10 of Our Absolute Favorite Atlas Obscura Podcast Episodes
Wait’ll you hear these wonders of audio storytelling.
With nearly 400 episodes to choose from, it was a struggle to pick just 10 of our favorites from among the audio adventures we’ve taken you on in the last two years in The Atlas Obscura Podcast. But after much debate, we put in the work to present you this this stunning lineup, from the Indian village of Kongthong, India, where every person’s name is a unique song, all the way to the Arctic Circle, where historical and modern-day adventurers test their fate. Come with us as we explore all the wonder the world has to offer!
The Boiling River
In this episode, we visit a river in the Amazon that is so hot—up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit!—that anything that falls into it dies. But how did it get this way? One geoscientist made it his quest to uncover the phenomenon behind these mystical Peruvian waters.
The Indian Village Where Every Person’s Name Is a Unique Song
We head to Kongthong, India, a village where every person’s name is a song, composed by their mothers within a week of birth as part of a centuries-old tradition. In the Khasi language, the tradition of tune-giving is called jingrwai iawbei, which translates loosely to “song of the mother” or “song of the first clan lady.” And locals never reuse the same tunes, even after a person dies.
We explore the desert of Badain Jaran in China, home of the Booming Dunes, and possibly the coolest sand sounds you’ve ever heard. How exactly the noise is produced is a mystery, but scientists speculate the otherworldly effect is created when the desert wind pulls the top layer of sand from the layer below, releasing an electrostatic charge.
Moses Gates and the Chrysler Building Eagles
Here we ascend to the 61st floor of one of New York City’s most iconic buildings, with intrepid urban planner Moses Gates to meet the Chrysler Building eagles.
Post Office Bay
Next, we make a stop at remote Post Office Bay on the Galápagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. Since the 1700s, a ramshackle mail drop on the beach has relied on luck and the goodwill of visitors, who deliver letters around the world—and it has a long history of bringing strangers together.
In the pastures of Northern Sweden, for centuries herdswomen have lured cows home with haunting melodies. The now-fading vocal technique known as kulning naturally amplifies the human voice to reach distant grazing grounds. You can hear our intrepid host give it a go!
The Curse of the Kreischer Mansion
Join us as we tiptoe through a mansion in Staten Island, New York, with a dubious and vitriolic past—but the site’s curse may not be as obvious as it seems. This once-lovely Victorian home is said to be one of the most haunted places in the state thanks to decades-old superstitions and at least one gruesome, real-world murder.
The Pennsylvania Firefly Festival
Deep in the woods of Pennsylvania, you will find the home of the Pennsylvania Firefly Festival, and a phenomenon that has drawn attention from scientists and people around the world—and was recently almost destroyed.
The World’s Quietest Room
Do we dare to enter the Orfield Anechoic Chamber in Minneapolis, a room in a concrete bunker that is one of the quietest places on the entire planet? The chamber’s maddening silence is good for business, but supposedly very bad for sanity.
Beechey Island Graves, Part I and Part II
In this two-part episode, we journey to the Arctic to find the frozen graves tied to an infamous expedition, following in the footsteps of two groups of adventurers, separated by more than 170 years. Bear witness to the disasters that befell them all.
The Atlas Obscura Podcast is an audio guide to the world’s wondrous, awe-inspiring, strange places. In under 15 minutes, we’ll take you to an incredible site, and along the way you’ll meet some fascinating people and hear their stories. Join us daily, Monday through Thursday, to explore a new wonder with cofounder Dylan Thuras and a neighborhood of Atlas Obscura reporters.
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