I'm cooking up a new season on Patreon. Join me there for just $1 per month to receive new episodes (starting November 2019) and to access the rest of the archive of 80+ episodes, all ad-free: patreon.com/strangerspodcast. Or just stay subscribed here. Most of the new work will be released here eventually. Strangers features true stories about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that WE aren't even who we thought we were.
Wilmot Collins is an interesting man with an interesting story. This is it. I hope you enjoy it. This my first new publicly-released episode in more than two years - I'm back! Find much more Strangers content, new and old, at www.patreon.com/strangerspodcast - it's only $1 per month - or stay tuned here for more free episodes (free episodes will be released regularly throughout the pandemic).
We bring the year full circle with a new story about Jared in St George, Utah, who was the subject of our very first episode this year. We reflect on the beautiful difference a year can make, even for someone who thought his whole future had disappeared. If you need a bit of hope this … Continue reading Isn’t It Nice →
It’s the time of year when skeletons come out of the closet. We honor the dead, as we get ready for holidays among the living, where secrets will be spilled, and secrets will be created that will haunt us for years to come. You might describe today’s story as a classic “noir,” if it wasn’t … Continue reading Do You Like My Little Lie? →
Ladies and Gentlemen: Jack, Part 2, in which there will be guns and fear and roses and magic. There will be frat boys and homeless ladies, sweet clowns, and sad selves. Above all, there will be Jack. He will be nimble and he will be bold.
A run-down trailer in small town Texas, Sunday mornings with Charlie Chaplin, heroine-dazed zombies, fighting off dragons, and narrowly escaping real life monsters — this was Jack’s life when she was a little girl. It was about survival from the very beginning. This episode is not suitable for children.
A couple of weeks ago we got an email from Sam in Australia about his podcast Human/Ordinary. We liked it so much we decided to share it with you. Here’s an adapted version of his 10th episode called Headstone: Breath and Bone. The content might be intense for some. You will glean the subject matter … Continue reading Human/Ordinary →
We check in with Franky who did 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit (listen to our original Franky Carrillo episode “Life” for the backstory) and find out how he’s doing now and what he’s been up to for the last six years since his exoneration. It was worth the visit.
Franky spent 20 years in prison for a crime he had nothing to do with. This is his remarkable story. We first published this story four years ago and are rerunning it this week as part of the network-wide Radiotopia theme, “Doing Time.” And we’re working on a follow-up story about Franky’s life now, so … Continue reading Franky Carrillo: Life →
This is not another Trump voter conversation. It’s not an end-point or a neat conclusion to the series. This is Lea crying into her iPhone at 10pm on a Tuesday because she doesn’t know what to conclude, how to mend, where to go. It’s a messy, confessional audio letter about kidney stones, sea urchins, The … Continue reading Dear Diary →
This is where the gloves come off. In this episode, Lea travels to New York to talk to a Trump supporter who defies a lot of the stereotypes: he’s coastal, young, urban, educated, Jewish, an immigrant… But man oh man do the punches fly, on both sides.
Lea has been traveling around interviewing Trump supporters and she’s tried to do it differently. She’s gotten drunk with them and high with them, she’s road-tripped with them and stayed overnight in their kids’ bedrooms, she’s cried with them, dined with them, yelled at them (and vice versa) to bring the conversation to a new … Continue reading Lea in Trumpland: Alicia →
In this episode we revisit the story of Alaa Khaled AKA Alec Ledd and ponder life’s big questions, such as kugel, identity, celebrity, and how far we will go to please Barbara Streisand or compete with a more-famous brother.
It starts with a murder and ends with new questions. In between there’s Claire’s story. That’s not her real name. It’s neither her old name, nor her new name. It’s the name she took to tell this story. Warning: this episode contains graphic and disturbing content. Do not listen with children.
For nearly three years, we’ve been following Patrick and Steve and their attempt to adopt their foster daughter, and no other story we’ve done has generated as many emails from you, wondering how it all worked out. Today you will finally know. You can find out more about Patrick Hinds and his podcasts at www.theaterppl.com.
It’s a new year, a time for hope or worry, for regrets or new plans, a time to count our blessings or pick up the pieces. Last year around this time, as 2016 was just beginning, Jared and Sharry in Utah were tremendously excited about the year ahead, but things did not work out as … Continue reading Wouldn’t It Be Nice →
Today’s story is about two families trying to become one family. One set of parents is white, one is black, one lives in Portland, OR, the other in Miami, FL, one is Canadian/American, the other is Haitian/American. So, geographically, demographically, and socio-economically they live in very different worlds, but when we started following them more … Continue reading Eleven Up →
Three stories about Mexican immigration, showing us that there are two sides to the border fence, but many sides to the story. On this episode, we find some unlikely bedfellows among liberals and conservatives, even immigrants and the border patrol. These stories come to us from the wonderful shows, “State of the Re:Union” and “UnFictional.” Also check … Continue reading The People Next Door →
Ashley’s husband, Corey, is accused of the worst thing imaginable. What follows sends the family on an ever darkening journey, swinging between answers, hypotheses, emotions, and, ultimately, the truth. This story is not appropriate for children.
Have you ever had the fantasy that a chance encounter with a stranger could tell you who to be? Karin Gutman was working as an assistant when a senior advisor to a US Senator came out of the blue with an offer to change her life… This story first aired on Strangers in April, 2012.
A wanna-be artist finds himself in a dual-life dilemma. Can you be the next Bukowski and the king of high-end skin care — at the same time? When push comes to aftershave, which do you choose? Brian Finkelstein tells this story, which originally aired on the first season of Strangers. Brian Finkelstein (@bsfinkestein) is an … Continue reading Blue Astringent Blues →
Three years after Tyler issued a dare for Matjames to return to Yellow Springs, and 26 years after he fled, Matjames finally makes the trip. For optimal enjoyment of this episode, please listen to the first story about Matjames and Tyler, “Flee, Flood, Float.”
This is a rebroadcast of a story we produced three years ago. It’s a story we’ve always really liked, and we’re sharing it with you this week because we’ll have an update on the story next week. So be sure to check this out and stay tuned for the follow-up.
Lea revisits her own love life. Two years ago, Lea produced “Love Hurts,” a series about her ill-fated adventures in online dating throughout the 4 years since she’d suddenly found herself single with an infant in her late 30s. The same week that the first “Love Hurts” episode went live, Lea met a man, and a year … Continue reading Love Hurts — Two Years Later →
Two stories from two stages of love about chance encounters, bold moves, tough luck, predictable fights, unlikely angels, and those unavoidable moments where you simply have to “sh*t or get off the pot.”
So you’re 37 and single…. On this third installment of our “Summer of Love” series, we explore the singles’ experience with two intimate stories from the lovely podcast “Not by Accident” by Sophie Harper.
Fayaz asked Jo to marry him after they’d spent just one week in the same place. Here’s how that worked out. This story is the second installment in our Summer of Love series, but as it unfolds it becomes about more than just love.
Welcome to our new series, “Summer of Love,” inspired by this quote from a Danish newspaper: “For decades women seem to have been asking themselves the following questions: How do I get a man? How do I hold on to him? How do I put up with him? How do I get rid of him? How … Continue reading As Far As You Can Get →
Born in a coven of lesbian witches in a Haight-Ashbury commune after the fall of Saigon, young Joshua Safran soon hit the open road with his single mother, Claudia, and things only got stranger from there. A word of warning: this story contains some disturbing moments.
We feature the story of Joe Loya’s bank robbing career by producer Ben Adair of the podcast “First Time Last Time,” along with a follow-up conversation between Lea and Joe about the dumbest sh*t he’s pulled as a bank robber. Check out the “First Time Last Time” podcast, which has the simple but wonderful premise that … Continue reading Dumb Sh*t We Do #2: Rob Banks →
Do altruists make us uncomfortable? Hell freakin’ yeah. Or so it seems. The most generous person we’ve ever profiled became the center of a social media storm. Lea called up some of the harshest critics to find out, eh, WHY?
This is the second installment in our series about Elizabeth and Mary. On this episode, we play some of the strong reactions we received from listeners to the first installment, and dive deeper into why Elizabeth decided to give a kidney to a stranger, and who she really is…
Sometimes you get in a rut as a creative professional, wondering if you’ll ever be a professional, creatively, or if you’ll be forever stuck in some dead-end day job that’s designed to pay the bills but barely does. And then you might fantasize that some big change, or chance encounter, or fabulous coincidence is going … Continue reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman →
In the Strangers community, we’ve lost one of our own: Jenni Rowell, 33, has passed away. In this episode, with the help of her family and friends, we rejoice in her life and everything she gave us, and we mourn what we have lost. We also reveal some happy news that she got to enjoy … Continue reading Jenni, Remembered →
One year ago today, July 31st, Lea went to interview Robert, a guy she’d dated, about why he’d turned her down. That became the first of a series of episodes called “Love Hurts,” where Lea investigated why she was having trouble finding love again in the four years since she found herself pregnant and alone … Continue reading Love Hurts – One Year Later →
John Corcoran graduated from high school and college and then spent 17 years as a high school teacher without knowing how to read or write. How on earth did he pull that off? And why? This is his story. A different version of this story was originally presented on Strangers in early 2012. Get the … Continue reading The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read →
A new – and improved! – version of an old Strangers story: A Mormon boy grows up to become “International Mr. Leather,” which is the “Miss Universe” equivalent of the leather fetish world, and he’s forced to acknowledge some surprising parallels between his childhood church and the kinky gay, male leather world… Get the full … Continue reading American Mormon — International Mr. Leather →
In 2014 Patrick and Steve received a surprise delivery…and it was a newborn, whaa! A story ensued, which became the episode Two Men and a Baby. Now, a year later we check in to see how things are going. Get the full story here.
This is the second installment in our series about Adrian Wagner, who at 25 is losing his eyesight, and who is in a race to try to locate his birth parents in time to qualify for upcoming clinical trials, which might cure his condition but require genetic testing of both parents. And that is just … Continue reading Adrian’s Race 2 →
This is a story of mothers, love, regrets and redemption, and of secrets from many years passed that cast long shadows in our lives. It’s about how Deborah Jiang-Stein came to be pulled over by two highway patrolmen at 19 years-old, with a trunk load of dope, a .38 revolver and a 10” switch blade…and … Continue reading Unconditional →
April is the cruellest month. At least it can be. If you are depressed or heartbroken, there is nothing worse than the thaw and the blossoms and the girls in short dresses and the lovers on park benches licking melting ice cream off each other’s faces and fingers. It makes your heart ache more because … Continue reading The Cruellest Month? →
Adrian is 25 and losing his eyesight. He’s in a race against time. He’s also in a battle between humility and pride. When is it stubborn, perhaps even foolhardy, not to make concessions to one’s disability? When is it the only way out? And where do you find wisdom to know the difference? Get the … Continue reading Adrian’s Race →
To mark the three-year anniversary of Strangers we share with you the very first story ever featured on the show, about Stephen Rochelle and his son Matthew, and we return to Stephen to see how they’re doing now, three years later. In July 2011, Matthew Rochelle stood trial for murder. This is the story of … Continue reading A Father’s Story – Then and Now →
Lea received hundreds of messages in response to her raw, personal four-part series, “Love Hurts.” In this follow-up episode, she strings together the funny, poignant and moving voice mails she received from listeners in response to the series and tries to make sense of this thing called love, finally. She also gives an update on … Continue reading Love Hurts — The Follow-Up →
Sam Feirstein takes a broken heart to Alaska and finds surprising kindness in “enemy territory.” Also, producer Lea Thau takes a broken heart to India and has a “stranger” experience that inspires her to create this show. Get the full story here.
For Halloween, we give you a ghost story of sorts. Not in the traditional sense, but we think you’ll know what we mean when you hear it. As a little boy, Bill Ratner experienced a series of tragedies. Then he learned to scream…. Get the full story here.
Strangers, at its core, is about the beauty and the struggle of human connection and what happens in those moments when we get closer to someone else, or, say, further removed from ourselves. Often that change is subtle and slow, but sometimes it is sudden and monumental. Here is Lyena Strelkoff. A version of this … Continue reading Falling Slowly →
A waitress, a former bomber pilot and a retired railroad engineer embark on the adventure of a lifetime. A version of this story was previously featured on Season 1 of Strangers. Get the full story here.
On this episode, Lea seeks dating advice from two experts…and lets it all hang out. “Love Hurts” is a series in which Lea investigates why she is single. We recommend listening to the episodes in order. Get the full story here.
Lea continues her quest to discover why she’s been single for nearly four years. She interviews yet another guy who turned her down to find out why he didn’t want to date her, and tells stories of her past loves and present dates. Get the full story here.