6 March 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/05/nyregion/charles-lindbergh-baby.html. Accessed 24 March 2024.

    Velie, Marissa Sertich. “What's the Difference Between Dutch Process and Natural Cocoa Powder?” Serious Eats, https://www.seriouseats.com/difference-dutch-process-natural-cocoa-powder-substitute. Accessed 3 March 2024.

    • 58 min
    Gimme Some Credit

    Gimme Some Credit

    Dear Dash Hounds, join Beth and Kelly as we try to pull the curtain open on the Wonderful Wizard of credit scores. Do you know your credit score? Do you care? Has it ruined your life? We talk about many things on Strange Country from periods to sex to murder and now, the most secretive of things–money. ‘Mericans don’t talk openly about their money issues, and surprise! That is not good practice. We are stressed and worried and in debt, and there’s a reason why. Find out today on Strange Country. Thanks for listening. It is an act of love, and sometimes all you need is love.
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands.
    Works Cited
    Campisi, Natalie. “From Inherent Racial Bias to Incorrect Data—The Problems With Current Credit Scoring Models.” Forbes, 26 February 2021, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/credit-cards/from-inherent-racial-bias-to-incorrect-data-the-problems-with-current-credit-scoring-models/. Accessed 18 March 2024.
    “Fair Credit Reporting Act.” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Credit_Reporting_Act. Accessed 18 March 2024.
    Fiano, Liane. “Common errors people find on their credit report - and how to get them fixed.” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 5 February 2019, https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/common-errors-credit-report-and-how-get-them-fixed/. Accessed 18 March 2024.
    Frazier, Mya. “The High Cost of Bad Credit.” The New York Times, 7 June 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/07/magazine/bad-credit-repair.html. Accessed 18 March 2024.
    Furletti, Mark. “Secret History Of The Credit Card - More To Explore | FRONTLINE.” Secret History Of The Credit Card - More To Explore | FRONTLINE | PBS, 23 November 2004, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/more/scores.html. Accessed 18 March 2024.
    Johnson, Holly. “8 Ways You're Hurting Your Credit Score Without Knowing It.” Forbes, 28 June 2021, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/credit-score/8-ways-youre-hurting-your-credit-score-without-knowing-it/. Accessed 18 March 2024.
    Nova, Annie. YouTube: Home, 3 June 2009, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/25/bernie-sanders-wants-to-overhaul-the-countrys-credit-reporting-system.html. Accessed 18 March 2024.
    Trainor, Sean. “Your Credit Score's Long History, From Espionage to Algorithms.” Time, 22 July 2015, https://time.com/3961676/history-credit-scores/. Accessed 18 March 2024.
    White, Alexandria. “90% of Americans Stress About Money, According to Study Results.” CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/select/why-americans-are-stressed-about-money/. Accessed 18 March 2024.
    Wilbers, Pippin. “How Inflation Affects Car Loan Rates.” Bankrate, 31 January 2024, https://www.bankrate.com/loans/auto-loans/how-inflation-affects-auto-loan-rates/#why. Accessed 18 March 2024.

    • 52 min
    Robbers Cave Experiment

    Robbers Cave Experiment

    The mid-20th century was the heyday of figuring out why humans were the worst through the use of social psychological experiments. Strange Country cohosts Beth and Kelly talk about one such experiment, Muzafer Sherif’s Robbers Cave Experiment where Sherif gathered a group of 12 year old boys to see if he could pit the boys against one another. Sherif’s experiment is included in Psych 101 books about group dynamics, but did this hostility occur organically or was it more manufactured by the adults?
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands.
    Cite your sources:
    Higgins, Nick, and Maria Konnikova. “Revisiting Robbers Cave: The easy spontaneity of intergroup conflict.” Scientific American Blog Network, 5 September 2012, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/literally-psyched/revisiting-the-robbers-cave-the-easy-spontaneity-of-intergroup-conflict/. Accessed 15 January 2024.

    Mcleod, Saul. “Robbers Cave Experiment | Realistic Conflict Theory.” Simply Psychology, 27 September 2023, https://www.simplypsychology.org/robbers-cave.html. Accessed 27 February 2024.

    Perry, Gina. The Lost Boys: Inside Muzafer Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiment. Scribe Publications, 2019.

    Perry, Gina. “Robbers Cave Experiment.” Practical Psychology, 26 September 2022, https://practicalpie.com/robbers-cave-experiment/. Accessed 27 February 2024.

    Shariatmadari, David, and Gina Perry. “A real-life Lord of the Flies: the troubling legacy of the Robbers Cave experiment.” The Guardian, 16 April 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/apr/16/a-real-life-lord-of-the-flies-the-troubling-legacy-of-the-robbers-cave-experiment. Accessed 27 February 2024.

    • 49 min
    Emma Goldman

    Emma Goldman

    Hey Dash Hounds, are you still there? Beth and Kelly are. Or are we? Has ChatGPT taken over? Can it? We are just women after all. What is our worth? In this episode, we will talk about women’s worth and Emma Goldman, a woman who fought for many things and has been forgotten like so many others. But Strange Country is doing its best to keep women’s work alive before AI eats us up? Thanks always for listening.
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands.
    Works Cited
    Goldman, Emma. Living My Life. New York, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1931, https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/emma-goldman-living-my-life. Accessed 31 January 2024.
    “Joseph A. Labadie Collection.” University of Michigan Library, https://www.lib.umich.edu/collections/collecting-areas/special-collections-and-archives/joseph-labadie-collection. Accessed 1 February 2024.
    “The Labadie Collection A Hidden Treasure In Our Midst.” Ann Arbor District Library, https://aadl.org/node/247050. Accessed 31 January 2024.
    PBS American Experience. “Emma Goldman: 1869-1940.” https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/goldman-1869-1940/. Accessed 28 1 2024.

    • 49 min
    The Sullivan Institute

    The Sullivan Institute

    Happy 2024! And Beth and Kelly are back with another tale of another cult on another year of Strange Country. What’s to say? It starts off with plans for communal living and burns out in abuse, financial malfeasance and weird sex awfulness.
    Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands.
    Cite your sources:
    Hoban, Phoebe. “Psycho Drama: The Chilling Story of How the Sullivanian Cult Turned a Utopian Dream into a Nightmare.” New York Magazine [New York], 19 June 1989, pp. 41-53, https://books.google.com/books?id=XOcCAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=sullivanians+1989+New+York+Magazine+article&source=bl&ots=IFdQMBb5im&sig=9gTIMcGzzHJpDx8Bz-pESJDkFZA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjUo7SF3KDPAhVGWh4KHbTMDhwQ6AEIODAE#v=onepage&q=sullivanians%201989.

    Murray, Stephanie H., and Adam Serwer. “Why Parents Struggle So Much in the World's Richest Country.” The Atlantic, 5 January 2024, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2024/01/america-failed-parents-rich-countries-raising-kids/677023/. Accessed 6 January 2024.

    Offenhartz, Jake, and Kerry Shaw. “Inside the Rise & Fall Of A 1970s Upper West Side Cult.” Gothamist, 21 September 2016, https://gothamist.com/arts-entertainment/inside-the-rise-fall-of-a-1970s-upper-west-side-cult. Accessed 30 December 2023.

    Stille, Alexander. The Sullivanians: Sex, Psychotherapy, and the Wild Life of an American Commune. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023.

    Winter, Jessica. “The Upper West Side Cult That Hid in Plain Sight.” The New Yorker, 14 June 2023, https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/the-upper-west-side-cult-that-hid-in-plain-sight. Accessed 30 December 2023.

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5
173 Ratings

173 Ratings

ruthsant ,

Annoying co-host

Kelly’s constant interruption is so annoying. So hard to listen.

Dlj0312 ,

Love this podcast!

Great topics and discussion! I love the coverage of interesting stories, history, true crime and more. Definitely recommend giving it a listen.

Pakkidis ,

The perfect podcast for anyone with humor

Are you tired of podcast dude bros that sit around and share conspiracy theories that harm minorities? Have you sat halfway through a podcast and had to turn it off because it started going into right wing territory? Well good news to you for this podcast has none of those things! Beth and Kelly always have a good story to tell and always support it with facts (if you’re a Tr*mp supporter then you’ll think they’re part of the deep state). Each episode will have you bust out laughing and even one episode about a ghost family had me on edge. They’re great storytellers with a lesson in each story and a solid business plan (DEF Truck). Here’s to hoping for many more years of these two (insert champagne bottle emoji)

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