This week, Anna and Amber decided to clean up their act and take a look at the history of bathing and hygiene. We’re dipping our toes into Roman baths, sweating through Finnish and Russian saunas, discussing the shrewd marketing behind the “Halitosis Effect,” and more. Plus, what even IS soap, anyway?
Spooktober winds to a close once again, and we end with a mystery. Bundle up and join Anna and Amber at Roopkund Lake, where bones scatter the shore and speculation and science meet. Who were the people whose skeletal remains keep appearing in a remote lake in northern India? How did they get there? How might we find out?
Come along for a look at the anthropology of “evil,” some of the psychological designations that true crime podcasts might neglect, some wildly speculative thoughts about the roots of human evil, and how scores on “psychopath tests” vary across societies. Plus, the earliest cold case murder, Machiavelli on Machiavellianism, and unfortunately, the entirely unwelcome reappearance of the Evil Neanderthal theory.
This week, head south to the misty, mysterious island of Chiloé, Chile, where Amber tells Anna a story of a powerful cult of warlocks that held the island in their grip in the late 19th century CE. But, as in all good horror stories, the true villain is possibly something else entirely. Sit down for a hearty meal of the spookiest spaghetti and explore indigenous Mapuche governance, colonization, and whether the ghost stories of Chiloé might be more meaningful than they seem.
Content warning: there is a brief scene describing graphic violence, but we’ll warn you when it’s time for sensitive ears to skip ahead.