Backstory - American Spirit: A History of the Supernatural

BackStory is a new hour-long show in which renowned U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Peter Onuf, and Brian Balogh tear a topic from the headlines and plumb its historical depths. Over the course of each episode, the historian-hosts are joined by people in the news, callers, and fellow scholars interested in exploring the roots of contemporary America. Together, they reveal the connections -- and disconnections -- between past and present. With its passionate, intelligent, and irreverent approach, BackStory is essential listening for a broad range of audiences.

On this Halloween-season special, BackStory explored Americans' relationship with ghosts, spirits, and witches throughout our nation's history. Why were colonists so fearful of New England "witches?" How is it that progressive social reformers found a home in the 19th century Spiritualist movement? Why do new media technologies always conjure talk of the undead? These are just a few of the questions that the History Guys take on as they explore the history of the supernatural in America.


Ed Ayers
Peter Onuf
Brian Balogh

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