Listen to the dulcet tones of Mr. Radford in this very-nearly-entirely complete compendium of all his podcasts ever.
MonsterTalk is a free audio podcast that critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or werewolves. Hosted by Blake Smith, Benjamin Radford, and Dr. Karen Stollznow, MonsterTalk interviews the scientists and investigators who shine a spotlight on the things that go bump in the night. For once (and unlike mystery-mongering television shows) a monster-themed program gives skepticism more than just a couple minutes of lip service!
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December 21st: Squatching with The Krampus
By popular demand, we take a brief aside into fantasy to talk with one the more sinister figures associated with the Winter Holidays: The Krampus. Then we get a bit more serious as we welcome one of the co-hosts of the popular podcast The Bigfoot Show, documentarian and comedian, Scott Herriott. Scott has made several films about walking the Pacific Coast Trail and about his personal quest to find Bigfoot—and the people he’s met in that search. This MonsterTalk interview includes a detailed recounting of his own brush with what he believes may have been a Sasquatch.
December 7th: Unbottling some Jinn
If you think Genies are funny like in Aladdin, or sexy like in I Dream of Jeannie get ready to have your assumptions challenged. In the Middle East, Jinn aren’t whimsical characters of fantasy. They are considered to be frightening, real entities that haunt desolate places and can perform terrible magic. In this episode of MonsterTalk we interview author Robert Lebling about his book Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar. If you miss this episode you’ll wish you hadn’t!
November 15th: MonsterTalk meets Skeptiko: The Psychic Detective Finale
In September of 2008, Ben Radford appeared as a guest on the podcast Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris. During that interview, he agreed to take up Alex’s challenge to investigate the best case of the efficacy of psychic detectives. What followed was months of research, numerous interviews and a follow-up which ended in acrimony. Now, three years after the initial challenge, Skepticality presents a discussion between the hosts of MonsterTalk (Blake Smith, Ben Radford and Karen Stollznow) and Alex Tsakiris about Skeptiko, the interface of skeptics and believers, and the matter of whether or not Ben’s investigation disproved the psychic’s claims.
November 9th: Paranormality: Psychic Dogs, Ghosts and Silly Voices—an Interview with Richard Wiseman
While at TAM9, the hosts of MonsterTalk sat down to talk with psychologist Richard Wiseman about his new book Paranormality: Paranormality: Why we see what isn’t there. It was supposed to be a chat about the paranormal, ghosts and Wiseman’s findings. But a conversation with Richard Wiseman is rarely so simple as that.
October 26th: Crypt O’ Zoology: Dinosaurs in Africa!
From The Lost World to Alley Oop to The Flintstones, the idea of dinosaurs and humans living together has captured the imagination of readers across the globe. But there are some who believe that this idea isn’t fictional. Is there a population of sauropod dinosaurs living in Africa in modern times?
In this episode of MonsterTalk, we interview paleontologist Dr. Donald Prothero at TAM9 about his research into the creature known as Mokele Mbembe! Cryptozoology, paleontology and creationism converge in the jungles of the Congo.
October 5th: Bad Wolf
On November 8, 2005 Canadian geological engineering student Kenton Carnegie went for a walk. He told people that he’d be back by 5 pm. When he hadn’t returned by 7 pm, a search party went out and discovered his remains in the woods. In this episode of Monstertalk (a follow-up to last week’s), we interview professor Valerius Geist about the true cause of Kenton Carnegie’s death. Some people thought he was killed by a bear, but more likely he was killed by a myth.
September 21st: The Big Bad Wolf
Chances are if you listen to MonsterTalk you probably like nature documentaries. No doubt you’ve seen stories about wolves and heard words to the effect that wolves are often maligned and that wolves have an undeserved reputation for being killers. Yet how does one reconcile the idea that dangerous wolves are a myth with the many myths and fairy tales which feature wolves as the villain? In this episode of MonsterTalk we take on the legend of the big, bad wolf and what we find may surprise you. This episode features an interview with author Jay M. Smith, about his book Monsters of the Gévaudan: The Making of a Beast.
September 7th: Dead Men Are a Ghoul’s Best Friend
In this episode of MonsterTalk we discuss Ghouls and their real world counterpart: cannibals. The hosts are joined by Carole A. Travis-Henikoff, author of Dinner With A Cannibal: The Complete History of Mankind’s Oldest Taboo. This episode also features guest MonsterTalker Adam Levenstein, a long-time friend of the show whose background combines anthropology and skepticism.
August 10th: A Connecticut Haunting in a Keen Author’s Court
The 2009 film The Haunting in Connecticut is purported to be based on true events. Similarly, there was the 2002 documentary A Haunting in Connecticut (which aired on The Discovery Channel and helped spawn the series A Haunting). These true events have been compiled by author Ray Garton into his book In A Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting. The shocking tale contains adult elements of a graphic nature, and if true, described a terrifying case of a demonic and ghostly attack on a family. But Garton now says that the allegedly true events weren’t quite what they seemed.
Content Advisory: This episode of MonsterTalk contains adult themes and coarse language.
July 27th: Ancient Alien Astronauts: Interview with Ken Feder
Did ancient humans gain their technological achievements through the assistance of creatures from other planets? This week on MonsterTalk, Dr. Feder, an archaeology professor who has taught a course on the topic, shares his thoughts. Feder is the author of Frauds, Myths and Mysteries—a book with more good scientific content on the cover than most TV shows have in an entire season.
July 6th: Hayley Stevens’ Lake Monster Mysteries
There are very few people who make their living hunting monsters. For most of us who investigate such mysteries, it is a labor of love. Today on MonsterTalk we get to talk with one of our listeners about her investigation into a lake monster. In her investigation she went where few would dare to tread. Join us as we talk with amateur investigator Hayley Stevens about her dive into lake monster mysteries.
June 8th: Searching For Sasquatch
Is cryptozoology science or pseudoscience? Do scientists ever really study cryptozoology, or merely ignore the field entirely? This week we dig into the history of Cryptozoology itself—focusing on the search for America’s most famous cryptid: Sasquatch. This week on MonsterTalk, we’re joined by Dr. Brian Regal to talk about his latest book, Searching For Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads and Cryptozoology.
May 11th: The Zombie Autopsies
This week on MonsterTalk, we interview Harvard medical doctor Steven Schlozman, author of The Zombie Autopsies and get inside the walking dead to discuss a plausible mechanism for the zombie apocalypse.
April 20th: Tracking the Manbeasts
Renowned investigator Joe Nickell returns to MonsterTalk to discuss his latest book Tracking the Man-beasts: Sasquatch, Vampires, Zombies, and More—a survey of a human-like monsters that runs the gamut from Almas to Zombie. The book covers scores of monsters from legend and lore, and many entries include insights from Joe’s personal investigations.
March 30th: Resurrecting the Extinct
Plenty of people have hypothesized about being able to bring back an extinct animal, but (so far as the MonsterTalk team knows) the only person who has successfully brought an extinct animal’s gene back to be able to express itself in a living organism is Dr. Andrew Pask and his team of genetics experts. Tasmania’s marsupial tiger, the Thylacine, appears to be extinct. But today MonsterTalk interviews Dr. Pask about his experiments, the best chances of resurrecting dead species, and what makes the Thylacine so interesting to evolutionary science.
March 16th: Is The Skookum Fair Dinkum?
In the year 2000 startling claims of a body cast of a Bigfoot emerged from the deep woods of Washington State. More than a decade later, MonsterTalk interviews Bigfoot researcher Daniel Perez about the facts behind this contentious artifact — which some still claim to be one of the best pieces of evidence for the existence of Bigfoot.
March 2nd: Tracking the Chupacabra
This week MonsterTalk co-host Benjamin Radford becomes the interviewee! Radford discusses his newest book, Tracking the Chupacabra. The culmination of a five-year investigation, this book may provide an actual solution to these mysterious humanoid sightings.
February 25th: Tracking the Chupacabra (exclusive preview)
Exclusive for MonsterTalk listeners, an audio preview from Ben Radford’s latest book Tracking the Chupacabra, read by the author. This 32 minute selection contains material from the opening of this new book, which provides the solution to the mysterious bloodsucking beast known as El Chupacabra. We hope you enjoy this free sample. Please feel free to share it with your friends.
January 26th: Unmasking the Ninja
This week the hosts of MonsterTalk take on the mysterious, mystical, legendary menace of the ninja! Should ninjas be considered monsters? They come out at night, have mysterious powers and use fear and lethality to wreak havoc. But to be sure, we Ask a Ninja. Also, we interview Matt Alt, co-author (with Hiroko Yoda) of Ninja Attack: True Tales of Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws.
January 12th: Ethnobiology: A Lizard’s Tale
In this episode, the MonsterTalk crew interviews Dr. Tony Russell, a professor at the University of Calgary who studies evolutionary and functional morphology in geckos. Dr. Russell’s work includes ethnobiology — the utilization of folklore to guide his research. He discuss the uses and limitations of this mode of research, as well as the remarkable features of the lizards that he studies.
Download any or all of the 2011 episodes here.
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December 22nd: A Bestiary of Creatures
Author Christopher Dell has collected an astonishing array of art from around the world depicting many obscure and mysterious creatures in his new book Monsters: A Bestiary of Devils, Demons, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Magical Creatures.
Christopher Dell joins the MonsterTalk crew to discuss why humans are so fascinated by these bizarre entities.
December 1st: The Iceman Goeth
Late in the 1960s, in the era which gave us the famous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film, fairgoers in Minnesota were confronted with a marvel: a hairy, primitive-looking humanoid frozen in a block of ice. Was it an anthropological relic? Was it a sasquatch?
As investigators from the Smithsonian Institute and cryptozoological researchers studied the frozen creature, they came to very different conclusions as to what it represented. The MonsterTalk hosts interview Bigfoot researcher and former side-show performer Matt Crowley — and try to crack the case of The Minnesota Iceman.
November 3rd: On Monsters
This week on MonsterTalk, author Stephen Asma (Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago) speaks about his comprehensive book surveying Western monster-lore.
Is humankind’s fascination with monsters broader than any single cause? Asma’s On Monsters examines hundreds of legends — and their cultural, psychological and social implications.
October 20th: The Rise of Bat Boy
In the pantheon of American monsters, only one truly dominated the newspapers of the 1990s. Checkout lines everywhere were haunted by the bald-headed, wide-mawed visage of Bat Boy.
What was Bat Boy, and where did he come from? The MonsterTalk team interviews cartoonist Tye Bourdony, a former employee of the Weekly World News. Bourdony shares his insights about Bat Boy and the rise and fall of the famous tabloid paper.
September 29th: Dragon*Con’s Skeptrack 2010
This week’s episode was recorded before a live studio audience at Dragon*Con’s Skeptrack 2010 (in Atlanta, Georgia).
MonsterTalk hosts Ben Radford and Blake Smith bravely faced the horror of live questions from listeners — including Australian skeptical activist Dr. Rachael Dunlop, Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning, and others!
September 15th: Just Scratching the Surface
MonsterTalk frequently explores tales of imaginary monsters — creatures of myth, fiction, and folklore.
Today, the hosts consider a real creature, one that preys on humans and their closest animal companions. It is often invisible. It drinks blood to survive. And, it is responsible for many of the sightings of the dreaded chupacabra.
Podcast audiences may cringe and recoil in horror to learn the true facts of the creature known as — Sarcoptes scabiei!
September 1st: Cryptozoology & Science, Part 2This week, MonsterTalk continues its discussion of the intersection between science and cryptozoology. The hosts interview Dr. Donald Prothero and Daniel Loxton, who are working on a book that will give a deep overview of the field of cryptozoology and how it intersects with actual science. This interview was recorded at The Amaz!ng Meeting 8 in Las Vegas.
August 11th: Cryptozoology & Science, Part 1
What is cryptozoology? Is it science? Is it folklore? Does it make predictions?
In part 1 of a 2-part series, MonsterTalk examines cryptozoology as a field, including speculation on the cryptids most likely to turn out to be real. Guest Dr. Darren Naish, paleontologist and science blogger, makes some surprising statements about the field, its role in science and culture, and the intersection of amateur and professional science.
July 21st: The Columbus Poltergeist (featuring James Randi)
In 1984, objects began to fly around the room in the presence of a Columbus Ohio teen named Tina Resch. The local paper claimed this was a poltergeist attack, and published photos to prove it.
Tina’s story caught the attention of a young organization called the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal [CSICOP, now Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI)] and its chief investigator, James “The Amazing” Randi. In this episode, Randi tells the MonsterTalk hosts about the outcome of this case — and shares his personal views about the unfortunate impact it may have had on Tina’s life.
June 16th: Cthulhu Rises
In this special literary edition, MonsterTalk ventures into a dark domain that can be confidently called fiction: the monstrous, genre-defining oeuvre of horror writer Howard Philips Lovecraft. Joined by noted Lovecraft scholar Robert M. Price and biologist PZ Myers, the MonsterTalk hosts discuss Lovecraft’s life and works, and dare to confront his most famous creation: the vast alien monstrosity Cthulhu. Can the hosts gaze into the shrieking outer darkness and return with their sanity intact? Find out on this episode of MonsterTalk!
May 26th: Bringing Light to a Moth
In this episode, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP) investigator Joe Nickell joins the MonsterTalk crew for a look into the West Virginian legend of Mothman — allegedly a human-sized creature with wings and glowing red eyes. Nickell discusses the ways monsters evolve following a community’s initial reports, and the cyclical nature of spates of sightings.
May 5th: Monsters from the Lab
In this week’s episode, MonsterTalk looks once again at genetics and creatures created in the laboratory. Dr. Marcus C. Davis joins the hosts to discuss what constitutes a “monster.” In his work, Davis deals with paleontology, as well as embryological manipulation — which, by some definitions, means he literally creates monsters.
What kinds of creatures are scientists making in labs today? What is the scope of their power? What guides their ethics? Learn more this week on MonsterTalk!
April 21st: Historical Ghost Investigations Part II: Sinking the Watertown
This week, MonsterTalk continues its two-part discussion of historical ghost investigations. Blake Smith describes his investigation into a famous photo that allegedly shows two dead sailors floating off the side of a 1920’s oil tanker. Methodology for conducting historical investigation is detailed, using Ben Radford’s upcoming book on scientific paranormal investigation as a basis for the talk.
Did two sailors haunt their fellow shipmates? Does the photo really show two ghosts? Find out the answers in this informative conclusion — and find out how you can solve your own cases!
April 7th: Historical Ghost Investigations Part I: Kimo / Therapy
Ghost investigations often feature in television shows and other media. Typically, these amount to people wandering around at night with EMF detectors, talking into the darkness and jumping at shadows and noises.
But how does one do a scientific paranormal investigation? On this first half of a two-part MonsterTalk, the hosts review two past ghost investigations (Ben Radford’s “Kimo Theater Ghost” and Dr. Karen Stollznow’s “Waverly Hills Sanatorium” investigations) and discuss some of the techniques that can help solve such cases. What steps are common to this type of research? Learn more this week on MonsterTalk.
March 24th: Ghost Bird
What happens when a creature thought to be extinct is spotted alive in the swamps of Arkansas? Can such a creature have survived? Can scientists verify the story? And when a town’s hopes and a school’s grant money are on the line, to what lengths will people go to find proof?
This week on MonsterTalk we discuss these issues with Scott Crocker, the documentary filmmaker behind Ghost Bird — a feature length exploration into the mystery of the Ivory-billed woodpecker.
March 3rd: Getting into the Spirit of Things
Things get spooky this week on MonsterTalk, as the hosts venture into the science of ghosts.
What does neuroscience have to say about the possibility of consciousness or mind existing outside the body — or continuing on after the body has died? This episode’s guest is neurologist Dr. Steven Novella (veteran of on-site ghost investigations, and host of the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast), who shares his insights on brains, minds, and specters from beyond the grave.
February 17th: Suitable for Framing
In this episode, the hosts of MonsterTalk talk with Greg Long, author of the 2004 book The Making of Bigfoot (which was reviewed at the time by Skeptic’s own Daniel Loxton).
Long’s book is built from hours of interviews with surviving contemporaries of Roger Patterson, the filmmaker who shot the influential Patterson-Gimlin footage. For many people, this film remains the best evidence that Bigfoot is real. However, Long’s research uncovered a side of Patterson most people had never heard of before — and it isn’t pretty.
According to Long, the famed Bigfoot film shows nothing more than a man in a modified gorilla suit. Moreover, Long may have found the man who wore it…
February 3rd: Bigfoot: First Impressions
In the world of Bigfoot, good evidence is hard to come by. Anecdotes and blurry photos keep the documentaries coming, but most skeptics agree that a body or a living specimen are needed to confirm the existence of a large North American mystery mammal.
But what of alleged Bigfoot footprints? One expert claims that at least some track castings contain proof of an actual unknown ape. That expert is retired law enforcement agent Jimmy Chilcutt — and he’s agreed to come talk with the skeptics on MonsterTalk.
January 13th: Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum!
Giants appear in cultures around the world: Biblical tales of giants more than ten feet tall; Roman and Greek stories of titans and heroes; European stories of giants of mountain and hill. They all have one thing in common: enormous monsters.
On this episode of MonsterTalk we chat with archeologist Dr. Ken Feder about giants, biblical archeology — and one of the biggest hoaxes in American history.
Download any or all of the 2010 episodes here.
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December 23rd: I’m Gonna Get You, Goat Sucker!
The most famous of the Latin American cryptids is El Chupacabra, the goat sucker. This episode of MonsterTalk examines the lore behind this slinking, sinister, blood-sucking creature. Is it a real animal? A creation of secret scientific experiments? An alien’s pet accidentally released on Earth?
Co-host Benjamin Radford takes the guest spot this week as we discuss the research behind his upcoming book (tentatively titled) Tracking the Vampire: Chupacabras in Fact, Fiction and Folklore.
December 9th: They Came From Outer Space!
Are creatures from other planets visiting the earth, trampling our crops to create cryptic messages, violating people in their sleep, and doing terrible things to our livestock? How plausible is it that we are being visited by intelligent beings from beyond Earth, or that we’ve been visited in the distant past?
This week on MonsterTalk, astronomer Dr. Phil Plait, author of Death from the Skies! joins us to talk about monsters — from outer space!
November 18th: Horrifying Hybrids
In this episode, MonsterTalk examines monsters that genetically blend humans with the other. Hosts Blake Smith, Ben Radford, and Dr. Karen Stollznow explore the plausibility of alien-human hybridizations, dig into the real science of genetics — and consider the ethical questions involved.
Weighing in on these issues is Dr. Steven Jones — noted geneticist, teacher, and television presenter. (He is also the author of many books including Darwin’s Ghost, Introducing Genetics, Coral: A Pessimist in Paradise.)
Did Stalin really want to build an army of gorilla-human hybrids? Is the upright-walking chimp called Oliver really some kind of chimpanzee-human mix? The plausibility of such creatures may surprise you…
October 28th: Darwin vs. the Wolfman
In this week’s Halloween episode, MonsterTalk ventures into the realm of the werewolves — and asks what Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species implies for this fearsome monster’s plausibility. Guest Dr. Brian Regal (Assistant Professor for the History of Science at Kean University) discusses his lecture about whether Darwin slew the last of the werewolves.
Professor Regal also explores the relationship between creationists and cryptozoology, and introduces his new book, Pseudoscience: A Critical Encyclopedia.
October 12th: Pterosaurs
Paleontologist Dr. David Martill joins us to talk about prehistoric flying reptiles and his visit to Papua New Guinea with the TV show MonsterQuest to search for the legendary Ropen, an animal which some say is a modern day surviving Pterosaur. Dr. Martill is a reader in Paleobiology with the University of Portsmouth and he joins us to talk about the current state of Pterosaur science and to discuss the plausibility of surviving populations of these fascinating creatures.
MonsterNEWS: Wake the Muck Up
The recent sighting of waves in the Lake Worth Lagoon, near West Palm Beach Florida, caused a brief monster stir.
MonsterNEWS: Sloth in the Media
Well, the “Montauk Madness” has returned but this time from Panama (Central American, not Florida).
MonsterNEWS: Thunderbirds & Winged Bigfoot
We cover three recent stories with wings: the Parking Lot Thunderbird, the Argentine Windshield Pterosaur, and a winged Bigfoot photo that turns out to be a bird.
August 31st: The Plesiosaur Hypothesis
Is there a mysterious prehistoric “living fossil” lurking beneath the waters of Loch Ness? The idea that a colony of Plesiosaurs might have survived into modern times in the deep dark waters of Loch Ness has long captured the imagination of cryptozoology fans. But what do we know about these mesozoic marine animals whose fossils disappear from the record at the same time as the dinosaurs? MonsterTalk found an expert to answer some of our questions about what science can tell us of these magnificent beasts.
Dr. Adam Stuart Smith is a specialist in aquatic prehistoric reptiles. He runs the website www.plesiosauria.com and works for the National Museum of Ireland where he is part of a team dedicated to documenting and databasing the Natural History collections.
August 16th: Fins & Fossil Footprints
Did a Japanese fishing vessel catch the body of a prehistoric aquatic dinosaur? In this week’s MonsterTalk, we interview Glen Kuban to discuss the 1977 case of the Zuiyo-Maru, dinosaurs, paleontology, cryptozoology and why so many creationists want to find living dinosaurs. Kuban has done extensive research on two cases important to monster enthusiasts. His article explaining the true nature of the “mysterious” carcass netted by the Japanese fishing vessel Zuiyo-maru and his decades long investigation into the alleged “giant humanoid tracks” in the Paluxy fossil bed in Texas both highlight the importance of a thorough investigation before assuming the remarkable is true.
INTERVIEW: Animals in the Okanagan
Blake Smith is interviewed on AM770 (CHQR) about Canadian Lake Monsters and a recent animal sighting in Lake Okanagan.
July 27th: Anatomy of a Beast
In this week’s MonsterTalk, we interview Michael McLeod, a writer, producer, and director who has created documentaries for PBS, the PBS series Frontline, the Discovery Channel, and other national venues.
His book Anatomy of a Beast is an in-depth look at the origins of the Bigfoot mythology that culminated in the Patterson-Gimlin film. He examines the lives and beliefs of the men (for it was mostly men) whose writing, research, hoaxes, stories and films brought us the Bigfoot we know today in popular culture. The book gives a very humanizing look at people whose efforts range from the silly to the desperate.
July 2nd: Bigfoot DNA
Our panel (Ben Radford, Dr. Karen Stollznow and Blake Smith) interview Professor Todd Disotell, PhD. Todd has been a guest on multiple television shows to examine potential Bigfoot and Yeti DNA. We ask him about the science of DNA analysis, his thoughts on cryptid-TV, and what he’s found in his studies.
Download any or all of the 2009 episodes here.