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Description:

The Sofa King podcast is a weekly show. From conspiracy theories and technology to the mass media and the future, this show is simultaneously informative, critical, and humorous.

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Podcast Episode's:
Jimmy Savile: The UK’s Ultimate Rapist
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at a guy who may be the worst Brit to ever live, Jimmy Savile. Jimmy Savile was a media personality and radio host (think Ryan Seacrest or Dick Clark in the States). He had a hit-maker radio and tv show that every musician wanted to be on. He also had a BBC television series that made the dream of ill children come true. He was knighted by the Queen of England and the Pope. That all sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, he was also a serial rapist, pedophile, and necropheliac. A year after he died in 2011, over 500 victims came forward to discuss their trauma. They ranged from 5 to 75 years old at the time of the crime. Most of them were physically or mentally ill at the time of the abuse. There were dozens of rapes. Oh, and most people think none of this ever came to light because of a cover up that may have gone as high up as the Prime Minister or the Royal family, both of whom he was close to. So how did a crappy meta-celebrity become such a monster and mega rapist? It was his “charity work.” He would hold fund raisers and give money—millions of pounds—to hospitals, children’s schools, and mental hospitals. This would ingratiate Jimmy Savile with the board of directors and give him access to the hospital at all hours as a major donor. Then, he would rape, fondle, and abuse patients, relatives of patients, and everyone he could get his hands on. He’d feel up people hours after major surgery and rape people who were too mentally ill to know any better. He’d also sneak into the morgue and give oral sex to dead bodies (something called gamaroosh…see, you learn something new every day) and pose them in sexual acts to take photos with them. And steal their glass eyes. And then, he’d brag about it to the hospital staff. How this sicko got away with such a range of heinous crimes for 50 years is hard to imagine, unless, of course, it was being covered up for him. So, was Jimmy Savile part of an international sex trafficking scheme as many people allege? Was he a lone shooter? Was he just the luckiest rapist in the UK, or did he go out of his way to hide the truth? Why did the BBC bury the story of Jimmy Savile’s sexual assault after he died? How many times were the police tipped off over the years? Who was Clair McAlpine, and how did her suicide almost bring him down in the 1970s? Listen, laugh, learn as we talk about someone who couldn’t have died soon enough. Sex Timeline: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/jun/26/jimmy-savile-sexual-abuse-timeline  
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Episode 338: Winston Churchill: Legendary, Racist, British Hero!
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we take a jump across the pond and talk about one of the most important politicians who ever lived, the original British Bulldog, Winston Churchill. Many credit him with playing a major role in the victory over Nazi Germany, and others accuse him of causing the death of millions of Indians and being a drunken racist. Maybe both? You listen, you decide. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born to Lord Randolph Churchill in a very upper class family. He was said to be a scatterbrained child, always tardy and fairly bad at school, but when he was able to take up rifles, he started to excel. Eventually, he went on to a distinguished military career, even being an action hero and breaking out of a war camp and travelling 300 miles across enemy lines to find a safe border to cross. Back in England, he began a political career which came to a head as he was one of the most vocal naysayers about Hitler’s rise to power. Eventually, on the eve of World War II, King George appointed him as the prime minister, and the war was then started in earnest. Churchill is said to have been the main reason the Brits were able to rescue the 300,000 soldiers stranded at Dunkirk. He was also responsible for ruthless actions such as the sinking of the allied French fleet, so it wouldn’t fall into Nazi hands. Did Winston Churchill know about the bombing that devastated Coventry, and if he did, why did he keep it a secret? How big of a partier and drinker was he? How bad was his debt, and why did the government and other political donors have to pay his bills for him? How did he die? What did he think of Gandhi? What was up with his velvet onesies? Listen, laugh, learn. Link about the Coventry Conspiracy: https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/myths/churchill-let-coventry-burn/
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Bonus Episode: Mass Debate Part Deux
What we have here is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Instead of our normal research-based informational podcast full of 20% accurate information, 30% inaccurate information, and 60% offensive jokes (yes, the math adds up if you've listened to us), we flip the script. This time, we have a three person debate, college rules, no holds barred. We turn to our listeners to randomly give us numbers, and we debate key topics from the New York Times top 100 debate topics. They range from sports to video games to child rearing to the almighty Zeus. We also play a hardcore round of Superfight. You don't want to miss it. Or you do want to miss it, in which case that isn't hard to do since you just have to not listen. We don't care. We won't be sad. Those aren't tears in my eyes. They are tears in YOUR eyes!
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Episode 337: Caligula: The Sick, Sick, Sick Roman Emperor
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we travel back in time and look at the life, fetishes, mass killings, reign, and assassination of the most infamous of all Roman emperors: Caligula. Caligula was the great-great grandson of Julius Caesar, and his real name was Gaius Caesar Germanicus. Caligula was a term that meant “little boot” and came from his time as a child he spent with his famous father during military campaigns. His father was a politician, and through a hardcore series of Game of Thrones type maneuvers, he was ultimately killed by the emperor Tiberius who eventually took in Caligula and raised him. But, the raising was mostly torturous treatment, and everyone knew Tiberius killed Caligula’s father, so it wasn’t a good upbringing. In fact, most historians believe this period of his young life is what bred the sadism and perversion that followed him through life. Eventually, Tiberius died, and the inexperienced Caligula was voted by the senate to be emperor. He did great things for the first half a year or so, and then his predilections for cruelty came to the surface. He started a brutal campaign of murders (he called them executions) of everyone who ever stood in his way, and he started taking money from prominent citizens just to keep himself in the lifestyle he enjoyed. He was also crazy. How crazy? How about, he built a three mile bridge of boats and rode across it for two days just to prove someone wrong? How about, he killed people who talked about goats in his presence? He once threw an entire section of the coliseum into the pit to be eaten by wild animals because he thought the fights were boring. He slept with his sisters. A lot. He declared war on the sea, declared himself a god, built a mansion for his favorite horse, and so much more. So what good things did Caligula do for the Roman empire? How was he assassinated and why? What was up with his pleasure barges? How did his wife and child die? Why did he hate goats? What declare himself to be the god of? What made the senate decide to destroy all traces of him and erase him from Roman history? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 336: The Rajneeshees: Sex Cult, Salmonilla, and Poisoned Beavers
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at one of the most interesting cults we’ve ever covered: The Rajneeshees. Let me give you a teaser. Their story involves the bombing of a hotel by a radical Islamic group, a bio weapon attack involving poisoned salads, an assassination attempt of a prominent politician, a lot of capitalistic sex, a war against Nike, the attempt to take over a town in Oregon, an army of hoboes who were knowingly high on Haldol, and a plot to poison the water supply with an army of beavers. Yes. That’s all true. It sure seems like a lot when you string it all together. So, who are the Rajneeshees, and what did they believe? They started as the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (also known as Osho), a public speaker from India who specialized in meditation seminars. He got backing by some wealthy folks in India, and he quickly rose in prominence, securing a whopping 100,000 followers in just a few years. They lived in an ashram in India but spread throughout the globe. They started to be a group that was somewhat hedonistic, celebrating things that made you feel good, from material possession to sex. Lots of sex. Eventually, they settled on a plot of land in rural Oregon, and there, they went to war with one of the co-founders of Nike to claim dominance over the area. This battle got intense, and eventually led to the group doing all they could to win local elections and stay in power (this is where the bio attack, army of hoboes, an assassination plot, and poisonous beavers come on the scene). So, what was up with Rajneesh’s 93 Rolls Royce cars? How much sex did this sex cult have? How big was their militia? What did the Rajneeshees secretary do to take power, and where did she end up? What happened to the army of hoboes? Why did the cult try to cultivate live AIDS cultures? Listen, laugh, learn. List of Crazy Crimes from the Cult: https://www.thedailybeast.com/wild-wild-country-the-most-shocking-reveals-from-the-sex-cults-fbi-informant
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Episode 335: Devices of Death
On this grisly episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about devices of death, all the inventions that are used for capital punishment from the ancient world until now. Every society since the most ancient days of China have killed criminals for the worse offenses, and the means vary from “humane” to absolutely brutal. The 7th Century BC Draconian Code of Athens made death the penalty for every crime anyone ever committed! Also, people like the mad emperor Nero would burn bodies at the stake and use the fire for light at this parties. From classic devices of death such as Iron Maidens to force feeding people milk and honey until their own fecal matter makes bugs live in their skin, this episode has you covered. We talk a lot about the modern methods used for killing killers here in the U.S. Hanging, of course, ties back to our cowboy days and is still used in some prisons to this day. However, it’s not as easy as it seems. Too long of a drop, and the rope rips the person’s head off. Too short, and they slowly suffocate for 45 agonizing minutes. That evolved to the electric chair in 1890, but again, not without perils. Sometimes, the wiring was done wrong, or the people had to get zapped time after time. They would light on fire, and a sponge that was too wet or dry would mess up the connection. Then technology got “better.” We moved to firing squads, gas chambers, and finally lethal injection. So what is the problem with lethal injection drugs, and why do so many states have to turn to alternative methods of killing? Why was it important to have a good executioner in the past? Which killing technique has never had a botched attempt in the past 120 years? Which devices of death caused the most problems? Who watches the executions, and who performs them? Listen, laugh, learn. Good Site On Info: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/descriptions-execution-methods
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Episode 334: Nazca Lines: Alien Runways?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at one of the ancient mysteries of the world and explore the myth, truth, and science behind the enigmatic Nazca Lines. The Nazca Lines are massive glyphs drawn in the soil in Peru, and they date back a few thousand years, according to most scholars and some good old fashioned carbon dating. Many people think these enormous glyphs etched into the Peruvian soil are some sort of communication or landing pad for ancient aliens. Others think they are signs to the gods or even markers for agriculture areas or rare wells in this dry climate. What’s unique about the Nazca Lines, for one thing, is the environment. They are only carved a few inches into the soil, but the presence of lime deposits, constant temperature, arid climate, and strange fog have left these things preserved. Keep in mind, simply walking on them can ruin them, so the fact that they exist several thousand years later is a bit miraculous. Another unique feature is that they are apparently intended to be viewed from the air, but were constructed a people who predated aircraft by a few millennia. They are miles long in some cases and remarkably straight. Why did these people actually build them? What techniques did they use? Was it religious or a feature of agriculture? Why do some scholars think these are “anti-constellations?” What did Greenpeace do to damage one of the glyphs, and why were they jerks about it? What’s up with the alien mummies? Listen, laugh, learn. Nazca: Million theories why:  https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/esp_lineas_nazca_2.htm
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Episode 333: Richard Ramirez: The Night Stalker
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we delve into the shadowy realm of true crime and look at one of the most rage-filled serial killers of all time, the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez. Originally called the (much less impressive) Valley Intruder, Richard Ramirez ran on a violent, burglary filled murder spree through all of California. But to understand the crimes of this monster, it’s important to understand his beginnings. If anyone was dealt a hand that promised they would become a brutal serial killer, it was Ramirez. His father was an ex-cop known for rage issues, and his mother breathed in so many harsh chemicals at work that all of her other 5 children had birth defects. Add to that an older cousin and role model who was an unstable soldier fresh from the Vietnam war. Oh, and said cousin had photos of all the Vietnamese locals he raped and murdered and shared them with the young Richard Ramirez. And then there was the time his cousin murdered his wife with a pistol while Ramirez watched and the time his uncle showed him how to be a peeping Tom, take LSD, and worship Satan. So, yeah, serial killer. Ramirez had his first taste of murder with a nine year old girl in the basement of a hotel he lived in, and from there, he began a murder spree of mostly older victims. He tended to break into people’s homes, rob them, shoot the husband in the face, and then rape and kill the woman with whatever he could find to use as a weapon. He didn’t care about leaving evidence, covering his trails, or anything many such killers worried about. He killed out of passion and rage, typically on the spur of the moment. So, how many people did Richard Ramirez kill? Why were they typically retirees? What was up with eyeballs in a jewelry box? How come Ramirez had so many fan girls when he was on trial for his horrible crimes, and why did one marry him while on death row? What came of the suicide pact his wife took with him? Why did he scrawl pentagrams on his body before the trial, and how did this scumbag eventually die? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 332: Sparta: Ancient Bad Asses
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we travel back in time and look at perhaps the most hardcore civilization to ever exist. This. Is. Sparta. Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece that was made popular in recent years thanks to Frank Miller’s graphic novel and Zack Snyder’s movie adaption of it—300. This tells the story of 300 elite Spartan warriors who hold off a million man Persian army. Is there any truth to this? Kind of, yes. Sparta was a nation that was dedicated to two things: a strong state and warfare. The Spartans were actually the minority in their own society since the other two castes of slaves and craftsmen outnumbered them. However, they were the best of the best at warfare, and a Spartan only had career goal. Warrior. They didn’t farm, build house, make weapons or anything else. They simply fought in wars. To this end, the children were sent to a brutal training ground starting at age 7 called the Agoge. The Agoge was a military training that lasted until they were 20. They fought each other, were starved to encourage them to steal food and fight each other for calories, and they finally graduated when they could sneak out of the barracks without being caught and murder a slave. They were the Navy Seals of the ancient world, born and raised for battle. Weak infants were discarded, women learned to fight, and men were in the army until they were 60. So what was the story of the battle of Thermopylae? How accurate was the movie compared to true history? How did the Spartans get defeated in the Hot Gates? Why did they bathe their infants in wine? What did they do to keep the slave population in check? Listen, laugh, learn. Movie versus Truth: http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/300spartans.php
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Bonus Episode 36: Mass Debate
He stood in front of the class, and his hands were so wet from nerves that his scant stack of notecards felt like used toilet paper. The professor sat with all his glasses. The old man had a pair cocked on his forehead, a pair on his eyes, and a pair hanging on a little beaded necklace. The prof would swap them from time to time. Why so many? How bad can eyes be, and in how many ways? It didn't matter. Just an observation. He set the notecards on the podium. It lurched like poorly nailed gallows, rickety and old. He let out a laugh, an exaggerated thing that bespoke his nerves. He felt immediately obvious, immediately the fraud he was. He wasn't prepared. One shitty night of prep using Wikipedia and some other crap he got from that podcast full of dick jokes and whiskey. He'd have to fake it. Plus, there was Missy. She never gave him so much as an errant look when they were in high school together last year. Now, she seemed different. Alone. She'd talk to him when they were on break. She'd laugh sometimes. Now she was staring at him. She must have seen the sweat. Oh, god, was he sweating through his shirt? Jesus. So much for making a good impression. "Any time, if you please," the professor said. No humor. Just impatience. The clock was now on. He set his notecards down. He started to speak with the opening line he thought up on the bus ride to campus. The one one about a zen master and a hot dog and being one with everything. But he couldn't remember how it went. Why didn't he write it down! Jesus, this was a disaster and it hadn't even started yet. And his tongue. It felt like the organ of a dead animal, killed for cheap meat, was limp in his mouth. Dry. He needed water, or his mouth would just stick. Missy was looking out the window. Bored. Why did he take a debate class?!?!? Oh, sorry. This was supposed to be a pithy little introduction to this bonus episode of the Sofa King Podcast. We turned to the Patrons during our live stream, and they gave us random numbers between 1 and 100. The three of us then used them to give us topics from a list of the top 100 college debate topics. Then, we debated. Was it a mass debate? Perhaps. Was there whiskey? What do you think?
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Episode 331: Cicada 3301: The Web’s Darkest Mystery
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we take a look at one of the biggest mysteries of the internet era, the deep, impossible, mysterious puzzle called Cicada 3301. Just who wrote this strange internet puzzle (is it a game?) is unknown. Also unknown is why they did it. It involves expert level decryption and steganography as well as hacking skills, and it took considerable resources to create. Was it the NSA or CIA as a recruitment tool? Is it a band of hackers looking to expand their numbers? Is it a global banking trust or a rogue artificial intelligence? Good questions. So, on January 4th, 2012, a simple message was posted on 4Chan. It said they were looking for highly intelligent individuals and that this was a test. It was signed simply 3301. After weeks of chat rooms and idea sharing, people started to realize this wasn’t just some random 4Chan troll, but a very complicated puzzle. To solve it, you needed hacking skills, good software, patience, the ability to translate ancien Mayan numbers, and knowledge of crazy popular culture from William Gibson to Anton Lavey. One person who engaged in the puzzle was named Joel Erikson. He beat the puzzle, but only after 3301 pulled the solution off the net because too many people were solving it in teams, and they apparently thought this was cheating. Another was named Marcus Wanner. He allegedly beat the puzzle and was invited to join Cicada 3301 where he toiled as a coder working on a piece of software called CAKES that would release sensitive information to the world if the owner didn’t log in every 24 hours or so. So, what did the puzzle involve, and how many layers were hidden in layers? What was The Warning, and how did it deal with a global God Brain? Who do they think is behind 3301, and how did everyone from Google to the US Navy steal their moves? How many puzzles did Cicada 3301 ultimately release? Listen, laugh, learn. Marcus and Tekk Story: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/cicada-solving-the-webs-deepest-mystery-84394/
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EPISODE 330: Pan Am Flight 103: The Lockerbie Bombing
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the deaths, political intrigue, and conspiracy theories surrounding the infamous bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Called The Lockerbie Bombing due to the destruction caused by the plane crashing over that Scottish city, the plane was brought down by a bomb placed in the nose of the plane. Who would want to bring this plane down and why? That’s what we aimed to find out through our research. On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded 31,000 feet over Lockerbie. On board, 259 people died, and on the ground, 11 people died in the horrible fireball caused by the ignition of 200,000 pounds of jet fuel. The bomb was small and easy to conceal. It was a cutting-edge Symtec bomb hidden in a radio and smuggled into a suitcase (the alleged bombers weren’t on board). The bomb was so advanced that security screeners weren’t trained to look for its kind until 11 months after this bombing. So who placed the bomb? The official report is that it was two Libyans who possibly worked for Libyan intelligence. Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifah Fhimah were implicated, and after everything from embargoes to threats, the United Nations got Colonel Gadhafi to extradite them for trial. During the incredibly lengthy and thorough investigation, the CIA pointed the bomb fragments to a Libyan group, and detectives did a crazy patchwork of information, pulling evidence from a crazy weather wizard, a tailor with a seemingly photographic memory, and a person who hung Christmas lights. Needless to say, the evidence is a bit shaky. One of the Libyans was convicted and the other got off. However, some very reputable journalistic sources from Frontline to Time Magazine came to question the official stories. Some point to Iran and some strange plans that dealt with the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Others point to the CIA who was revealed to be allowing Syrians to smuggle heroin on Pan Am in exchange for intelligence on terrorist networks. Either way, the story of the bombing, the horrible details, and the final death of the bomber of Pan Am Flight 103 are a very interesting tale. The PBS Frontline article on alternative theories of the bombing: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/lockerbie-the-alternate-theories/
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Bonus Episode 35: Christopher Walken VS. Christopher Reeves
So, my first term in college, I decided to major in history and archaeology. Did I dream about fighting Nazis with a whip and getting artifacts that make people's face melt? Who doesn't. Did I more realistically want a job where I sit in a ditch in the middle of nowhere and dig a hole with paintbrush so as not to upset anything. Yes, yes I did. Isolation. Patience. Being paid to cultivate boredom. Sounds good to me. However, cut to my first history class. The teacher was so boring that the motion sensors would turn out in the middle of class. Keep in mind that there were 50 people sitting in desks, plus the professor in front of the room. Perfect stillness. Boredom that even digging a hole with a paint brush was too much for. I changed my major to English. Why am I telling you this? Because this Bonus Episode of The Sofa King Podcast is one in which we take to answering history questions that our listeners posted on our face book group. They are intense history questions, and we answer them without being so boring we make the lights go out. What questions you ask? Could Hitler beat Saddam in a Punch Up? Would Jesus have chose rock, paper, or scissors every time? What does the D stand for in D-Day? Who was Corporal Wojtek? What ailment did Napoleon have during Waterloo? And many more! So, if you want a solid history lesson without all that...you know...history, then this is the episode for you. I strongly suggest you don't use our answers on your midterm, however, if you hope to graduate. And if you really want to graduate--from lame to awesome--join our Patreon page and donate for more bonus content!  
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EPISODE 329: Skinwalkers: Navajo Abominations
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we pry back the secrets, rituals, and horror stories of the supernatural creatures known as Skinwalkers. Skinwalkers exist through multiple groups of Native Americans, but they are mostly attributed to the Navaho. According to their beliefs, they are medicine men who have turned into harmful witches and can change their form into animals. However, their transformations are not all cool and seamless; instead, they are twisted, unhealthy, corrupt version of the animals. They are deformed and often injured and matted and don’t move as they should. In the Navajo language, Skinwalkers are called yee naaldlooshii, which means roughly “by means of it, it goes on all fours.” Many people think the story of Skinwalkers comes from early medicine men who would disguise themselves in animal pelts to spy on other groups. Indeed, they are portrayed as people who used to do good for the communities. However, somewhere along the line, they became twisted and evil. They are so terrifying that even today, Navajo won’t talk about them at all to outsiders, and they won’t openly discuss them on the Navajo Nation for fear of drawing their attention. Their powers supposedly include the ability to shape shift into animals, polymorph into other humans, hypnotize, run as fast as a car, perfectly mimic the voice of your loved ones, fire blowdarts made of human bone, and kill you with corpse powder made from the bones of twin infants. In other words, true horror shows. So, how do you kill a Skinwalker? What is their weakness? Where are you safe from them if they target you? Do we think there is any truth to this creature, or is it just a blown up boogey man? Did Brent actually encounter a Skinwalker in Mexico, tapping on the glass of his rental? Most importantly, what are the spooky-ass stories that are told about specific encounters with Skinwalkers? Listen, laugh, learn. Hunt for the Skinwalker Film: http://www.hunttheskinwalker.com/about/ Horrible Video by Sir Spooks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MGiBGbkzro
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Episode 328: The Jewish Holocaust: History’s Ultimate Crime
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we explore one of the darkest chapters in all of human history—the Jewish Holocaust. During this horrible period of history, an estimated 6 million European Jews were killed by the Nazi regime. Many of them were in murder camps such as Auschwitz, but more of them were killed in round ups and purges in local towns. “Holocaust,” is a mix of the Greek words “holos” (whole) and “kaustos” (burned) and in the ancient world was used to describe a sacrificial offering burned to a god. The Nazis obviously burned the bodies, but the term will forever mean something more somber. The Nazis were anti-Semitic, and Hitler used a building hatred of Jews to help amass his power and establish the Reich. He blamed the Jews for their loss of World War One and the poverty that struck the nation afterwards. During a period of many years, he slowly eroded the rights of Jews, taking their property, and spreading hate through his all-powerful propaganda machine. Eventually, it culminated in the Kristallnacht or “night of broken glass” where Germans burned synagogues and busted windows of Jewish owned shops. Soon after that, Hitler established the walled Ghettoes in Poland and through all of Europe. All of this was, of course, the wind up to the “Final Solution” where the Jews were systematically murdered. So, how many camps existed in Europe (you might be surprised at this one!)? Did anyone successfully resist the Jewish killings? What were murder vans, and how did they help to establish the gas chambers? How long did the gas chambers take to kill people? Why did the Nazis start to burn all the old bodies from mass graves? How many people were murdered in each of the murder camps, and which camp was the worst? Listen, (laugh?), learn. Horrible Photos: https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/10/world-war-ii-the-holocaust/100170/
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Episode 327: Doc Holliday: The Violent Gentleman
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we travel back to cowboy days and talk about the violent gentleman, Doc Holliday. Though it’s hard to sift through the tall tales of the Old West, historical evidence proves that Holliday killed dozens of men after drunken fights at the poker table, and that was years after a 6 month death sentence due to his horrible tuberculosis. Born John Henry Holliday, Doc Holliday was born in 1851 in Griffin Georgia. He was born to upper class southern elite, and his education, languages, speech, and demeanor proved it. He became a dentist after his mother and adopted brother died of consumption, and he was diagnosed to have TB himself at age 23. Given only 6 months to live, he headed west to drier climates to try and extend that life. Out west, he tried to do dental work, but his horrible coughing fits kept him from practicing medicine. His alternative? Becoming a professional gambler. Like you do. Doc Holliday started to gamble and deal cards at lawless saloons through the west. In each city, he seemed to run afoul with a loud-mouthed local, shoot him dead in the street, and run away to escape the frontier justice of small town lynch mobs. Living this wild life of whiskey and cards, he came to befriend both the lawman Wyatt Earp and the hooker Big Nose Kate. He helped Earp bring in some of the worst criminals, and he had a sometimes violent on again off again relationship with Kate. She broke him out of prison. And Holliday kept Earp from getting his head blown off. They were all close friends. Eventually, they all found their way to Tombstone where the events of the OK Corral took place. We can’t help but talk about the movie Tombstone and Val Kilmer’s portrayal of this famous southern gun slinger. Was it accurate? How many people did Holliday kill at the OK Corral? How did this outlaw gunslinger befriend Earp, a federal marshal? How did Doc Holliday end up living a decade past his death sentence, all while having shootouts, knife fights, and running from torch wielding mobs? He was a true badass. Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 335: Devices of Death: Instruments of Execution
On this grisly episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about devices of death, all the inventions that are used for capital punishment from the ancient world until now. Every society since the most ancient days of China have killed criminals for the worse offenses, and the means vary from “humane” to absolutely brutal. The 7th Century BC Draconian Code of Athens made death the penalty for every crime anyone ever committed! Also, people like the mad emperor Nero would burn bodies at the stake and use the fire for light at this parties. From classic devices of death such as Iron Maidens to force feeding people milk and honey until their own fecal matter makes bugs live in their skin, this episode has you covered. We talk a lot about the modern methods used for killing killers here in the U.S. Hanging, of course, ties back to our cowboy days and is still used in some prisons to this day. However, it’s not as easy as it seems. Too long of a drop, and the rope rips the person’s head off. Too short, and they slowly suffocate for 45 agonizing minutes. That evolved to the electric chair in 1890, but again, not without perils. Sometimes, the wiring was done wrong, or the people had to get zapped time after time. They would light on fire, and a sponge that was too wet or dry would mess up the connection. Then technology got “better.” We moved to firing squads, gas chambers, and finally lethal injection. So what is the problem with lethal injection drugs, and why do so many states have to turn to alternative methods of killing? Why was it important to have a good executioner in the past? Which killing technique has never had a botched attempt in the past 120 years? Which devices of death caused the most problems? Who watches the executions, and who performs them? Listen, laugh, learn. Good Site On Info: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/descriptions-execution-methods Thorough History of Execution: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/execution/readings/history.html
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Episode 326: Columbine Massacre: On Psychopaths and Bullies
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about some true crime and look at the most influential mass shooting in American history, the tragedy at Columbine. On April 20, 1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School and shot and killed 13 people. Rumors spread in the media that it was caused by a great many things, but it turns out that much of the story we’re fed is pretty far from the truth. Harris and Klebold were pretty bad eggs long before the shooting. They were often on the wrong side of the law, breaking into vans and posting death threats on their AOL web page. The threats were investigated, but the paperwork was never filed, so no judge ever issued a search warrant for their home. If they had, the police would have been shocked. They’d have found plans for several types of bombs, 99 explosive devices, and a small arsenal of guns (most of which were obtained illegally). However, this was pre 9-11, and, well pre-Columbine, so nobody took it too seriously. However, on the morning of the attack, the two tried to execute a yearlong plan. The plan wasn’t just to shoot up the school. It was to set a series of explosions that would lure away the first responders, kill hundreds of students, and force the survivors to flee through exits that would then be fired upon, killing almost everyone in the school. Once this was done, car bombs were to detonate, killing cops, fire fighters, and reporters. But, the bombs mostly failed, so it ended up being a shooting frenzy instead. The details of their shooting spree are horribly detailed, and we cover a lot of them in our talk on Columbine. Who did they kill? Who did they let live? What did the FBI profilers think was the cause of the rampage? How did the two shooters die? Where did they get the guns? Is this a false flag event? Were they in the Trenchcoat Mafia? Listen, laugh, learn. Thorough article on the killers: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/assessment/2004/04/the_depressive_and_the_psychopath.html Article about Two Columbine Survivors: https://www.glamour.com/story/two-columbine-survivors-on-life-after-a-mass-shooting-and-the-columbine-generation  
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Episode 325: Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Genius
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we put our thinking caps on and talk about the life, thoughts, and struggles of Stephen Hawking. Hawking was largely considered the smartest person in our generation, and his theories on life, the universe, and everything radically changed our cosmology. His accomplishments are impressive enough as they are, but coupled with the fact that he had ALS and was bound to a wheelchair, unable to talk, write, or do much of anything is in conceivable. Hawking was born to a family of well-educated eccentrics (they drove an old cab, kept bees in their basement, and made fireworks in their greenhouse, you know, like you do…). He followed in their footsteps and went to Oxford where he was typically bored with his studies and excelled while doing less than an hour of work per day on his studies. While there, he attempted to study a particular field of mathematics, but the degree wasn’t offered. He went to study the universe instead. From there, he wrote majorly influential papers that focused on the nature of space time and black holes, and he became an instant rock star in academia. He married as his disease was getting worse, and he went on to gain international fame by writing one of the biggest selling books of all time, A Brief History of Time. So, what did Stephen Hawking say about black holes, and how did this change later in life? What did he thing of the gangsta rap album done using his voice synthesizer called MC Hawking (with the album A Brief History of Rhyme)? What is the conspiracy theory surrounding him, and is NASA involved? Why did he divorce his wife, and who did he end up marrying? Listen, laugh, learn. Conspiracy Theory on Stephen Hawking: http://milesmathis.com/hawk3.pdf  
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Bonus Episode: Why didn’t we do a bonus episode?
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place!
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Game Night: Superfight Edition
This is not a regular episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Instead, did someone say game night! Yes. And it was Brad. Instead of our normal research-based, foul mouthed episode, we play a game and remain foul mouthed. This is an extra episode that we wanted to record and have ready since the Meetup in Anaheim is going to keep us from doing our regular weekly episodes. So, tonight we sat down and played the game Superfight. It is superfun. The premise is, you draw three cards that have a character on them and three cards with attributes. You pick one character and two attributes, and then you face off against someone else and their own hand of cards. You then argue who would win in a fight and let a third party decide who wins. Some of the characters include a Human Centipede, Hitler, Jesus, and 72 Virgins. Some of the attributes include an animated mustache (eat your heart out Giraldo!), acid blood, and being Roofied! You won't want to miss this one. Or you will. Either way, here it is! Do enjoy.
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Episode 324: Oscar Pistorius: Olympian Cyborg Murderer!
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we get all Olympic and discuss the career and crimes of Oscar Pistorius, the amputee athlete (and, of course, murderer) known as the “Blade Runner.” Pistorius was born in Johannesburg, South Africa without a fibula in either of his legs. When he was less than a year old, his parents decided to amputate his legs below the knee. This didn’t stop Oscar Pistorius from being a world-class athlete, however. He started to do everything from wrestling to cricket, and he eventually started to run in the Paralympics, winning gold. In 2012, his dreams of being in the regular Olympics came true, and he ran on his controversial prosthetic leg blades. The successes he had in sports had turned him into a celebrity and allowed him to find wealth through lucrative endorsement deals. However, things went south when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reva Steenkamp through the door to his bathroom. Pistorius claimed he thought it was someone breaking in, but according to the lead detective on the case, this didn’t add up. The evidence on the scene didn’t indicate that; plus, neighbors allegedly overheard the couple arguing hours before the Steenkamp’s death. Also, when you look at the past crimes and personality of Oscar Pistorius, the picture isn’t pretty. So, did the Blade Runner intentionally murder his girlfriend or accidentally shoot her? What examples of violence against women were in his past? Was Reva on the phone with another lover at the moment she was shot? How did the other police discredit Hilton Botha, the lead investigator on the case? Was Pistorius a giant douche bag? Listen, laugh, learn.   Vanity Fair interview with Detective Botha: https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/06/oscar-pistorius-murder
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Episode 323: Servant Girl Annihilator: America’s First Serial Killer
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we delve into the dark world of true crime and bring you the story of the American serial killer known as the Servant Girl Annihilator. “Servant Girl Annihilator” was the name given to perhaps the first serial killer in America. He operated in Austin, Texas back in Cowboy Days, several years before Jack The Ripper terrorized London. The identity of this killer (or these killers) remains unproven, but he got his name by killing five African-American servant girls. He Killed a man and some white women as well, but they seemed outside of his wheelhouse. So, how did this monster kill? His modus operandi was to kill by splitting the head with an axe. He’d also rape the women and pose their bodies with spikes and sharp objects sticking out of the ear. When he snuck in and killed the first five girls, the city of Austin was scared. When he finally “upgraded” and killed white women, the town went in a rage and summoned possess that tried to catch the killer. The police had a hard time with this case. First off, the Annihilator only struck late at night, so witnesses were few and unreliable. In fact, no two witnesses had a story that even remotely lined up. At the end of the year, over 400 men had been arrested in connection with these slayings, but all of them were ultimately released. So, how good was the Servant Girl Annihilator with an ax? Who do historians think is responsible for these deaths? Why do some people think that the killer actually is Jack the Ripper, and if this is true, who do they think the ripper was? Why did some people think the killer practiced Voodoo? Listen, laugh, learn. Nice Article on Killer: http://mentalfloss.com/article/94680/how-servant-girl-annihilator-terrorized-1880s-austin PBS Documentary on Killer: http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/video/2365286604/
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Episode 322: Coral Castle: Tourist Trap or Modern Pyramid?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the mystery of the Coral Castle. This modern-day wonder is found in Florida and was built in the 1940s and 1950s. It is made of massive blocks of stone, averaging 14 tons each, and it was built to the same exacting specifications as the Great Pyramid of Giza. The big mystery about the castle, however, is how one frail, sickly, malnourished man clocking in at Five Foot Tall was able to build this structure by cover of night with no cranes of elaborate tools…by himself. Edward Leedskalnin is the man in question, a Latvian emigre who moved to America after his “Sweet Sixteen” dumped him at the altar. He came to the States, contracted terminal tuberculosis and was allegedly cured by magnets. After that, he was given a parcel of useless land in Florida and began work on his castle, which he called Rock Gate. Why is this castle such a mystery? Well, for one, nobody knows how he quarried the stones. Nobody knows how me moved the stone. Nobody knows how the stone was exact enough in its measurements that even light won’t come through the cracks (like the pyramids, he used no mortar). He claimed that in building the Coral Castle, he used the same techniques that were used on the pyramids and said that it was simple if you knew what it was. But, why did he only work at night, so nobody could see him? How did he afford the construction when he had no real means of employment? What were his strange theories on magnetism? How did it tie to his “Perpetual Motion Holder? What does all of this have to do with an awesome Billy Idol song? Listen, laugh, learn. Magnet Description: https://gizmodo.com/how-one-man-created-a-1-000-ton-coral-castle-in-1923-1443356836  Good photos: http://www.thebohemianblog.com/2014/12/the-coral-castle-masonic-mystery-in-the-sunshine-state.html
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Bonus Episode: Divide and Conquer
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer questions that target specific hosts: How did Brent come up with the name SWAT PC? What is Brad's favorite underground rapper? What is Dave's favorite Dungeons and Dragons Module (He goes deep nerd on this one...) What does Brad think a good $150 bottle of tequila is? What are Brent's two most favorite pieces of music gear? Dave: FMK? Faygo Redpop, Faygo Grape, Faygo Mist? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 321: Baba Vanga: The Blind Seer of Bulgaria
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we explore the prophecies of a woman called the modern day Nostradamus—the Bulgarian paragons called Baba Vanga. According to multiple studies, she had between a 70-85% accuracy record in her predictions. Born as Vangeliya Pandeva Dimitrova in Bulgaria in 1911, Baba Vanga had a hard life. Her father was conscripted into World War I and in trouble with the law for his political views. Her mother died; her stepmother died. She was sucked into a tornado and had her eyes sandblasted out of her skull (like you do). Her family was stricken with illness, poverty, and sadness, and through it all, she claimed to gain a gift of foresight. According to Baba Vanga, she was told things by invisible beings who looked like light and water. She claimed she could see people’s lives unfold in front of her like a roll of film or a movie reel. During World War II, she gained some fame for her abilities to tell the future, and she started to get flooded with various refugees and family members during the war. They wanted to know the status of relatives lost in the conflict, and she told them what more often than not turned out to be truths. Her accuracy in prognostication became so famous that her own king, Winston Churchill, and the American government all visited themselves or sent covert agents to find out how she was doing what she was doing. The CIA even tried to create some psychics to do what she could allegedly do. So, what things did she predict, and were they accurate? What did she say about 9/11? Whose deaths did she accurately predict? What does she say about the future? When do the Muslims create a caliphate in Rome and lay waste to Europe? What secret weapons will America use to reclaim Rome? When will humans be able to speak to god? This, and so much more, is all covered in the blind prophecy or Baba Vanga.   List of Predictions: https://ancientexplorers.com/blogs/news/the-chilling-predictions-of-baba-vanga-with-80-accuracy
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Episode 320: J Edgar Hoover: The Flawed Founder of the FBI
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we break out the Tommy Guns, polish our badges, and talk about the life, power, corruption, and secrets of the ultimate G-Man, J Edgar Hoover. J Edgar Hoover was the first director of the FBI (he even predated the FBI when it was simply the Bureau of Investigation), and he ran the joint for almost 50 years. All the roaring twenties gangster arrests were on his watch, as was prohibition, World War II, the Red Scare, the Cold War, and civil rights. His vision of the FBI defined politics in Washington and criminal prosecution throughout the land, for better or worse. At his height, J Edgar Hoover was so powerful that every president and D.C. power broker feared him and information he’d inevitably gathered on them (and everyone). Hoover started COINTELPRO, which was often illegal and always immoral. He spied on Martin Luther King and tried to convince him to commit suicide (like you do…). He hated commies and persecuted them even before he was the director during a crazy episode in American history called the Palmer Raids. He also persecuted homosexuals as security risks for spying communists, though many experts are convinced he was a closet homosexual himself. So, why did he hate MLK so much? What was wrong with his COINTELPRO program? Who was Clyde Tolson, and why do people think he was his gay lover for decades? Did he really dress in drag? Listen, laugh, learn. Anthony Summers Article on Hoover’s Secret Life: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2012/jan/01/j-edgar-hoover-secret-fbi MLK Letter: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/12/13/an-old-letter-sheds-light-on-fbis-malice-toward-martin-luther-king-jr/?utm_term=.3891f7ba8069
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Bonus Episode 32: Hot Dog Water
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: What was our favorite interaction with a SKult member? What is our favorite state? What is our favorite Steven King novel/film? What is our favorite fad that is no longer popular? What is your favorite Disney Movie (though, did we answer that already?)? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 319: 4Chan: Home of Hackers, Memes, and Web Warriors
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we discuss one of the most important websites in the world, even though you may have never heard of it or visited it—the notorious 4Chan. 4Chan is the birthplace of memes, the meeting ground for Anonymous, the bastion of the Alt-Right and the far left, and the sometimes cruel often hilarious vigilantes of the World Wide Web. So what exactly is 4Chan? Well, the simple answer is that it’s a imageboard started by a 15 year old in 2003, a place where people anonymously post comments and photos (originally of anime, often of sexual, humorous, and shocking images). The complex answer is that it’s where some of the greatest hacktivists in the world rub elbows and spread their ideas, code, technology, and plans to thwart the mainstream establishment. It’s sort of like the one place where the Dark Net rubs up against the Internet. The hacker group Anonymous is said to have spawned from the ranks of 4Chan, and some of the most viral memes of all time are born there. Ever been Rick Rolled? Thanks, 4Chan? Did you laugh and Chocolate Rain? Thanks, 4Chan. Ever run into Pedobear? Thanks, 4Chan. Its founder Christopher Poole (aka “moot”) sold 4Chan, and at times it has been in financial trouble, but it continues to do what it does. What does it do? It hacked online polls and sent the rapper Pitbull to Alaska and made Taylor Swift perform a concert at a deaf school. It hacked Time Magazine’s most influential person poll. Twice. It busts criminals who post illegal or immoral photos. It has even found murderers. But it also is a breeding ground of extreme political hate at times, and it even tries to bring down the Church of Scientology. Love them or hate them (spoiler alert—we love them!), the radical, radically different, funny, edgy, misanthropic, brilliant members of the 4Chan community are a force to be reckoned with. 4Chan Summary: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/09/25/absolutely-everything-you-need-to-know-to-understand-4chan-the-internets-own-bogeyman/?utm_term=.84b6fedcc674 Rolling Stone Alt Right: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/the-measure-of-hate-on-4chan-627922/
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Episode 318: Albert Einstein: The Ultimate Genius
On this very nerdy episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about discoveries, math, and quantum shift in the world that was Albert Einstein. Virtually every discovery about Quantum Physicist is based in part on papers written by a very young Albert Einstein. By the age of 26, he proved that atoms and molecules existed; he showed that light was in fact particles called photons, and he of course came up with the famous Theory of Relativity. He won a Nobel Prize for his discoveries, and not even for his good ones! Einstein was a Jewish German, born in 1897 in Württemberg. He moved with his family to Italy and then back to Germany again. Eventually, as Hitler came to power, however, he (and great many German Jewish physicists) fled the country. Eventually, he ended up in the United States at Princeton University, where he spent the rest of his life. He was married, divorced, and gave his Nobel Prize money away as a divorce settlement. He was married again to his cousin, and he even has a “missing daughter” that nobody knew about until the 1980s. Albert Einstein’s genius was so great that every other genius of the era bowed down to him. As Quantum Physics took off (thanks to him), he backed away from it and remained the brilliant loner he always was. He was the reason the US actively pursued the development of the Atomic Bomb, after he co-wrote a letter to the president showing what a dire threat it was. Afterwards, he became friends with J. Robert Oppenhiemer for the rest of his life and lobbied for peace and the end of nuclear bombs. He was a socialist, a rebel, an early supporter of the NAACP, and he was so mistrusted by J. Edgar Hoover that he had an 1800 page FBI file gathered over the course of 22 years. So, what was he like as a person? Why were his discoveries such a big deal? Why did NASA write an article trying to prove he wasn’t a space alien? Why did the coroner steal his brain, and where is it now? Listen, laugh, learn. Openheimer Speech on Einstein: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1966/03/17/on-albert-einstein/ NASA article on Einstein Being a Space Alien: https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2005/23mar_spacealien Einstein Socialism Article: https://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism/
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Bonus Episode: What Belt You Got?
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: What is one question we have of our podcast's listeners? What advice do we have for someone who has to work too much to avoid bankruptcy and has trouble with their spouse as a result? What belts do we hold in martial arts, what styles, and do we compete? What three items are on our bucket lists? What is our mixed drink of choice? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 317: Armin Meiwes: The Rotenburg Cannibal
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we turn our gaze to some true crime and talk about the bizarre and horrible case of Armin Meiwes, aka the “Rotenburg Cannibal.” Meiwes is a murderer. Kind of. Depending on how you interpret the law. You see, in 2001, this German computer repair technician (I’m looking at you, Brent…) put an ad on a cannibal website, like you do. It said what you’d expect: “looking for a well-built 18 to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed.” Since this is humanity we’re talking about, he had volunteers. Plural. The first one was too fat, so Meiwes didn’t go for it. The second one got scared and backed out at the last minute, and the third one was just right. His name was Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes, and he was a German engineer. He agreed to be killed and eaten, but Brandes included the one request you’d expect in such circumstances; he wanted to eat his own penis first. So, Brandes and Armin Meiwes got to know each other. They corresponded through letters together, then met in person, had lots of sex apparently, and recorded a video tape. Of everything. The sex, the agreement to kill and eat Brandes, him saying he was willingly surrendering his life, and even the killing and slaughter of the body to bite-sized portions. It was all caught on tape. Meiwes ate this meat for months and even ground the bones into flour. Eventually, as his man-meat was running low, Armin Meiwes put out another advertisement, and this time, it got him in trouble. The German officials raided his house, finding his horrible video tapes, the frozen body parts, and the used kill-room. Meiwes confessed and was quickly arrested. So, what did Armin Meiwes finally get convicted of? What happened at his retrial, and why was it allowed? What happened to the penis he cooked? What body part did he let his dog eat? How do you prepare a fried penis, anyway? Listen, laugh, learn.   Ramstein: Mein Teil music video that mentions Meiwes, you know, in German. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBvwcH4XX6U   Supposed Leaked Screenshots. Not verified, and VERY disturbing. View at your own risk. http://lostmediaarchive.wikia.com/wiki/The_Armin_Meiwes_Tape_(Recorded_in_2001)   EDIT:: Thanks to Gesa Lycos for schooling us on how to spell German cities!
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Episode 316: Jean Paul Getty–Oil Billionaire and Crazy Miser
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at Jean Paul Getty, once the richest man in the world, an American oil magnate, a crazy miser with his money, and a guy who let his own grandson be kidnapped and mutilated just to save a few bucks. Many people in Southern California know Getty as the guy who opened the art museums and drilled oil, and he was that. But he was also so cheap with his billions that he makes Mister Burns and Scrooge McDuck look like big spenders. Jean Paul Getty built his fortune after he got a start at his father’s small oil business. Getty was obsessed with proving his father wrong (who claimed he would fail as a business man), and he became overcome with a goal to succeed and be rich. He worked tirelessly to acquire as many oil leases as possible, and his business exploded. After his father’s death, Getty took control of the company and made a lot of shrewd deals that increased his wealth. Eventually, he made deals with the king of Saudi Arabia for a piece of land nobody had ever drilled on before, and it paid off. He was soon the first oil billionaire. But with that wealth came a ton of family trouble. Some of his kids and grandkids became addicted to drugs, some died, and he let a lot of bad things happen to people he could have otherwise saved if he’d been willing to part with some of his massive fortune. The most famous case of this was when Jean Paul Getty refused to pay the ransom that the Italian mob asked for to return his kidnapped grandson. The kid was abducted for almost two months, and Jean Paul Getty negotiated for a cheaper payment. So, how many times did Jean Paul Getty marry? Who won in his will? What body part was cut off before he agreed to pay his grandson’s ransom? What’s with the payphone in his mansion? Why did he do his own laundry and recycle letters by sending the other people? Why did he collect so much art? What drug did he take for his erection problems when he was older? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 315: Jack the Ripper–The Ultimate Serial Killer
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we travel back to Victorian England to look at the grandfather of all infamous serial killers, the one and only Jack the Ripper. From August 7th to September 10th of 1888, a series of horrible murders took place in the seamy Whitechapel district of London. They were all prostitutes, and they were all killed by a slash across the neck and then mutilated after the death. The papers ran with the story, giving the murderer the name Jack the Ripper. Whitechapel was a place filled with hookers and murders, but the heinous nature of these killings (along with plenty of missing body parts) made the story become larger than life, a truly viral phenomenon. This led to a series of letters sent to the police and the newspapers, most of them frauds, but some are considered legit letters written by Jack the Ripper to taunt the police. A dozen women were killed in this time span, and five of them are considered canonical to The Ripper. The final killing was the most brutal and most desecrated body. So, after a hundred years have passed, who do experts think Jack the Ripper actually was? Some follow the “From Hell” hypothesis that it was a Masonic cover up to protect members of the British royal family. Others think it was noted serial American killer HH Holmes or the Texas-based Servant Girl Annihilator. Who did the police at the time think he was? What do modern day forensic examinations say about those police findings? Why did so many of the suspects end up in insane asylums? Was it actually the femail dubbed “The Mad Midwife”? What did modern FBI profilers say about Jack the Ripper, and how does this profile tie into existing theories of who this enigmatic killer was? Listen, laugh, learn.   FBI Jack the Ripper: https://vault.fbi.gov/Jack%20the%20Ripper/Jack%20the%20Ripper%20Part%201%20of%201/view Ripper Suspects: https://whitechapeljack.com/jack-the-ripper-suspects/
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Episode 314: Julius Caesar: Ultimate Historical Badass?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we travel back in time and look at the life, loves, and conquests of one of the biggest bad-asses in all of human history, Julius Caesar. Caesar was born to an aristocratic family that was on the decline. But he was smart and of the right pedigree, so at least he had a chance to rise to power, and rise to power he did. He started by marrying up. He got with a number of women who were above his station, one of them even as powerful as the granddaughter of Roman Emperor, Sulla. This move pissed the emperor off, so Caesar had to join the army and get the hell away. While off at war, he became an even bigger badass, proving himself a master of tactics and diplomacy. When he finally returned, he started to rapidly climb up the ranks of Roman political society. Part of this meant the ability to raise armies and collect loot, and he did this too. After many years, he finally had the backing of two other major players in Rome, and they formed a group called the Triumvirate, which ruled the nation. His partners were Marcus Licinius Crassus and Pompey. Crassus was the wealthiest man in Rome, and Pompey was another experience general. In this set up, Caesar fights and wins the Gallic Wars, and his telling of the tactics and battle are still considered one of the all-time greats of Western writing. However, eventually, his ally Crassus was killed, and his financial backing was lost to Caesar. From there, he and Pompey got into what was essentially a civil war for control of Rome. This war led to major moments in Roman history, such as Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon. It also leads to him chasing Pompey all the way to Egypt where Julius Caesar falls in love with Cleopatra. Why was Caesar so popular among the people but hated by the senate? What led to his getting murdered on the floor of the senate? What happened when Caesar was captured by pirates? What ever came of the love child that was spawned from the love of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar? What’s up with the pickles? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Bonus Episode: It’s the Most Magical Time
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: What is our favorite song that we are embarrassed to admit to? What is our favorite guilty pleasure? What is our favorite time of year? What is our favorite Star Wars character? What is our favorite comfort food? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 313: Boston Dynamics: The Real-Life Terminators?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we oil up the servos and get ready to fight the upcoming robot overlords by exploring the history, robots, and unique funding source of the strangest corporation most people have never heard of—Boston Dynamics. Boston Dynamics was founded in 1992 as a means to fulfill its founder Marc Raibert’s lifelong dream of making robots that are supernatural in their abilities. That’s not creepy at all. It was an offshoot of the prestigious MIT, and its initial goal was to create functioning robotic legs. It did. And then some. Most people who have heard of Boston Dynamics learned of them when their video of their first big robot, Big Dog, went viral in 2005. This robot was meant to be a pack mule for US troops and was able to carry 340 pounds up a 35% hill, even on ice and mud. It worked, but it was too loud since it relied on a diesel generator, so the project was scrapped by DARPA, the group who funded it. But that wasn’t all DARPA funded through Boston Dynamics. In fact, before Google bought the company in 2013, it had given a total of $150 Million to the firm to push the boundaries of robotic innovation, even if they didn’t have a viable product to show for it. That’s what DARPA does, after all; it funds moonshot type projects like the Internet and GPS and gets them to work for the entire world (after, of course the US government uses the hell out of them first). Boston Dynamics was sold off by Google to a Japanese firm called SoftBank once Google realized they made no products to sell (their money came from government contracts, which Google refused to accept). Oh, and they also wanted to distance themselves from the creepy robots that scarred the pants off of everyone with YouTube. Seriously, give them a look at the links below. We talk about Sand Flea, Little Dog, Spot Mini, Atlas, and any number of robots this firm has created. One day, their creations will kill us all. Seriously. Raibert’s Horrible Geocities Website on mit.edu: http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/leglab/old-leglab/people/mxr.html Good List of Creepy Videos: https://mashable.com/2018/06/27/learn-tableau-online-course-sale/#VsLnilcgNaqy
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Episode 312: Apartheid: The Ultimate Racism
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the ultimate in institutionalized racism, South Africa’s Apartheid. Apartheid literally means separateness, and it was a policy of social discrimination turned into pretty hardcore laws that stripped the rights away from black South Africans. Although the black population was almost 4 times larger than the white, after these laws were in place, the wealth and land was owned by whites in staggering proportions. Apartheid formally started in 1950 when the Population Registration Act was passed. This law classified all citizens as white, black (Buntu), colored, or Asian. At this time, it also became illegal for whites and blacks to be married, and even mixed children (aka colored) would be forcibly taken away from parents to be raised by someone with the same muted skin color as them. (The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah talks about this in much of his stand-up act since he is one of the “colored” children who went through this.) Other laws were passed that combined to make what was called The Grand Apartheid. Blacks were forced to move to ghettos called Bantustans and stripped of the right to vote in South African national politics. They had to carry passports everywhere. Much of their land was taken by the government and sold to white farmers for cheap. Those who resisted in public were arrested by the thousands or just plain shot by the police. Resistance leadership such as Nelson Mandela were arrested, many of them being beaten to death in prison. So what finally made Apartheid come to an end in the 1990s? What was “Sun City,” and how did it bring together Bono, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, The Fat Boys, Run D.M.C., Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, Hall and Oates, Ringo Starr, and Joey Ramone? How did the Soweto Protests lead to change and support by the United Nations? Since nobody in American every teaches this subject, how much did we get right? Listen, laugh, learn. Sun City Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY3w9gLjEV4 David Goldblatt Photos: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/david-goldblatt-south-african-photographer-who-exposed-apartheid/news-story/d710b2d7194ae54aaa473c0c912b26d3
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Episode 311: Jackie Chan: Martial Arts Mogul
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we all become drunken masters and study the life, times, films, injuries, and legacy of one of the all-time greats of the Kung Fu film: the one and only Jackie Chan. Jackie Chan was born in Hong Kong to what are described as very poor and radical parents. They allegedly tried to sell Jackie to his delivery doctor for $26, and when they got in trouble with the communist regime (his mom may have been an opium dealer and his father a spy—and no, I’m not making this up), they abandoned him with the Chinese Opera Research Institute, a brutal Hong Kong boarding school. Here, Chan learned the ropes and built up all the skills he would need to become the master of the genre he is today. His childhood was like a real-life Kung Fu movie. He was stretched with ropes, beaten for making mistakes, and had to endure grueling 19 hour work days when as young as 8 years old. He graduated at the age of 17 and was immediately working as an acrobat and stunt man in Hong Kong action films. A year later, he landed a big break and was able to work with the legendary Bruce Lee on three films, and this got him noticed. From there, Jackie Chan was tapped to be a likely successor once Lee died, but Jackie had a different style and mood. He was all about slapstick comedy. Borrowing from film greats like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, Jackie worked a lot of humor into his intense martial arts sequences. Oh, and stunts. He does his own, almost dying so many times it has become a cliché. So what were his most dangerous stunts? How many bones has he broke? How many movies has he made? Why does dislike like making movies for American studios? What did he do to make the criminal Chinese Triad back down? What is his stance on communism? What’s up with the stuffed pandas? Listen, laugh, learn. Jackie Chan’s Comedy Action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1PCtIaM_GQ Best Fight Scenes List: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhNcqdZCgPE
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Episode 310: Amelia Earhart: Feminist, Trail-Blazer, Spy?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the fame, flight records, trail blazing, and life story of the biggest missing persons case in American History: they case of Amelia Earhart. Amelia Earhart was born to an upper middle class family, and though her father was an alcoholic, and her parents had a decades long on-again off-again relationship, she still managed to get admitted to Columbia medical school and have a very liberal childhood. She was raised to be free from the typical constraints of women back in the early 1900s, and this freedom from male oppression was part of what made her rise to fame. Earhart ended up signing up as a nurse volunteer during World War One, and this is where she met wounded pilots and fell in love with the idea of flying. Within a couple of years, she had taken flying lessons, and within one year of learning how to fly, she set the high altitude record for a woman! Amelia Earhart continued to set records, buying her first plane at an incredibly young age. She lived the dream of the Wright Brothers, and eventually, she was part of a rare flight across the Atlantic (though not the pilot), and this made her famous. She wrote a book, became editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine, started a fashion line, and continued to set record after record as a pilot and continued to be a trail blazer for women’s liberation. Eventually, Amelia Earhart decided to assemble a team and fly completely around the globe, taking a more dangerous route that covered more miles (and hopefully set another record….). She set out to fly a westerly course leaving Oakland, but she had back luck in Hawaii, and her plan was very badly damaged. After a delay in repairs and new fundraising, she had to chart a new course heading east this time and flew 22,000 miles of the roughly 30,000, almost completing her course. However, as she left New Guinea for a small island near Hawaii, her plane vanished. She was in contact with a Coast Guard ship, but lost radio communication with them. So, where do people think she ended up? Did she drown in the sea with her co-pilot? Did she live out her years as a castaway? Was she captured by the Japanese as they postured to begin World War II? Was she actually a spy working for President Roosevelt, and why do people think this? What about the picture of Amelia Earhart that surfaced recently? Listen, laugh, learn.  
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Bonus Episode: Pizza, Guns, and Kung Fu Flicks
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: What is our favorite kung fu film and why? What is our favorite pizza topping? What is our favorite article of clothing? What is our favorite chick flick? What is our favorite sporting event? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 309: Japanese Internment Camps: So Much for the 5th Amendment
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we travel back in time and look at a dark chapter in American history—Japanese Internment Camps. After the attack on Pearly Harbor back in 1941, paranoia and anti-Japanese sentiment reached an all time high in the US, and with the signing of Executive Order 9066, President Roosevelt forced all people in American of Japanese ancestry (citizens and non) into detainment camps to “prevent a second Pearl Harbor.” This was done in spite of the fact that no proof existed that American-based Japanese had anything to do with the attack and using evidence that was fabricated by a war-mongering general. In total, roughly 120,000 Japanese were locked up by the US government (the entire population!). They were given between 2 and 11 days to pack up only what they could carry. They would lose their homes, their cars, any property they couldn’t take with them. Then, they were sent to Assembly Centers—typically fair grounds where they stayed in animal pens waiting to move to their new permanent homes at the Relocation Centers. The Relocation Centers were miniature towns. These ten facilities housed between 8,000 and 18,000 people each. They were short on food and medicine at first, plagued by a couple of riots, and though the inmates had more freedom than a prison, the status of being a detainee was clear to those in the Japanese Internment Camps. Indeed, if you got too close to the perimeter, you were shot, and you couldn’t legally leave. So, who did they let leave and why? What did the captives do for money and employment while they were forced to live in Japanese Internment Camps? What happened to their possessions back in their homes (and the homes themselves)? What was the loyalty oath, and what happened to those who didn’t sign it? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 308: Eastern Lightning: Murdering Sex Cult or True Religion?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the largest cult we’ve ever covered, the massive Eastern Lightning cult of mainland China. Also called The Church of Almighty God, this group is branded a cult and a terrorist organization by the Chinese government, and is supposedly over 4 million members strong. What’s interesting about this particular cult is that it has two founders. Sort of. First, a woman named Yang Xiangbin, aka “Lightning Deng,” was discovered to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Second, a preacher named Zhao Weishan was given a message from God that Lightning Deng was Almighty God on earth. Of course, their official bios read as a woman who had a mental break down after she failed to get into college and an ex-physics teacher, but let’s not get too bogged down in the worldly. So once these two discovered their true divine nature, they started to spread their word through China. This takes a little back story, however. In China at the time, it was illegal to be Christian, so there were underground “house churches” all through the country. Eastern Lightning got in the habit of infiltrating these groups and recruiting all their members to their new cause. And what does their cause believe? Well, for one thing, the Chinese government is “The Great Red Dragon” from Revelations. Oh, and they don’t use the Bible anymore because they wrote their own, and it’s a million words long. So what has this cult done? For one, they practiced Flirty Fishing and have sex with potential recruits to get them into the cult. Second, they kidnap, torture, cut off body parts, and even murder people in fast food restaurants if they are full of the devil. Eastern Lightning has spread to dozens of countries around the world, and their two leaders now spend their time in the US, where they were given political asylum. They split their time between New York City and San Francisco where they can battle the Great Red Dragon and organize their mob to infiltrate churches, torture people, brainwash, and destroy their government…I mean, spread the word of God. Good Vice Article: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7be5ya/the-chinese-cult-who-kidnap-christians-and-paint-snakes
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Episode 307: Banksy: Street Artist or Hipster Sellout?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we hit the streets like vandals and explore the stencils, tags, and art installations of the mysterious Banksy. Though his real identity is unknown, this artist from the UK has reached a level of social prominence very few artists ever do in their lifetimes. Aside from selling typical art pieces for hundreds of thousands of dollars, the actual sides of buildings he spray paints are worth a fortune and sold in a strange market of wall art. Most people think Banksy was born in Bristol sometime in the early 1970s. What is known for sure comes from interviews from a guy who they think was most likely Banksy at the time (he was with Banksy’s art dealer and agent, so that’s a plus). He started to tag at the age of 14 while he ran with the DryBreadZ Crew. This gang was known for its street art, and Banksy was a confirmed member, as was 3D who went on to be a founding member of Massive Attack. After some time on the street, Banksy was hiding under a trash truck and saw a stenciled vehicle number underneath it. From there, his art style was born, and instead of freehand spray paint, his work started to include complex stencils. Banksy’s artwork is mostly political in nature, lampooning government, violence, police states, war, corporations, and greed. One he built a name for himself he did installations at the West Bank, in Bethlehem, and in New Orleans after the Katrina disaster. His antics and art are often hilarious, and we get quite a few laughs at his stunts and work over the years. The coolest part about him is that even after all these years, an Oscar nomination for his work Exit Through the Gift Shop, art awards, and global fame, nobody still knows who he is. Some people think he’s an artist named Robin Gunningham and others think he’s actually 3D from Massive Attack, which would be dope as hell. If you want to buck the system, Banksy is your man, and this is your podcast.   Guardian Interview: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2003/jul/17/art.artsfeatures Tom Waits: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tom-waits-lends-instrumental-song-to-banksys-west-bank-hotel-w510659  
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Episode 306: Benjamin Franklin: The First American
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we travel back in time and look at the inventions, diplomacy, and crazy sex life of “The First American,” Benjamin Franklin. Franklin is one of the original founding fathers of the United States, and he is a true American success story. He was born the son of a struggling candle maker and was signed into indentured apprenticeship to his own brother as a teen. Eventually, he ran away and broke his contract due to his brother’s horrible treatment of him, and he ultimately settled on Philadelphia, which would end up being his spiritual home for the rest of his life. While there, Benjamin Franklin got work as a printer and eventually moved to London to learn more about printing; while there, he learned more than the print trade, spending hours in European coffee shops philosophizing and sharing ideas with the greatest intelligentsia England had to offer. Eventually, he returned home and started to use his true genius not only as a printer but as a business man, financier, and politician. In short order, he had what amounted to a monopoly on news and information in the colonies, became elected to top political posts, and became a wealthy land owner. From there, he spent more time in London and eventually Paris, where he not only became more inspired to overthrow the British rule of the colonies but also made a critical ally in France—the king! Through some acts of deceit and politics, he gathered support of France, helped launch the revolution, wrote our most important founding documents, and had a lot of freak sex with people all over the world (one of whom was his wife). He was a pervert, an inventor, a humorist, a scientist, a meteorologist, a genius, and a statesman. He was what happened if you rolled Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Bill Murray, and Elon Musk into one man a few hundred years ago and then sicked him against the colonizers.
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Bonus Episode: I want the knife…Please!
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: What is our favorite villain and why? What is our favorite childhood memory? What is our favorite wizard spell? What is our favorite Brazilian Jujitsu submission? What is our favorite Eddie Murphy role? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 305: The Yuba Five: A Truly Creepy Missing Person’s Case
On this episode of the Sofa Kind Podcast, we look at a truly strange and creepy missing persons case from the 1970s, the case of the Yuba Five. Also called the Mathais Group (named after one of the members—Gary Mathais), this was a group of mentally ill and mentally disabled men who vanished under very odd circumstances and were found dead (four of the five of them) several months later in an isolated cabin in the California Mountains. The group of men were tight friends who shared a love of sports. In fact, their basketball team, the Gateway Gators, were on the verge of a huge playoff game that would have taken them to a Special Olympics game that would have been an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles. A few days before this big game, however, they went to see a college basketball game at Chico State. On their way home from the game, they stopped for snacks at a convenience store, and the Yuba Five were never seen alive again. Sort of. Maybe. One other store clerk some 70 miles away later identified some of the missing men based on police photos as people who came to her store that same night to buy more snacks and use the phone. However, nobody who any of the men knew received a call that night. Even more odd, a man who owned a cabin the mountains (named Joseph Schons) accidentally drove his car off the side of the road due to a snow storm and had a heart attack. While laying his car in excruciating pain, he heard the men and a loud whistle and called for help. The people apparently heard his calls for help but fell silent and didn’t come to his aid. Schons found the missing car the next day, as did a park ranger, and the rest got really strange. The car belonged to one of the men. It, too had apparently fallen off the side of the road due to a massive winter storm that moved into the dangerous mountain roads (roads they had no reason or business being on). The car had an open window in spite of the snow storm and was 70 miles from home in a place the men had no reason to be. Several months later, after the spring thaw, the bodies of these men were found in a trailer owned by the forest service. The bodies of the three of them were found partially eaten and decayed around the vicinity the trailer (almost 20 miles from their car!). One of them was dead in the cabin and wrapped in a shroud. Evidence suggested that he had been living here for up to 13 weeks before he died of starvation. However, inside the trailer was enough food and emergency rations to last five people a year! Why did a man starve to death in the mountains while surrounded with rations? Who wrapped him in a death shroud? Why didn’t he have any shoes? What happened to Mathias, the only one whose body was never found? Who was the woman with a child appearing on the side of the road? What was the eerie whistling heard in the woods? Were the Yuba Five running from someone? Were they running to someone? This one is very strange, so listen, laugh, and learn.
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Bonus Episode: Live Stream Tattoo?
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: If we got a tattoo, what would it be of? If the group crowd funded a tattoo, would Dave get it while live streaming? What is our research method for the show? What is our favorite hole in the wall restaurant? Who makes the best omelette? What are our shoe sizes? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 304: Prince: Purple Reign
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the majesty of his royal purple badness, the one and only icon of music: Prince. Price was born in Minneapolis on June 7, 1958 to 2 musician parents. His real name was Prince since he was named 4 his father’s jazz band, which was called the Prince Rogers Band. He was said 2 be a sickly child, prone 2 seizures, but eventually, he told his mother that he wouldn’t be sick anymore because an angel told him not to be, and apparently, he was cured. His parents divorced when he was young, and he spent time with an abusive step father (who inspired him 2 write the song “Papa”) who did some nasty things 2 Prince, which ultimately may have led to Prince being the virtuoso he grew up 2 be. Prince was said 2 be a legendary master of music, writing his first song at 7 years old (a funk piece). By the time he was in high school, he was said 2 spend all day locked in the school music room, and even his high school teacher said his job was easy because young Prince essentially ran the class (along with his friends Morris Day, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis). By the time he was a teen, he was playing in the band 94 East in club gigs throughout the Twin Cities. He had to wait before he could perform since he was only 13 but already built a huge name in the club scene as simply "The Kid." Eventually, at 17, he signed a three record deal with Warner Brothers (though he had 2 lie and act like he was actually 19), and the rest was history. He had a series of hits on his early albums, and by the time he released 1999 in his early 20s, he blew up the scene. By the 1980s, he was ready to drop his magnum opus, Purple Rain. This album did nothing short of define a generation of music, and it set him 2 win an Oscar and several Grammies and made him the hottest act in America. He had a series of massive albums and eventually signed the largest record deal in history for $100 Million dollars. This was a record deal he later regretted when he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol called “Love Symbol #2.” The albums of Prince are considered some of the best ever released, from the chord progression, the drum machine programming, the mixing, the guitar playing, and even the vocal mix. Prince established his sanctum, Paisley Park in Minnesota, and his work record and output there is legendary in the business. Supposedly he has hundreds of albums of unreleased material in his famous vault waiting 4 release. With his tragic death in 2016, nobody knew what 2 do with his estate since he never drafted a will. However, the music in the vault is finally starting 2 come out, and Prince will continue 2 release albums for the rest of our lives from his mixing booth deep beneath Tupac Island. Oh, and May U Live 2 See the Dawn. Original Purple Rain Recording at First Avenue Club: Thanks to Sammy Walsh for this one!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=rLzOgTRtQi0 Just Prince playing a guitar and using the audience as an instrument: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naj7oxbQYtw New Album Details: https://variety.com/2018/music/news/prince-album-of-previously-unreleased-material-coming-in-september-exclusive-1202783507/ Get Off 91 VMA: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x46u2k6 Purple Rain Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuXK8ZbTmLk
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Episode 303: Children of God: Funky Jesus Sex Pimp Whores
On this Episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we take a run at one of the bigger cults operating in the world today, the Children of God, aka The Family International. It has had many names, from The Family of Love to Teens for Christ, and at the heart of it is a truly bizarre religious sect that is part Christian and part pimp. That’s right, they whore out women for Jesus, and he apparently likes it. Their founder, David Berg was a preacher who had mixed results getting a congregation together in the 1960s. Eventually, he settled down in Huntington Beach and opened a Christian coffee shop. Calling himself “David Moses,” he eventually learned that in order to attract followers, he had to adapt to the counter culture memes of the era, and he started wearing baggy pants, sandals, a beret, and other hippie attire. Oh, and he also started to get people to have sex. So much sex. Tapping in to the sexual revolution, he built up a religious following whose main goal was to attract new members. How did it attract members? Through a process he called Flirty Fishing. Flirty Fishing was his name for getting women from his church to have sex with men in order to get them to join. In fact, he rented the women out as an escort service, and once the religion really took off, he even had the children in the cult sleep with adult members. This was to indoctrinate the kids into a love of Jesus Sex and to get the adults to be complicit in the crime, so they wouldn’t defect and tell anyone. David Berg communicated to his followers through a series of letters (called the Mo Letters) and comic books. That’s right, comic book full of sex. He was so into sex that he even told people to think of Jesus as the had orgasms and even as they masturbated. It wasn’t gay (which he had a problem with) as long as the men pretended they were women having sex with Jesus while they were masturbating. I wish I was making this up. So what did the Children of God believe as part of their spiritual path? What was the nature of their god and their cosmos? What predictions did David Berg make, and did any of them come true? What happened to the group after he died? Which (pretty big!) celebrities were raised in this cult? Listen, laugh, learn. Sad Story of Ex Cult Member: http://narrative.ly/my-childhood-in-an-apocalyptic-cult/
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Episode 302: De Beers: The Ultimate Global Monopoly
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the company that has defined how the entire world views and purchases diamonds, The De Beers Company. Founded in South Africa during the diamond boom of the late 1800s, the company was named after two brothers who had a farm that ended up being rich with diamonds. The British forced them to sell the land, but the name stuck, and when Cecil Rhodes started to buy up all the diamond mines in the area (with the financial backing of the Rothschilds), he kept the name. Eventually, Rhodes became the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, and he built up his diamond empire and set laws in place to increase his power. Upon his death, the Oppenheimer family took control of the company, and they’ve held it ever since. So what’s the big deal with the De Beers? For one thing, they are part of the Rothschild fortune. For another, they run a monopoly that most consider a cartel. For years, any upper-level employee of De Beers that came to America would be arrested as part of the anti-trust act. The unique thing about the company, however, isn’t the fact that they control the majority of the world’s uncut diamonds. Instead, it’s because they fix the prices. In fact, the true genius of the De Beers diamond empire isn’t that they own where diamonds come from; it’s that they control the idea of scarcity. Diamonds are not the rare or expensive things they used to be, but the De Beers company does some shady, manipulative, unethical, and often illegal things to keep diamonds seeming rare. Oh, and “Diamonds are Forever,” their masterful campaign? It single-handedly made men put diamonds on engagement rings and artificially created a diamond history that never really existed.
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Bonus Episode: Finding Willpower
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: How do we think the world will end? If we had a time machine, how would we use it? Have any of us taken yoga, and why or why not? What is a hidden talent that we each have? What war in history would we be willing to fight in? If our butt had a tooth, would we brush it? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 301: Alton Coleman and Debra Brown: Natural Born Killers
On this Episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we spit some true crime at you and look at a most unique serial killer situation—that of Alton Coleman and Debra Brown. They are unique not only because they are a couple, but because they buck the typical mold of white middle class serial killers; they are both African-American. Alton Coleman grew up in a bad household to a prostitute mother. At a young age, he started vandalism and arson, and those who knew him saw a dark sexual side come out. Later in life, he was arrested several times for rape and sexual assault, but his strange smooth talking Jedi mind trick always got him out of court. Coleman met his accomplice Debra Brown when she was engaged to another man. Brown had suffered brain damage due to head trauma at a young age, and she fell in line with what has been described as a Master-Slave relationship with Coleman. So, Coleman and Brown teamed up to go on a wicked killing spree through several states. (I can’t help but think they were a large part of the inspiration for Natural Born Killers…) One by one, they stole cars, assaulted people, raped, and murdered. They weren’t the typical meticulous killers who were trying to make sure they didn’t get caught. Indeed, they left a lot of witnesses alive but gagged and bound. Their victims were primarily black (they, it seems, were blacks who hated other blacks according to FBI profilers) and young. How many did they kill? Why did they let the reverend who found them out survive? Why didn’t they kill all their victims? Why did Alton earn the nickname “Pissy” as a child? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Bill Cosby: From Jell-O to Jail-O
On this 300th episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we put on our ugly sweaters, eat some Jell-O, say “Hey, hey, hey,” and talk about the aggravated sexual assault of one Dr. Bill Cosby. Cosby was a permanent feature of American popular culture for decades, playing the wholesome father figure to a generation and even famously mocking Eddie Murphy for being so foul in his act (just imagine what he’d think of this show…). However, a few years ago, allegations of rape, drugging, and sexual assault came forward and shed a new light on this once-respectable actor. Cosby was born to a lower class family and grew up poor and working odd jobs to pay the rent. He was apparently a big screw up in school (dropping out of high school and college), but everyone recognized how funny he was. By the time he finally entered college, he had started doing stand-up, and he took off like a rocket. In 1963, his hard work in the clubs paid off, and he had a gig on Johnny Carson, which put him in the national picture. From here, he got record deals and quickly won several Grammies for his comedy albums. Then, he started to break records. At times, he was the highest paid comedian in the nation, and with the television show I Spy, he became the first African American to play a lead role in an American television series. This fame led to even more successful albums, a return to college to get his PhD, and from all of this, the birth of one of his most famous creations, Fat Albert. From there, he went on to do a few failed television shows and successful movies, and this all set him up to be everyone’s favorite ugly-sweatered father, Cliff Huxtable in The Cosby Show. Here, he became the nation’s father and was the spearhead of one of the most successful comedies of all time. From there he made several other TV shows, some movies (like the memorable Ghost Dad and Leonard Part 6…shudder…), and wrote several best-selling books. But apparently, while all this happening, he was also being a horrible predator. In 2014 when comedian Hannibal Burres accused Bill Cosby of being a rapist, the video clip went viral. Within weeks, 35 women had come out to say they had been raped, drugged, or assaulted by Bill Cosby over the past several decades. Eventually, the number rose to over 50 women, and finally, a trial occurred. It was ruled a mistrial, but then the second trial went down, and he was found guilty on three counts of aggravated sexual assault. As of this recording, we don’t know what his sentence is yet, but his story is the ultimate rise and fall, from majesty to molestation. Oh, and you might even hear Dave sing the theme song to Fat Albert and Brad sing the theme song to Cheers!   Eddie Murphy’s Burn on Cosby at the Twain Award: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=c1PGPv_Q9sU   Thorough LA Times Timeline and List of Women: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-bill-cosby-timeline-htmlstory.html   Barbara Bowman’s Account of Rape: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/13/bill-cosby-raped-me-why-did-it-take-30-years-for-people-to-believe-my-story/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6b4b3319a958  
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BONUS EPISODE: Questions from Strangers
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, the Terry “Thief of Dreams” McGee fills in for Dave because he thinks he’s too good to show up for the podcast. Listen now to find out what questions we answer. So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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EPISODE 299: WEREWOLVES: FROM SERIAL KILLERS TO LYCANTHROPY
On this episode of, The Sofa King Podcast we peel back the blinds and howl at the moon as we undress each other and talk about Werewolves.Come witness the tales of modern-day werewolf hunters, some history lessons on the Burning Times, Castle Times, and scratch a shared itch as we try to figure out why South America has Wereopposum legends and myths. We take a look at a few different regions and their werewolf beliefs and traditions and discuss a handful of 30,000 executions that happened in France where much like witches the accused werewolf was tortured and burned at the stake. Did you know that Lapland has Werereindeer? No? Then come learn a thing or two and explore with us the history and myths surrounding one of the earliest tales of man and monster. We also discover that Terry (who we invited onto the podcast to fill in for Dave out of the goodness of our hearts) hasn’t ever truly listened to a single episode of the podcast. Come witness the wild ways of the werewolf and also witness the firing of our first guest host as we dive deep into the lunacy of the Lycanthrope.
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EPISODE 298: BOBBY FISCHER: TROUBLED GRANDMASTER
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we take an in-depth look at the chess playing prodigy of Brooklyn, Bobby Fischer. Born to a single Jewish mother in Chicago, Bobby Fischer got his hands on his first chess board at the age of 6. By age 7 he knew that chess was his calling and he took to it like it was the very oxygen his body needed to survive. Neglecting childhood as well as his own sanity he became obsessed with every aspect of chess, from strategy to the history of it, he took the time to memorize and learn everything he could. When his mother took him to see a therapist, the therapist simply yawned and said, “Well, there are certainly worse things he could be into.” By the age of 15 Bobby Fischer became the youngest Grand Master in the USA and as his skills continued to grow, so did the countries hope of defeating the powerhouse of the chess world for 24 years running, the Soviet Union. In 1972 Bobby Fischer went to Iceland to compete and ultimately won against a formidable opponent in Boris Spassky, but only after Henry Kissinger personally called to encourage Fischer to go. The 20 years that followed would see Bobby Fischer slide out of the spotlight and into some pretty chaotic personal choices, from becoming a member of the Worldwide Church of God to collecting and obsessing over anti-Semitic literature and beliefs. To the point that he rejected his own Jewish heritage and chased away most of the people around him. In 1992 he re-emerged from obscurity to battle Boris once more in a chess match in Sveti Stefan and Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in spite of a United Nations embargo that included sanctions on commercial activities. The US Department of the Treasury warned Fischer before the start of the match that his participation was illegal, that it would violate President George H. W. Bush's Executive Order 12810 imposing United Nations Security Council Resolution 757 sanctions against engaging in economic activities in Yugoslavia. In response, during the first scheduled press conference on September 1, 1992, in front of the international press, Fischer spat on the US order, saying "this is my reply". His violation of the order led US Federal officials to initiate a warrant for his arrest upon completion of the match. After the match (which he won) Fischer took up residency in Hungary and settled in the Philippines. After the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2011 Fischer called in to a radio station in the Philippines and had some not so choice words about his feelings towards the USA and Israel which prompted George H.W. Bush to put out a call to Japan (where Fischer was trying to board a plane back to the Philippines and have him arrested and held. Fearing extradition to the US, Fischer wrote some desperate letters and called in a favor with Iceland and they ultimately made him a citizen. He spent his remaining years in Iceland, ranting and raving like a crazy person until ultimately he succumbed to a Urinary tract blockage and died. Only to be exhumed later for a DNA comparison that only showed that his supposed daughter from a previous marriage was not actually his.
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Bonus Episode: Dave’s Not Here
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, the Terry "Thief of Dreams" McGee fills in for Dave because he thinks he's too good to show up for the podcast.  Listen now to find out what questions we answer. So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 297: Future of Sex: Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence
On this sort of regular episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we dig deep into the psyche of each other and plumb the depravities and carnal sexual desires of the hosts as well as the future of virtual sex. From 28,000-year-old phallic toys made from stone and camel dung to the modern day magicians behind the Real Doll and beyond. We even take a shot at predicting where the road of virtual reality sex shall lead us as a society and the moral and practical implications of losing ourselves completely in such a manner. Will humanity finally put its moral foot down and take a stand against this devilish delight of sin? Or will we embrace it completely and turn into addicts so consumed by our need to get off that we neglect our own health and the world around us as it crumbles down around our haptic suit cubicles and the population of reality dwindles into nothingness? Dust off those AirPods, and plug in those headphones, this episode is definitely NSFW, unless you happen to be the boss.
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Episode 296: Frank Sinatra: The Chairman of the Board
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we put on our tuxes, get a little class, and talk about the cuckoo life, career, and rise to power of the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra. Francis Albert Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New York and grew up in a house with a strict mother who was alleged to give abortions to women illegally as part of her wet-nurse practice. His father once drove shotgun on a booze run for Lucky Luciano, and his uncle and his godfather were members of the Genovese crime family: he lived a mob-influenced childhood in the streets of New York. Through all of this, young Frank developed a love of music. He would watch nightly shows in his neighborhood and was given a ukulele at a young age. He joined the glee club to get practice, took diction lessons to be able to pronounce words perfectly, and after seeing Bing Crosby perform, devoted his time to do one thing—be better than Crosby was. To do this, he started in small clubs and eventually won a contest (think American Idol but, somehow, even more lame) with a group called the Hoboken Four and was sent on a national radio tour as a prize. From here, he got exposure and was signed to sing for a big band. That led to him singing for the famous Tommy Dorsey band where Sinatra found national recognition, making several number one singles with the band. Eventually, he wanted to go solo, and he had a hard time because Dorsey was a slave driver and had a contract for 43% of all future earnings that made a true solo career for Frank Sinatra an impossibility. Be it through a lawsuit or mafia ties (as rumor suggests), Dorsey let Sinatra out of the contract, and the rest was history. Sinatra became the first mega act in the United States. He was big like The Beatles or Elvis was, with hordes of girls swooning at his presence. His popularity grew during World War Two, and then it peaked and fell hard in the early fifties. He couldn’t even fill small casinos or nightclubs in New York. Why did he fall off? How did he get back on top again? What helped him win an Oscar, and how did he get into making movies? When did the Rat Pack form? What connected Frank Sinatra to Las Vegas, and exactly what involvement did he have with the Mafia? Was he really at the infamous mob boss retreat in Havana, Cuba in 1947? Listen, laugh, learn.   “It Was a Very Good Year” in studio. Dope as hell: https://vimeo.com/195230171 Video: Rat Pack, Johnny Carson and Quincy Jones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fctcvKMEWy4 *) Highlight of Ball Busting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvY8o1UYw6s
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Bonus Episode: Technical Difficulties
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: Has the research for the show eroded our faith in the government? What is our pre-podcast routine every week? What is the funniest instance of an unwanted visitor in our homes? Ebola or Tuberculosis? What is our dream vacation within the United States? What are our favorite smells? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 295: Las Vegas: From Mob Dive to Sin City
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we take a road trip, hit the high desert, squander our hard earned money, and talk all things Vegas. Las Vegas is a town unlike any other. It is a city founded in the Old West but evolved by the Mafia. From Bugsy Siegel to a host of others, the city we know as Sin City has been a unique bastion in the desert for decades. It started as a small spot for water (Las Vegas means “the meadows” where the water flowed in the desert from underground wells), and it grew years later when the railroad went through. This gave the town a purpose, and it slowly grew as a stop between major train lines. Eventually, however, construction of the Hoover Dam changed everything. During the depression, this massive project brought thousands of well-payed laborers to the area, most of them single and able to move around for work. And what do single males want after a hard day of damming? Women, cards, and booze, apparently. The earliest casinos and brothels opened as a place to relieve the vices of the laborers, and the city never looked back. Once gambling became persecuted in California, more and more gamblers moved to Vegas as a safe haven for their craft. At this point, the Mafia took notice, and they started to open up or take control of casinos in the area. With turbulent starts, such as Siegel’s failed opening of the Flamingo that got him killed, eventually they became money makers, and the mob moved in. They ran the city from the 1940s until Howard Hughes moved in with his bag full of crazy and started buying up the town. He was able to wrestle properties away from mobsters, and this single-handedly broke their monopoly on Vegas. And that leads us to where we are today. Corporations and individual billionaires tend to own the major casinos on the strip, and while the mob is surely still involved, they aren’t the only game in the town of games. So how much money do modern casinos make? Why did Bugsy Siegel get killed for his involvement in the Flamingo? Where does Liberace come in? How many mob families were involved in Vegas? What Vegas stories do Brad, Brent, and Dave share? Listen, laugh, learn. Mob Ties in Las Vegas: https://lasvegassun.com/news/2008/may/15/mob-ties/
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Episode 294: Hiroshima: True Nuclear War
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we travel back to (Dave’s favorite) World War II and talk about the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. After the creations at the Manhattan Project, the US government knew that J. Robert Oppenheimer’s creation was a success. The Trinity Test Explosion exceeded all expectations, and the military was ready to use their new dark toy. Shortly after the test, the president issued something called the Potsdam Declaration, which promised utter destruction from the air on all of Japan if there was not an immediate surrender. The Japanese, of course, did not surrender, so the bomb was prepped. After an exhaustive and brutal screening committee met at the Manhattan Project and the Pentagon, four cities were determined to be the perfect targets. They had to still be intact (no major damage from previous US bombing runs); they had to have symbolic importance for the Japanese people; they had to have manufacturing; they had to be modern and have a military presentence. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were two of four picked, and that point, it was just a matter of weather patterns to determine where the bomb would drop. So, weather told the generals it was Hiroshima on Aug 6, 1945, when the bomb was finally set to drop. It got loaded on the B29 Superfortress called The Enola Gay, and it was dropped at 8:15 AM. The bomb called “Little Boy” missed its target by 500 feet but did plenty of damage regardless. The initial blast was thought to have killed 70,000 people, and the radiation of coursed killed easily 100,000 more over the next year. But why did we have to drop this bomb? After all, Germany had just surrendered, and the US was certain to win this war against Japan. The common story is that it would cost an estimated 1 million deaths to win the war in Japan, so the bombs, terrible as they might be, were worth it. However, some historians claim this isn’t the truth. Was Japan actually poised to surrender anyway? If so, what did the US stand to gain by detonating these awful devices and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians? Where did the Soviets come to play? Listen, laugh, learn.   Original New Yorker Article:  https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1946/08/31/hiroshima Target Selection Article: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/08/hiroshima-nagasaki-atomic-bomb-anniversary/400448/
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Episode 293: The Yeti: Myth or Monster?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we climb the Mount Everest of podcast topics to look for the tales and truths behind the Yeti. The Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, the Mi-Go, the Yeren; these are all apparently the same creature: a humanoid beast with feet like a man (smaller than a “Bigfoot”) who has been seen in the Himalayan mountains for centuries. Their gods and mythology tie back to this creature, and sightings and folk lore amount local Sherpas are vibrant and updated. So why should anyone care about a mythological beast called a Yeti? Well, for one thing, a lot of pretty high rolling explorers saw them, claimed to saw them, or brought back evidence of them. Sir Edmund Hillary went on multiple expeditions to find this creature and even brought back evidence. Over the past hundred years, public calls have gone out to find proof. From oil millionaire Tom Slick to a British newspaper and even Oxford University, they all sent people or paid for evidence surrounding this. The Chinese government even has an official department that is dedicated to looking for the Wild Man of China. So, with all of this research and folklore, what has been found? Well, a lot of tracks that either come from bears or can’t be identified. DNA that often matches mountain creatures but sometimes comes back as a mystery. Sometimes, it even came back as prehistoric bears from the Pleistocene era. What is the difference between a Bigfoot and a Yeti? Why is a Yeti considered to be more dangerous? Why did the actor Jimmy Stewart help smuggle a Yeti hand out of Tibet and into London? Listen, laugh, learn.   Jimmy Steward, Relic Hunter: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/saga-of-the-yeti-hand
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Episode 292: McDonalds: Ray Kroc and That Mind-Controlling Clown
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we put the family in the car and hit the ultimate drive thru discussion to rap about discuss McDonalds. Staring out as a small drive through in the 1940s, this mega-corporation has become one of the largest on the planet. An estimated one in eight Americans have worked at a McDonalds, and they are so large that they account for 4% of all egg use in the US. So how did this small, brother-run operation become the biggest restaurant franchise ever? It all started with a salesman named Ray Kroc. Kroc was an ex-ambulance driver from WWI who sold milk shake machines in Southern California. He ran into a small, clean drive thru run by Richard and Maurice McDonald and saw something different. The McDonald brothers had turned a burger joint into an efficient, clean, family friendly place where people could get a quick burger on their way home from work. Kroc immediately saw the potential and opened the second ever McDonalds and started to pursue ways to spread the restaurant as a chain. Within a handful of years, there were drive thru McDonalds spots popping up in multiple states, and it had become very successful. Kroc ran the franchising with a fascist eye, making sure every restaurant was uniform in recipe, clothing, even color scheme. When the original founding brothers were found to be breaking Kroc’s rules, he even bought them out and shut them down. So what’s there to talk about with McDonalds? How about marketing to children and ways they manipulate customers with their interior decoration? How about the largest lawsuit ever to happen in the UK, known as the McLibel suit? How about ridiculous McItems at foreign restaurants? How about the problem with them lying about beef in their French fries? Listen, laugh, learn.   Every Second at McDonalds: http://www.everysecond.io/mcdonalds How to Get Free Fries: https://www.delish.com/food-news/a19866607/how-to-get-yourself-free-fries-at-mcdonalds-this-month/
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Bonus Episode: Three Micks
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: What do we wish we would have known before we had kids? What can we do to make your jeans grow? Who was the most influential teacher we had and why? What were we "jamming out to" in high school? What is our idea of a perfect Wednesday afternoon at 2:36 PM? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 291: Mick Foley: Mankind and Mutilation
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we jump off the top rope and hit you all with the life and times of the one and only Mick Foley. Call him Cactus Jack, Dude Love, or Mankind, Mick Foley is one of the all-time greats of professional wrestling. Not a fan of pro-wrestling? Give this one a listen anyway because the story of Mick Foley is pretty incredible, and I promise you by the time you’re done with this episode, you’ll be visiting YouTube to watch some of the amazing clips from this man’s dangerous career. Plus, you’ll learn a lot about Brad’s time as a hardcore wrestler. It’s pretty crazy. We all know that professional wrestling is “fake” (I prefer the word “scripted”), but the career of Mick Foley is so impressive because he constantly blurred the line between fact and fiction, safe and dangerous. His career as an extreme/hardcore wrestler saw him take bumps that most people wouldn’t dare attempt. In an era where steel chairs weren’t used in the ring, he let people use them on him. From barbed wire to six inch spikes and from sacks full of thumbtacks to barb-covered baseball bats, Foley took every type of hit imaginable. And real or not, you can only fake being thrown off a 20 foot steel cage so much. Oh, and he got thrown off a 20 foot steel cage. A lot. He was set on fire with C4 explosives, thrown on beds of nails, had his teeth knocked out of his mouth, suffered concussions, bit a hole in his lip, and had his ear ripped off in the ring. In every single case, he kept coming for more. On top of all that, Mick Foley is an amazingly charismatic and funny man, and he’s quite intelligent and articulate. In fact, he’s had multiple books on the New York Times best seller’s list, and none of the were ghostwritten. So what matches made Mick Foley become the hardcore legend that he is today? How much did people backstage know about his infamous Hell in a Cell match, and did he lie to Vince McMahon (owner of WWE)? Who exactly is Mr. Socko? Listen, laugh, learn.   Hell in a Cell: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x50cdbp Japanese Death Match: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrY1i2bUTmo 
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Episode 290: Three Mile Island: America’s Nuclear Warning
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the worst nuclear disaster on American soil, the incident at Three Mile Island. In March of 1979, there was a perfect storm of mechanical failure and human error that led to a partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. The aftermath was much less deadly than Chernobyl, but it had a major effect on the future of nuclear power and the development of nuclear plants in America. When a faulty cooling circuit caused the a spike in temperature, the reactor shut itself down as a safety measure. During this, a relief valve failed to close, but no light was installed to tell the crew this. Therefore, the fuel half way melted down before they could put coolant water back on it. The effects were that an unknown amount of radioactive material was released in to atmosphere. This created a dangerous hydrogen bubble that could have exploded and peppered the landscape with radioactive fallout, but luckily that didn’t happen. So what was the end result of this would-be nuclear disaster? That remains unclear. The official reports by Pennsylvania and the federal government are that a small amount of radiation leaked, nobody died, and there wasn't enough free radiation to harm anyone. However, a whole lot of reports have come out since then saying the radiation was severe, it killed off scores of wildlife, and caused birth defects and still births. Which one is it? How did this one event change nuclear policy fir the US? Why did President Carter visit the failing Three Mile Island (like a boss!)? Was there a cover up? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 289: John D. Rockefeller: Richest Man in History
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life of the wealthiest man in the history of the United States, creator of the modern monopoly, and ultimate oil tycoon, John D. Rockefeller. Rockefeller vowed as a young man to make $100,000 and to live to be 100 years old before he died. Considering he was worth an estimated $1.4 Billion (the equivalent of roughly $350 Billion in today’s dollars!) and lived to be 97, I’d say he did a decent job. John D. Rockefeller was the son of a snake oil salesman and con man who claimed he would rip off his children every chance he got in order to make them more smart. Well, this paid off, since John grew up to me an amazing business man, even as a child (when he would give small business loans to neighbors who lived near his family). At only twenty years old, started a small company that within a year was making $450,000 in back-in-they-day dollars. Once the US government started to subsidize oil as a commodity, Rockefeller saw that was his chance and took action. He started an oil company in Cleveland during the Civil War and within record time was able to define the oil industry from the ground up. He started Standard Oil, and at the height of his power, he controlled 80% of the world’s oil generation and 90% of the American market. Eventually, the US Congress stepped in and labeled him as a monopoly. Before they could, however Rockefeller broke his company up into 34 smaller ones (little companies like Chevron, Exxon, Mobile, BP…). They say he was the richest man to ever live. They say he was the most generous philanthropist to ever live. He created the idea of a monopoly, the idea of controlling every aspect of your chain of production, and he even created the modern-day American university and medicine. Love him or hate him, he was one of the most influential people in all of human history (and probably a lizard person who helps run the Illuminati, of course…).
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Episode 288: Wright Brothers: Home Grown Genius
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we take to the skies and talk about the life, inventions, business, and first flight of the Wright Brothers. One historian says of Wilber and Orville Wright “"Before the Wright Brothers, no one working in aviation did anything fundamentally correct. Since the Wright Brothers, no one has done anything fundamentally different." This is true enough. Though their life was one of legal battles and incredible invention, they single-handedly (double-handedly?) changed the world. The Wright Brothers were both raised in Ohio by a father who was a bishop and a mother who was said to be very inventive and mechanically inclined. One day, their father brought home a toy helicopter, and it got the boys obsessed with flight. Wilbur was a serious student and had a bad accident with a hockey stick in the face that forced him out of school (like you do…). Orville was a mechanical genius who built his own printing press as a teenager and got in on the bicycle frenzy, successfully designing his own self-lubricating chain. The Wright Brothers were perfect business partners, one being brainy and financially responsible and the other being a self-taught engineer. They studied all known literature on flight, and on December 17, 1903, they flew the first ever self-propelled flight in Kitty Hawk. With no newspapers to cover it, however, haters hated. Nobody believed they did what they claimed, and Orville started showing their plane through demo flights in the US while Wilbur did the same in Europe. Eventually, the Wright Brothers found markets (or invented them) and sold planes to various governments. So, how far apart did the brothers die? Was Orville romantically involved with his sister? What role did they play in WWI and WWII? Why did they sue everyone on the planet? What aeronautic technology did they invent? Why did they have a beef with the Smithsonian? Why does Dave think Orville had a romance with his own sister, Katherine? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Bonus Episode: Seven Deadly Sins
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: Which of the 7 Deadly sins are we most guilty of? What is our favorite horror movie? If we could have one famous person on as a fourth co-host, who would it be and why? How does Brad make his cream of wheat lumpy? What is our favorite documentary? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 287: Mike Tyson: Iron Mike, Baddest Man on the Planet!
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we hit you with a right hook of research and talk about the rise, fall, and rise again of Iron Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson was born in Brooklyn, New York to a poor family and spent his youth in pretty bad neighborhoods. He was a shy kid with a speech impediment, so others of course bullied him. The first fight he ever got in was allegedly with another boy who tore the head off of one of his pet pigeons! By the time he was 13, he had been arrested over 30 times and lived a life of robbery and gang banging. He got sent to a boy’s home to rehabilitate, and there one of the staff introduced him to boxing. Seeing Tyson’s amazing, innate abilities, he was turned over to Cus D’Amato, a famous trainer. D’Amato was known to take troubled teen boxers in to his training compound to live and find discipline, and he did so with Tyson. The goal was to get Iron Mike into the 1984 Olympics, though he fell short due to a defeat. From that point, Mike Tyson went pro and started his record run of victories in the ring. He was known for his ability to earn quick knockouts. In fact, he won 26 of his first 28 fights to knock outs! From there, he became the youngest champion in the history of boxing and the first ever to unify all three boxing titles. His wealth and fame were legendary, as were his debauchery and anger issues. He married the actress Robyn Givens, though he found himself on the wrong side of the law for alleged abuse. He was also arrested for the rape of Desiree Washington and served several years for the crime. Upon his release, his boxing career was back on track, and he fought Evander Holyfield and then fought him again in his famous, ear biting rematch. So, why did Mike Tyson bite off part of Holyfield’s ear? Why did he end up suing Don King for $100 dollars? How much money did Tyson squander over the years? What’s up with his pigeons? What is the story about his proposed weed ranch he’s building in California? Listen, laugh, learn. Video of Mike Tyson Pissed at a Reporter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOhdx1TLutw
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Episode 286: Bay of Pigs: The CIA’s Failed Coup!
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we do a deep dig on the facts and failures of the attempted CIA-backed revolution that was meant to topple Fidel Castro in Cuba, The Bay of Pigs invasion. The Bay of Pigs was a not-so-secret plan for the CIA to train and arm exiled Cubans living in Miami, so they would go back to Cuba and take the island back from Fidel Castro’s communist regime. This plan had the backing of the State Department, the NSA, and even two US presidents (including John F. Kennedy), but it was so badly botched that it is pretty amazing. First off, why did the CIA do this? Well, they did it once in Guatemala and thought they could do it again in Cuba. Why did the US care? Because corporate interests had been driven from Cuba by Castro, and you don’t mess with the US lobbyist’s pocket books. So much went wrong in this plan that it’s almost hard to concisely cover it all. First, they only had 1500 men against a standing militia of 200,000 Cubans. Second, the Bay of Pigs invasion was not so secret. Castro (and most of Miami) knew it was happening before it did. It was in the papers, and Soviet radio announced the CIA invasion four days before it happened! Third, the idea that the small force would build support once they landed in Cuba simply wasn’t true. Fourth? I don’t know—coral reefs that they thought were seaweed, sinking ships, stalled boats, a botched air raid that didn’t destroy any of Cuba’s air force, you name it. This was a critical part of the Kennedy administration and led to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the seemingly permanently strained relations between Cuba and the US ever since the cold war. Plus as a bonus, it’s not the typical sausage fest in the Fight Club Studios; we have a very special guest with us in the studio on this one as well—Patti Larson from Just the Worst Podcast!
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Bonus Episode: Dave’s Not Here, Man!
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 285: Evel Knievel: The Godfather of Extreme Sports
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we do a wheelie all over the ultimate pop-culture icon of the 1970’s, stunt man extraordinaire, Evel Knievel. Evel Knievel was a stunt man and extreme sports grandfather figure. He jumped canyons, pits of snakes, mountain lions, and crashed. A lot. If you are old enough to remember his stunts, you know how big a deal he was back in the day. If not, you want to give this one a listen and go hit YouTube to watch some crazy action. Knievel was born Robert Knievel in 1938 in Butte, Montana. He was raised by his grandparents and fell in love with sports and stunts at an early age. He was a gifted athlete, playing hockey professionally, and had a hard time keeping a normal job. He sold insurance, ran a motorcycle shop, poached game on federal lands, and worked in a copper mine, but none of it paid the bills well or became something he could stick with. Finally, in 1966, he self-promoted his first stunt show and motorcycle jump. He saw how much money he could make doing this, and his life changed forever. He started to do local tours through California, each one boasting a bigger jump than the last one. He drove through fire and panes of glass and jumped more and more cars. Eventually, he conned his way into a jump over the fountains at Cesar’s Palace, and this put him on the map. He crashed on the landing, but he aired on ABC, and his career skyrocketed. He did bigger and bigger jumps in front of larger and larger crowds. Eventually, he set his sights on jumping the Grand Canyon, but he was denied permission by the US government. Instead, he jumped Snake River Canyon in an experimental, steam powered rocket cycle. It didn’t go well. Who’d have guessed? So what propelled this man to keep doing stunts after breaking more than 40 bones and wrecking several times a year? What legal trouble did he get in as a poacher of big game? What happened that made him assault one of his promoters with a baseball bat? Why did Matthew McConaughey give the sermon at his funeral, and what did he die of? Listen, laugh, learn. Plus as a bonus, it’s not the typical sausage fest in the Fight Club Studios; we have a very special guest with us in the studio on this one as well—Patti Larson from Just the Worst Podcast!
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Episode 284: Prescott Bush: Pulling the Strings of Presidents
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we do the whole biography thing on the grandfather of an American dynasty, Mr. Prescott Bush. Prescott Bush is the father of President George H.W. Bush and the grandfather of President George W Bush. He was a businessman, politician, power broker, Skull and Bones Man, and possible Nazi collaborator. If there happens to be an Illuminati run by a race of power-hoarding lizard people, Prescott Bush is a member. Born in 1895, Prescott lived through the highest heights of American wealth and the lowest lows of the American depression. He followed in the footsteps of his own father and entered Yale and became a member of the notorious Skull and Bones. Indeed, rumor has it that he and people in his class broke into a graveyard and stole the skull of Geronimo, which sits in the bowels of the Bones house to this day. After that, he spent time in World War two and got into intelligence work. From there, he came back to the states and started his life as a business mogul and politician. Working in Intelligence, big business, and the government pretty much set the path that all Bushes would follow in future generations. Once World War Two was starting, Prescott Bush was one of the founding members of an international bank that was owned by and helped launder money for one Fritz Thyssen. Thyssen was a Nazi. I mean a super Nazi. I mean, the main financier for the rise of Nazi power, the architect of the Nazi war machine through his steel and coal plants, the main backer of Adolf Hitler, and even the guy responsible for creating the poison gas used in concentration camps. All evidence suggests that Prescott Bush knew all of this and kept dealing with him through the war. Oh, and then there was the time Grandpa Bush tried to overthrow the American presidency with a rebel army backed by the wealthiest families in the country. Well, he never got prosecuted for either of these attempts to control the world, but the jokes on us. He pretty much ruled the world anyway when his descendants starting running the United States intelligence apparatus and became president a couple of times.
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Bonus Episode: The Wizards of Fight Club Studios
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: When did we feel like we finally "clicked" together as a podcast and as co-hosts? Who is the better wizard, Dumbledore or Gandalf? If you were promised a spot on a reality TV show, which one would it be? What is our best college advice? What are our biggest pet peeves? If we could share a sensual evening with one TV character, who would it be and why? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 283: Detroit: Motor City to Murder Capitol
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the rise and fall of Dave’s hometown, the Motor City, Detroit. Detroit is an example of the perfect storm of what happens when an industry rises and falls in one area, and it isn’t a bad example of what happens when racial policies divide a city in half. At its height, Detroit was the 13th largest city in the united states with almost 2 million inhabitants; now, it is down to about a third of that number. It is considered one of the most violent cities in America, has one of the highest murder rates, and currently police often issue notices to “enter at your own risk” for the city! What made it all get so bad? For one, the failing of the auto industry. Detroit started as a small time industrial city, but when Henry Ford started his auto plant, the city grew exponentially fast. Within decades, this was one of the hottest spots on the entire planet for people to get works. Car factories hired people for amazingly high wages, and they looked for people with no experience since the factory line made the work amazingly simple. Eventually, as blacks started to flee the South in the wake of Jim Crow laws, the population of Detroit became increasingly African-American. However, bit by bit, the city’s base started to erode. Gas got more expensive, companies started to outsource to other countries, foreign car companies created increasingly attractive cars. This led to a decline in Detroit. As more and more factories shrank or closed, the city became increasingly empty. At this point, a staggering 1/3 of the city is thought to be vacant and abandoned. The empty neighborhoods (estimated to be 100,000 properties abandoned) leave havens for drug dealers, gangs, and even arson. From Devil’s Night to the Detroit riots, this episode has it all.
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Episode 282: Tiananmen Square Massacre: China’s Dirty Secret
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the June 4th Incident, also known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The year was 1989, and as the Soviet Union was falling, and democracy was spreading through communist nations across the globe, a revolution started in China. It mostly occurred in Beijing; it was led by college students, and it was centered in Tiananmen Square. The students began to gather to mourn the death of the General Secretary of the Communist party. He was a symbol of political reform and was thought to avoid the corruption of the main party government. Students called for protests and reform in his name, and word spread. Eventually, protests emerged in various cities, and in Beijing 100,000 students gathered. This was obviously alarming to the dictatorial communist regime of China. The ruling party feared this was going to lead to a national civil war of people demanding freedoms as they had in the Soviet Union. A small government faction supported the student ideals, but most opposed it. Between April and June, tensions mounted, and more and more people gathered and protested, totaling 1.2 million citizens. There were small skirmishes, beatings, and shootings. There were also acts of compassion as students fed the very soldiers sent in to control them. Eventually, some bold moves were made as the whole population got involved. At one point, the citizens of Beijing even formed in mobs and forced the army to retreat and held them in certain neighborhoods. So, what was it that finally sparked the army and government to attack the mob of students? How many were killed? How did the students react? How did the Soviet Union play a part? Who was the infamous Tank Man, and what ever became of him? Listen, laugh, learn. Nice Timeline: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tankman/cron/
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Bonus Episode: By the Power of Grayskull!
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you’re in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following:   What scifi universe would we want to live in? What do we consider the quintessential episode of The Sofa King Podcast? What's the perfect sandwich? What are our nicknames? Are we thinking of doing any cross overs with other podcasts? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 281: Jim Henson: Master of Muppets
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life, works, films, television shows, and Muppets of the one and only Jim Henson. Jim Henson was one of the most influential figures in popular culture for several decades. By creating everything from Sesame Street to the Muppet show and from Dark Crystal to Labyrinth, Henson did it all. He was even responsible for the cult classic Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas and the creation of Yoda. So how did it all start? Henson was a creative child who happened to do some puppet work after his grandmother taught him how to do various art forms. He went to college to study home economics and while there, he was given a shot to do five minute shorts on a local television show. Here, he made use of his puppets, and it spread rapidly. Eventually, he branched off to start doing commercials and corporate films, and through all of this his famous Muppets were born. Kermit was his first, followed by a proto-Cookie Monster named Wheel Stealer for IBM spots. Eventually, Rolf the dog was created to sell dog food, and everything from coffee companies to Faygo used Jim Henson’s new puppets in their ads. Once the Muppets hit the national stage through ads, he was given a shot at Sesame Street, and from there The Muppet Show. Nobody backed either of these projects, but once they were finally produced, they were huge hits. All this time, Jim Henson created new forms of puppeteering and made friends with innovators such as George Lucas and Lorne Michaels. From truly bizarre experimental short films to truly bizarre experimental long films (I’m looking at you, Dark Crystal), Henson’s imagination could not be rivaled. He changed the face of public television, movie making, Star Wars, kid’s entertainment, and America through his positive belief that TV can be used for good. Sorry we don’t have serial killers in this one for all you sickos who like our show, but Jim Henson is legit, so give this one a listen! Time Piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDwCwMIRJlI Paperwork Explosion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IZw2CoYztk
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Episode 280: Johnny Cash: The Original Man in Black
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the original Man In Black, music legend Johnny Cash. This pillar of multiple music genres wrote over 1000 songs in his career and won every music award and accolade that is possible. And through it all, he maintained his street cred and outlaw image, the tough talking poet of the downtrodden, the homeless, the poor, the prisoner. At times, he advocated on behalf of Native Americans, though it only stood to hurt his career, and he lived a musical life of legend that didn’t care what the trends, labels, or zeitgeist had to say. Johnny Cash was born J.R. Cash in Arkansas back in 1932. He was the son of sharecroppers and was raised in a highly religious household. In spite of being dirt poor and dealing with the traumatic death of his brother, he grew to be a talented singer. He joined the army in 1950 and was allegedly an expert code breaker and radio operator, responsible for major intelligence gathered against the Soviets. More importantly, while serving, he bought his first guitar and took steps toward being the legendary man in black. When he got back to the states, he started doing small gigs, and after he saw the success of Elvis who had recorded at Sun Studios, he stormed to the same studio and insisted they sing him. They did. And the rest was music history. He started his rise to the top, and in the midst of it, he found love, lost love, and found it again. He was a troubled man for years of his life, addicted to drugs and living a wild life, but ultimately, the love of June Carter Cash turned him around. Unlike many music icons, he never had that slow period or the dark era that blemished his creativity. He kept producing and moving forward, recording legendary concerts at Folsom Prison, hosting his own variety television show, starring in movies and TV, and even being the mentor to musicians such as a young Bob Dylan. Johnny Cash may not be the top of the list for Brad and Dave, but he fully earned their respect, so give this one a download to find out why! Making Fun of Elvis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfHBDVF1uCA    
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Bonus Episode: I Have the Power
Welcome to a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. Just to be clear, in our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. So this bonus episode is different. We explain all of that at the top of the show, just to head off any questions you may have. So, if you want a bunch of research and factual goodness, skip this episode and turn to others with a clear focus. If you want a lot of dicking around, however, you're in the right place! On this bonus episode, we answer some of the following: What is something each of us have accomplished that we are proud of? If we could piss a beverage, what would it be? What was the first thing we remember truly being passionate about? Have we ever had someone take the fall for something we did? If you could live your life on a TV show, what would it be? What is the closest we have ever come to death? And many more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 279: Objectophilia: Fetish, Fantasy, or Freaky?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we explore the phenomenon of Objectophilia, which is the romantic and sexual attraction of a person to an inanimate object or landmark. This pattern of behaviors isn’t quite a sexual fetish; it isn’t considered masturbation; it isn’t even a sexual orientation, according to the experts. So what is it, and how do people start to have feelings for non-humans? That’s what one psychologist named Amy Marsh has set out to study. Marsh has interviewed several people Objectophilia (also called Objectum Sexuality or OS), and she has published preliminary findings. First, there is no connection to sexual misconduct or abuse as a child in those she interviewed. Second, there is a higher number than normal of people with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, but by no means is this a requirement. Marsh has developed the Marsh Spectrum which shows the depth of ranges in object attraction. So, what are some famous cases of this behavior? Well, two of the most famous are a woman who married the Eifel Tower (and changed her last name to Eifel, like you do…) and a woman who was in love with the Berlin Wall. These two founded the group called Objectum Sexuality, coined the term, and are the public face of this behavior pattern. But there are plenty of others. One guy loves his late model Ford. One gal is in love with a roller coaster. There are people who love chandeliers, fences, specific buildings, the Statue of Liberty (aka Libby), and one guy claims to have had sex with over 1000 cars! Though Objectophilia seems very odd to most of us, think about that one friend you have who really loves his old car and spends every weekend in the garage with it. Maybe Objectophilia is more common than we think? This one is a wild ride.   Official Group Website: http://www.objectum-sexuality.org/ Marsh Spectrum: http://waihili.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/marshspectrum.pdf Original Marsh Article: http://www.ejhs.org/volume13/ObjSexuals.htm
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Episode 278: Harvard Experiments: Henry Murray, Mad Scientist!
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at one of the most important American psychologists of all time and his unethical Harvard Experiments which may have led to the creation of the Unabomber. Doctor Henry Murray was, flat out, a genius. He earned multiple doctorates and PhD's from Harvard, Columbia, and Cambridge and was eventually hired on at Harvard to run the Harvard Psychological Clinic at a very young age. He developed a very famous test that involved showing images to patients to test their reactions to them. All of this seems legit and above board, but Murray may have had more sinister issues. For one, he was the head psychologist of the Office of Strategic Services in WWII (the precursor to the CIA). While here, he developed psychological tests for the US and British special forces to use in order to evaluate a candidate’s psych profile before they became spies. In short, he tried to break spies. While in the OSS, he was also tasked to create the definitive profile of Adolph Hitler, and he also pioneered the use of mind-altering drugs such as LSD. Many people claim that he was a willing participant in the CIA’s MK Ultra program years later, and indeed, his work at Harvard seems to point in that direction. In the 1960s, he conducted an experiment whose goal was to psychically deconstruction students, causing them to experience severe stress. These experiments included revealing their deepest thoughts from personal diaries and insulting them where it hurt the most and then forcing them to watch the tapes of the session over and over again for three years. Many of the students who participated in these unethical Harvard Experiments led by Henry Murray were permanently scarred. They claimed to have been violated in ways nobody could ever understand. One student, a 16 year old mathematical genius code named “Lawful” had the worst response to the test of any students. His stress levels were the highest on the EKG, and he had the most long-lasting effects. It just so happened this man turned out to be Ted Kaczynski. So, did Henry Murray’s Harvard Experiments create the terrorist and serial killer known as the Unabomber? Was Murray part of the CIA after World War II? How did they allow these unethical experiments to go on? Listen, laugh, learn. Complete TAT Images: http://www.cssforum.com.pk/css-interview-psychological-tests/psychological-tests/59211-thematic-apperception-test-whole-set-images.html
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Bonus Episode: One Flew Over the Pigeon’s Nest
This is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. In our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. In other words, you squawk, and we talk. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. What types of questions? Good question! What started us on fringe and conspiracies? What is the best thing we've ever eaten? When will we move to the cult compound? What do we think of the state of politics in America, and can the system be fixed? What are our favorite cars?   What version of Dungeons and Dragons is Dave's favorite? And much, much more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 277: Munich Massacre: Terrorism and the Olympics
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at one of the most famous terrorist acts of the 1970s, the massacre at the Munich Olympics. The Munich Massacre started on the 11th day of the Olympics when several members of the terrorist group known as Black September infiltrated the Olympic Village, killing 2 members of the Israeli Olympic team and kidnapping 9 others. Black September was a powerful terror group at the time, responsible for several political assassinations (including a prime minster) and airline hijackings. Within hours of the kidnapping, the Black September group insisted that the government release 200 political prisoners from Palestine (and a handful from their neo-Nazi allies the Red Army Faction). When their demands weren't met, the Munich Massacre was in full swing. The operation was a disaster due to international laws that banned Germany from having any truly trained soldiers or special forces for police forces. The world was still afraid of Nazis, apparently, so Germany couldn’t do very much. Their cops weren’t trained for anything as heavy as terrorists and hostages. The police tried to mount a rescue, but the entire world news was watching, including the terrorists, so the operation got called off. Eventually, the terrorists insisted on helicopters to take them to Cairo, and the Germans finally decided to try and mount a rescue. They tried to lay a trap, but it was discovered and abandoned, and then finally at the airfield, there was a chance to take out the terrorists. But it didn’t go as planned. Why couldn’t the sharp shooters take out the members of the Black September before the Munich Massacre started? What ties did Black September have to the Palestinian Liberation Organization? What happened to the armored police vehicles that were supposed to give support at the air strip? What pushed the terrorists to kill the hostages; what weapons did they use; and how many survived? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 276: The Mothman: The Terrible Truth
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we try to find the truth behind the ultimate urban legend, The Mothman. The Mothman is supposedly a cryptid creature that has been seen primarily in the south and on the east coast of the United States. According to observers, it is the size of a human, it has a wingspan over ten feet wide, dark skin, and glowing red eyes. It fills observers with a profound sense of dread and gives some permanent psychological damage from only one viewing. It came on the scene for the first time in November of 1966 in and around Point Pleasant, West Virginia. On November 15th of that year, five men digging a grave for a ceremony set for the next day first saw this creature and reported it. The following day, before anyone had heard about the first encounter, two couples saw the Mothman again out by an old WWII munitions plant outside of town. Any number of people saw it over the next few days, from first responders to construction workers, and eventually, the sheriff had to hold a press conference about it where even more people came forward with sighting stories. At that point, a flood of journalists, Forteans, and cryptozoological investigators descended on the scene. The most prominent of them was John Keel, author of the now famous book The Mothman Prophecies. Keel did a thorough investigation of the area and gathered the first accumulated account of the creature’s features. But things got even weirder from there. Most notably, Men in Black descended on the town, doing strange things and telling people to stop their investigations. Also, the Silver Bridge collapsed shortly after the Mothman sightings, and many people said the being was there to warn people of the danger. But that wasn’t the end for the creature. He was seen in 2017 by dozens of people in Chicago. There are rumors that he appeared before the Chernobyl accident, another bridge collapse, and even 9/11. So who or what is the Mothman? What do skeptics dismiss him as? How close was the popular movie to John Keel’s actual book account? What was up with the Men in Black? Are people just tripping balls? Listen, laugh, learn. Mothman warnings of other disasters: https://www.ranker.com/list/true-mothman-stories/lyra-radford Vice article on recent Chicago sightings: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/paqv9z/mothman-sightings-in-chicago
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Bonus Episode: On Zombies, Time, and Parenting
This is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. In our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. In other words, you squawk, and we talk. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. What types of questions? Good question! What are our three most cherished possessions? What failings of our parents do we want to correct while raising our own children? Would we rather live a week in the past or the future? Who would be the first to die in a zombie apocalypse? What is our dream vacation? What would we do if we could stop time? And much, much more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 275: Elvis Presley: The Rise and Fall of a King
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we gyrate our metaphorical hips and talk about the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Born the second of twin boys (his brother died in birth 35 minutes before Elvis was born), he was from a simple family. He was lavishly devoted to his mother, and he grew up as an average student and fairly typical kid. Early on, however, he had a love of music and would spend all of his time listening to radio and records and was given his first guitar at eleven years old. Young Elvis Presley was often too shy to perform, but eventually, he started to win talent contests, and his confidence grew. In 1954, he recorded some songs for the famous blues label Sun Studio, and he was an instant success with number one songs. By 1955, he had penned a deal with RCA Records and had been signed to start releasing musical comedy films. With hit after hit musically, and with a lot of very successful (if not horrible) movies, Elvis was an instant icon on the American landscape. His career trajectory took a slight detour as he was drafted into the army in 1957. He served at an army base in Germany during this time, and here he met three of life long loves: Priscilla Presley (who was 14 at the time), karate, and amphetamines! Elvis returned from the war with another string of hits and movies, and eventually he staged a massive comeback tour in 1968. From this point on, however, his life took a darker turn. He gained weight, became addicted to prescription drugs, and his marriage with Priscilla fell apart. He divorced and lost custody of his daughter, Lisa Marie, and his films and music got increasingly predictable and lower quality. Toward the end of his life, his band mates said he was a train wreck who could barely sing without slurring his words. Eventually, on August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley was found dead in his bathroom. The coroner ruled it was a cardiac arrest, but the indications are that it was drug-related. Elvis had one of the most important careers in American music, but many people argue that he stole the music of the African American and exploited it. Was this true? Was he a racist as many people (including Chuck D of Public Enemy) allege? What is the story with Graceland? Is Elvis, in fact, alive? Did he fake his death to avoid a hit by the mafia, and why do people think this? Listen, laugh, learn.   Is Elvis Alive: http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/weirdest-elvis-presley-sightings-conspiracy-2125270-2125270
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Episode 274: The Vatican: Secret, Archives, and Scandal
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look into secrets, daily living, history, and scandal of the Vatican. The Vatican is a truly unique place. It is the last actual monarchy in the world, a country run entirely by one man—the Pope. This city-state is its own government with its own banks, currency, passports, citizens, and laws. Though it exists inside of Rome in the heart of Italy, it is its own country. With under 1000 citizens and smaller than New York’s Central Park, the influence of this area cannot be understated since the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics all turn to this small nation for guidance and spiritual matters. The Vatican houses something called the Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Vaticanum, or, the Secret Archives. Dan Brown’s conspiracy theory novels take a poke at this, but many scholars argue about what is actually in the archives, from proof of extraterrestrials, the biological family-lineage of Jesus Christ, and strange tales about the Knights Templar. It is now open to the public, but we’ll talk about why it is still so hard to get anything useful from it and what we think is actually in the vaults. However, there are other secrets and mysteries found in the Vatican that are as strange as the Archives. The Pope’s personal protection, The Swiss Guard, is a very strange group of individuals with military training and dedication to the pontiff. They have massive training and modern weapons, yet they are fond of halberds and plate mail! Also, there are tales of murder and mafia that run about in the Vatican, all connected to the banking and businesses that the city-state runs from the heart of Italy. The scandal runs from the mob to the Masons, so it has tinfoil hat written all over it. So, say your prayers, thank the Pope, and give this one a listen!  
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Episode 273: Malcolm X: Race, Religion, and Assassination
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we explore the life of one of the most notorious black advocates in American history, Malcolm X. Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925, he was the son of a preacher / civil rights activist. He spent a childhood in the shadow of racism and harassment from the KKK and a white supremacy group ironically called the Black Legion. His family moved several times to avoid violence, but it caught up with the family several times—their house was burned to the ground while first responders simply watched and refused to help, and eventually his father’s body was found on the train tracks (though police refused to investigate it as a murder). These events eventually drove his mother insane, and Malcolm and his siblings were split up. By his late teenage years, Malcolm was on the wrong side of the law. He spent time pimping, stealing, and dealing drugs everywhere from Flint, Michigan to Boston and New York. Eventually, he did ten years in jail, and it was here that his life changed. He met members of the fledgling Nation of Islam group, a black power version of Islam, and he converted to this religion. Upon his release from prison, he was invited by the NOI’s leader Alijah Muhammed to head up several mosques. It was here that Malcolm changed his name to Malcolm X to rid himself of the name given to his family by slave owners past. Under the charismatic guidance of Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam flourished. He was a vocal enemy of both the white mainstream as well as Martin Luther King Jr. and the peaceful protests that were so popular in the 1960s. He advocated violence. Eventually, he fell out with the Nation of Islam, and he was assassinated on February 21st, 1965. So who killed him? Many people think it was members of the Nation of Islam. In fact, members were arrested and did time for the crime. Indeed, his family (the Shabazz family, after Malcolm changed his name again) thinks that the current leader of the NOI, Louis Farrakhan was directly responsible for the murder. However, some evidence points to police involvement. Even other information suggest the FBI was involved as part of their COINTELPRO program. Regardless of where you fall on the Black Lives Matter debate, the battles that Malcolm X fought resonated deeply in today’s divided America. Give this one a listen.
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Episode 272: Stigmata: Nobody Makes Me Bleed My Own Blood
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the phenomenon of Stigmata—the spontaneous appearance of the five holy wounds of Jesus Christ on regular people. Much debate occurs about the validity of the bleeding miracle wounds. The Catholic church recognizes stigmata as a real thing, and they have specialists who look into cases to tell if they are frauds or legitimate. Skeptics, of course, think there is no such thing and look for many explanations other than the power of the Christian god. The first known case of stigmata was St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century. He claims to have seen a crucified angel and was then a stigmatic, suffering from the wounds and even bleeding out of his eyes. Another famous case was much more recent, and it was the case of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who experienced stigmata in the early 1900s. His case was explored by physicians and the church, and it was ruled as miraculous; the pope even made him a saint in 2002. However, many people thought he was a fraud and that he did these things for popularity. So, what do the skeptics say about stigmata? Many cases are obvious, intentional frauds from people looking for attention or fame. Other cases, however, have no clear motive or origin, and skeptics think they have an answer for those as well. So what might be the cause of stigmata for people if it isn’t divine or intentional fraud? How many cases have there been according to the Catholic Church? Does it affect certain religions, classes, or sexes more often? What are the twelve signs of genuine stigmata according to the church? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Bonus Episode: Who Stole My Wombat?!?
This is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. In our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. In other words, you squawk, and we talk. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. What types of questions? Good question! We answer several age-old gems, such as: What did our parents do for a living? Who are our three favorite musicians? What is our dream retirement? And much, much more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we do a live-stream for our $10 and above Patrons on these episodes. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 271: OJ Simpson: Football, Felonies, and Foul Play
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we take the slow drive down the freeway of OJ Simpson. Some say he was a sports legend, others a murderer. Why not both? Simpson was born Orenthal James Simpson in 1947 to a middle class family in San Francisco. His father left his mother (and became a famous drag queen in San Francisco), and his mom had to raise Simpson and his siblings in a poor, black area of the city. Eventually, Simpson fell in with a bad crowd and joined a local gang at the age of 13, serving some time in juvenile detention as a result. However, by the time his high school years were in full swing, OJ Simpson discovered that he was a natural athlete. He set records for his school and ended up going to a Community College because his grades were low. This didn’t stop him from eventually winning the Heisman Trophy, signing with the NFL, and becoming the highest paid athlete in America at the time. He also set a lot of football records. He was gifted at sports, gifted at acting, and apparently gifted at killing people. Well, according to the civil suit, anyway… In 1994, his ex-wife and her boyfriend were found murdered outside of her condo, and Simpson was considered a person of interest. Instead of turning himself in, however, he drove down the 405 freeway in LA at 20 miles per hour with thirty cop cars and nine helicopters in one of the highest viewed live news events ever. He eventually turned himself in, and he went into what was considered the original “Trial of the Century.” Never had such unprecedented access been given to a courtroom before, and never had cable been able to run so much footage. It became the only thing anyone watched for a over a year, and eventually Simpson’s “Dream Team” of lawyers got him acquitted. So, if he wasn’t guilty, why does he owe the parents of the deceased over $30 Million dollars after the civil trial? What legal trouble has OJ gotten into since the murder trial? Why did he end up serving time in Nevada, and did he actually hold someone up at gun point? Did he really write a book confessing he did the murder? Could his son have been responsible for the murders, and OJ Simpson was trying to cover for his boy? Was it a serial killer? Listen, laugh, learn.
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EPISODE 270: PHOENIX LIGHTS: MASS UFO SIGHTING OR WAS IT?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we throw on our protective tinfoil headgear and step into a Faraday cage to talk about the famous Phoenix Lights. First witnessed on Thursday, March 13, 1997, the Phoenix Lights have been a topic of discussion among friends, colleagues, and strangers alike. Seen above the night skies of Arizona, the two events were witnessed and recorded by a number of people and while some settled for the delayed government explanation of just being flares dropped from an A-10 Warthog aircraft, others have maintained the argument that flares don’t move across and over great distances without falling from the sky and leaving a trail of smoke above them. But if they weren’t flares, what were they? And why did they show up again in later years? Join us as we take a closer look to figure out if they were secret experimental government aircraft, natural swamp gasses above the desert, Power Rangers come to save us, or perhaps actual extraterrestrial UFOs from another race and place still unknown to humankind.
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EPISODE 269: EDGAR A. POE: FATHER OF MODERN WRITING
On this 269th episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we pull back the shadows of the famous American mastermind of mystery and macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. Known historically as the Godfather of funk, wait no, I’m still drunk. Poor boy Poe was the middle child of three souls born to actor parents in 1809. By his first birthday, his father had packed up and split for greener pastures leaving his mother to care for three small children alone. Not wanting to spend the rest of her life chained down by responsibilities, she contracted tuberculosis and cashed in her life chips just before Poe turned three. The siblings would all be split up and sent to different foster homes and the young Eddie would end up with the Allan family where he acquired the now famous second surname to become the one horror Autobot to rule them all, Edgar Allan Poe. Spoiler alert: He wasn’t really an Autobot. Poe would excel at schooling and live the lavish childhood life that was afforded him by the tobacco merchant Allan family but would soon find himself at ends with his foster father once he was sent off to college.  Racking up a quick gambling debt that Allan refused to pay Poe would turn to the military and enlist under a false name. How did a now abandoned little orphan boy become the master of mystery and the macabre? You’ll have to listen to find out. Come join us as we dissect the dark genius that would become Edgar Allan Poe, and wonder never-mo.
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Episode 268: The Circus: Sideshows & Freaks
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the Circus. From the ancient arena in the man dress wearing Roman (Not Ramen) times known as Circus Maximus to the modern era big tops that you used to get free tickets to from school, but that your parents would never take you to go see. From the cavalry officer who has been christened the creator of the Common Era circus, Philip Astley, to the Scotsman John Bill Rickets who brought it to the United States, we follow the trail of equestrian performances and unearth the creation of the Big Top tents in our search for the perfect sideshow act. Along the way we find that the Circus helped shape the way in which the military utilized freight trains, that the multiple ring circus was created out of necessity for spectators to witness the magic, and how without the freaks and oddities, circuses might not have lasted through the depression of the 1930’s. We all know why we’re really here to listen though, and that is for the side show performers. So kick off your shoes and toe socks, grab a bottle of your favorite whiskey, and join us as we take a quick look at some of the more famous as well as the lesser-known freaks of nature and creation!
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Episode 267: GG Allin: Jesus Christ Punk Rock Legend
On this new episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we dive deep into the shallow end of the genius pool and take a look at the man behind the madness of the infamous 'poop punk stage movement', G.G. Allin. Born Jesus Christ Allin in 1953, the young Allin would spend his early days in a log cabin in New Hampshire with his older brother Merle. Quietly the family would listen to their father explain how they didn’t need things like electricity or running water. Dear old Dad even mentioned that the savior Jesus Christ had visited him and explained to him that his second son would be a “great man in the vein of the Messiah.” When pops wasn’t serenading the family with sermons and prophecies they even had the chance to listen to the repeated dull thuds of their father digging the family graves in the basement. Not one to let his father steal the funk, G.G. Allin found solace and comfort in music. In his mid-teens, he and his brother Merle created a band called Little Sisters Date where they covered KISS, Aerosmith, and other popular bands of the time. He actually graduated high school in 1975 in Vermont. After high school, G.G. would play in a number of different bands in the underground hardcore scene yet was not part of the east coast hardcore scene. His performances in Manchester, New Hampshire with the Cedar Street Sluts earned him the nickname of "the madman of Manchester" in the mid 1980’s. Having discovered the escape and comfort of heroin and every other drug handed to him by fans or friends, G.G. found his true calling in Peoria, IL in 1985 when he defecated on stage for the first time. Maybe it was the madness of watching hardcore punks run screaming towards the doors or the anger and outrage of the venue owners, but whatever it was, G.G. Allin was hooked. Join us as we take a plugged nose look at the self-proclaimed, “last true rock and roller.” Watch Hated GG Allin and the Murder Junkies Documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piEQGeyiE-k
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Patreon Shout Out Super Especial Show IV: Two Aliens Walk Into A Bar
In this Patreon shout out myself and the infamous Cj Lazer invoke the spirit ok two hispanic grey aliens Zoltan and Fleaburb. We trade tales of anal probing and cow tipping while trying to avoid being discovered by Voltaire the Alien DJ Sweed. Patreon victims, Reese's pieces, and Commander Coleman. Grab a Zima and some skittles and give it a listen.
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Patreon Shout Out Super Especial Show III: Legend of the Fondue Fountain
To those who haven't heard this one ... I always have a list of Patreon names and no idea what I'm doing with it. I generally open YouTube and play random background music and just start talking into the mic to see what character I take on. This day I grabbed a guitar and what ever this is happened haha... I hope you enjoy my nonsense... -Brënt (The Pigeon Father)
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Patreon Shout Out Super Especial Show II: SK Fight Night 2
Hey Pigeons, This weeks Episodes have been postponed due to an unexpected Death in Dave's family. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. We will return to our normal schedule just as soon as possible. In the mean time dig back in our catalog for some oldies but goodies… you know you skipped “Oprah” and “Pizza” because WTF??? But we might just surprise you... To hold you over Brent and Brad test out there acting chops in this weeks Patreon shout out comedy skits titled “Fight Night" 1 & 2. Our listeners have created a go fund me to help Dave's family in their time of need. You can help by clicking the link below. https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds-for-dave-motons-family
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Patreon Shout Out Super Especial Show I: SK Fight Night
Hey Pigeons, This weeks Episodes have been postponed due to an unexpected Death in Dave's family. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. We will return to our normal schedule just as soon as possible. In the mean time dig back in our catalog for some oldies but goodies… you know you skipped “Oprah” and “Pizza” because WTF??? But we might just surprise you... To hold you over Brent and Brad test out there acting chops in this weeks Patreon shout out comedy skits titled “Fight Night" 1 & 2. Our listeners have created a go fund me to help Dave's family in their time of need. You can help by clicking the link below. https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds-for-dave-motons-family          
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Episode 266: Base 221: UFOs, Hitler, and Antarctic Nazi Base
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we go to the most remote part of planet Earth and talk about the lonely continent of Antarctica. Oh, and Nazis. We talk about Antarctica and a secret Nazi base that survived the fall of the Third Reich and existed until it was Nuked in the late 1950s when Hitler finally actually died. Yes, for real. So, the theorists maintain that the Nazis first visited the Antarctic in 1938 on a ship called the Schwabenland. Within a year—the theory goes—they had established a base called New Berchtesgaden or Base 221. At this base, the Nazi scientists discovered underground thermal vents and tunnels and, of course, an ancient alien base filled with UFOs and technology that they back engineered (called Wunderwaffen or “wonder weapons”). Next, Britain discovered the base in 1943, and the combined assaults of their military and the US military in 1946 failed to topple the base. This base was filled with alien wonders, Hitler himself escaped there instead of dying in a bunker, and they had UFOs. Lots of UFOs. So, at the end of the day, what truths may tie to these bizarre alternate history facts? Actually, a surprising amount. There were British and US operations in Antarctica that supposedly connect here. The nuclear bombs that supposedly ended the Third Reich in 1958 were actually detonated by the US. Various German military personnel claimed that there was a secret submarine fleet hidden in the world, and U-boats arrived in Argentina months after the war ended, supposedly fresh from missions at the new Antarctic base. This episode was going to cover other conspiracy theories about Antarctica (such as Hollow Earth), but we get so carried away with Nazi UFO madness that we have to put them on hold until a future episode. Scholarly Article about Nazis in Antarctica: http://www.histarmar.com.ar/Antartida/Base-Hitler/LaBaseAntarticadeHitler.pdf
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Episode 265: Andy Kaufman: The Ultimate Comedy Prankster
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life, hijinks, stunts, comedy, and influence of the immortal (or maybe still alive at least?) Andy Kaufman. Kaufman is considered a legend of comedy, though many people consider him a performance artist as much as a comic due to the crazy and wild stunts he pulled throughout his career. Most comedians play for the room, but Andy Kaufman seemed to play for the god of comedy or for future generations to marvel at. What did he do? Well, he started by developing acts that were not necessarily good, but jarringly bad. From his famous Foreign Man to the Mighty Mouse routine he did on Saturday Night Live, he was happy bombing on stage in order to achieve some odd sense of meta-comedy that transcended the mere audience in front of him. He once read the novel The Great Gatsby on stage until everyone in the comedy club left pissed off. He played pranks on his audience, his manager, and the owner of clubs. Eventually, he got a leading role in the ground-breaking sitcom Taxi, and his fame allowed him to play even bigger pranks. He then pranked the studios by getting money for comedy specials and doing the most bizarre things imaginable on the air. But his biggest goof, by far, was the creation of the rude comic and lounge singer Tony Clifton. Dressed in heavy makeup, Andy Kaufman as Clifton would upset the audience by being amazingly, uncomfortably rude, and when pressed, he insisted Clifton was a real person and not him at all. In fact, his comedy partner Bod Zmuda and his brother played Clifton at times allowing Andy Kaufman and Clifton to show up in the same place. His behavior on the air led to him being shunned by every network head, permanently banned from Saturday Night Live, and hated by his own audiences. And he was just getting started. He had an infamous career as the Intergender Champion of professional wrestling, pissing off women until they’d fight him, and he would pin them aggressively. He had a feud with Jerry the King Lawler and even fought with him on David Letterman. This comic genius pushed every boundary, down the fact that many of his closest friends doubted his own death when he (allegedly?) died of lung cancer. It was just the type of stunt he would pull as the ultimate punchline. After this episode, you’ll probably find yourself watching YouTube clips of Andy Kaufman work his unique magic. Is Donald Trump a creation of the still-living Andy Kaufman? http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-andy-kaufman-disguise-election-502292
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Episode 264: MS13: The World’s Most Dangerous Gang
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the history, evolution, crimes, and culture of what some experts consider the most dangerous gang in the world, MS13. Mara Salvatrucha, known simply as MS13 is a transnational street gang that started in Los Angeles in the 1970s. It was the result of thousands of refugees fleeing the civil war in El Salvador. They moved into Latino neighborhoods in LA, and eventually, street gangs started to form out of this population. At first, they were called Stoners, and they listened to the punk rock and heavy metal of the 1970s, something that lead to a healthy respect of both rebellion and the devil as the gang evolved. Now that it is called MS13, they still have an affinity for the devil, using devil horns as their main hand symbol, and often ritualistically killing victims and leaving organs and body parts in pentagrams or removing the heart. As with all gangs, they of course have involvement in weapons trade and drug smuggling, but their main money maker tends to be human trafficking and ’prostitution. Rings of under-aged, trafficked girls are found from Maine to California, and they all point back to MS13. Their initiation is brutal, and it typically is said to involve a murder and a beating. Once they mastered the streets of LA, El Salvador opened back up, and America started to deport the gang members in droves. This lead to a massive surge of international members of the gangs starting their own cliques in Honduras, El Salvador, and all around the world. Their motto is now: Kill, Rape, Control. Now, they are numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and their devil horn ways are spread. They have so much influence in some parts of the world that they even own their own prison, which no guards dare enter (they have to be policed from the outside by the actual army!). So, do members actually believe in the devil? What is it like being a female member of this gang? Why did Trump target them? What do the tattoos mean? What change has happened recently in their tattoo culture? Who is their most bitter rival and why? Listen, laugh, learn. Some awesome Face Ink: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2387648/tattooed-members-el-salvador-ms-13-gang-prison-adam-hinton/
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Bonus Episode: How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck…
This is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. In our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. In other words, you squawk, and we talk. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. What types of questions? Good question! We answer several age-old gems, such as: What would we struggle to give up for a month? Why does Brad look like Morgan Freeman? If we weren't doing the podcast what would we be doing? What is the most rewarding thing about being a parent? And much, much more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we did our first ever live-stream for our $10 Patrons on this episode. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 263: Crop Circles: Global Hoax or Supernatural Phenom?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the global phenomenon of Crop Circles. Also called “The Devil’s Circles,” these often massive shapes appear in crops all over the world, most commonly in Southern England. They range from simple circles in the crops to multiple circles inside of circles and even massive mathematical equations rendered in the fields of unwitting farmers. They are enormous arrangements, sometimes hundreds of feet wide, and the way the stalks of the crops are bent but not destroyed is a bit of a mystery to most researchers. While Crop Circles were first photographed in the 1970s, some claim references of them go all the way back to the 1600s and even earlier. Back then, they were attributed to the devil or fairies, but now they are of course blamed on UFOs, space aliens, and shadow governments. At the peak of their occurrence in the late 1990s (back in X-Files Times), thousands of them appeared through all of Europe every year. Of course, while many point to the supernatural as the cause of the Crip Circles, many humans claim to have made them. Doug Bower and Dave Chorley famously claimed to have created some of the most important Crop Circles in England and are infamous hoaxers and the best human Circle creators known. Many people have recreated Circles using things as sophisticated as microwave transmissions or as basic as a rope and a length of wood. But claims that they appear in some circumstances in mere minutes and footage of unidentified flying objects over the new Crop Circles make some of the hoax assertions harder to believe. The famous footage of the 1990 UFOs over the Milk Hill Crop Circle is one solid example. However, true cereologists claim that while these hoaxes exist, true Crop Circles—ones that emit radiation and often glow—are not of human design. So, what else could cause them? What countries are they found in? Why would someone go through the trouble? Listen, laugh, learn. Milk Hill Footage: http://temporarytemples.co.uk/what-are-crop-circles/the-milk-hill-ufo-footage
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Episode 262: Mark Chopper Read: The Ultimate Aussie Criminal
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the most famous prisoner in all of Australia, Mark “Chopper” Read. Chopper Read had claimed to have killed 19 people at his height, and he had done everything from kidnap a judge to cutting the toes off of heroin dealers. He ran a street gang and a prison gang, was involved with the mob, and lived with a strange sense of honor that saw him only killing and harming drug dealers, mobsters, and scumbags. Ultimately, he became a bestselling author, rapper, painter, and stand-up comedian before he died in 2013. Chopper Read’s past was nothing but abuse. He had a mentally disturbed father (a PTSD World War Two vet) and a crazy religious mother. Allegedly, he was sexually abused when he was five, lit fires, got in fights, and was declared mentally ill three times when he was still young. At the age of 17, he took his first contract killing and shot a union boss in the face outside of a bar. By his twenties, Chopper was in the worst prison in Australia. Inside, he ran a gang called the “Overcoat Gang,” and he started a prison war to end the flow of drugs in the prison and clean the place up. Eventually, this went too far, and his own gang members tried to kill him to collect a contract on his life. Also, while he was inside, Chopper Read figured out that if he cut his ears off, they would consider him crazy and let him out of the notorious H Division of the prison. He did. So, the earless gang leader kept up his life of crime. Every time he got released, he was put right back in prison. All the while, he kept taking money from dealers, killing people, and being otherwise crazy. Eventually, he was done in by a bad liver. First, it was liver damage due to Hepatitis C he contracted in prison, and then it was liver cancer. Once he was finally down to only three weeks left to live, he gave a final interview for 60 Minutes in which he confessed four murders nobody ever busted him for. So, which of his crimes seemed legit and which were his famous exaggerations? How did he become a bestselling author? Why did he start filming commercials in Australia? How did he start his life as a stand-up comedian? Was his rap album any good? Listen, laugh, learn.   Chopper Read’s Ghost: Stay till the end for a creepy sexual comment. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1102078/Prison-tour-guide-sights-ghost-Mark-Chopper-Read.html
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Episode 261: SHC: Spontaneous Human Combustion
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the allegedly supernatural phenomenon of Spontaneous Human Combustion. Called SHC, Spontaneous Human Combustion has occurred for hundreds of years, with the earliest examples coming from the 1400s with a drunken Italian knight, and then many more cases coming up in the 1600s through modern day. In these cases, certain patterns emerge. The victims are found burnt alive with a very high heat. Their limbs and extremities are the only things left of them after the fire. The furniture and buildings don’t light on fire for some odd reason. There is a sweet smell it the air and greasy stains on the ceiling. There is no natural cause of flame that is identified. So, what is the story with this? Can people really ignite internally and burn fast and hard, leaving the world around them intact? If so, modern science tries to explain it. They propose something called the Wick Theory, Methane and Enzymes, Static, and something called Pyrotrons. However, people as far back as Charles Fort suggest that science works too hard to explain this phenomenon. People have tried to recreate SHC by using the bodies of dead pigs under various circumstances. From hay and oil stuffed in stomachs to smoldering blankets, people have tried to make SHC occur with various levels of success on the results. More recent theories even point a finger at diabetes and bodies gone into ketosis. And, you can’t talk about Spontaneous Human Combustion without looking at famous cases like Mary Reeser, who ignited in Florida in 1951. A thorough, forensic investigation involving police, fire marshals, and even the FBI ruled out most logical causes. We look at her case, and we explore every possible cause from the supernatural to blood-alcohol levels. If you’re worried about lighting on fire while you listen to a podcast, don’t miss this one.   Thorough History of SHC: http://anomalyinfo.com/?q=Topics/spontaneous-human-combustion-brief-history   Skeptic Response to SHC: http://skepdic.com/shc.html
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Leftovers, Part Three: Who Are You Mr. Smith?
This is a very unusual episode of the Sofa King Podcast. First off, it is being posted on Christmas week, and we didn't want to leave everyone without their beloved baby punching, pigeon loving, orange nether regioned hosts. However, there was a newborn baby thrown into the mix along with laryngitis, both belonging to Dave and Erica (well, the laryngitis isn't Erica's, but you understand). So, while a full episode wasn't in the works this week, we wanted to leave you with something. It is a mash up of some clips we recorded over the years. Some Cards Against Humanity we played with various hosts and some interviews with some of our most die hard, early listeners. We know this doesn't make up for the full-blown, amazing, informative, offensive, riotous, distasteful, educational, half-assed famous podcast of our normal episodes, but hey, what do you want from us? Dave can't talk, and he hasn't slept in a week. Next week, we're back with the usual goodness and bonus episode, but for now, please do enjoy your Leftovers.
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Leftovers, Part Two: All Humanity Is Lost
This is a very unusual episode of the Sofa King Podcast. First off, it is being posted on Christmas week, and we didn't want to leave everyone without their beloved baby punching, pigeon loving, orange nether regioned hosts. However, there was a newborn baby thrown into the mix along with laryngitis, both belonging to Dave and Erica (well, the laryngitis isn't Erica's, but you understand). So, while a full episode wasn't in the works this week, we wanted to leave you with something. It is a mash up of some clips we recorded over the years. Some Cards Against Humanity we played with various hosts and some interviews with some of our most die hard, early listeners. We know this doesn't make up for the full-blown, amazing, informative, offensive, riotous, distasteful, educational, half-assed famous podcast of our normal episodes, but hey, what do you want from us? Dave can't talk, and he hasn't slept in a week. Next week, we're back with the usual goodness and bonus episode, but for now, please do enjoy your Leftovers.
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Leftovers, Part One
This is a very unusual episode of the Sofa King Podcast. First off, it is being posted on Christmas week, and we didn't want to leave everyone without their beloved baby punching, pigeon loving, orange nether regioned hosts. However, there was a newborn baby thrown into the mix along with laryngitis, both belonging to Dave and Erica (well, the laryngitis isn't Erica's, but you understand). So, while a full episode wasn't in the works this week, we wanted to leave you with something. It is a mash up of some clips we recorded over the years. Some Cards Against Humanity we played with various hosts and some interviews with some of our most die hard, early listeners. We know this doesn't make up for the full-blown, amazing, informative, offensive, riotous, distasteful, educational, half-assed famous podcast of our normal episodes, but hey, what do you want from us? Dave can't talk, and he hasn't slept in a week. Next week, we're back with the usual goodness and bonus episode, but for now, please do enjoy your Leftovers.
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Episode 260: Feral Children: Raised by Lions Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we explore the phenomenon of feral children. Feral children have been found in all societies throughout human history, the most famous being Remus and Romulus of Greek Lore. In the modern day, however, feral children are still discovered. They are typically kids who were abandoned by parents, mistreated, isolated, or ran away and had to fend for themselves. From lock-in cases who never left their bedrooms through their entire childhood to kids who were raised by monkeys, feral children come in a lot of varieties. One thing that is especially fascinating about feral children is the rare chance to study the nature versus nurture debate about learning and human behavior. Some of these kids are eventually found by humans and are permanently unable to learn language or even walk upright. They take on the communication habits and body language of the animals they were thought to be raised by (from monkeys and dogs to leopards and birds). Some of the big cases are Marina Chapman, who was sold and escaped to be raised by capuchin monkeys; she was eventually rescued and lived a normal life and eventually wrote a book about her experiences. Then were Kamala and Amala, the two girls allegedly raised by wolves in India, and Oxana Malaya, the girl raised by dogs in the country outside of her abusive parent’s home. There are also cases of children who spent their lives living like one of their parents pets, or even chained to a toilet for their entire lives. So, which of these famous cases is thought to be fraudulent? What is true about the feral children? What behavior traits do they all share, and what do psychologists and experts think they say about what it means to be human? Listen, laugh, learn. Skeptical Response to Feral Children: https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4567
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Bonus Episode: Chicago, Christmas, and Questions
This is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. In our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. In other words, you squawk, and we talk. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we do different stuff. First, we open some Christmas presents from some listeners (thank you, thank you, thank you!), and then we share our experiences at El Yucateco and House of Blues Chicago Meet up! It was dope, and we go into glorious detail. We thank a lot of the folks who visited us there, and we talk about our overall impression of the city of Chicago. Then, as usual, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. What types of questions? Good question! We answer several age-old gems, such as: Why do the Flintstones have cars that run with their feet? (Then don't!) What was the best lie we ever told? What was the best Christmas present we ever received? What was the best Christmas present we ever gave? And much, much more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we did our first ever live-stream for our $10 Patrons on this episode. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 259: Hatfield and McCoy: The Ultimate Family Feud
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look back to the old west and examine the infamous feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families. This feud was so famous that in America, the term Hatfield and McCoy is synonymous with the idea of two families fighting. Their fight lasted for almost two decades, and it cost the lives of almost two dozen family members and friends, extending between multiple states and eventually making it all the way to the Supreme Court and coming close to igniting a second Civil War! The trouble started during the Civil War when a member of the McCoy family joined the Union instead of the Confederates. Ultimately, a Hatfield killed this man after a give and take of other murders. Eventually, things got worse. There was a courtship between a Hatfield and McCoy that lead to the abandonment and death of an 8 month old baby, and the alleged theft of a prize razorback hog. Then, finally, on a wild election day in 1882, the blood started to spill. Ellison Hatfield was killed in a brawl at the polling place, stabbed 26 times and shot in the back. To get revenge, Devil Anse Hatfield kidnapped three McCoys and shot them while they were tied to pawpaw bushes. Violence only escalated from here. Eventually, the violence culminated in The New Year’s Massacre in which the McCoy home was set on fire, and the house was riddled with bullets and the family’s mother was beaten until her skull was cracked. This led to a series of raids over state lines from family to family, and it even resulted in legal problems between West Virginia and Kentucky, militias being summoned to defend state borders, and Supreme Court involvement. So how did the feud end? Did either side win? Why did it go on for so long, and how come no local law enforcement ever got involved? Listen, laugh, learn. Family Feud Episode with the Hatfield and McCoy Families: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqYchj3hii8  
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Episode 258: Atlantis: Plato, Space Aliens, and Firestones
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at one of the greatest myths and mysteries of all time: The Lost Civilization of Atlantis. Atlantis was first described in some of Plato’s writing in ancient Greece, circa 360 BCE. In these writing, he tells the story of a great island civilization with perfect weather and amazing crops. It was a civilization that started highly moral and wealthy, using a strange red metal as their currency. However, as they grew, so did their army, and they eventually became greedy and wanted to conquer nearby lands. They set their sights on Athens, but eventually Athens triumphed through a long war. Atlantis was defeated in battle, taught a lesson about hubris, and shortly thereafter was destroyed and leveled to the depths of the ocean by Poseidon himself. Many ancient Greeks, and most people after that, considered the story of Atlantis to be a parable about greed. However, in 1882, former U.S. Congressman Ignatius L. Donnelly wrote a book called Atlantis: The Antediluvian World. In it, he suggested Atlantis was a real place in the physical world, and a lot of people started to reinterpret Plato’s work as being a literal discussion of a missing kingdom. A few years later, Russian mystic Helena Blavatsky wrote about Atlantis in her new religious movement of Theosophy (a primary source used by Hitler to define his Aryan people—they were related to Atlanteans!). After that, American prophet Edgar Cayce filled the Atlantis myth with power crystals and space aliens. So, whether you believe in ancient myth, Nazi dogma, new age mysticism, or even the recent science of Geomythology, Atlantis is probably of interest to you. Many archaeologists and television networks are convinced that they have found Atlantis using new scanning techniques, radar, LIDAR, and even Google Maps. Where is Atlantis thought to be located? Is it possible for a continent to have disappeared? Was Plato writing science fiction? What was in Plato’s missing second book that was supposed to go into more detail about Atlantis? What types of aliens were thought to be communicating with Atlantis? Listen, laugh, learn. True Atlantis Events of the Past: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160118-the-atlantis-style-myths-of-sunken-lands-that-are-really-true
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Episode 257: Miyamoto Musashi : Japan’s Samurai Sword Saint
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we travel back in time and discuss the life of the ultimate Japanese samurai sword master, Miyamoto Musashi. Though many people don’t know about this genuine badass, he is the author of the classic book on war and strategy, The Book of Five Rings. He is also the most renowned sword master in all of Japanese history, an artist, author, and painter. He was a bit of a rogue, and he was considered a wild man because he never bathed (he’d have to be without his swords too long) or did his hair. Musashi was born into a noble family and was part of the samurai class upon his birth. He trained with his father on the ways of weaponry, though his father either died or left him at the age of ten, when Musashi moved to a Zen monastery and studied with monks. By age 13, he was so fierce and skilled, he fought in his first duel and beat a full grown, experienced warrior to death with stick. And that was just the beginning of his decades of duels. Miyamoto Musashi traveled on a “Warrior’s Pilgrimage” around Japan, fighting in life-and-death duels, joining different armies in times of war, and trying to find enlightenment in the Way of the Sword the whole time. Some of his most famous exploits include his attempt to get revenge for the wrongs that were done by a family to his father years ago. He went and challenged the father to a duel and beat him unconscious. Then, he was challenged by the first son, and then the second son. He killed them both, plus their guards, using brilliant tactics and sword play. He continued to go undefeated in life or death duels, most accounts putting him around a total of 60 by the time of his death. Eventually, he became so skilled with a sword that he decided to only fight with wooden swords for the rest of his life in order to up his sword skill game. He kept on winning. Eventually, after a couple more duels and a fight with a guy who cheated with a deceptively long sword, he settled down and started to teach. In his last days, he moved to a cave for seclusion and wrote the masterpiece The Book of Five Rings, a book still studied by martial artists, military leaders, politicians, and corporate CEOs to this day. If you want to hear tales of an immortal warrior who is now the sword saint of Japan, this one’s for you!   Full Text of the Book of the Five Rings: Great introduction! https://archive.org/stream/MiyamotoMusashi-BookOfFiveRingsgoRinNoSho/Book_of_Five_Rings_djvu.txt
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Episode 256: Ancient Rome: Sex, War, and Water
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we take a look back in time and explore the world of the Ancient Roman Empire. Though this was not the largest empire in history of the Earth, it is undoubtedly the most important one to Western civilization. The inventions that were dreamed up in ancient Rome are the basis for most of the technology that runs our society today: running water, sophisticated architecture, highways, literature, advanced laws, and advanced medicine. Some of the construction techniques used in Rome were lost for over 1000 years before science caught back up with them. Why were they so advanced in ancient Rome? Well, part of it is because of how high their standard of living was. With efficient laws, strong soldiers, running water, and flowing food, the base needs were all met, and people could philosophize, invent, and create. They could also have lots of sex. They were a sexually active culture, not afraid to embrace homosexuality and even infidelity (as long as it was initiated by the men). Their family units of ancient Rome were run by Paterfamilias, which was a strict adherence to fatherly rule. The father had power to decide of babies lived or died and could even sell members of household into slavery. We begin this episode with a quick look at random (and pretty bizarre) facts about ancient Rome (from urine to being sewn in a sack with a snake, monkey, dog, and cock). Then, instead of a look at dates, we cover the daily life of Romans, their sex, their inventions, their family, their entertainment. So, what did the crazy ancient emperors do with sex and perversion? How badass was the Roman legion? What was really happening with gladiators in the colosseum? What did Romans do with their own urine? What was an “Analist?” Listen, laugh, learn.
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Bonus Episode: Why did the chicken cross the road?
This is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. In our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. In other words, you squawk, and we talk. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. What types of questions? Good question! We answer several age-old gems, such as: Have we ever danced with the devil by the pale moonlight? What are our predictions about the Chicago Meet Up? What would we have thought about answering questions from strangers all around the world five years ago? What are our secrets to success? And much, much more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we did our first ever live-stream for our $10 Patrons on this episode. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 255: Biggie Smalls: Legend to Rivalry
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at another musical figure who was key in the West Coast/East Coast feud, the Notorious B.I.G. Biggie Smalls was born as Christopher Wallace in 1972 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the child of two immigrant parents from Jamaica. When his mom was abandoned by his father, she worked overtime shifts at two jobs to provide for Biggie and send him to great private schools. One of them was a who’s who of East Side rappers, including DMX, Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes. He dropped out early and turned to street life, selling drugs and getting arrested several times. Eventually, he experimented with rapping and made a demo album just to listen to himself over some beats. However, this demo was discovered by a young Sean Puffy Combs who was just about to start his own label. Puffy signed him, and the two were fast friends. Another of his early friends was actually West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur. However, this friendship turned to enmity, and it launched the entire rap war of the 1990s. Biggie Smalls ended up reaching the highest heights of musical stardom. He won multiple Emmy awards, sold millions of albums, and was the only rap artists to ever record a track with Michael Jackson. He had a tumultuous love life including Lil’ Kim and Faith Evans, which only added to the beef he had with Shakur (who publicly claimed to have slept with Biggie’s wife). All this lead to the shooting death of Tupac (See Episode Here), and eventually Biggie’s own death. But that’s not all of the story. Who was behind his killing? The LAPD wrote it off as a gang killing, but detectives claimed it was someone from the Nation of Islam with ties to Death Row’s Suge Knight. In fact, the investigation uncovered a secret organization inside the police department who worked for Knight and did drug deals on the side. Listen, laugh, learn.   Teens React to Biggie Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZkZKK721OE Rolling Stone article on Biggie's Death Conspiracy: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-unsolved-mystery-of-the-notorious-b-i-g-20110107
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Episode 254: Osama bin Laden: Nuff Said!
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life, lies, and legacy of terrorist number one, Osama bin Laden. He was born on March 10, 1957, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His father was a billionaire who earned his fortune through doing construction for the royal family, and his mother was wife number ten! Osama was the seventh of the fifty children born to his father; however, he was the only child of his mother. Osama bin Laden was raised in a strict, religious household where children were treated like grown men and forced to mature quickly or suffer. At the age of 14, Osama started attending the Al Thagher school, and it was here that he was introduced to the hardcore, jihadist type of Islam that he preached through the rest of his life. By the time he was 18, he had married a cousin and started university, but in 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, he left school to join the freedom fighters there. He used his fortune and his contacts to start recruiting people from all around the world to join his cause. He also got backing, weapons, and training from the CIA as part of their Operation Cyclone, which was in place to destabilize the Soviet regime. Eventually, the war in Afghanistan ended, and he returned to Saudi Arabia. However, his anti-American rhetoric was so strong that he got bounced from country. In 1993, Osama bin Laden formed his terrorist group known as al Qaeda (Arabic for "the Base"). He manned it with militant Muslims he had connected with during his time as an Afghan rebel. From there, the story of the familiar Osama comes up. There are a dozen terrorist attacks all around the world that tie back to him, and ultimately—according to the official U.S. account—his acts culminate in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. From there, he allegedly ran his terrorist network while on the run, recording videos to keep morale and recruitment high. On May 2, 2011, though, he allegedly died in a raid conducted by Seal Team Six in Operation Neptune Spear. The official account tells of a U.S. solo effort to track and kill Osama bin Laden. A helicopter crashed, there was resistance, the Seals thought it was a one-way suicide mission. But one important journalist named Seymour M. Hersh vocally disputes this story. He makes claims that the government lied about the circumstances around bin Laden’s death. Give this one a listen if you want to get to the bottom of someone who was either the worst terrorist or worst government bag man in history. Official Version of his Death: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/politics/2012/11/inside-osama-bin-laden-assassination-plot Alternate Version of his Death: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n10/seymour-m-hersh/the-killing-of-osama-bin-laden  
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Bonus Episode: Forty Minutes of Funk!
This is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. In our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. In other words, you squawk, and we talk. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. What types of questions? Good question! We answer several age-old gems, such as: What do we think of the net neutrality issues, and how will it affect podcasts? Mac or PC? Who is our favorite wrestler? What is our most influential film or book? What super powers do wish we had while on the toilet? And much, much more! So, if you want to hear a casual bonus episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we did our first ever live-stream for our $10 Patrons on this episode. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 253: Oslo Massacre: Norwegian far-right terrorism
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we cover the worst terrorist mass shooting in the history of Norway—The Oslo Massacre. On July 22, 2011, at 3:30 p.m., a 2,090-pound fertilizer bomb planted in a motor vehicle detonated in Norway's capital, Oslo. The target was the government building that held the offices of the ruling Labor Party as well as the finance and oil ministries of the country. The bomb was reminiscent of the Oklahoma City bombing, and it blew out windows of the government offices, wounded over 200 people, and killed eight. Meanwhile, a man named Anders Behring Breivik was heading toward a small vacation island of Utoya, roughly 25 miles outside of Oslo. This island was the summer camp for the youth group members of the Labour Party. Breivik crossed to the island via ferry, all the while wearing a police uniform to explain his pistol (a Glock named Mjølnir) and assault rifle. He wasn’t a cop, however, just a right-wing neo-Nazi nutbag who wanted to kill a bunch of teen-aged victims to stop Muslims from coming into his beloved Norway. By the time his two-pronged attack of the Oslo Massacre was done, almost 80 people were killed and hundreds wounded. Unlike most American shooters, this one gave up once the police were there, and he stood trial. His cold demeanor was pretty horrible at the trial, and he described with a bland calmness how the victims reacted, what parts of his mind resisted, and how he needed water since killing dries out your throat. He confessed that he was the author of a document called "2083: A European Declaration of Independence." This document claimed that the Oslo Massacre was the first of several acts of terrorism that would win Europe back from the leftist agenda and get some fascism back in the house. So how did this young man train for the shooting? How was he legally able to buy enough fertilizer to build this bomb? Why did he file a lawsuit alleging that his human rights were violated? How do video games tie in? Why do some people think this was a false flag event? Listen, laugh, learn.   2083 Document: https://fas.org/programs/tap/_docs/2083_-_A_European_Declaration_of_Independence.pdf
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Episode 252: Alcatraz: Escapes, Ghosts, and Murder Most Foul
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we cover a fan-voted favorite topic, the Federal Penitentiary at Alcatraz. This small island off the coast of San Francisco has been everything from an ancient Native American burial ground to a US Army Citadel, and then from a US Army brig to the country’s first Supermax prison. This prison, due the incredibly hostile waters surrounding it and the sweeping currents (and yes, great white sharks) was thought to be a prison nobody could escape from. This may or may not be true. As many as 36 prisoners tried to escape “The Rock” in its time as a prison. Several were shot, others confirmed drown, and many lost to the hostile seas. One escape attempt called the “Alcatraz Blastout” involved a two day shootout between prisoners and guards and was only quelled when the US Marines finally showed up. The most famous of the Alcatraz escape attempts, however, was in 1962 when Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin made a daring and ingenious escape attempt from the prison. Their caper was the stuff that we imagine whenever a film depicts a prison escape. What did the use as tools to get out? Who was the mastermind behind the escape? Who got left behind and why? Did they survive the escape attempt? And what about the hauntings? What did the first warden hear when get gave tours, and why is Alcatraz considered one of the most haunted places in all of America? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Bonus Episode: Mouth Holes to Ear Holes VIIII
This is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. In our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. In other words, you squawk, and we talk. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. What types of questions? Good question! We answer several age-old gems, such as: What traits do we admire about each other (the feelers come on for this one). Something about Dave's orange crotch. Why doesn't Brad wear Sofa King gear? What name would have gone with if we didn't use Sofa King? And much, much more! So, if you want to hear a casual episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we did our first ever live-stream for our $10 Patrons on this episode. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 251: Somerton Man: Murder and Espionage Down Under
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we go to the land down under and explore the mysterious death of the Somerton Man. Also known as the Tamam Shud case, this unexplained death/murder refers to the final line of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. So what’s the story? On December 1st, 1948, an unidentified man was found on the Somerton Beach in Australia. There were no visible signs of death. Upon closer examination, strange details came to light. He had no identification or hat (odd for the 1940s), and he was very smartly dressed. However, his suit and clothing had all tags removed from them, and they were sewn in a stitch that nobody in Australia had seen before. His shoes were perfectly polished in a way that would have been impossible for someone strolling on a beach. Eyewitnesses claimed to have seen him there the night before, most likely very drunk, but in the morning, he was in the same spot and dead. An international investigation took place to identify this man. His dental records, fingerprints, and photo were widely circulated in all English speaking countries, but nobody ever came forward to identify him or found a match in their databases. But this isn’t the strange part. The strange part involves evidence of a posion so potent that the chemist wouldn’t even say the name in court in case someone else wanted to try and use this lethal potion. And that isn’t even the strangest strange part! A hidden pocket sewn in his pants contained a rolled up piece of paper that said Tamam Shud. A hunt went on for the book it came from, and it was found some weeks later in a man’s car. In the book was a phone number and a string of letters that statistically match the frequency of a coded message in English. The phone number belonged to a Jessica Thomson. Who was she? Why did her daughter think she was a spy? What connection did she have to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam? Why did she send another copy of the book to someone from special forces? What strange belongings were found in this man’s suitcase in a train station? Why did mysterious dead people in Australia have copies of this book that no publisher ever seemed to create? Listen, laugh, learn. Good Article: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-body-on-somerton-beach-50795611/
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Episode 250: TWA Flight 800: Mishap or Missile?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about one of the most controversial airline crashes (and conspiracy theories) to date: the crash of TWA Flight 800. This ill-fated plane went down in Long Island, New York. It was July 17, 1996, at about 8:30 p.m., just a few minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport on a flight to Rome via Paris. About 10 minutes after takeoff, the pilot called in a strange reading on one of his fuel gates, and a few minutes later, the plane vanished from radar. At the same time, the captain of another flight reported an explosion at the same altitude and heading of TWA Flight 800. The plane had exploded, broken apart, fallen into the ocean, and all 230 passengers and crew died. In and of itself, this shouldn’t be a big deal. Except it is. Enough eye witnesses said they saw something rise from the ground and strike the plane to make the FBI and even CIA get involved in the investigation instead of just the RTSB who had the official government mandate. The White House mentioned a missile or bomb in their debriefings, and it was perused as a terrorist attack. This was, after all, the same year as the Oklahoma City bombing and the basement bombing of the World Trade Center. So, the investigation took a look at foreign powers from Ghaddafi to Hussein. But the massive public interest and multiple federal agencies turned the investigation of TWA Flight 800 into a disaster. The groups butted heads, shut down each other’s witnesses, and even allegedly stole evidence from each other. The official cause of the crash after several years was that there was a problem with the center wing fuel tank. But that doesn’t explain the eyewitnesses who claimed to see something in the sky hit the plane. Several books and documentaries have come out shooting down (no pun intended) the official story. Was this a military missile test gone awry? Why did the feds screw each other up so much? What happened that was strange just before the plane took off? Was there a military vessel near Flight 800 when it crashed? How many bodies did they ultimately recover? Was it actually a meteor strike? Which host believes in the conspiracy and which don’t? This one gets heated!
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Bonus Episode: Wanted for Questioning VIII
This is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. In our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. In other words, you squawk, and we talk. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. What types of questions? Good question! We answer several age-old gems, such as: Who would win in a fight, John Wick or Neo? What was the first thing that got us into conspiracy theories? What TV show and Podcasts do we watch/listen to? What is something that each of us collects? Would we rather win the lotto or have our dream job? And much, much more! So, if you want to hear a casual episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. Also, we did our first ever live-stream for our $10 Patrons on this episode. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 249: Mandela Effect: Alternate Reality or Altered Memories?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we explore one of the strangest and wide-reaching conspiracy theories out there: The Mandela Effect. The Mandela Effect is a phenomenon in which people remember things differently than they actually were in reality. This sounds like a pretty tame psychological event, but when it seems to happen to millions of people all around the globe, then social media gets talking, then conspiracies are born. The Mandela Effect started in 2010 when a paranormal blogger named Fiona Broome posted about a problem with her memory. She remembered South Africa freedom fighter and president, Nelson Mandela dying in prison years ago. In fact, at the time he wasn’t dead yet and wouldn’t die for several more years. However, many people agreed with her and even shared details about his funeral that remembered seeing on television. But the Mandela Effect spreads to more than just dead-alive South Africans. Many brand name spellings and logos have allegedly changed for people (though internet image searches confirm nothing has changed except people’s memory). From the Ford Logo to Kit Kat bars, we talk about a lot of these. Then, there are movies. Millions of people have false memories of lines from Star Wars, Snow White, and even Crocodile Dundee. The biggest of them all, though, is the Berenstain Bears. This childhood classic is remembered by people all over the world as being spelled and pronounced differently. So what is the cause of these distorted mass memories? Psychology can quickly point out many factors in memory that could explain it. Naysayers claim there are too many to be so easily dismissed. Other argue that it is a matter of shifting from alternate quantum realities where things were different, or even of glitches in the simulation that runs the universe. Where do we fall on the subject? It doesn’t matter—it could all be different by tomorrow if we shift quantum universes again!   Sub-Reddit on the Mandela Effect: https://www.reddit.com/r/MandelaEffect/ The Simpsons and the Mandela Effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMXnCCFS2-Q
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Episode 248: James (Mike) DeBardeleben: The Mall Passer
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we hit you with some true crime and look at a lesser-known (alleged) serial killer, Mike DeBardeleben. Though many people may not have heard of him, and his official death count remains only speculation, the lead investigators from the Secret Service and FBI both consider him to be the most dangerous fugitive to have ever been free in America and possibly even its most prolific killer. So who is Make DeBardeleben? He was born in 1940 to a family that became a military family once Pearl Harbor hit, and the US joined the war. He was bounced from state to state and even country to country before finally landing in their civilian home town of Albany, New York when Mike DeBardeleben was thirteen years old. By sixteen, he was on the wrong side of the law for physically assaulting his own mother, and by seventeen he began a career as a criminal, doing everything from concealed gun possession to grand theft auto and attempted murder. He was kicked out of high school, joined the military, was arrested for going AWOL, and when finally out, tried high school again, only to get the boot. He married several times, none of them lasting very long, and he eventually started a life as a prolific counterfeiter in the US. He would make false money and travel to shopping smalls spending his cash on small times, and using the change as his profit. He was amazingly good at this, and eventually the Secret Service considered him their main priority in the nation. They created a composite sketch of him and spread it to all the malls he had visited before, and eventually it paid off. Several workers called the police to say the guy in the sketch was there, and he was arrested. But they found disturbing evidence in his car but still needed his printing press to be a real legal victory. Eventually, they tracked it down in a storage shed, and the manager there said she was waiting for the police to come. Inside the shed was all the counterfeiting materials, but also something far more sinister. Hundreds of photos of rape (and murder?) that DeBardeleben himself was in. It went from a bad money case to a serial killer case. So what was DeBardeleben’s motive and typical MO for killings? Why did he take so many pictures of himself? Why do investigators think he killed far more than Ted Bundy? Why did federal agents call him the Mall Passer? How did he get away with so many rapes and murders for decades without be caught? Is it possible he didn’t kill anyone at all? Listen, laugh, learn.   Crazy Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/LetsNotMeet/comments/1r26qo/i_was_almost_never_born/ What Serial Killers Want: https://www.salon.com/1999/08/25/serial_killer Some of his crimes: http://allthingscrimeblog.com/2014/07/03/the-grisly-details-of-serial-mall-killer-mike-debardelebens-actions-will-never-be-known/
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Bonus Episode: You Squawk, We Talk!
This is a bonus episode of the world famous Sofa King Podcast. In our normal podcast episodes, we do research on key topics that listeners vote on, and we give our takes on the information we dig up. In other words, you squawk, and we talk. The topics range from serial killers to conspiracy theories to abuses of power and cults. In this episode, however, we turn to Facebook and ask listeners for questions they want us to answer. What types of questions? Good question! We answer several age-old gems, such as: Marvel or DC? What do your families think of the podcast? (Again...) Do we have any phobias? What is our favorite Disney character? What is the strangest thing that has happened while we are recording? And much, much more! So, if you want to hear a casual episode where we BS a little and have some laughs, this is the one for you. If you are an information hound or a Sofa King purist, you can go to any other episode and get your fix. At the end of this episode, we also do a one-take improv song about our new or upgraded Patrons from Patreon. We really appreciate all you do to support us, and we try our best to give you unique shout outs. If you like the show or just want a fancy shout out, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 247: Mormons: Polygamy and Prayers
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast explores a topic that was voted in by the listeners: Mormons. A prominent religion in the western United States, the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) has spread to become an international force. This offshoot of Christianity was founded in the 1800s by Joseph Smith. Smith claimed to have seen god at the age of 14 and by 16 had been shown secret golden tablets that contained a missing chapter of the Bible. In it, people from the holy land settled in America somewhere around 600 BC, and a prophet named Mormon wrote their tale. It is a strange tale of different races (the dark ones were cursed by Cain, which is why they weren’t white), and it tells of a god who was once a mortal but became divine. Their religion believes the same can be done with humans as well. More interesting than the myth and lore of the religion, however, is the history of the LDS itself. Joseph Smith, for example, was chased out of Missouri after a war between the state and his new religious followers. He was killed my an angry mob in Illinois after he destroyed a printing press, and the church was thrown into disarray. His successor was Brigham Young, and Young moved the followers out to the Utah Territories, where they could expand and do what they pleased without federal interference. This meant things like polygamy, which the LDS sanctions until 1890 (and some say they only got rid of it to appease the US and become a state). So, how many Mormons are there, and what countries are they in? How powerful was their militia back in the old west? Was there really a lizard who led Joseph Smith into the wilderness? What happened to the gold tablets, and what about the other supposed ancient texts that Smith translated? Do they really wear magic underwear? What does their official website about gay Mormons say? Listen, laugh, learn. Stats on Mormons: http://www.pewforum.org/2012/01/12/mormons-in-america-executive-summary/
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Episode 246: Gandhi: The Peace Warrior
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life of one of the most influential people of the modern world, Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was born to a small-time politician father and a very religious mother in India. His father had married twice but had his young wives die in child birth, and then a third marriage produced no children, so he married a fourth time, and Mahatma was the end result. Gandhi was a smart but quiet child; in fact, he was socially awkward and unable to make friends. This is an odd thing for someone who came to publicly represent the largest nation on Earth, but even as a young lawyer fresh out of school, he couldn’t practice courtroom law because he was too shy to cross-examine witnesses. Eventually, he got hired as a lawyer in South Africa, and there he was shown racism against Indians in forms he’d never been aware of before. Over the years, he came to represent the downtrodden minorities in South Africa, leading peaceful demonstrations, and even working as a medic during a couple of wars. The laws against Indians in Africa got worse and worse, and Gandhi started to fight harder and harder. Eventually, he returned to India where he turned his (newly found) fame as a political dissident against the British who controlled his home country. Witnessing slaughters against his people at the hands of the British and endless examples of racism now at home, Gandhi eventually guided Indians to quit their jobs, stop paying taxes, and grind the economic machine of India as a colony to a halt. So how did this amazing man get the world’s largest super power to let go of its largest colony without ever firing a shot? How did involve the Russian, Leo Tolstoy? What was the Salt Act, and how did it lead to Gandhi becoming Time’s man of the year? Who assassinated him and why? What kind of kink sex acts was Gandhi in to, and how did he think it gave him more power? Listen, laugh, learn. Gandhi Sex Madness: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/thrill-of-the-chaste-the-truth-about-gandhis-sex-life-1937411.html
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Bonus Episode: Question and Some Answers VI
This is a bonus episode of the Sofa King Podcast. Instead of our normal research-driven, informational comedy, we have a session of questions and answers. Who asked the questions? You did! Many listeners posted questions on the Unofficial Sofa King Ultra Fans page. We try to answer them in an honest and humorous fashion. We try to give you what you want. We try to make you all happy. We try and we try and we try, and do we ever hear a thank you?! No! Wait. Sorry. Yes, I think we do. What questions do we give some answers to this time? Good question! How about: What do we think of the new JFK documents? What are we (and our kids/dogs) dressing for on Halloween? What are our favorite pass times? What do we do if we don't get charged for something at a store? What are our top three favorite bands? And so much more! This one is different than our normal episodes, so if it is your first, you may want to come back to it later and go grab a different one for your original SK experience (start with the Bonnie and Clyde Episode. It’s pretty awesome…) This one is really relaxed, really informal, and we hope you like it. If so, let us know, and we’ll make it a regular practice. If not, let us know, and we’ll drink whiskey and cry ourselves to sleep. If you want other bonus SK content, by the way, consider becoming a Patron. Patrons get bonus shirts, swag, and other random things thrown their way, and every week, we capture a short video of us in the studio just before we record for the week, and only Patrons get to see them. Good times are had by all. Visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 245: Stalingrad: The Bloodiest Battle in History
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we go back in time and look at the bloodiest battle in all of human history, the Battle of Stalingrad. Stalingrad was a Soviet industrial capitol, a key city for the fuel, food, and technology used by the Russian Army in World War Two. When Adolph Hitler broke the peace treaty with Joseph Stalin and invaded Russia in what was called Operation Barbarossa, he eventually turned his sights not on the capital city of Moscow, but on Stalingrad. Why? Well, one reason was the simple propaganda fact that it was named after the Soviet leader. Second, if he could cut this city off from the rest Russia, supplies, men, food, and gas would be very hard to come by, and the rest of Russia would fall. So, the Battle of Stalingrad began. It started as a brutal series of air raids from the Luftwaffe. Thousands of civilians and soldiers were killed due to Order 227. This was Stalin’s command that Russians take “Not one Step Back.” Hitler ordered a similar statement, refusing to let any Germans surrender, so the main forces of two of the most relentless armies of all time clashed in one city with no chance to ever surrender. This lead to some interesting things. The sniper warfare of the Battle of Stalingrad became somewhat legendary with Vasily Zaytsev killing hundreds of German himself. But there were other crazy developments in the city. What was Pavlov’s House, and why did it frighten the Germans so much? Who were the women of the 1077th anti-aircraft brigade, and why did they become famous in Russia? What happened to the German marshal in charge of the battle? How much did starvation and disease impact the battle? Where did the Soviets get their protein? Listen, laugh, learn.   Great Video about number of WWII Deaths: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwKPFT-RioU Boring video with timeline on the bottom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCQBSf1rb7o  
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Episode 244: William Randolph Hearst: The Father of Fake News
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life, wealth, influence, and politics of the most powerful information-peddler in the history of America, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was born to wealth with a millionaire senator for a father. He spent time traveling through Europe as a child with his mother, and when he finally settled in at home and grew up, he attended Harvard College. That didn’t last long, however, as he was thrown out of the school for excessive parties and pranks against the faculty. While he was there, however, he studied journalism under Joseph Pulitzer. Shortly after, he took control of the San Francisco Examiner, a newspaper his father bought in order to help him win political elections. William Randolph Hearst dove into his job as editor and came up with inventive stories and ways for the paper to spread. It succeeded, and he turned his sights to New York and went to newspaper war with Pulitzer. This may not seem like much, but Hearst and Pulitzer needed exciting stories to best each other, so they fabricated a crisis in Cuba that eventually led to the Spanish American War. Hearst won the war for New York News and spread to own newspapers all across the country. At his height, one in four Americans read a paper owned by Hearst. During this time of expansion, he also saw his own wealth grow as he inherited his mother’s money after her death. He then started to build his famous Hearst Castle in San Simeon, and he moved his mistress Marion Davies in with him to throw massive Hollywood parties. Through all of this, he tried to become president of the United States, influenced political policy all around the world, controlled the news media, and dominated political opinion for the entire United States. William Randolph Hearst was the father of what is now called “Yellow Journalism,” publishing sensationalism more than truth in order to sell copies of his papers. What did his wife think of his public mistress? How did Hearst treat his heirs in his will? How did Hearst get the US to go to war with Spain? Why can’t we find much information on Hearst, and is it a conspiracy? Listen, laugh, learn. Article on Hughes: https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-12-08/long-and-tawdry-history-yellow-journalism-america  
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Bonus Episode: Question and Some Answers V
This is a bonus episode of the Sofa King Podcast. Instead of our normal research-driven, informational comedy, we have a session of questions and answers. Who asked the questions? You did! Many listeners posted questions on the Unofficial Sofa King Ultra Fans page. We try to answer them in an honest and humorous fashion. We try to give you what you want. We try to make you all happy. We try and we try and we try, and do we ever hear a thank you?! No! Wait. Sorry. Yes, I think we do. What questions do we give some answers to this time? Good question! How about: what are our favorite and most notable episodes to date, who would survive the longest in a forest, Italian or Mexican, do we want to become famous, and many more! This one is different than our normal episodes, so if it is your first, you may want to come back to it later and go grab a different one for your original SK experience (start with the Bonnie and Clyde Episode. It’s pretty awesome…) This one is really relaxed, really informal, and we hope you like it. If so, let us know, and we’ll make it a regular practice. If not, let us know, and we’ll drink whiskey and cry ourselves to sleep. If you want other bonus SK content, by the way, consider becoming a Patron. Patrons get bonus shirts, swag, and other random things thrown their way, and every week, we capture a short video of us in the studio just before we record for the week, and only Patrons get to see them. Good times are had by all. Visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 243: US Radium Corporation: Conspiracies and Cancer
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the controversies of the US Radium Corporation, home to the infamous Radium Girls and culprit in the illegal spraying of radioactive substances through the US, most notably St. Louis. The United States Radium Corporation was the leading manufacturer of glowing clock and airplane dials through World War I and World War II. Though not much was known about their key resource—radium—at the time, they still did some pretty dangerous stuff with it. The most famous is their “Radium Girls,” women (many teenagers) who were hired at their plant in New Jersey to paint the dials and watch faces with radioactive paint, the source of all that wonderful glow! The women were instructed to “point” the brushes and form them with their mouths and lips, thereby ingesting radium all day long as they worked. The illnesses spread through them in the 1920s, leading to a massive lawsuit and some pretty gnarly side effects. Again, the world didn’t know much about this new wonder element of radium, but US Radium Corporation knew enough to have scientists handle it with care and safety, but not the painters. The other thing that has come up more recently with them ties into an illegal US Army operation called Operation LAC. It stood for Large Area Coverage and involved the Army spraying hazardous chemicals and bacteria throughout the United States to track how it moved and how it affected people’s health. It happened all over the place, but St. Louis was a specific target; the Army sprayed eradiated Zinc Cadmium Sulfide on poor neighborhoods of the town, so they could track the dispersion patterns and effects it had on the people’s lungs. This was brought to light recently by a sociology professor from St. Louis named Lisa Martino Taylor. She uncovered the secret spraying through hundreds of freedom of information act documents and published her findings. So, how many Radium Girls died, and what were their symptoms? What were the results of their lawsuit in the 1920s? How does Operation LAC tie back to the US Radium Corporation? What happened to the US Radium Corporation, and where are they now? Listen, laugh, learn. Wired Article on Radium Girls: https://www.wired.com/2011/03/the-radium-girls/ St. Louis Chemical Spraying: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/secret-cold-war-tests-in-st-louis-cause-worry/  
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Episode 242: Rendelsham Forest: UK’s Roswell Incident
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we cover the biggest UFO case in the history of the UK, The Rendelsham Forest Incident. Known as the Roswell of the UK, this event took place in late December of 1980 over the course of several days. Most UFO events can be ruled out as delusion, mass hallucination, or foggy memories, but this one has some teeth. It is recorded in the official logs of both the British and U.S. air forces as well as local police, and it even had radar confirmation from multiple towers. So what happened? Rendelsham Forest was a nature conservatory situated between two Royal Air Force Bases in the county of Suffolk. These bases were both jointly occupied by the RAF and the USAF. On the night of December 26th, John Burroughs and Jim Penniston (U.S. airmen) went into the forest to investigate strange lights that had been reported by several people in the area. They were joined by a few others, and the nigh was pretty wild. Their radios quit working, so two stayed behind to inform the base what they were seeing, but allegedly, Burroughs and Penniston saw the lights descend and were in fact a triangular craft. This craft apparently hit Burroughs with a beam of light that knocked him unconscious and then landed allowing Penniston to touch it. Then it got weird. Penniston claimed to have seen hieroglyphs on the craft, and when he touched it, a light glowed at the top. Oh, and a 6 page binary code was burned into his brain that he couldn’t stop thinking about until he wrote it all down. The two men finally got back to the base and allegedly were missing 45 minutes of time. The next night, lights came back, and this time, they were tracked by multiple military radar towers. A lieutenant colonel Halt sent a bigger team to investigate, this time with an audio recorder and a Geiger counter. The tape, and the memo Halt sent out are some of the strangest and best evidence of the Rendelsham Forest event. How long is the tape, and what does it include? What do skeptics say about this particular case? How did the British Ministry of Defense’s UFO Project head, Nick Pope, get involved? How did the local police get involved? What did the UFO do over the air force base? Why did the airmen think they saw a giant glowing eye that dripped molten metal? Listen, laugh, learn.   The Halt Tape: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KChGKhJ4Ro The Halt Memo: http://www.therendleshamforestincident.com/The_Full_Report.php  
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Bonus Episode: Questions and Some Answers IV
This is a bonus episode of the Sofa King Podcast. Instead of our normal research-driven, informational comedy, we have a session of questions and answers. Who asked the questions? You did! Many listeners posted questions on the Unofficial Sofa King Ultra Fans page. We try to answer them in an honest and humorous fashion. We try to give you what you want. We try to make you all happy. We try and we try and we try, and do we ever hear a thank you?! No! Wait. Sorry. Yes, I think we do. What questions do we give some answers to this time? Good question! How about: who made the biggest impact on our lives, have we ever had injuries that sent us to the hospital, what is the best and worst gift we’ve ever gotten, and does Brad actually get pissed about he infamous hashtag he’s earned for himself? This one is different than our normal episodes, so if it is your first, you may want to come back to it later and go grab a different one for your original SK experience (start with the Nicola Tesla Episode. It’s pretty awesome…) This one is really relaxed, really informal, and we hope you like it. If so, let us know, and we’ll make it a regular practice. If not, let us know, and we’ll drink whiskey and cry ourselves to sleep. If you want other bonus SK content, by the way, consider becoming a Patron. Patrons get bonus shirts, swag, and other random things thrown their way, and every week, we capture a short video of us in the studio just before we record for the week, and only Patrons get to see them. Good times are had by all. Visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 241: Robert Pickton: Pigs and Prostitutes
We hit you with some true crime on this episode of The Sofa King Podcast as we look at the life, killings, pigs, and parties of Robert Pickton. He was Canada’s most prolific serial killer, confessing to a total of 49 murders of prostitutes. Robert Pickton was a third-generation pig farmer in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. He and his siblings, however, let the farm go into disarray, using very little of it. They sold much of the property (splitting almost $6 Million between the three of them), and used it to raise a small number of pigs they’d sell to friends and neighbors. Eventually, they got the idea to turn parts of the farm into a non-profit organization that held parties for people. Dubbed the “Piggy Palace Good Times Society,” it was place where they held raves and prostitute parties for one of the worst slums in Canada. They got in legal trouble for using slaughter houses as dance halls, and eventually they had to shut the operation down. However, during this whole time, it was believed Robert Pickton was killing the prostitutes who visited his farm. Eventually, more than 60 women went missing from the same neighborhood and under similar circumstances. Pickton got in some legal trouble for attacking a sex worker with a knife, but the charges were dropped. He even got investigated for having human remains in a freezer, but those were dismissed as well. What finally brought him down? An anonymous tip that he had illegal firearms on the farm. The police finally came to search and discovered a horror show. They found bones, jaws, and skulls in the mud and the slaughter house. They found skulls packed with feet and hands, photos of bodies, and tons of DNA from missing women. So, how did Robert Pickton’s trial go down? What did he accidentally confess to an undercover officer while being filmed in jail? Why do some people think his mother and brother were killers as well? What evidence did the jury not even get to see because of the odd nature of the court proceedings? Why did the judge only try him for 6 murders when they evidence enough to push for 26? What was his dildo gun? Listen, laugh, learn.   Video of confession in middle of this article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/02/23/worst-serial-killer-in-history-who-fed-prostitutes-to-pigs-sparks-rage-by-publishing-book/?utm_term=.e85e8180d7e9
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Episode 240: Billy The Kid: Wrong Side of the Law
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we go back to Cowboy Times and discuss the life of the notorious outlaw, Billy the Kid. He was known as Billy McCarty, Billy Antrim, The Antrim Kid, and Billy the Kid. He is an American icon, someone celebrated as a Robin Hood figure in movies and fiction, but the truth is hardly so romantic. He was a killer and a thief, and honestly, history sort of does on Epic Fail on details about his life. He was born in New York City. Hell’s Kitchen. Maybe. Well, probably. That or Indianapolis. His real last name was McCarty. Probably. That was his mom’s name, though historians don’t know if that was her married or maiden name. He killed twenty-one people in his twenty-one years on earth. Sort of. It may have been closer to 8 or to 30. Sources don’t agree on much, as you can see. But, what they do agree on is that he had an ill temper, a fast hand, and a steady aim. He moved to the West with his mom when he was a boy, and he ended up being orphaned at 14 (or 12 or 15?) and lived as a worker at a hotel. Eventually, he got fired for stealing food, and he then stole clothes, food, and guns, and his career as an outlaw began. His main crime and trade was as a rustler. He’d steal horses and cattle and sell them illegally to people who would buy the merchandize no questions asked. The reason he gets a reputation as being a hero of the little people involves something called the Lincoln County War. It was a brutal political and financial battle between two ranching groups, and Billy the Kid sided with the little guy. It ended up leading to murder of one of his friends, him killing the sheriff, and one of many of his daring escapes from jail. How many times did he escape from jail? What killings were definitely done by him? Which states did he run in? What other lawmen and outlaws were part of his story? Who finally killed him, and why do some conspiracy theorists claim he never really died? Who were the Regulators, and what parts did the old movie Young Guns get right (if any)? Did you see the size of that chicken? Listen, laugh, learn. A couple of interesting links about Billy the Kid: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/billythekid.htm http://www.historynet.com/billy-the-kid
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Bonus Episode: Questions and Some Answers III
This is a bonus episode of the Sofa King Podcast. Instead of our normal research-driven, informational comedy, we have a session of questions and answers. Who asked the questions? You did! Many listeners posted questions on the Unofficial Sofa King Ultra Fans page. We try to answer them in an honest and humorous fashion. We try to give you what you want. We try to make you all happy. We try and we try and we try, and do we ever hear a thank you?! No! Wait. Sorry. Yes, I think we do. Anyway, on this episode, we ask Brent if he would want to know if he's living in a simulation, if we can hear Brad rap, and why Dave became a vegan (and if his dogs are vegan). We talk about secret Santa, where we want to live, and which celebrity we would be for one day, among many other awesome things. And the most awesome thing of all? We knock out a pretty impressive little folk song about our new patrons for the week. It's pretty damned funny if you ask me. This bonus episode one is different than our normal episodes, so if it is your first, you may want to come back to it later and go grab a different one for your original SK experience (start with the Nicola Tesla Episode. It’s pretty awesome…) This one is really relaxed, really informal, and we hope you like it. If so, let us know, and we’ll make it a regular practice. If not, let us know, and we’ll drink whiskey and cry ourselves to sleep. If you want other bonus SK content, by the way, consider becoming a Patron. Patrons get bonus shirts, swag, and other random things thrown their way, and every week, we capture a short video of us in the studio just before we record for the week, and only Patrons get to see them. Good times are had by all. Visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 239: Cannibalism: The Ultimate Taboo
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we explore the ultimate societal taboo: cannibalism. Cannibalism falls into three distinct categories: Endocannibalism, Exocannibalism, and Auto-Cannibalism. They are eating relatives to honor them, eating people to scare others, and eating your own flesh. But that of course leaves out the number one reason for modern cannibalism—starvation. We cover a lot in this discussion, not focusing on a specific area, time frame, or peoples. We cover cannibalism in a buffet of different succulent varieties. We talk about some old chestnuts like the Stalin starvation of the 1930s and the Donner Party, but we also look at a lot of examples from World War Two. From the battle of Leningrad to Japanese prisoner of war camps, people were eaten as a means to survive the horrors of the war (leading of course to more horrors of the war…). We talk about the negative physical side effects of eating human flesh—neurological diseases. From spongiform encephalopathy to a disease called kuru, cannibalism causes some fatal flaws based on strange protein folding or prion development. We talk about the Maori in New Zealand, Christopher Columbus’s horrible cannibalism lie, the strange Leopard Society. From George H.W. Bush to serial killers, and from crashed airplanes to how long it would take for every human being on earth to eat every other human being on earth, this one covers it all. Blog post about the whole world becoming cannibals: https://what-if.xkcd.com/105/
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Episode 238: Joan of Arc: Dude Look Like a Lady
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we travel back to Castle Times and discuss a fan-voted historical icon: Joan of Arc. Nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans” (and eventually considered the patron saint of all of France), she was born Joan d'Arc in a small village in France. This was during the 100 Year’s War, in which England and France battled to control the throne of France. At the time of Joan’s childhood, a treaty was signed that pronounced that the king of England would rule France after France’s “mad king” Charles VI died. However, both kings died within months of each other, and the treaty was thrown out since most people in France supported Charle’s son (originally named Charles VII) as king. This is where Joan of Arc comes in. From a young age, she claims that she would hear the voice of saints telling her that Charles needed to be king and that it was her job to make sure he would be. Eventually, while only 17 years old, she dressed as a man and traveled to visit the king and tell him so. She got an audience with the king and convinced him that she was sent from god after she told him secret prayers the king had said. In no time, this crazy French spitfire was leading charges against French towns occupied by England, and she even sent letters threatening the king of England to get pull out of the country and let France alone. The whole time Joan of Arc was working for the French king, she gained more notoriety and followers. In fact, the bulk of the army allegedly only served because they were following a “saint.” Joan would lead battle charges, though with no weapons, and be in the thick of it with all the soldiers. Her boost in morale was crucial to the French victories, but after a year or so, she was knocked from a horse and captured by the British. They put Joan of Arc on trial, though it didn’t go well for the prosecutors. Why was it so hard to get charges to stick to Joan? What did she allegedly do to keep from being raped by her jailers? How was she tricked to wear men’s clothes again, and how did this get her trouble? What miracles did she perform to get her sainted by the Catholic church? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Bonus Episode: Questions and Some Answers II
This is a bonus episode of the Sofa King Podcast. Instead of our normal research-driven, informational comedy, we have a session of questions and answers. Who asked the questions? You did! Many listeners posted questions on the Unofficial Sofa King Ultra Fans page. We try to answer them in an honest and humorous fashion. We try to give you what you want. We try to make you all happy. We try and we try and we try, and do we ever hear a thank you?! No! Wait. Sorry. Yes, I think we do. Anyway, on this episode we talk about whether or not we argue during the podcast, what we would tell our twelve year old selves, what topics we avoid or consider bad, whether or not Dave gets made at Brent and Brad when they derail the timeline, and many more. This bonus episode one is different than our normal episodes, so if it is your first, you may want to come back to it later and go grab a different one for your original SK experience (start with the Nicola Tesla Episode. It’s pretty awesome…) This one is really relaxed, really informal, and we hope you like it. If so, let us know, and we’ll make it a regular practice. If not, let us know, and we’ll drink whiskey and cry ourselves to sleep. If you want other bonus SK content, by the way, consider becoming a Patron. Patrons get bonus shirts, swag, and other random things thrown their way, and every week, we capture a short video of us in the studio just before we record for the week, and only Patrons get to see them. Good times are had by all. Visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 237: Stanford Prison Experiment: The Ultimate Power Trip
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the most famous psychological study of all time—The Stanford Prison Experiment. It was funded in 1971 by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and it was designed to test the psychology of prisoners and prison guards. The basic premise they were testing was this: Prison guards tend to get abusive with prisoners. Prisoners tend to be rebellious and cause problems. Is this because of a certain temperament that is in people who are likely to become prison guards and prisoners, or is it purely situational once they both get inside of a prison? The experiment that tested this was to get 24 physically and mentally fit males and put them in a mock prison environment. Randomly, twelve were selected to be guards and twelve to be prisoners. There was no personality test or other information that led to the placement. Then, the prisoners were locked up in mock cages in a fake jail set up in Stanford University. The prisoners were dressed as such, the guards were dressed as such, and the experiment was off and running. What happened during the Stanford Prison Experiment astounded people. The guards got immediately power-hungry and abusive, and the prisoners got immediately rebellious, broken, and even mentally ill. There was a prison riot, visiting days, a parole board. There was violence, harsh treatment, psychological rewards and punishments, a “Hole” that people were locked in, and even prisoners who went crazy and had to be let go. And this was all within six days! What did the Stanford Prison Experiment ultimately prove? Were its methods even sound or ethically responsible? What made them terminate the experiment on day 6 instead of the original 14 days? Listen, laugh, learn. Great site about the experiment: http://www.prisonexp.org/conclusion
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Episode 236: Cattle Mutilation: Bovine Conspiracies!
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we break out the tinfoil hats and que the X-Files music as we explore the history of Cattle Mutilation. Cattle Mutilation is a unique event that had a strange surge in the early 1970s in the United States. Cattle ranchers started to report cows that had died under unusual circumstances to local law enforcement agencies. Over 200 such cases were identified in Colorado alone in under two years. It started to cost the ranchers so much money, that US Senators started to petition the FBI to get involved in the case. So, what is odd about the deaths surrounding Cattle Mutilations? For one things, the animals are typically drained entirely of their blood. There is none on the ground, and there are no footprints where predators could be proven to drink the blood after the fact. Second, they have surgical-like incisions in their skin and even bones, things that could not be made by a predator’s teeth. Third, the removal of certain organs—genitals, eyes, ears, utters, and even heart and lung. This removal, again, is often precise and surgical, not the rough tearing of a predator. There are other strange things, like pink blood that won’t coagulate, strange mineral deprivations in the blood and tissue, organs with the consistency of peanut butter. The FBI gave an official ruling in 1979 that they were natural deaths, but the ranchers involved don’t believe it. It still happens to this day, and usually includes some sort of scientific anomaly. Why do the senate letters to the FBI include black helicopters seen on the nights of the Cattle Mutilations? What evidence is there that it could be caused by a satanic cult? Why do people claim it is extraterrestrial in origin? Why do so many of them happen in one geographic area, and what is that area? Listen, laugh, learn. Interesting Website on Cattle Mutilation: http://www.nidsci.org/animal-mutilations-what-we-know/
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Bonus Episode: Questions and Some Answers
This is a bonus episode of the Sofa King Podcast. Instead of our normal research-driven, informational comedy, we have a session of questions and answers. Who asked the questions? You did! Many listeners posted questions on the Unofficial Sofa King Ultra Fans page. We try to answer them in an honest and humorous fashion. We try to give you what you want. We try to make you all happy. We try and we try and we try, and do we ever hear a thank you?! No! Wait. Sorry. Yes, I think we do. Anyway, on this episode we talk about how we all met, what was the inspiration for the podcast, how the podcast has changed our lives in the past two years, a classic question of female anatomy, and many, many more. This one is different than our normal episodes, so if it is your first, you may want to come back to it later and go grab a different one for your original SK experience (start with the Nicola Tesla Episode. It's pretty awesome...) This one is really relaxed, really informal, and we hope you like it. If so, let us know, and we'll make it a regular practice. If not, let us know, and we'll drink whiskey and cry ourselves to sleep. If you want other bonus SK content, by the way, consider becoming a Patron. Patrons get bonus shirts, swag, and other random things thrown their way, and every week, we capture a short video of us in the studio just before we record for the week, and only Patrons get to see them. Good times are had by all. Visit us at https://www.patreon.com/sofakingpodcast
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Episode 235: Charles Bronson: Britain’s Most Violent Prisoner
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we visit a fan-requested topic, the most violent prisoner in Britain: Charles Bronson. Born as Michael Gordon Peterson, Bronson got in trouble with the law young and often. In fact, he’s spent over 34 years in prison (30 of those in solitary confinement), spending only 131 days as a free man since his initial incarceration. So what are his crimes? Anarchy and Violence. He was first sent to prison on a smash and grab when he was only 22, and from there, his sentence just got longer and longer. He’d assault other prisoners—more time added. He’d assault guards—more time added. He’d take off all his clothes and stage a one man prison riot—more time added. He was so violent and hard to deal with, each prison kept shipping him off to other prisons to make him someone else’s problem, but then eventually, he’d get transferred back around again. He spent some time in mental institutions for being insanely violent, but eventually, they sent him back to the prisons for being insanely violent. So, what are some of Charles Bronson’s biggest hits? Well, he kidnapped a librarian in his cell and threatened to break his neck. The man was allowed to leave because of a situation involving farting. He took wardens hostage, as you do, and he famously would break onto prison roofs and destroy shingles, pipes, and air conditioners for days on end. Oh, and there was also that time he took Iraqi hijackers hostage and forced them to tickle his feet and call him “General.” And that’s barely getting started on this guy. Now, he’s changed his name from Charles Bronson to Charles Salvador (in honor of Salvador Dali) and spends his time doing art and cartoons and publishing books. This one is full of wild stories of a truly crazed criminal. Good times. Some examples of his artwork: https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1362359/the-dark-and-terrifying-art-of-britains-most-violent-prisoner-charles-bronson/
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Episode 234: Ned Kelly: The Australian Iron Man
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we go back in time and Down Under to talk about the life of the Aussie outlaw, Ned Kelly. Kelly is a figure in Australia who summons the same type of rebellion and badassery as the figures of the American old west. He was born in 1855 at Beveridge, Victoria, and started life innocently enough. However, when his father died, the family was left without any money, and they slowly turned to criminal ways. In fact, at age 14, Ned Kelly was arrested for assaulting a Chinese rail worker. Shortly thereafter, he ran with famed bushranger Harry Power and went deeper down the criminal’s path. All the while, an allegedly corrupt police force kept trying to arrest and harass the Kelly family, leading to endless encounters with them. Based on this, Ned Kelly started to steal horses, and he and his brother went in and out of jails on a pretty regular basis. Eventually, a deputy named Fitzpatrick came to arrest Ned Kelly’s brother, Dan. The deputy was shot and claimed it was Ned who did the shooting (though many accounts say Fitzpatrick was untrustworthy and corrupt). Multiple family members got involved in this crime, and everyone from his mother to in-laws were locked up for abetting a criminal. This is where the Kellys got a lot more serious about their crimes. They started to rob banks and take hostages. (So many hostages…). They started to take over hotels and hold the patrons at gunpoint while they planned and executed their robberies. They even used this trick on a police station, taking the cops hostage and using their uniforms to rob a major bank. All of these crimes make Kelly no better than your average Billy the Kid or any other outlaw. That is, until the armor showed up. The Kellys spent upwards of five months creating suits of bullet proof armor. They tried different materials, different densities, and eventually created an armor by re-forging the blades of ploughs. This armor is what made Ned Kelly the most famous. During the final shootout where the cops came for him and his family, Ned wore his Iron Man armor and was the only outlaw to survive the encounter. So, what finally brought the Aussie Iron Man down? How did the last members of his gang die? How did the hotel with the hostages catch fire? What finally became of Ned Kelly? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 233: Salem Witch Trials: Paranoia, Sexism, and Hallucinations
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we explore one of the bloodiest chapters in the history of New England, the Salem Witch Trials. The Salem Witch Trials are a complex phenomenon that coupled puritanical fanaticism with fear of not only the devil, but life in the new world. The laws that led to the persecution of witches in New England date back to 1484, when Pope Innocent VIII wrote a papal bull called Summis Desiderantes Affectibus (Latin for “Desiring with supreme ardor”). This proclamation said that witches were real and were servants of the devil, and from there, witch-hunting mania was born. A few years later, The Malleus Maleficarum (aka “The Hammer of Witches”) was written by the Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer (and possibly a partner, the Dominican Friar Jacob Sprenger). Sprenger and Kramer were both given power by the pope to hunt and kill anyone they deemed a witch. While this sounds like the stuff of really cool video games, it more like rampant sexism and murdering women who didn’t adhere to norms of society. This backdrop of persecution for witches (especially female ones) is what the people living in Salem Village grew up in, back in 1692. At this time, 9-year-old Elizabeth Parris and 11-year-old Abigail Williams (the daughter and niece of Salem Village’s minister, Samuel Parris) started having “fits,” which included violent screaming outbursts and physical contortions of the body. Paranoia spread very rapidly, and eventually, three people were arrested as witches—a slave, an old person, and a homeless beggar. The slave, Tituba, confessed to being a witch and signing “the black man’s book,” and the witch paranoia spread. So, how many people were eventually arrested for witches? How many were killed? What methods did they use to kill them? What made the witch mania stop? Why did it get so bad in Salem Village? What brought the Salem Witch Trials to a close, and how did it involve two key literary figures and a political scandal? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 232: Leonardo da Vinci: The Ultimate Renaissance Man
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we delve into the life of the genius, artist, scientist, anatomist, engineer, and the original futurist—Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci was born in 1452 and is considered one of (or the?) most important artists in all of human history. He was the ultimate renaissance man. The techniques of chiaroscuro and sfumato are attributed to him, and some versions of history claim that when he was learning how to paint, his master was so humbled by da Vinci’s abilities that he never took up a brush again. Leonardo da Vinci was hired to do a few pieces of art in Florence and flaked out on both of them, but eventually a member of the powerful de’ Medici family hired him to make a silver lyre. From there, word of his abilities spread, and he was hired by the future Duke of Milan. His job wasn’t as an artist, however. It was as a designer of war engines and siege machines. Da Vinci’s abilities as a mechanical engineer and visionary outstripped even his abilities as an artist, and this is where some of his 6000 pages of drawings and designs started to come from. At this point, he started to get more and more commissions as an artist, and he eventually landed in Rome, where he conducted (often secret) dissections and vivisections of human cadavers and created the most detailed works of human anatomy ever drawn or painted before. He became the ultimate celebrity of his era, hanging out with kings and popes and the wealthy who controlled the banks. He was involved in wars and had sexual scandals with male lovers, and he dreamed up some of the greatest things ever dreamed by humanity. From sixteen foot tall horse statues to animatronic golden lions that sprung flowers from their chest, from ornithopters to helicopter, and from giant crossbows to the Last Supper, this episode has it all.   Cool article on an possible newly discovered da Vinci piece: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/lost-da-vinci/o-neill-text
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Episode 231: Reincarnation: Can We Come Back?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we take a look at the arguments and key cases for and against reincarnation. Reincarnation, of course, is the thought that somehow a personality can survive bodily death and be transferred to another person later on. Some say this is a soul, some say it is only consciousness, and others even give it some quantum informational slant, but in the end there is a lot of evidence suggesting that in some cases, a personality does show up in a different individual after someone’s death. The bulk of the research done on this topic was started by Dr. Ian Stevenson from the University of Virginia. He was an academic prodigy who eventually was bestowed a one million dollar fund to research reincarnation by Chester Carlson, the wealthy inventor of the Xerox copying process. Carlson died of a sudden heart attack and wanted Stevenson’s research to be funded and carry on. So what are do the solid reincarnation cases have in common? Well, for one, they typically involve children ranging from age 2 through 9. Second, the children have memories that can be confirmed about other people’s lives (and deaths). They can recall details of their homes, details of their deaths, names and relationships of loved ones, even extramarital affairs. In the best cases, hidden things (like gold in a wall) can be summoned as proof, or new skills or languages manifest themselves. We cover several of the cases that experts hold up as exemplary, and we take a look at everything from the simulation theory to the human soul to information processing on the quantum level called the ORCH OR hypotheses. So how does reincarnation work? Where do most of the cases come from? What do scientists say about Dr. Stevenson’s work? Listen, laugh, learn.   Article on Reincarnation: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/bering-in-mind/ian-stevensone28099s-case-for-the-afterlife-are-we-e28098skepticse28099-really-just-cynics/   NPR Article: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/05/259886077/searching-for-science-behind-reincarnation
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Episode 230: Parasomnia: The Horrors of the Night!
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we get ready to have a bad night’s sleep and talk about all sorts of strange sleep related phenomenon called Parasomnia. From Sleep Paralysis to the Night Hag, from Night Terrors to Astral Projection, and from Shadow Men to Lucid Dreaming, this one has it all. This show is a mix of multiple topics that several listeners have asked us to discuss. One that is probably the most common is Sleep Paralysis. This often terrifying event is when someone wakes up or is partially awake but is unable to move their body. Some call it a lockdown because the mechanism that locks muscles down during dreaming is still active though the mind is conscious (a state called Atonia). This one gets creepy and involves Night Hags, demons, and horrible beings pressing on the victim’s chest. Two other events that many people report while dreaming are Astral Projection (Out of Body Experiences or OBE) and Lucid Dreaming. Astral Projection is the sensation that a “soul” has left the body and is floating free in the world and can observe things. This type of Parasomnia often happens while someone is asleep, meditating, or clinically dead before being revived. Lucid Dreaming is the experience of people being able to recognize and control their dreams. The two are often associated with each other, and we’ll talk about techniques some claim will help you practice them. Lastly, we cover night terrors (when people wake up completely terrified for no known reason) and Shadow Men, beings that some people supposedly see. The creepy thing about Shadow People is the common elements that witnesses share through all of the globe. Dave also tells a creepy story about his own encounter with a Shadow Person when he was in high school and creeps Brent out! So, get your Nyquil ready and lock the doors because on this episode we talk about all the things that go bump in the night. Link on Shadow People and the Hat Man: http://www.nataliakuna.com/shadow-people--dark-beings.html
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Episode 229: Napoleon Bonaparte: The Ultimate Warrior?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life of the world’s most famous short man, Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon was one of the greatest military minds in human history, and it’s a bit surprising that his wars aren’t considered a world war since they involved almost everyone. He nearly conquered the world thanks to his unique genius. Napoleon was born to a wealthy family on the island of Corsica and was sent to military school at the age of nine. He excelled. At age 16, he was already a lieutenant in the army, and he proved to be an amazing soldier and tactician. Napoleon Bonaparte played a key role in the French Revolution. While the Reign of Terror was beheading the aristocracy, Napoleon’s army kept the royals from taking control of the new French government called the Directory. As a reward for this, he was given promotion after promotion, until by the age of 26, he was in charge of the entire French army. He had a famous romance with his first wife Joséphine de Beauharnais, but it may have been rockier than history makes out, and it ended in annulment when she couldn’t produce a male heir. From this point, Napoleon waged war with the entire European continent, from Spain and England to the Netherlands and Russia. He suffered many defeats and staged many amazing come backs. He was exiled after he was defeated in Egypt, came back and conquered France again, and kept on fighting. But aside from the war, he changed all of France. He introduced a new banking system, fought for religious freedoms, kept out the old monarchy, and erased laws that favored the aristocracy. He even created the Napoleonic Code which contained a fair, modern legal system which is still in place today. So, what happened with his historic defeat in Russia? What was Waterloo, and why did defeat there serve as the end of Napoleon Bonaparte’s reign? Did he die by poison from his enemies as some historians suggested in 1961? Listen, laugh, learn.   Thorough video on the Waterlooo battle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDZGL1xsqzs
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Episode 228: Jimmy Iovine: Music’s Hidden Mastermind
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the most important person in the music industry in the past thirty years, the little known (but very influential) Jimmy Iovine. Jimmy was a failed musician who tried his hand at college as a way to avoid the draft to Vietnam. He was an Italian New Yorker from a working class family, and a friend of his sister’s got him a job at a music studio. He got fired. She got him another one. He got fired again. She got him his third job at a studio called the Record Plant, and the rest was history. One day, after he’d worked there for a while, his boss called him to get him to come answer phones on Easter Sunday. It was a ruse and a test. When Jimmy Iovine got there, he found out John Lennon was there, and they needed him as a sound engineer. From there, he started working with some of the biggest in the business. He worked on Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. He worked with Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith, U2, and a host of major artists. By now, he was one of the top producers in the business, and he eventually opened his own record label, Interscope. Iovine spent a year avoiding all other work except trying to get Trent Reznor out of his contract, so he could sign Nine Inch Nails. He succeeded. Then, he teamed with Death Row and signed Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, and Tupac. He was so involved with the East Coast/West Coast war that he had to wear a bullet proof vest around LA. He kept working, developing No Doubt, The Black-eyed Peas, Primus, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Marylyn Manson, Eminem, 50 Cent, and endless others. But what really cemented his legacy was the backdoor work he did with Steve Jobs. He predicted the demise of commercial albums and was influential in the birth of iPod and iTunes, and he was the co-founder of Beats along with Dr. Dre. He, in fact, was instrumental in working the deal to sell Beats for $3.2 Billion dollars (half of which is his!). This episode is a must for any music fan. From the Beatles to Gangster Rap, Jimmy Iovine was at the center of it, developing artists, developing sounds, and developing technology that have completely redefined the modern music industry. If you want more info, check out HBO’s The Defiant Ones which was the inspriation for this episode. http://www.hbo.com/the-defiant-ones
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Episode 227: Marquis de Sade: The Ultimate Pervert
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life, philosophy, crimes, and sexual perversion of the infamous Marquis de Sade. As a warning, don’t read this or watch the episode unless you are ready for some crazy sex acts. The term sadism (gaining pleasure from other people’s pain) came from this man, and his life and ideas were very interesting and controversial. Donatien Alphonse François, best known as the Marquis de Sade, was born in Paris, France on June 2, 1740. His father was a diplomat in the court of Louis XV (and a reported pedophile), and his mother was a lady-in-waiting. He had everything he ever wanted and was said to be a spoiled child. He would hurt his servants and throw tantrums, and while he was six, he beat the Prince of France bloody and was sent away to live with his uncle who was an abbot at a church. However, the uncle was also a pervert who kept a male and female in residence of the church, just for his sexual pleasures. From here, de Sade finally moved back to France where his family was struggling a bit financially. He married a wealthy woman to get his money back, and he started a reign of shocking sex acts. Prostitution, sodomy, and whipping were just the start. He once whipped a hooker until she bled and masturbated in the wounds. He forced prostitutes to eat medicines, so he might be able to catch their feces as part of a sexual act. He also masturbated a woman with a crucifix after putting communion wafers in her vagina. This last one crossed the line and started his life of prison terms. He spent decades in and out of prison, and while locked up, he spent his sexual energies writing books of craven sexual acts and perversion that nobody has ever bested to this day. 120 Days of Sodom and was his most famous, so we spend a lot of time on the show discussing this one. Eventually, he survived the French Revolution and ended up in an insane asylum where he had an affair with a 13 year old girl while he was 70. So, with all this perversion, why is the Marquis de Sade considered one of the great French philosophers? How did he influence literature, surrealism, and even Sigmund Freud? When were his works finally published for reading? What does his surviving family think of the legacy he left their family name? Listen, laugh, learn. Very Funny entry for a kid's webpage about the Marquis de Sade: https://wiki.kidzsearch.com/wiki/Marquis_de_Sade   Great Article on Finding the Right Sex Terms while Translating His Works: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/we-translated-the-marquis-de-sades-most-obscene-work-heres-how-a7393066.html  
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Episode 226: The Family: An Australian Kidnap Cult
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look into the strange Australian kidnapping cult called “The Family.” Their sinister motto: unseen, unheard, unknown. This cult differs from many modern cults because its leader was a woman instead of a man. Yoga teacher Anne Hamilton-Byrne met up with Dr. Raynor Johnson in Melbourne and started experimenting with LSD in 1963. They started to meet up at a place called Santiniketan Park and would talk about religion and philosophy with other academics and professionals. This turned into a strange group of LSD popping spiritualists, and soon after, The Family was born. Eventually the group banded together and bought some property, and in1968 they constructed a meeting hall, Santiniketan Lodge. From this lodge, the cult spread. They continued to recruit from medical professionals and other intellectuals, and eventually, Anne Hamilton-Byrne realized that her Master (a formless being from the dimension of light) told her a couple things. One thing was that she was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ in a female body. The other one was that they needed to start kidnapping children to train, abuse, and give LSD to in order to prepare them for the apocalypse and the coming of the UFOs. (Sigh…) This group got pretty wild and controlled the Newhaven Psychiatric Hospital. This was a place for upper class individuals with mental problems to discreetly go for treatment. Here, they were given LSD and shock treatment and convinced that Anne was Jesus Christ. This place was also good for kidnapping cult members who wanted to escape and give them shock treatment. So, how many children did The Family kidnap? How did they get away with having so many without the Australian government get wind of it? Why did they abuse the children and give them all crazy blonde creepy zombie haircuts? How did they eventually get caught? What was operation Forrest, and how did it get them extradited from New York to Australia? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 225: Michael Jackson: ‘Nuff Said
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the life, hits, moves, quirks and lawsuits surrounding the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson. Jackson was born in Gary Indiana in 1958, and due to the often abusive hand of his father Joseph, he and his family were formed into musicians at a very young age. After a couple of rotations in the children, Michael was added to the family musical act, which became known as the Jackson 5. They did small shows at first, but Michael’s incredible vocals and depth got them noticed pretty quickly. They signed with Barry Gordy at Motown, and after spending some time living with Gordy and Diana Ross in LA, the Jacksons became a huge hit. They sold millions of records, and through this process, Michael matured as an artist and eventually started to release solo work. His first big solo album was Off the Wall, and a few years later he released the best-selling album in history, Thriller. With Thriller, he amassed numerous top ten hits, earned a record number of Grammys, and became a worldwide sensation. He was bigger than The Beatles. His showmanship, amazing dance skills, and strong vocals made him into a hit factory. He and Quincy Jones released Bad in 1987, and Michael Jackson was at the top of his game. In this same era, however, he suffered a burn on his scalp and face during an ill-fated Pepsi commercial, and he needed to undergo plastic surgery. That surgery apparently opened the flood gates to multiple surgeries, massive alterations to his nose and chin, and even alleged skin whitening. His success also led to some pretty crazy behaviors. He built Neverland ranch, a giant zoo and amusement park where he lived outside the public eye. Here, he got into legal trouble with multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underage boys. None of them ever stuck in court, but they ruined his reputation. His decline was gradual and sad. His behavior became more strange, as did his appearance, and he even had multiple children with surrogates who he supposedly never had sex with. Broke and facing legal problems, he announced a worldwide tour in 2009. It sold out in a record four hours, and it was truly going to be a massive comeback. However, he died a month before the tour started. How did he die exactly? What did his doctor have to do with it? Why did his doctor do jail time as a result? Why do his daughter and a prominent German business man think Michael Jackson was murdered? Why does Brad think he was killed by Paul McCartney? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 224: Blackbeard: The Ultimate Dread Pirate
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we discuss the wild career of the most famous pirate in history, Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard. Teach was thought to have been born in Britain but moved to Jamaica as a child. From there, he became a privateer (a pirate who worked for England) through Queen Anne’s War. After that, he used his naval skills to become one of the wildest pirates ever to set foot in the Caribbean. Teach was recruited after the war by a pirate named Captain Benjamin Hornigold, and in a very short time, he was promoted to run his own ship in this pirate fleet. Blackbeard earned his stripes and his nickname under Hornigold, and when the senior pirate retired from the life, Blackbeard was left in charge of the ships. He ran his new fleet based on fear of his growing reputation—he even lit his hair on fire before battle to look more fearsome. From there, Blackbeard went on to capture and recruit several ships, adding to his flotilla’s strength. One man, Stede Bonnet (The Gentleman Pirate) was convinced to join instead of run his plantations. Together, they accomplished one of the great feats of pirate history and took a full frigate and flagship from France. They renamed it Queen Anne’s Revenge, armed with 250 men including ex-slaves, and loaded 40 cannons on it. From that ship, Blackbeard ran a two year terror campaign, capturing over 30 ships and being a general scourge of civilized society. Unlike the typical stereotype of a pirate only being in remote waters, Blackbeard spent much of his time sacking the east coast the United States. He once famously held an entire town captive for a prolonged period of time until he could get the mayor to give his fleet medicine he needed (to cure an STD?). The story of Blackbeard is a story of allies turned enemy, cunning piracy, amazing naval tactics, and stunning victories. He died in battle, and the details of his death prove he was the badass that his reputation said he was. Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 223: Harry Houdini: The Best There Ever Was
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the escapes, magic, ghost busting, and mysterious death of master magician Harry Houdini. Born as Ehrich Weisz in 1874 in Hungary, he moved to the United States with his family while very young. His father ended up moving to New York City, and young Ehrich followed him. It was there that Houdini was introduced to live performance and became a young trapeze artist called "Ehrich, the Prince of the Air.” A few years later, he decided to go into magic, doing card tricks at penny theaters, on the street, and anywhere they would have him. He changed his name to Harry Houdini (after a magician idol of his from childhood), and he struggled to find success as a magician. His real strength lie in his showmanship and his ability as an escape artist, and he eventually got noticed and picked up by a theater. In short time, Houdini became the highest paid vaudeville entertainer in America and started to tour through Europe and the rest of the world. His escape tricks were legendary, and some are still a mystery to this day. From his famous milk jug escape to impossible handcuffs, from being buried alive to hung from wires in a straightjacket, Houdini got away from everything. His most famous trick was the Chinese Water Torture trick, which allegedly only a handful of living magicians currently understand. After Houdini became famous, he was promoted to be the president of the Society of American Magicians. His goal here (at his own expense) was to unite all small magic houses in the country under one umbrella organization. He succeeded, and the SAM is still thriving today. During his tenure as the president, he also went on a campaign to prove that charlatans and so-called mediums and psychics were all a fraud. He spent a lot of time disproving any magical or spiritual abilities, even though some say he did his own séances with his wife. So, what promise did Harry Houdini make to his wife about the afterlife? Why did he sue so many people? How much of his act was a fake instead of really being dangerous? Did he die from a punch to the gut? Was his death murder via poison from a group of assassins working for discredited spiritualists? Listen, laugh, learn. Video on Houdini's Death: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ9lNRAjTQM
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Episode 222: AIDS: From Conspiracies to Cures
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast we talk about the various and deep conspiracy theories that surround the HIV/AIDS Pandemic. So, what’s the difference between HIV and AIDS? Traditional medicine claims that HIV is an immunodeficiency virus that attacks your body’s ability to fight off infection. AIDS is the breakdown of the immune system that causes death by means of other infections. However, with cocktails of drugs that are available in the Western world, people can live with HIV almost indefinitely without it every turning in to full-blown AIDS. Or is that all a lie? The accepted medical origins of HIV are that it is a relative of SIV, a virus that affected primate populations, but it jumped species in around 1930. By the 1960s, cases of it were springing up regularly in Africa, and by the 1980s, it had spread to be common in the USA. Many major celebrities died from AIDS, from Eazy-E to Freddy Mercury, and there was a terrible fear and stigma of the disease early on that still lingers today. One conspiracy theory, questions all of that, though. In fact, some of the key researchers in early AIDS research seem to be changing their concept of the virus. Some of them don’t even think HIV has any connection to AIDS. They follow something called the Duesberg Hypothesis, which argues that AIDS is a global misdiagnosis of other conditions. Also, since the virus targets African-American, Latino, and the LGBTQ communities the most, various population-control conspiracies pop up. Blacks claim it was a designer disease meant to curb their numbers. There is another theory that it came from Hepatitis B vaccines and targeted homosexuals in particular. Many people think it was a bio weapon from the US Government and the CIA. Was the idea that the U.S. created HIV as a bioweapon originally a Soviet cold-war misinformation campaign? Why do so many African Americans believe it is a weapon that targets them? What new cures, vaccines, and genetic manipulations might make HIV a thing of the past? What makes some people think HIV and AIDS aren’t even linked? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 221: Exorcism: Demons or Delusion?
In this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we discuss the phenomenon of demonic possession and exorcism. Demonic or spiritual possession is something that most people associate with Catholicism, but it spreads to any number of religious faiths, Hindu to Islamic and Judaism. In most faiths, the belief is that the evil that possesses the victim is expelled by a person of faith who calls upon the will of god or angels. Surprisingly, the cases of exorcism are growing rapidly around the world, and in the U.S. While in the 1980s, there was one expert exorcist in America, there are now fifty! So, what are the signs of possession, and how do exorcisms work to alleviate them? The major signs of possession are unnatural strength, speaking of languages a person has no history of learning, and knowing things that a person can’t possibly know (often personal things about the priest or exorcist). Of course, more wild things are attributed to possession such as levitation and telekinetic or poltergeist activity, things flying from the shelves, and even burning of the skin when coming in contact with holy items. The Vatican takes possession and exorcism quite seriously. In the Ritulae Romanum, section XIII deals specifically with the rites of the exorcist and how to identify those who are truly possessed (instead of mentally ill). However, the section is top secret, only known to those who go to Rome to learn the proper techniques. A debate obviously rages about the difference between possession and mental illness. Some experts claim that while thousands of cases in a row will be mental illness, there will be one or two in those thousands that are true possession. What exactly does the rites of exorcism involve, and has Hollywood been accurate in depictions of it? What does the psychologist who is called in by priests to determine the mental health of self-proposed possessed people think? Who was Anneliese Michel, and how could her death have involved exorcism? What parts of the world see more possession and exorcism than others? Is there any truth to the classic 1973 film The Exorcist? How did the devil get Michael Taylor to kill his wife and poodle? Listen, laugh, learn.   Philippines Exorcism: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/philippines_exorcism   Ritulae Romanum: http://www.sanctamissa.org/en/resources/books-1962/rituale-romanum/
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Episode 220: Walt Disney: Mickey, Nazis, and Frozen Bodies
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the life and works of one of America’s greatest creators, Walt Disney. Born in 1901, Disney was raised in Marceline, Missouri, which people to this day claim was the basis for Disneyland’s Main Street. Disney developed a love for trains as a child, and he also was identified as a talented artist while he was very young, selling work at the age of seven. While he was only sixteen, he tried to join the Army, but they discovered his age and wouldn’t let him. Instead, he volunteered for the Red Cross, where he became an ambulance driver in France during World War One. Once he returned to the states, he became a cartoonist and shortly after that was experimenting in animation, a relatively new art form and way to film. He started making shorts that showed in a local theater, but they failed, and his studio went bankrupt. Eventually, he, his brother, and a partner created the Disney Brother’s Studios, and they created a character named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. They met with enough success to hire several animators and grow, but the distributor stole the rights to Oswald as well as most of his employees, and he was back to broke. At this point, he was working on another character named Mickey Mouse. After releasing two silent shorts, his third included sound and was called Steamboat Willie. It was a huge hit, and it gave Walt Disney the money to start his real work. He soon made feature films such as Snow White in 1937, and the movies were all surprise hits, despite the depression in America. Once World War Two started, Disney was recruited for the war effort and made anti-fascist propaganda films for the government. This is interesting because a lot of people accuse him of being a Nazi sympathizer himself. By the 1960’s, Walt Disney was a household name. He launched Disneyworld in California (to a very rocky start) and expanded his reach. Eventually, he started the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) in Florida, but he died of lung cancer before it could be completed. With all of this, comes of course rumors and controversy. Was Walt Disney in fact a secret Nazi? What stance did he take during the anti-communist McCarthy era that hit Hollywood so hard? Was he a monster to his employees? Why did Walt Disney himself claim there were two versions of himself? Was he an anti-Semite? Most importantly, is his body actually frozen, and why do people think this might be the case? You might be surprised by some of the answers. Listen, laugh, learn.   A link for his film, Education For Death: The Making of the Nazi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vLrTNKk89Q A link for the anti-Nazi Donald Duck cartoon called Der Fuehrer’s Face https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzH1iaKVsBM
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Episode 219: Albert Fish: The Werewolf of Wysteria
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the crimes of a man who is perhaps the sickest serial killer we’ve ever covered: Albert Fish. We want to warn you that this episode is not for the faint of heart—this is truly horrible stuff! Read on at your own peril. Fish was one of the most brutal people in history, and he is considered the prototypical serial killer, from his sexual fetishes to his delusions and even his very creative cannibalism (which he even left recipes for…). Albert Fish was born in 1870 in Washington, DC. His father was forty-three years older than his mother, and he had a heart attack when Albert was very young. His newly single mother had to send her children to an orphanage until she could find work, which took several years. During these formative years, experts think that Fish was exposed to beatings, cruelty, and even sexual abuse, creating the madman that he later became. When Albert moved back in with his mom, he was ten years old, and by the age of twelve he had his first boyfriend, and he started to enjoy consuming urine and feces as part of his sexual discovery. By the age of 19, he had moved to New York, where he became a male prostitute and started to really go off the rails. In spite of an arranged marriage and several children, he preferred to have sex with men and children and never seemed to care for his wife. According to his own confessions, he was raping young boys this entire time. In 1917, his wife left him for a handyman who rented a room in their house, and Albert was suddenly a single father. He also went totally insane, thinking God was talking to him. During this time, he started to beat himself with a paddle full of nails, stick needles in his abdomen and groin, and eat human flesh. (Like you do…) Soon, he started to abduct and rape children, often mentally ill and African Americans, so there wouldn’t be social outcry if they went missing. He raped and killed an unknown number of people, and he often mutilated and tortured them first. He finally got busted when he sent a bizarre letter to the mother of one his victims. How did the police track Albert Fish using only the letter? What horrible things did he tell the victim’s mother, and how did it involved China, a steamer ship, and cannibalism? How many other murders did eyewitnesses link him to after the Budd killing? Why does he call genitalia “Monkeys and pee-wees,” and what human recipes did he write his attorney about? Listen, laugh, learn. Link of images about Albert Fish: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/1928-murder-grace-budd-albert-fish-gallery-1.1277430
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Episode 218: Wolf Family Murders: Horror Show in North Dakota
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we do some true crime and look into the horrible Wolf Family Murders. Jacob and Beata Wolf both moved to North Dakota in the early 1900s and started a family in 1905. They were a prosperous farming family blessed with six daughters. In a time of economic difficulties, they even made enough money to hire a neighbor as a farm hand. Their daughters ranged from 9 months old to 13 years, but on April 22, 1920, the entire family and their farm hand were all brutally murdered. On April 24th, the neighbors noticed that the family had failed to bring in their laundry or their horses for two days, even though a storm came through. They tried to call the Wolfs, but their phone line was dead, so they drove over to investigate. When they parked, there was nobody around, and they heard the crying of their infant from inside the house. Eventually, they went into the house and found a bloody scene in the kitchen and a true horror show in the cellar. The farm hand, Beata Wolf, and several of the daughters were all dead. And here’s where it gets brutal. They were killed either by shotgun blasts, hatchet injuries, or even the blunt end of the hatchet on the three year old. From there, the neighbors found the father dead in the lawn and the two final daughters dead in a manure pile covered in hay. Most articles and sources out there lay the blame on a man named Henry Layer. He was a neighbor who apparently had an argument about an injured cow six months before the deaths. Meanwhile, Governor Lynn Frazier was in a political battle with Attorney General William Langer. Langer hired investigators to check into the murder, trying to find a suspect before the governor could act, so he’d have a political advantage in the governor’s race. So, investigators descended on the scene, though none of them had jurisdiction, and they had Henry Layer arrested for the crime. However, Layer’s confession is made under incredible duress, and he asked several times for a juried trial but was refused. How did the investigators get Layer to confess to the Wolf Family Murders? What threats did they make to him, and did they in fact beat him while in jail? Why don’t Layer’s confession details line up with the forensic evidence? Why do many people think it took more than one killer to pull this off? What is Brad’s theory on who was behind the murders (and why does it make so much damned sense…)? Listen, laugh, learn. Episode of Dark Matters with Cayleigh Elise that talks about the Wolf Family Murders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6gPFj1wobg
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Episode 217: Jack Parsons: Sex Magician Rocket Scientist!
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we tell the truly unbelievable life-story of the founder of Jet Propulsion Laboratories, the rocket scientist and occultist named Jack Parsons. We’ve bumped into Parsons in several episodes in the past because he has some crazy ties with everything from Aleister Crowley to Scientology to Operation Paper Clip and Wernher von Braun. If we made this story up, it wouldn’t be as wild as the truth. Parsons was born to a wealthy family, but his mother divorced his father after she found out he was sleeping with hookers. As a result, Parsons was raised by his mom and wealthy grandmother, and at a young age was fascinated with early science fiction stories and fantasy such as the Arthurian Legends. This lead to his burning desire to build rockets to get humanity into space and a love of the Occult that was so profound he even tried to summon the devil when he was in high school. Parsons and his good friend Edward Foreman started building home-made rockets in 1928, when such a thing as rockets barely existed. They got so good at the mechanics and chemistry of it, that they were soon having long phone conversations with von Braun and other rocket pioneers around the world (though they were both still in high school!). Eventually, Parsons got a job at a gunpowder factory and learned even more about the chemistry and craft. Over the years, this self-taught genius became the father of American rockets. He started to land major contracts with the US Military and eventually started the Jet Propulsion Laboratory during World War Two. But this is the tame stuff. Because this is also when Jack Parsons started to practice sex magic. This led him to sleeping with his wife’s 17 year old sister as a matter of religious principle. It also lead to him staring an occult residence called The Parsonage where people could come and learn about sex magic (and rockets) in his mansion. And this leads to even crazier stuff. For example, L Ron Hubbard moved in and took notes while Parsons masturbated on magical tablets. So, how did a scam that L Ron Hubbard pulled on Jack Parsons lead to the seed money for Scientology? What did Parsons do to “magically” keep Hubbard from escaping Miami on a yacht bought with Parsons’ money? What was the Babylon Working Ritual, and how did it help Parsons summon an elemental bride who would someday usher in a virgin birth of Thelemite magic? How did Parsons die, and was it a suicide, an assassination attempt by Howard Hughes, or a failed attempt to summon a homunculus? All three are equally likely. Like I said, we can’t make this stuff up. Tune in for a wild ride. Cool Article on Parsons: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/vvbxgm/the-last-of-the-magicians
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Episode 216: Stonehenge: World Wonder or Hoax?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we discuss a topic that many fans have requested for quite some time—Stonehenge! This ancient structure is one of the largest mysteries of the ancient world. Nobody knows how it was built, and nobody knows what purpose it served, but Stonehenge is the center of paganism and a symbol of ancient ingenuity. It was believed to have been constructed over the course of about a thousand years, from roughly 3000 BCE to 2100 BCE. It evolved several times, from a simple ring of ditches to some small stones to the massive 30 ton monoliths. Most archaeologists claim that the architects of the time didn’t even have wheels or pulleys or hard metals, so the building, mining, and moving of the blocks is really hard to figure out. We talk about some theories as to how Stonehenge was built and weigh in on which was most likely. Also, we talk about the purpose of the ancient place. Some people think it was primarily a burial site, based on mass cremations around the area. Others think it was a site that was meant to heal the sick thanks to the mysterious blue volcanic stones that make up the center of the monument. Others think it is an ancient map that points to the home of a friendly alien world, and we have simply yet to decode it. However, we have to get our conspiracy theory on! Many people claim the British government completely rebuilt it in the 1950s, and Brent might even go on a rant about a lost civilizations of giants… So, did humans build this thing or aliens? Was it meant to be a part of an Arthurian legend that helped early Britons unite through its construction? What do modern-day pagans and druids do in order to worship at Stonehenge? Why is the modern day druid who renamed himself King Arthur Pendragon suing England over parking fees? What is Manhattan Henge, and how did Neal DeGrasse Tyson help create it? Listen, laugh, learn.   Flint Michigan Stonehenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K7q20VzwVs   Stonehenge Druids: http://www.wsj.com/video/who-are-the-stonehenge-druids/D0D6EE11-BED7-4E44-873C-31F7235D50B7.html
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Episode 215: Hunter S Thompson: Gonzo Drug Fueled Journalism
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the truly gonzo life of the one and only Hunter S Thompson. Thompson was a journalist who became famous for his crazed drug-fueled antics and anti-authority stance. Born in Louisville, Kentucky to a middle class family, his father died while he was a teenager, and his mother was left very poor and became an alcoholic. During this time, Thompson started writing, and he had such a skill for it, he was allowed to join an elite writing group normally left for the wealthy. He also fell in with a bad crowd and started experimenting with drugs and started committing crimes ranging from shoplifting to vandalism to robbery. The robbery landed him in jail, and the judge said he could go to prison or join the military. Thompson decided on the Air Force. He career there was short, and he was discharged in two years for lack of discipline and subordinating other airmen. Once out, he began his career as a journalist, working as a copy boy for Time Magazine. Eventually, he started to get stories to cover, and he landed a big one in 1965 when The Nation hired him to do a story on the Hell’s Angels. Hunter S. Thompson ended up spending a year on the road with the motorcycle club, documenting their lifestyle in his unique literary style. The resulting book was a smash hit, and it gave him enough money to buy his compound called Owl Creek and opened up the door to an impressive (if not unorthodox) career as a journalist. His next big piece was an article called “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved," which was where the term Gonzo Journalism got coined. The story was less about the race and more about Thompson’s personal time spent at the race. It led to his next huge success, which was when Sports Illustrated sent him to cover the Mint 400 race in Las Vegas. This lead to his masterpiece, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Hunter S Thompson covered everything from Richard Nixon to his own race to be sheriff of Aspen, Colorado. He even got stranded in Vietnam during the evacuation of Saigon! His stories are wild and varied and pretty hard to believe. What happened when he went to Zaire to cover the Foreman/Ali fight? What was his political platform when he ran for office? What did a typical day of drug use look like for him? Why did he kill himself at the end, and what strange things happened at his funeral? Listen, laugh, learn. Kentucky Derby Article: http://grantland.com/features/looking-back-hunter-s-thompson-classic-story-kentucky-derby/
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Episode 214: Aleister Crowley: Sex, Spies, and Magic
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look back and the wild and wicked life of occultist, spy, poet, and sexual guru Aleister Crowley. Crowley is known for writing the world’s most influential textbook on magic and occultism and creating the religion Thelema, which is still worshiped around the world. Aleister Crowley was born in England in 1875 to a very wealthy family. He had a strong relationship with his father, but his mother didn’t like him and actually gave him his nickname of “The Beast.” When his father died of cancer, Crowley inherited a third of the family fortune, making him a member of the social elite in England. He attended Cambridge, but mostly to socialize, have sex (a lot), and learn poetry. He didn’t officially graduate because he instead became interested in the occult and joined the Order of the Golden Dawn. His time in the Golden Dawn was formative for Crowley, but he didn’t stay long since he was publicly homosexual, and the group shied away from it. This lead to him traveling a lot on his family fortune, eventually making his way to Egypt to study the ancient forces there. He married and went to Cairo, where he claimed to have met his guardian angel named Aiwass who dictated the rules for his new religion, a book called The Book of the Law. The practices in the book were so bizarre that even Crowley refused to follow them, but they started his time as a religious leader. He started a smaller cult and eventually the larger Thelema. Aleister Crowley’s story is very dense and filled with a crazy amount of adventure (and sex). He was massively influential in all of popular culture and inspired everyone from Ian Fleming (creator of James Bond) to the Beatles. So, what is the difference between magic, religion, and science? What did Crowley do as a spy in World War One and World War Two? How did he develop a symbol that countered the Nazi swastika? What was sexual Magick, and how was it practiced at his infamous Abbey? Why did he die penniless and hooked on heroin? Listen, laugh, learn. Here is the wiki that Crowley’s religion runs if you have questions: http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php/Main_Page
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Episode 213: City 40: Russia’s Nuclear Secret
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the little-known secret of “closed towns,” most notably Russia’s City 40. City 40 was the old code name for what is now known as Ozersk. This is the birthplace of the Soviet Nuclear weapons program after the end WWII, and to this day, nobody is allowed into the city except its citizens. There are an estimated 100,000 people living in City 40 today, and it is the hub of Russian nuclear technology. A documentary called City 40 (directed by Samira Goetschel) was filmed by a crew who were illegally smuggled into the city by residents who wanted their story to be told. This is one of the major sources of information about Ozersk since the Russian military still keeps the place on lock down for reasons of state security. So what goes on in City 40? Well, originally, it was the home of the Mayak Nuclear Facility, a place built by forced prison labor. This plant produced the majority of the nuclear material for early Soviet Bombs, and now it refines nuclear materials from submarines and military purposes and repurposes them for medical and space exploration. As one would expect, this factory has not been without its environmental problems. For one thing, they dumped their nuclear waste in nearby lakes. A lot of it. I mean, like, tons of it. The lakes are considered by some to be the worst ecological region on the planet. This is a major problem for obvious reasons, but also because one of the lakes was drained, and the sand from the lake bed caused a nuclear dust storm! City 40 was also home to what was known as the Kyshtym disaster in September 29, 1957, when an underground container of liquid radioactive waste exploded. This created a 100 km long radioactive cloud. 23 Villages had to be destroyed and 10,000 evacuated. This explosion is pretty obscure to history, but it is said to have exposed over 500,000 people to five times more nuclear radiation than Chernobyl did in 1986. So, how does a city of 100,000 people remain closed to the public in today’s age? When are people allowed to leave, and who is allowed to come in? Why would people stay in a city that is filled with radiation and has one of the highest cancer rates on earth? How are the citizens of City 40 treated by the government? How many spies are in this town? What happened to the people in the documentary after it released? Listen, laugh, learn.   Follow up to the City 40 Documentary: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jul/20/graveyard-earth-inside-city-40-ozersk-russia-deadly-secret-nuclear
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Episode 212: Smiley Face Killers: Urban Legend or Serial Killer(s)?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about a topic that is one part true-crime, one part serial killer, and one part conspiracy theory. What more could anyone ask!?! The topic: The Smiley Face Killers. In the year 2008, two retired New York police detectives (Frank Gannon and Anthony Duarte) claimed to have found a pattern surrounding over forty murders in the Northern United states. They noticed a pattern of young, college-aged men who were smart, athletic, and popular and were leaving bars alone only to have their bodies found in rivers, often as long as 2 months later. What’s more strange is that they all take place on the I-94 Highway corridor of the Northern United States, in winter months, spread from 1997 until at least 2010. What’s even stranger is that many of the bodies are found near smiley face graffiti on the edge of the water, and many of them have the word Sinsiniwa found near the bodies as well. While at first, this theory of a single or a group of smiley face serial killers was not believed by experts, eventually, many forensic theorists started to agree with the theory of the Smiley Face Killers Many claim that the statistical odds of this exact group of people dying in this exact way defies all chance of randomness and must be intentional. Many others argue that these are simple drunken drownings with nothing sinister about them. But, there are clues that make it hard to believe this to be a series of accidents. One victim, Patrick McNeal, for example has ligatures on his neck and insects on parts of his body that can only grow in dry, warm areas (not frozen rivers). McNeal also had skin that indicated he was in the water for a day or two, even though it had been two months since his disappearance. Tommy Booth, Chris Jenkins, and Shane Montgomery had other oddities surrounding their disappearances and deaths. How were their bodies positioned in the rivers to indicate it wasn’t a drowning? What does the mysterious Sinsiniwa mean? Why are all the victims white? Does the graffiti of the smiley faces help prove the case or help to dismiss it? What do the victims’ families think about the two detectives who are investigating the Smiley Face Killers? Listen, laugh, learn.   Article Against the Theory: http://homicidecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Research-Brief-on-Smiley-Face-Murder-Theory-FINAL.pdf Interesting Discussion of the Theory: http://www.psychologicalscience.com/psylaw/2010/02/smiley-face-killer-theory.html
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Episode 211: Bob Marley: Reefer, Reggae, Rastafari
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we dig deep into the life of the legendary singer, activist, and cultural icon, Bob Marley. His life involves more than music and weed; indeed, there is also a civil war, an assassination attempt, and a tragic death. Robert Nesta Marley was born in a small rural Jamaican village called Nine Miles in 1945. His father was a white man, Captain Norval Marley, who worked for the British conquerors of the island at the time. He was 70 years old. Marley’s mother was Cedella, was a young black woman (seventeen years old), descended from the Cromantee tribe on Jamaica, famous for its most bloody slave revolt. In Bob Marley, you found both the oppressed and the oppressor. This shaped his young life on the island since he was never fully welcomed because he was a half-breed. He had to be tough, and tough he was. He started to hang out with a street gang called the Rude Boys, and while he never joined, his willingness to do anything gave him the name Tuff Gong (which stuck with him later in life). Eventually, Bob started to play music on the streets of Trench Town and built a group called the Wailers along with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer (two legends in their own rights). They struggled with success, broke up, got back together again, and then finally made some hits and started touring with Bruce Springsteen and Sly and the Family Stone. Soon, Bob Marley and the Wailers became huge in the UK and finally the US, and they started producing amazing music unlike the world had ever known. This was shortly after Bob found Rastafarianism, which bleeds into the lyrics and purpose of all his songs. What gets crazy is that the island of Jamaica falls into a civil war with violence on the streets. The new Prime Ministers is against corporate control of industry and opposes the CIA, and that’s a whole lotta mess. Eventually, Bob was going to perform a show for peace, but two days before, people came to his house and shot him twice, his wife in the head, and his manager five times. Marley survived, obviously, and is such a badass, he still did the concert two days later. So, how does Bob Marley end up getting even more popular as a musician? Why did he and his early band play in a grave yard to defeat “duppy” ghosts? How do two gang members convince him to leave England and come back to Jamaica? How does he get the two warring political leaders to shake hands on stage? Why did he ignore the cancer that ultimately took his life? How many kids did he have, and how many of them were the products of cheating on his wife? Listen, laugh, learn.   Rolling stones article: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-life-and-times-of-bob-marley-20050310
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Episode 210: El Chapo: The Ultimate Kingpin
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life, crimes, escapes, and captures of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera. El Chapo was born in the mid-1950s in the small Mexican town of Badiraguato. Nobody knows his exact birth date since records don’t really exist in that rural area, and he has told several people several different dates. What we do know is that he was the son of a violent and abusive father, and he grew up having to defend himself and his siblings. The young Joaquín Guzmán had no formal education, only getting stray traveling teachers who would come to his village a couple of months per year. By the equivalent of third grade, he is said to have stopped schooling altogether in order to help with family finances—this meant everything from selling chicklets, oranges, and sodas on the streets to working farm labor. By his early teens, he started his own small operation, growing marijuana (and possibly poppies), which was really the only way for anyone to make money in that area. By his late 20s, he had earned his nickname El Chapo (Shorty) and was running logistics for another drug kingpin, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, who ran the Guadalajara Cartel. Gallardo was eventually arrested, and El Chapo earned a percentage of his business and was soon the top drug producer in Mexico. At his height, his Sinaloa Cartel was said to have been responsible for about half of the meth, heroin, coke, and weed being smuggled into America. He is also the master of the jail break, having snuck out of multiple jails and escaping Mexican law enforcement for decades. So how did he break out of the jails? How wealthy is he? Did the actor Sean Penn help to get him arrested? What crazy methods has he used to get drugs into the US? Why is it maybe even worse now that he’s in an American jail? How many people did his drug war kill? How did his son and a Catholic cardinal both die because of El Chapo? Listen, laugh, learn. Rolling Stone's Sean Penn Article: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/el-chapo-speaks-20160109
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Episode 209: Joe the Cannibal: Murder and Barbeque
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we do a little true crime detective work and bring you the horrible facts of Joe The Cannibal Metheny. Joe was perhaps worse than other serial killers, not due to body count or the torture that came before the murders. Instead, he was possibly the worst because he fed the meat of the dead bodies to various people living in Baltimore without their knowledge! Joe the Cannibal was born in 1955 in Baltimore, Maryland to a poor family with six siblings. His father died in a car accident, and his loss made things even worse for the family. His mother suddenly had to work several jobs at all hours to provide for her six children, and while her mom says their family was stable and normal, Joe claims the opposite. Joe says this was a period of trauma and neglect and that he was shuffled from home to home with no real love. Joe joined the army when he turned eighteen, and he allegedly served as an artillery crew during the Vietnam War. Here, he claims to have picked up a habit of doing heroin, and when he returned to the states, his girlfriend was also an addict. Eventually, they had a son together, and Joe worked as a truck driver, leaving for months at a time. In July of 1994, he came home from a long haul, and he found his “old lady” and his son both missing from his home. It turns out, she was turning tricks for someone across town to pay for her drug habit, and she moved in with him. The court found out, took their son away from both Joe and the mother, and Joe became enraged. Eventually, he went under a bridge where his ex and her pimp were known to do drugs, and they weren’t there. So, he started to interrogate what he called “crack whores” under the bridge, and in one night, he raped and murdered and killed. He killed five victims total that night, according to his own confession, and his days as a serial killer began. Within a year, he got a job at a pallet factory and lived on the premises. He started to lure more drug-addicted women to his trailer and kill them as well, but this time, he saved their flesh in Tupperware containers and kept them in a freezer. Eventually, he opened a road-side deep pit sandwich stand, and he served their flesh to unwitting customers. How many did Joe the Cannibal kill and serve to Baltimore? How quickly did he run out of is “special” meat? How did his plan to get more meat in stock backfire? What was the deal with the fisherman who got his head bashed in with a pipe? What did Joe say in his confessions? How many people did he ultimately kill, and why was his sentence changed from death down to life without parole in 2000? Listen, laugh, learn. Court Records Link: http://murderpedia.org/male.M/images/metheny_joe_roy/149a98.pdf
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Episode 208: Raëlism: The Best Sex and UFO Cult Ever?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the UFO super-cult known as Raëlism. This religion was founded by Claude Verilhon, a Frenchman who started his life as a street musician turned French teen pop singer. He released several songs that were on the charts but not near the top. His dreams of being a pop star died when his financial backer committed suicide. A few years later, he became a sports-racing journalist, founding the magazine Autopop. He got married, and everything seemed good in his life. But then, he was visited on December 13, 1973 by the Elohim. The Elohim, or what he calls the “beings from the sky” were thought to be angels in past religions, but according to him, they were actually ancient aliens. They picked Verilhon as their final prophet, and he changed his name to Raël. A few years later, they took him to their home world, where he met people like Jesus and Buddha who gave him messages to bring back to earth. Now, he is devoted to opening an Elohim Embassy to welcome these benevolent aliens to Earth and prove we are ready for them. Oh, and he’s also devoted to have a lot of sex with his cult members, singing songs, wearing strange outfits, and getting humans to clone themselves. The company called Clonaid, a Raëlian group, claimed to have cloned the first human being in 2002. They named her Eve. So, this one gets strange, even as cults go. What does Raëlism believe about the human soul? When can Raëlists get baptized and promoted in the religion? Is Raël a sexual predator? What do his ex-wives say about him and his massive orgies? How many people are in this cult? How do they tie their own story to the main elements found in the Bible? Listen, laugh, learn.   Video about the Elohim Embassy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB37tB5vT_4 Article about Rael’s first wife: https://www.culteducation.com/group/1106-raelians/17521-i-was-married-to-clone-cult-leader-rael-15-years-he-wrecked-my-life-and-our-childrens.html
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Episode 207: Jimmy Hoffa: The Ultimate Missing Person
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life and legendary disappearance of union leader, Teamster (and mobster?) Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa was born to a poor family in 1913; his father was a coal miner and died when Jimmy was a child, forcing his mom to move to Detroit and work to support the family. Hoffa left school at a young age to start working on loading docks for the Kroger grocery chain, and soon thereafter he organized his first labor strike. Within year, the young man was climbing the union ladder in Detroit. Eventually, Jimmy Hoffa became the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and he helped secure the National Master Freight Agreement. This agreement covered over a million truckers and teamsters and was the largest union deal in U.S. history. However, while Hoffa rose to power, he was watched by the FBI and the Kennedy White House due to alleged connections with the mob. The government’s watchful eye caught him committing several crimes which they could never get to stick, but they eventually busted Hoffa for trying to tamper with a jury. He was sentenced to thirteen years in prison, but after only a few years, President Nixon commuted his sentence and let him go free. However, one stipulation was that he couldn’t be involved with the union for several years. This didn’t sit well with Hoffa, who many people say had grown too comfortable with power and too greedy. Eventually, on July 30, 1975, Jimmy Hoffa went to an alleged meeting with a mob enforcer named Anthony Giacalone and an associate of the Genovese crime family (and Teamster leader in New Jersey) Anthony Provenzano. Allegedly, nobody showed for the meeting, and Hoffa phoned his wife to tell her he’d be home soon. However, he was never heard from again. So what happened to Hoffa? Some say he was driven away in a burgundy Mercury Marquis with three other men, including Charles O’Brien (Hoffa’s “adopted” son). What was the Hoffex Memo? What did mob hitman Frank Sheeran say happened to Hoffa, and did this line up with mob leader Tony Zerilli’s account? Listen, laugh, learn. Interesting Article about a meeting with his so-called killers: https://the-line-up.com/what-really-happened-to-jimmy-hoffa/
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Episode 206: Skull and Bones: Illuminati Junior?
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast takes a look at one supposed branch of the Illuminati, the infamous secret society of the Skull and Bones. Founded at Yale in 1832 after a dispute among Yale debating societies, it was the first of a whopping 41 “Senior Societies” now at the university. Every year, this society initiates 15 new members. They are recruited as juniors and are full members their senior year (though major votes involving policy are said to include all living members by secret ballot). Originally, the Skull and Bones was open only to white protestant males. Eventually, it opened up to Catholics, Jews, and then minority races, mostly because the other Senior Societies were doing that, and some of the best candidates were being take. After a crazy legal dispute and a vote by all Bonesmen, women were allowed in the society in 1992 (women weren’t even allowed in Yale until 1969…). So what makes them part of the Illuminati? Power. At least three U.S. presidents were Bonesmen. There is an endless array of Senators and government officials who are selected from among their ranks as well. Business leaders, CEOs of companies, artists, writers, policy makers, and social pioneers are all included in this list. One thing the group is famous for is its secrecy. Unlike other fraternities, nobody really knows what goes on in the Tomb at 64 High Street. From the initiations to the policies and content of the meetings, nobody has talked. Ever. Are the Skull and Bones really part of a larger network of secret societies and occult groups originating in Germany? What is the meaning of the number 322 on their logo? What is the story with the skull of Geronimo, and did Prescott Bush defile his grave during World War One? How many women are in the group now? Who are the key members of the order? Listen, laugh, learn. Article about the skull of Geronimo: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101626709
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Episode 205: Voodoo: Priests, Queens, and Zombies
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we explore the varieties and beliefs of the religion known in America as Voodoo. Voodoo started in Africa as a belief in spirits of the dead and spirits of an invisible world and even animals. Once slavery stole people from their homelands and brought them to America and the Caribbean, however, the beliefs were forced to merge with Christian beliefs. There are said to be three major branches of Voodoo in the world today: African, Haitian, and Louisianan. There are others, but those are the big three. They vary in their terminology, their practice, and their impact on and by the culture around them, but they share many common beliefs. First, they believe that there is a single god, and he can’t be reached. However, the spirits he created (often called the Iwa or Loa) can be called upon. These spirits are summoned with dancing, rituals, sacrifice, and even food and liquor. Voodoo Priests and Priestesses claim to  bring balance between the invisible world and this one. It’s impossible to discuss Voodoo without talk about Marie Laveau, the Queen of Voodoo from New Orleans. It’s also impossible to talk about the religion without discussing Wade Davis, and his critical research into the Voodoo Zombie in the 1980s (which lead to his book and the film, The Serpent and the Rainbow). What sort of influence did Marie Laveau have over the city of New Orleans? Why was she so powerful? What did Wade Davis find about the creation of zombies? What does a toxin from a puffer fish have to do with it. Why did Davis dig up the corpse of a recently dead child? What is a gris-gris and a gros bon ange? What’s the deal with Voodoo Dolls? Listen, laugh, learn. Video of Voodoo Priestess in New Orleans: https://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanbergara/we-explored-the-world-of-voodoo-and-its-not-what-youd-expect?utm_term=.dpolGWZL4#.kcozENdRG
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Episode 204: The Flying Tigers: Secret US Mercenaries of WWII
On today’s episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at unique group of U.S. World War Two mercenary pilots called the Flying Tigers. Formally known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG), this group of pilots were basically a black-ops mission. They were authorized directly by President Roosevelt but were a top secret organization. In fact, the pilots who joined the AVG had to travel out of country on false passports which were drawn up by the government. The pilots and support staff of the Flying Tigers were all given a one year contract in 1941 to help serve in the Chinese Air Force to defend their country against Japanese aggressors. Generalissimo Chiang Kai Chek, the head of the Chinese military, learned of the amazing American pilots after one of his men saw Colonel Claire Chennault doing extremely difficulty air maneuvers as part of a show. Chennault was fired from the Air Force for his bold ideas that the higher ups didn’t appreciate, and the very same day, he was hired by China to help oversee their pilot training. Giving himself the rank of colonel (he was a major), Chennault started to work in China in the late 1930s as an advisor. By the time the Flying Tigers officially formed in 1941, Chennault already knew the politics, the area, and Japanese tactics. Once he was given one hundred aircraft (Curtis P-40 Warhawk fighter planes), they started to strike. A few days after the attack on Pearly Harbor, when America was reeling, and all of their resources were destroyed or being re-routed, The Flying Tigers were able to attack. They started to score victory after victory in the Japanese theater, and they were far more effective than the typical Chinese or even American fighter squad. Their kill ratio by the end of their one year contract was astounding (1500 Japanese pilots were killed and only 25 Fighting Tigers!!!). After Pearl Harbor, these flyboys went from America’s biggest secret to America’s biggest heroes and helped with the propaganda war machine. One thing that was unique about them was a true lack of structure. Not quite part of the Chinese military nor the U.S., they sort of did what they wanted as long as they got the job done. They rode around on local animals, drank a lot, had a pet leopard, and apparently all made love to the same woman (one of the pilot’s wives). It is as cool a World War Two story as I’ve ever encountered. How did they maintain their staggering win ratios? Where did they get transferred to once the war was officially in full swing? How were they blackmailed into staying in the Airforce once their contracts were up? Why was it so hard for them to make their way home? What’s their connection with the Hell’s Angels? Listen, laugh, learn. Great Article: http://www.historynet.com/american-volunteer-group-claire-l-chennault-and-the-flying-tigers.htm
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Episode 203: Flat Earth: The Strangest Conspiracy
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the conspiracy theory that says the Earth is actually flat. Flat Earthers number in the thousands and grow every year, and in spite of what seems to be overwhelming scientific consensus from multiple fields of science, they deny the conclusions of a spherical earth. We have a pretty lively debate about this one with evidence on both sides. You might be surprised at where some of us fall on the Flat Earth proposal. So where did this all start? That’s a tricky question. Various scientists from different societies in different eras have debated this question, but one by one, they all did the math and came out with Earth being a Sphere. Washington Irving famously said that nobody believed the earth was round until Christopher Columbus proved it, but this was all a lie that was part of his fictional History of New York According to Dietrich Knickerbocker. In fact, the Europeans all knew the world was a sphere long before Columbus. Why is there an upsurge in Flat Earth believers? Well, it came from Samuel Rowbotham (aka “Parallax”). He did the infamous Bedford Level Experiment, which he claimed proved that the earth was flat. This was almost immediately disproved when Alfred Russel Wallace did the experiment correctly and accounted for atmospheric refraction. However, Parallax’s ideas lived on and kept the idea alive into the 20th century. Enter Samuel Shenton in 1956. He set up the International Flat Earth Research Society (IFERS), better known as the Flat Earth Society. It came from beliefs held by the Universal Zetetic Society. The Zetetic Method is different than the Scientific Method because it insists on the predominance of direct experience (you can’t see a curve on the horizon, so one doesn’t exist) against abstract thinking. So, how do Flat Earthers contend with NASA photos? What do they say about GPS systems? What does the Earth look like according to them, and how can gravity exist? Why are other planets spheres, but ours is not? What accounts for the sun and moon? Why do NBA stars and rappers keep going to war with Neal deGrasse Tyson about this? Listen, laugh, learn. Nathan Thompson gets kicked out of Starbucks after insulting a NASA guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_qOhuyRaAY#action=share No Forests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHkiZNT3cyE Round Earth Proofs: http://www.popsci.com/10-ways-you-can-prove-earth-is-round#page-7  
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Episode 202: Sex Trafficking: It’s Worse Than You Think
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the horrible truth about human sex trafficking. While many people envision this as something that only occurs in the third-world or in areas known for sex tourism, this is a major, first-world problem.  The underground sex economy in Denver is said to be close to $40 million a year, and in Atlanta it is $290 million! While many of the victims of sex trafficking in the U.S. are foreign, there are plenty who are natives to the country. So, how do people get pulled into the horrible life of sex trafficking? There are several ways that range from recruitment by a single pimp to organized crime, family involvement, and even “gorilla recruitment” that is done by force. The most common, however is that people will get to know children (the average age tends to be between 11-14) through social media. They slowly start a grooming stage where they con the child into trusting or even falling in love with them, and by then it’s too late. They are lured into the sex life to keep getting the approval of the new love of their life, or to keep getting drugs they are now addicted to, or even to simply stay alive! One of the biggest areas for recruitment in the United States is the broken Foster Care system. In study after study, the majority of sexual slaves in the country were once foster children. The dependence upon other people controlling their lives and even the perception of the child as a means for foster parents to make a paycheck make them easy prey. Plus, with the overwhelmed social system, there aren’t enough social workers to meaningfully check in on the welfare of the children in the foster system. From the promise and lure of exciting foreign adventures to kidnapping and threats of murder and drug addiction, many young girls and boys are enslaved as sex workers. Listen in to find out how they are typically recruited and where they are taken. Also, we talk about a few organizations that are there to help stop sex trafficking as well as simple phone App called TraffickCam that can help locate sex slaves and prosecute their pimps. Somehow, we even makes jokes in the middle of all this evil!   Article on Foster Care: http://medicalkidnap.com/2016/04/15/the-u-s-foster-care-system-modern-day-slavery-and-child-trafficking/ Sex Traffic Map: https://polarisproject.org/facts
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Episode 201: Ted Bundy: The Ultimate Serial Killer
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we fulfill a long-standing listener request and explore the twisted life and killings of Ted Bundy. Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers in US history, having killed somewhere between 30 and 100 women, known for rape and necrophilia. Still with us? Okay, then, this one gets pretty brutal… It is also confusing since so many biographers rely on interviews and testimonies given by Bundy, a man who was notorious for constantly changing his story and revising his past. Ted Bundy was born to an unwed mother in the 1940s in a religious family who did not condone such things. The mother, Louise Cowell, hid out at an unwed mother’s shelter and gave birth there. Once Ted was born, she moved back in with her parents. This gets weird because they claimed that Ted’s grandparents were his real parents, and his mother was his sister. Ted was born under this lie, and only found out as a teenager. In the meantime, his grandfather was an abusive, racist, bigot of a man; his grandmother underwent electroshock therapy, and Ted showed an affinity for knives, pornography, and being a peeping Tom at a young age. Bundy went off to college, and he eventually fell madly in love with a woman called Stephanie Brooks. She broke up with him, sending him into a spiral of depression. Years later, he dated her again, just so he could break up with her and cause her harm. From that point on, he started murders, and all of them were women with similar looks to Brooks—white girls with dark hair parted down the middle. Bundy started his killing spree from state to state. He would lure women to come to his aid by wearing slings and fake casts and hobbling around on crutches. He would bludgeon them, rape them, and then hide their bodies in the woods where he was said to have continued having sex with their bodies until they were too badly decomposed to continue Eventually, he got pulled over with a  whole list of creepy murder gear in his VW Bug, and that combined with confessions of an ex-girlfriend got him on surveillance and eventually arrested for kidnapping. So how many murders did he actually commit? How many times did he escape from prison, and how long did he escape for? What happened at the Florida sorority house that finally did Ted Bundy in? How did he get a judge to accidentally marry him and his wife during his legal defense? Listen, laugh, learn. Bundy’s final interview: https://vimeo.com/49018764
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Episode 200: Gary Coleman: Tragedy and Time Travel
On this amazing 200th episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we finally do it! We look at the life, impact, death, and supernatural powers of Gary Coleman. Called “King of the Midgets” by Brad over some time ago, he has been a big part of our show and most conspiracy theories. This force of pop culture was born in 1968 in Zion, Illinois. Gary Coleman was the son of a homeless woman, and he was adopted as a baby by a nurse practitioner and a pharmaceutical representative. It was clear early on that the child had health problems. Indeed, he had nephritis, which is a congenital kidney defect that kept him from ever growing past 4’8” and caused him to have dialysis and transplants throughout his life. Coleman was a bright kid, learning to fully read and write at a young age and writing his own pitch letters to modeling agencies when he was only five years old. This led to him doing local commercials and eventually getting noticed by Hollywood giant Normal Lear. Lear cast him in several roles in his TV shows, and these eventually lead to Coleman’s role as Arnold in Diff'rent Strokes. In this role, he became a sitcom legend. The show helped identify television in the 1980s, and it lead to several film roles. However, when the show was finally cancelled, Gary Coleman had a hard time finding acting work. His health condition left him very small, but his face was still aging, so it made it hard for people to keep casting him. This led to a period of depression and legal battles for the money he had earned on the show, and by adulthood, his money was all gone, and he couldn’t get consistent work. At this point he met his wife, Shannon Price. Their marriage was turbulent, often involved the police, and revolved around legal battles, restraining orders, and battles for his estate. Gary Coleman died on May 28, 2010 under questionable circumstances. How did a “fall” lead to his death? Did Shannon Price kill Coleman? Why was she so strange in the 911 call? How did he get super powers and the ability to travel through time? Why do people say there is a “Curse of Diff'rent Strokes?” Wat’choo talkin’ bout Willis? Listen, laugh, learn. Oh, and also, back by popular demand, we play a round of News or Bull$hit! Police Call of his Wife: (Many people claim that at about 1:57 you can hear him say “Why did you push me?”)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utZ2hHAcY9c
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Episode 199: The Lost Cosmonauts: Conspiracy Come True?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the conspiracy theory of the Lost Cosmonauts. (Finally, a conspiracy about space that isn’t the moon landing hoax or lizard people!) Our official history says that on April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin was the first human being to ever leave the planet earth and orbit the earth. However, there are theories that this was not the truth—Gagarin was not the first person in space. In fact, the argument goes, there were several others who made it to space first, but they didn’t succeed in making it back! So, no, the theory is not that the Lost Cosmonauts are actually lost. Indeed, they are all dead or living lies to cover up Soviet failures early in the space program. Remember that the Cold War hinged upon the Space Race, and losses in the form of cosmonaut deaths would equal defeat in this war. America lost astronauts in the Apollo 1 explosion, so why couldn’t the Soviets as well? In fact, many people think they did lose people, and plenty of them. There is the case of Vladimir Ilyushin, the golden boy of the Soviet Union and the best test pilot alive at the time. Allegedly, he launched a week before Gagarin did, but he had difficulty landing and ended up being held by the Chinese for over a year, and his failure was covered up. There are also the creepy and fascinating recordings of the Judica-Cordiglia brothers in Italy. They allegedly started to hear the broadcasts of various Soviet craft in space, and then they started recording them. The records start small, build with some SOS calls from space, and end with a desperate woman who seems to burn to death re-entering the atmosphere. Is there something to this, or are the brothers just pulling a prank? Some of the Lost Cosmonauts turn out to be an art project, and lots of others seemed to have died in training but covered up. Who was Ivan Ivanovich, and why was his craft met with anger in the small Soviet Village where it crashed? Did the USSR try to launch a last minute moon shot to beat the US to the punch? Who was Valentin Bonderinko, and why did his horrible death by fire get covered up by the soviets? How many Lost Cosmonauts are there? Listen, laugh, learn.   Audio of the supposed Lost Cosmonauts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Sgc1I9sjfc  
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Episode 198: Crips Versus Bloods: LA Gang Wars
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we represent the West Coast and talk about the LA gang wars between the Bloods and the Crips. LA was a unique scene during the civil rights movement; it didn’t have the built-in racism of the south, so the typical civil rights activist was less likely to be a religious man and more likely to be Black Panther. When the Panthers died down and civil rights were earned, there was a power vacuum in the streets of LA, and a handful of savvy, small gang leaders filled it. In 1969, Stanley Tookie Williams and Raymond Washington unified their street gangs and called themselves the Cribs. This group gained power and notoriety, and eventually, there were several offshoot “sets” which called themselves the Crips and spread through LA. Eventually, in 1972, several Crips murdered a teenager after a concert at the Hollywood Palladium, and some other small gangs banded together in response. This group was made up of Piru Street Gang members, and headed by Sylvester Scotty and Benson Owens. Eventually, this counter-group became known as the Bloods. After a number of years, the Bloods had several sets through LA as well, and the Crips and Bloods started a decades-long war that is still going to this day. Dressing in color-coded attire (typically Red for Crips and Blue for Bloods), these LA gangstas were a distinct group that tapped into the grunge-esque culture of the late 80s and 90s. Unlike east coast gangsters, the LA type dressed in casual clothing, and it was a sensibility that took popular culture by storm, spawning several movies and even groups like NWA in the rap scene. The small gang sets through the Southland eventually became more important as crack cocaine hit the scene. A small-time gang member could make five times what a legitimate job paid (some claimed to make $3000 a day), and they had the unity and brotherhood of the gang to back them up in their social lives. However, the war waged on and got more brutal as the Bloods were outnumbered by the Crips. The Crips even started to in-fight, and now the LA gang scene is hundreds of sets that war with each other regardless of color or creed. The LA gangs are considered to be one of the most ruthless, heartless sets of organized crime in the world. If you’re into gangsta rap, LA, or claiming your set, this is the episode for you! Scared Straight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3OiMqOHK90 Good Article on history of LA Gangs: https://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/poverty_prejudice/gangcolor/lacrips.htm
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Episode 197: Tony Robbins: Conman or Compassionate?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the self-improvement mogul, Tony Robbins. He’s the six foot seven inch motivational speaker who is worth $480 million dollars and holds seminars that cost between two and eight thousand dollars. Tony Robbins was born Anthony J. Mahavoric on February 29, 1960. His father left them, and his mother was abusive to point of chasing him around the house with a kitchen knife, so at age 17, he set out on his own and was such an amazing salesperson that he was in his own apartment and living a better life than he did with his mom in a matter of months. Robbins was an amazingly driven teen, becoming a sports writer by sheer force of will and quickly becoming a top salesperson for another motivational speaker. By the time he was an adult, he had studied psychology and hypnotism (never formally educated), and he started his own motivational industry. His companies are now worth over $5 billion, and he was the king of the late night infomercial during the 1990s. So what makes Tony Robbins worthy of discussion? We set out on our research to talk about this guy who we all thought was the ultimate scam artist, taking the savings of retirees and scamming them with bad real estate investments. But that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. We honestly ruled him to be a passionate and compassionate man, driven by helping the lives of others more than driven by his wealth (though it astounding). How did the documentary called I Am Not Your Guru change our minds? How do you know he didn’t hypnotize us? How did he get Oprah Winfrey to walk across hot coals? What does he do to get a woman to break up with her boyfriend in front of 2500 people? Listen, laugh, learn. Oprah Walks on Hot Coals with Tony Robbins: http://www.oprah.com/own-oprahs-next-chapter/oprah-walks-on-fire-video Bizarre video of Tony and DJ Khaleed: http://www.complex.com/music/dj-khaled-tony-robbins-interview-2016-cover-story 
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Episode 196: The Miranda Murders: Leonard Lake and Charles Ng
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we throw some True Crime at you and look at grizzly killings done by Leonard Lake and Charles Ng. Leonard Lake was born to a family that allegedly encouraged him to take naked photos of his sister and use them as pornography, and had a lifelong obsession with watching and being involved in the making of porno. His obsession with it cost him two wives. Through his childhood and adulthood, Lake was thief and a conman, and he was medically discharged from the military due to schizophrenic traits. He tried life as a college student and a hippy, but decided on serial killer. Meanwhile, his cohort Charles Ng was born in Hong Kong and was said to have a very abusive father. Ng, like Lake, was a lifelong criminal. He was sent to a boarding school in England, but he was expelled for stealing. Later, he illegally joined the US Marines by lying about his nationality, and once there, he was convicted of stealing $11,000 worth of weaponry. While doing time for the weapons, he escaped and went on the run. This is where Lake and Ng finally met each other and became a duo of serial killers. They both moved to a cabin that belonged to one of Lake’s ex-wives and turned it into a survival compound. They were obsessed with nuclear war, and in one of Lake’s diaries, he even said they need to start “Project Miranda” which was their plan to have a female sex slave to be with them to survive the nuclear apocalypse. Instead of one Miranda, however, they got several. They abducted men and women, families, even infants. Many were shot and killed. Others were raped and held in a cell for a while first. All told, the police believe they duo was responsible for over 25 murders. What happened when the FBI arrested Ng and Lake? How did Ng manage to escape? How did Lake die of cyanide poisoning while in Federal Custody? Where did Ng run to, and why did it take the US over a decade to convince Canada to extradite him, even though he admitted to the bulk of the murders? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 195: Hell’s Angels: Club or Criminals?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the world’s most famous Motorcycle Club (MC), The Hell's Angels. This group considers itself the ultimate MC, a place where like-minded individuals can share brotherhood and even perform fund-raising efforts for the poor and for needy vets. However, most law enforcement agencies in the world view them as a gang which specializes in distribution of everything from guns to drugs and even prostitutes. The Hell’s Angels started in 1948 in Fontana, California, and it was originally a club for ex-pilots from World War Two. Hell’s Angels was the name of a film and a term for certain flying aces, so the name followed the pilots from the air over Germany and Japan and down to the freeways of California. Starting only in the west coast, this MC eventual reached over 20 countries and has hundreds of branches around the world. They were seen as counter-culture rebels in the 1960s, but by time they allegedly put a hit out on Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones due to some violence and death at the Altamont Free Concert, their reputation got sullied in the press. While the modern day Hell's Angels does indeed do charity rides for children and the American Red Cross, they also have long-standing wars with other clubs that have left thousands dead over the years. What does it take to become a member of the Hell’s Angels today? What does it mean to be a “hang-around,” “an associate,” “a prospect,” or a “full patch?” What do the patches they wear on their vests mean, and how do they show off their rank and time inside the organization? What does the highest-level member of the Hell’s Angels to have ever defected have to say about the club after he turned rat and gave information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police? Listen, laugh, learn. Link to the story of David Atwell, the defector: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/life-after-betraying-the-hells-angels
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Episode 194: Chuck Norris: The Man, The Meme!
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we’re talking about the force of nature known as Chuck Norris. Born Carlos Ray Norris in Oklahoma, he came from an Irish-English mother and a Cherokee father. After his father divorced and moved away, the family headed to Torrance, California where they lived until young Carlos joined the Army during the Korean War. In basic training, he earned the nickname Chuck, and it stuck. Chuck Norris was training for the Security Police in the service, and he learned early on that in order to subdue drunken soldiers, he almost always had to draw a weapon. This inspired him to study Tang Soo Do and Tai Kwon Do to get an edge over the people he had to arrest. Once he moved back to the states, he worked a day job but had learned so much about the martial arts in a time where it was all pretty foreign to the US, that he was convinced to start a school. Eventually, the franchised schools spawned to over thirty dojos and trained big celebrities back in the day like the Osmonds, Steve McQueen, Priscilla Pressley, and Bob Barker! McQueen convinced Chuck to consider doing action movies, and the rest is history. He appeared in a few small rolls, but when the Legend, Bruce Lee, fought him in the climax of Return of the Dragon, he became internationally known. That is to say, he became known to the general audience. Up until that time, Chuck Norris was a legend himself in the martial arts realm. He held the World Middleweight Karate Championship from 1968-1974 when he retired from the sport. Black Belt Magazine named him martial artist of the year in 1969. So, when he showed up to fight Bruce Lee with all that chest hair, he was already legit in the fighting world. So what company picked him up to make all their action movies for over a decade? What was his most successful movie? What led to the development of the 8 year run on television’s Walker, Texas Ranger? What are the (kind of strange) philosophies that are behind Chun Kuk Do, Norris’ self-developed martial art? And what does he think of the “fact memes” that spread about him? Listen, Laugh, Learn. Clip of Chuck Norris reading facts about himself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQmPMZeN7JQ
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Episode 193: David Icke: The Godfather of Reptoid Aliens
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the conspiracy theories of the extraterrestrial Reptoid Lizard People and the ideas of theorist David Icke. There are two types of reptilian beings, according to the mythology about them. One is an ancient people that most Native American tribes and many other global cultures express some belief in. They live underground and seldom come up to interfere with lands of men. This is the same Lizard People the LA Times wrote about in the 1930s (see link below). The other reptoids, however, are much more sinister, and their theory is much more wacky. The pioneer of these thoughts is David Icke, who was a professional footballer until an injury sidelined him and put in the broadcaster booth. From there, he became a politician for the Green Party, but after that, he fell into the “Turquoise Phase” and things got a little weird. He had to step out of politics once knowledge of this three way love relationship between his wife and a prominent British psychic came about. Then, he started writing books to uncover the horrible truth about the reptoids. So what are the reptoids exactly? According to Icke, they are an ancient race of beings who come not just from another planet, but from deep in the 4th dimension. They exists on earth but can rarely be seen since they are out of tune like a television on the wrong channel. For the entire span of human history, they have tinkered with our DNA to make us docile and able to reproduce. They themselves take the form of leaders of the earth, most US presidents, the Royal Family, the Rothschilds, you name it. If someone on this earth is important, they are reptoids hiding themselves. Beyoncé and Jay Z? You bet! You can watch YouTube videos of them and so many presidents transforming by accident. Oh, and did I mention that moon the is really a hologram generator for the reptoids to stay cloaked in the 4th dimension and is run by the Babylonian Brotherhood and The Round Table? Well, that's the truth according to Icke. Now return to work peasants, our reptoid overlords demand no less!   Link to Strange Lizard People Article: http://www.reptoids.com/Vault/Schufeltsearch.htm   Video of Newscaster Supposedly Changing to a Lizard Person: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKKXXpkp6Wk
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Episode 192: Hugh Hefner: Sexist or Activist?
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the founder of Playboy, Hugh Hefner. Hefner was born to conservative, middle class parents in Chicago in 1926. He was said to be a very bright student with an IQ of 152, though he didn’t care much for academics until he was done serving in the Army during World War II. Eventually he graduated from the University of Illinois, where he studied psychology and sexuality. Shortly after college, he got a job working at Esquire Magazine, but he quit after a disagreement about a five dollar raise and moved between Chicago and New York. At this point, he started to raise funds to launch his own men’s lifestyle magazine, but instead of the conservative values of Esquire, Hugh Hefner wanted this one to be liberal and help shift boundaries away from the Christian norms in American. Borrowing money from friends and family, he famously purchased one nude picture of Marilyn Monroe and published the first ever issues of Playboy with her as the centerfold in 1953. It was an immediate success, selling over 50,000 copies. And with that, his growth continued for decades. Hefner used the magazine to not just peddle smut, but to change American culture. Playboy was a men’s magazine which tried to tell men how to be stylish and cool. This included Hefner’s own articles on what to drink, how to behave like a gentleman, what suits to wear, what music to listen to, etc. He immediately became the target of conservatives and of feminists, of course, but Hefner held to his beliefs that what did was not objectifying women, but freeing them. You be the judge of that one. Hugh Hefner considered himself a feminist, trying to give women the ability to have sex outside of marriage and not be ashamed of their own bodies. He is also considered by many to have helped usher in not only the Sexual Revolution, but the Civil Rights movement. He had black luminaries such as Alex Haley, Miles Davis, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mohamed Ali in Playboy. In fact, his series of interviews between Alex Haley and Malcolm X led to the publication of the Autobiography of Malcolm X. So, was he just a smut peddler trying to make a dollar by selling sex, or was he truly a pioneer of sexual freedom? What happened in his Playboy Clubs, and how did men get a “key” to the club? How many wives did he have, and what is the story with the Playboy Mansion? Listen, laugh, learn. Here's an article about the Hefner series we talk about: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/hugh-hefner-docuseries-what-we-learn-about-playboy-founder-w477122
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Episode 191: The Black Dahlia–Mysterious Murder in LA
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we play detective around the most infamous unsolved murder case in Los Angeles history, the Black Dahlia. Elizabeth Short was born in Boston in 1924, and after a bizarre event with her father leaving the family in the middle of the night, she finally reconnected with him in her 20s and moved to California to be with him. There, she lived in various cities, bounced around back to Florida a bit, and finally settled in LA for the final several months of her life. She was an aspiring actress who had a thing for service men in the 1940s and spent a lot of time hustling meals and favors in nightclubs. On January 15th, 1947, a woman named Betty Bersinger was walking with her young daughter along a new street in the then under-development neighborhood of Leimert Park when she saw what she thought was the two pieces of a mannequin. Instead, it was the remains Elizabeth Short. She was cut in half at the waist, drained of blood, had her skin scrubbed clean, and had a Joker Smile cut from cheek to cheek. The press ransacked the area, getting there before even the LAPD could respond, and the case was an instant sensation. Short was nicknamed the Black Dahlia (presumably a play on word for a recent film that had come out), and a thorough (though incompetent) investigation took place. The media made a circus out of the case, derailing the police in many ways, and ultimately dozens of different people came to confess because of the infamy of the Black Dahlia. However, the true killer was never brought to justice. Allegedly, the killer sent letters and evidence to the LAPD, but nobody could link the killing to any one individual. Some investigators tried to link the murder to the Lipstick Murder that happened several weeks later and the Cleveland Torso murders that were going on at the time. In the 1990s a woman unlocked a “hidden memory” that supposedly revealed who the killer was. One person claimed it was the director and actor Orson Welles! Perhaps the biggest lead came in 2013 with a pretty convincing case that a doctor named George Hodell did the killings—and this came from Hodell’s own son, a retired LAPD officer. So, if you like murder, mystery, and true crime, give this one a listen. Article on one supposed killer: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Search-Dog-Finds-Potential-Evidence-in-Black-Dahlia-Murder-189481711.html 
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Episode 190: Televangelists: Or, How to Fleece a Flock
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we discuss the power, wealth, and corruption of Televangelists. Evangelical churches originally found the airwaves back in Radio Times, but the FCC had regulations that made all church services on the airwaves be free to broadcast, so long as they didn’t make any money off of the venture. This changed in the 1970s when the FCC wrote new rules, and almost overnight, major Televangelist networks started to spread as a way for corrupt preachers to make a quick (million) buck(s). Of course the massive wealth these mega churches generate become even more impressive thanks to government regulations stating that churches are tax free. The 501(c)(3) clause allows these groups to run without any IRS involvement, and they can even establish “parsonages,” which are massive mansions for the preachers to live in. This tax exempt luxury has spawned big names like Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, and Creflo Dollar. One reason these preachers are so rich is the Property Gospel, the idea that “seed dollars” that you invest in the church will win god’s favor, and he’ll pay you back with riches or cures for cancer or whatever it is you are praying for. They also send you crazy stuff back in the mail to keep you on the hook to give them more and more money. One particularly good example of this is the multiple Televangelists who own multimillion dollar private jets due to seeds they fleece from their flock (something we open the show with). We get a bit bottlenecked by the crazy hair that comes with women like Tamy Faye Bakker and Janice Crouch. We even talk about the old time preacher woman named Aimee Semple McPherson who was so corrupt she had to fake her own death. So, listen in to this episode, as we talk about the corruption, the lawlessness, the sexual affairs, the fraud, and the fleecing that make up the modern day TV preacher. The video  clip we open the show with: https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/3zcjne/televangelists_defending_their_private_jets/
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Episode 189: Henry Ford: The Birth of Industry
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the genius, wealth, and impact of Henry Ford. Known for the spread of the automobile, Ford was also a major historical figure for the creation of the modern-day assembly line and the idea of global corporate logistics. His Ford Motor Company eventually became a self-sustaining empire, in which he owned everything in the supply chain from rubber for the tires to steel and wood mills for the car frames. Born as one of four children on a prosperous farm near Dearborn, Michigan, Henry Ford had no formal education. However, at thirteen, his father gave him a watch, and he immediately took it apart and put it back together, prompting other farmers to come to have him repair their time pieces and eventually other equipment. At only sixteen, Ford moved to Detroit to apprentice in a machine shop, and from there, his path was set. He went back and forth between Detroit and the family farm after he was married, but he eventually found work for Thomas Edison’s company. While there, the worked on a side project to design and build a horseless carriage. He wasn’t the first to build such a thing, but he had better ideas than most. He eventually showed his concept to Edison, who convinced him to pursue the ideas, and a few years later, the Model A was born. Ford got into the car game at the start, and with the massive success of the Model T (half the cars in American were Model Ts by 1918), he had to create a streamlined way to make them. Enter: the assembly line. Ford developed his streamlined method of mass production as well as a shorter work week for almost twice the pay of typical factories, and the loyalty and efficiency of Ford made him one of the wealthiest men in the world. We debate his intentions with his employees and open with the fact that he hated Jews. How wealthy was he? Why did Hitler love him? How much did he hate Jews? Listen, laugh, learn. Was Ford a Nazi: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/nov98/nazicars30.htm
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Episode 188: IRA–Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the Irish Republican Army. This group considers itself a militant Irish nationalist group that is willing to use “political violence” to achieve its goal of an independent Northern Ireland. To some Irish, the IRA is a group that represents independence and freedom. To the US and UK governments, however, it is considered one of the most active terrorist organizations in the world. Founded in 1917 as a volunteer army of Irish citizens who refused to enlisted in World War One and fight for the British, it has had a very violent history. The Army reformed 1919 and fought the Irish War of Independence  against Britain. This bloody internal conflict freed all but Northern Ireland from British rule. However, with Northern Ireland not being truly “free,” the group kept evolving and fighting back through bombings, murders, and other acts of violence. The modern Army is hard to define, since there are several splinter groups such as the Official IRA, the Provisional IRA, the Continuity IRA, and the Real IRA. The Provisional IRA is considered to be the largest and has alleged ties to the political organization called Sinn Fein. This group is a large political force in Ireland and Europe, and its current president Gerry Adams was on the US terrorist watch list until 2006. The connection between a terrorist organization and a massive political party has many people in the UK worried (and even led to its leaders being banned from ever being broadcast on British TV and radio). The IRA trains its members according to the codes and philosophies laid out in their secretive publication known as the Green Book. It talks about what it takes to be a member of the Irish Republican Army, and it even suggests what weapons to acquire and how to resist interrogation. Through the 70s, 80s, and 90s, the IRA waged a war against Britain called “The Troubles.” In this thirty year period, 3600 were people killed and 50,000 more injured through bombings and attacks. From bombings to murder, and from gun running, to bank robbing, assassination, and death by hit men, this episode covers a lot of ground. Listen, laugh, learn. Here is a link to the notorious Green Book: https://tensmiths.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/15914572-ira-green-book-volumes-1-and-2.pdf
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Episode 187: Timothy Leary: The LSD Guru
On this far-out episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life and influence of Doctor Timothy Leary. Born to a typical Irish-Catholic household in Springfield, Massachusetts, Leary seemed like a normal child who eventually excelled in academia. He earned a psychology doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1950 and taught there. While a professor at Berkeley, his first wife committed suicide, and he was said to explore many ways to cope with this loss. Two years later, he was hired to teach at Harvard in 1959. While working at Harvard, he traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he took psychedelic mushrooms for the first tim and had a mind-altering experience. Once he got back to campus, Leary conducted behavioral experiments with psilocybin alongside his colleague Richard Alpert. This became the Harvard Psilocybin Project, and Leary and Alpert did radical experiments with mushrooms and eventually branched out into studying LSD and DMT and their effects on the human mind. Their experiments included giving the drug to inmates, colleagues, and graduate students, but when Leary gave a dose of LSD to an undergraduate off campus, he was fired from Harvard. This was not the career-ending blow that many would face. Indeed, it allowed him to become a massive icon in the 1960’s counter culture movement. Timothy Leary’s catch phrase “tune in, turn on, drop out,” helped him popularize drug use in America, and he became a top celebrity as a result. Eventually, Timothy Leary decided to run for governor of California in 1970, and was soon arrested for marijuana possession. Given a very long sentence, Leary broke out of prison and was on the run around the globe for several years. How did he escape? What group was paid $25,000 by the “Hippie Mafia” to help him escape the country? Why did he live with the Black Panthers overseas? What was his connection to Billy Idol and virtual reality later in life? Why was his own death considered a piece of performance art? Listen, laugh, learn. Great Leary Article: http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/1022.html
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Episode 186: Warren Jeffs: Religious Prophet or Rapist?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) and their prophet and leader, Warren Jeffs. Not to be confused with the Mormon church, this fundamentalist offshoot is a cult that practices polygamy and any number of nasty things designed to let the guys at top live like kings and everyone else to live like a peasant. Warren Jeffs was the son of Rulon Jeffs, the previous prophet and leader of the FLDS. He had 50 wives, and Warren was his 14th son, born several months premature. Since Warren Jeffs survived against all odds as a baby, Rulon considered Warren to be special and raised him to be second in command. Eventually, decades later, Rulon’s health failed, and after he had a stroke and died, Warren Jeffs appointed himself the new leader of the “church” and the new prophet who got word directly from The Lord. This word included a lot of sex. Jeffs married at least 70 girls (maybe more than 80), most of whom were underage. He’d have them engage in what he called "heavenly comfort sessions" sanctioned by the sect's "Higher Law of Sarah.” These are fancy terms for underage rape. Other than that, Jeffs started to run a series of compounds which did millions of dollars in welfare fraud, hoarded all the wealth of its members, and only let a ruling elite class eat regularly or have any creature comforts. Life on the compounds meant no television, no internet, and even in recent years, no sex between a husband and a wife unless given the word by the prophet. Oh, and the word means one of the prophet’s 15 friends gets to be the one having sex with the woman, not her husband. FLDS life even includes children taken from mothers at any age to be sent to another compound, most likely for an underage marriage. So, how did Jeffs get caught and what crimes is he arrested for? How does he still manage to run the cult from behind bars? How much worse did it get for the FLDS members after Jeffs went away? What does Jeffs think of black people? Listen, laugh, learn. Great Story on the FLDS and Warren Jeffs: http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/05/us/flds-secrets-warren-jeffs/
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Episode 185: Richard Kuklinski: The Maffia’s Iceman
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we delve into the life of the notorious Iceman, the contract killer and psychopath named Richard Kuklinski. The Iceman got his name because he experimented with freezing the bodies in industrial freezers before disposing of them in order to make it hard to determine how long the body had been dead for (a trick he learned from another hit man named “Mr. Softee”). Though he was arrested for five murders and later confessed to a sixth in court, law enforcement range his murders somewhere between 100 and a staggering 300! Kuklinski was born in Jersey City, New Jersey to an abusive father. And I mean abusive! In fact, Richard’s older brother Florian was beaten to death by his father, and it was ruled an accident from falling down the stairs. The whole family seemed permanently scarred by this beast of a father, and another brother named Joseph went on to rape and murder a 12 year old. This violent household led to a violent child. When he was young, Kuklinski would torture and kill cats, and allegedly, when he was only 14 he killed his first man, removed identifying markers, and hid the body where it was never found. From there, he started doing petty crimes and eventually tried to go straight. He got a job in a film lab, processing films for movie theaters. However, he met members of the Gambino Crime Family here, and he started to make a lot of side money by bootlegging pornos and Disney films and selling them on the streets. This was the start of a career of carjacking, robbery, and other mob crimes that culminated in him being the mob’s most notorious hit man. The Iceman was said to have worked for seven different crime families, earning their trust when Roy DeMeo beat him with a pistol. The Iceman never flinched or complained, and they became close associates. Kuklinski worked in the Gemini Lounge where a “murder factory” was happening upstairs. Eventually, the Iceman was caught after he started to make mistakes. Who ratted on him and got him busted by the feds? How long of a jail sentence did he serve? What was the story of his wife Barbara and the several murder attempts he made on her? Why would a woman stay with such a monster, and how did she and their daughter try to kill him in return once? How did the Iceman finally die, and what did his wife have to do with it? Listen, laugh, learn. The Iceman Lieth: https://swallowingthecamel.me/2013/07/17/the-iceman-lieth/
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Episode 184: Adolf Hitler: History’s Ultimate Madman
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look back in time at the life, power, and death of the world’s most notorious madman, Adolf Hitler. He was born Adolf Shicklegruber on April 20, 1889 in Braunau am Inn, Austria. He was the son of a customs official with a quick temper and a violent heart, and the two clashed regularly. Adolf’s father disliked that his son wanted to pursue fine arts and become a painter. When Adolf’s brother died at a young age, he became withdrawn and instead of studying in school, spent his time reenacting famous battles from German’s past. This may have been a bad sign… Once he was older, and his father died, Adolf Hitler moved to Vienna to try and become a painter. He was denied admission to art school twice and struggled to make money selling water color paintings, but when World War I started, he enlisted, and his life was changed forever. He was wounded twice in the war and considered to be a war hero, and while he was healing from his second injury, Germany surrendered (and he perfected his infamous mustache…). From there, Hitler struggled to adapt in the post-war world of Germany during its Great Depression. He became obsessed that communists and Jews were the reason Germany lost the war and were the reason the world was in such a bad state. By the 1930s, he joined the German Workers Party (eventually the Nazi party), and he even tried to overthrow the German government. This little stunt landed him in jail for nine months, and it would have been longer if he didn’t wow the court room with his rhetoric and win them over. In prison, he dictated the important book Mein Kampf. Upon his release, he started to speak in beer halls and gain popularity and eventually was granted the position of chancellor after losing the election to be president. Within a month, there was a fire at the Reichstag which helped him pass laws that launched him to total power over the German government. Many people say this fire was a false flag event, planned by the Nazis to gain control of the government. Did Adolf Hitler set his own building on fire to gain power? Why did he target the Jews as the focus of his hate? How did he start World War Two? What were his plans for victory, and how did they go wrong? What good things did he do for Germany in spite of all the evil? How and why did he die during final days of the war? Is he actually alive and living on Tupac Island? Listen, laugh, learn… Great Link for Hitler’s Bio: http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/zsmm6sg
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Episode 183: Boston Marathon Bombing: Terrorism or False Flag?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we discuss the Boston Marathon Bombing. Some think it was an act of internal terrorism, others a false flag operation perpetrated by the US government, and we try to figure out the truth. On April 15, 2013, two bombs went off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 other people. They were bombs made of pressure cookers and were allegedly made following the diagrams posted on an al-Qaeda magazine found online. Two days after the bombings, two suspects were identified by the FBI. They were 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, brothers from Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. One was a US citizen, the other had a green card. What happened then was a media whirlwind, and the facts are a little muddy. Allegedly, the brothers met up after the bombing, shot a police officer, and hijacked an SUV. They left Boston and headed to the city of Watertown, where their carjacked hostage made an escape and called the cops. They tracked his car down via cellular towers and crept up on the two suspects. A gun fight ensued. One officer was shot but lived, and apparently the older Dzhokhar was tackled by police and then run over by his own brother’s car! The brother got away, and Dzhokhar died that night in the hospital. This story is full of holes, and we talk about the flaws in the reporting and official accounts. After this, all of Boston and Watertown went on lock down, and eventually, they found the younger Tamerlan hiding in a boat that was dry-docked in a backyard. So, with all of this, why do people think the Boston Marathon Bombing was a false flag event? Were the brothers completely innocent? What about the other two suspects with black backpacks and Punisher logos? Was this an attempt to make gunpowder illegal? Why did a team of mercenaries arrive on the scene within minutes? Listen, laugh, learn. Here is an account of the official story: http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/04/us/tsarnaev-trial-timeline/ 
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Episode 182: Google: The New World Superpower
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks at the largest superpower on earth—Google. It was founded in 1996 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page as part of a research project for their PhDs at Stanford. They wanted to create a search engine that was smarter than conventional search engines at the time, one that would search based not just on the number of keyword hits per page, but on logical relationships per page. They figured out their algorithms, and their original product (called Back Rub) was born. Google moved to a friend’s garage (now the CEO of YouTube) and hired one person, and they were off and running. As early as 1998, tech giants and investors understood the significance of their search engine, and people like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos invested $100,000 each just to get a part of the early formation of this soon-to-be giant. However, early on, Google struggled, and Brin and Page even tried to sell the company for a measly $1 Million dollars to Excite in 1999. They were turned down as being too expensive, but now they are the wealthiest corporate brand on earth. So how do they make their money if all of their services tend to be delivered to customers for free? Advertising! Their use of targeted ads through their Gmail service, and the way their search engine ranks the hits on Google’s website, Chrome, and Android devices all help generate money. Some say their advertising money accounts for something around 90-96% of massive wealth. We also talk about the employees who work for Google, and the crazy nature of their main campus called the Googolplex. From free gourmet food to nap pods and Google themed condoms, this location makes Google regularly rank as the best company on earth to work for because of these perks. More interesting than Google’s past, however, is its future. They are heavily invested in AI and robotics, and the founders have both gone on record saying this is no longer a search company, but an AI company. Their massive list off acquisitions grows, and their power seems to be pretty limitless. What do they do that is good for the world? How is all their stuff free? What nasty tax schemes are they involved in? What do they have to do with NASA? Why do the rent a flock of goats? What happened on board the mysterious off-shore Google barges? Listen, laugh, learn.   A link to the Google acquisitions index to show all the companies they buy: https://www.cbinsights.com/research-google-acquisitions
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Episode 181: Dylatov Pass: The Russian Riddle
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast is a look at the mysterious deaths surrounding the hikers on Dylatov Pass in Russia. In the winter of 1959, ten experience hiker/skiers took a very challenging hike through the Ural Mountains of Russia. Most of them were college students from the Ural Polytechnic Institute. On the first day, one of them got sick and returned home, but the others all continued with their journey. The group established a camp on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl, which means “Dead Mountain,” and none of them survived the experience. They were supposed to telegraph the man who turned back on February 12th to let them know they had cleared the mountain, but no word came. The man waited until the 20th and finally reported them as missing and helped mount a search party to go after them. What they found is truly creepy and mysterious. The rescue party arrived at their base camp to discover that their tents had been cut open from the inside, and all the cold weather gear was still inside the tents. Every indication was that something horrifying must have happened to send these experienced outdoor enthusiasts to run into the night in Siberia where the conditions were freezing. Eventually, the rescue team started finding bodies. The first two bodies found on the Dylatov Pass were dead, shoeless and in their underwear, clearly frozen to death by the harsh conditions. The autopsies confirmed that their flesh and fingernails were in the bark of the tree they died under, and all the branches were snapped off as if they were trying desperately to climb and escape something. The next group was found dead and placed next to each other with no signs of anything but hypothermia to have killed them, but there is still a mystery about their body placement. And finally, the third group of bodies was found farther away several months later. This is there it gets crazy. They were all dead from what the Russian officials called an “unknown compelling force.” The autopsies suggested internal injuries consistent with impact about the same force as being hit by a fast moving car. Of course, no cars or roads exist in this mountainous wilderness, so that’s more than odd. Also, some of the bodies had cuts and burns, one had her tongue removed (before she died), some were missing their eyes, and the coup de grace was that some of the clothing was highly radioactive! So, what killed the nine hikers on this extreme Russian hike? The theories vary from the simple to the homicidal, from the alien to the cryptid, and could even involve the CIA and the KGB. If you like mysteries, the Dylatov Pass is for you!   Link for details on the autopsies (WARNING—Graphic images of dead folks await you): http://dyatlov-pass.com/death?lid=1
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Episode 180: West Memphis Three: Bad Justice
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we discuss a fan-voted favorite topic, which is the murders and conviction of three men called The West Memphis Three. This case was made famous by the HBO documentaries called Paradise Lost. On May 5, 1993, three eight year old boys named Steve Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers went missing. They were found murdered and hog tied, naked, in a muddy creek. Three teenagers who were known for listening to heavy metal, wearing goth clothing, and spray painting bridges, were blamed for the crimes. Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin were all arrested based on pretty frail evidence while in the grip of the infamous Satanic Panic of the early 1990s. Misskelley gave a confession to the police that they had chased the boys down and murdered them after raping them, all as part of a Satanic ritual. However, experts for the decades since have used this as a textbook example of police coercion. Misskelley, after all, was a minor, was mentally impaired, and was questioned for 12 hours with no break, no lawyer, and no parents present. So, based on virtually no evidence, the three were give variations of life in prison or the death penalty. The documentary, though, brought a lot of the flaws of the case to the public eye, raised funds, and helped the West Memphis Three get re-examined. So, if they didn’t do it, as many supporters claim, who did? Was it two other teens from the area who bailed a few days after the murders and left to California? Was it the mysterious “Mr. Bojangles” who staggered into a restaurant covered in blood? Was it the stepfather of Stevie Branch, a man named Terry Hobbs? And what did the Dixie Chicks have to do with it? This case is crazy, and it involves Satanism, Metallica, religious zealots, faulty police work, and a whole lot of mullets.
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Episode 179: Travis Walton–The Ultimate Alien Abduction Story
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the most well-documented alien abduction case in history—the case of Travis Walton. Made into a major motion picture in 1993 (Fire in the Sky), the story allegedly happened on November 5, 1975 in the Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. According to the story, Walton was working on a logging crew of six men on that day, and at 6:00, they closed up shop, packed away their chain saws, and got in the truck to head back into town. Along the road, all the entire crew saw a light in the woods, and they drove closer to check it out since one of them thought it might be a downed aircraft. What they found instead, was a golden disk about fifteen feet in diameter floating silently above the trees. Everyone stayed in the truck except for Walton, who approached. Once nearby, everyone describes a blue bolt of light emanating from the disc and striking Walton, sending him flying through the air. Everyone in the truck drove off in terror, leaving Walton alone on the ground. After they got their wits about them, they returned to the scene to find no UFO and now Walton. What ensued became a five day search for Walton’s body. With a 50 person search party including dogs and a helicopter, no trace was found of him. And with cold winter coming on, the temperature was dropping to near zero at night, putting Walton at increased risk. Eventually, the police became suspicious that a murder may have occurred and put the six witnesses to a polygraph test to check their bizarre story of the UFO against the truth. How many of them passed the test? (You might be surprised…). What did Travis Walton say happened to him on board the UFO during the five days in which he was missing? What happened in 2004 to put Walton’s own polygraph history to the test? What kinds of aliens were they, and did they probe him? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 178: Bohemian Grove: Satanic? Or Just A Gay Ol’ Time
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the not-so-secret society known as the Bohemian Club. While the main club is in the Union Square district of San Francisco (at 624 Taylor Street), the club is most famous for what goes on at the notorious Bohemian Grove in in Sonoma County. It is on this 100 plus acre campsite that the rich and elite meet every Midsummer to participate in strange rituals and a two week party which culminates in the Druidic “Cremation of Care” ceremony. The Bohemian Club has a fifteen year wait list and costs tens of thousands of dollars to join, but how did it start? It was founded in 1872 by a group of San Francisco Journalists, and it soon became home to writers and artists of all sorts who wanted to live outside the mainstream and share common ideas, ideals, and values. In short order, however, money took over, and it became a club that still valued intellectuals but was dominated by business men, industry leaders, and important US politicians. Who are members of the Bohemian Club or were guests to the Bohemian Grove ceremony? How about Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, David Rockefeller, William Randolph Hearst, the president of World Bank, and CEOs of companies like Standard Oil, IBM, and Lockheed, just to name a few. What do they do in this mysterious grove every summer? According to most reports, they drink. They drink a lot. And they pee. They pee on trees. A lot. It’s a thing. What else do they do? That’s a good question. Their motto is "Weaving Spiders Come Not Here,” meaning business is not discussed at the grove. However, members of the Bohemian Club celebrate in strange ways. The club has been investigated by journalists since the early 1980s, was infiltrated by a reporter from Spy Magazine in 1989, and was famously filmed by Alex Jones from InfoWars in 2001. Most recently, they were examined by Vanity Fair for their unethical logging practices. If you want to hear about strange rituals and gatherings of some of the most powerful people in American, this is the episode for you.
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Episode 177: Zodiac Killer: Lost In Translation
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we explore the murders, the code, the letters, and the mystery of the infamous Zodiac Killer. Though his identity has never been proven, this serial killer murdered at least five people, though some experts link him to another 5 killings, and he himself claimed to have killed a total of 37. His killings were primarily done in Northern California from 1968 to 1969, and he wrote taunting, creepy, and poorly written letters to the San Francisco newspapers until 1974 when they abruptly stopped. So what was his typical killing pattern? It varied, but it tended to involve killing people who were in cars (sitting by a lake, a cab driver, etc.). After the first few killings, Zodiac started to send his famous letters which contained codes and cyphers that would supposedly lead back to his true identity. Within days of publication, a couple deciphered his code, only to reveal a strange rambling about how killing humans was the best because they were “the most dangerous animal of all.” Zodiac was thought to have gotten his name not by the astrological signs, but by the Zodiac watch company since he signed all of his letters with the same symbol as the watch logo. Whatever the reason for his self-applied name, he was never caught in spite of a massive (botched) manhunt involving San Francisco police and the FBI. Supposedly two police officers even had him cornered just minutes after one of his murders, but a faulty description of him being a black man allowed him to slip away. So, exactly who was the Zodiac killer? There are a lot of pretty good theories on that. They range from people the police were already considering to people they had never questioned. (And more recently, an ironic meme even claimed it was the politician Ted Cruz…) What did Zodiac threaten to do to school children? What were in his strange letters? Why did the press continue to publish them? Why didn’t the cops ever make an arrest? Why did his letters stop cold in 1974? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 176: Kurt Cobain: Anatomy of Suicide (Or Murder)
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life, success, drugs, depression and death of legendary rocker Kurt Cobain. Born on February 20, 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington, the young Cobain was an artistic and sensitive boy who struggled with the volatile relationship of his mother and father. They divorced when he was nine, and he was shuffled from house to house, dealing with step-parents and step-siblings and a household climate that only made him depressed. Then, his uncle gave him a gift that changed the world—a beaten up old guitar that Cobain obsessed over and used as an escape from his home life. In his teens, he started to practice and dabble in drugs, and he finally met Buzz Osborne from the punk rock band The Melvins. Osborne introduced him to punk rock, and Kurt Cobain was never the same again. Soon after, he started a (thankfully?) failed band called Fecal Matter and eventually put together the foundations of Nirvana. After rotating through several drummers and finding little success, they met Dave Grohl on a tour in Washington DC, and the band released their biggest album, Nevermind and the smash hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” This song, Cobain’s style, and the music he produced impacted all of Generation X and helped usher in the Grunge movement in music and fashion. Through all of his success, Cobain battled depression and drug addiction, and even his eventual wife Courtney Love only added to the mix. They shared a relationship that was extremely unstable, always involved in domestic abuse, drug use, and even a costly court battle to keep custody of their own child. In 1993, after Cobain broke himself out of a rehab center in Marina Del Rey, he vanished. Love hired a private detective but was too late. Kurt Cobain had killed himself in his home back in Seattle. Or did he? What evidence makes the private detective think it was murder? Was Courtney Love involved in his death? What about rumors of another rock star who was paid $50,000 to kill Cobain (and then died being hit by a train two days after the admission)? What impact did Cobain and Nirvana have on the world, and how did his death define an entire generation? Listen, laugh, learn. Interesting Links and Bogus Videos: http://cobaincase.com/ http://www.nme.com/news/music/nirvana-306-1200723
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Episode 175: Oak Island: Treasure, Curse, and Mystery
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we dig deep to find the truth of the Mystery of Oak Island. This small island off the coast of Nova Scotia has been the single most expensive and longest-running treasure hunt in history. In 1795, Daniel McGinnis discovered a depression under an oak tree, and fueled by rumors that the notorious pirate Captain Kidd hid his treasure somewhere in the area, McGinnis and his friends started to dig. After reaching thirty feet, they gave up but returned years later with funding and equipment. This group dug deeper and discovered strange things. Some say they found an anchor down there. Others say they found a few gold coins. What is not disputed is that they found regular layers of fibers that turned out to be coconut fibers, something entirely foreign to the cold climate of Nova Scotia. Oak Island’s famous Money Pit became an obsession for many treasure hunters, especially once they discovered so-called booby traps that would fill the tunnel digs with seawater due to man-made tunnels dug to the sea. For the next two hundred years, over a dozen massive treasure digs have happened on Oak Island. Most met with failure due to dwindling funds; some met with death and tragedy. Everyone from John Wayne to President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Trudeau have been involved in funding these digs. Is it just a hoax? Were the uncovered stones that were allegedly covered in mysterious runes real? What do Marie Antoinette, Sir Francis Bacon, William Shakespeare, the Freemasons, the Vikings, and the Knights Templar have to do with the strange and seemingly man-made shafts and tunnels? Listen, laugh, learn. Here is a link to the Reader's Digest article that started the modern-day popularity of Oak Island: http://www.readersdigest.ca/features/heart/treasure-hunt/
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Episode 174: Pablo Escobar: Cocaine, Wealth, and Murder
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the wealthiest criminal of all time, the drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Starting as a tombstone thief and moving to smuggled cigarettes during the “Marlboro Wars,” Escobar eventually founded the largest drug empire in history. His homeland of Columbia was uniquely situated between the coca plantations and the urban locations needed for cocaine refinement and was close enough to the US to smuggle nicely. Escobar saw this, realized nobody had taken control of all aspects of this enterprise, and is thought to have created the first ever modern-day drug cartel—the Medellin Cartel. The Medellin Cartel sold most of its products to the US, but it also smuggled cocaine to Europe, Asia, and all through the Americas. Experts claim that at his height, Pablo Escobar was responsible for 80% of all cocaine smuggling. This obviously made him rich. How rich? How about the 7th richest man on earth according for Forbes. He was said to be worth the modern equivalent of $55 Billion dollars, smuggling over $420 million dollars of coke a day, just to the United States. He had a lavish lifestyle of zoos and casinos on his own property, and he had a fleet of hundreds of airplanes, helicopters, and two submarines. At the heart of Escobar, however, was a desire for legitimacy. He won a seat on Columbian Congress and had dreams of becoming the nation’s president. When he was ousted from politics because of his murderous rise to power, however, he got all crazy and vengeful and started to kill off politicians, judges, and cops. How many did Pablo Escobar kill? What did he offer to pay off Columbia’s $10 Billion national debt in exchange for? Why did the locals call him Robin Hood and consider him a hero? How did his best hit man earn the nickname "Popeye?" What are the details of his private prison which he designed and had built for himself? How did he die, and why does his son dispute the official claims? Listen, Laugh, Learn.
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Episode 173: The Donner Party: Cowboy Cannibalism
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we cover a fan-voted topic and discuss the tragedy and cannibalism of the Donner Party. Famous since Cowboy Days, this story of tragedy, bad timing, and trust in the wrong people has become a part of American lore. Originally, the group was a small band of travelers leaving Springfield, Illinois for California using a tested set of trails, seeking fortune and a better life in the Golden State. However, the group’s leader James Reed, had read a book by a man named Lansford Hastings which said there was a shorter path that would trim 300-400 miles from the arduous trip. This sounded great, except for the fact that the “expert” trail guide named Hastings had never actually taken the path he claimed was safe. As the wagon train caught up with Hastings, they had almost tripled in size and were just under 90 people and 23 wagons, eager to cross the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains. However, the Hastings Route slowed them down and cost them all their supplies getting through an especially harsh part of the Great Salt Lake Desert. By the time the group got the base of the Sierra Nevadas, they were almost three weeks behind schedule, which was a pretty big deal. There was a small window to make this trek because it needed to be late enough that there was plentiful grass for the oxen and livestock and early enough that they didn’t get snowed in on the mountains. Long story short—epic fail! The bad trail and bad luck got the Donner Party stuck in blizzard after blizzard. Indians killed all their oxen (and thus their food), and they had little recourse but to build cabins and starve out the winter. And, of course, eat each other. A small group set off on snow shoes trying to get away, and they were the first to resort to cannibalism. But it didn’t stop there. There are tales of fathers eating sons, people killing each other for more bodies to eat, and any number of horrors. If you’re into the Old West, hardship, starvation, blizzards, and cannibals, this is the episode for you.
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Episode 172: Eastern State Penitentiary: The World’s Most Haunted Prison
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we discuss Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. This was one of the most brutal prisons in American history, and it is said to be one of the top haunted locations in the US. Before this prison was built, American prisons were just places to throw folks in a cell with no thought toward rehabilitation. Eastern State, however, was different. A committee of Quakers (joined by Benjamin Franklin) designed a prison that would incarcerate but would also change the prisoner by the time he was released. And what were the means of change? Complete and utter isolation combined with labor and torture, of course! The inmates in Eastern State Penitentiary were denied all human contact for the entire length of their stay. When they were taken in the prison on the first day, they wore a mask with no eyeholes. Often, if they had to get moved from cells to somewhere else, they wore similar masks and gags in their mouths. All prisoners lived in isolated cells by themselves and even exercised and worked alone. This, quite obviously, led to massive cases of mental illness, which could only be countered by the tortures they had to endure. From extreme straitjackets to a freezing water bath followed by hanging wet prisoners from the walls, and from the “Mad Chair” to the iron gag, life was no good for prisoners. All of this lead to deaths by disease, guards, and suicide, which allegedly left the place haunted. It has been a museum and tourist attraction since 1971, and over 60 supernatural groups per year visit to investigate. Different cell blocks are known for different types of hauntings and apparitions, and they have been documented by hundreds people over the span of decades. Many investigators, even skeptics, concede that if any place on earth is haunted, it is Eastern State Penitentiary. So, how many people were locked up in this hell hole? What type of hauntings have people reported? What did Charles Dickens have to say after his visit in 1841? What made TV’s Ghost Hunters freak out so badly and post videos for all to see on their website? Listen, laugh, learn. Here is a good story about someone's experience at the prison and a clip from Ghost Hunters to wet your whistle! https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/31/opinion/my-philadelphia-ghost-story.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ej0m5ZTQpI
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Episode 171: Rasputin: The Mad Monk of Russia
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks at the Mad Monk of Russia, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. Born in a small town in Siberia to peasants, he had a reputation of having visions from God as a young child, and he eventually left town to join a monastery after he was recruited due to his “visions.” However, Rasputin wasn’t that good at being a monk. He entered the Verkhoture Monastery at age 17 but left by 19, so he could get married and never finished his religious training. Shortly after the birth of his daughters, Rasputin decided to go on a holy pilgrimage around the ancient world. Eventually, he landed in Petrograd and spread his own reputation as a fortune teller and a mystic healer. It just so happened that the rulers of Russia (Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna) lived there and had a son sick with Hemophilia. After trying everything modern medicine could do at the time (such as give him aspirin), they turned to Rasputin who had gained quite a following. Rasputin allegedly cured Aleksei’s Hemophilia, and he was part of the royal court from that moment on. His time at court was troublesome to say the least. He was hated by the peasants who thought a low born person shouldn’t be sleeping with the Tsarina (as rumors suggested), and he was hated by aristocracy who didn’t want a drunken peasant who slept with whores in the palace. After a nose-less hooker tried to assassinate him with a wicked knife wound to his gut, Rasputin became paranoid and started to drink more. As World War I started, and the Czar left for war, Rasputin spent even more time with the Tsarina, and this could not stand. Eventually, members of the royal family plotted for his death, and he infamously did not die easily! What did they do to try to kill him? Why did it take so much to put Rasputin down? What penalties fell upon the royals who murdered him? What predictions came true after Rasputin’s death? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 170: COINTELPRO: The FBI, Legal Abuse, and Assassination
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks back at COINTELPRO, the illegal, anti-constitutional, often violent counter intelligence program the FBI ran from 1956-1971. It originally started as a way to counter the growth of communism in the USA, but J. Edgar Hoover very quickly expanded its mandate. This COINTELPRO was designed to spread misinformation, illegally surveil, legally harass, physically threaten, and even kill people who were seen as bad for national security. Who did this include? The list is quite diverse and comprehensive. COINTELPRO went after commies, white supremacists (including the KKK), the Socialist Worker’s Party, The Black Panthers, The Nation of Islam, Martin Luther King, The Weatherman Underground, war protesters, feminists, the New Left, and the Young Lords. Oh, and according to some leaked documents, at least four presidents used it to gather information on political opponents and other groups they didn’t care for. The most famous of the COINTELPRO incidents tend to involve the Black Panther Party. In particular, the feds are considered responsible for the “assassination” of Fred Hampton who ran the Chicago Black Panthers. His death is pretty blatant and horrible, involving FBI informants slipping people sleeping drugs just hours before they were shot to death. But COINTELPRO also targeted other groups such as the KKK using means that were unconstitutional and illegal. So, why do we know about this? Because a ballsy group called the Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI broke into an FBI field office in Media, Pennsylvania and stole 1000 pages of documents on COINTELPRO. These pages linked the FBI directly to deaths like Fred Hampton and dozens of other activities. If you don’t trust the US government and think the FBI has a history of some horrible plots and illegal actions, you don’t want to miss this episode. If you think the FBI is awesome, and they’ve never done anything wrong, then A) listen to this and see if it changes your mind, or B) consider that you might just be listening to the wrong type of podcast. Good Article on COINTELPRO: http://www.somuchthis.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/stateRepressionLvR.pdf 
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Episode 169: DB Cooper: Hijacker, Thief, Deadman?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the case that the FBI was unable to solve for over 40 years—the hijacking and disappearance of DB Cooper. The day before Thanksgiving, November, 24, 1971, travel was busy with people trying to get home for the holiday. One plane that was bound from Portland to Seattle, however, had different plans. A man who bought a ticket under the name Dan Cooper approached the counter of Northwest Orient Airlines in Portland, Oregon (the press accidentally called him DB Cooper instead of Dan, and the name has stuck ever since). He spent a whopping $18 to buy a one-way ticket. It was a 30 minute flight. In the air, he drank a bourbon and soda, like you do, smoked a cigarette, and then casually told a stewardess he had a bomb. He showed it to her in his briefcase and said they needed to land and not let anyone off the plane. They complied. They landed and refueled, and he demanded $200,000 and four parachutes be sent to the plane. Once the authorities brought it, he let the 36 passengers go, but he kept the flight crew on board. They took off and were told to head to Mexico. However, shortly after takeoff (around 8:10 PM), he strapped on the parachute, bundled up the money, and bailed out the back door of the Boeing 727. And nobody heard from DB Cooper since. The FBI did extensive tests and searches. They had several planes following his the night of the disappearance. Nobody saw him parachute since it was dark and stormy. They sent 1000 people to the ground the next day to scour the area. No money was found, no body, no parachute. Nothing. Most people think he must have died in the jump. You don’t survive a parachuting at night in a freezing cold storm wearing nothing but a business suit. Unless you’re a badass with serious military training, that is. It could happen… Nine years later, a kid found $5800 in twenties about 20 miles from the flight path, and the FBI confirmed it was Cooper money. In 2011, the FBI’s Field Agent Larry Carr did a hail-mary pass and opened up all their evidence to the public. They helped create a group of scientists and investigators called the Citizen Sleuths who used the power of the internet and modern forensics. What did they find? Do they think Cooper survived? Who are the major suspects? What did an electron microscope discover about trace elements on Cooper’s tie? Listen, laugh, learn. Some good links to find out more about Cooper: https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/db-cooper-hijacking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLOgfkv4alk http://citizensleuths.com/db-cooper-what-you-need-to-know.html
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Episode 168: Unit 731: The Japanese Auschwitz
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the horrors of Unit 731, the Japanese-run biological weapons program from World War Two. This secret base, located in then-occupied China, was said to be responsible for as many as 400,000 deaths during the war based on its cruel experiments and the spread of diseases it intentionally released into China and The Soviet Union. Originally established by the Japanese Kempaitai, this massive complex was eventually taken over the Japanese Army in order to develop biological weapons to help it win World War Two. Like Britain had Bletchley Park, America had Los Alamos, Germany had Auschwitz, the Japanese had Unit 731. It was a horror factory, perhaps worse than anything the Nazis did during the war, but completely covered up. What happened there? Well, virulent strains of everything from anthrax and the Bubonic Plague to sexually transmitted diseases were tested and perfected. Forced rape had women get pregnant and infected, so the doctors could see the result to the mother and baby. People were given deadly diseases and then given autopsies while still alive to see the result of the pathogen on their bodies (the anesthetic may give impure results…). If you want six foot tall jars with pickled humans in it, Unit 731 had you covered. Frost-bitten arms torn down to the bones while the patient was still alive and screaming for mercy? Turn to Unit 731. So, why didn’t General Shiro Ishii get arrested for war crimes once this was discovered? Because America! The Americans got to find out about unit 731 before anyone else, and they wanted to keep the research data for themselves and make sure the Soviets didn’t get it. So, the Japanese and the American governments covered it all up! It never made the papers, it was never give the attention of the Nazi Concentration camps, and the officers and officials involved in this nightmare went on to get stipends from the US government and lead successful lives in post-war Japan. This one gets pretty sick in the details, so if you want a lot of mass murder and torture, this is the episode for you.
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Episode 167: Atlanta Child Murders: Serial Killer or KKK?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the infamous Atlanta Child Murders which ran from 1979 to 1981. Called “ATKID” for short by the FBI, these included a variety of different murders and murder styles. Many consider this to be the work of one man, an African American “serial killer” named Wayne Williams. Williams, 23 years old at the time of the murders, was arrested for two of the murders and thought to be responsible for at least 20 of the others. The victims tended to be killed by different means, but often by strangulation, and at first, they were all found disposed of in the woods. Somewhere in the middle of the killings, however, the MO changed, and the bodies started to get dumped in the Chattanooga River instead. The FBI was late to join this investigation, but eventually, it became one of the largest manhunts in the US with over 400 officers from various law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation. Finally, based on the change in where the bodies were being ditched, the FBI started to stake out the water ways. This was when officers saw Wayne Williams allegedly stop his station-wagon on a bridge, and they heard a splash. They pulled him over but had weak evidence—until two days later when a body was found in the river. This became a media circus in Atlanta, and it even generated a big celebrity concert with Sammy David Jr., The Jacksons, and Frank Sinatra performing to raise money, and people like Muhammad Ali and Robert Dinero publicly calling for help in the investigation. Most of the evidence with Williams was circumstantial, but he was still convicted. Meanwhile, a conspiracy was brewing. Decades later, evidence came to light of a known KKK member named Sanders who had quite possible done many of the killing himself. There was as much evidence pointing to Sanders at the time as Williams, but it turns out that this evidence was never allowed into the Williams trial. Why? Good question—that’s where the conspiracy comes in. Was the KKK trying to ignite a race war? Was the FBI covering it up? What evidence did they have to link Sanders instead of Williams to the killings? Was Williams involved in the CIA? Why does Williams refuse to discuss that possibility? Who really did the Atlanta Child Murders? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 166: The Moonies: The Cult that Unified the World
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about one of the largest religious cults in the world: The Moonies. Officially called the Unification Church, this massive group was founded by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon in Korea in the 1950s. It has grown to be one of the largest fringe religious groups in the world, with some estimates of 7 million followers at its height. As with all such groups, however, it comes along with a healthy dose of brainwashing, money hoarding, and a leader who claims to be the replacement for Jesus Christ on earth. Sun Myung Moon was born in Korea in 1920 and survived the Japanese occupation of the country, the Soviet Occupation of the country, the Korean War, and a prison labor camp. He came out of all of it as a strong and charismatic religious figure. It helped of course that when he was only a teenager, Jesus Christ came to him and told him he was destined to finish the work that Christ couldn’t complete! What was that work, exactly? It was unifying the people of earth to avoid World War Three and populate the planet with happy families and children. The Moonies do this work by marrying each other. A lot. Moon has hosted “Blessing Ceremonies,” in which he marries couples. His first one had 36 couples, but he didn’t stop there. He held one for 2000 couples, one for 6500, and stepped up his game to 30,000 couples in New York. And as late as 2009, he  married 45,000 in a global ceremony. These are all arranged (read: forced?) marriages in which the couples don’t even know each other and are often from countries that normally hate each other. What’s more impressive than the marriages, however, are the deep financial holdings of the church and Reverend Moon. He owns North Korea’s only car company, a pharmaceutical company, a US gun company, and several major newspapers. Oh, and do you like Sushi? If so, you are eating Moonie food since they control the market of 75% of all raw fish sold in the US and own the majority of sushi restaurants. So, even though this cult doesn’t try to send people to magical comets or force people to drink poisoned Kool Aid, they are massive and somehow stay under the radar in spite of their enormous wealth and massive population. If you like cults, fringe religions, corporate corruption, and mind control, this episode has it all!
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Episode 165: Andrei Chikatilo: The Butcher of Rostov
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast explores the grisly killing spree of the most famous Soviet serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, aka “The Butcher of Rostov.” Between 1978 and 1990, he was thought to have killed a total of 56 people throughout the USSR, and he was responsible for one wrongful execution and several suicides. This was an especially interesting case because the investigation was hampered by the Soviet government who publicly claimed there was no such thing as a Russian serial killer and that this was a sickness only the decadent West could catch. Andrei Chikatilo fits many of the key ingredients of serial killers—he had a major illness as a child, an oppressive mother, sexual dysfunction, high intelligence, and of course a cold cunning. He grew up in Stalin’s Ukraine during the massive food shortages and famines that his regime caused, and Chikatilo also lived with the shame of a father who was captured by the Germans during WWI (it was a major taboo for them). The worst part was that his childhood hydrocephalic condition caused him to wet his bed well into his later years and kept him from being able to get an erection. The sexual frustration and humiliation of his childhood years twisted him into a monster and killer. So who were his targest? He mostly liked underage girls, but he would take anyone. He wasn’t that picky. All of his targets met the same horrible end. He would stab them at least 20 times, using the knife as a surrogate penis. He would tie them up, stuff leaves and dirt in their mouths, and ejaculate on them as their death struggle sexually excited him. He would also cut off body parts and even bite off nipples. Yes, he was really crazy and horrible. So, how did he eventually get caught if the government didn’t publicly admit he existed? What lead to him being called the “Forest Strip Killer?” How did he father children if he could never get an erection? Why would Andrei Chikatilo gouge out the eyes of his victims? What body parts would he nibble on? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 164: Mercenaries: Paid Soldiers and Modern Warfare
On this episode of Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the use of mercenaries and soldiers for hire in the modern world. Of course people have heard of companies like Blackwater (which after several name changes is now called Acadami) and the work they did in Iraq with no-bid defense contractors. However, there are far more players than just them in the mercenary game, and they range from the noble to the murderous in their actions. One such group is Executive Outcomes, formed in South Africa in the 1980s. This group helped to secure a democratic government in the country Sierra Leone (according to one side of history), and they are the model that all future merc groups followed. They provided soldiers, helicopters, aircraft, snipers, and anything else someone needed, all for pay. Another group is the Aegis group, which is quite the opposite. They were given a contract in 2004 in Iraq, and within a year, they had failed to uphold four of their five contractual obligations, putting people’s lives in danger and getting people killed. We talk about the good and the bad of using private security firms and private armies. Some of the good? Well, the soldiers are paid better and often have better equipment and training than a typical nation-state’s soldier. Also, when one dies, there is no political blowback to a president or any person who helped fund the private army. It wasn’t a US soldier who was killed, it was a private soldier (who was from the US and was defending US interests exactly like a soldier). The downsides of course are the fact that these mercenaries often operate in lawless, broken nations, and they can get away with rape, murder, theft, and anything else they want. There is no government in the broken countries in which they operate, so all they have to do is flee the country. We also talk about the attempted British-led mercenary overthrow of Equatorial Guinea. So, what is the story of private soldiers? How many are there? How many countries do they operate in? How long have they been in existence? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 163: Martin Luther King Jr: A True American Hero
On this Sofa King Podcast, we discuss the life and the amazing impact that Dr. Martin Luther King Junior had on America and the world. This man, best known for his advocating of non-violence as part of the civil rights struggle in the 1960s, won a Nobel Peace Prize and has a national day of recognition named after him in the United States. Born the son of sharecroppers and preachers, MLK was a very bright young man, skipping two grades and being offered positions to the most prestigious of universities while only fifteen years old. He was a bit rebellious in college, drinking beer, gambling, and even dating white women (what a scandal!). In fact, he had decided against following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a religious figure. However, a mentor from Morehouse College changed all that, and King eventually got his PhD and was a fresh faced 25 year old pastor in 1964 when the Montgomery Bus Boycotts started. These boycotts (thought to be started famously by Rosa Parks refusing to get in the back of the bus, but actually started by a different girl who refused to get in the back of the bus…) lasted over a year, and they put a young MLK into the spotlight of civil rights. From there, his influence grew, and he lead the non-violent movement that radically changed the face of America from his seat in the deep south. His life was one of frequent jail time (29 lifetime arrestes) for breaking racist laws, as well as constant death threats and house fires trying to silence him. But Martin Luther King wouldn’t stop. He was a master orator who wrote speeches and letters so profoundly beautiful that they are often found in literature anthologies, one of them from inside a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama. MLK made a lot of enemies, however, and not just racist whites. Many blacks who wanted a more aggressive and radical civil rights movement snubbed him and gave him opposition. Eventually, on April 4, 1968, he was killed by an assassin’s bullet. The common thought is that it was a racist drifter named James Earl Ray, but many people allege a conspiracy, including MLK’s wife. Why was he stabbed by a black woman by a letter opener? What happened at a civil trial in the 1990s to suggest a governmental conspiracy in killing King? Was the Mob involved? Who was Lloyd Jowers, and how was he involved in King’s death? Why did some states refuse to celebrate Martin Luther King day? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 162: Elizabeth Bathory: The Blood Countess
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast explores the dark and sadistic history of Lady Elizabeth Bathory—The Blood Countess. She is said to be the most prolific female serial killer of all time with claims of a body count as high as 650! Born as Erzsébet on 7 August 1560, she belonged to one of the oldest noble houses in Transylvania. (Yes, this is smack dab in the middle of castle times, but a hundred years after Vlad Tepes did his thing.). Her family was made up of knights, cardinals, kings, voivodes, prime ministers, and business magnates. As such, she was raised to be amazingly educated, speaking four languages and knowing science and medicine (this at a time when many aristocrats couldn’t even read and write…). So, what made Elizabeth Bathory so bad? Well, she did have a rough childhood. She had a health condition that led to seizures as a small girl, and when she was ten years old, she was raped by the servant of her first arranged marriage. Her future husband, the gentleman that he was, had the rapist castrated and fed to hungry dogs, and Elizabeth finally married the man: Count Ferenc Nadasdy. Nadasdy was a war hero who traveled extensively and fought wars for his king, but together they had several children and a seemingly happy life together. He loved Elizabeth so much, he even built her a torture chamber under the castle, so she could practice her hobby. Once Ferenc died, Elizabeth went off the rails. She fell in love with a witch named Anna, and the two of them went on a horrible torture and murder spree. Their victims were all little girls, and the horrors they inflicted have to be heard to be believed (so tune in to this episode!). Eventually, they ran out of commoners to kill, so they started to figure out ways to get the little girls of royal houses to come and get tortured and killed. They were quite inventive. So what lead to Elizabeth Bathory getting caught for the murders? What do the historians estimate the final death count to be? How were the victims killed and tortured? Why did the Countess bathe in the blood of the girls, and what dark art was it supposed to accomplish? How did Bathory eventually die (hint—it was long and drawn out). Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 161: Area 51: Groom Lake Goodness!
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we sneak you all into the classified military base known as Area 51. Thought to be a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base and part of the Nevada Test and Training Range (responsible for testing above and underground nuclear weapons), Area 51 has been the center of mystery and conspiracy theories since the 1950s. This mysterious area has been called Groom Lake due to the dry lake bed it straddles as well as Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, Watertown, and even Red Square. This US military and intelligence community refused to admit that this base even existed until a 2013 Freedom of Information Act was filed by Jeffrey T. Richelson, and the CIA released documents acknowledging that it’s real. Of course, by this late date, everyone knew it was real. Satellite photos from the Soviets were published in Popular Science in the 1980s, and with the coming of Google maps, everyone can now type in Area 51 and get a bird’s eye view of the small base. So what is really happening on this base? A lot of top-secret aircraft are tested there. It is co-owned by Lockheed, so as documents keep being revealed, it turns out that Area 51 developed the U2 Spy Plane, the SR71 Blackbird, The A12 Oxcart, Tacit Blue, Blackstar, and of course all manner of stealth aircraft and even unmanned drones. The airspace overhead is restricted even for other military flights, and a lot of lookie loos try to park near the base and see strange craft being tested in the sky. Speaking of strange aircraft, Area 51 is also the home to conspiracy theorist Bob Lazar who claimed to have worked there, back-engineering an alien space craft which was captured by the US government. He was one of the most famous UFOlogists in the 1990s, and he was the one who introduced us to supposed alien super-fuel known as Elirium 115. Of course, the base is also tied in to theories of Majestic 12 and the Illuminati. Are there aliens on the base (dead or alive)? What happened with a lawsuit of employees there who were getting sick and dying? How do employees commute to this strange base? What defense company owns the part of the Vegas airport and transports them? What is Wackenhut, and how does it tie in to Men in Black? Listen, Laugh, Learn.
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Episode 160: Joseph Stalin: The Ultimate Dictator
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast is a discussion of the brutal regime of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Born Josef Vissarionovich Djugashvili in December of 1878, he changed his name to Koba (a sort of Russian Robin Hood) and eventually settled on the new name of Stalin which meant “Man of Steel.” He was born to ordinary parents, but had a series of health complications as a child and a strange relationship with his mother, who wanted him to become a priest. If you’ve listened to our other podcasts about cult leaders, serial killers, and madmen, this childhood is the perfect recipe! Eventually, he went to the seminary study religion, but he ended up stopping. Some say he quit, others that he was expelled for lack of tuition, and some that he was booted for starting to join the early days of the Russian Revolution. Either way, he became an influential member of the early revolution, and he started leading guerrilla attacks and even famously robbed a bank to help fund the cause. Once Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin headed the revolution that brought down the Russian Empire and started the Soviet Union, Stalin’s true colors started to show. He slowly consolidated a power-base of loyal people around him in government, so that when Lenin died, he was able to take power over the newly-formed nation. From here, he started his history of purges and death to his own people. He eliminated all political resistance via firing squads, gulags, and forced deportation, and he ruled the USSR with an iron grasp. He restructured the nation to be an industrial powerhouse instead of a farming-based economy, a decision which caused the greatest man-made famine in the history of humanity (thought to have killed between 7-10 million Ukrainians, Russians, and Soviets). How did so many Soviets starve to death while the country still made a profit selling foodstuffs to other nations? How many Soviets was Stalin responsible for killing? Was his death caused by natural causes, or was it an assassination? Was he a hero or one of the worst villains in history? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 159: John Wayne Gacy: The Killer Clown
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks at the life of notorious party clown, painter, KFC manager, and serial killer, John Wayne Gacy. Convicted of 33 counts of murder, Gacy is known as the Killer Clown because of his hobby of dressing like Pogo the Clown at block parties. John Wayne Gacy was the epitome of a serial killer. He was a pillar of the community, volunteering for Boy Scouts and the Jaycee organization, actively involved in politics, and a beloved party host for his neighborhood. However, on the inside, he was a roiling madman who raped teenage boys and killed them (the only hobby more disturbing than being a clown…). He was born to an abusive father, and he had trouble making friends as a child, due to multiple health problems. By the time he grew to adulthood, he was a high school dropout who ended up being a success story by attending business college and eventually running several KFC restaurants and starting his own construction company. He had multiple failed marriages (due to his addiction to underage homosexual porno mags and massive mood swings), and while he ran the construction company, he started to let the demons out. His compulsion was to handcuff people and either strangle or suffocate them while or after raping them. Then? He’d bury them in a small crawlspace under his house (26 in all, so it got pretty crowded down there). The really baffling thing about him was how he got away for so long. We talk about multiple examples of him kidnapping, raping, and assaulting people, plus evidence of him burying bodies and doing all manner of strange things, right in front of the cops, and never being stopped. How did he get away for so long? What are the details of his “Slave-Sex”? How did he meet one of his victims who was a pimp for under aged boy prostitutes? This one is disturbing, but if you’re into that sort of thing, listen, laugh, and learn.  
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Episode 158: Easter Island: The Mystery of the Moai
On this Sofa King Podcast, we look at the history of the mysterious Easter Island, it’s massive stone statues, and the people who lived and died on the remote island. The island got its Western name from the fact that it was “discovered” by the Dutch on Easter Sunday (not very original, I know…), but many people call it Rapa Nui after Tahitian sailors gave it the name in the 1800’s. This island is 1600 miles from the Marquesa Islands and over 2000 from any other body of land, so the fact that it was settled back in Castle Times is a pretty amazing feat. The date range of when it was first settled by the natives is a topic of much debate, as are most dates and facts about this enigmatic island. Archaeologists disagree on about every fact you can imagine since the nature of the island and it’s dark history has all but erased every marker typically used to date the passing of time. What was so dark about the island’s history? Well, for one, it was plagued by the typical ills that came from the European influence on indigenous peoples—diseases, missionaires, and slavery wiping out the culture and the peoples. But before the Europeans had a chance to do this, they did it to themselves. They natives of Rapa Nui stripped the island bare of trees by building boats, houses, and moving the famous statues. This led to the loss of top soil, massive erosion, and a starvation and isolation unlike anywhere else on earth. And of course, what discussion of Easter Island is complete without a look at the Moai—the stone megaliths that are all over the landscape. With almost 900 of these ominous figures watching the ocean and the land, the place is filled with wonder. These statues are feats of engineering, masonry, and artistry, and theories of how they were build range from the simple to the complex and, of course, to theories of ancient aliens. Why did the natives spend so much of their time and resources devoted to these statutes? What was discovered when the bodies of the statue heads were unearthed? How did they move the statutes, and what makes the native folklore say they walked themselves into place? What exactly is the Birdman religion, and how was it celebrated by the hardcore people living on this bleak island? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 157: Ted Kaczynski: the Unabomber
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life, imprisonment, and bombings of Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber. Over the span of an 18 year spree, Kaczynski allegedly mailed 16 bombs which killed 3 and seriously injured 23 others. His targets were almost all University faculty (the “UN” in Unabomber) and people involved in airlines--including the airplanes themselves (which is where the “A” Unabomber comes from). He eventually expanded his targets to include people involved in technology in general, making him the past century’s most famous luddite. After abandoning a career as a mathematical genius and professor at UC Berkeley, Kaczynski lived off the grid in a twelve foot by ten foot shack in Montana, eating wild rabbit and building bombs out of scrap materials and wood. His bombs were quite ingenious, and they contained almost no forensic evidence to get him caught. Why did he send these bombs? Well, he answers that questions in his famous Manifesto which he had published by newspapers in 1996. He threatened to blow up airplanes and kill more people if a major newspaper didn’t publish his writings, and eventually the FBI capitulated and allowed the work to be published by the Washington Post and the New York Times. The work was officially called Industrial Society and Its Future, and it espoused his hatred for “the system” which eliminated human freedom and destroyed the planet. Before you agree and think he was right, however, he also has dozens of pages of rants about “Leftists” and all sorts or really crazy nonsense that rounded the document out. Why did it take so long for the FBI to catch this person from their most wanted list? What part did his brother play in his eventual arrest? Why did he write dirty limericks at a factory job he had that got him fired? How did this man go from a 16 year old Harvard genius to a crazy serial bomber living in the back woods? Why did Dave think he once had a class from the Unabomber in college? Why does Brad think Kaczynski might be innocent? Listen, laugh, learn. Here is a bonus link to the full text of the Manifesto: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/unabomber/manifesto.text.htm
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Episode 156: Project ODESSA: Underground Nazi Smugglers
On this episode of Sofa King Podcast, we talk about ODESSA: a secret Nazi organization that helped smuggle top S.S. officers out of the Third Reich as World War II came to a close. ODESSA is direct acronym of the German Organisation der Ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen, meaning: Organization of Former SS Members. Though some claim that this organization may not have existed, or at least not in a meaningful way, there is a lot of evidence that suggests ODESSA and operations like it did, indeed, help get top Nazis out of Europe and into countries like Argentina, Brazil, and even Australia. So what proof do we have that ODESSA existed? For one, the American Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) documented it in now declassified papers from as early as 1945. French Intelligence and resistance papers confirm its existence in 1944, and the infamous Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal confirms that many of the Nazi he helped capture used this network as a way to escape the end of World War Two. So, who were the masterminds behind this human smuggling operation? Believe it or not, it was the Vatican. Several priests, bishops, and cardinals helped to establish the smuggling routes (called Ratlines) early in the war to allow Catholics to escape to countries that were at piece. However, priests such as Aloïs Hudal were pro-Nazi and helped to forge paperwork for known S.S. members and commanders of concentration camps to get them to safe countries. People throughout the Vatican used the Red Cross as a means to secure work visas and forged papers for Nazis and helped the president of Argentina recruit these war criminals for use in his own government. How many Nazis escaped via these Ratlines? How were corporations involved in the attempted formation of a Fourth Reich? Which major Nazi figures escaped trial by using the ODESSA network? Listen, Laugh, Learn. Oh, and as promised in the episode, here is the link to the FBI's official page with declassified documents about their investigation as to whether or not Hitler survived the bunker and moved to Argentina as part of ODESSA: https://vault.fbi.gov/adolf-hitler
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Episode 155: Chichen Itza: Mayan Madness
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we follow Brent’s recent trip to Mexico and talk about the pyramids and ruins of the Mayan city Chichén Itzá. Founded in the fifth century, this city became an important area due to two massive underground water sinkholes called Cenotes. This water allowed the Mayans to work toward agriculture, science, and arts before many other people since much of their daily struggle was provided for. In Chichén Itzá, there are many famous monuments. First is the giant game field that famously depicts players having their heads cut off in stone carvings. We talk about this game and who was killed and why. Second, and most importantly, there is The Temple of Kukulkan, the Feathered Serpent God (also known as Quetzalcoatl to the Toltecs and Aztecs). This famous pyramid turns out to be a pyramid on top of a pyramid (on top of a pyramid), and it is one of the great monuments and mysteries of the ancient world. How did a people with no archaeological evidence of the wheel or metal tools carve stone and erect this pyramid to such exacting standards? What is sacred geology, and how does the pyramid line up to astrological events? What about the notions of ancient aliens and an advanced civilization helping the Mayans develop their sophisticated math and science? Were ancient Mayan kings alien hybrids with DMT in their blood? Those are all good questions (well, maybe not…), but we also ask about Brent being Chupacabra’d in his Air B and B rental. It’s pretty great. We then get to hear about the curse of Montezuma’s Revenge hitting his family and even two Mexican scam artists who ripped him and his brother off with some amazing sleight of hand. Check out our show about Mayans, human sacrifice, ancient aliens, and Chichen Itza!
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Episode 154: Julian Assange: WikiLeaks Hero or Info Criminal?
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast focuses on the controversial career of the hacker, activist, journalist, and criminal, Julian Assange. In 2006, Assange co-founded the controversial WikiLeaks organization, and ever since he has been its editor-in-chief and public face. Australian by birth, Assange grew up in nomadic household that toured cities as part of a theater troupe. He attended a total of 36 schools by the time he graduated and went on to study computer science at various colleges. He was a natural with computers, getting his first console at the age of 16, and eventually studying it at the university (that is, until he dropped out because too many of the students in graduate school were working for computer systems that were funded by government backing). Assange was a notorious hacker known as Mendax, and along with Trax and Prime Suspect, he created a group called the International Subversives. Between 1987 and 1991, they hacked into the Pentagon, MILNET, the US Navy, NASA, Australia's Overseas Telecommunications Commission, Citibank, Lockheed Martin, Motorola, Panasonic, Xerox; Stanford University's SRI International, and others, including the NASA WANK (which Brent knew a little too much about…). He founded WikiLeaks with the simple premise that secrecy causes corruption, and his philosophy is that if secure documents start to get hacked, stolen, and released to the world, then governments will act more responsibly since they can’t hide their dirty truths. Whether this is true or not, he has forced many militaries and government agencies around the world to change their behavior after the infamous leaks that came from US soldier Chelsea Manning in 2010. These leaks included Reykjavik13, “Collateral Murder” (a horrible video of a Baghdad airstrike--here is the URL, but you might not want to watch it https://collateralmurder.wikileaks.org/), and the Afghan War Logs and Iraqi War Logs. From there, WikiLeaks was on the map, and as it gained in popularity, and governments started to hate Assange for his organization, he was accused of sexual assault in Sweden. What were the charges? How did he end up living in Ecuador’s Embassy in the UK for the past several years? What will happen if he leaves? What did the Ecuadorian Embassy do to punish him for interfering in the 2016 US election? Listen, Laugh, Learn.  
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Episode 153: Modern Piracy: The Scourge of the Seas!
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about modern-day piracy. Not the computer type, but good old fashioned steal your boat, rape your women, rob your booty type of piracy. For the past twenty years, it has been on the rise as the world becomes more interconnected, and so much commerce is being moved through shipping lanes on the sea. In fact, last year, experts estimate that around $16 Billion in piracy was reported by shipping companies, but that this is a small fraction of the true cost since most of it doesn’t get reported. So how do modern pirates operate? You might be surprised. First, they don’t sail up on massive ships with canons blazing like they did in the old days. In fact, they come in very small vessels that may hold as few as four people, and instead of cannons, they have AK-47s and rocket propelled grenades. They often come on fast and attack defenseless ships, boarding, stealing what they can, and leaving quickly. However, they have other tactics as well, such as hostages and ransoms paid by shipping companies, theft of fishing hauls, and the taking of massive shipping vessels where pirates seize the entire ship and dock it in a pirate-friendly port and use the local government or organized crime to offload tons of goods on the ship. This happens in major shipping areas, most often Somalia, near China (and often funded by the Chinese government according to many investigations), and near the Panama Canal. Piracy is often surprisingly well planned. It is often funded by a handful of investors who recruit from a poor population in a third world country who are willing to do anything to feed their families. These people are given weapons, ammo, gas, a drug called qat, and a ship by the investors, and the pirates start out in debt. They only get to pay it back and make any money if they successfully steal on the high seas. We even talk about a Pirate Stock Exchange that runs in several countries and lets people invest in pirate raids to get a percentage of the booty! We round out the show with a discussion of the famous Maersk Alabama piracy off the coast of Somalia. This is what the Tom Hanks film was based on, but the crew says Captain Phillips was less a loveable hero and more a greedy dumb ass who put them all at risk. What happened to the crew? Who was the awesome crew member who stabbed one in the neck? How many days was Phillips forced to live on an escape raft with the pirates? What complete badassery did the Navy Seals pull off to rescue him (warning—Brad gets a little misty about how awesome it is). Listen, laugh, learn. You can find some of the maps and live pirate reporting we talk about on the show at the following URL:  https://icc-ccs.org/
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Episode 152: The Port Arthur Massacre
On this Sofa King Podcast, we go back to the land down under and look into the infamous Port Arthur Massacre. This was a massive story in Australia, but in America, very few people have heard this wild tale. On April 28, 1996, a man named Martin Bryant allegedly took multiple high powered rifles and killed over 35 people and wounded 23 in a slaughter that would permanently change the gun laws for that entire country. This event, and the legal backlash that came after it are the model that American Conspiracy theorists point to when they claim that mass shootings are a false flag event. So why did Bryant kill all these people? His story is a pretty crazy one. Bryant was a troubled kid (who of course tortured small animals…), and he had mental illness ranging from ADHD to possible schizophrenia. He also had an IQ of 66, which put him on par with a typical 11 year old once he was an adult. His life took a strange number of turns that landed him working for Helen Harvey, the heiress of a lottery fortune. He lived in her mansion, fed her dogs, and helped her shop for things like thirty cars in three years! Eventually, Helen died when Bryant lunged for the steering wheel and got them into a horrible car crash, and he inherited her entire fortune. Shortly after this, Bryant’s father was found dead under a dam with Bryant’s weight belt tied around his neck, and multiple psychological evaluations over the years said he was a dangerous man. And the danger came in 1996, when he went to Port Arthur, a popular tourist destination and opened fire, killing lots of people. Or did he? There is a lot of speculation that he could not have pulled this off. Almost every shot was a kill shot to the head or neck, and people don’t think someone with Bryant’s mental deficiencies could have pulled off such a professional level of marksmanship. There are also witness testimonies that contradict the official story, and strange facts about all the law enforcement in the area being away on training the day of the massacre. Then of course, we discuss the sweeping changes in the gun laws that came in this event’s dark shadow. Whether someone else did this as a false flag or Bryant did the killings himself, you don’t want to miss this one. His back story is wicked crazy, and the events that went down on that day were truly horrific.
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Episode 151: Geronimo: Pure Apache Revenge!
On this Sofa King Podcast, we go back to the Old West and talk about the guerrilla-style Apache war leader, Geronimo. Sure, people say his name as they skydive or jump off a high diving board, but why? Because this guy was the ultimate warrior, waging a private revenge-fueled hit and run war with the Mexican and American armies for over sixty years! At one point, he was considered by white settlers to be “the worst Indian who ever lived.” Why? Because he was just that good. His raiding group was usually only between fifteen and eighty people, but he would take on entire armies using his tactics of silence, ambush, and instilling fear in the hearts of his enemies. He was just as good at traditional combat as he was at psychological warfare, and for every time he was captured, he escaped to wage more war. After his wife Alope, his children, and mother were slaughtered by Mexican soldiers outside of Kas-Ki-Yes, he supposedly heard a voice come from the stack of the dead. It said, “No gun will ever kill you. I will take the bullets from the guns of the Mexicans…and I will guide your arrows.” From that point, he fought fearlessly, and his myth grew. They said he could walk without leaving footprints, could never be shot by a bullet, could see the future, and could even heal the sick. By the time they brought him in, he was being pursued by one fourth of the entire US Army and an equal number of the Mexican Army. He was truly public enemy number one, but nobody could find him, kill him, or stop him. Even other Apache chiefs such as Cochise could only contain his rage for small periods of peace at a time, before he would go back to doing what he did best—getting revenge! How many people did he kill? How did he finally die? Why was he in President Roosevelt’s inaugural parade? What did he say about his surrender to the white man when he was 90 years old? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 150: Tupac Shakur: The Curse of Tupac Island
This episode of The Sofa King Podcast covers some hip-hop roots and looks at the rise, fall, life, war, and death of rapper and poet, Tupac Shakur. Tupac was born in 1971 to a family of incredibly radical black activists. His parents were both Black Panthers, and his aunts and uncles were often on the FBI most wanted list and worked with organizations like the Black Liberation Army. In fact, his mother was in jail for allegedly plotting to bomb police departments while she was pregnant with Tupac and was released when her crimes were dismissed only a month before this rap legend was born. As a young child, Tupac was often homeless, and eventually he found his way into the arts. He was admitted to the Baltimore School of the Arts, and he was an actor and dancer at a very young age in different troupes in New York City. This dichotomous upbringing that married revolutionary violence with arts and poetry helped to make Tupac a natural for the rap game, and when he moved to Oakland in 1988, he almost immediately found success as an entertainer. He started with the group Digital Underground, and within two years was selling platinum albums on his own. His rise to fame was meteoric and well deserved, and he rapped about everything from gang violence to social responsibility and then from sex to powerful black women. He was a huge artist, selling over 75 million records, and when the East Coast / West Coast rap beef started, Tupac helped the fan the flames. Tupac was shot four times at a record studio in New York, but lived to tell about it. Then, his songs like “California Love” and “Hit Em Up” made the beef turn into a war. In fact, this war is what eventually led to his own death, as he was shot and killed in Las Vegas after a Mike Tyson fight in 1996. And from there, he moved to the mysterious Tupac Island where he rules to this day. Or at least, that’s what we think, and we’re apparently in good company. Many people honestly believe he is still alive, and they claim to have proof. What is the proof? Give us a listen and find out. We talk about his unique family background, the influence of his music, his feud with Biggie Smalls and Sean Puffy Combs, his  alliance with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight, and whether any evidence of his supposed “Machiavelli” life after death is true.
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Episode 149: Fidel Castro: Revolutionary or Despot?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the life and times of the most famous man in Cuba, Fidel Castro. Castro was born in 1926 to an upper class sugar plantation family, and he was both intelligent and athletic from a young age. He was also a trouble maker, always questioning rules and even threatening to burn things to the ground at the age of 6. (Revolutionaries start at a young age, it seems…) By the time he graduated college, he had already gotten involved in politics, and once he had his law degree, he started traveling the globe to participate in revolutions throughout the Caribbean and Americas. This led him to be a student under Eduardo Chibás who ran for president of Cuba in 1948. Chibás lost the race (in fact, shortly afterwards, he shot himself in the head and committed suicide on live radio), but Castro saw how politics worked and became a nationalist who wanted reform for his nation. His first shot at reform came after General Fulgencio Batista took illegal control of the country, and Castro tried to overthrow him. Castro was caught and exiled to Mexico where he met Che Guevara, and eventually, they came back to Cuba to run a guerrilla revolution. Against impossible odds, Castro eventually seeded enough discord to overthrow Batista, and within a few months was Prime Minister of the country when he was only 32 years old. At first, he seemed to be a good ruler, reforming education, putting true universal health care in place, building miles of new roads, and reducing infant mortality rates to their lowest numbers ever. However, he got obsessed with his own power at some point and formalized firing squads, forced labor camps, and a massive reduction of human rights, targeting everyone who spoke against him (and the religious and homosexuals as well…). With his death, Cubans around the world either mourned or celebrated the passing of a major historical figure. Castro picked big fights with the United States and sided with the Soviet Union in the cold war, and this is what lead to some of the most important moments of the 1960s. From the Bay of Pigs Invasion to the Cuban Missile Crises, all of it involved Castro. So, how did he eventually die? How many times did the CIA attempt to assassinate him? What did he do that pissed off the US government so badly? What corporations did he screw over? How many people died at the hands of his firing squads, and how many Cubans fled the nation under his rule? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 148: Aurora Shootings: The Conspiracies of James Holmes
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we explore one of the worst mass murders in US history, the theater shooting at Aurora, Colorado. According to the official report, James Eagan Holmes crept into the theater during the midnight screening of The Dark Night Rises at the Century Aurora 16 Multiplex Theater on July 20, 2012. Dressed in bullet proof armor and riot gear, he threw in two cans of gas and opened fire with multiple weapons. His final death toll was 12 victims, and he injured 70 others. What inspired this young man—a neuroscientist perusing a PhD—to dye his hair orange, order weapons and ammo online, and start shooting innocent people? That’s a good question. In fact, many people don’t think he did it, or that he didn’t do it alone. Many eye witnesses and even police reports claim there was more than one shooter. Also, with the gear and the gas mask he was wearing, nobody could have ever made a positive ID on his face after the fact. People wonder how he built bombs that the FBI took two days to disarm. People wonder how he knew how to use all this military style gear. People wonder about his father, Robert Holmes who was a top member of FICO and was set to testify against the powerful LIBOR Banking scandal in mere weeks. People wonder if he was on drugs, and even more wildly, people wonder if his studies in neuroscience made him a candidate for MK Ultra-type mind control, and if he was killing outside of his will. Was this a false flag event meant to usher in gun control laws? Was there a second shooter? What made this guy snap and shoot people? Was he a patsy? Oh, and why did he get transferred to a secret prison that nobody can find the location of? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 147: Jeffrey Dahmer, The Milwaukee Cannibal
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast focuses on the murder spree of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, “The Milwaukee Cannibal,” Jeffrey Dahmer. Born in Milwaukee in 1960, Dahmer grew up as an isolated child who seemed to fit the profile that many such monsters fit. He was white, middle classed, had few friends, was a loner, and was fascinated with death and dissecting dead animals. His parents had a bitter divorce, and this was thought to have driven him to alcoholism in his teen years. His drinking got him in trouble at school and years later even got him discharged from the US Army. However, through his teen and early adult years, his sexual frustrations and murderous tendencies started to take over. He killed his first victim (Steven Hicks) at only 18 years old, and though it took him another 9 years to kill again, he eventually became addicted to killing. And he didn’t just kill, he killed horribly. He would typically drug men’s drinks when they returned to his apartment (or his grandmother’s house) to have sex with him. Then, Dahmer would strangle or bludgeon them to death. However, he admitted after he was caught that for him, killing was about total control over the victim, to the point that he even started horrible experiments trying to make young men become his “sex zombies.” This typically involved drilling into their heads and pouring acid and boiling water into the brains. Oh, and did we mention that he ate their bodies after he had sex with them and dismembered them? How many did he kill? What other tortures did he inflict? How many chances did cops have to arrest him and end his killing spree? What body part trophies did the cops find in his apartment, and how did eventually die? What parts of the anatomy were too tough to chew? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 146: Air America: History’s Largest Drug Mule
On this Sofa King Podcast, we look at the CIA’s illegal and covert airline that they ran for over thirty years called Air America. Yes, it’s the same one as the Mel Gibson movie, but it’s a lot different than what the film shows. Starting in August of 1950, the CIA bought an actual airline called Civil Air Transport (CAT) and began using the flights as a way to smuggle spies and equipment into communist China and gather aerial surveillance photographs. By 1960, when the tension in the Vietnam War was mounting, they expanded it and christened the operation Air America. Air America’s primary mission was to help to provide food, weapons, and training to a group of people in Laos called Hmong tribesman. Their leader, Vang Pao, was a friend to the agency, so they kept him well-funded. Why did the Hmong matter? Well, they were neighbors to Vietnam, and they fought in a “Shadow War” in Laos whose purpose was to cut all supply lines that connected the Viet Cong and NVA to Chinese and Soviet goods. Air America was an interesting chapter in the CIA’s history. First, it broke international war laws laid out in the Geneva Accords of 1954—laws that prevented the US from flying into or over Laos which had declared neutrality. So, with a private airline that nobody knew the CIA owned, they could fly all sorts of things into this barred country. And fly they did. At their height, they flew some 30,000 missions a month and had the largest commercial aircraft fleet in the entire world! The pilots were military-trained and incredibly brave, flying through combat zones with civilian equipment and no back up, and they died significantly more than military pilots fighting in Vietnam did. Of course since the CIA was involved, it all took a dark turn. The Hmong’s main source of income was selling heroin they refined from their poppy fields. So, the CIA let the heroin fly out on their planes, typically said to go to Manuel Noriega in the Philippines and then spread out from there. We have a hard time weighing in on this one. Was Air America just another illegal CIA operation that the US people shouldn’t have allowed, or did they actually help to protect American soldiers in Vietnam by supporting the Hmong? Listen, Laugh, Learn.
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Episode 145: Saddam Hussein: Evil Dictator or Evil Dictator?
This issue of The Sofa King Podcast covers the life and death of one of this century’s greatest madmen, Saddam Hussein. Born to a poor family of sheepherders, he grew to be an evil despot who ruled Iraq through torture, assassination, murder, rape, and intimidation. So how did he go from nothing to such a powerful person? For one, he was sent to be raised by relatives in Baghdad after his father disappeared and older brother died, and he was exposed to the Ba’ath Party. Here, he became a nationalist who politicized Islam for the good of his state. As part of his political training, he and a small group of other Ba’ath Party members decided to kill the country’s President Abd al-Karim Qasim, (as you do...) The assassination attempt failed, and Saddam had to flee to Egypt to keep from being put to death. While there, he got a law degree and stayed active in politics until the president of Iraq was finally ousted, and it was safe for him to return to his home country. From there, he helped lead a coup that got President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr elected to the country. Saddam was named his deputy at only 32 years old and started to enact policies that changed all of Iraq, many for the positive. He nationalized oil reserves, improved healthcare, made sure literacy rates rose, worked on the country’s physical infrastructure and did many things a sane leader would do. However, he was also starting to stock pile Mustard gas and Sarin gas, and had pretty dark plans. Eventually, he got the president overthrown and became the president of Iraq. It was here that he became the madman that the media makes him out to be. He started on the first month by having 200 prominent politicians killed and thousands jailed. He began a war with Iran that killed over a million people and saw him commit horrible war crimes which the US and the West ignored (though the CIA had proof he was doing it). How many people did he kill with poison gas? How many were his own countrymen? What sadistic evils did his son Uday unleash on the population? Why did he invade Kuwait and start Desert Storm, and how did he really die? Listen, Laugh, Learn.
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Episode 143: Bruce Lee: Anatomy of the Dragon
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast is dedicated to the master and martial arts legend, Bruce Lee! Born in San Francisco, November 27th, 1940, Bruce Lee was originally named Lee Jun Fan, which meant “he who would return.” He was born in the hour of the dragon on the year of the dragon, and most people said this would make him grow up to be powerful and important. Maybe there was something to that… Bruce Lee grew up in Hong Kong after World War Two, when the city was filling with war refugees and became an increasingly violent place. Lee ran with street gangs, got kicked out of schools, and was generally a bad kid with a bad attitude. In his teens, however, he discovered the legendary Yip Man, master of Wing Chung Gung Fu, and his life changed forever. Lee was a natural fighter and a trained dancer, so learning moves and perfecting subtle movements was in his blood. According to legend, Lee beat up a Triad gang member’s son, and he had to move back to San Francisco to find safety. There, he developed his own style of martial arts (which would eventually come to be called Jeet Kun Do), and he perfected his martial prowess. He found some fame when he attended the 1964 Long Beach International Karate Championships, where he displayed his infamous two finger push-ups and his notorious one-inch punch. From here, Lee opened several martial arts studios and eventually started training Hollywood stars before landing the role of Kato in The Green Hornet. This changed his life, making him a super star in China, where he eventually returned since he couldn’t find work in what turned out to be a racist Hollywood. In China, Lee set record after record with his movies. His ultimate film, Enter the Dragon is considered the single best action and martial arts film of all time by many connoisseurs of the genre. Lee’s martial abilities in the real world, and his magnetic charisma and knowledge of cinematic fight scenes make him the bar against which all other movie martial artists (and real world martial artists…) are judged by. He died in 1973, and rumors swirl from an assassination to drug use to a curse that eventually killed his own son Brandon Lee in a crazy way that Bruce’s films seemed to predict! If you don’t know much about martial arts, about that style film, or about Bruce Lee and why he is so important, give this one a listen.
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Episode 142: Project Echelon: Big Brother’s Tool Kit
In this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the top-secret government surveillance system known as Project Echelon. Also known by the awesome code names of Stone Ghost and The Five Eyes, this project stemmed from the secretive UKUSA Agreement, which was a multilateral agreement for several nations to share signals intelligence with each other. The UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all shared intelligence information starting back in 1946 and running until the current day. Echelon was the US software that decoded the data that the Five Eyes collects. It is run by the NSA, and it is the exact type of Big Brother, bulk data collection that Edward Snowden revealed to the public. However, it was operational for decades before Snowden even got hired as an intelligence analyst. Echelon, according to an ex-operator named Mike Frost, collected all phone calls, faxes, emails, ATM transactions, radio and television broadcasts, short wave radio, and even wireless baby monitors for intelligence. With listening posts all over the world and 120 communication satellite dedicated to it, Echelon was said to gather all radiation and noise from around the world 24 hours a day. This is one that we can’t even call a conspiracy theory because it is simply a fact. Journalists such as James Bamford, Duncan Campbell, and Jane Perron started to uncover Echelon in the late 1980s, and eventually the European Parliament started to formally investigate its use. The investigations came again in 2000, just before 9/11 when the European Union got even more information about Echelon’s use as a way to make sure American corporate interests benefited from the technology. Who gained from the use of Echelon? How pervasive was it? Did Snowden talk about Echelon directly with his leaks? What corporations profited from Echelon? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 141: Ruby Ridge: Death by Federal Agent
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the standoff at Ruby Ridge, which has become synonymous with a violent, overactive federal government. Randy Weaver and his wife Vicky were two survivalists who wanted to live off the grid, avoid the federal government, and home school their children. It turns out they were also involved with white supremacist groups such as the Aryan Nations, and they practiced an extreme version of apocalyptic Christianity called Christian Identity. After the Weavers had trouble legally homeschooling their children (and after Randy was laid off from his factory job), they moved to a homemade cabin in Idaho on 20 acres of mountainous terrain. While living there on Ruby Ridge, Randy Weaver started attending Aryan Nations meetings and had some strange run-ins with neighbors who claimed he threatened the life of the president, the pope, and governor of Idaho. In 1989, an Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms informant who had infiltrated the Aryan Nations allegedly bought two sawed off shotguns from Weaver. The agent then tried to use it as leverage to get Weaver to become an informant, and when Weaver refused, they arrested him for the manufacturing of illegal weapons. From there, things got weird and escalated slowly. The federal marshal service tried to arrest him, but let him hide out in his cabin for seven months without going after him. Eventually, the marshals tried to do reconnaissance on his property, and it led to a horrible altercation where Weaver’s son Samuel and his dog Striker were shot and killed by marshals. A Federal Marshal named Deagan was killed in the firefight as well, and this led to the FBI. So what happened during this tense siege of the Weaver cabin at Ruby Ridge? How much did the FBI truly know about the situation they were walking in on? How did Vicki Weaver die? Why were the rules of engagement so different at Ruby Ridge than standard FBI procedures? What connections do the sniper of Ruby Ridge (Lon Horiuchi) and the Branch Davidians in Waco have? How did all of this involve Geraldo Rivera? Listen, Laugh, Learn.
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Episode 140: Nestle: Water, Slavery, and Dead Babies
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we examine largest food corporation on the planet—Nestle. With over 400 factories spread through 194 countries, this company employs well over 300,000 people. Why do you want to learn about this corporation? Because they are regularly considered one of the worst corporations on earth and have been banned by over twenty countries since the 1970s for their corporate practices. So, what does Nestle do that is so wrong? Let’s start with slavery. From the Ivory Coast to Ghana and Indonesia, Nestle buys from suppliers who are said to support slavery and forced labor. The cocoa farms they source from are thought to have between 10,000 and 15,000 slaves who were bought from their parents and work for no money in a foreign country with no chance for freedom. There is also a long list of misdoings involving their sales of infant formula in the third world. They engage in marketing practices that oppose the World Health Organization’s guidelines and are blamed for the deaths of thousands of children due to dehydration, disease, and malnutrition. Then there’s the water. They drain aquifers around the world, often forcing people in poor areas to buy their own water back at a massive price hike. From deforestation to union busting, from assassination of labor leaders to poisoned dog food, this goliath of the corporate world is alleged to have done it all. If you want to know what products they own, how they operate, or why the CEO apparently thinks water is not a basic human right, tune in to this one.
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Episode 139: Lady Diana: Killed Off by the Royal Family?
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks at the life, death, and conspiracies surrounding Lady Diana. Born to the royal Spencer family in Norfolk, England, she lived a life of privilege, even playing with the princes at some of the queen’s summer homes in her childhood. By the age of nineteen, she was working at a school for children, and she caught the eye of Prince Charles, the heir to the throne. They married a year later in a lavish wedding that dominated the world. However, their relationship was not very stable. Prince Charles was having an affair with his now wife Camilla Bowles, and Diana had an affair of her own. When they finally divorced in 1996, Diana was allegedly on the outs with the royal family, taking shots at Camilla in the tabloids and even frustrating the queen. Diana spent this time using her celebrity to advocate for curing AIDS, homelessness, and land mine disposal, among others. A year later, she died in a famous car accident with her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed at the Pont D’Alma tunnel in Paris. And this is the where the conspiracies start to rear up. On the surface, yes, it could have been a case of the driver Henry Paul having too much to drink and crashing while trying to escape a horde of paparazzi. However, the evidence doesn’t add up. The official Paget Report which was sanctioned by the government claimed Paul had ten drinks. However, the official coroner’s inquest a year later claimed he was sober. Blood samples taken at the scene of the accident were possibly swapped and old, so DNA tests and blood tests run in 2006 said he was sober but had high amounts of carbon monoxide in his blood. So a lot of strange things didn’t add up with the driver, who was called in to drive at the last minute. Also, there is the matter of the white Fiat Uno. Eyewitness claimed this car sped out of the tunnel, and Dodi Fayed’s father claimed it belonged to a member of the paparazzi named James Andanson. Andanson was found later in a burned out BMW with a bullet in his head. From there, everyone from MI6 to the British Secret forces have been blamed for the car crash. Some theorize she was pregnant with Dodi’s baby, and the royal family wanted her killed and silences. Even Diana herself wrote a letter to her butler Paul Burell saying her life was in danger and that she was going to be killed in a car crash. So, was her death a case of simple drunk driving, or was she taken out by the British government? Was there a secret strobe light weapon deployed against her driver in Paris that night? Why did the French scrub all evidence from the tunnel so quickly and embalm her body? Was it a cover up? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 138: The Mysterious Disappearance of Harold Holt
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we explore the mysterious disappearance and the conspiracies surrounding Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt. Holt was the 17th Prime Minister of Australia and a lifelong politician. Many of his policies were controversial, such as helping to relax the racist “White Australia Policy,” creating a federal Reserve Bank of Australia, and tripling the number of Australian troops being sent to fight in Vietnam. Many critics claimed he was a stooge of American President, Lyndon B Johnson after Holt famously said “All the way with LBJ!” On December 17th of 1967, he went swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea, Victoria. This was his regular swimming spot near his vacation home, and he knew the waters well. However, on this day, he went into the water never to be found again. The simple conclusion is, he drowned, and his body was washed away. But there are a lot of questions and theories that surround this disappearance. First, the waters were so rough that nobody else in his party would even dare go in. If he did go in those waters, he was almost certain to drown, so why did he? Second, there was no official inquest on the disappearance of the nation’s leader for almost 40 years! Why did they wait so long, and what did they find in their report? The conspiracies range from the mundane, such as suicide due to political pressure for the Vietnam war to a man who faked his own death to be with his mistress (whom he was with on the beach that day). The theories heat up when the CIA gets involved (did they kill him because he was going to pull troops out of Vietnam or oppose their base at Pine Gap?). Some authors think he was a Chinese agent who was taken by his handlers on the beach that day, and the tin foil contingent believes what Mothman Prophecy author John Keel said in 1970—that Holt was an alien representative on earth and was taken by “elementals” on a UFO. So what’s the truth behind the disappearance of Australia’s most powerful man? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 137: JFK Part Two: Death
This episode of The Sofa King Podcast is Part II of our coverage of John F. Kennedy, in which we look at the details of his assassination and then discuss the multitude of theories floating around about who killed him, how, and why. These theories range from the wild to the mundane, but the one thing everyone agrees on is that he was shot several times on November 22, 1963 while riding in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas. The famous footage known as the Zapruder Film is the clearest (but not the only) recording of his death, and it shows him undoubtedly get shot in the head and sustain a wound nobody could survive. So, the big question is: Whodunit? The official word from the US government’s Warren Report was that a single gunman—Lee Harvey Oswald—killed JFK by firing three shots from the 6th floor of the Book Depository. According to the report, Oswald was a man with communist leanings. He had lived three years in the Soviet Union, had a Russian wife, and even applied for a visa to move to Cuba shortly before the assassination. Many people think he had attempted other political assassinations, in fact. Oswald was arrested in a movie theater the day of the assassination and had allegedly killed a police officer named JD Tippit earlier in the day. He was arrested, and two days later, as he was leaving the Dallas jail to head to court, he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby on live television. Oswald claimed he was a patsy before he died; Ruby said from prison that nobody would ever know the depths of what was happening. It’s all very strange. So, did Oswald kill JFK? That remains a burning question. Many people doubt he could have pulled off the three shots, and doubt that one bullet could have done through JFK’s body at the angle it did and then injure Governor Connaley in the front seat. This “Magic Bullet” makes people think there was more than one shooter, and so do the numerous eye witnesses who claim to have seen other shooters and activity on a grassy knoll in Dealy Plaza. But there are other strange theories, and we talk about them on the show. Who was the peculiar “Umbrella Man,” and what were the odd pulses of light that came from his umbrella? Did JFK’s driver, agent William Greer, kill the president (either on purpose or by accidentally discharging his weapon)? What about the claims that Carlos Marcello, the mob boss of New Orleans ordered him killed, and why would the mob want him dead? From the CIA to the KGB, from the mob to Fidel Castro, from his own vice president to people covering up the existence of aliens, many people have been blamed over the years. We even talk about the fact that the actor Woody Harrelson’s father, known mob hitman Charles Harrelson, killed JFK. You don’t want to miss this one. It’s the mother of all conspiracies. Special thanks to Doctor Randal Beeman for helping us sort out the details on this one!
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Episode 136: JFK Part One: Life
This episode of The Sofa King Podcast is Part One of our discussion on the life, politics, policies, and death of the amazing John Fitzgerald Kennedy. JFK was one of the most beloved president of the United States, and his administration was often considered to be the “Golden Age” of America that many people called Camelot. Kennedy was the son of a wealthy business man who had alleged ties to the mob and illegal alcohol-running during prohibition. His legitimate businesses, however, set the Kennedy family up for a life of prosperity and prestige. JFJ, also known as Jack, was a sickly child and had chronic back problems through his life. He also was a screw-up at school, more interested in pranks and flirting than his formal education. All that changed, however, when he was at Harvard, and he wrote a book called Why England Slept which explored why Great Britain was unprepared for the Nazis. He used his family’s connections to let him join the Navy (something he couldn’t have done because of his back condition), and he became a war hero, saving members of his crew in pretty amazing ways in the battle of the Pacific on his boat PT-109. After the war, he married Jackie Bouvier and served time in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before finally becoming president in 1960. While president, he did pretty amazing things, helping the poor, creating the Peace Corps, and even writing the Civil Rights Act. However, he also tried to have Fidel Castro overturned by the CIA’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion, heated up the cold war, and dealt with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Aside from his policies and the crazy era of his presidency, Jack was also known for having affairs with women. From white house employees to Marilyn Monroe and even Judith Campbell Exner (who was the mistress of Sam Giancana, the mob boss for The Chicago Outfit), he slept around. So, if you want to know about JFK, his affairs, his decision, why he was a war hero, and who he upset over the years (and possibly pushed to assassinate him), give this one a listen. Stay tuned for part two, where we talk about his assassination and the theories surrounding it. Thanks to our special guest Doctor Randal Beeman.
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Episode 135: MK Ultra–The CIA, LSD, and Mind Control
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we put on our tinfoil hats and explore the conspiracy theory of MK Ultra. It turns out it wasn’t a conspiracy theory, so much as a conspiracy fact. MK Ultra was the CIA’s illegal attempt at behavior modification and mind control which officially ran from 1953 until 1973. Some say it is still running under a different name, but the official party line is that it was disbanded in the paranoid wake of the Watergate tapes. The fact that MK Ultra existed is incontrovertible and involved three senate hearings, a freedom of information act release that included 20,000 pages of documents about the CIA’s secret funding, and multiple reports filed by senate subcommittees and even the office of veteran’s affairs. So what did MK Ultra involve? The CIA funded experiments on various ways to control minds, alter perceptions, and get inside of people’s heads. They did this at 87 American universities, often without the knowledge of the subjects or the scientists (who didn’t know their funding was coming from the CIA). MK Ultra used LSD as a way to break people down, often dosing American citizens with the drug without their consent or knowledge through projects such as the accurately named Project Midnight Climax which used prostitutes to deliver the drugs in San Francisco. MK Ultra used a doctor named Donald Cameron who was president of the World Psychiatric Health Organization to work on a technique called Psychic Driving. What did it involve? Induced paralysis and then an audio loop that played thousands of times to try and break a patient’s personality down and replace it. Oh, and the patients were coming to him for things like post mortem depression and anxiety and had no idea this was being done to them! Find out about Subproject 54, which was a Naval Research project involving amnesia, and the case of Frank Olson. Olson (a biochemist employed by the CIA) was thought to have committed suicide in 1953, but an autopsy in 1994 that he was murdered with a blow to the head after being dosed with LSD. All of this is true, provable with congressional documents, and completely nuts. Of course, it gets crazier when the tin foil does come out, and a woman named Cathleen Ann O'Brien reveals details about an alleged MK Ultra subproject called Project Monarch. It involves George Bush, holograms, and lizard people. Oh, and it also involves Shia LaBeouf, Roseanne Barr, and Michael Jackson. No. I’m not kidding...
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Episode 134: George W Bush: The Most Loved, Hated President
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush. Though he ranks as one of the most hated presidents of the modern era (with a job approval rating as low as 19% before he left office), he is a polarizing figure that is perhaps symbolic of the increasing divide between the left and right wings of American politics. “W” was the son of George HW Bush and grandson of the infamous Prescott Bush, so power and money ran in his family. After his time at Yale (where he was in the Skull and Bones secret society), he went to Harvard and eventually created an oil business in Texas, which he flipped for a profit. Then, he did the same with the Texas Rangers baseball team. While he co-owned the Rangers, he became a fixture in Texas life, and it helped him win a big for the governor of that state, though everyone thought he would lose the election by a landslide. From there, his path in politics was set. After a term and a half as governor, he ran for the Oval Office and ended up becoming president. Note that I didn’t say he won the election because by most accounts, he simply didn’t. He lost the popular vote by half a million people, and he only won the electoral vote because of voter fraud and mishandling of ballots in Florida (a state that his brother Jeb—coincidentally—was governor of at the time). Oh, and did you know that the Diebold family who ran the voting machines in Florida is close friends with the Bush family. Funny… The rest of his career was as controversial as the election itself, from the way he handled 9/11 (or caused it, according to some theories) to the way he sent America to war with faulty intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. He supported torture, founded the Department of Homeland Security, eliminated civil rights with the Patriot Act, and started the system of mass surveillance that Edward Snowden alerted the public to years later. Then, there was the mishandling of disaster relief for Hurricane Katrina and endless other flubs, fiascos, and controversies. Many people love this man and have good things to say about him; many people think he was the devil himself; and others think he was a pawn to his father and other members of his cabinet. What do your intrepid hosts think? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 133: The Yakuza–Japan’s Mafia
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the Japanese Yakuza. They are larger in power, wealth, and scope than the Italian Mafia, but in America, we don’t hear much about them. And what we do hear about them is fairly glorified and bloody, more like Kill Bill than the truth. We learned a lot researching this group, including that they are estimated to have over 80,000 members, and they date back to the 17th century, where historians claim they existed as Ronin, rogue samurai with no masters, who started clans that protected cities. They evolved during the tumultuous years of World War II, and one man in particular helped to consolidate their power and status in modern Japan. His name was Yoshi Kodama, and he went from a black-market smuggler during the war to the wealthiest man in all of Asia. Listen in as we talk about how much influence he had on framing post-war Japan’s culture, and even how a porn star tried to kill with an airplane, Kamikaze style! So what is the modern day Yakuza like? They run themselves as legal corporate entities, and there are multiple Yakuza family clans through Japan and the world. They follow a very strict hierarchy where each man is bound to one person above them and one person below, called an Oyabun/Kobun relationship. At the top is the Kumicho who runs the entire family and is the big boss. We had a lot of questions about them based on what we’ve heard in the past. Why do the Yakuza take their name from the numbers 8, 9, 3? Do they really practice Yubizume and chop their fingers off when the disappoint the boss? Are they really covered in head-to-toe tattoos? How powerful is the Yamaguchi-gumi (the biggest Yakuza family)? What did photographer Anton Kusters learn about them when a Yakuza clan let him live among them for two years? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 132: Vlad Tepes: The Impaler
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the legendary Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, Vlad III, and Vlad Dracula. Tepes lived from roughly 1428-1477 (back in castle times), and he was like a Game of Thrones character. As a child, he was kidnapped by the enemy Ottoman Empire. They were at war with his father, who was the king of Wallachia (inside of modern-day Romania). While a prisoner, Tepes was taught as a royal, and he learned art, philosophy, and warfare. He was freed as a teenager and took control of Wallachia after his father and older brother were both murdered by his Uncle! His uncle eventually drove him from the country and ruled it for a few years until Tepes came back with an army, killed his uncle in combat, and took the country back for the bulk of his life. In this time, he gained his reputation as a master guerilla tactician in his wars against the Turks, and he earned his grisly reputation as Kaziklu Beg, the “Impaler Lord.” Some historians think Tepes murdered as many as 80,000 people. In one town alone, he impaled over twenty-thousand people and put them in concentric rings around the town to cause enough fear in the invading army to turn them back. They promptly left for fear of what this beast of man could do after seeing his “forest of bodies.” Was Tepes the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula? How did Tepes defeat an army three times the size of his with far better technology? What other means did he have to torture and kill? Did he really dip his bread in the blood of his enemies? What are the completely gruesome details of how he impaled people (there were horses and squirming survivors involved). Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 131: Alan Turing–Math versus Nazis!
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the life of Alan Turing—the father of the modern day computer and the man who broke the Nazi Enigma Code and helped win World War II. Born in London, Turing was a mathematical genius at a young age and loved school so much, he once rode his bicycle 60 miles to make it school the first day (when he was only thirteen years old!). Turing attended Cambridge and Princeton and started working for the British Government Code and Cypher School, but when the war broke out, he reported for duty at Bletchley Park to work on encryption and decryption. At Bletchley Park, Turing used his theoretical invention of the Turing Machine (which was the spiritual forefather of the modern computer) to create Crypto Bombs that would eventually break the impossible Enigma Code. The Nazi Enigma Code had over a million million possible solutions, so it took a true genius and the might of modern day computation to crack it, and Turing provided both. After the war, Turing was the first to theorize about Artificial Intelligence in his seminal 1950 paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” In this paper, he proposed the Turing Test, which even today is the benchmark by which we judge whether or not a computer has achieved intelligence. Turing was a homosexual, and sadly, the British government saw this as a crime back then. In 1950, he was arrested, tried, and convicted for being gay, and he had to face either jail time or chemical castration. What did this do to his later years of life? What other inventions did Turing make? How did he use a crossword puzzle to win World War Two? How did Turing die, and how does this tie to the famous Apple logo? Listen, Laugh, Learn.
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Episode 130: Bonnie and Clyde: Public Enemies
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the notorious crime spree and violent death of Bonnie and Clyde. Their two year crime spree during the “Public Enemy Era” of the 1930s saw at least thirteen people dead, a dozen banks robbed, and countless small stores and gas stations knocked over by their famous “Barrow Gang.” Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow were both born during the great depression and lived in one of the poorest areas of entire nation, Cement City, Texas. They met and fell in love with each other and began their infamous crime spree in 1930. Clyde was already a criminal when he met Bonnie, thanks to his older brother Buck. The brothers had a history as teenagers of stealing everything from cars to turkeys. But when Clyde was arrested in 1930, Bonnie began her life of crime by smuggling a gun to him in jail, so he could escape. And escape he did. He was caught shortly thereafter and got 14 years hard labor at the horrible Eastham Prison Farm. Here, historians believe Clyde was raped, killed his first man, and even had a fellow inmate cut off two of his toes with an axe to get out of the brutal conditions of hard labor at this prison. Shortly after his missing toes, Clyde was set free, and he, Bonnie, his brother Buck, and Buck’s wife Blanche teamed up with W.D. Jones to make the Barrow Gang. They robbed, murdered, and stole cars through several states, evading the law at every turn. We talk about them and their shootouts with the police. They had endless close calls, injuries, and wild escapes. The three of us couldn’t believe how brazen they were with their crimes and how many times they were busted, escaped, had shootouts with the law, and kept on going. Which gang member got shot in the head and kept on with his crime spree? What did Clyde write in a personal letter to Henry Ford? How did Clyde get military grade weapons for his shootouts with the coppers? What made Bonnie and Clyde nationally famous during their crime spree? How were they finally set up and gunned down by the law? Listen, Laugh, Learn.
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Episode 129: Howard Hughes: Playboy to Madman
This episode of The Sofa King Podcast looks at the life and legacy of Howard Hughes. Born to a wealthy oil-industry magnate on December 24th, 1905, Hughes lived a life of privilege. His father created a drill bit that allowed for the Texas oil boom to occur, and his mother was a strange woman obsessed with Howard’s health. She inspected him every day for signs of polio and washed him fanatically—two things that may have played into his obsession about germs later in life. Both of his parents died within two years of each other, and Howard inherited a massive fortune at the age of 18. Soon after, he dropped out of college and moved to Hollywood to become a film maker and a playboy. One website lists 47 starlets who he had relations with during his youth, many of them the biggest stars of the era. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee has said in numerous interviews that Howard Hughes was his inspiration for Tony Stark and Iron Man. Hughes, like Stark, let his father’s business keep adding to his fortune, while he played around and lived the high life. After he began producing films, however, he got bit by the bug for aviation. He filmed a movie about World War One flying aces called Hell’s Angels that cost a record-setting $4 Million dollars to film. On the set, three pilots crashed and died, and Hughes himself crashed while filming. But that was far from his last crash. The Hughes Aircraft Company opened in the 1930s, and he built ground-breaking planes with money as no object. And he flew them himself, often when no other test pilot was brave enough. He even owned the majority of the airline TWA for years. Through this work, he made connections with the US air force during WWII and secured contracts to develop new airplanes to help win the war. One such contracted led to the creation of the infamous Spruce Goose, which flew only once, with Hughes at the helm. However, in 1946, he had an airplane crash that almost killed him, and he changed forever. He became reclusive and overcome with OCD behaviors. His obsessive compulsion disorder forced him to eat particular and strange foods and live in hotel penthouses for years at a time, never leaving. He went from a dashing young millionaire to a crazy, pained billionaire in his old age. He bought hotel after hotel just to have places to stay without being interrupted, and he even bought a TV station just to air the movies he wanted to watch from his room atop the Desert Inn in Vegas. How crazy did Hughes get? What was his involvement in the CIA’s Project Azorian? How many hotels did he buy? What crazy foods did he eat (and how did he sort his peas?) How did he finally die, and how many hypodermic needles did the autopsy find broken off in his body? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 128: Fukushima: Waves of Disaster
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daichi power plant in Japan. At 5:46 AM on Friday, March 11th of 2011, the fourth largest recorded earthquake known on the planet earth occurred. It was a 9.0, centered on the ocean floor 43 miles east of Tōhoku, Japan. The quake was so powerful, it permanently moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet, and adjusted the earth’s axis by 4 inches! This beast was known as The Great East Japan Earthquake, the 3/11 Quake, or the Tōhoku Earthquake. A quake of that magnitude did some massive damage on its own, but the tsunami was even worse. Final results of the disaster tallied in 2015 were a total of 15,894 deaths (92% by drowning) and 127,290 buildings totally destroyed. A wall of water as high as 36 feet patiently destroyed village after village. The quake and the wave it spawned would have been enough for any natural disaster to make the record books, but when the nuclear power plant had troubles, everything was magnified in scope. The Fukushima nuclear power plant had three safeguards against a quake and was marginally protected against a tsunami, but the reactor was not prepared for one so massive. The backup generators that should have kept the fuel rods cool were drowned by the tsunami, and within an hour, there was a meltdown of the core and a massive explosion of hydrogen gas that blew the roof off of the reactor and spewed radioactive material into the air, soil, and water. How bad was the reactor’s meltdown? How many did it kill in Japan? How much of the radiation made it to the U.S. or is still lingering in our oceans? The answers might surprise you as they did us. We look at the effects of this meltdown five years later, the 750,000 million gallons of radioactive waste water that Japan can’t easily dispose of, the dangers of another quake hitting the area, and the fault of the plant’s owners Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)--they knew this could happen, as it had happened before, but they nothing to prevent this disaster.
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Episode 127: Christopher Columbus: Rape, Slavery and Genocide
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look back in time at the life and legacy of Christopher Columbus. Once considered a national hero by ignorant Americans, this explorer is actually one of the worst mass-murderers of his age and left a trail of misery and genocide in the wake of his ships. To start with, he operated on the incorrect assumption that he could get to Asia more easily by sailing west from Spain. He spent years trying to convince various royal courts of this to get funding for his expedition, but every royal navigator told him he was wrong. In fact, the measurement of the earth that everyone used was well-established and had been since the second century in Greece. Eventually, he convinced King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to fund his trip, and his famous voyage of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria set sail in 1492. Thirty-six days later, he landed in the Bahamas, and the world would never be the same again. Seeing flecks of gold on the native Taino and Arawak peoples, he returned to Spain to get more soldiers and return to cash in. When he went back the second time, she started slavery of the native peoples (in spite of the Queen’s desire to not use slavery). Through an era of warfare, slavery, forced labor, starvation, and the spread of disease, he killed potentially millions of natives in the Caribbean and Americas. And even then, he went back home and lied about his success, leaving his brothers in charge. When the queen finally sent someone to inspect the islands, the brutality and lies about gold and spices got Columbus and his two brothers locked in shackles and sent back to Spain where their titles were taken from them, and their wealth was stripped away. So how did this man come to get a national holiday named after him? How many people, exactly, did he kill? What good came from the Columbus Exchange? What relative of his started the process of African slavery? Listen, Laugh, Learn.
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Episode 126: Church of Satan and Anton LaVey
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the infamous Church of Satan and its founder, the Black Pope, Anton LaVey. First off, we begin our discussion by distinguishing between the formal Church of Satan that practices what is called “LaVeyan Satanism” (based on the content of The Satanic Bible) and other types of Satan worshipers. Because the distinction is huge. LaVeyan Satanists are actually atheists that believe in Satan only as symbol, an archetype that represents things that they consider important for the world. Satan, to them, is a symbol of freedom from oppression, an escape of herd mentality, and a rebellious spirit bent on physical pleasures and sexual freedom. There is no God to them, there is no devil, there is no heaven or hell. Started in 1966 in San Francisco’s famous Black House, the Church of Satan gained popularity within just a few years thanks to LaVey’s charisma and several public Satanic ceremonies. He attracted celebrities such as Liberace and Sammy Davis Junior, which isn’t surprising since they could find in his teachings a freedom from sexual oppression against homosexuals and a freedom from racial oppression against African Americans. While we researched this one, we kept waiting to discover how insane the church’s beliefs were, but we have to admit, we didn’t find much crazy. Even the church’s belief in “magic” is really a belief in two things—symbolic rituals meant to purge negative emotions from the body, and the use of guile, charisma, and willpower to make things happen your way. So even though the Church of Satan started as a counter-culture movement, it counteracted the free love of the hippies. It encouraged sex of all types (as long as it was consenting human adults), but unlike hippies, it preached violence if someone got in your way. It called for Lex Talionis, the law of an eye for an eye and retribution, not turning the other cheek. We also look at the recent one ton statue of the demon lord Baphomet that was unveiled in Detroit, a Satanic coloring book for children, and theories about Taylor Swift’s connections as a Satanic priestess and a clone of Anton’s daughter Zeena LaVey! If you’ve ever wondered what this group preaches, what “commandments” its Black Bible holds, or what philosophies this particular flavor of Satanists adhere to, you don’t want to miss this episode.
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Episode 125: The Rothschilds: The True Illuminati?
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the long lineage and massive wealth and power of the Rothschild family. Many conspiracy theorists claim that this global family is the basis for theories about the Illuminati and that it controls global finance and has for hundreds of years. We tend to agree with them. Starting in the 1760s, this family (also called the Red Shield) started as the offspring of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a Court Jew in the city of Frankfurt. Court Jews were allowed to lend money in ways Christians weren’t, and Mayer Rothschild was quite brilliant at it. In fact, by sending his five sons to move to the five capitals of European countries, he was able to spread a banking and financial empire that goes unrivaled in its wealth and power even to this day. So what makes the Rothschild’s so powerful? We look at history to find examples. From the funding of the Suez Canal and most global railroads to paying for both sides of the Napoleonic Wars (and other conflicts), this group has influenced global politics for centuries. They helped free Brazil from the Portuguese just to settle a debt, and they created the country of Rhodesia just to expand their mining operations. They set the price of gold for almost a century, control all diamond trade in the world (and own the DeBeers family), and are said to be behind the US Federal Reserve Bank as well as similar banks in almost all other countries. However, they are secretive, and their wealth remains masked behind century-old shell corporations and money schemes. We even touch on some conspiracy theories ranging from the Rothschilds sinking the Titanic to cross dimensional lizard people involved in MK Ultra and Project Ibis! Tune in to this one to find out why your hosts no longer believe in an Illuminati but do believe in the Rothschilds.
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Episode 124: H.H. Holmes: Beast of Chicago
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast examines the horrible history of H.H. Holmes, the Beast of Chicago. This man is considered the first true serial killer in American history, killing people all over the country in the late 1800’s (estimates are as high as 200 victims). Born Herman Webster Mudgett, Holmes was a smart child who had a penchant for operating on animals and had a bad run in with a human skeleton and a group of bullies. He graduated high school at 16 years of age and went to University of Michigan Medical School where he earned his medical doctorate. Oh, and while he was at U of M, he also figured out a way to claim life insurance policies on the school’s cadavers and disfigure and operate on them in secret. Holmes was a conman who made the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars on insurance schemes, often getting money paid out for his own murder victims. What makes Holmes truly unique, however, is his Murder Castle. After buying a pharmacy in Chicago (after presumably killing off the previous owners who go mysteriously “missing”), he build a massive three story hotel in Chicago in time for the World’s Fair. It is such a big building that locals called it “The Castle.” While he ran his pharmacy from the ground floor and let guests stay on the second, the third story and the basement were where he was allowed to kill in horrible ways. The Castle was infamous for doors that led to nowhere, dead end stair cases, soundproof rooms, chutes to deposit bodies into the basement, ether pumped through gas pipes to various rooms, an acid pit and several kilns to dispose of bodies in the basement, and even a bank vault he would use to slowly kill people through asphyxiation. Though he preferred blond women and children, Holmes killed them all, often selling their skeletons and organs to medical schools! How did he get brought down by a horse? Who was Benjamin Pietzel, and why did Holmes have to kill three of his children? Why was he buried ten feet deep and encased in concrete after he was hanged for his crimes? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 123: Project Stargate–Remote Viewing
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about Project Stargate and the alleged phenomenon of remote viewing. Similar to telesthesia or travelling clairvoyance, remote viewing is supposedly a skill where someone can see something at a great distance and summon up visual details in their mind’s eye. Starting as a bunch of small projects such Project Grillflame or Project Gondola, this became a unified military program under the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1991. Spanning from 1972, until it’s termination in 1995, this project was funded by various U.S. military and intelligence groups as well as ARPA and the Stanford Research Institute. Yes, this was the government project that the film The Men Who Stare at Goats is based on. Supposedly, in the 1970s, a man named Ingo Swan showed up at the SRI when two psychologists were exploring psychic phenomenon, and he proved that he could view things remotely. According to the doctors, he had a 95% success rating. What’s even weirder is that he claimed he was NOT psychic, but that it was a skill that he could teach others. And teach he did. Most famously, he taught Major Ed Dames who is the current expert on remote viewings and claims to train other people to this day. When the CIA took over the program in 1995, they had a famed statistician, Dr. Jessica Utts, explore the numbers, and she made the bold claim that there was something truly going on with the remote viewing “hits.” Her partner disagreed, however, and CIA shut the program down shortly after taking it over. So what’s up with remote viewing? Is it entirely a lie? Is it a scam like something a mentalist will do, and Ingo Swan was just good enough to fool the Pentagon? Is it truly a skill that allows people to see with some sort of sixth sense that is still unknown to science? Good questions! You’ll want to listen to this one to see where the hosts fall because we see thing very differently on the possibility of remote viewing.
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Episode 122: Oprah Winfrey: The Voice of a Generation
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life and legacy of Oprah Winfrey. This topic came to us as we realized that we’ve covered a lot of influential cultural figures, but we’ve never covered anyone but white males. If you’re looking for an influential female, Oprah is as big as it gets! Born to a single mother in rural Mississippi, Oprah was so poor she had to wear potato sacks as dresses. She endured the hardships of poverty and sexual assault at the hands of family friends and relatives and moved back and forth between relatives. In spite of all of this, at 17 years old, she won the Miss Black Tennessee contest and was instantly a local media darling, becoming the youngest member of a news team. From there, she landed a television show in Baltimore just out of college and soon moved to Chicago where she started a morning show which evolved to The Oprah Winfrey Show. The show set records, blew away its nearest competition (Phil Donahue) in the first year, and made Oprah $30 million dollars in only one season. In the next several years, her audience grew, as did her influence. We talk about how her praise or condemnation could shake entire industries. One big example is how much the beef industry took a hit after she denounced mad cow disease and factory farming practices on her show. You’ll be surprised at how much of an impact she had! She’s done the same with the book industry, magazines, and television, launching several major careers in TV. But her biggest asset, however, is her philanthropy. She’s given over five hundred million of her own dollars to fund education, and she has used her audience to raise millions of dollars for everything from AIDS to Hurricane Katrina. The best part of the show, however, is the Oprah Winfrey conspiracy theories! Lizard people? Check. Jay Z, Rhiana, and the Illuminati? Check. Lesbianism? Check? Oprah and Bill Cosby threatening Dave Chappelle’s life with a group known as the Dark Crusaders? Double check!! If you want to hear about the life of a truly original American icon, give this one a listen.
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Episode 121: Doping, Steroids, and Athletics
On this Sofa King Podcast, we explore the controversies surrounding doping and steroid use in athletics. We start our discussion with a look at the Tour De France. Starting in 1903, this six day race has been tied to doping and drug use since its very first year. As technology evolved, so did the dope: booze, ether, strychnine, cocaine, amphetamines, Pemoline, steroids, and EPO (Erythropoietin) blood cycling. Every era of this race was paralleled by an era of different drug use. As soon as one became problematic, or a test was developed for it, something new would be invented. In fact, the use of drugs in this race was so problematic that in the 1930s, race officials had to inform racers that amphetamines were not included as part of the race! So, when Lance Armstrong was busted for doping 2012, this should have come as a surprise to nobody. In fact, the same investigation that brought down Armstrong concluded that 20 out of 21 podium finishers for a six year span all tested positive or were implicated in a doping scandal. This leads us to talk about the nature of the race. Should it exist? Is it possible for cyclists to even endure this race without dope and enhancements of some sort? Also, we discuss whether or not Armstrong should have had his titles taken from him if he was one of 20 champions who were doping. Next we turn our attention to the Olympics. Well, we turn it to Russians and the Olympics. The Soviet Union started a long tradition of pumping dope and steroids into their athletes in the 1960s. The did also did this in East Germany for almost twenty years as part of State Plan 14.25. The Soviets and East Germans used the Olympic stage as part of their cold war victories in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, so winning medals at all cost was their mindset. By the 90s, however the Soviet Union had collapsed, and Russia took its place. Also, testing became worldwide by groups such as WADA, and the problem seemingly went way. Until the Sochi Olympics in 2014. How did Russian Intelligence help to smuggle clean urine into the testing labs? How prevalent was this, and how many medals were taken away from Russian athletes after this was revealed. How did Putin’s government still engage in state sanctioned doping of their athletes, and how did it lead to 111 would-be Olympians being banned from the Rio Games in 2016? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 120: Sir Richard Branson–The Virgin Voyage
On this episode of Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the life, corporate genius, and philanthropy of Sir Richard Branson. Founder and CEO of the Virgin Group, Branson was a high school drop out and dyslexic who felt school wasn’t a good match for him. At sixteen, he founded the magazine Student, which had an immediate circulation of 50,000 readers and made him over $8,000 in ad revenue (and in 1966 dollars, that was quite a bit). From there, he started a mail order record selling business, a record store, and based on those successes started his own recording studio. At each business venture, he considered himself to be a virgin, and the name stuck. Within a few years, Virgin Records had discovered bands like The Sex Pistols and Culture Club and signed mega acts like The Rolling Stones and Genesis. And this is where Branson begins dipping his toe in every business he can imagine. Railroad, airplanes, mobile phones, banking, publishing, healthcare, gyms, comic books, cola, and vodka and endless other areas were all branded as Virgin as Branson tried his hand at everything. More recently, he has started a battle against global warming, started a company dedicated to alternative fuel sources, and famously started Virgin Galactic in the Mohave Spaceport. His mission is make space tourism affordable. But Branson is not without some controversy. He claims to treat all of his employees as good as he can to help make them loyal, but Brent questions this about people who work at his home. Also, he did get in legal trouble early on for selling records illegally and ignoring international tariffs and taxes. But, at the end of the day, he seems like a person dedicated to improving his corporations and life on earth. What made Branson dedicate his time to stopping global warming? Who are “The Elders,” and how do they stop wars from spreading? How many world adventurous records does Branson hold? Why does he want to start a vegan airline? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 119: Jonestown: Killer Kool Aid
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the story of Jonestown, the city that housed the People’s Temple, where over 900 people died famously from poisoned Kool Aid in November of 1978. According to its founder, the Reverend Jim Jones, it was to be a Socialist paradise, a commune in the country of Guyana, and an escape from the evils of Capitalism and a corrupt American government. When you look at the young religious life of Jim Jones, this dream commune sounds like an actual possibility. Because when Jones first started his Temple in the early 1960’s, he was a champion for integration of African Americans into American society. He held multiple governmental positions, was a friend to civil rights, and was a religious leader on the national stage. From Governor Jerry Brown (his first term way back when…) to First Lady Carter, Jim Jones advised them all. However, somewhere in his time as the leader of his Temple, he started preaching about the nuclear apocalypse and called himself the reincarnation of multiple religious figures. (This may have been inevitable since his own mother thought she was the giving birth the messiah when she was pregnant with Jones…) So how did a white leader of the black community become a murderous, drug-using cult leader? What crimes forced him to move his group to Guyana in the first place? How was the amazing Congressman Leo Ryan involved in bringing down Jonestown before he was gunned down on an airfield? What do conspiracy theorists say about the connection to the CIA? This is one of the craziest cult stories we’ve covered. And yes, I know, it was technically grape Flavor Aid, not Kool Aid…
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Episode 118: Jack Kevorkian: “Dr. Death”
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the fascinating life and legal battles of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, aka Dr. Death, the man responsible for assisting in the suicide of 130 “patients” in the span of only eight years. Kevorkian grew up as a smart but odd child, questioning Christianity and focusing intently on his studies more than social life. His family had escaped the Armenian genocide of 1915. Kevorkian graduated from University of Michigan medical school, and his fascination with macabre medical taboos started in the 1950’s. What did he do that made all of his colleagues regularly fire him and distance themselves from his work? For one, while he was still an intern, he would get admitted into terminal patients’ rooms in an attempt to photograph their eyeballs at the exact moment of death. Second, he wrote a paper and advocated for “Terminal Human Experimentation” in which death row inmates would be experimented on and even dissected while they were still alive up until the exact moment of their death. Third, he transfused blood from corpses into living people, volunteers from the hospitals he worked at, including himself (and he contracted Hepatitis C in the process!). All of these bizarre and grim medical experiments made him lose multiple jobs and move around the country; at his lowest point, he lived out of his 1968 VW bus (the same one he killed people in, and the same model Brent owns…). However, he finally got back into the medical profession as an advocate for assisted suicide. He built two machines, the Thanatron and the Mercitron that killed people using different toxic means, and for the next decade he battled the state of Michigan. He was arrested constantly for helping people die, and he refused to stop. He claimed it was everyone’s right to choose when to die, and he was the nation’s biggest advocate of assisted suicide. However, his critics didn’t see eye to eye with him. The argued that many of his “victims” were not terminally ill, and even the famous Dr. Kübler-Ross battled with him over the ethics of his practices. What finally got him arrested? How did his Hepatitis C end up helping him in the long run? What is the Church of Euthanasia, and why are they so awesome? How did Kevorkian help to legalize assisted suicide in several states? Where do the Sofa Kings fall on the debate about assisted suicide? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 117: Watergate: Unseating a President
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks at the conspiracy that helped start all conspiracy theories about the United States government—Watergate. Named after a break in at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC, this scandal proved President Richard Nixon to be a power-hungry, vengeful, paranoid mad man who abused every executive privilege to get re-elected and suppress the truth. This scandal came to light when five burglars were caught in July of 1972 breaking in to the Democratic National Committee office. They each had thousands of dollars in their pockets, wiretapping equipment, stolen folders containing information on Democratic presidential nominees, and phone numbers to the White House in their pockets. From there, modern journalism did its ultimate job and unseated a president and revealed his corruption. Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein wrote ground-breaking stories for the Washington Post, based upon anonymous tips they got in a parking garage from a government agent known only as Deepthroat. With these stories, the conspiracy came to light and eventually led to congressional investigations. How did President Nixon abuse the power of the executive office? What was G. Gordon Liddy’s Operation Gemstone and why did it involve prostitutes on a yacht? What did Nixon’s hours of paranoid and self-incriminating taped phone calls reveal about his crimes? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 116: Robert Oppenheimer–Troubled Genius
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks at the life and genius of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the nuclear bomb. Born to a wealthy family in 1904, this man went on to master many areas of physics and was personally selected by General Leslie Groves to be the head of the Manhattan Project (the top-secret think tank that developed the nuclear bomb during World War Two). Oppenheimer was more than just a scientist, however. His brilliance led him to a fascination with Eastern Philosophy, helped him master half a dozen languages, and made him a concert-level pianist. He suffered from depression and Tuberculosis and was a chain smoker, but none of these did him in. Instead, it was his support of communist organizations in the 1930s, decades before he was called up on the House Un-American Activities Committee. How did a man with communist leanings end up being trusted with America’s greatest secret? What did he do that made President Truman call him a son of a bitch? How did he help usher in the nuclear age in a way that nobody else could have? We look at these questions and explore the snubbing of the Nobel Peace Prize (three times) and the troubles he faced after the war. This is a very interesting episode about one of the most interesting men in American history.
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Episode 115: Juggalos: Anarchists or Family?
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks at the music-based sub-culture known as Juggalos. Juggalos (females are Juggalettes) are a fanatical group of people who share a bond through their love of the Detroit rap group Insane Clown Posse and other “horrorcore” artists signed under their Psychopathic Records label. What are the traits of Juggalo? For one, they love Faygo soda (just like Dave does). Second, they have jewelry, clothing, or a tattoo of the “Hatchet Man” (just like Brad does). Third, share an often mock love of violence and anarchy. And did I mention that they wear clown make up? Well, they do. So what motivates them to dress and act this way? It is a self-proposed sense of family. At first, Juggalos seem like juvenile and immature anarchists who are acting out for no good reason. But as our research indicates, there seems to be something deeper than that and more legitimate. They are statistical and social outliers, people who are often embraced by nobody except other Juggalos. Predominately white and poor (but not only that by any means), they share a bond with each other through music, as well as an annual festival called The Gathering of the Juggalos, clothing, and a soda that gives them a family where often might not have support. Juggalos tend to support each other, almost like the nation’s largest fraternity. But they are also often violent or at least express a love for the artistic violence expressed by the ICP. However, there is a true dark side as well. Many states consider them a criminal gang, and there are large numbers of violent crimes committed by Juggalos ever year. In fact, the National Gang Intelligence Center wrote a report in 2011 condemning a small percentage of them as a criminal group worthy of concern for all law enforcement agencies. These criminal Juggalos have ties with every gang from the Blood and Crips to the Aryan Brotherhood, and with over a million active Juggalos in the nation, the criminal ones become hard to track or catch. So, break open a Faygo, play some ICP, put on your makeup, and see what we think of the Hatchet Man!
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Episode 114: Joseph Mangele: The Dark Angel of Auschwitz
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the horrible legacy and history of Dr. Joseph Mengele, the Angel of Death. Mengele was of course the monster behind the terrible experiments done at the Auschwitz Concentration camp, but many people don’t know he wasn’t even a medical doctor. Nope, he was a doctor of anthropology who specialized in genetic traits (something perfect for Nazi dreams of eugenics and the master Aryan Race). Originally a war hero for the German Army and an SS officer, Mengele was highly decorated before he was wounded on the Russian Front in 1943 and assigned to Auschwitz for the remainder of World War Two. While there, he gained a reputation as being a calculating, cold-hearted killer. He spent his days off on “The Ramp” where Jews and Gypsies got off train cars. Mengele was said to be like a music conductor, sending people to the right or the left—death or hard labor. But his special interest was in genetic anomalies. Twins, dwarfs, giants, people with different colored eyes, anyone born with a genetic mutation met his evil gaze. He mostly experimented with twins since they had a built-in scientific control of having someone with almost identical genes. What twisted experiments did he conduct? You’ll have to listen in; talking about them once was bad enough—I don’t want to relive it by typing it all here because they are BAD! What strange historical fluke allowed him to escape post-war prison and the infamous Nuremberg Trials? How did he avoid the Mossad intelligence agency for decades? Where did he flee, and how did he eventually die? His story is as atrocious as it is interesting. Listen, laugh, learn. Note that we have some tacky jokes on this one due to subject matter, so get over that before you start…
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Episode 113: Alien Implants: What’s Under the Skin?
This Sofa King Podcast takes a look at the phenomenon of alien implants. As we’ve discussed in earlier episodes, a percentage of the population believes they have been abducted by extraterrestrial beings. Of these people, another statistical subset claims to have implants placed in their bodies. At their craziest, they believe the implants alter people’s behavior and give psychic powers. We don’t talk about that because, well, give me a break. However, we do look at some of the most famous and more credible examples of alien implants and the doctors who deal with them. We start with a look at the earliest case of implanted technology, allegedly from a woman in 1938 who claims devices were implanted behind her ears to control her with sound (this was discussed by Ufologist John Robinson in 1957). Since then, the cases have obviously grown. Perhaps the most famous is the case of Betty Andreason—she claims to have gone through what is now thought of as the textbook abduction by gray aliens back in 1967. Her story was explored heavily by the most legitimate UFO investigator, J. Allen Hynek in 1977. From there, we look at the famous case of Whitley Strieber (author of Communion) and his claims that an MRI shows abnormal things in his temporal lobe and that things were placed in his ear by a Man (and a Woman) in Black. What did he discover after a biopsy? Good question. Give us a listen. Finally, we talk about Doctor Roger Leir, a surgeon who has allegedly removed 16 alien implants from various patients. One of them proved to stump the teams at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico Tech, and US San Diego’s metallurgical teams. What did they all say the implant was made of? Is Leir a quack, or is there some merit to his beliefs? What do the Sofa Kings think about the implants at the end of the day? And lastly, does Dave have an implant in his ankle? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 112: Genghis Khan: Brutal or Brilliant?
On this Sofa King Podcast, we dig into the history books and talk about the life and empire of Genghis Khan. Born the son of a slave girl, this boy (named Temujin…but we might just call him Timmy for the whole episode) grew up in harsh conditions. His father was killed by an enemy tribe’s poison, he had to kill his own step-brother for food, and he was banished from his tribe. However, that only added to his fuel. He and his blood-brother Jamuka used their hard upbringing to become excellent warriors and tacticians, and eventually the two of them had united and conquered all of the warring tribes in their area for the first time ever. (Spoiler alert—it didn’t work out so well for Jamuka…) From there, Tamujin’s power and legend grew. He set his sights on China, and despite being blocked by the Great Wall, he sacked the city of Zhongdu (now Beijing) and burned it to ground until the streets were slick with the grease of the slain. This was with an army of 90,000 against an army of a million! Then he spread his empire to make it twice as large as any other conqueror in the history of humanity and earned the title of Genghis Khan by his followers. From Europe to Japan, China to Russia, and all the way down to the Middle east, the Mongol Hoard conquered it. What made him so efficient? Well, he was a genius at battle tactics and also a genius at recruitment. He would sack a town and slay the weak but keep any soldiers who proved they would be loyal. More importantly, he let craftsmen, blacksmiths, scholars, and engineers live. This way, he had the best steel, the best horses, the best bows, and even gunpowder, when his enemies had none of this. His men were ruthless and effective, and he had better war technology than anyone on the continent. More than that, he was also a unifier (his title Genghis Kahn means “Universal Leader), bringing a postal route, written language, math, arts, religious freedom, and less oppression for women to every place he conquered. He also killed people in brutal ways. You wouldn’t think you could kill someone with silver, a rug, or a wooden door, but he did, and we talk about it! What were his kids like? How did he die? How reliable is our historical evidence of this brutal and brilliant man? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 111: Paparazzi: Stalkers or Journalists?
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast focuses on the paparazzi. The name comes from a Fellini film’s character (who was a sleazy, annoying photographer named Paparazzo). The term really came to prominence with the grandfather of the medium, Ron Galella, the paparazzi who stalked Jaqueline Onassis and made a fortune selling photos of her (and was even assaulted by her Secret Service body guards). So what makes the paparazzi tick? Money, of course. So we look at how much they make on each photograph and the lengths they go to get the shot. There are really interesting examples of car crashes (the death of Lady Dianna was attributed to a high speed chase to escape the paparazzi), and there are really interesting examples of celebrities who strike back. Sean Penn is the most famous of these, so tune in to see how far he went to get a paparazzi out of his hotel room—it is a straight up felony! Many celebrities use the paparazzi for their own gain, however; it isn’t just paparazzi being sleazy. For example, give us a listen to find out which celebrities actually tip off specific photographers in order to get a percentage of the money the pictures will sell for. How much do paparazzi make for a good photo? What is TMZ and how have the (d)evolved the situation? How violent does the job get? Who is responsible for getting the “pedorrazi” from being able to profit from photos of celebrity babies? And most importantly, which stars have been tackled and had their crotch motor boated by a crazy Ukrainian paparazzi prankster? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 110: KKK: Kowards in Kostumes
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we pull back the hood and look at the history of the Ku Klux Klan. What started as a social club for six ex-confederate soldiers morphed into the largest, longest-lasting terrorist organization on American soil. What most people don’t know, however, is that there wasn’t just one KKK. There have been several that have come and gone over the years. The first one started in 1865 in Tennessee, and their focus wasn’t quite the racially motivated hatred we think of today. Instead, they were a group who organized to stop the spread of the federal Republican-led government from spreading to the Southern States. This happened to target a lot of blacks who were Republican, but they murdered thousands of people (white and black) all the through the south to ensure an election result they were happy with. And it worked. The first Klan fell away to obscurity until 1915, when Klan version 2.0 appeared on the scene. This second Klan was by far the largest that America has ever seen; some estimate their size to be 6 million people, roughly 15% of the American population at the time! This Klan was the result of the popularity of D.W. Griffith’s racist masterpiece, The Birth of a Nation, as well as a famous murder case known as the Leo Frank Case. This clan evolved rapidly into a massive business model, selling expensive memberships and robes, but it was taken down by federal legislation. The third and fourth Klans are what grew from hostilities and lynchings just before and during Civil Rights all the way to the scattered but militant Klan groups found today (the Aryan, white power type). So give this one a listen if you want to hear about ridiculous names the Klan gives to everything (here’s a hint, they all start with K and are really stupid) or want to hear about their modern day lame recruitment flyers. Hate is a virus, and the KKK spreads quickly, so listen up and learn how they could grow to power again and how to stop history from repeating itself.
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Episode 109: The Winchesters: Rifles, Money, and Madness
This episode of The Sofa King Podcast explores the life and legacy of the Winchester family. From the “Gun that Won the West” to the Winchester Mystery house, we look at this intriguing and influential family and how they shaped America in the Old West and Beyond. We start with a look at the early life of the family patriarch, Oliver Fisher Winchester. Born in Boston in 1810, Oliver worked his way from a farm hand to a dry goods store proprietor to the owner of two shirt factories in New England. Once he was an established business man, he saw a chance to buy a failing firearms manufacturer that was a branch of Smith and Wesson called the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company. From there, he made a series of very smart business moves and ended up revolutionizing the design and manufacture of rifles and ammunition with the famous Henry Rifle and its evolution to the Model 1866 and the infamous Model 1873, the model that won the west. The conversation is a who’s who of gun manufacturers that looks at ties between Benjamin Henry, Horace Smith, Daniel Wesson, and even Robert Browning. And this is where the story gets interesting. In December of 1880, Oliver Winchester dies, and his son, William Wirt Winchester takes control of the company. William dies a year later from Tuberculosis, and his wife Sarah becomes heiress to 50% of the Winchester company, the entire Winchester fortune, and is suddenly the wealthiest woman in America. However, she is deeply troubled. Popular myth about the family holds that after a séance in Boston, Sarah obsesses over spirits and becomes convinced that the spirits of all the people killed using her family’s rifles are haunting her. In fact, the spirits are why her baby died in just nine days, her husband died, and her father-in-law died. Her solution? Build a crazy house! She buys a house in what is now San Jose, and she hires a crew of 20 carpenters to work for 38 years constantly changing the structure and rooms. As long as she never sleeps in the same bedroom twice, Sarah allegedly concludes, the spirits can’t touch her. So her house is filled with trick rooms, doors to nowhere, shrinking hallways, and other mysteries. Did Sarah think she was haunted? Was there another reason for her to build this amazingly bizarre house? How does she tie in with theories of Shakespeare being a fraud? How drunk does Brent get on King Cobra? Listen, Laugh, Learn.
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El Yucateco: Habanero Happiness
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk all things hot sauce with the El Yucateco team in our Fight Club Studio. This was a topic that was suggested by multiple listeners who were interested in our connection with El Yucateco and the history of this unique, family owned and operated company. Many of you posted questions on our Facebook page about the sauce and the company, and we give you all some answers in this one. (And some of the answers may just involve the porn star Ron Jeremy, so it is definitely worth a listen.) We look at an interesting history, starting with Priamo Gamboa Ojeda who used to haul peppers from the Yucatan Peninsula to Mexico city and finally realized the best way to do it was to make pepper sauce instead of hauling the produce itself. The rest, as they say is history. This brand has become one of the top hot sauces in the world, and they have only marketed for the past two years! That’s pretty crazy, so we talk about the success of the organic marketing and the growth of the brand. One thing we’ve tried to do since the beginning of our podcast is talk about our process, our successes and our failures, how we have evolved, etc. If you host a podcast and want to know something about online marketing, get your earbones ready since we talk about it on our end as podcasters and hear from the VP of Marketing from El Yucateco herself. We found it interesting to hear their reasons for sponsoring the show compared to ours for courting them as a sponsor. From marketing to successful podcasting and from pepper eating contests to porn starts, this one has it all. Special thanks to Vice President of Marketing Amy Colella and Integrated Marketing Manager Sara Cooke from El Yucateco hot sauce for flying all the way from Arkansas and braving the Bakersfield heat to sit with us in our newly renovated studio.
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Episode 108: The Pyramids of Giza
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we discuss different theories about the pyramids of ancient Egypt. How were they built? Why were they built? Could we build them today? These are questions we found interesting to wrestle with. We start with a good discussion based on listener comments about the pyramids that we received though social media. Then, we explore various theories about the construction of the pyramids and the levels of technology the builders were capable of. A man named Graham Hancock is a big proponent of alternate views of pyramids, their construction, and their purpose. (Brent loves him, but I found him to be a blowhard…) From there, we take a stab at bad and ridiculous pyramid theories. We start with ex-presidential candidate Ben Carson’s comments that the pyramids were grain silos built by the Bible’s Joseph and the crazy theories that they were built by Noah. A look at an article from The Watchtower that claims the pyramids were built by Satan (and are in fact Satan’s Bible in stone) comes next as does a discussion—though brief—about them being built by space aliens. The most interesting concept we came across was one shared by author Chris Massey who suggests they were built using canals and atmospheric water pressure to float the massive blocks into place. The physics are feasible and realistic, and the ancients would have had all the technology to pull this one off. Also, we look at the ideas of the pyramids of Giza being giant electrical batteries either by design or accident—a theory that we thought was ridiculous at first but surprisingly come around to (thanks largely to Nikola Tesla and the so-called Battery of Baghdad). So, give this one a listen and see where we land on ancient Egyptians, their technology, ancient space aliens, and giant canals. You may also enjoy an ongoing argument about a thirty-foot light bulb. Stranger things have happened.
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Episode 107: The Philadelphia Experiment
We explore the conspiracy theories and history of the infamous Philadelphia Experiment on this episode of the Sofa King Podcast. Supposedly called Project Rainbow, several alleged top-secret experiments occurred on the Cannon-Class Destroyer Escort the USS Eldridge. Many people claim the Office of Naval Research was experimenting with Unified Field Theory, trying to make the ship invisible. Others claim, they were trying to make the ship teleport, while some even claim the goal was to get the ship to travel through time. Either way, the claims are that on July 22, 1943 and October 28, 1943, the ship did very strange things. In July, it allegedly faded from view and became invisible to witnesses on the docks that night with a strange green glow taking its place. In October, it was said to vanish completely from the Philadelphia shipyards and appear in Norfolk, 200 miles away and somehow travel ten minutes through time. Members of the crew allegedly went mad and were fused within the hull of the ship! So what really happened to the Eldridge? What experiments can be confirmed, and what cutting edge technology may have been installed in the ship as part of the war effort in WWII? We dig deep and come to some interpretations of the events. We start with a look at a man named Carl Meredith Allen who wrote to UFOlogist and author Morris K. Jessup about the Eldridge. Allen (aka Carlos Miguel Allende) supposedly served on the USS Andrew Furuseth, which was docked beside the Eldridge, and he makes some of the most famous claims about the Philadelphia Experiment. (We even look at the strange circumstances around Jessup’s death and the strange “Varo Annotations”). We look at another famous “eye witness” named Alfred Bialek (and his bizarre claims about Montauk Island), and we explore the excellent skeptic Jacques F. Vallee’s work on the conspiracy and discuss his interview with a sailor named Edward Dudgean who claims the whole thing was simply degaussing of the ship to make it magnetically invisible to mines and torpedoes. So, what really happened in Philadelphia in 1943? Listen, laugh, and learn!
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Episode 106: Clifford Olson: The Beast of British Columbia
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we research the Beast of British Columbia, aka the Rent-a-Car Killer, Clifford Olson. Olson was the most famous serial killer in Canada, and his are not the typical insane actions of most people we profile—instead, they are downright evil. Olson ranked a 38 out of 40 on the Hale Psychopathy test, and he killed eleven known victims in 1980 and 1981. All of them were between the ages of 9 and 18. All of them were sodomized and raped and most of them drugged and killed in a torturous manner. So what makes him so evil? For one thing, he convinced the Canadian Royal Mounted Police to participate in a system of “Cash for Bodies.” They had very little evidence to convict them, so he “sold” each victim’s location and body to the authorities, making $100,000 for his wife and son in the process. Second, he was utterly unrepentant, often writing the families of the victims to taunt them with graphic and often pornographic accounts of what he did to their children. This man escaped jail seven times over his career and was X-rayed once and found to have handcuff and cell keys in is anus! If you are a fan of our serial killer profiles, you won’t want to miss this one. We go into one of the deaths in especially graphic details, so it is most definitely not safe for work or even for those with a weak constitution. This is one sick individual, and his crimes are repugnant and shocking.
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Episode 105: Missing 411: Strange Dissapearences
We explore the “Missing 411,” the name given to mysterious and creepy disappearances in national parks and national forests in the US and Canada. In this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we rap about the research, data, and findings of author and investigator David Paulides. Paulides (whom we simply call palates for most of the episode) was approached by Park Rangers from the National Park Service and told that rangers in every park have seen strange disappearances that have creepy similarities and pushed him to investigate. He did. In fact, he researched for over 7,000 hours and wrote five books, meticulously cataloging the official missing-person and police reports of all these cases, and the findings do show some strange data patterns. What is so strange about these disappearances? Well, the people who go missing, often take off their clothing and shoes, even in freezing cold weather. Also, they are found (dead or alive) within areas where search crews looked several times, defying typical search patterns. Often, they are children, as young as 2 years old, who are somehow found miles away or several thousand feet higher in elevation (something impossible for a child that young to pull off). There are other creepy elements as well—they go missing in the middle of large groups, they say creepy things seconds before disappearing, and often bloodhounds and cadaver dogs refuse to search for them or find no trail at all, even though people know exactly where the trail started. We look at several specific cases that show the above, and we do our best to debunk them. With some it is quite easy, with others, not so much. So, is Paulides simply reading data points that are pure coincidence and exaggerating them? Is there something truly mysterious happening? Can it all be explained through human nature? What is the link to Bigfoot, and why does it piss Brad off so much? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 104: El Chupacabra!
If you want to learn more about the mysterious Chupacabra, listen to this episode of the Sofa King Podcast. In this episode, we delve back into the realm of cryptozoology and discuss the possibility and reality of this allegedly elusive creature. First getting international media attention in 1995 with the discovery of 8 dead sheep in Puerto Rico (which were not eaten but apparently had their blood drained), the Chupacabra literally means “goat sucker.” Within the first year, 200 alleged incidents were reported in Puerto Rico alone. So many animals were found dead that the national guard was called in to search the area looking for the mysterious killer. Since then, the Chupacabra has apparently morphed. Experts claim there are two types, a reptilian type (typically seen in Latin America and the Caribbean) and a canid type (typically seen in the United States). We examine the likelihood of an unknown creature existing in the jungles down south (it’s pretty high, actually…) and then turn our attention to the American version since there is a lot of photographic evidence and video footage. We even explore a pretty awesome video from Texas in which a pretty awesome couple captures a live Chupacabra. And of course, we can’t cover something as controversial in conspiracy theory circles as this without touching a little bit on UFOs and wacky theories of genetic animal hybrids created by beaming new DNA into an organism with electricity. Oh, and there’s also the case of voodoo queen Marie Laveau and the New Orleans Grunch (it involves a Devil Baby and testicles, so you don’t want to miss that). So what’s the bottom line? Is the Chupacabra real, a hoax, a case of mistaken identity? Listen, laugh, learn.
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Episode 103: Heaven’s Gate: The Suicide Cult
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look back at the Heaven’s Gate cult which famously committed mass suicide in 1997. Started in 1974 by Marshal Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles, this cult was a very strange merger of Biblical apocalypse and science fiction. They recruited members (known as “crew”) by placing ads in newspapers, and they taught that Applewhite and Nettles were extraterrestrials from another realm that Earthlings thought of as Heaven. Indeed, Jesus was one as well, and Applewhite often said he was a new incarnation of Jesus and that Nettles was in fact God (though really that just meant someone higher ranking than Applewhite in the alien world, and this only came after her death). Eventually, Applewhite and Nettles changed their names to Do and Ti, and though Ti (Nettles) died of cancer in 1985, Do knew she would come back. On a comet. And take all the true believers with her back to outer space. Seriously. Then, to Do’s great fortune, the Hale-Bopp comet showed up, and a hack astronomer thought he saw an object behind it. This made the rounds on the early internet, and conspiracy gurus like Art Bell on Coast to Coast ran with this story. Bell even had Do on as a guest since he had gathered some momentum in the UFO circles. So, in order to get through Heaven’s Gate, Do and the “crew” all had to kill themselves to catch a ride on the comet. We go over how they killed themselves and the strange outfits (and shoes) they were wearing. We also explore daily life for these cultists, their connections to a member of the original Star Trek television show, and read a lot of pretty damned crazy quotes from Do’s writings. Don’t miss out on our review of their website (which is still, somehow, up) and the videos where Do and all the cult members calmly discuss the fact that they are going to die in a week. Creepy as hell. Oh, and if you want to know how many stars we give this cult on our cult-o-meter, stay tuned to the end.
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Episode 102: Big Pharma: Pills, Pushers, and Poison
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the practices and power of the Pharmaceutical Industry. From Pfizer to Lilly, Merck to Bayer, they leave a less than desirable track record of deceit and bad medicine. Part of the problem with Big Pharma is their ability to lobby and change the laws that once prevented them from direct marketing to customers. Once this changed, the landscape of prescriptions changed with it. People started to self-diagnose with illnesses they don’t have and requested medicines they don’t need. And what’s worse is that the companies pay significantly more money to doctors, pharmacists, and medical practitioners. This means the medical professionals themselves are in on the game and push certain drugs to people. We talk about this and share some of our own experiences. We also cover the trend of opioid addition and look at improper and illegal sales of drugs. Many corporations produce drugs that are known to be life threatening for elderly patients, yet they develop sales teams who are trained to sell only to elderly care facilities! What’s worse is when the companies like Bristol Myers Squib, Astra Zeneca, and even Johnson and Johnson get busted, they face fines that are too small to change their behavior and seldom get in any criminal trouble for it. Also, we look at Bayer. What did the aspirin company do that’s worthy of attention? Well, they gave thousands of people all over the world AIDS with a drug they illegally manufactured. Tune in to hear about this and many other horrible things about your friendly neighborhood pill pushers.
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Episode 101: 9/11 Part Two
This is the Sofa King Podcast’s second episode on the events and conspiracies surrounding 9/11. In part one, we talked about the flights and jet fighters and focused largely on the twin towers falling. In this episode, we focus on the Pentagon attack and the destruction of Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. First, flight 77 was said to hit the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11 after it been lost from all radar for a total of thirty-six minutes. However, this one is more problematic than the World Trade Center as far as the forensics not matching the official report. First off, the damage done to the Pentagon is inconsistent with what should have been done by a 757 flying at over 500 miles per hour. There is no evidence of fire in or around the building. There is no debris. And most mysteriously, the footage from 86 cameras which should have had eyes on the flight and impact were all confiscated by the FBI moments after the crash and have never been released to the public. We of course try to cover the angles on why all of this could happen, so listen in to hear our interpretations of this data. Finally, we explore the doomed Flight 93. Much like the Pentagon crash, there is a baffling lack of evidence at the crash scene. In fact, it looks like no other major airline crash in known history. There is no fuselage, no wings, to tail, no landing gear, no tires, no engines, no seats, no bodies. Nothing but a hole in the ground and a lot of small debris that is said by multiple eye witnesses to be “smaller than a phone book.” Again, where is the plane? Where is the fire damage from jet fuel? If the jet fuel can burn hot enough to collapse the two towers, why is it not hot enough to burn a field and the Pentagon. This is a very touchy subject, 9/11. We all feel horrible sorrow for those who died on that day, and respect for the first responders who put their lives in danger to help. But we also try to keep an open mind and look at facts more than just the official report. So what is our ultimate conclusion on what happened on this day, who was behind it, and how accurate is the official 9/11 Commission report versus the theories of the Truthers? I guess you’ll just have to tune in to find out!
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Episode 100: 9/11 Part One
For our 100th episode, The Sofa King Podcast tackles a subject that many listeners have requested: 9/11. This is the mother of all modern-day conspiracy theories, so we had to spread it over two episodes. The theories range from the mundane to the insane, and then some that are surprisingly well-documented and supported by facts. For this episode, we start by recounting our own experiences on that day that permanently changed modern day life. (To be honest, I think Brent has the best story—it involves soldiers and machine guns!) But after that, we start to look at the facts of the date by recounting the official timeline, the flights, the hijackers, the destinations, the deaths. Then, however, we switch our gears and start looking at what the conspiracy theorists and 9/11 “Truthers” claim about the event. For this episode, we focus primarily on the flights themselves, NORAD’s response and delay/confusion in scrambling fighter jets, and finally the twin towers. The strange and confusing launch of only four fighter jets during the worst terrorist attack in America’s history is disheartening. We also talk about strange radar doubling that can be seen on NORAD’s official radar picture of the day and look at what the Truthers think this means. Also, there is abundant evidence that the towers could not have fallen the way they did because of jet fuel heat. There is even more evidence that claims it was a controlled demolition. We cover the science as best we can and look at what experts, engineers, and architects have to say about the buildings collapsing. Could jet fuel cause the towers to fall? Was it instead caused by government explosives called Thermate? What about the presence of strange chemicals in the dust from the fallen building? Also, what evidence was there that stocks were purchased before the attacks to benefit from them and what about the five hijackers who were found alive and well throughout the world after the attacks? We do our best to sort the junk from the surprising.
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Episode 99: Japanese Death Cult: Aum Shinrikyo
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese “Death Cult” lead by the mysterious (and crazy) Shoko Asahara. Aum made international headlines in 1995 when they attacked the Tokyo subway system with Sarin gas killing 13 people and wounding thousands, but this bizarre cult did (and planned) a lot more than that. Their leader, Asahara, was born mostly blind to a poor family with seven kids. Once he graduated high school, he was unable to get admitted to a college and started to study Chinese herbalism and medicine as well as acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and various religions. He started his group innocently enough as a studio for yoga, but as he recruited some of the best minds from top Japanese universities, things took a dark turn. His religious teachings started to focus on the Bible’s Revelations and even the predictions of the end of the world by Nostradamus. He became obsessed with the US and thought they would start WWIII and nuke the world. Well, we still might to be fair, but he said it would happen in 1997. Best of all, by 1992, he declared himself the new Jesus, the rightful Japanese Emperor, and the Lamb of God. Logically, this meant he needed to form groups of special soldiers who would overturn the Japanese social orders with mass killings to let him take the throne. And we thought American cult leaders had all the crazy! So, tune in to hear about how they pulled off the Sarin attacks and a previous attack in Matsumoto. After the Subway attack, Aum went on a killing spree, trying to assassinate government officials and even attempting to detonate a Cyanide canister in a busier Tokyo Subway just a few weeks later. We discuss how they manufactured their WMDs, various murders their cult performed, and even a plan to spread poisonous gas to all of Tokyo by deploying it with a Soviet made Mil MI-17 helicopter they bought from some of their 30,000 Russian cult members. But above all that, what makes them the cult to end all cults? Anime! That’s right, theu produced anime and comic books to recruit people, and the footage (as well as a sweet dance video) can still be found on YouTube. They are totally worth watching, and this episode it totally worth listening to.  
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Episode 98: Anonymous: Hackers or Heroes?
This episode explores the notorious hacktivist group known as Anonymous. They started as an outgrowth from the website 4Chan back in 2003 and have expanded ever since. Anonymous is often said to be an internet gathering of a hackers, protesters, and mouthpieces speaking for freedom of speech and the end to oppression. They have a mysterious and decentralized command structure that is hard to track down, and they famously engage in activities that oppose big government, homophobia, ISIS, child pornography, and corporate greed. In other words, our kinds of people! They famously wear the Guy Fawkes mask made famous in the V: For Vendetta film, and they typically post videos declaring a war on a particular group or individual and call for other “Anons” to join the cause and change things. They use Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks to shut down websites, Google Bombs, Black Faxes, and often post very private information and even nude pictures of people in their cross hairs. In this episode, we discuss their war on Scientology (Operation Chanology), their war on child porn (Operation Darknet), and their attack on movie studios who tried to shut down torrent sites (Operation Payback). Did they really cause the Sony PlayStation network to shut down for an entire Month? What was their beef with the San Francisco BART transit system? Did they declare war on Donald Trump? Most importantly, who did they Rick Roll in the real world? Listen and find out!
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Episode 97: The Mob: From Meat Hook Murders to Movies!
This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks at the history, rise, fall, and rise again of the Italian Mob in America. We have special guest Rob Van Dam back with us again; indeed, he is the one who suggested the topic, and when you listen to the episode, you will soon learn why. Rob seems like he has a frikking PhD in Mob Studies! Within ten minutes, Brent, Brad, and Dave give up on their notes because Rob knows every single thing we plan to talk about—down to dates and addresses where things happened! It’s pretty mind blowing. So what do we talk about (or get schooled about by Rob)? Well, we start at the beginning, with the small mafia families that protected Sicily against foreign invaders and helped dole out justice in lawless cities. That of course is followed by the huge surge of Italian immigrants in New York, then Prohibition, where the US Mob really takes off. We explore Charles “Lucky” Luciano and the way he consolidated the varying families into The Commission in 1931 by killing his rival during the Castellammarese War and establishing the Five Families of New York (which are still there to this day) and the other families in other cities. We look at the Omerta, the code of conduct and silence that governs the mob and keeps it so private. We explore the Federal RICO act of 1971 and how it changed the culture of the mob and gave federal agents powers to arrest mob bosses that they never had before. Most importantly, Rob drops mad facts about bosses, mob families, and tells stories of hit after hit, death after death in the Mob. He talks about the time he saw a mobster while on a mob tour with a cop, and he even shares a story of a 300 pound man with a meat hook in his butt as a form of torture. If you’re curious about the history and evolution of the mob, how they work, details of specific murders, and even a really cool discussion of the most accurate Mobster films, then this episode is a must! Many thanks to Rob Van Dam for the suggestion and knowledge.
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Episode 96: Rob Van Dam–The Whole Dam Show!
This episode of The Sofa King podcast is an interview with Rob Van Dam: WWE and ECW and wrestling superstar, actor, standup comedian, philosopher, and advocate. He was gracious enough to let the three hosts into his home on a lovely Saturday afternoon where we sat down and got his thoughts on a great many things. Rob was one of the smartest people in his high school (Dave can confirm this because they grew up together in Battle Creek, Mi.), so his transition from a member of the comic book set who played role playing games in the gym at lunch to a world renowned athlete is quite a story. And it’s a story we discuss on the show. What got him into wrestling? What setbacks did he have? How does someone young who has a similar dream of being a professional wrestler even get started? Tune in and find out. But that’s not all we discuss. We look at the controversy of CTE and head injuries for athletes since professional wrestlers suffer them more often than even football players (Rob admits to well over 100 concussions in his career so far). He talks about other wrestlers he’s known who have died from possible CTE complications as well as the fact that he has donated his own spine and brain to medical research. And of course, cannabis! Rob is a huge advocate for legalization, and he says quite a bit about it, it’s prospects, a timeline for federal deregulation, etc. He also talks about a study he helped prompt to test the effects of cannabis to slow down brain injury like CTE. You’ll also hear some high school stories about Rob and Dave (the may involve pile drivers in the school hallway that got them expelled from school). If you know Rob as the character he plays on TV—a mellow surfer dude—then this interview may surprise you as the real Rob comes out. If you don’t know Rob: step one, Google him and watch some of his amazing matches. Step two, listen in! He is a thoughtful, witty, funny, intelligent man with some really wild stories to tell. You won’t want to miss it. Many thanks to an old friend for sharing his life and his home with us and helping us make a cool episode with The Whole F'n Show!
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Episode 95: Thanks, Obama!
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we explore as many conspiracy theories about president Barak Obama as we can get our hands on. This is no regular political discussion (in fact, we leave politics at the door). It is tinfoil hat to the extreme as we cover a cool dozen theories surrounding the Commander-In-Chief, from the mundane to the ludicrous. What are some of the theories? Well, we obviously look at several that claim he is a Muslim and that he works for Muslim terror groups and wants to bring 100 million Muslims to the US in order to overthrow the Christian order. We discuss conspiracies that he is taking away our guns and ones that say he is trying to get us to buy more guns. We talk about Michelle being a man or a transsexual and the theories that Obama is homosexual and had gay cocaine sex in a limo before he was president. Did former leftwing terrorist Bill Ayers ghostwrite Obama’s book? Was Obama the son of black activist Frank Marshal Davis or Malcolm X? Did he cause Hurricane Sandy in order to get reelected into office? These are all good questions (and by good, I mean really bad questions, but ones people are genuinely talking about!). Some of the other hits of the show include a discussion of the one conspiracy theory Obama considers his personal favorite (hint…we did a show on it), and a discussion of our two all-time favorites. One—Obama traveled to Mars in 1980 using a DARPA teleportation device under the command of Major Ed Dames. Two—Obama and his family are clones of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and Queens (and Beyoncé is a clone of Nefertiti). Am I making this up? Of course not; like I said, you need a tin foil hat for this one. Oh, and of course he’s a lizard person, too. Thanks, Obama.
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Episode 94: Chernobyl: Fallout, Death, and Heroism
On this episode, we discuss the accident at the Chernobyl power plant as only the Sofa King Podcast can. The Chernobyl power plant in Pripyat, Ukraine suffered a ten day nuclear fire starting on April 26, 1986. This was one of only two Level 7 nuclear disasters in the history of nuclear power, and the causes, reaction, and effects are pretty staggering. Though the numbers vary greatly, upwards of 350,000 people were evacuated, 500,000 “volunteers” were called on to help, and somewhere around 75,000 cases of cancer are still with us due to this nuclear meltdown. What caused it? According to most reports, it was human error, arrogance, and design flaws working in perfect concert. We cover the causes and the basics of how a nuclear reactor works in order to fully explore this horrible accident. Most of the blame can be put on one of the foremen (a man so radioactive that he gave his own son Leukemia!), but there is a complex web of control and Soviet era Party politics involved as well. We also look at the Nobel Prize winning book Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich which covers a dozens of interviews of survivors of this meltdown. Then we talk about everything from the chances of the reactor’s protective sarcophagus cracking and making an even worse disaster in the future, hostile radioactive wolves which roam the Exclusion Zone even today, and what the Soviet Union did right and wrong in trying to stop the disaster. Their policy tended to be telling lies to the free world about how good things were and sending hundreds of thousands of volunteers into radioactive danger with no equipment or medicine to help them. However, with little else to do, we wonder if this was the action of an evil communist state or actually true heroism by a nation desperately trying to stop the meltdown from making most of Europe a nuclear grave yard.
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Episode 93: Abraham Lincoln–Emancipator or Dictator?
On this episode, we set our sights on Abraham Lincoln. Is there a grand conspiracy theory we uncover? Not really. (Or maybe yes, if you’re Brad…he’s pretty into this topic and the reasons he thinks the Civil War started). Instead, we wanted to contrast the history books which only tell a tale of a man who was saintly, could do no wrong, freed the slaves, and saved the country. Because there was another side to this man--as with all men of power--that shows some dastardly deeds. So what’s the dirt on Honest Abe? Well, for one, he wasn’t all that honest. I know—gasp—a politician lied. More importantly, Brad shares a theory that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery or even with maintaining the union between all the states. Some people think it was about the Republican party trying to become a national power and doing so at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Americans. This may or may not be true, but many disturbing things were true indeed: Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and detained prisoners indefinitely; he deported political opponents; and he jailed newspaper editors who published false claims about him. So turn in to hear about Abe’s crazy duel with a cavalry sabre, how he wrote letters to newspapers under a fake name (Rebecca), the truth about séances Mary Todd Lincoln held at the White House to contact the spirits of their dead son, and how Abe sent a whole lot of Navajo and Apache on a death march that killed them off. We of course give him his props for some of the great things he did accomplish (well, not Brad…he seems to really hate Lincoln), but we also wanted to reveal some of the truths about this larger-than-life American figure who most people only hear a white-washed version of.
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Episode 92: CIA’s Drug Secrets
On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we explore a conspiracy theory about the CIA. Many people claim that the CIA helped to start the crack cocaine epidemic in South Central LA, and we do the research, so you don’t have to! In 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front toppled the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Debayle. The United States government was in the middle of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and they feared that the Russians would take control of the country. So, what was the best solution? Well, the Reagan administration started funding and arming groups opposed to the Sandinistas. These groups were called the Contras (shot for counterrevolutionaries). The CIA had imbedded agents working with the Contras and had several Contras on their payroll, and what came out in 1996 by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist named Hank Webb was quite shocking. In his series called “Dark Alliance,” he shows that the Contras were smuggling tons of cocaine in the US to sell in the inner cities as a way to fund their war. And the CIA knew it. And the CIA didn’t stop it. In fact, a senate committee headed by John Kerry uncovered this as a truth but had to bury it since it was top secret information at the time. What happened next is the most confusing part of the conspiracy. Hank Webb, the journalist who uncovered all of this was smeared by most newspapers in the country, discredited, and had his reputation stripped. He resigned from the newspaper where he broke the story, unable to find meaningful work, and was found dead on December 10th, 2004. It was a suicide according to official reports. He shot himself in the head. Twice. Sound fishy? We thought so. Tune in and hear about the CIA, a drug kingpin named Freeway Ricky Ross, reporters who admitted that they were told to undo Webb’s story, and even the classic Air America smuggling operation the CIA ran during the Vietnam war in Laos.
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Episode 91: Ed Gein–The Butcher of Plainfield
This episode takes a look at the ghastly life of Ed Gein, the Plainfield Butcher. Gein was the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho as well as the serial killer Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs and Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. How can one man be the genesis all of these horrific film characters? Give us a listen to find out. Gein was born at the turn of the century to a wildly religious zealot of a mother and an alcoholic father who worked tanning animal skins when he wasn’t drunk (spoiler alert, the skin tanning comes in useful later in Gein’s life…). As Gein grew up, he came to idolize his domineering mother and lived with her, never having gone on so much as one a date, until her death when he was 39 years old. Gein’s mother died shortly after she had a stroke thought to be induced by the death of Gein’s older brother Harold (who died under rather mysterious circumstances). Once alone, Gein earned the reputation as “Weird Eddy” the guy who lived alone in an empty farmhouse. He drifted through town doing odd jobs and even babysitting for people, until in 1957, when he was arrested for the murder of Bernice Warden, the clerk at the general store. She was shot on the first day of hunting season, and when police investigated Gein’s home, they discovered a trove of horrors. Since his mother’s death, Gein had killed several people, robbed dozens of graves, and had a house of trophies. Horrible, horrible trophies. Warden’s body was hanging in a shed, being cut apart like a deer. What the police found in the house itself was even more mind blowing. Noses in a box, masks made from human faces, a “Woman suit” made from the skin of several women, a belt made of nipple, female genetalia tucked in pairs of man-sized panties, you name it. How many people did Gein kill? How many graves did he rob? Why did he do it? What other trophies did he keep? We try to get to the bottom of it in this episode, and you can get the bonus feature of Dave and Brent freaking out on air while Brad shows them pictures of some of Gein’s trophies—pictures they consciously decided not to Google while they were doing their research.
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Episode 89: Fluoride: Healthy Teeth or Toxic Waste?
This episode peels back the lid on the very popular conspiracy theory involving the use of fluoride in municipal drinking water. The common conspiracy theories get pretty crazy and talk about Communist plots and argue that Nazis used sodium fluoride to keep prisoners of war and concentration camp victims docile. We talk about those theories and whether they have been debunked or not, but we also look at more credible historical and scientific facts. One fact is that fluoride is a byproduct of enriching uranium and making aluminum, and it is a highly corrosive and toxic substance in concentration. Evidence obviously indicates that in very, very small amounts it helps prevent tooth decay. But in moderate to large amounts, it is a poison. (So much so that just after 9/11 the NSA expressed concern about terrorists hijacking unprotected fluoride trucks and using them to poison entire towns). How much is too much fluoride? How much is in the water you drink? How can you filter it out of your water, and what bottled water can you buy to avoid it? Is it even a big deal? Good questions. We answer those and cover everything from calcified pineal glands to mind control on this one, while we did deep into the concerns about fluoride. Most Western nations refuse to use it in their water supply for fear of over-saturation, and even the EPA in the US has recently lowered the levels it allows in drinking water due to nationwide cases of dental fluorosis. Do we only drink it because nobody has a means to dispose of this potentially toxic chemical? Do the health benefits outweigh the risks? Does it even really help our teeth when we drink it? We cover all this ground and much more. This one will make you want to wear a tinfoil hat and also realize that fluoride is a byproduct of your tin foil hat!
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Episode 88: North Korea – Evil Incarnate?
This episode focuses on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, also known as North Korea. This nation, branded as a terrorist state and part of the "Axis of Evil" by George W. Bush, has been under the thumb of a family of dictators since 1945 when it formed. The nation was split up between the Soviet Union and the United States at the end of World War II when it was liberated from Japanese occupation. Since then, the country has been ruled by three generations of tyrants, each one seemingly worse than the last: Kim Il-Sung, his son Kim Jong-Il, and the newest and youngest (and worstest) Kim Jong-un. (And I sincerely apologize in advance for an endless stream of insulting jokes about Korean names...). This terrible trio of tyrany practices a policy called Juche, which means Self Reliance, and they also practice Songun, which is a policy that places the military first, above education, agriculture, or any other national institution. North Korea is widely known to be one of the worst nation's on Earth in terms of human rights abuse, and frighteningly, they have the fourth largest standing army waiting at the border called the DMZ. We talk about all of this and the specific examples of their prison system, public executions (where they force families to watch and kill relatives if they cry), and even their practice of imprisoning three generations of a family if one of them speaks out. Also, tune in to hear about what Kim Jong-Il told his people about himself, including the “fact” that he's an international fashion icon and the “fact” that he invented the hamburger and was born under a double rainbow on a magical mountain. I'm not making that up...
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Episode 87: Transhumanism and Immortality: A Talk with Zoltan Istvan
On this episode, we interview our very special guest, Zoltan Istvan. Zoltan is a transhumanist (and is in fact the official Presidential candidate for the Transhumanist Party!). What is transhumanism? It is a social movement of people trying to use science and technology to improve the human condition, many hoping to achieve immortality within our lifetimes. From organ printing to genetic engineering, from robotic hearts to chips in our brains, transhumanists embrace technology and think we can live to see a day when we transcend the condition of being human through responsible use of technology and advances in science. Zoltan talks about his own philosophies of transhumanism and how he is running for President of the United States as a means to help unify transhumanists and put science at the forefront of politics. Having traveled the world for the National Geographic Channel and written for Vice’s Motherboard, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Gizmodo, he is a very interesting man and gives a very interesting interview. Tune in to hear about his narrow escape from land mine in Vietnam, his cross-country drive in the “Immortality Bus,” the sport he invented in which he Volcano Boards down active volcanoes avoiding poisonous gasses and falling magma (yes, it’s a real thing), and how all of this makes him want to live forever. Check out our show, then go get his book (The Transhumanist Wager) and visit his websites at http://www.zoltanistvan.com/ and http://www.transhumanistparty.org/
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Episode 86: Charles Manson: Helter Skelter or MKULTRA?
On this episode, we explore the life and cult of Charles Manson. His story is a wild one, that dates back to a prostitute mother and a life of crime starting before he was even a teenager. Born with the legal name “No Name Maddox,” Manson was in and out of juvenile detention centers for everything from grand theft auto to robbing gas stations and even prison sodomy. This ultimate bad seed learned how to play music while in prison, and he also studied Scientology and the beliefs of the strange Process Church, which believed Satan and Christ would become friends and then come down and judge humanity at the end of the world. This is where things get heavy. Once out of prison for petty crimes, Manson started The Family, his cult of mostly women who did whatever he wanted (though his top lieutenant Charles “Tex” Watson was a male). And what he wanted was to start a race war that would topple society and put him at the top. After a summer living in a house with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and recording music,  Manson orchestrated a series of murders that he and his Family pulled off because a the secret code in the Beatle’s song “Helter Skelter” told him to. (I wish I was making this up.) He shoots a drug dealer named Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe and then gets a taste for blood. In order to bring about Helter Skelter, the Family starts a murdering spree through the late 1960’s: The Hinman Murder, the infamous Tate Murders, The LaBianca Murders, The Willett Murders, The Shea Murder, and even some others discovered in 2008. Oh, and did I mention that one of his followers named Squeaky Fromme tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford and that many people think Manson was a product of MKULTRA’s CIA mind control program? Listen all the way to the end to find out about his Savior Gun that will help wage war against pollution and turn you all into warriors against pollution. The power is yours!
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Episode 85: Dan Camarillo: The Armhunter
On this episode, we sit down and talk martial with Judo and Jiu-Jitsu legend Dan Camarillo. Dan started Judo at age 4, and growing up, his father would pay to bring the best Judo practitioners he could find to come from Japan to live with their family and train Dan and his brother David. He has ranked in the top three of over 17 Jiu-Jitsu and 13 Judo championships nationwide and was ranked number 6 in Judo nationally, almost going to the Olympics. He has trained or trained with some of the best Jiu-Jitsu (such as Ralph Gracie) and mixed martial artists in the business and brings a font of knowledge (and butt whopping!) to the show. Now he is the founder of his own Academy: Camarillo Jiu-Jitsu as well as his own line of martial arts gear called Armhunter Apparel. We talk about his background, hear funny stories of him fighting off several people trying to rough up a woman at a Denny’s, and we all share martial arts philosophies and memories of our own studies over the years. He tells us about his experience on the Discovery Channel’s Time Warp, and he discusses how he earned his nick name as the Armhunter (we also give him our own nickname that deals with his sweet 90’s mullet, but you have to tune in to hear it…). If you’re a martial arts fan, you won’t want to miss this one. If you’re not a martial arts fan, you still won’t want to miss this one, you just might not know it yet! Special thanks to Dan Camarillo for giving graciously of his time and joining us. Check him out at www.armhunter.com
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