Endless Thread


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 Apr 9, 2022

Danny E.
 Oct 11, 2020

 Sep 17, 2020

 May 22, 2020

 Feb 4, 2020


Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the internet's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities to find untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other jaw-dropping stories online and IRL.

Episode Date
When Online Extremism Becomes Offline Violence

On Endless Thread, we talk about the blurring lines between our online and offline worlds. This week, we discuss the role online platforms played in the mass shooting on May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. We also ask experts how content moderation on tech platforms can be managed better in order to prevent violence like this from happening again. (Nora Saks, an Endless Thread producer, is filling in for Amory Sivertson as co-host for this episode.)

May 20, 2022

Since the dawn of the internet, cyberwitches have traded in their broomsticks and cauldrons for floppy disks and smartphones. This week on Endless Thread, we go into the history of cyberwitches, attend a Zoom ritual, and talk to members of a cyber coven.

May 13, 2022
Us vs. Them vs. Andy

From a young age, "Andy" wanted to be a police officer.

But in 2021, after 15 years on the job, he quit. Andy wrote about his decision in the r/OffMyChest community on Reddit — a choice that left him  "half-heartbroken and half-relieved".

In this episode, Andy talks about the ethical dilemmas that led him to leave law enforcement for good.

May 06, 2022
Egg-cellent If True

When a colleague sent us a viral Reddit post from WallStreetBets, we set out to investigate. A redditor who goes by u/throwmetfawaythanks tricked thousands into thinking he cashed in on Fresh Hen Egg Futures, and awaiting delivery on one million eggs. But many failed to notice one small detail: the story was indeed a s**tpost.

Apr 29, 2022
The Faker

Sixteen-year-old M.H. was excited for another year on her cheerleading squad in suburban Pennsylvania. But the year was cut short when an anonymous number texted a video of her vaping to her parents and the cheerleading coaches. Vaping was against the squad’s code of conduct. The thing was, when local police investigated, they determined that the video wasn’t of M.H. According to officials, it was a deepfake sent by another cheerleader’s mother.

****** Credits: This episode was written and produced by Dean Russell with mixing and sound design by Emily Jankowski. Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson are the co-hosts.

Apr 22, 2022
There's a r/place for us

After its first successful iteration in 2017, r/place returned on April 1, 2022 for four days of battling fandoms vying for space inside a pixelated canvas. We talk to two Redditors who recount the challenges of claiming their stake in r/place—despite being vastly outnumbered.

Apr 15, 2022
The Herman Cain Award

A deep dive into The Herman Cain Award subreddit, which ironically awards those who die from COVID after publicly expressing anti-vaxx sentiments or pandemic-denying memes online. We meet a moderator and a Herman Cain Award nominee, who may have more in common than they realize.

Apr 08, 2022
Excrement of the Stars

Thousands of years ago, a massive meteoroid seared through the Earth’s atmosphere and split into fragments over Greenland. Its pieces were later used for toolmaking by the Inughuit that inhabited northwestern Greenland. In other words: Inughuit people used space knives.

This fact, featured in a viral Reddit post on r/todayilearned, spurred an Endless Thread deep dive into a forgotten history of American exploration and exploitation abroad.

Apr 01, 2022
Political feuds don't take vacations

Ben and Amory are, sadly, not the type of people who truly "unplug" when they go on vacation, but this week's story is proof that those people do, in fact, exist!

It comes to us from "Shared State" — a podcast from the Montana Free Press, Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio — and it's the story of a couple who returned from a vacation off the grid to discover that they were entangled in a viral political feud with one of Fox News' most controversial commentators.

Mar 25, 2022
Goblins, Toenails, and Beach Rap

In times like these, you've got to take joy wherever and however you can get it. Amory and Ben swap unexpected sources of joy they've bumped into recently — from a goblin-themed Reddit post, to the scariest toe talons on the internet, to a funky 1980's little-known bop about going to the beach on Massachusetts' North Shore.

Mar 18, 2022
Ballerina in the Sky

This is the story of a shocking event that sent Endless Thread producer Quincy Walters, and countless others, down a disturbing and fascinating rabbit hole about a small, daring group of people called wing walkers and a woman who wanted to live her life "to its optimum."

Mar 11, 2022
Eugene from Ukraine

"How to prepare your house for an active wartime?"

This was the title of a post on r/NoStupidQuestions about a month ago. The Reddit user, a 32-year old Ukrainian name Eugene, asked other users for advice in case Russia invaded. On Feb. 24, Eugene updated the post: "It happened. Nothing can prepare you to waking up at 5am from explosions, it was the single most scary experience of my life." This week, Ben and Amory hear from Eugene as he navigates life in Kyiv and struggles to assess the reality and unreality of information online.

****** Credits: This episode was produced by Ben Brock Johnson and Dean Russell with mixing and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson are the co-hosts.

Mar 04, 2022
Dogs in Elk

"I know how to take meat away from a dog. How do I take a dog away from meat?" This was a real question posed in Salon.com's Table Talk forum in 1999. What ensued from there played out like, well, a play.

The Endless Thread team performs the accidental, online, collaborative comedy that came to be known as "Dogs in Elk" by the people who made this strange story an early viral internet sensation.

Feb 25, 2022
Space Heist! (Or, How to Steal a Planet)

On December 28, 2004, CalTech astronomer Mike Brown and his colleagues found an unnamed dwarf planet drifting through the far reaches of the solar system. But before they could go public with their finding — as they were dotting their scientific i’s — a little-known team of Spanish astronomers beat them to the punch. José Luis Ortiz Moreno and Pablo Santo-Sanz announced the discovery of what turned out to be the same dwarf planet. Something seemed off, though. Users of an online astronomical message board started to ask: How could two teams on opposite sides of the world simultaneously find the same tiny rock? What they found sparked a philosophical debate that questioned the way science is done and may — or may not — have revealed one of the greatest robberies in modern-day astronomy.

Feb 18, 2022
Li Ziqi: China's Quarantine Queen

While you were tending to your quarantine sourdough starter, Chinese YouTube star Li Ziqi was growing mushrooms, making peach blossom crowns and listening to the sound of blooming roses. Join Amory and Ben as they explore Li Ziqi, and why millions of isolated people worldwide have been drawn to the quiet intricacy and beauty of her videos. 

Feb 11, 2022

Jack Murphy, or "Murph the Surf," is best known for pulling off the biggest jewel heist in New York City history. But Amory's here to tell you about his more sinister past, and to question why we allow powerful figures to control their own narratives.

This week on Endless Thread, we bring you an episode from the brand new season of "Last Seen," a genre-bending podcast about people, places, and things that have gone missing.

Feb 03, 2022
The complicated, chaotic rise of 'antiwork'

"Unemployment for all, not just the rich!" That's the catchphrase of r/antiwork, a Reddit community of more than 1.7 million people who want to end work as we know it and reimagine its role in our lives.

In this episode, we hear from members of this fast-growing community about what brought them to this online space, but also about recent turmoil within the subreddit that has left some wondering if it will endure. 

Jan 28, 2022
Tales of the Tailed

Heads up: This episode mentions the tragic death of a dog. Take care when listening, and hug your furry loved ones. 

Amory, Ben, and producer Quincy explore three stories, in which a man's furry best friend is shot by a police officer, a person accuses Reese Witherspoon of stealing her horse, and cats are... ethnically stereotyped?

Jan 20, 2022
The internet's fight over dinosaur emoji

Emoji might not be 66 million years old, but they are pretty much everywhere. Join Ben and Amory as they explore the history of dinosaur emoji in LGBTQ+ communities and their more recent use as an online dog-whistle for anti-trans activists. What happens when one symbol is used for conflicting reasons? And can the dinosaur emoji avoid redefinition — or extinction?

Jan 14, 2022
Encore: To the Max (Headroom)

On November 22nd, 1987, two TV stations in Chicago had their broadcast signals hijacked by someone wearing a Max Headroom mask. In the years since, Redditors have played an integral role in getting to the bottom of this case. Who dunnit? Why? How? We dig into the story.

Jan 06, 2022
Encore: Today You, Tomorrow Me

10 years ago, Justin found himself on the side of the road with a blown out tire. Hours went by and no one stopped to help. But just as he was about to give up, something happened that changed Justin forever.

Dec 21, 2021
Encore: Three Autistic Redditors on Autism

Three autistic Redditors talk to us about their view of the world, their view of autism, and their hopes for greater representation in society.

Dec 21, 2021
MEMES, Bonus: The Chorus

Amory and Ben team up with NPR to take on Twitter Spaces. This bonus episode is a recording of ET's 11/30 livestream chat with meme experts Kenyatta Cheese (Know Your Meme), "meme librarian" Amanda Brennan and Garbage Day newsletter author Ryan Broderick.

Dec 16, 2021
MEMES, Part 11: I've Heard This Before

In this episode, we cross-examine memes and their relevance, and look at a surprising hypothesis that draws a through-line from TikTok to much farther back in history –- all the way to the very beginning of human culture. Ultimately, we investigate why memes are such an obsession right now, and whether we should think about them in a completely new way.

Dec 09, 2021
MEMES, Bonus: Overly Attached Girlfriend

Unlike some of the other everyday-people-turned-memes featured in this series, Laina Morris leaned in big-time when her parody entry in a Justin Bieber fan contest turned into the epic meme Overly Attached Girlfriend in 2012. The screenshot from the video that launched Laina’s face into online ubiquity featured an intentionally off-putting open-mouthed, wide-eyed stare. She continued making YouTube videos until 2019 when she announced that she was ending her online career to address her mental health. We hear more about Laina’s decision to open up publicly about her depression and anxiety and why she’s not tempted to get back in front of a camera.

Dec 07, 2021
MEMES, Part 10: Makmende

We know that there have been meme wars in America, and that Donald Trump has been called the “first president meme’d into office.” But in Kenya—a country where one of the only feasible forms of political expression is memes, and meme creators are being jailed for criticizing the government, it is a very different story. Western media told countless stories about the viral music video character known as “Makmende.” They called Makmende “The Kenyan Chuck Norris,” or a sound-alike of the famous Norris line, “Make my day.” But, according to the artists who brought Makmende into being, none of these characterizations are accurate. We explore American myopia, the peril of memes and artistic expression in Kenya, and how we should think of memes as a powerful form of communication.

Dec 02, 2021
MEMES, Bonus: The yearbook photo

For being the internet's poster boy for bad luck, Kyle Craven thinks he sure got lucky. In this bonus episode of our meme series, Ben and Amory chat with Craven, better known as the face of the Bad Luck Brian meme that has circulated the web since 2012. Now a 31-year-old husband and father of two, Craven is frozen in time online as a pimply, brace-faced teenager. Despite the unflattering photo, he says meme stardom has brought nothing but good luck.

Nov 24, 2021
MEMES, Part 9: I'm Not Done Yet

Anybody old enough to remember life before cutting the cord has probably seen the work of TV pitchman Billy Mays. But people much younger still know his face and squeaky OxiClean personality. While Mays died years ago, he’s lived on in meme form, from the famous product launches of Apple to more obvious image macros with Impact font. Why? We ask his son Billy Mays III, his biggest frenemy, and a host of others to explain why someone who was squarely in the age of television continues to appear online in strange and provocative ways. It’s the story of an American staple whose consumerist existence belies a personality that, in the end, was surprisingly wholesome.

Nov 18, 2021
MEMES, Part 8: The Scream

If you typed “inauguration” into your web browser anytime between 2017 and 2020, you likely saw, near the top of your search results, an image of a person in a neon green jacket, black winter hat and glasses screaming “Nooooooooooo!” That person was Jess, who was in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2017 to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump. This “Nooooooooooo!” flew out of Jess after the oath of office, during what seemed to be a deeply painful and private moment. But what Jess didn’t know at the time was that they were being filmed by a UK media outlet. Within hours, this became the scream heard ‘round the world, the meme seen ‘round the world, and a symbol of “liberal fragility” for Trump supporters. Fearing for their safety, Jess went into a sort of hiding – on social media, and in their personal life. Four years later, Jess tells their story for the very first time.

Nov 10, 2021
MEMES, Part 7: Dead Giveaway

In 2013, four white musicians turned a local TV news clip featuring a Black man named Charles Ramsey into a song and uploaded it to YouTube. The auto-tuned meme, titled "Dead Giveaway," gained tens of millions of views virtually overnight.

But the musicians, known as The Gregory Brothers, had not asked for Ramsey's permission, leaving him to wonder: Is this flattery or mockery — or bigotry?

Nov 04, 2021
Hallomeme Bonus: Slender Man

When two 12 year-old girls attacked their friend in the woods of Waukesha, Wisconsin in May of 2014, they claimed to have done it to please Slender Man -- a fictional monster created by Eric Knudsen, A.K.A. "Victor Surge," on an internet forum called "Something Awful." That incident put a mainstream, national news spotlight on the figure, which was already being widely circulated and adapted online as a meme.

In this bonus episode of Endless Thread's meme series, we examine Slender Man as monster, meme, and myth.

Oct 29, 2021
MEMES, Pt. 6: Call me... The Punisher

The Punisher has always been a complicated Marvel antihero: a man whose creator imagined him as a reaction to the failures of government at home and in the Vietnam War. So why is the Punisher’s trademark dripping skull insignia — a menacing image used throughout history to denote imminent death — being painted on police vehicles, adopted by members of the military, and donned by white supremacists?

We tell the story of The Punisher’s symbol as a meme, look at how well we understand its origins, its use today, and whether its creator — or Marvel — can take it back.

Oct 28, 2021
MEMES, Pt. 5: The President of Kekistan

He is known by several names, but Gordon Hurd is the one this man-turned-meme adopted when he fled Cameroon for the UK more than two decades ago. Gordon eventually found the app Fiverr and started making videos for anonymous benefactors on the internet.

That’s how Gordon adopted another name, Big Man Tyrone, and became a viral video meme who gives scripted testimonials and has been named the leader of a fictional alt-right country called Kekistan. But there’s a lingering question: Is Big Man Tyrone in on the joke? What happens when an African immigrant in the UK becomes the leader of a group of Trump supporters? We explore the complexities of the Big Man Tyrone meme and our own expectations of the responsibilities of Gordon Hurd.

Oct 21, 2021
MEMES, Bonus: Zoë Didn't Start the Fire

Most of us hate the photos our parents take of us. But what happens when one goes viral? 

Zoë Roth was 4 years old when her dad took a photo of her smiling mischievously in front of a burning house. That photo would later spread like wildfire as the internet meme "Disaster Girl." 

In this bonus episode of our meme series, we hear more about how the photo came to be, how it just might help Zoë pay off her student loans, and who really started that fire. 

Oct 18, 2021
MEMES, Pt. 4: Woman Yelling at a Cat

Humor is a key ingredient of any unit of culture that morphs and spreads over time. But humor isn’t always there at the beginning. For “Real Housewife” Taylor Armstrong, the meme that made her even more famous on the internet has bitter roots: physical domestic abuse exposed on television.

In this episode, we hear the little-known origin story of the "Woman Yelling at a Cat" meme -- straight from the Woman herself -- that might make you think twice about ever using the meme again. We also explore why a loss of context is crucial for the spread of memes, but often problematic.

Oct 14, 2021
MEMES, Bonus: A Billion Ricks

Last week, we explored the origin of the “Rick Roll,” a meme that evolved from Rick Astley’s 1987 hit song, “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Since the music video resurfaced as the meme in 2007, the internet has also never given up on Rick – so much so that the video recently hit a billion views on YouTube. This bonus episode dives deeper into Rick’s childhood, how he was discovered, and how he dealt with not only his fame in the late 80s, but with his more complicated identity as a meme. 

Oct 12, 2021
MEMES, Pt. 3: Gotta Make You Understand

Who gets credit for starting a meme? Usually... nobody -- they're made too quickly and organically. In the case of one of the most famous bait-and-switch memes of all time, the "Rick Roll," we may be looking at something experts call convergent evolution. Did the Rick Roll originate with a piece of code on the message board 4Chan, or with a prank call to a local sports show in Michigan? And why does the Rick Roll have such staying power? Is it codified in the DNA of the song itself?

We explore the meme’s origin, the history of the song, "Never Gonna Give You Up," and its impact on both internet users during COVID-19 and on the performer himself.

Oct 08, 2021
MEMES, Pt. 2: Scumbag Steve

If there is an OG meme in which a human is the star, Scumbag Steve is it. He spread across the internet like wildfire in 2011 as a universal representation of dudes who are the worst. And, like any person grappling with immediate internet fame, Blake Boston — the man behind Scumbag Steve — tried to capitalize: merch, rap songs, public appearances.

But the full story of what happened to Blake — and his family — has never been told. The Scumbag Steve meme became a bargaining chip in a custody battle, a complicating factor in meeting his birth mother, the cause of fights with extended family members, a source of anxiety attacks, and an echo of trauma. In this episode, we go past the origin story of Scumbag Steve and learn about Blake’s real struggles with PTSD and abuse — and how trauma has brought him and his mother, Susan Boston, even closer. 

Sep 30, 2021
Is 'Kilroy Was Here' the original meme?

We often think of memes as living solely online. But the term “meme” was coined in the 1970s -- before the birth of the internet -- by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. And, more surprisingly, the image that's often considered to "the first meme" appeared as early as the 1940s. 

A figure with a bulbous head and sausage fingers, peering over a wall, mysteriously popped up all over the globe during World War II, accompanied with three simple words: “Kilroy Was Here.” The phrase’s original meaning may come from the belly of warships, but what it came to represent bears many characteristics of a true-blue internet meme. In the first episode of our meme series, we tell the story of where "Kilroy Was Here" came from, how it spread, and what it tells us about the essence of memes. 

Sep 30, 2021
Coming October 1st... MEMES!

On October 1st, Endless Thread is back. We're kicking things off with a deep exploration into something that has changed lives, politics, and the way we interact online and IRL... memes!

Sep 23, 2021
Snacktime: Why You Should Care About Other People

Ben tells Amory about a controversial idea for a reality TV show. Amory tells Ben about the thing Dr. Anthony Fauci did NOT say... but everyone thinks he did. 

Sep 16, 2021
Snacktime: Mystery Celebs & Fed-Up Mods

Ben tells Amory about a subreddit trying to determine the identity of a mystery celebrity, and Amory tells Ben about an open letter penned by Reddit moderators that's calling on the platform to take stronger action against COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation on the platform.

Aug 28, 2021
Suitcases of Cash and Bob Saget's Ghost

Gather round for this week’s Snacktime episode, where Ben tells iLab producer Nora Saks two stories about found money, a gambling ruse in a Belizean casino, and why Bob Saget would block himself on Twitter if he could.

Aug 19, 2021

What is Geedis? Endless Thread revisits an episode from 2019 in which the team joined the internet's two-year-long quest to answer this question. The strange, furry character and his buddies in The Land of Ta had been a mystery of 80’s fantastical proportions. Follow us down the rabbit hole for an exciting discovery...

Aug 05, 2021
Snacktime: Weird Spotify Playlists

Fun fact: Ben wooed his wife with a mix CD, and Amory's husband wooed her with a mix CD. The lesson? Never underestimate the power of a good playlist. But if it's a "Weird Spotify Playlist," the object of your affection better have a sense of humor. In this episode, Amory introduces Ben to the fast-growing "Weird Spotify Playlists" Twitter account and subreddit, where song titles are way more important than the songs themselves.

Jul 22, 2021
Encore: The Great Glitter Mystery

Much like rewatching a favorite TV show in its entirety, it can be comforting to listen back to something from "the beforetimes." So this week, we're doing just that. We're revisiting an episode from 2019 that solved one of the internet’s most compelling mysteries. Inspired by a 2018 New York Times feature about glitter, people obsessed over identifying the mysterious industry buying huge amounts of glitter – information which glitter-makers have refused to divulge. No one had been able to find any answers … until the ET team took the case and dropped a glitter bomb on the whole mystery.

Jul 08, 2021
Snacktime: To Joust Is No Jest

Ever heard of horse repossession? How about equine semen fraud? On this week’s Snacktime, Ben tells Amory about the still-very-much-alive sport of jousting and how it relates to a pretty wild story about a Redditor’s ex and a snowy white steed.

Jun 24, 2021
Endless Thread Presents: Twenty Thousand Hertz

Is your voice your own? Not anymore. This week on Endless Thread, we present "Deepfake Dallas," courtesy of our friends over at Twenty Thousand Hertz, a podcast revealing the stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds. Find out how someone, using artificial intelligence, can make an algorithm that sounds just like you.

Jun 17, 2021
Snacktime: Long Orders, Secret Menus

One of the things that makes Starbucks so liked by people everywhere is the amount of customization you can do with your drink. But is there such a thing as too much customization? On this week's Snacktime, Amory tells Ben about the viral "Edward" order as well as the recent TikTok trend of ordering a drink from Starbucks' "secret menu."

Jun 03, 2021
Snacktime: A Refreshing Trend for Troubled Times

From daily walks to sourdough starters, many of us found new ways to have fun and stay sane during the pandemic. For some, a new trend has plenty of... appeal.

In this Snacktime episode, Ben tells Amory about an internet trend mixing personal hygiene and your daily dose of Vitamin C. Then, listen to the story of how one Reddit user's overthinking ended up being just the right amount.

May 20, 2021
Snacktime: Pizza Is My Life

In 2008, college student Kevin Toomey was cruising around Columbus, Ohio, listening to AM radio, when a jingle for Rotolo's Pizza came on. It was love at first listen, and it set him on a 13-year quest to find out who wrote and performed the jingle. In this Snacktime episode, Amory tells Ben about Kevin and his pizza jingle quest, which -- finally -- has a delicious conclusion.

May 06, 2021
Endless Thread Presents: Cautionary Tales

Today's episode brings together three of our favorite things: mysteries, cultural deep-dives, and Dungeons & Dragons. It's an episode of Cautionary Tales, a podcast from Pushkin that tells stories of awful human error, tragic catastrophes, daring heists and hilarious fiascos of the past -- pointing out valuable lessons for us from all the dithering, death and destruction.

Apr 22, 2021
Snacktime: Passports and Space Trains

In this Snacktime episode, Ben and Amory talk about vaccine passports in Texas and the out-of-this-world contents of a mysterious box.

Apr 09, 2021
Snacktime: The Cebu Swiper

In this Snacktime episode, we explore a post made on r/HobbyDrama about how some local plant-trading Facebook groups have had their wholesome hobby corrupted by an alleged scammer.

Mar 30, 2021
Snacktime: War and Crows

We're cooking up a new season of Endless Thread as we speak, dear listeners. But in the meantime, we realized we could probably all use a snack to hold us over. In this episode, we hear about a Redditor who created a fake press pass and found himself in a war zone, and another who accidentally assembled an army of crows. 

Feb 25, 2021
Stonktime: r/WallStreetBets And GameStop

The subreddit r/WallStreetBets has been at the center of a national story this week involving GameStop and a couple of angry hedge funds. To help us understand what’s happening, we call up Planet Money co-host Robert Smith. Then, we speak to Redditor u/Hungry_Freaks-Daddy who hopped on board the GameStop train earlier this week and says he has nothing to lose. 

Support Endless Thread: wbur.org/socks

Jan 29, 2021
Endless Thread Presents: Anything For Selena

Today, we present episode one of Anything for Selena, a new podcast from WBUR and Futuro Studios.

Growing up along the US-Mexico border, Maria Garcia felt torn between her two identities as Mexican and American. But then, something changed her life. She discovered Selena — the Mexican-American pop icon who proved she didn’t have to choose. In the premiere episode of “Anything for Selena,” host Maria Garcia explores how Selena helped Maria find her own place in the world.

About The Show:

In "Anything For Selena," Host Maria Garcia takes listeners on a deeply personal journey into the life and legacy of the Mexican-American popstar Selena Quintanilla. She shares how Selena's music and unapologetic sense of identity helped her find her own place in the world. And it explores how Selena's legacy continues to spark important conversations around race, class, and body politics.

Jan 19, 2021
Update: Things Are (Still) Bad

In the aftermath of a violent mob storming the U.S. Capitol building, we got back in touch with Indi Samarajiva. Indi's a writer who lived through the end of the Sri Lankan civil war, and he was featured in "Things Are Bad," an episode we released last October in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election.

The team caught up with Indi again to ask him about his thoughts on last week's events.

Donate now: wbur.org/socks

Jan 12, 2021
A Special Announcement

Endless Thread is currently on break cooking up our next season, but we're getting back in touch with a special announcement.

Donate Now: wbur.org/socks

Jan 07, 2021
Endless Thread Presents: Decoder Ring

While we're on break working on a new season, we recommend checking out Decoder Ring. In each episode, Decoder Ring explores a cultural question, object, or habit; examines its history; and tries to figure out what it means and why it matters. Today we're presenting one of their recent episodes: "Mystery of the Mullet."

The mullet, the love-to-hate-it hairstyle is as associated with the 1980s as Ronald Reagan, junk bonds, and break dancing. But in at least one major way, we are suffering from a collective case of false memory syndrome. In this episode, the Decoder Ring team tracks the rise and fall of the mullet, and also the lexical quandary at its heart: who named the mullet?

Dec 17, 2020
Encore: Black Lives Matter IRL And Online

Endless Thread is on break so we're sharing one of our favorite episodes from the past year. We published it back on Juneteenth 2020 after asking for stories that caught our listeners' attention at the height of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor police brutality protests around the country. The episode was recently included in a roundup of “100 Outstanding Podcasts From 2020” from The Bello Collective.

Dec 10, 2020
A Trip Down Memory Lane

It's that time of the year again: Endless Thread is going on a winter break. But don't miss us too much. We'll be back in 2021 with a fresh, new, weird, and wonderful version of the show. Before we say goodbye for now, we check in with some of our favorite guests of episodes past.

Episodes updated include:

Get Motivated: https://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2019/01/11/get-motivated

Infectious, Pt 1: Scabs, Pus, and Puritans: https://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2019/05/03/scabs-pus-puritans

Brain Melt: https://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2018/11/09/brain-melt

Nick, Jess, and David: https://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2019/12/20/autistic-redditors-explain-autism

Shipwrecked: https://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2019/06/14/shipwrecked

Dear Anon: https://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2018/11/16/dear-anon

Dec 04, 2020
Encore: All You Can Eat... And Then Some (Updates!)

Chicken patrol. Tiny plates. Purses lined with plastic bags. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Endless Thread re-releases "All You Can Eat," an episode that peeks behind the curtain of the strange world of all-you-can-eat buffets, from the strategies buffet owners use to protect their profits to the hungry customers who try to game the system. Listen until the end for an update with Jordan, the Redditor and restaurant consultant featured in the original episode, to hear an insider's perspective on how the pandemic is changing the food industry.

Nov 27, 2020
Niall Needs A Friend

A month ago, we received an email that really caught our attention. It was from a listener in Ireland named Niall, who has been feeling isolated during the pandemic. He was wondering if we could help him make some new friends. So... the Endless Thread team got to work.

Nov 19, 2020
Today You, Tomorrow Me

10 years ago, Justin found himself on the side of the road with a blown out tire. Hours went by and no one stopped to help. But just as he was about to give up, something happened that changed Justin forever.

Nov 13, 2020
Low Stakes Hot Takes

We all have that one opinion — that firmly held, low stakes, non-political belief. You know the one. It's usually met with (low stakes) outrage whenever you dare to say it out loud. Well, we asked you, our listeners, to share your low stakes hot takes with us and, oh boy, did you deliver.

Nov 06, 2020
Endless Dread: An Uninvited House Guest And A Fake Doctor

Ben and Amory swap terrifying tales from Reddit, featuring an uninvited house guest and a doctor with an unusual fetish. Happy Halloween!

Oct 29, 2020
Bonus: 'Brainwashed'

This past Spring, Endless Thread released a series called “Madness: The Secret Mission for Mind Control and the People Who Paid the Price.” If you missed it, you should go back and listen!

A new series from CBC Podcasts, "Brainwashed," offers fresh perspective on the same topic: a powerful doctor who conducted disturbing, CIA-funded mind-control experiments on patients at a prestigious psychiatric hospital in Montreal.

We recently talked to the host of "Brainwashed," Michelle Shepherd, for this bonus episode. We wanted to compare notes with another reporter who has gone deep on this story and swap takeaways.

Oct 28, 2020
Things Are Bad

With increasing political divide and heightened civil unrest in the United States, many fear that it will culminate in a second civil war. We explore the likelihood of that scenario and hear from someone who thinks America is already in the midst of collapse.

Oct 22, 2020
Endless Dread: Backrooms And Ghostly Photos

In the spirit of Halloween, the Endless Thread team shares spooky stories from Reddit, including the origins of a classic horror movie SFX, the creepy world of r/backrooms, and the mystery surrounding three photos found on someone’s phone.

Oct 15, 2020
Girls Trip

Randi-Lynn thought she was going on a relaxing family vacation to the mountains. Just a few days later, she was hiding in a bathroom and frantically posting on Reddit, asking for help. The headline of her post? "I think I was brought on a girls trip to be brainwashed." 

Oct 09, 2020
QAnon Casualties

For nearly two years, a Redditor named Jitarth Jadeja got deep into QAnon, the Far Right conspiracy theory founded on the idea that President Trump is secretly waging war against a satanic cabal of pedophiles who control the world. “I was kind of an addict… All I could talk about was Q,” Jitarth says. But then, all of a sudden he had a (re)awakening: “That was the moment that I realized it was all garbage.”

In this episode, we trace Jitarth’s journey into and, ultimately, out of, QAnon. 


QAnon originated as a fringe online conspiracy theory born in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Since then, it has grown in influence and keeps creeping further into mainstream consciousness. It’s come up in recent White House press briefings and there are current congressional candidates promoting QAnon messages. Q followers have also been linked to murders, armed stand-offs, and kidnappings.

Oct 02, 2020
Snacktime: Spiders Are Bros

Spiders... even the word is unsettling for some of us. But the r/spiderbro community on Reddit is a place where you just might gain a new appreciation for arachnids -- from the petite and unassuming, to the big and hairy.

Sep 24, 2020
Unsent Letters

The unsent letter. We all have one, half-composed in our heads or fully-formed as an email draft. If you’re really poetic, it might be on a piece of paper, yellowing in a drawer. Whatever form these letters take, they go unsent because they might be better left unsent... or because we wouldn’t know how to send them even if we wanted to. 

But there's a place online where these letters find an audience -- a big one. The "Unsent Letters" community on Reddit has over 350,000 members. In this episode, you'll hear from people who wrote letters addressing pet owners, COVID+ patients, bakery workers, bugs killed in the shower, and so much more. 

Sep 17, 2020
Snacktime: Odd Jobs

Do people say, "That's a thing??," when you tell them what you do for a living? Then you probably have an odd job. This week, Endless Thread tips its hat to you as we discuss the odd jobs of Redditors. 

Sep 10, 2020
Tight Squeeze

You might not think about caves in the same breath as you do the deep ocean or outer space, but you probably should. There are approximately 70,000 caves in the United States alone, but the vast majority are inaccessible to the public. That means rare, delicate ecosystems have developed for tens of thousands of years in complete isolation from human contact. That is, until cavers travel deep underground through impossibly small spaces to find them. Join the Endless Thread team as we dive into the claustrophobia-inducing world of caving.

Sep 03, 2020
Snacktime: Dad Jokes

The spotlight is on r/DadJokes, which -- you guessed it -- is home to the most pun-derful, cheesy-but-lovable comedic material the internet has to offer. Starring the experts: Ben & Amory's DADS!

Aug 28, 2020
Angel's Glow

There's a Civil War legend that dates back to April of 1862, in the aftermath of the Battle of Shiloh. Supposedly, when night fell on thousands of wounded soldiers stranded on the battlefield, something strange happened. Some of their wounds started to glow.  Stranger still, those with glowing wounds seemed to have better rates of survival. Stories of this so-called "Angel's Glow" have echoed through history. But it wasn't until 2001, when a teenage Civil War buff embarked on a science project, that anyone found any answers.

Aug 21, 2020
Snacktime: Zelda And Zebra Plants

Author John Boyne and Jeff the zebra plant take center stage in this edition of snacktime. Also, Ben and Amory realize they share an affinity for... melon ballers?

Aug 13, 2020
Ghost Town

In the summer of 2018, Brent Underwood got a text in the middle of the night from a friend saying, "Look at this ghost town for sale!" Within a month, Brent had purchased Cerro Gordo, California, an abandoned silver mining town, with the help of friends and investors. He wants to revive the town for visitors while preserving its history. He's already faced some major setbacks -- from the lack of running water, to getting snowed in there during a global pandemic. But he calls Cerro Gordo his "life's work."

Aug 06, 2020
Snacktime: Harry Potter, Billie Eilish, And 'Soup Tubes'

Ben, Amory, and Josh share some of the most memorable Reddit posts of late, from a "magical" parenting decision to a very bizarre business idea.

Jul 30, 2020

r/randonauts is a fast-growing community of Redditors who use random, quantum-generated coordinates to go on real-life adventures. But what happens when those random coordinates lead you straight to a grisly crime scene?

Jul 23, 2020
Snacktime: Llama At A Wedding

“What are the dimensions of an adult llama?” asked a Redditor called Mrs. Sam Handwich in the "No Stupid Questions" community. "I've been hired to make a tuxedo for a llama and I don't have its measurements," she added. We get to the bottom of this now-famous Reddit post. 

Jul 17, 2020

Images of Black men and women riding horses at protests around the country have been going viral. But the history of Black cowboys goes all the way back to the creation of the American West. The Endless Thread team digs into this history, and looks at how Black riding groups are carrying this legacy forward today.

Jul 09, 2020
Encore: We Want Plates + Pile Of Crockery

Endless Thread is re-releasing a crown jewel from the archives. It's the team's epic adventure to locate a mountain of dishware in the middle of the woods and, truly, it's even more ridiculous than it sounds. Originally released as a two-part story almost exactly one year ago, we've re-edited it into one jumbo "combination platter" for your listening pleasure.  So sit back, relax, and dig in!

Jul 02, 2020

From the supermarket to the housing market, products are getting smaller but prices are not. Why is this happening? And can it be stopped before the toilet paper roll disappears right before our very… reaching hands?

Jun 25, 2020
Black Lives Matter IRL And Online

Over the last few weeks, Endless Thread has been asking for stories that have caught your attention as millions of people around the country and around the world have come together to protest systemic racism and police brutality. Today, Juneteenth 2020, we present some of those stories.

Jun 18, 2020
Bonus: Making 'Madness'

"Madness," our 5-part series about the history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments, involved a lot of research and a lot of interviews -- most of which you heard excerpts from in the series, but some of which… you didn’t. Or, at least, not everything we wanted to share. In this bonus episode, we play highlights from the cutting room floor, answer listener questions, and share more about the making of this series.

If you haven't heard Parts 1 through 5 of "Madness" you should listen to those episodes first.


You can make a donation to Endless Thread and WBUR at the link below. All monthly contributors will continue receiving special Endless Thread bonus material: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/trustees-of-boston-university/endless-thread-madness-fundraiser

Jun 11, 2020
Endless Thread Presents: Truth Be Told

The Endless Thread team has been watching as protests and police brutality have broken out in cities around the country, and around the world. We are working on covering these events thoughtfully and carefully. If you have a story or perspective you want to share, reach out to us at endlessthread@wbur.org. 

In the meantime, instead of our regular programming, we’d like to play you an episode of the KQED podcast, Truth Be Told. It’s hosted by one of our colleagues, Tonya Mosley, the co-host of WBUR and NPR’s Here and Now, and their episode from this week is called “Protesting for the Soul of America: The New Civil Rights Movement.”

Take a listen. 

Jun 04, 2020
Endless Thread Happy Hour

Join the Endless Thread team on Friday, June 5th, at 5pm ET for a happy-hour Zoom discussion of our 5-part, in-depth series "Madness: The Secret Mission for Mind Control and the People Who Paid the Price." We'll answer your questions about the making of the series, the story itself, and about what's coming up for Endless Thread. 

Register here: http://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2020/05/29/endless-thread-happy-hour-rsvp

May 28, 2020
Madness, Pt. 5: The Unreachable Summit

Dr. Ewen Cameron wanted to win a Nobel Prize for his work in psychiatry. He never got one. He died of a heart attack while climbing a mountain in the Adirondacks in 1967. So, we don’t have access to Cameron's thoughts on his own legacy. But we do have his son, Duncan Cameron. In the final installment of “Madness," we sit down with Duncan, and we explore the shocking ways his father's methods are still being used today.


"Madness" unravels the shocking history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments. Co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, along with producer Josh Swartz, investigate how the stigma around mental illness, combined with government secrecy, can silence the truth.


You can make a donation to Endless Thread and WBUR here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/trustees-of-boston-university/endless-thread-madness-fundraiser

May 21, 2020
Madness, Pt. 4: Pursuit Of Justice

In the early 1980s, victims of Dr. Ewen Cameron’s mind-altering experiments at the Allan Memorial Institute began a slow process of finding each other and building a case against the CIA for funding Cameron's work. The legacy of that case has played a key role in two separate lawsuits in progress today. These new lawsuits represent the interests of hundreds of families still seeking justice for the brutal “treatments” their loved ones were subjected to decades ago.


"Madness" unravels the shocking history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments. Co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, along with producer Josh Swartz, investigate how the stigma around mental illness, combined with government secrecy, can silence the truth.


You can make a donation to Endless Thread and WBUR here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/trustees-of-boston-university/endless-thread-madness-fundraiser

May 14, 2020
Madness, Pt. 3: Subproject 68

As the fear of communism was rising in the U.S. after World War II, government officials set their sights on developing a weapon that sounds straight out of science fiction: mind control. This effort was led by the CIA in a program called MK-ULTRA, which was made up of 149 "subprojects" involving more than 80 academic institutions, prisons, and organizations. In this episode, we learn the dark history of MK-ULTRA and examine the origins of Subproject 68: Dr. Ewen Cameron's experimentation on patients at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal.


"Madness" unravels the shocking history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments. Co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, along with producer Josh Swartz, investigate how the stigma around mental illness, combined with government secrecy, can silence the truth.


You can make a donation to Endless Thread and WBUR here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/trustees-of-boston-university/endless-thread-madness-fundraiser

May 07, 2020
Madness, Pt. 2: Brave New World

Hundreds of people who were experimented on at the Allan Memorial Institute over the course of two decades are all connected to one man: Dr. Ewen Cameron. In this episode, we look at how Cameron rose to prominence in his field and investigate the surprising origins of his treatment program.


"Madness" unravels the shocking history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments. Co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, along with producer Josh Swartz, investigate how the stigma around mental illness, combined with government secrecy, can silence the truth.


You can make a donation to Endless Thread and WBUR here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/trustees-of-boston-university/endless-thread-madness-fundraiser

Apr 30, 2020
Madness, Pt. 1: The Sleep Room

In our first episode, we share powerful accounts of abuse at a psychiatric hospital in Montreal, and we introduce the renowned doctor who conducted these disturbing experiments on his unwitting patients.


"Madness" unravels the shocking history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments. Co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, along with producer Josh Swartz, investigate how the stigma around mental illness, combined with government secrecy, can silence the truth.


Join us for an episode discussion via Zoom on Thursday 4/30 at 7pm ET.

RSVP here: http://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2020/04/24/madness-part-one-the-sleep-room

Apr 23, 2020
Zoom Party This Friday!

This Friday, April 17th, at 7pm EST, Endless Thread is hosting a Zoom party! Join co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson and producer Josh Swartz for a little trivia, an exclusive sneak preview of their upcoming series, "Madness," and of course... some surprises.

RSVP HERE: https://www.wbur.org/endlessthread

Apr 15, 2020
A Parent, A Nurse, And A Patient

Another look at the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In this episode, we hear from a parent who recently had an infant in the NICU, a nurse who fears for his safety, and someone who recently recovered from COVID-19.

Apr 10, 2020
Zombies And Preppers

We speak with Max Brooks about the viral PSA he made with his dad, Mel Brooks, and how his zombie apocalypse novel, World War Z, has become eerily relevant during the coronavirus pandemic. Then, we chat with FrugalChef13, a "prepper," to get her advice about how we can each better prepare for crisis situations.

Apr 02, 2020
How Reddit's Coronavirus Community Became A Global Lifeline

Redditors share how they're coping with the coronavirus pandemic. We also take an in-depth look at r/coronavirus, which has fast become one of the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and reliable sources of information for this constantly developing global story.

Mar 27, 2020
Endless Thread Presents: 'Madness'

Endless Thread presents a special series called "Madness: The secret mission for mind control and the people who paid the price." Get a sneak peek of the series by listening to the trailer now. New episodes coming soon.

"Madness" unravels the shocking story of forced brainwashing and the murky history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments. Co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, along with producer Josh Swartz, investigate how the stigma around mental illness combined with government secrecy can silence the truth and, ultimately, accountability for disturbing outcomes.

Mar 12, 2020
Encore: Call of the Void

When you’re in a high place, peering over a ledge, do you ever get that super weird feeling that you should just... jump? This is a real scientific phenomenon that a lot of people experience, and it has a name: the call of the void. This week, we're listening back to an episode that made a lot of people feel less alone.

Feb 28, 2020
Snacktime: A Fairy Tale Proposal

In honor of Valentine's Day, Amory tells Ben a snack-size story about a feast-size grand gesture that has left millions of people all over the world wishing they could re-do their marriage proposals.

Feb 13, 2020
Double Life

92-year-old Robert Middelmann uncovered a secret about himself when he was very young. Keeping it was a matter of life and death. But, after many years, Robert decided to share that secret, along with the rest of his extraordinary life story, online. It all started in Nazi Germany…

Jan 30, 2020
Snacktime: Snektime

Ben and Amory dissscusss sssome facsssinating ssstories about sssnakes.

Jan 23, 2020
'I Was Abducted'

Monique has always known she was abducted as a child, but specific details about what happened, and why, have been elusive. It wasn’t until she posted to Reddit that she found real leads and painful memories started flooding back.

Jan 16, 2020
Snacktime: Bushfires and Books

Ben and Amory discuss a Reddit deep-dive about the Australian wildfires and one man's very, very long reading list.

Jan 09, 2020
Where Are They Now (Updates!)

Ben and Amory get updates from a few previous guests. Then, they invite the hosts of the podcast "Food, We Need To Talk" into the studio for a final debrief on their 2019 New Year's resolutions.

Jan 02, 2020
Encore: Dear Anon

What do Bill Gates, finding your soul mate, and charting a new life path have in common? Reddit Gifts! The world's largest anonymous gift exchange has led to some unexpected outcomes.

Dec 26, 2019
Nick, Jess, and David

Three autistic Redditors talk to us about their view of the world, their view of autism, and their hopes for greater representation in society.

Dec 20, 2019
Snacktime: Feeling Adrift

Ben shares a story about a real-life grand theft auto adventure and Amory tells the story of a dad whose new hobby may only be scratching the surface of something deeper.

Dec 12, 2019
Free To Be Childfree

r/childfree is one of the fastest growing communities on Reddit and it's for people who do NOT want children. They don't want to be told why they should have them, how much they'll regret it if they don't, and how "selfish" they are for not "contributing to society." This choice is becoming more common, yet it's still questioned ferociously. We hear from some of these people and explore how this Reddit community offers support when friends and family don't.

Dec 05, 2019
Underunderstood: The 9/11 Hoax That Wasn't

While we’re busy stuffing our faces over Thanksgiving, we thought we’d share a story you’ll love from another great podcast: Underunderstood. They look into a photo that frequently goes viral on Reddit to figure out, once and for all, whether or not it’s a hoax. Their conclusion is satisfying and weirdly touching.

Nov 27, 2019
To the Max (Headroom)

On November 22nd, 1987, two TV stations in Chicago had their broadcast signals hijacked by someone wearing a Max Headroom mask. In the years since, Redditors have played an integral role in getting to the bottom of this case. Who dunnit? Why? How? We dig into the story.

Nov 21, 2019
Bonus: Glitter's Connection To Forensic Science

Get ready for some extra sparkle on the heels of last week’s deep dive into “The Great Glitter Mystery.” Retired Forensic Scientist Ed Jones has one of the world’s largest glitter collections. And his side hobby has served him well over the years – glitter helped him solve a murder case back in 2001.

Nov 14, 2019
The Great Glitter Mystery

Endless Thread solves one of the internet’s most compelling unresolved mysteries. Inspired by a New York Times feature about glitter last year, Redditors have obsessed over identifying the mysterious industry buying huge amounts of glitter – information which glitter-makers have now famously refused to divulge. No one has been able to find any answers…until now!

Nov 07, 2019
Endless Dread: Imaginary Friend

When Kellie's 3 year-old daughter told her about her new imaginary friend, Kellum, she didn't think too much of it. But gradually, Kellum started to feel less and less... imaginary. Kellie and her daughter, Madison, tell us everything.

Oct 29, 2019
Snacktime: Even More Dread

Endless Dread continues with two more spooky stories, one about “The Smiling Man” and one about an unsettling recording from a sleep app.

Oct 24, 2019
Endless Dread: Olga of Kiev

Olga of Kiev executed one of the most bone-chilling revenge tours in history after her husband, Igor, was murdered. Then, with a burning city in her wake, she converted to Christianity and became a saint.

Oct 17, 2019
Snacktime: Endless Dread

We kick off this year’s series of spooky stories in the lead-up to Halloween with tales about a frightening curse and a memorable first date.

Oct 10, 2019
Loot Crates

Loot crates are virtual prize boxes available for purchase in video games, containing mystery items like customizations, powerful weapons, or rare gear. They are also the subject of the most downvoted Reddit comment of all-time, the crux of a debate about the definition of gambling, and a window into the history of human evolution.

Oct 03, 2019
Snacktime: Restoration

Alex found an old and very rare family photo. The only problem? It was damaged to the point that the faces were completely unrecognizable. So...he turned to Reddit.

Sep 26, 2019
Speak Memory

Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri know a lot about us – maybe TOO much about us. But when we’re gone, they also leave our loved ones with something to hold on to. In this episode, we explore how technology is helping preserve memories and changing our relationship to the past.

Sep 20, 2019
Snacktime: Who Is 'Batbrat?'

A Redditor named ‘batbrat’ has been quietly solving mysteries for years – identifying everything from a Victorian mourning ring from the 1800s to a single bone of a deer – and others have started to take notice. "Who are you?," one Redditor asked. In today's Snacktime, we find out...

Sep 12, 2019
God Is A Capitalist

Hillsong is an Australian megachurch famous for its hipster vibe, multi-platinum house band, and connections to celebrities like Justin Bieber, Chris Pratt, and Kevin Durant. But behind the flashing lights and thick-rimmed glasses is an ultra-conservative church with a dark past.

Sep 05, 2019
Snacktime: Diablo and Classic Culkin

Ben and Amory swap recent Reddit gems about an obscure heavy metal band and a surprising Macaulay Culkin appearance at a comedy show.

Aug 29, 2019

What is Geedis? This is the question that thousands of internet sleuths have been trying to answer for more than two years. The strange, furry character and his buddies in The Land of Ta have remained a mystery of 80’s fantastical proportions. We go down the rabbit hole...and make an exciting discovery.

Aug 22, 2019
Snacktime: Into The Woods

This Snacktime episode takes us to the woods, with revenge-filled confessions and mysterious sounds...

Aug 16, 2019
Gone Wild Audio

Audio erotica is blowing up right now, from Silicon Valley-backed startups to the rise of ASMR -- not to mention a huge growth in podcasts. But the hub for audio erotica can be found on Reddit in a community of more than 300,000 devoted fans and amateur performers. We dive into this world to understand audio erotica’s surprising moment in the cultural spotlight and the unexpected ways it’s transforming people’s lives.

Aug 08, 2019
Snacktime: LSD And Hot Sauce

Ben and Josh trade favorite Reddit stories about an Englishman whose bad LSD trip leads to a months-long French charade and a job seeker whose interview tactics leave him spitting fire...but not in a good way.

Aug 01, 2019
The Amber Room

Once considered “the eighth wonder of the world,” the Amber Room was a treasure of kings and architectural marvel before being stolen by Nazis and lost to history. So…what happened? It all depends on who you ask.

Jul 25, 2019
Bonus: Dad Bods And Guppies

Remember in January when we talked about New Year's resolutions in our 'Get Motivated' episode? Well, 2019 is half over, so Ben and Amory give an update on their progress.

Jul 22, 2019
Snacktime: Sharks And Aliens

SNACK ATTACK! I mean... SHARK ATTACK! I mean, BOTH. Another snack-sized episode for you, complete with shark attacks, the story of a chilling shipwreck, and whatever the heck is happening in Area 51.

Boston-area listeners, join the Endless Thread team on July 25 at WBUR's CitySpace for a behind-the-scenes look at our five-part series, "Infectious: The Strange Past and Surprising Present of Vaccines – And Anti-Vaxxers." Event info: https://wbur.fm/2XXJIts

Jul 18, 2019
Pile Of Crockery

The thrilling conclusion to an internet mystery surrounding a massive pile of dishware in the middle of the woods.

Jul 11, 2019
We Want Plates!

A Redditor stumbles upon a huge pile of plates in the backwoods of Pennsylvania. Reddit sleuths across the globe try to figure out where the plates are located and how they got there. Endless Thread embarks on an epic journey to Pennsylvania to get to the bottom of this mystery, once and for all.

See the plates here: http://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2019/06/28/we-want-plates

Jun 27, 2019
Endless Thread Presents: Pride Stories From 'Kind World'

In honor of Pride month, the Endless Thread team shares a pair of stories from another WBUR podcast -- Kind World. Co-hosts Yasmin Amer and Andrea Asuaje tell stories about the profound impact an act of kindness can have on us. Enjoy, and happy Pride to all!

Jun 24, 2019
Snacktime: In A Pickle

Snacktime returns with the story of a Redditor who got into quite the sticky situation. All he needed to get unstuck was a captive Reddit audience…and a jar of pickles.

Jun 20, 2019

When someone close to you dies, it can be a struggle to feel normal again – and to have people TREAT you normally again. When T.J.’s long-time partner died suddenly in 2017, she found a sense of normalcy and healing from strangers in the r/Widowers community on Reddit.

Full transcript and more information about this episode at: http://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2019/06/14/shipwrecked

Jun 13, 2019
Infectious, Pt. 5: Talk To Me

At the end of the day, our species only survives if we can communicate. In our fifth and final episode of "Infectious," we hear from those whose lives have been irrevocably altered by vaccines and learn about a radically simple solution to the current controversy – one which has already started to pay dividends.

May 30, 2019
Infectious, Pt. 4: Anatomy Of An Outbreak

Even considering the winding road of scientific advancement and the new expressway that is the internet, what the heck happened in Clark County? With reporting from the ground in Washington and Oregon, we take the fourth episode of our vaccine series to trace the societal pathogens, identify the symptoms, and try to prescribe a solution to what some are calling a “canary in the coal mine” for a near future of eroding herd immunity and increasing threats of outbreak for all kinds of diseases in the U.S.

May 23, 2019
Infectious, Pt. 3: Going Viral

You can’t tell the story of today’s anti-vaccine — or “vaccine hesitant”— movement without telling a story of technology and social media. Part 3 of our "Infectious" series looks at the spread of anti-vaccine messaging online and how the Internet and social media have made it possible for vaccine-related misinformation and hoaxes to reach further and faster than ever before.

May 16, 2019
Infectious, Pt. 2: The Flintstone Dilemma

There was a time when the measles were common enough to be a source of comedy on TV shows like "The Flintstones." So how did we go from joking about the measles to reports on the news about a growing international measles emergency? In the second episode of our "Infectious" series, we embark on a search for truth, aided by a renowned pediatrician and several prominent anti-vaccine activists. Along the way, we look at how vaccines actually work, fallout from the swine flu pandemic, and the highly controversial -- but unproven -- link between vaccines and autism.

May 03, 2019
Infectious, Pt. 1: Scabs, Pus, And Puritans

The problem with being healthy is that you completely forget what it feels like to be sick. In 2019, many people assume that the history of vaccination is recent history -- maybe a few centuries of innovation starting in the late 1700s. The truth is much more convoluted: centuries of ancient customs developing slowly into a cycle of extremes -- scientific innovation followed by fear, rejection, and sometimes, violence. In the first episode of our special series, 'Infectious,' we explore this recurring cycle and how it echoes still in 2019.

May 03, 2019
'Endless Thread' Presents: 'Infectious'

"Endless Thread" presents "Infectious: The Strange Past and Surprising Present of Vaccines – and Anti-Vaxxers."

Apr 26, 2019
Bonus: Jon Favreau, Live At CitySpace

T-minus one week until Endless Thread returns with new episodes! In the meantime, let's talk politics -- because Ben recently interviewed Jon Favreau, co-host of "Pod Save America" and former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, live onstage at WBUR's CitySpace. In this bonus episode, we all have a front-row seat...

Apr 26, 2019
Bonus: Endless Thrones

In advance of the season 8 premiere of HBO's "Game of Thrones," we talk to one of the head moderators of r/gameofthrones and to a couple of in-house GOT nerds to hear some of their fan theories and predictions for the show's final season.

Apr 12, 2019
Encore: Pitch Perfect

In celebration of the start of the MLB season, we revisit our baseball-themed episode from last year, featuring everything from Snoop Dogg... to a very unlucky mourning dove.

Mar 29, 2019
Remix: Four Love Stories From The Wild World Of Reddit

In honor of Valentine's Day, we took our favorite love stories from previous episodes and created one epic love-centric monster mix. xoxo

Feb 13, 2019
Encore: And... It's Good!

Hey football fans, ever heard of the Chicago Bears Principle? How about Winter Magic? Or the UFL? In this Super Bowl-themed episode, Redditors educate us on the stats, the halftime history books, and tackle football on wheels.

Feb 01, 2019
Bonus: Harvard Astronomer On Why Aliens Aren't Just Science Fiction

Superstar astronomer Avi Loeb discusses mysteries surrounding the interstellar space object known as 'Oumuamua, why it could be a probe sent by an alien civilization, and how the scientific community should be more willing to acknowledge and embrace uncertainty.

Jan 29, 2019
Stuck Between The Rock and Deep Space

News of a mysterious interstellar object flying through our solar system inspired Redditors to collaboratively pen a perfectly cheesy sci-fi action movie. And now, we bring that movie to life as an audio drama. Presenting... "Stuck Between The Rock and Deep Space."

Jan 24, 2019
Coming Soon... Our Sci-Fi Radio Drama

This Friday, Endless Thread releases one of its wackiest, most ambitious episodes yet: a sci-fi radio drama based on a movie script, based on a Reddit thread about a mysterious interstellar object. Hold on to your butts...

Jan 22, 2019

Chris and Kim have been married for 13 years and things have been going really, really well. So well, in fact, that they wondered... what's next? Their answer: consensual non-monogamy. They think of their additional sexual partners as "cupcakes," sweet additions to the healthy, hearty "meal" that is their marriage.

Jan 17, 2019
Bonus: R. Kelly Vs. The Savages

The release of Lifetime's 6-part documentary series "Surviving R. Kelly" has sparked new conversations about the R&B singer -- at the water cooler, on social media, and of course, on Reddit. This episode comes to us from WBUR's "Edge of Fame" podcast, who spoke to a family that claims R. Kelly is holding their daughter hostage. It includes some upsetting details, so discretion is advised.

Jan 16, 2019
Get Motivated

Jared Wells was ready to accept death just one year ago. But a year in the gym with a bodybuilding legend has totally changed his perspective on life... and his body, of course. Plus, Ben and Amory share their 2019 resolutions and recruit Redditors to help them accomplish their goals. Read more about Jared here: https://www.reddit.com/r/GetMotivated/comments/85xfn6/image_thank_you_getmotivated/?st=JQEH8X32&sh=a8a167b6

Jan 10, 2019
Encore: Something Wicked

"Our landlord isn't letting me talk to you, but it's important we do." This text was written on one of several creepy post-it notes that mysteriously appeared in Redditor u/RBradbury1920's apartment. Who wrote them? Why? And how were they getting there? We get to the bottom of this famous Reddit mystery...

Jan 03, 2019
Encore: That Old Chestnut

One of the nuttiest stories of near extinction and resurrection ever seen in the United States. It involves genetic engineering, warring factions of tree enthusiasts, and a mysterious, destructive power that started at the Bronx Zoo.

Dec 28, 2018
Humans Being Bros

A Santa who went above and beyond. Emotionally-exhausted parents who received a well-timed helping hand. A surprising invention that warms the heart... and body. We celebrate the season of giving by highlighting some of the kindness shared on Reddit -- including, the story that actually inspired the creation of Endless Thread!

Dec 20, 2018
All You Can Eat

Chicken patrol. Tiny plates. Purses lined with plastic bags. We peek behind the curtain of the strange world of all-you-can-eat buffets, from the strategies buffet owners use to protect their profits, to the hungry customers who try to game the system.

Dec 13, 2018
The Deadly Double

A Redditor finds a mysterious dice game in his grandparents’ basement. It reads “The Deadly Double: A Game to Play at Your Own Risk.” The Endless Thread team helps him investigate the game and finds surprising connections to Pearl Harbor, the FBI and The New Yorker.

Dec 07, 2018
Grateful Doe

An unidentified man died in a car crash in 1995 with Grateful Dead ticket stubs in his pocket. Twenty years later, Reddit sleuths helped solve the case of the “Grateful Doe.”

Nov 30, 2018
Encore: The GOAT

The Italian cyclist Gino Bartali could rightfully be called "the GOAT" -- the Greatest of All Time -- for his athletic achievements alone. But in this episode, we tip our hats to him as a humanitarian. During World War II, Bartali was living a double life. It involved the Catholic church, secret missions, Jewish refugees, and what may be the most honorable fake ID operation of all time.

Nov 21, 2018
Dear Anon

What do Bill Gates, finding your soul mate, and charting a new life path have in common? Reddit Gifts! The world's largest anonymous gift exchange has led to some unexpected outcomes.

Nov 16, 2018
Brain Melt

Redditor Stephanie Graham started feeling a bit off in the third trimester of her pregnancy. Then, things got weird. Really weird.

Nov 09, 2018
The Greatest Squirt Gun Ever Built

One of the bestselling toys of all-time, the Super Soaker, was invented by a rocket scientist nicknamed "The Professor." This is the story of the man, the legend: Lonnie Johnson.

Nov 01, 2018
Bonus: Magic Mushrooms With Michael Pollan

Author Michael Pollan talks about all things magic mushrooms, including their potential for upending the brain's hierarchy and helping people cope with death.

Oct 29, 2018
Screamtime: Zombie Fungus

Imagine a fungus that could infiltrate your whole body, turn you into a puppet, and grow right out of the top of your head. Actually, you don't have to imagine it -- IT'S REAL. It's called Cordyceps, and fortunately, it only has this effect on insects... for now.

Oct 25, 2018
Screamtime: Roof Man

Paranormal activity has haunted Darcy throughout her life. But it wasn’t until a nighttime ritual with her daughter turned spooky that she wondered what else might be at play.

Oct 18, 2018
Bonus: Australian Scientist Offers First-Hand Account Of Steve Irwin's Tragic Death

Australian scientist Jamie Seymour was friends with the famous "Crocodile Hunter," Steve Irwin. He was even there when Irwin was fatally stung by a stingray in 2006. Jamie sat down with Ben to reflect on that experience and Irwin's legacy.

Oct 16, 2018
Screamtime: Doom Jelly

Imagine sitting in a hospital room for 24 consecutive hours in the most agonizing pain you can possibly imagine. You feel a sense of impending doom. You have a feeling this won’t end well. Then, the pain subsides and you walk away. Jamie Seymour has had that experience eleven different times. He’s a leading expert on one of the world’s most frightening creatures and he’s paid the price.

Oct 11, 2018
Screamtime: Haunted House, Holy Water

When Alex was in high school, he and his best friend used to break into abandoned houses. Alex was a tough guy, giving people hell. Until one night, in one of those abandoned houses... hell gave him something back.

Oct 05, 2018
Turning Hate Into Humor

An elite unit of trolls is engaged in an existential battle against hate speech on the internet. This is their story.

Sep 28, 2018
Snacktime: 'Last Seen' Edition

We’re popping into your feed to share a project we think you’ll love. It’s a new podcast called “Last Seen,” about the largest unsolved art heist in history -- the theft of 13 irreplaceable pieces of art from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Sep 24, 2018
The Great Mattress Conspiracy

Why are there so many Mattress Firm stores? How did they end up catty-corner across intersections and in the same shopping centers? Are the mattresses full of money? Reddit users start to dig deeper into these Mattress Firm conspiracy theories, and we team up with Business Insider's "Household Name" to conduct an investigation of our own.

Sep 20, 2018
Rome, Sweet Rome

Could a unit of Marines destroy the entire Roman Empire if they traveled back in time? That is the question that inspired the now-legendary Reddit thread that turned James Erwin from an anonymous commenter into a Hollywood screenwriter. His once-in-a-lifetime opportunity did not go exactly as planned.

Sep 14, 2018
Tim From Texas

Tim Rose was driving home in February 2015 when he got into a car accident. He was mostly fine, though he went to the hospital just to be safe. That's where things took a turn. He turned to Reddit for help and his life hasn't been the same since.

Sep 06, 2018
The Cursed Manuscript

A 17th century monk using a nom de plume pens what could have been the blockbuster of its time: a teenage boy embarking on an epic voyage to the Americas. But, due to a series of bizarre circumstances, it was never published... until now.

Aug 30, 2018
Buck It

A Reddit comment about a chance encounter on a train inspires Ben to get hypnotized and Amory to face her fears in front of an audience at an open mic.

Aug 23, 2018
Test Of Time

Did you ever receive a love note in elementary school? What happened to the person who wrote it to you? Or what about that person you went to a music festival with in your early 20s? In this episode, we feature two extraordinary stories about relationships that have withstood the test of time.

Aug 16, 2018
The Original Most Interesting Man In The World

King David Kalākaua was the last king of Hawaii. But he was much more than that -- he was a traveler, a dreamer, a tech nerd. Or maybe he was fond of drinking, reveling and gambling. It depends on who you ask. But one thing he was not: Boring.

Aug 09, 2018
Season 2: First Listen

The Endless Thread team has been hard at work on a new season of episodes. Don't believe us? We have proof! Take a listen to our trailer for Season 2. 

Aug 06, 2018
Snacktime: Cake, Camels, and Catfish

It's snacktime! Some more of our favorite quick-hits from Reddit.

Aug 02, 2018
Snacktime: A Trade Of Their Own

In this "Snacktime" episode, we chow down on two stories that were sent to us by listeners. The first, a look at how baseball fans on Reddit mark Major League Baseball's annual July trade deadline -- with a trade of their own. Then, a story involving a husband and wife, dinner at the boss' house, and a steak getting thrown out the window... almost.

Jul 27, 2018
Snacktime: Steak And Potatoes

Two of Amory and Ben's favorite Reddit posts, both of which have to do with food.

Jul 19, 2018

This week's episode is pretty short and sweet -- Amory and producer Josh Swartz talk about their favorite Reddit posts.

Jul 12, 2018
Getting Home: Update

We listen back to the story of Shane Correia and get an update from him. Shane's life has been mostly chaos -- from domestic violence, to a murder conviction in his family, to homelessness. But he's had two constants: a folder and a turtle.

Jul 05, 2018
Call of the Void

When you’re in a high place, peering over a ledge or a drop off, do you ever get that super weird feeling that you should just...jump? This is a real scientific phenomenon. It has a name: The call of the void.

Jun 28, 2018
Axeman's Jazz

A serial killer dubbed "The Axeman" terrorized New Orleans in 1918-1919. One day, the local paper published a letter he'd written saying that he would strike again on a particular night. The only thing that would spare you... was listening to jazz. We dive into this popular TIL story from Reddit.

Jun 22, 2018
Still Breaking

Redditors discover a massive online conspiracy. A man risks life, limb and the ire of morning motorists to protect the ideal of a free and open internet.

Jun 15, 2018
The Rest... Is History

Every relationship has a story. Samantha and Laura's is extraordinary. In recognition of Pride month, we bring you a story of love in transition.

Jun 07, 2018
I, Ken Bone

We talk to the man, the meme, the legend: Ken Bone. What happens to a meme deterred? We find out.

Jun 01, 2018
In Memoriam

Death: It comes for all of us, eventually. This week we bring you two tales from Reddit about the Grim Reaper himself. One involves gravestones; the other, a "natural" way to think about burial.

May 24, 2018
Rice Bunny

How Chinese #MeToo activists are keeping the movement alive, despite government censorship.

May 17, 2018
Bonus: Yanny Vs. Laurel... Vs. Yaley?

We bring you a bonus episode that takes on the "Yanny vs. Laurel" debate that's dividing the Internet.

May 16, 2018

It's May, which means most of the kids in school right now are thinking about the summer. And to celebrate, we've got two stories about some rather unfortunate school mishaps.

May 10, 2018
Hail Corporate

A man makes a terrible sculpture of his girlfriend...out of Soylent. (Guess what..."they are now separate.") He then makes a flyer to try to give that sculpture away. The flyer goes viral. Why-oh-why did he do it? We find out.

May 03, 2018
That Old Chestnut

One of the nuttiest stories of near extinction and resurrection ever seen in the United States. It involves genetic engineering, warring factions of tree enthusiasts, and a mysterious, destructive power that started at the Bronx Zoo.

Apr 26, 2018

Weed, dope, kush, reefer -- whatever you call it, marijuana is quickly becoming legal across the country. It's also bringing people together, on Reddit.

Apr 19, 2018
Mission Improbable

What do you do when you're about to fly home from Japan and you realize you've left your passport in your hotel 300 miles away? Or when you're looking for pals to run with you from England to Italy? Post to Reddit, of course.

Apr 12, 2018
Fun Guy

A lab at the University of Oklahoma wants your dirt -- really. A viral post on Reddit brought awareness to this fascinating program, which studies fungi from soil samples from around the country with the hopes of discovering new disease-curing medicines.

Apr 05, 2018
Pitch Perfect

With spring finally here and the MLB's opening day upon us, we're talkin' baseball -- the funny, the memorable, the peanuts, the hot dogs.

Mar 29, 2018
Bill Hader Talks 'Barry,' Reddit And Why He's So Popular Online

Funnyman Bill Hader has a new show, "Barry," about a depressed hitman who heads to Los Angeles for a job, and ends up taking acting classes. He talks about his career as a comedian and how his stage fright helped inspire the world behind "Barry."

Mar 22, 2018
Dirty 6th

Excerpts from Amory and Ben's live AMA at SXSW, plus their conversation with Reddit CEO Steve Huffman.

Mar 15, 2018
Something Wicked

We dive into a famous Reddit mystery involving creepy post-it notes, an iffy landlord, and a stranger who saves the day.

Mar 08, 2018
There Was An Attempt

A small village in upstate New York faced a lot of criticism about its official seal. They decided to change it, but did it really make a difference? You might say... there was an attempt.

Mar 02, 2018

The Italian cyclist Gino Bartali could rightfully be called "the GOAT" -- the Greatest of All Time -- for his athletic achievements alone. But in this episode, we tip our hats to him as a humanitarian. During World War II, Bartali was living a double life. It involved the Catholic church, secret missions, Jewish refugees, and what may be the most honorable fake ID operation of all time.

Feb 23, 2018
Kickin' It

More than 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Alex from Brockport, New York, is determined not to be one of them. He's currently 5 months clean, after using heroin for 5 years, and Reddit is one of several resources that helped him get there. Ben and Amory go to Brockport to talk to Alex, and to the family and friends that supported him along the way.

Feb 15, 2018
Gator Roll

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Endless Thread brings you three love stories brought to you straight from Reddit. You’re not crying, your eyes are just sweating.

Feb 09, 2018
And... It's Good!

Hey football fans, ever heard of the Chicago Bears Principle? How about Winter Magic? Or the UFL? In this Super Bowl-themed episode, Redditors educate us on the stats, the halftime history books, and tackle football on wheels.

Feb 02, 2018
Introducing Edge of Fame (and Norm Macdonald AMA)

Check out a new podcast from WBUR and the Washington Post called Edge of Fame.

Jan 26, 2018
The Vault

This week, Endless Thread goes underground and back in time -- into what just might be the most important vault in the world. What's inside that vault? A treasure that originates with a Russian scientist during World War II.

Jan 26, 2018
Getting Home

When there was chaos in his life, Shane Correia had one constant -- his folder.

Jan 18, 2018
No No No No Yes

In the first episode of Endless Thread, we bring you two stories of two incredible near-misses.

Jan 12, 2018
A First Listen

This audio trailer offers you a preview of the upcoming season of "Endless Thread," a new podcast by WBUR and Reddit.

Dec 04, 2017