Eileen was desperate to help her son, and the only way to do it involved a perverse legal loophole. But should she dare try it? Shannon Heffernan tells the story. She’s a reporter at WBEZ Chicago.
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There is a four mile long bridge in Naan-jing China, famous for how many people jump off to commit suicide. In 2003, a man named Chen Sah began spending all of his weekends on the bridge, trying to single handedly stop the jumpers.
Bob Fass has been a radio host on WBAI since 1963, often taking calls from strangers late at night. One night at 3 a.m. in 1971, a man called into his show facing a literally life-or-death dilemma.
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.
For those in the early stages of dementia, some simple tasks become very complex. Chana sits down with one guy determined to figure out why something that used to be so easy has become so hard.
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.
Radio producer Scott Carrier quit his job at a low moment in his life. His wife left him and took the kids.
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.
Jessica Benko tells the story of a woman named Cathy who was almost killed several times... by a thought that she just couldn't get rid of.
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.
In 2008, reporter Chris Neary told the story of John, a soldier who returned from tours of Iraq and Afghanistan with severe PTSD, and ended up attacking his fiancee and her mother. Chris finds out how John is coping today.
Ira explains that when the radio staff decided to take a test that reveals who is a psychopath, very quickly everyone came to believe that the highest score would go to either Robyn, Jane, or him.
NPR Science Correspondent Alix Spiegel tells the story of Robert Dixon, who's in a maximum security prison in Vacaville California and is unlikely to ever get parole because of his score on the psychopath test. The test also is called "the checklist" or, more formally, the PCL-R, which stands for "Psychopathy Check List—Revised." Alix tells the story of its creation and reports that the man who created the test, Bob Hare, is concerned at how it's being used today in the criminal justice system.
Jon Ronson investigates whether corporate leaders can, in fact, be psychopaths by visiting a former Sunbeam CEO named Al Dunlap. This is an excerpt from Ronson's book, The Psychopath Test.
Ira and the radio show staff get their results on the psychopath test from Dr. David Bernstein, of Forensic Consultants, LLC., who administered the test to them.