Andrew Callaway

Night Wolves (False Alarm! part xiv)

The Night Wolves are a Russian biker gang. Their rallies and bike shows run on state TV and Putin gave members medals for their contributions to the annexation of Crimea. The Kremlin outsources violence, propaganda, and intelligence gathering to groups like the Night Wolves because it supports the intentioned ambiguity of Non-Linear Warfare. Trump is now openly calling for a biker gang of his own. Is this the real Russia connection or is it simply more theatrical ambiguity?

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Night Wolves

The Moscow based radio producer Charles Maynes takes us on a ride with Putin’s bikers.

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JK After The Fact (False Alarm! part xiii)

A handful of tech barons now own the news but only one can rule the fake news. A chat with the comedy team behind the CBC’s This is That satirical news show turns into breaking news about Elon Musk.

New series logo by Val Dorito.

This Is That

This Is That is a satirical news show on the CBC. They’ve just announced that this is their final season, so we wanted to have them on the show to discuss the challenges of making radio that mixes truth and fiction… and to find out why they’re really moving on.

They started back in 2010, and starting with a story about the closing of the Calgary Aquarium, audiences began to call in angrily believing that their joke stories were actually real.  These phone calls from fooled listeners became a fan favorite section of the show, but in 2016 as Fake News became the talk of town… this became a problem for them.

How Do You Like It So Far?

Plus, Benjamen just appeared on the How Do You Like It So Far? podcast with Wu Ming 1, one of the authors of Q a conspiracy novel that appears to have inspired a real conspiracy theory. You can check it out here, or wherever podcasts are sold.

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Wolfgang (False Alarm! part xii)

The Hoaxers took over the Conspiracy Theory Championship Title from the Truthers in December of 2012 in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. Eight years later the hoaxers are everywhere, the pizzagaters, the climate deniers, the nationalists, the gaslighters – even the President is a hoaxer. Your host travels to the heart of Hoaxer Darkness: Florida

New series logo by Val Dorito.

Wolfgang Halbig

Wolfgang Halbig is the most notorious Sandy Hook hoaxer out there. Len Pozner, a parent of one of the victims of the shooting, has put together a comprehensive document on the man.

Deepfakes Redux

We received a voicemail from Deepfakes , the reddit user who made a face swapping AI algorithm. His last appearance was in part 2 of False Alarm, Fake Nudes

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Mistakes Were Made

We’re taking a short break from False Alarm! because your host made a big big mistake. More on that when we return to False Alarm next episode… In the meantime, we raid Benjamen Walker’s audio vaults for a show about making mistakes and being wrong.

In 2010 when I met Kathryn Schulz she had just published her book, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error

Since then she’s joined up with the New Yorker and won a Pulitizer Prize for her story about the upcoming earthquake in the Pacific Northwest called “The Really Big One.”

She’s our main guide through being wrong.

William Kleinknecht is a crime journalist who is appropriately focused on reminding people that Ronald Reagan is actually bad, not good. His book is The Man Who Sold The World.

 

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True Lessons (False Alarm! part xi)

I set out on this False Alarm! journey with a quest to figure out how to better deal with this blurry line between fiction and reality. Phase Three of False Alarm! begins with a return to this question… can fiction help us see the truth? Jeffery Lewis, Nuclear expert tired of people ignoring his direct warnings, thinks it can. So he just wrote a novel – a fictional account of what led to North Korea bombing America.

I also recently came across a non-fiction book, a book that argues it is Logic that will enable us to better deal with our new reality  Dr. Eugenia Cheng wants us to think about logic in a brand new way.  Plus ToE’s Andrew Callaway gives us an update on our False Alarm! Hero Stormy Daniels.

New series logo by Val Dorito.

Fictional Warnings

Jeffery Lewis is a Nuclear arms expert who has turned to fiction to get his message out. He believes that his new novel The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against The United States is perhaps the most effective way for him to warn us that we wouldn’t learn much of a lesson from nuclear war.

Emotional Logic

Dr. Eugenia Cheng has spent her whole life fighting for math and logic–but in her new book, The Art of Logic in an Illogical World, she argues that emotions are just as important. For me, she dispelled a myth that logical and emotional are opposites. She believes that we need a lot of logic and emotions to make good decisions

Stormy Save Us

We revisit Stormy Daniels who we saw at the Gossip Gentleman’s club back in Fake Nudes (part 2 of False Alarm!). Suffice it to say, a lot has happened since then!

Photographed by Annie Leibowitz for Vogue

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Second Time as Fake (False Alarm! part x)

The Nazis believed the secret to turning a lie into a truth was repetition, for the Spiritualists it was denial, have computers come up with something new? Phase two of our mega-mini series concludes and we return from our tour of the 1930s and 1880s. ToE’s Special correspondent Chris wraps up his liar’s guide to American history and your host is forced to deal with the Backfire effect! 2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s, people turned to the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the Nazis tried to remake the world using magic and pseudoscience. 

 

New series logo by Val Dorito.

Torture as Alchemy

Special correspondent Chris wraps up his five part liar’s guide to American history with a story about George W Bush and torture.

Spiritualism's Afterlife

On the evening of October 21, 1888, Maggie Fox delivered what she thought would be the death-blow to Spiritualism. She was wrong.

Ada Calhoun concludes her telling of The Sisters Who Spoke To Spirits and your host examines how Spiritualism beat the death-blow.

The Backfire Effect

In 2005, political scientist Brendan Nyhan coined the term, “Backfire Effect.” add definition

In 2015, it was debunked… but your host can’t let it go.

from The Oatmeal

Artificially Intelligent News

Blaise Agüera y Arcas is at distinguished scientist and the founder of the Artist and Machine Intelligence program at Google. He’s not frightened of sentient AI blowing up the planet or AI robots taking all our jobs, he’s scared about fake news.

portrait of Blaise made by old AI

Going Fascist

We also are saying goodbye to historian Erik Kurlander auther of hitlers monsters, he tells us why its possible that it could all happen again.

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Heavenly Truths (False Alarm! part ix)

A prehistory of post-truth and an alternative history of the Civil War. Our exploration of the Nazi Supernatural concludes with Werewolves and Mass Suicide. Plus: another installment in our False Alarm fairy tale, the little boy from part one (now designing clothes for the Emperor) gets a surprise visit from a little girl in a red coat!

2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s, people turned to the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the Nazis tried to remake the world using magic and pseudoscience. 

In phase two of False Alarm! we’re going to bounce between the second half of the 19th century, the interwar years and the present to find out if we are doomed for a repeat.

New series logo by Val Dorito.

The Lost Cause

Special correspondent Chris reminds us that the leadership of the Confederacy didn’t wait long to change their whole story about their reason for starting the Civil War. Just one month after the end of the war, everything was suddenly different.

Post-Modernism for the Right

Marci Shore explains how the political right adopted post-modern language of the left for their own purposes… and why we should all be reading more Hannah Arendt.

Hannah Arendt

Check out Peter Pomerantsev’s Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible and some of those Eastern European dissidents.

Nazi Werewolves are REAL!

Erik Kurlander’s story of the supernatural and the Third Reich concludes the same way the Third Reich did… with Werewolves!

Nazi mass suicides

Dutch radio producer Julie Blussé shares a story about the German civilians who killed themselves at the end of the war.

 

Julie Blussé’s new season of Tijdgeest will air on Dutch radio around mid-November in OVT,  (Season 1 is available already). 

Florian Huber’s book is called Kind, ersprich mir dass du dich erschiesst, der Untergang der kleinen Leute 1945 (Child, promise me that you will shoot yourself – the demise of the ordinary man 1945) is available in German. For German speakers: there was also a documentary made about life in Demmin after the mass suicide epidemic, which hit this town especially hard. It’s called Über Leben in Demmin.

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pseudoscience (False Alarm! part viii)

As the border between border science and science dissolves we continue our examination of two other time periods when science tried to account for both the real and the unreal. In the 1800’s, so much new technology was revolutionizing the world… why not the ability to talk to the dead? And in the 1930s Hitler championed World Ice Theory as an alternative to the Jewish science of Albert Einstein. PLUS ToE’s Chris on Operation Paperclip!

2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s, people turned to the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the Nazis tried to remake the world using magic and pseudoscience. 

In phase two of False Alarm! we’re going to bounce between the second half of the 19th century, the interwar years and the present to find out if we are doomed for a repeat.

 

New series logo by Val Dorito.

Operation Paperclip

Special correspondent Chris tells us why the US used tech built on Nazi slave labor!

Werner Von Braun on the left

World Ice Theory

We learned last week from Eric Kurlander, author of Hitler’s Monsters, that Nazi leadership was plugged into the supernatural. This week we dive into the official Nazi response to Einstein’s Jewish science… a better, more Aryan “Big Bang”… World Ice Theory!

Rappomania!

The Fox Sisters didn’t get so popular because they were selling a new religion. People loved Spiritualism because it was presented as science. 

Ada Calhoun continues to read from her essay called The Sisters Who Spoke To Spirits and your host reflects on the search for the white crow… and the work that William James could still be doing… from beyond the grave.

Check out the Van Sounds podcast for an episode directly inspired by False Alarm!

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The Power of Magical Thinking (False Alarm! part vii)

Magic! That’s what alt-right face-punchee Richard Spencer claims brought Trump to the White House. Esoteric historian Gary Lachman investigates and discovers an unholy alliance of memes, chaos, and positive thinking. Michael Hughes, author of Magic for the Resistance offers us some counterspells. Also the Hitler’s Magician controversy, the magician at the heart of the CIA, and the Fox Sisters take their spirit knocking to Rochester. Plus your host takes a magical ride down the Trump Tower escalator.

2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s, people turned to the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the Nazis tried to remake the world using magic and pseudoscience. 

In phase two of False Alarm! we’re going to bounce between the second half of the 19th century, the interwar years and the present to find out if we are doomed for a repeat.

 

New series logo by Val Dorito.

Magical Intelligence

Special correspondent Chris tells us why one of the CIA’s first hires was a magician.

Hitler's Magicians

We learned last week from Eric Kurlander, author of Hitler’s Monsters, that Nazi leadership was plugged into the supernatural… but they wanted stuff that worked. This is why they hired debunkers to help sort through the real and the fake magic.

Hitler with the head of the Magician's Circle

 Hitler loved magic and was good friends with the head of the Magician’s Circle… so suffice to say the magic did not stop. 

The Dark Side of Fame

As the Fox Sister’s ability to talk to the dead got attention in the media, a series of tests were conducted to prove that they were for real. Tests that made them understand the uncouth treatment they had been receiving from men.

Ada Calhoun continues to read from her essay called The Sisters Who Spoke To Spirits.

The Chaos Magicians

Richard Spencer believes that the alt-right dreamed Trump into the White House with meme magic. Gary Lachman, author of Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the age of Trump traces chaos magic all the way to Trump’s childhood minister, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking.

Resistance Magic and Offensive Magic

I turn to Michael Hughes author of Magic for the resistance for some spells to fight back. Then I take matters into my own hands and head to Trump Tower to do my own spell… Can I summon Trump’s mother to fix her mistake?

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It is happening again (False Alarm! part vi)

Little girls who can talk to ghosts! The Nazi Supernatural! The legacy of artist Iris Häussler’s first fictional character Joseph Wagenbach. Plus America’s Greatest Lie!

2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s people turned to the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the Nazis tried to remake the world using magic and pseudoscience. 

In phase two of False Alarm! we’re going to bounce between the second half of the 19th century, the interwar years and the present to find out if we are doomed for a repeat.

 

New series logo by Val Dorito.

Fiction vs Lies

We all know the story of George Washington and the cherry tree isn’t real–but is it a fiction or a lie? 

The First Sounds of Spiritualism

In 1847, two little girls, Maggie and Katy Fox, told their mother they heard a mysterious sound coming from inside the walls of their house.

 In 1926, Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle credited the Fox Sisters for “the most important thing that America has given to the commonweal of the world.” He was talking about Spiritualism.

Ada Calhoun read for us from her essay called The Sisters Who Spoke To Spirits.

The Supernatural Imaginary

There is a reason we have so many fictions –  movies, comic books, thrillers – about the Nazis and the occult.  As Eric Kurlander, author of Hitler’s Monsters, discovered early in his research – almost the entire Nazi leadership were true believers.

Kurlander’s book certainly isn’t the first scholarly work to delve into the strange world of Nazi occultism… but what’s different about this one is that it provides us with a grand unified Nazi theory of the weird or supernatural. 

Over the next few episodes we will hear more from Eric Kurlander about how the Nazis deployed the supernatural imaginary to merge fiction truth and lies… and reshape reality.

The Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach

Iris Häussler is a German artist based in Toronto who creates fictional characters. We featured her most recent exhibit a few episodes back — but I caught up with her recently to discuss one of her first fictional artists: Joseph Wagenbach.

In 2006, Iris working with the fictitious Municipal Archives opened up a house to the public, offering tours in which audiences could see hundreds of sculptures supposedly made by the reclusive resident, Joseph Wagenbach. 

She was outed by the National Post as a hoaxer… but the media failed to break her spell. 

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