The Paranoid Strain
New: Secret Societies I, Part 15 - The Freemasons 1
Season 4, Ep. 15
So we've finally reached a secret society that surely every listener to this show has already heard of, the Freemasons. To be totally honest here, we approached this topic more out of a sense of duty than out of genuine excitement. It seemed, when we were planning this series out, that the Masons were going to be one of those groups that, yes, has been around for a long time, and yes is nebulously worked into the fever dreams of many conspiracists, but that weren't all that interesting once you started digging around in their genuine history. Boy, were we wrong. And the person who pointed out exactly how wrong we were is one Professor John Dickie, the author of the incredible book The Craft, and a gentleman who was kind enough to share with us his time and expertise in an interview we'll be excerpting throughout the next five-plus episodes. We hope you, like us, are surprised at the fascinating and intricate history of this group, and we can't wait to share with you the rest of what we've learned. Oh, and seriously--buy a copy of Professor Dickie's book or audiobook. You won't regret it.
New: Secret Societies I, Part 14 - The Rosicrucians and Foucault's Pendulum
Season 4, Ep. 14
We're fourteen goddamned episodes into this seemingly never-ending cavalcade of secret society information, and there are, at minimum, seven or eight episodes to go. We'd apologize for how long this series is getting, but we're not going to, because it continues to be just a goldmine of interesting information, and we won't rest until we've shared it all with you. Today, we wrap up the Rosicrucians, and take the opportunity to spoil the plot of perhaps the greatest conspiracy novel ever written. Why tie these two things together? Because they're both centered around conspiracies that were imagined into existence. Confused? Don't be! Just listen. Talk to you in a couple of weeks, when the topic will be...The Freemasons.
New: Secret Societies I, Part 13 - The Rosicrucians 2
Season 4, Ep. 13
More stories of the best darned secret society that didn't technically exist,! We return to the weird and wonderful world of the Rosicrucians this time, with stories of those who tried in vain to join the ephemeral brotherhood, and a number of folks who had to insist to their contemporaries that they weren't part of this group that nobody had ever seen in the first place. And a conspiracy theory involving the Rosies and the Bard. Oh, and we see the return of an old friend. A quick impactful visit, if you will. You'll know it when you hear it. We're busily producing our fantastic shows about the Freemasons right now, and look forward to sharing those with you in the near future. See you in a couple of weeks.
New: Secret Societies I, Part 12 - The Rosicrucians
Season 4, Ep. 11
If you, like Mike Schmidt, believed that our final statement at the end of last episode meant we were done with Secret Societies...well, I guess you had understandable reasons for thinking that. But it's not true. That just ended our weird tale of the sources of Dan Brown's madness. Now, we're back to a more orthodox secret society tale, albeit one that once again embraces a group that isn't quite what it seems. This is the first of three-and-change episodes about these guys. We started out aiming for a short overview, but the deeper we got, the more interesting the story became. We hope you find them as fascinating as we do.
New: Secret Societies I, Part 11 - Priory of Sion and Rennes-le-Chateau
Season 4, Ep. 11
And here we are--about to hear the final revelations of the misleading nonsense, con jobs, and pranks that eventually led to the edifice of bullshit that is The Da Vinci Code. We pick up with the story of Pierre Plantard (that's his gallic profile in the show art), and his bizarre scheme to make himself look like a king, how that misfired when he met Henry Lincoln, and how the whole thing intersects with a failing rural resort. Weird? Yes. Interesting? You betcha. Hope you love it, talk to you soon.
New: Secret Societies I, Part 10 - Holy Blood, Holy Grail 2
Season 4, Ep. 10
Another fortnight, another episode about silly men and their silly book. Once again, we're discussing the work of Messrs. Lincoln, Baigent,and Leigh, who apparently never met a historical counterfactual they didn't immediately embrace. This time, we get neck-deep in the many, completely unrelated story threads that they rip out of context and stitch together into an unholy pantomime of historical scholarship. This is part three of our mini-series on the origins of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. We'll see you back here next time for the frankly astonishing conclusion, where we actually get to the bottom of all of this nonsense. Talk at you then.
New: Secret Societies I, Part 9 - Holy Blood, Holy Grail 1
Season 4, Ep. 9
Episode 9 of the Secret Societies series, but also the second episode in our sub-series about the strange origins of the conspiracy theories that ended up powering Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. Now, though, we actually move past that book to turn our attention to the primary source for Brown's ludicrous historical and religious claims--an apparently non-fiction book published to significant hoopla in the early '80s and titled Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Can this book possibly be dumber than Brown's nonsense? You'll have to listen to find out. But also, yes it can. Very much so.
New: Secret Societies I, Part 8 - The Da Vinci Code
Season 4, Ep. 8
YAY! We've reached Jesuit's favorite part of this series--a sort of 4-part sub-series of inter-connected conspiracy theories that build on each other to trace a tale that we think is honestly one of the most interesting subjects we've ever covered. So we understand you might be surprised to learn that this tale starts with the Da Vinci Code, an extremely silly, yet thoroughly self-serious book from the 2000s that spawned a series of virtually unwatchable movies. But trust us--this one's going places. Also, enjoy the return of the LIGHTNING ROUND! Enjoy, and we'll see you in a couple of weeks. By the way--if you haven't, check out the Paranoid Son, a sister podcast of ours, and which covers many similar topics from a different perspective.
New: Secret Societies I, Part 7 - Cathars 2
Season 4, Ep. 7
I know that most of you woke up this morning and had that same thought you do every time you open your eyes. "How am I going to face the day without a podcast about a medieval French heresy, its violent persecution by the Church, and its eventual passage into legend and conspiracy?" Well, today is the day you've been waiting for. We're gettin' all Cathar up in this bitch, and it's gonna get toasty. By which I mean that the Cathars mostly got burned to death on pyres by their theological enemies. But that's pretty awful, so let's focus on how interesting the history is! Plus, we'll cover all of the misapprehensions and nonsense that conspiracy theorists have attached to the Cathars since they were stamped out. Next time: The ridiculous Da Vinci code gets the lightning round treatment. See you in two weeks.