Unobscured

History is full of stories we think we know. They are old and dark, but time has robbed us of perspective and clarity. They've become obscured and misunderstood. Which is why this series exists: to dig deep and shed light on some of history’s darkest moments. To help us better understand where we’ve come from. To make it Unobscured. Each season pairs narrative storytelling from Aaron Mahnke, creator of the hit podcast Lore, with prominent historian interviews. Season Three: Jack the Ripper

History
Society & Culture
Documentary
1
3 | Stardom
49 min
2
2 | Rome & Babylon
44 min
3
1 | Temple Mount
38 min
4
Trailer: Unobscured Season 3
3 min
5
20 | INTERVIEW 8: Molly McGarry
Our interview with Molly McGarry, Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside. To wrap up our exploration of spiritualism, we follow her observations about the power and influence of spiritualism in American life, from past to present.
83 min
6
19 | INTERVIEW 7: Cathy Gutierrez
Our interview with Cathy Gutierrez, who has served as Professor of Religion at Sweet Briar College and Scholar in Residence at the New York Public Library. We discuss the nuances and historical development of spiritualist theology, as she explores it in her book Plato's Ghost: Spiritualism in the American Renaissance.
104 min
7
18 | INTERVIEW 6: John Buescher
Our interview with John Buescher, co-director of the International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals. His dedication to cataloging and preserving spiritualist newspapers give his books on mediums a remarkable command of the people and ideas driving the movement forward.
133 min
8
17 | INTERVIEW 5: Mary Gabriel
Our interview with Mary Gabriel, whose books have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critic's Circle Award. Her biographies of Victoria Woodhull and Karl & Jenny Marx unveil the radical threads running through American spiritualism.
106 min
9
16 | INTERVIEW 4: Nancy Rubin Stuart
Our interview with Nancy Rubin Stuart, whose award winning biographies of American women include The Reluctant Spiritualist, our guide to the life of Maggie Fox for this season of Unobscured.
63 min
10
15 | INTERVIEW 3: Emily Clark
Our interview with Emily Clark, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University. Her first book, A Luminous Brotherhood, explores spiritualism in New Orleans, giving us a perspective on spiritualism beyond the northeastern hubs of the movement.
116 min
11
14 | INTERVIEW 2: Margaret Washington
Our interview with Margaret Washington, professor of History and American Studies at Cornell University. Her work on Sojourner Truth's life in the American landscape was invaluable for seeing spiritualism in a broad historical context.
109 min
12
13 | INTERVIEW 1: Ann Braude
Our interview with Ann Braude, Senior Lecturer on American Religious History at Harvard Divinity School. Her book, Radical Spirits, was a guiding light for our exploration of the role of spiritualism in American life.
136 min
13
12 | There Is No Death
Blows fell. Times changed. New voices rose up with answers to the nation’s pressing questions. But through it all, spiritualists worked to create an enduring place for themselves where the spirits could go on speaking.
51 min
14
11 | The Sheep and the Ghosts
What power did the spirits wield? They had convinced millions of their presence. They had moved mediums into high places. They had crossed oceans and shaken slumbering nations. Now the movement's leading lights saw a world to win.
50 min
15
10 | Invisible Hands
Seances circled a high stakes table. Spirits were still comforting families, but in cities like New Orleans and New York, they also held to a glowing vision. The future of the nation's laws, and the levers of its economy, were up for grabs. Now was the time to bring heaven down to earth.
46 min
16
09 | Wounds
The war was over but the fight to determine the future of the nation continued. And the spirits had much to say. Devastated families cried out for their lost loved ones. Sometimes, the beloved dead answered back.
44 min
17
08 | Open Graves
As shots rang out and armies crossed the nation, black spiritualists in New Orleans found themselves fighting for their homes against all comers. But most of the nation’s spirit believers were focused on the spirits clamoring around a different residence—Abraham Lincoln’s White House. Could they guide a generation of followers through the fires of conflict into the light of a new day?
43 min
18
07 | Preach the Word
The news was grim. Across the south, slave states were withdrawing from the nation. In the north, some spiritualists saw their chance to take their winnings and withdraw from conflict. But others kept their printing presses running. In their pages, the spirits raised their voices to a military march, singing songs of freedom—and war.
45 min
19
06 | Restless
The child stars of spiritualism were growing up. And facing a whole host of new realities about their world. Were the spirits up to helping their young vessels find love and fight for reform as the storm clouds gathered?
45 min
20
05 | Seek and Ye Shall Find
The movement continued to swell. It found friends in high places. But everywhere it went, it found entrenched beliefs threatened by this new source of revelation. Finding harmony around a table was one thing. But when mediums met ministers, the seance became a street fight.
46 min
21
04 | The Way, The Truth, The Lie
Spiritualists weren't the only ones who believed the dead could still be heard. That belief came trailing many stories. And with many aims. Some found a nourishing home. Others found a hunting ground.
47 min
22
03 | A Spirit Globe
Who could have imagined how quickly their message would cross oceans? Even as they traveled from city to city, the first spiritualists were celebrated by seekers. But an anarchic new faith wasn't met kindly when it faced the authorities of the old world.
44 min
23
02 | Instruments
A Harmonial Philosophy was one thing. But Rochester, New York, was about to become the cradle for so much more. The city wanted more than just words. They wanted a demonstration of power.
46 min
24
01 | Seer
It was all wide open. Great awakenings shattered the old religions. Showmen made spectacles of cutting-edge science. Radicals campaigned for a social revolution. The nation waited with bated breath for a new kind of prophet to take the stage.
39 min
25
Unobscured - Season 2 - Trailer
The critically acclaimed historical documentary series is back with a powerful new season. With insightful research, expert interviews, and Aaron Mahnke's trademark narrative style, the Unobscured team returns for a new season to delve deep into the world of Spiritualism. By tracing its bizarre trajectory from a scattered fad to a worldwide phenomenon, listeners will discover the truth about the movement—and how it still impacts our world today.
1 min
26
18 | INTERVIEW 6: Stacy Schiff
50 min
27
17 | INTERVIEW 5: Jane Kamensky
50 min
28
16 | INTERVIEW 4: Marilynne K. Roach
91 min
29
15 | INTERVIEW 3: Richard Trask
94 min
30
14 | INTERVIEW 2: Mary Beth Norton
81 min
31
13 | INTERVIEW 1: Emerson Baker
83 min
32
12 | Making Amends
52 min
33
11 | Floundering
47 min
34
10 | Pen and Paper
41 min
35
09 | Fight or Flight
44 min
36
08 | King and Queen
48 min
37
07 | She Is One Of Us
35 min
38
06 | Consequences
38 min
39
05 | A Higher Power
39 min
40
04 | The Refugees
31 min
41
03 | By the Book
45 min
42
02 | The Outsiders
41 min
43
01 | The Arrival
38 min
44
Unobscured - Season 1 - Trailer
Season One: The Salem Witch Trials
2 min