It’s almost Halloween and for some of you that means you’re gorging on scary movies and planning your kid’s trick-or-treating costumes. If you like monsters and scary stories but don’t care for the kind of credulous treatment they always get on documentaries this time of year, you might enjoy a few choice episodes of MonsterTalk: The Science Show About Monsters. While we do enjoy a lot of listeners from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, I get the impression that some people haven’t tried out the show because they have reduced the field of monsterology down to a binary question of “is it real?” With a ready answer to that, they dismiss further inquiry.
The utility of monsters as a tool for science communication has more possibilities than that simplistic approach suggests. What we’ve tried to do with MonsterTalk is extend the “is it real” question with additional discussion such as:
- Could this monster ever exist?
- What evidence for it exists outside of legend?
- If it couldn’t exist, what is possible within the constraints of real world science?
And we also try to ask what monsters our guests consider to be their favorites. It’s fun to hear what historians and scientists like to imagine lurking in the shadows.
You don’t have to subscribe to MonsterTalk to listen to an episode. Here are some links to the show-notes for some appropriately themed Halloween topics. On these pages you can click the “play” button and hear the shows without subscribing. We’re also working towards getting transcripts of all our episodes (such as this one), which will let both search engines and the hearing-impaired consume our content.