Back when X-Files was dominating the television airwaves, a group of guys that periodically appeared on the show, The Lone Gunmen, was a fan favorite. The trio of uber-intelligent guys never met a conspiracy theory that they didn’t embrace. Those fellows would adore the proliferation of not only conspiracies themselves but the podcast medium that is ripe for folks to gather, discuss, and report on conspiracy.
There is something about the medium of the podcast that is conducive to frank discussions centered on conspiracies. Vurbl breaks down the lucky (or is it unlucky?) 13 conspiracy theories podcasts that you need to be listening to… yesterday. Fascinated by UFOs, the JFK assassination, the moon landing, or even the connection between Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.’s murders? There’s a podcast for that, and even better… these broadcasts cast a vast net to include historical conspiracies and debates that still rage to this day on a myriad of topics whose mere mention elicits a tsunami of opinion. Even the current time of protests surrounding the death of George Floyd, the president and other are asserting that Antifa is behind the protests; stay tuned for more conspiracy theories to crop up.
Break out the tinfoil hats. It’s conspiracy theories podcast time.
1. Podcast: Skeptoid
First off, Skeptoid has one fantastic moniker when it comes to having a podcast that focuses on conspiracies. Being a skeptic is key to keeping those in power on the honest side of the street. Since 2006, the Skeptoid podcast has confronted countless topics on a myriad of fronts and done so with “true science, true history, and the true lessons we can learn from each.”
The Host: Brian Dunning, by career, is a computer scientist. His academic background is in writing for movies and television from UCLA, which certainly helps in crafting a podcast. He’s also a member of the National Association of Science Writers and has written seven books (on scientific skepticism). As such, he has become an expert on applying science to conspiracy. On his website, he explains his role: “If rationally examining pseudoscientific claims makes me an evil Skeptoid debunkatron, so be it.”
The Guests: None to speak of…
Why You Have to Listen: There seems to be no end to the topical spectrum Skeptoid tackles. They have the uncanny ability to segue from Area 51 to Holy Grail history, and then on a dime, expertly discuss the truth about plastic straws or wind turbines. To paraphrase Mark Twain and his thoughts on New England weather, if Skeptoid is not covering a subject matter of interest to you … just wait a minute.
Listen to Skeptoid
2. Podcast: The Paranoid Strain
The key to The Paranoid Strain is that it exists to explain why so many folks can fall prey and utterly believe in the most truth-stretching of conspiracy theories. The podcast poses and answers questions that lie at the heart of the entity that is conspiracy theory—from defining what they mean by “conspiracy theory” to exploring the historical precedents for these issues and wondering what it is about America that makes it so susceptible to believing in these concepts.
The Hosts: Fearful Jesuit is a host who doesn’t share his real name, firmly keeping with the sentiment of the conspiracy theory landscape. What he does do is entertain the masses with his often comedic look at some of the most notorious conspiracy claims over the history of man.
The Guests: None to speak of…
Why You Have to Listen: While some podcasts in this subject matter are strictly for the information, The Paranoid Strain is firmly informative-based but is all about entertainment while it enlightens.
Listen to The Paranoid Strain
3. Podcast: Knowledge Fight
The Knowledge Fight podcast is absolutely driven by what occurs during the Alex Jones Show as the hosts “struggle to make sense of what they find” and serve as an antidote to the misinformation flood that Jones unleashes with each one of his InfoWars.
The Hosts: Jordan Holmes makes his living as a stand-up comic and has become a debunking expert, thanks to dissecting every single one of Jones’ thoughts and views. What’s fascinating is that he reports that his birth was “prophesized by the leader of the cult his parents were in, little did they know his destiny was to fight against cults, not for them.” His co-host is a longtime friend Dan Friesen, who also has a background in comedy and producing podcasts. Friesen is a longtime fan of exploring conspiracy theories and specifically, the science and historical facts used to debunk them.
The Guests: None to speak of…
Why You Have to Listen: As Jones’ thoughts are quoted and retweeted by President Donald Trump, Holmes and Friesen felt it was their mission to become a truth factory to combat the lie-generating machine that has the bully pulpit that accompanies the office of the president. As stated in their website, “The two explore the overt racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, transphobia spouted by [Jones], and do their best to diffuse his lies and propaganda with laughs and facts.”
Listen to Knowledge Fight
2. March 27, 2020, i.e. Jones’ losing appeal about Sandy Hook
Rating: All Ages
4. Podcast: The Conspiracy Skeptic
The Conspiracy Skeptic shines a spotlight on the confirmed evidence that can explain history’s most persistent conspiracy theories that just don’t seem to go away. It goes a step further and examines the societal vacuum that these theories live and prosper in as the hosts try to figure out why certain conspiracies have stood the test of time and managed to escape scientific explanations.
The Host: Karl Mamer works a day job as a communications manager, which utilizes his wizardry with words. He also applies that skill when hosting his podcast which finds him locking verbal horns with the most nefarious of conspiracy theories.
The Guests: There are a plethora of them, and each is matched with the subject matter of that particular podcast. For example, author Eric Bickernicksvisited the show and talked about his book about “UFOs, conspiracy theories, Bigfoot, and pretty much everything else from a skeptical POV.” Geologist James Scott Berdahl came on to aid in the discussion about a meteor that crashed into the Canadian Yukon that gave way to some interesting local tales about what has been called the Tagish Lake Fireball and the mystery surrounding it. Nigel St. Whitehall, historian, routinely is called upon to add his two cents—most recently on whether the U.S. election system could be rigged and if it indeed has been.
Why You Have to Listen: The combination here of knowledgeable and insightful host with guests possessing a wide swath of knowledge in their area of expertise is too rich to miss.
Listen to The Conspiracy Skeptic
5. Podcast: The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe is literally just that. This vast scientific approach to conspiracies utterly could not have a vaster scope with this podcast. A Fab Five of hosts possesses a collective educational and podcast hosting background that has them impeccably prepared to tackle all the questions the universe can throw at them. The award-winning show has been on since 2005!
The Hosts: Dr. Steven Novella is an academic neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine and is also the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society. Jay Novellais co-host and a co-author of The Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe, a book which centers on the scientific method and provides the tools to understand logic. He also serves on the board of directors for the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS) and has held that position for 11 years. Cara Santa Maria is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, “science communicator and television personality.” She has appeared on shows as varied as The Weather Channel and GeoWILD. Bob Novella finds his scientific expertise surrounding the extremes, “from the gargantuan to the infinitesimal: astronomy and cosmology to particle physics and quantum mechanics.” An element of his personality that perfectly fits this podcast is how he is utterly enraptured by the uniquely human penchant for self-deception. Lastly, Evan Bernstein is a co-host and serves as a technical advisor to NECSS. He travels the world giving presentations on pseudoscience and the truth that lies underneath paranormal investigations.
The Guests: Gerald Posner, author of 13 books including one on the JFK assassination, Kevin Hand, an astrobiologist and planetary scientist at Jet Propulsion Labs, and Ann Druyan, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writer, producer, and director specializing in the communication of science. She is best known for co-writing the iconic PBS documentary series Cosmos.
Why You Have to Listen: Breadth of knowledge. Between the five esteemed hosts, the large litany of well-versed guests and their collective education meets professional experience, one would be hard-pressed to find a conspiracy theories podcast that is more astutely qualified to discuss an entire global base of conundrums.
Listen to The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe
6. Podcast: Our Fake History
History in its purest form, as is innate in its nature, does not change. But the textbooks today’s children read in that arena are vastly different than the ones Generation X utilized. That’s how fast views on historical events alter over time and fit the modus operandi of the podcast Our Fake History. What essentially serves as a mission statement on their website utterly nails the podcast in a few short words. It is “a podcast about myths we think are history and history that might be hidden in myths!” For over 100 episodes now, the podcast debunks elements of our past that many believe are firm facts. Through methodical research and fact-checking, listeners will discover that those are firmly falsehoods.
The Hosts: Sebastian Major serves as the first mate of fakeness and gets a whole heap of help from his wife, Beth Lorimer. The host with the most wears many hats—an educator, a storyteller, and a musician. His obsession over “weird and wonderful” blasts from our past makes for a simultaneously entertaining and enlightening podcast. As for that musician hat … listen closely to that transition music. It’s all written and recorded by Maestro Major!
The Guests: None to speak of, but Major heavily cites his information and sources each episode on his website.
Why You Have to Listen: Human history is littered with so-called tall tales, and somewhere between fact and fiction, there is a not-so-clear line. Through Our Fake History, Sebastian and Lorimer lure their audience in with their informed folksy demeanor, and they stay connected through methodical and meaningful commentary on a wide swath of subjects.
Listen to Our Fake History
7. Podcast: Conspiracy Theories from Parcast
What sets Conspiracy Theories from Parcast apart is their driving goal—to come at every discussion from the most neutral point of view. They’re like the Switzerland of the conspiracy theories podcast world. They seek to “tell the complicated stories behind the world’s most controversial events and possible cover-ups.” A new episode each Wednesday explores the history and the scandals that didn’t make it into the textbooks, such as how did Shakespeare write some of the most astounding prose ever penned, despite not ever garnering a full education? Also, flat earth theories and even reporters who perished under mysterious circumstances all get their due.
The Hosts: Molly Brandenburg and Carter Roy have come across as some of the most classic science–fiction television pairs, whether Chuck Bartowski and Sarah Walker on Chuck or even better… Agents Mulder and Scully from The X-Files.
The Guests: None to speak of…
Why You Have to Listen: Not only do these two have fantastic on-air chemistry but what they discuss runs the gamut. One ep could chronicle the death of Marilyn Monroe, and the next might seek to set the record straight on the Manhattan Project. Also, these two dig deep, and oftentimes, their exploration yields two episodes!
Listen to Conspiracy Theories from Parcast
8. Podcast: Be Reasonable
Since May 2009, the Be Reasonable podcast has been hitting the airwaves from the Merseyside Skeptics Society. Every single month, the broadcast features an interview with an expert who shines a light on views that come from the outer edges of conventional thinking. They delve deep as presenting the opinions is merely the beginning. They then back it up with evidence that they believe supports their beliefs. They “believe in approaching subjects with respect and an open mind, engaging with people of differing viewpoints in an environment where debate is polite and good-natured, yet robust and intellectually rigorous.”
The Hosts: Hayley Stevens and Michael Marshall are co-founders of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. Marshall is an author and freelance journalist (whose work has appeared in The Times and The Guardian) while also serving as the project director for the Good Thinking Society. Stevens is a paranormal researcher who has been published in Skeptical Inquirer, Paranormal Magazine, and Skeptic Magazine.
The Guests: Featured experts include Karma Singh, an author, and alternative health healer, who came on to explore the causes of disease and the nature of viruses, plus Dr. Joye Pugh, a biblical prophecy researcher, and Jay Weidner, who is an author and conspiracy theorist (he co-founded Sacred Mysteries), as well as the filmmaker who crafted Kubrick’s Odyssey series (a docuseries that outlines his belief that visionary Stanley Kubrick played a role in misleading the public on the moon landings).
Why You Have to Listen: Each show features a renowned expert extolling the virtues of the topics chosen by Stevens and Marshall. As such, a seasoned pro is providing insight into topics that many may consider on the fringe.
Listen to Be Reasonable
9. Podcast: Crackpot
Two law school buddies got together and decided to launch a podcast around their obsession with conspiracy theories that range in vastness in subject matter—from the presence of aliens to the death of Tupac.
The Hosts: Zach and Tim love to explore some of the conspiracies that don’t make headlines but are equally as fascinating and in need of being brought out into the light.
The Guests: None to speak of…
Why You Have to Listen: The chemistry between the two hosts is reason one through ten to tune into Crackpot. The subject matters are reasons 11 through 20 as they find topics that other conspiracy podcasts can only dream of coming up with.
Listen to Crackpot
10. Podcast: Science Vs.
Science Vs. proudly takes on the latest trends and the “opinionated mob” in an effort to seek the truth in a sea of falsehoods.
The Host: The wonder from Down Under Wendy Zukerman is an American-born, Australian-raised and educated science journalist whose passion for exposing societal lies has become a fruitful vocation. She has a degree in biomedical science plus a law degree. That is some pedigree.
The Guests: You can’t make this stuff up. Dr. Anthony Fauci visited with Science Vs. in October of 2019 and pontificated what a pandemic could do to the U.S. He answered the question, “How bad could it really get?” Also visiting Zukerman was Neuroscientist Lucy Brown, who divulged why heartbreak literally hurts so bad. Another issue the podcast has tackled is concussions (CTE) in the NFL, and the host was greatly informed by neurosurgeon Bob Cantu, neuroscientist Dr. Kevin Bieniek and neurologist Dr. Ira Casson.
Why You Have to Listen: They see themselves as the universe’s fact-checkers, ready to send your steadfast opinions to the dustbin of history, armed with science and concrete realities. When it comes to the multitude of issues and trends out there, the podcast retorts, “Science Vs. has an ep for that.”
Listen to Science Vs.
11. Podcast: Lizard People
To quote Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, “Why so serious?” After all, laughter is the true spice of life and helps especially when times are tough, as they certainly are currently. Therefore, a conspiracy theory podcast with an innate sense of humor could not be more welcome. Lizard People does not make fun of the issues that drive these debatable concepts and the folks that extol them. Instead, the humor is injected as a break from the heated back-and-forth that normally accompanies debates on these contested topics.
The Host: Katelyn Hempstead is a comedienne and a skeptic, and where both those worlds meet is the home for all sorts of Lizard People. Think of her delivering her show with a raised eyebrow and a wry smile, something she’s been doing since 2015.
The Guests: Depending on the topic, Hempstead may have multiple funny folks to add humor and insight from a myriad of views. For example, Cody Ziglar is an Earwolf producer whose penchant for comedy makes him a frequently used contributor to Hempstead’s show. His insight into the CIA and whether or not it got in the crack dealing business in the ‘80s and ‘90s is both topical, timely, and utterly hilarious. On a recent episode that explored whether First Lady Melania Trump is or had been a KGB agent, actor and comedian Jon Gabrus brought his extensive experience as an improv performer, and the riff between him and Hempstead was priceless. Then, there was Key and Peele veteran Ronnie Adrian’s insight into whether Jimi Hendrix was murdered! See, most people do not know that a Hendrix murder conspiracy was a thing. Now, thanks to some insight and even more laughs … we all do.
Why You Have to Listen: We know, you’re wondering how on earth does humor exist in a conspiracy theory podcast without it being at the expense of one side or the other. Let’s say they’re talking about Area 51 and whether it exists or not. Lizard People comes up with answers that offer a third option to the “is it real or not” debate. It’s real, all right. It’s just that aliens are super shy. Both sides can agree that that answer is funny. Humor is also a fantastic way to get folks to be “educated” on issues. So in many ways, this podcast also introduces these conspiracies to audiences that might not have previously known about them. And why not, because as the NBC “The more you know,”
Listen to Lizard People
12. Podcast: The Truth Is Somewhere
A husband and wife team lead The Truth Is Somewhere podcast as it chronicles a bevy of conspiracy theories—and favor those that involve a bit of mystery. The pair inject plenty of real science, as well as some junk science, to shine a spotlight on some of the “craziest stories the internet can come up with.” They also enjoy a dash of dark humor, something that fits with the conspiracy theoretic like an OJ glove.
The Hosts: Kori Speece and Megan Breedlove-Speece live in the Pacific Northwest, and when they’re not dissecting conspiracy theories, they run a medieval reenactment group.
The Guests: None to speak of…
Why You Have to Listen: The two hosts possess major simpatico that is palpable on every single moment of every episode. They also do a fantastic job of exploring conspiracies that might not be the most well-known. As such, the entire podcast experience for The Truth Is Somewhere is unique and makes them stand out.
Listen to The Truth Is Somewhere
Rating: All Ages
13. Podcast: Those Conspiracy Guys
There go Those Conspiracy Guys again… and that’s a good thing! The podcast prides itself on being open to all genres of conspiracies—from true crime and the historically-based to aliens, ghosts, and Russian spies. On their website, they say that they seek “to cast a light into the dark corners of corruption, conspiracy, and suppression.”
The Hosts: Gordon Rochford leads the podcast and is joined by a musical chairs group of Irish comics that change weekly. Rochford’s background is in comedy and journalism, which finds this particular podcast right in his wheelhouse.
The Guests: Rarely, but they do have experts on occasion for interviews. For example, Steven Whybrow joined the Guys to share his study of Natural Law and how that has informed his view that we need to scrap 5G as it starts to proliferate across America.
Why You Have to Listen: The Irish comics also bring some levity to some serious chats, and as such, they can wade into some troubled waters, armed with humor, science, and facts. The scope of Those Conspiracy Guys runs deep, as one week they could be chatting up music industry titans Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.’s deaths and how they’re connected and then the next week exploring the truths and falsehoods of cannibalism. That’s a pretty wide conspiracy spectrum! Also, these guys are not afraid of going long, so those running times may be long, but they jam major amounts of information into each episode. Your brain will get a workout from a podcast that weaves a web of science, history, philosophy, and sociology.
Listen to Those Conspiracy Guys
Rating: All Ages
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