It's a Mysterious Universe
May 21, 2012 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Mysterious Universe is more than just the site hosting a weekly podcast that covers the weird and unexplained. From UFOs and Men in Black to Bigfoot and Mothman (with the Shadow People and Black Eyed Children lurking somewhere inbetween), the Mysterious Universe website sifts through the news and personal accounts that crop up on sites such as Crytomundo, Phantoms and Monsters, and Your Ghost Stories so you don't have to. Though the podcast was almost brought down by the menance that is the Dibbuk Box, it is now in its seventh season and, like the site itself, shows no signs of slowing down.

Although, if you read only one Bigfoot story today, make sure it's this one. Rather not read? Then let MU hosts Benjamin Grundy and Aaron Wright break it down for you.
posted by robocop is bleeding (15 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
I have to gush: I asked for podcasts on AskMe and I've been listening to this show for a few weeks now. I really hate the pure "EVERYTHING STRANGE IS BAD" skeptic shows because they're mean-spirited and no fun at all. Meanwhile, these guys are clearly having a blast while sipping on the kool-aid. Now, I'm a huge fan of the completely-earnest style of conspiracy theory shows like Ancient Aliens, but Mysterious Universe is part of a new breed. In fact, it reminds me a lot of Vigilant Citizen, in that it's a lot less straight-up batshit and a lot more vernacular and accessible. You don't have to believe anything they bring up to be entertained by it, especially as they don't believe half of what they bring up.

Maybe it's the fact that they're coming from a culture of Australian showmanship, where irreverence plays a big part, but their complete refusal to treat any of this stuff as Totally Serious Holy Ground is great. In the next-to-latest episode, they described, in-depth, a number of bigfoot encounters and proceeded to rip one of the more ridiculous (I know, I know) ones to shreds.
posted by griphus at 9:41 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

griphus, it was your question that brought me to Mysterious Universe. The first episode I listened to, they were discussing Steven Hirsch's pictures of UFO contactees and posited the direct correlation between the size of the pendant and the batshitinsaneness of the story. So good.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:47 AM on May 21, 2012

Hey, I think Lyn Never and I were the two who suggested MU in that Ask thread. Glad to see we're spreading the MU love. I'm a fairly firm skeptic myself, but Aaron and Ben are so ridiculously contagious in their sheer enthusiasm that it's one of my most-anticipated podcast updates. For anyone who has the plus extension: is it worth it? I've been thinking about signing on to help support them, since Lord knows I get a lot of mileage out of their antics...
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:00 AM on May 21, 2012

One day I went walking down the road looking for my bike and Army toys, and something big and hairy ran across the road, I didn’t know what it was, yet it scared me lots at the time. So I quit wandering around after dark. A few weeks later something began pulling parts from our chickens. Dad thought it might be an enemy sending us threats so he moved us a year later to a house, that was a mile and a half north of Colony.

A little black bear ran across the road in front of our car yesterday, scrambled up a cliff, and when it reached the top, stood upright on its hind legs just like a man, and looked down at us.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:10 AM on May 21, 2012

This is delightful! Years of consuming Art Bell, X-Files, and Unsolved Mysteries have left me with a soft spot this kind of spooky ruminations. I've been a fan of the much more compact Stuff They Don't Want You to Know podcast for a while now, but it takes a more serious (if that is the word) approach and focuses more on conspiracy theories and less on straight-up woo. I'm about halfway through the Sasquatch episode and I've been chuckling throughout.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:12 AM on May 21, 2012

Synchronicity! I was just listening to the latest episode and wondering why this podcast isn't better known in the paranormal/Fortean circles I have access to. I loved the "haunted tattoo" story in the latest show. I really appreciate that this show is slightly more skeptical than Coast to Coast. Some C2Cs are too unquestioning for me.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:47 AM on May 21, 2012

I really hate the pure "EVERYTHING STRANGE IS BAD" skeptic shows because they're mean-spirited and no fun at all.

Yes, those mean skeptics, always looking for truth and rationality !!! They're no fun at all !!!
posted by Pendragon at 10:49 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Is the Plus version worth the money? I keep vacillating on subscribing. I'm spending a lot on podcasts this year, dagnabbit!
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:04 AM on May 21, 2012

They're no fun at all !!!

Skepticism and science are fun. The emotional impact I get from apprehending some small part of the cosmos is certainly more long-lasting and fulfilling than indulging in tales that are literally beyond belief. Yet, I can't help but experience a thrill when perusing reports of forteana. For me, enjoying the one doesn't preclude enjoying the other.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:08 AM on May 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

Big Foot comes to my room every night carrying an e-meter.

He whispers to ghosts while I dream.

I will vote soon!

Be afraid.
posted by mule98J at 11:32 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yes, those mean skeptics, always looking for truth and rationality !!! They're no fun at all !!!

Considering we're talking about the pop culture entertainment products and not peer-reviewed journals (or even something like American Scientist) yeah, the fact that the hosts are openly being dicks in the name of Truth! and Rationality! and Science! is a serious turn-off for me. Other people like it and, well, good for them. When I was 19 years old, I loved Bullshit! I doubt I'd be able to sit through an episode today. But the fact remains that just because a show is fighting the good fight or whatever doesn't inherently make it fun.
posted by griphus at 11:40 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I had the Plus subscription for about a year, and I really do miss it for stocking up my weird pantry for fiction purposes.

However, pretty much every episode featured at least one conversation kind of like this:

BEN OR AARON: Have you heard this story? The American pop singer "Lady GaGa" wore a dress made out of meat.

AARON OR BEN: No, why would a pop singer wear a dress made out of meat? Was she wearing it at the grocery store?

BEN OR AARON: I guess it was on some kind of "television program"?


AARON OR BEN: Maybe she was afraid she would get hungry?

BEN OR AARON: She should have made a dress out of those $250 cookies I heard about last week.

Occasionally the subject of this conversation is less benign and verges into "I didn't know that was offensive!" territory, and either way it was starting to make me ragey. I have no idea if they're being funny or just stupid, but I couldn't stand it either way. Possibly they've gotten over it by now.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:42 AM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

I am a skeptic but got a nice chuckle out of the Bigfoot/Mafia/Nazi story. Reminds me of the kooky stuff I used to read on Bill Beaty's Weird Science page, or on the Fortean Times forums.

(as an aside.. just checked and that Bill Beaty page is still up! That site has been around forever, I remember reading it back in the mid 1990s, it still exists and the design hasn't changed one bit.)
posted by smoothvirus at 12:32 PM on May 21, 2012

I used to listen to Mysterious Universe, but at some point I guess it kind of fell off my podcast roster, and I neglected to put it back. Maybe I will. I, too, enjoy suspending my rational disbelief for an hour or two now and again and joining the fantasy.
posted by Jimbob at 2:12 PM on May 21, 2012

Like Jimbob, I used to listen but I got a bit tired of MU. When it's good, it's really good, and they conduct the show like proper broadcasters. That is, they keep to a schedule and the show has a good, professional pace. And some of the stories are quite...mysterious and interesting. But at times the conversations and topics they talk about are pretty insipid and dumb, like something 12-year-olds would gush about (see the Lady Gaga example above...that's pretty accurate).

Still Ben and Aaron are clearly having fun with the show. They are skeptical much of the time, and will call bullshit on a story they just covered. But many times they simply take off their skeptic hat and give too much credence to some pretty dumb stories.
posted by zardoz at 4:59 PM on May 21, 2012

« Older California Resale Royalty Act Struck Down......   |   Was I in a fight? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments