There is a four mile long bridge in Naan-jing China, famous for how many people jump off to die by suicide. In 2003, a man named Chen Sah began spending all of his weekends on the bridge, trying to single handedly stop the jumpers.
We searched for a parent who had a question for their kid...that they could only ask them after their kid was an adult. Then we found Ken Gethard, comedian Chris Gethard's dad, who had some really meaningful questions he wanted to ask his son.
We tell the story of that patient, Alan Pean, and how his delusions lead him to a situation that's just as strange as the worst thoughts his mind is cooking up. This story is a collaboration with the New York Times.
In this act, writer Michael Kinsley describes harnessing the power of his own mind to deal with his Parkinson's diagnosis. Michael Kinsley is a contributing columnist for Vanity Fair and the Washington Post.
NPR Science reporters Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller explain to Ira Glass how they smuggled a rat into NPR headquarters in Washington, and ran an unscientific version of a famous experiment first done by Psychology Professor Robert Rosenthal. It showed how people’s thoughts about rats could affect their behavior.
Ira talks to Joel Gold, a psychologist and author, about a strangely common delusion known as the "Truman Show Delusion," in which patients believe that they are being filmed, 24/7, for a national reality television program. Joel wrote a book with his brother Ian called Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness.
Producer Stephanie Foo speaks to Nasubi, a Japanese comedian who, in the 90s, just wanted a little bit of fame. So he was thrilled when he won an opportunity to have his own segment on a Japanese reality TV show.
Producer Alex Blumberg introduces us to Richard, a former executive at a big time marketing firm who smoked pot daily — sometimes at work. As it turns out, Alex is intimately familiar with how Richard's getting high kept him from focusing on the important things in his life.
Comedian Marc Maron, who's been off drugs for more than 15 years, says he still thinks it's okay to laugh at funny drug stories. And then he tells us one of the funniest we heard while putting this show together.
There's one group of people that is universally tarred and feathered in the United States and most of the world. We never hear from them, because they can't identify themselves without putting their livelihoods and reputations at risk.
Ira plays tape from an interview that he did more than 20 years ago, with the author Doris Lessing, about her novel The Fifth Child, which tells the story of a woman who gives birth to a goblin-like baby. The archival audio appears courtesy of National Public Radio, Inc.Then Ira's conversation with Cheryl, from the top of the show, continues.
Huntington's Disease is a progressive brain disorder. There's a wide range of symptoms, but in the worst cases, people who have it can end up losing physical control of their bodies, sort of like Parkinson's Disease, and can also have mental symptoms that are like Alzheimer's or schizophrenia.
For decades, the writer Alex Kotlowitz has been writing about the inner cities and the toll of violence on young people. So when he heard about a program at Drexel University where guys from the inner city get counseling for PTSD, he wondered if the effect of urban violence was comparable to the trauma that a person experiences from war.
Kristen Finch was a speech therapist who sometimes worked with kids with Asperger Syndrome, symptoms of which include emotional distance, inflexibility and missing social cues. Kristin and her co-workers often joked that all their husbands had Asperger's, since the symptoms overlap with stereotypically male personality traits.