Podcasts/Sacred Tension-Carrie PoppyMASTERED7oelr

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Carrie_PoppyMASTERED7oelr SUMMARY KEYWORDS people, feel, listening, person, satanic temple, memory, true, hear, atheists, podcast, conversation, ross, mind, carrie, question, week, rock candy, long, friends, thought SPEAKERS Stephen Bradford Long, Carrie Poppy

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Stephen Bradford Long 01:02 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long and we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network. For more shows like this one, go to rock candy recordings.com. In this episode, I have the pleasure of speaking to the incredible Carrie Poppy. She is an investigative journalist who specializes in claims of the paranormal and fringe science and fringe religious groups. She is also the host, the co host, I should say, of oh no Ross and Carrie, which happens to be my personal all time favorite podcast. As you'll hear in this show, Carrie Poppy has had a huge influence on my own thinking on my own non theism and on my eventual arrival at the Satanic Temple. So I am enormously grateful to Kerry for having this conversation. But before I get to that conversation, I have to thank my patrons, I am really relying on my patrons right now. I am working less. And one of my jobs teaching yoga has been completely slashed because of COVID 19. So the money that I get from my patrons really is just going to basic life stuff is it's going to bills, paying for groceries, feeding my cats, maintaining my house, just basic life stuff and every little bit helps. I believe in bringing you conversations and articles every week for free. I see that as a service, but I do require margin to do that. And my patrons give me that margin. So this week, I have to give a very special thanks to my newest patrons, Lavinia Paul, jackal, Troy and St. Licorice. Thank you so much. I really could not do this without you. If you're listening to this, and you're interested in becoming a patron, please just go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long for $1 A month or $5 a month. You get extra content every week, especially my house of heretics podcast in which Timothy the pastor and I talk about all kinds of stuff, politics, LGBT issues, religion, we have all kinds of fascinating conversations. And so if you love sacred tension, you will probably love house of heretics. Maybe you're in my situation of just not having much financial margin. And if that's the case, I completely understand the struggle is real. The economy is on fire out there. And I need you to take care of yourself first and foremost. But there are other ways to support the show. One of the best ways is to just subscribe wherever you're listening on whatever app you're on, just hit subscribe or hit follow. And that tells our benevolent digital overlords that my show is worth recommending to others. Also, if you are listening on Apple podcasts, please leave a five star review that is also enormously helpful. And you can also write a little review if you want you can leave five stars but you can also leave a few kind words and if you do I will read them at the top of the show. Finally, this show is sponsored by the satanic temple.tv a streaming platform by the Satanic Temple and it has all kinds of amazing stuff on it. It has documentaries stream ly Have streams, movie nights, some kinky stuff, full length films, all kinds of stuff, lectures, if you're really interested in learning more about Satanism, learning about the Satanic Temple, but also just counterculture and ritual and new religious movements. TST TV is an incredible resource. So you can get one month free by using my promo code, sacred tension, all caps, no space at checkout. And you will get one month free, please take advantage of that. It is amazing. All right. Well, with all of that out of the way, I am delighted to bring you my conversation with Carrie Poppy. Carrie Poppy, welcome to the show.

Carrie Poppy 05:46 Oh, thanks for having me. Steven, how are you?

Stephen Bradford Long 05:48 I'm well, okay. Let's be honest, we're recording this on the eve of the election, which means right, I am just barely holding it together. And so I've been very stressed. And Oh, ha ha ha. And so if you see me have a complete psychotic break on air with oh, that's, that's why so. So if I just the explanation, that's why we're going to blame it on on the election. So...

Carrie Poppy 06:23 I feel like if that happens, I'll be less concerned with the cause and more concerned with what to do. But

Stephen Bradford Long 06:30 yes, so I apologize in advance. Yeah. So I'm all right. How are you? How are you managing in in the year of our Lord 2020. On the eve of the election?

Carrie Poppy 06:44 Ah, similar vibe, maybe a little more hopeful. I'm feeling I was just telling my best friend, six years ago, six years ago, four years ago. Right now, I was feeling you know, 90% Cocky, confident. And 10% nervous. I do think it's still more confident than nervous. But I think I'd give it a 5545 spread. But um, you know, after four years of feeling mostly terrified feeling 55% hopeful, feels amazing.

Stephen Bradford Long 07:18 I Oh, totally there with you. It's like I'm, I mean, this show will be coming out after long after the election a few weeks after the election. So it'll, we will know by the time this episode airs. But we will just hope for the best. So

Carrie Poppy 07:34 yeah, so the listener knows more than we do.

Stephen Bradford Long 07:36 Yes. That's, that's true. We are coming from the sunny past where it might be worthy. Maybe the only thing we had to worry about was COVID. And or, maybe we're coming from the much darker past where we were under a presidency of a fascist, wannabe dictator. Right?

Carrie Poppy 07:58 We don't know. Yeah. And, and kind of succeeding

Stephen Bradford Long 08:02 and kind of succeeding. All right. So Carrie, Poppy, I have to start this with a huge thank you, I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. And for threat of this being an awkward conversation, I really owe a lot of where I am to your work. And so I I really owe you and Ross, your co host a massive thanks. Because I don't know if I would be a non theist if it weren't for your podcast. And you know, I've always Yeah, and you know, I've always been a deeply religious person, I am still a deeply religious person. I am now a Satanist in the Satanic Temple, but you were one of the really crucial people who helped get me there and watching your your TED talk, I think was back in 2016, or 2017 was really a turning point for me. And oh, and coming out of fundamentalist Christianity and then moving to kind of progressive Christianity and then, and then coming to terms with my long crisis of faith. And you know, what, what stood out to me so much, what really helped me so much about your work, and what you and Ross are doing, is that you're kind and there are so many atheists out there who do great work, and I really admire them, but they aren't very kind. And what I needed was kindness. I think what I needed more than anything, was kindness. And I found that in your podcast, and you know, it was just this long process of listening to your show and kind of ingesting the the principles of of healthy skepticism that I see slowly in grad Julie came to feel comfortable with my own doubt and my own non theism. So all that to say, you have had a huge influence on me. And so thank you so very much.

Carrie Poppy 10:13 Wow, thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you for saying that. It really, I mean, when I hear that kind of thing which happens, but not every day, you know, it's really that feeling of like, oh my God, thank God all that work was totally is it means a ton. And head Oh, no gratifying because I, when your your PR assistant or person reached out to me before you did, and said, you know, can do are you interested in going on this? You know, it's kind of like an eighth atheist, you know, spiritual pocket, and I'll be honest, I'm like you and feel like Oh, boy. And so at first I was like, oh, yeah, I'll get back to you. And then I read something you wrote that was so nuanced and thoughtful. And I think it was something that stuck with me about it was this idea of liberals and conservatives. And these rules we sort of have for like, you can't be friends with that person across the aisle, because in some way, they're going to infect you. But the infection doesn't go the other way. That we're not worried about liberals infecting conservatives, but there's this like, huge fear of conservatives infecting liberals. And anyway, I think that principle is so astute. And I thought, Oh, wow, that's that's really true. That really is both a problem I see and feel like I'm always fighting. So it's funny to hear like, oh, well, of course, I agree with you. It turns out I was influencing you to see like, you know, that I got to influence someone who then like really ran with it and made this their own thing that is so interesting, and nuanced and beautiful. So it's an honor to hear from you that I had any part of your story

Stephen Bradford Long 12:11 You totally did. So I wanted to ask you kind of what what got you in? Well, actually, before we get to that, for my audience who might not know who you are, and what you do. Tell us just some about your show and your work.

Carrie Poppy 12:24 Yeah, so far. All they know is I'm really great. Yes. That's what they got from this intro. So yes, I am an investigative journalist. And the work that you were referencing is my podcast, which is called Oh, no, Ross and Carrie, which is a show I've been making with my friend Ross for almost 10 years now, God, where we investigate fringe science, spirituality and claims of the paranormal, really, we look at anything that has kind of an unusual claim attached to it or something that just maybe bucks against our current understanding of the science and and we investigated ourselves. So we have joined 911 truther groups, we've got gone undercover in Scientology and the Latter Day Saints Church also called Mormonism, we've gotten ear candles on fire captain walks across fire, we have interviewed faith healers accidentally expose them as liars. I went to an Ayahuasca clinic in Costa Rica in order to contact the divine, we've, we've done most of the things and then we report on them and share our personal experience. Our hope is that we kind of find this new sort of journalism where you don't get the spin that the group would want you to get. And you also don't get the sort of disaffected former follower point of view, either you get the sort of middle ground of like, well, what if I actually was what would that be? Like? That's what we try to give our listeners.

Stephen Bradford Long 13:55 Yeah, that's really important, because there's this kindness and neutrality that comes with that, but also just like a huge sense of humor that that you guys have in all of your episodes. So all of this leads me to ask you a question that I've actually, you know, even before I planned on interviewing you, I wanted to ask you this question just listening to your show, which is okay, why are so many atheists and skeptics such fucking assholes? What is it? What is it? What the fuck is it about the atheist world? That and of course, hashtag not all atheists. Of course. Yeah. But But what is it about that world that makes it so? I don't know. So many of them such jerks?

Carrie Poppy 14:45 Yeah, I mean, that is my perception too. though. I have to be honest, sometimes that perception is wrong. I know. You're friends with my friend Lucien Greaves who founded the Satanic Temple. I gotta tell you, I had loved him in with those people. And, and only when I, you know, got to know him maybe a year and a half ago something like that was like, Oh no, this is a brilliant and very kind and compassionate person will shit that means that I was I was doing the thing, the thing I don't

Stephen Bradford Long 15:19 think that we always do but don't want to do. Yeah, no, you're and I kind of had that assumption about Lucien as well I will say that his that his online presence is much more acerbic than He is in person as well.

Carrie Poppy 15:34 Mine is you know, so here's what I think is like the, here's the crux of it, I think when you leave religion, you realize, oh, my gosh, there was just so little internal consistency. And I was dealing with so much cognitive dissonance, and I had to keep so many contradictory thoughts in my head, oh, my god, I'm so glad to be out of that. And then the, the sort of contrasting mode that you can go into is like, I am going to be the consistency keeper, I will be the person who doesn't go back and forth who really like has a point of view and sticks to it. The problem with that is that if you want to be a kind person, you're going to be doing this very nuanced dance, where you're going between different modes of thinking, you are telling people to be kind, and then not always being kind yourself, you're facing your own hypotheses, you are taking a lot of flack for it, because people will rightly point out like, Hey, you talk about being nice, and you aren't always nice in the right. It's a much harder job to do that, than to just say like, Hey, sure, I'm a dick, but I'm upfront about it. I'm the I'm the person who's consistent in this conversation. And that's true, you'll be able to defend that like you, you were the one that we we could always get from you what you think we will always know your motivation, etc. That's true. But mostly that serves you that doesn't really serve furthering the conversation in a meaningful way.

Stephen Bradford Long 17:04 It's really hard to do that, being in that place of trying to balance you know, healthy skepticism, but also being a good neighbor. You know, and being being a good human being because, you know, I live in Asheville, North Carolina, which is, which is super spooky. I mean, it's full, very Whoo, very spooky. I'm a Satanist. And I fit right in. And, you know, even if people think that I'm sacrificing goats, they're totally fine with it. Because it's that kind of town.

Carrie Poppy 17:34 Interesting. That's, that's where I draw the line. No, thank you. Yes.

Stephen Bradford Long 17:40 I am also vegetarian, by the way. So no, no sacrificing of anything here. Yes. Oh, what was I just saying? Yeah, it's, it's really, really hard to maintain that that kind of humane balance between skepticism and being a good neighbor to people whose whose beliefs seem totally outlandish. You know, a lot of the people who you investigate in your show are the people who are my neighbors, and who I once was, as well. And, yeah, it's more complicated, and it's much harder. I also sometimes wonder if the, the kind of archetype of the asshole atheists was necessary for a time, I sometimes wonder if like, you know, in the 2000s, these, you know, Hitchens and Dawkins and Harris and kind of the iconic New Atheists, they needed to be a certain kind of personality. Oh, just in order to break through in order to shift in order to shift the the window towards being more accepting of non theism. And yeah, you know, I wonder if that's part of it, as well. Well,

Carrie Poppy 18:53 oh, yeah, I'm sure it is. Yeah.

Stephen Bradford Long 18:55 So what got you into this? What got you into this kind of work of investigating fringe claims? What made you curious about this?

Carrie Poppy 19:05 Well, so I like you am sort of a former believer of all the stuff. So

Stephen Bradford Long 19:13 all this stuff. It really is. It really is all of this stuff.

Carrie Poppy 19:17 Yeah. Cuz I went through I mean, I started to backup way before your question. When I was a pre teen, I went to church camp and became a Christian. That was an Evangelical, and then later on, I was more into like the psychics and spiritualist stuff, energy healing, stuff like that. And so I've seen belief from very different perspectives and seeing how they're still very similar. The act of believing has these common themes in the experience, no matter what the content of the belief is. So then when I what I realized I didn't believe anymore and that, I felt like oh, maybe there. Yeah, there are secret forces out there in the universe. But those secret forces are things like logical fallacies psychological principles and things we don't understand about physics and oh, it's not ghosts. It's not karma. Oh, crap. Okay. When when I came to that realization, I was still curious, though, about my personal experience as a believer, because that was a very compelling experience. And there was something really wonderful about, you know, finding meaning in the unknown. So, when I left belief, I started going to the Center for Inquiry, which is now part of the Richard Dawkins Foundation, actually. And I joined a book club that they called the skeptics book club, not a word I've ever really loved. But that's what they called it, the skeptics book club. And I was, that's where I met Ross, my co host. And when I came there one day with a flyer for the Kabbalah Center, and was like, Oh, my gosh, you guys, let's go to this. And nobody wanted to do it. But Ross, and so that that was really like, what made our friendship was this sort of, like spirit of adventure, but also this curiosity? Like to me, it was like, of course, you go to this Yeah, it's all gonna be probably nonsense, but like, how fascinating is the human minds, that someone's out there, spinning this yarn, and probably believing it? Like that's, that's so interesting to me. It being fake is just a new, fun new detail to the fascinating things our mind can do. So yeah, that's that's how I started both being Ross's friend and doing this work. We did that. And then basically, we came back to the book club, and we're telling them the story. And they kept wanting to hear more and more details until we hadn't talked about the book that week at all. And, and the light bulb kind of went off like, oh, is this a service? Like, because we loved it? And if, if other people don't want to go to it, but they want to hear about it, maybe we can do that for people. So we just started recording those stories. And maybe two years into it, an editor came to me and was like, Do you know that you're a reporter? Just FYI. That's,

Stephen Bradford Long 22:23 that's that is what you are.

Carrie Poppy 22:25 Yeah. If you were curious, and I was like, Oh, shit, okay. I guess I accidentally became a reporter. So yeah, then just ever since that sort of been my beat as a as a freelance journalist and went and got my master's at USC and formalized that very weird background and

Stephen Bradford Long 22:44 Ami, right. Here you are. Yeah. So I feel like we are of a similar personality type, which is finding weirdness, absolutely fascinating and wonderful. And I think that there are a lot of people who just gets so frustrated with it. And there are people who are like, Steven, why are you reading this book? You know, whatever it is, be it you know, far right propaganda or something by an alien cultist or what have you. And I just can't look away. It's just so fucking fascinating, because it's like the human spirit, the human mind is so fascinating and wonderful and, and horrifying, but also kind of fun and wonderful simultaneously, if you know what I mean. And so is there anything along the way what is most surprised you what what are some investigations that you have been really really surprised by and the results and

Carrie Poppy 23:41 yeah, so there hasn't been any yet that completely tore asunder my worldview, but there have been some that I was like, okay, there was more there there than I expected. One is, hypnotherapy always comes to mind. I figured because of its connection to things like the Satanic Panic and recovered memory and the ways that hypnosis can be egregious ly misused. I just thought the whole thing was going to be bunk. And it's not if you take hypnosis at its most raw definition, it's basically someone saying, I'm going to convince you that something is true. And you're just gonna go along with it. Okay? And then you go, okay, like, so it's basically this agreement, we're gonna sit down and we're gonna work through the placebo effect together. Are you okay with it? I'm okay with it. And then you sit you do it. So as long as you're only using it, you know, as far as that will go, I think that's totally fine. And I found that it was helpful to sit down and be like, Okay, I'm going to go on this date with this guy. I really like I don't feel confident about it. He's so great. Okay, so we're gonna sit down and I'm gonna say to you know, you're beautiful and smart and funny, and you're gonna absorb that and you're gonna believe it's true. Okay, good to sit down and see that I found that like, very honest and sort of disarming in, in sort of its acknowledgement of its own limits. Now you can also take it completely off the rails, but So yeah, that that really stuck with me. laughter yoga as well is like so great.

Stephen Bradford Long 25:18 I talk about that some talk about laughter yoga, because I remember listening to that episode and just found it absolutely delightful. Also, I am a former yoga teacher. I was a yoga teacher prior to COVID. I was teaching multiple classes a week for years. Oh, damn, okay. Yeah, so yoga is another area of mine, but I'd never done laughter yoga. So tell us some about laughter yoga.

Carrie Poppy 25:41 Well, please make Yeah. laughter yoga yoga, because laughter yoga has nothing to do with yoga. And I found that very disappointing. I had thought, I literally brought a yoga mat, I thought we were going to do yoga and lap alongside it, you don't you go to these meetings, you basically stand in a room together and you laugh, you force yourself to laugh at first, and then that becomes very funny. And then you're laughing earnestly. I mean, the whole room is laughing. And usually someone will get up to the front and sort of lead the group. So someone might get up and just do silly voices or wear a crazy hat. And it's so absurd and so uncomfortable, that eventually it becomes really funny and Ross and I would be buckled over just like grabbing our stomachs have to run out of the room because like, couldn't breathe, because it was just so fun. And then after that, like you're just in an amazing mood for like, the rest of the day at least. So I thought that was wonderful. And there are actually some decent studies about how it's good for, you know, your mental health and your physical health, though, don't go overboard. Again, it's not going to cure your cancer. And then I know Ross found speed reading very helpful. I didn't know as much but it basically even though the idea that you can retain all that information, if you speed read, that's total bunk. It can just learn a few of those principles can kind of increase your speed and your, your sense that you can finish a book in a week or whatever. And then oh, and then Holotropic breathwork. Have you heard of that? I have

Stephen Bradford Long 27:18 Yeah. Okay. And to your episode about

Carrie Poppy 27:23 Holotropic breathwork is this thing where you basically breathe so fast that you deprive your body of a certain amount of carbon dioxide? And then you feel like you're high you have you have these sort of like psychedelic visions. And for people who are sober, it's probably the best way to have that kind of experience. So obviously, the safest biochemically and boy does it work. I thought it would take more effort, but within like three or four minutes of my first time doing that breathing, I was like, Oh, yep, okay. Oh, rabid having to meet me. And

Stephen Bradford Long 27:57 I had to do a lot of that in my yoga training. And I had Yeah, and so I went through this whole, you know, New Age, alternative medicine yoga phase, as well. And, you know, I, I've been through a lot of phases. I went through my I went through my alien phase, I went through my conspiracy theory phase, I went through my alternative medicine yoga phase, I went through my Wicca phase, I've been through a lot of fucking phases. And now I'm in the satanic phase, and it seems to have stuck. And so I'm stuck in Satanism, for who knows how long, which is great. It's a great place to be stuck. But I did a lot of that stuff. And I remember just having extraordinary drug like experiences, tactile hallucinations, like epic visions, and, you know, explosive moods, and in a good way, in a positive way, just the most incredible experiences. It was also before I was on, you know, anti psychotic meds, so that might have had something to do with it, too. Like, I don't know how much that stuff was interacting with my mental illness. But okay, you know, but it really blew my mind how, how much it altered my my mind. And yeah, and I guess a lot of my journey has been and not just with yoga, but also with religion has been working out how much of this is real in terms of how much of this did I actually experience? You know, how much of this is actually psychology? And how can I retain the good stuff? Because I think mystical experience or altered states of consciousness are great. It's great. Yeah. And it isn't the sole domain of religion, you know, or it isn't the sole domain of a particular supernatural or theistic belief. And we can still have that even as a non theist, and that's kind of been one of my ongoing journey. ease is figuring that out. So has there ever been anything that's like really spooked you during your investigation as in something that has that has really like anything potentially supernatural? That has actually kind of made you go? Well, maybe maybe there's something out there.

Carrie Poppy 30:22 Yeah. So I would say that every investigation that we do for more than a week anything that's like a little more of a deep dive, there's always a moment where I'm like, oh, yeah, that's, that's interesting. I hadn't thought that maybe. And I mean, I think that's partly a facet of my personality, and like, why I'm well equipped for this kind of work. But yeah, I mean, I think if I couldn't do that, I couldn't really keep doing the work. Because you couldn't really give a fair shake to anything you were looking at, if you walked in, completely closed off to the possibility that they were right. That said, they are there usually brief moments. I have them and then I've eliminated the feeling of panic that follows. Because sometimes, you know, having that moment will kick up your cognitive dissonance. No, no, wait, hold on, that's going to completely disrupt my sense of self, if that's true. Ah, I've kind of overcome that. So usually, in the next moment, I'm like, Okay, interesting. Cool. So, right now you are having an anomalous feeling of like, maybe this is real. Okay, let's, let's roll with that. So that would, you know, how will that fit into the other evidence you've got? And is that is this a total turning point in science? Or is this a moment where your own psychology fooled you? Usually it's been that one that comes to mind is when we were at Rib Mia, which is the Iowa Tosca treatment center, I mentioned, I had not done the Ayahuasca because I to take up while I take SSRIs, but I think it's like a medicine and. And that's culture indicated. But I did do breathwork, while other people were taking the so called plant medicine, and I had this sudden, I guess they would call it a download in those circles, like just to set in, oh, a sentence came into my head, and I wasn't thinking anything and just suddenly, like, heard this sentence, which was, you are here to love, which now sounds so cheesy. But the next day, the leader of the group was giving a talk name's Jerry. And he said, Tonight, I want you to focus on one question. And that question is, you are, what are you here to do? And it was like the just the exact syntax of that thing I had that had flooded into my mind the night before. And I wrote in my notes, like, my hands are shaking like that. It was just that coincidence was like so deep and profound in that moment, when I was reading back through my notes, the following week, I read again, and I'm like, Okay, you're here to love. Jerry says this. My hands were shaking. Yes, shaking. I had like, keep rereading it. That impressed. Impressed by this. But in the moment it was, it was super powerful.

Stephen Bradford Long 33:31 And so much of that has to do with environment, doesn't it? Like we're in the right headspace? We're in the right community. And as suddenly something like that comes in, it feels like everything, it feels so powerful. Do you feel like some people are just like more prone to belief than others in terms of personality or wiring or something? Because I feel like I am that person.

Carrie Poppy 33:56 Hmm, do you? Um, yeah, I think probably. I mean, there are certainly we know, there are just sociological indicators of what can make a person more prone to superstition. And the one that I find the most interesting as being disempowered makes you more superstitious, and that's true across the animal kingdom, like even pigeons have been shown to have, you know, this quality of being more superstitious if they can sort of predict and control their own futures. So whenever I find myself in more of a superstitious place, for example, I don't know, my country falling under the control of a desk, but I think like, Well, that makes sense, you know, and that kind of helps me have a little more compassion for people who are stuck in disempowered situations, and sort of the only way to get through the day is to think like well, at least there's a universe watching out for me or a God watching out for me.

Stephen Bradford Long 34:52 What do you do when you find yourself because it sounds to me like you, you have kind of this really healthy really kinship with yourself and these different parts of of your mind or, you know, for threat of of sound of making it sound more complicated than it actually is. But it's it sounds like you have a pretty good relationship with this part of you that is still prone to, I guess you could say supernaturalism or, or pattern seeking behaviors, you know, talk us through some about what you do when you when you find that rising up inside of you, or, like, how, how do you react to that part of yourself?

Carrie Poppy 35:34 Um, wow, what a wonderful question. It's hard to go there in this moment where I'm not having the experience. So in a way, I'm a little bit speaking from ignorance, but But trying to picture it. I think my my, the first thing I think is something along the lines of oh, cool. Like, I guess reacting with a little bit of wonder, or even of comedy, like, oh, wow, look, your human brain even, even 12 years into disbelief, your brain can still conjure this up, wow, me, you know, and sort of going to a place of place of appreciation and wonder, I think that's sort of the first step for me. A lot of times I give myself rules, like, okay, cool. You feel this way, right now. Write it down. Look at it in a week. I do that with a lot of things, you know, big decisions, or Ross has a saying, which is the feeling of being certain is still a feeling. Yes. Because, yeah, you hear a lot from people in spiritual communities like, well, listen, you just know when you know, and if you had this experience, you'd know to say, well, great, there's got to be some form of outside confirmation. Right. So So yeah, remember those, those sorts of things Rosses taught me which is like, okay, like, cool. You're having this this very pronounced emotional experience. Right on market. Honor it come back in a week.

Stephen Bradford Long 37:08 I think that's great advice. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And because, you know, I, like I just said, I am one of those people who and I don't, I don't know what it is, maybe it comes from practically being raised in a cult, and it just always, you know, that, that way of thinking just always being inside of me. But it still catches me, you know, I will, for example, this was recently, I was watching it, it was like two or 3am. And I was falling down the YouTube rabbit hole. And I came across these videos of a spelunker of a and, and, you know, he would just explore caves. And then it was, it was like, really, really cool videos of him, you know, exploring old mind shafts. And then he he did what I now realize was a pretty convincing hoax. Where he he acted as if he stumbled across paranormal activity in one of these minds. Oh, cool. It and I was like, This is it. It's all fucking real. Finally, I was like, This is so this is all real. I can't believe it. I have found proof on YouTube. And then, you know, all it took was just one Google search. And you know, the first thing that comes up was, oh, here's this hoax. Here's how he did it. And this has been proven. Here's your clips of the audio that he took from other websites and put them in. I mean, it was all right there. But But if that that second step, has had to be learned for me, you know, right like that. That second step of just being like, okay, breathe. Breathe, pause. I'm going to just think about this for a minute, or I'm just going to go and take the next step and actually investigate it. That step feels still very unnatural to me. Oh, interesting. Okay. It's like, I'm just very willing to believe it's like, I'm just very, very willing to take people's word and, and it feels like that next step of investigating and being healthily skeptical. Is doesn't come very naturally to me. Honestly. Yeah.

Carrie Poppy 39:26 Yeah. Fair enough. Yeah. I, that's interesting. I guess to me, it's become a bit of a puzzle, like, Okay, well, if this were faked, how, what would that look like? And then, you know, try to disprove that hypothesis, and then it becomes a bit of a detective hunt. But yeah, I wonder if now I feel that I've been doing it so long. I can't even say if it came naturally to me or was learned now. It feels natural to me though, so there's hope.

Stephen Bradford Long 39:55 Great. Excellent. Yeah. And you know, I I I love I'm still a meditator, I still love altered states of consciousness. And I consider myself deeply religious. But I feel like I have the freedom now to wed that with with non theism and healthy skepticism, I know that this probably varies case by case. Is there a certain method that you use to investigate certain claims of the paranormal? Or, or the fringe? Like what? What questions what key questions or methods do you go into a situation with in your toolkit in order to get to the bottom of whether something is true or not?

Carrie Poppy 40:38 Great question, disappointing answer. I think for my particular work, it usually go in unequipped completely. So yeah, I mean, the first thing I do is just see what is out there. So maybe that means going to a seminar that that faith healer gives or taking their supplements or whatever, you know, reading their writings, and yes, seeing what they're saying. So I guess the first step really is listening. And, and reminding yourself throughout that listening process, like, you know, stay stay open minded, not, not necessarily in the sense of maybe what they're saying is true, although that is the case. But also, you know, really be present with what they're saying. So you're not sort of jumping out ahead of yourself and missing a lot of what they're offering you. So I take a lot of notes. Oh, my God, my Google Drive folder is immense. And I just I just write down like everything, I see everything I hear. And, and then I just sort of look for what sticks out to me what I mean, now that I've done it a long time, I can look for things that remind me of other tricks, other things that I've seen, you know, spiritual leaders use to manipulate their flock or, you know, psychological tricks. I recognize.

Stephen Bradford Long 42:13 What are some of those tricks? Just out of curiosity, that that are like red flags, that when you're reviewing your notes, you're like, Oh, there's one?

Carrie Poppy 42:23 Yeah. Great question. Yeah. So I mean, there are a lot of just playing Magic tricks that faith healers in particular will use. So um, so for example, there's a woman named chakra and Tali, she's a she's a faith healer with a medium sized following, she makes a very big deal about how she can walk on broken glass. Well, I could also walk on broken glass. Practice, but it's, it's, you know, you see people in the circus do that. So having worked for James Randi, for a short period of time, who's a magician who he? Yeah, yes, exactly. Just passed away. Yeah. So, you know, I, I look for those sorts of things like, oh, is this just something a magician would use or a circus X performer? Those are huge red flags, anything to do with merging memory and imagination? Always? Immediately a red flags. So I'm about that. Yeah. So anything that sort of connects to the recovered memory movements, and there's a lot of stuff that does so I'm sure most of your listeners are familiar with this. But to give the close the smallest recap I can, there is this, this school of thought that you can basically lose a memory deep into your subconscious have no idea that that happened to you, and then through this specific visualization process, retrieve that memory. And now it's just as clear as if it had happened yesterday, we now know that's not at all how memory works. But it is how imagination works. And memory and imagination are co conspirators in our daily lives. And so what you're basically doing is inviting your imagination to fill in those gaps in your memory. And a bunch of groups use versions of this Scientology auditing is a version of that teal swans completion process is a version of that. And and it's so counterintuitive that that's how your that your memory could be manipulated that easily that it's, it's an easy thing for these people to prey on. And really shock people with when they convince you that Oh, to this is an example I've heard multiple times convince people that their father raped them when they were a child when they had no memory of that is a very common one. So yeah, when I hear things about that, like, Oh, we're going to help you remember things you might not even remember happens to you. That's a huge, huge red flag.

Stephen Bradford Long 44:57 Yeah, definitely. And you know something This hits home, I'm wearing a gray faction shirt right now, as you pointed out before recording, for people who don't know, gray faction is a campaign of the Satanic Temple that's focuses specifically on this kind of stuff that is connected to Satanic Panic. I've done several episodes about that if you're interested. But you know, one of the things that I've heard one of the criticisms of TST that I've heard, which is all of that stuff existed in the 80s, but it's kind of died down. Now. Why are you so obsessed with this still? And I think what you're pointing out here, and it's always worth pointing out is that the recovered memory stuff is still pretty mainline, I mean, maybe not the specific claims of satanic ritual abuse. They still exist. Those are more niche, but the the, the memory or the, what was the, what's the word for it resurfaced memory, my brain is glitching repressed memory. Speaking of memory, my brain is glitching right now. Yeah. repressed memories. That's super mainline and it is a huge red flag so deep. And speaking about this stuff kind of being mainline. I mean, you have all of the spiritual teachers and gurus doing a repressed memory stuff. Do you feel like things are that that America is just crazier? Now, with the rise of Trump because I feel like with Trump being in office, what once was fringe, it feels like it's kind of been turned inside out, our culture has been turned inside out. And that which was on the fringes is now at the center, you know, a man who a man who adored and looked up to and admired Alex Jones and watched Alex Jones is now in the office, if I think that's true, that he was an Alex Jones fan, and then Q Anon, you know, the president refusing to condemn Q anon. And it feels like to me there has been this inversion, where what once was French is closer to the centers of power than it has, at least since I can remember. Do you think that's true? Do you feel like things are just crazier? Or? Or is it? Or is that just a cognitive distortion? Yeah,

Carrie Poppy 47:25 it's a little bit of both, right? Because there is some availability bias here where it's very easy to think of these examples, because well, one of them is in the White House. So we hear about time all day. So I do think that at least the people who study these things, and you know, come out with yearly analyses of how much of of the US pleasing conspiracy theories and stuff have held pretty steady over the last several decades that there's just like, there's a certain segment of the population that's always just kind of in love with this stuff. But if you get an individual who is into that stuff into the highest office in the land, now, you you embolden those people to talk about it and be very public about it. So I think we've always had it, I think it's always, you know, you get different flavors of it, depending on what cultural moment you're in. But when that particular flavor has infected your presidency, it's it's still extremely concerning. I don't think the general population has to have grown and conspiratorial thinking for that conspiratorial thinking to have too much power right now. Because, yeah, African press

Stephen Bradford Long 48:48 is kind of like, you know, the racism and the transphobia, and the xenophobia and all that stuff. It's like, Are there more people than there used to be who are racist and transphobic? And xenophobic? Well, I don't know. Maybe. But, but the President has 100% empowered those people. Yeah, to to be more vocal. And maybe that's kind of the same thing that's happened with conspiracy thinking is he has he has allowed that or he has empowered them to be more vocal and more in our faces about it? Yeah, I think that's probably true. So you were talking about how there's always a segment of people who are who will always be super into this stuff. We all know one of those people. And a lot of my listeners come from those families. You know, a lot of my listeners we are, we're kind of this community of people recovering from religious trauma recovering from growing up in in fringe religious settings. And that, that just tends to be my audience. We're still having to navigate those relationships, right, you know, and so I have family members who are into some really weird crazy shit. And I'm sure my listeners do as well. Just and maybe you will feel like this is above your paygrade. But what what advice would you give to people who are struggling with these relationships? And how do you talk to someone? How do you continue to be in relationship with someone who you feel has beliefs that are not just very wrong, but actually damaging and toxic?

Carrie Poppy 50:29 Yeah, well, it's, it is incredibly tough. And I, first I'd say, if that person's flavor of Gosh, what's even the word hate logical hatred, or whatever it is, if that affects you personally, so for example, if you're a woman, and this person is incredibly misogynistic, you don't have an obligation to fight that battle. So if someone is incredibly racist, it is not my black friends jobs to do stay in that person's life and can convince them otherwise, if they have the fortitude to do it, amazing, do it. But if you don't, that's okay, for those of us who are in a privileged position within that dialogue. So for example, me a white woman, when I see people being racist, I think, okay, like, this is the moment where I have the privilege and the burden of staying in this conversation, continuing to treat this person, like an individual with a mind who really believes what they're saying, I have information they clearly don't have. And if I can keep down my emotional reaction of, you know, wanting to punch their face, or whatever it is, if I, if I can temper that, I over the long game can actually make a difference. And if we can all sort of make a little bit of that agreement with one another that you know, you, Steven, maybe you handle some of the misogyny for me. And then, you know, I go and I'm handling some of like, say anti gay bias. Yeah,

Stephen Bradford Long 52:06 the homophobia. Yeah, I love that. I love that. I, I do think that the LGBT community, and I have felt this a lot, we've, I can't speak for others, but I have personally felt this just this massive burden to like, be the one to talk people out of their homophobia and, and I realized that I lived with that for years. And so what I'm hearing you say is, you know, for people who are listening, who have hard relationships, to take care of yourself, first and foremost, and to really let that be the, the, the focal point of and how you determine whether to engage or not, like, Will this be healthy for you? Or will it not be healthy for you? And so once you think through that, and and you realize, okay, you know, this person isn't a complete misogynistic monster. So, you know, I'm not going to hand this off to Steven, I'm going to let you will deal with it. What do you how do you take it from there?

Carrie Poppy 53:07 Yeah, well, for me, I try to treat everybody as probably a good person. And I know how that sounds like, I know that if I'm talking to someone who says, you know, black people aren't as smart as white people, for example, you know, the sort of IQ supremecy

Stephen Bradford Long 53:28 read my article about that? I believe you. Oh, okay. Oh, did one of my articles on Twitter, sorry, about Sam Harris? No, yeah, no, I know exactly what you're talking about. I wrote an article about Sam Harris and that and you you posted a screenshot from that article, which we'd be very happy

Carrie Poppy 53:53 and develop that into my own personality and forgotten and had anything to do with you. So yeah, you know, when something like that is happening, it is very uncomfortable to then say, Okay, this is my friend Steven, he thinks he thinks Asian people are not as good at white people in art or whatever it is, that is so incredibly uncomfortable. And, and yet that actually is the burden the burden is to say like, okay, you know, if to some people that ruins my credibility, even that's okay, like, because we know that what works is staying in the room, being with that person to mean like, Oh, hey, I hear you. Oh, that's interesting. That data point you bring up as interesting. Okay, I'm listening. I'm gonna look that up. Hey, here's how I see it when you tell me that that you saw a study that says white people are better at x the black people, I wonder to myself like, Ah, okay, was that affected by the greater society? in which that IQ test was performed, is there some way that the black people in the study weren't able to get the education that the white people in the study got? And that maybe that's an argument for helping them more, not less? Yeah. Yeah. And sort of just staying there and walking them through what has become an automatic process for you. Because it can be hard to remember like, oh, there was a point in time where you didn't know the shit either. And, and now you do so okay. Why is it that I don't agree with what you're saying? If I can get in contact with that internal rationale, and I can articulate it to you, maybe I can make some progress. And maybe that will take a very long time. And in the meantime, people will not love that. I'm friends with Ellen DeGeneres, or whatever it is, whoever that person is that, you know, is a symbol to someone else of bad stuff.

Stephen Bradford Long 55:55 Yeah, if you're friends with Ellen DeGeneres, it's making complete sense. But I have to say, if you're friends with Ellen DeGeneres, we can't be friends, Carrie, no, I'm kidding. Friends, can be friends with whoever you want to be. You can even be friends with Sam Harris, who you know, is I'm glad that you, I'm glad that you bring up that example, actually of race realism, because I feel like Sam Harris single handedly re stoked that conversation on the internet with his with his interview with Charles Murray. Anyway, that is deep. That is deep internet history. But so basically what I'm hearing you say, is it once you've gone through that first evaluation, and this is probably an ongoing evaluation of is this? Is this relationship healthy for me? Like is, is this actually good for me, and that might change along the way, like you, you might find along the way that this person is, is pretty toxic for you. And you have to back off. And and so in the process of doing that evaluation of is, is this healthy for me, especially you know, as as a woman, as a as an LGBT minority as a person of color? Is this really a situation that is good for my well being?

Carrie Poppy 57:12 And can I be an effective communicator to them? If I'm if my emotional reactions are so high?

Stephen Bradford Long 57:17 Absolutely. And should I just opt out of this? So as we do that kind of ongoing evaluation, it it's it's really about posture and being willing to be in it for the long haul. And, and engage in kind conversation and, you know, I've listened to some of your your interviews with like psychics, for example. And what really strikes me about that is a how fucking blunt you are. But also how, how kind I mean, you, you it's very respectful, and it's no, you don't pull any punches, if that makes sense. It's, it's blind, but it's us it is. That's not what I meant to say. It's blind, that I meant to say, it's blunt. And it's kind.

Carrie Poppy 58:08 Okay, good, good. Yeah. Maybe that's where the word blind comes from a wow, deep,

Stephen Bradford Long 58:14 deep, very deep. Cool. Well, I think that we're at the end of our time, and I think that's a great note to end on. You know, as always, be kind and hail satan, and I hope that this conversation has, has inspired people to, to be more kind and to engage in relationship because you know, whether, whether we like it or not, the vast majority of the human race has some kind of crazy belief. And, and we can't just shut ourselves off from that we have we have to be connected with other human beings and we have to work towards a better humanity. And the only way we can do that is through relationship. And so we have to do what's best for us and to protect ourselves, especially if we're minorities, and we can stay in relationship if that's right for us.

Carrie Poppy 59:06 So yeah, absolutely. Well, Carrie,

Stephen Bradford Long 59:09 it has been such a delight getting to talk to you I have thoroughly enjoyed this. And you're welcome back anytime.

Carrie Poppy 59:17 Oh, thank you. And may I say since you are wearing a gray faction shirt, yeah, I have texted Lucien I would say three times a week for the last eight months. Because I've been trying to get the ISS TD t shirt from gray faction which is like an anti Poor boy. I'm making this complicated but I've been trying to get this one particular shirt. It's a great shirt action and he says no don't pay for it. I'll send you one any as in this. So literally our text thread is just me being like still no Sure. Your chocolates hot. No, no, no, I I still love it. So please work your TST magic to get you your

Stephen Bradford Long 1:00:07 T shirt or furniture all right so my my infernal minions listening right now. Your job is to go on Twitter and harass Lucian. Message him tweet at him telling him to send Carrie her fucking t shirt out. I'll email him to I'll shoot him some emails

Carrie Poppy 1:00:32 make his life a suffering mess

Stephen Bradford Long 1:00:34 especially especially right now through the election. Yeah, I mean especially right now with Amy Kony Barrett being being in the Supreme Court and everything being super uncertain now is the best time to really tortured him all right, well that is it for this show. The music is by the jelly rocks and eleventy seven you can find them on iTunes Spotify or wherever you listen to music. The artwork is by Rama Krishna Das. This show is written produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long and as a production of rock candy recordings as always Hail Satan and thanks for listening.

1:01:58 Self esteem was was over