New book! Science of the Magical

CH: Matt's new book has just been released, he's busy with traveling with his book tour to update the site so it's up to the computer guy to do it. The new book title "Science of the Magical", if you like the stuff you hear from us, you'll love what's in the book. 

Eyeliner image


Matt: We said we'd put up an image so here we go

Charlie: Incredible

Matt: What is?

Charlie: I've seen so many pictures and I've never considered there might be a functional element to their makeup.

Matt:  In fairness, why would you? We don’t wear makeup for magical or medicinal reasons and, until the research was done that we discussed in our podcast last week, there was no reason to believe that our ancestors did this either.



The Living Dead

The Living Dead

Zombies in modern pop culture create other zombies by biting or killing the living. This is not what they were like when they first came to be as a monster. They started as slaves, slaves who had once been free-willed people who were killed by sorcerers and then brought back from beyond the grave to do their bidding as undead. It sounds like it cannot possibly have a grain of truth to it but there are likely both poisons and twisted psychology behind this foul monster.

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Buried alive


Matt Kaplan

Charlie Hsu


Matt Kaplan: "While we mostly disregarded the idea of zombie mythology having been linked to people getting buried alive after accidents that involved them being knocked out (as opposed to after being poisoned by witch doctors on the island of Haiti), I realized after we ran our podcast last week that there is a really creepy side to this that we didn’t mention. Corpse bells."

Charlie Hsu: "What?!?!"

MK: "They were bells placed above ground that had strings attached to them which ran below to buried coffins where they were fed through holes and placed in the hands of people who were presumed to be dead. The idea was that if someone got buried alive and woke up entombed in their own coffin they could pull the string to let the living world know that they were (A) alive and (B) rather keen to be exhumed."

CH: "There’s something really wrong with you Matt."

MK: "True, but you have to admit it is an intriguing concept. Wouldn’t you like your future coffin to be “corpse bell-enabled” just in case you go down after eating a bit of fugu fish or hitting your head in a car accident?"

CH: "Just out of (morbid) curiosity, where do you get this stuff?"

MK: "Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of our Most Primal Fear by Jan Bondeson."

CH: "That seems like quite a statement. You really think it is our most primal fear?"

MK: "No. I’d think that would have to be getting eaten by a large cat or asphyxiated by a boa constrictor." 

CH: "Delightful."

MK: "Incidentally, I suspect our innate fear of predators is likely why most of the monsters in our earliest stories are just big carnivorous animals."

CH: "The Roc? The Calydonian Boar? The Nemean Lion?"

MK: "Not to mention ROUS’s."

CH: "What?"

MK: "Rodents Of Unusual Size"

CH: "I don’t think they exist"

MK: "Ugh."

Welcome to A Matter of Fact and Fiction

Welcome to A Matter of Fact and Fiction where two very curious people explore the intersection of science, myths, and legends. So many of our stories are thought of as just that, stories, but when you take a closer look, there's often a reason these stories have survived, and in that reason there's often a lot of interesting science. Join us

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Podcasts are not all we do, look forward to our videos where Matt inflicts all manner of things on Charlie in the name of experimentation!