Oh No Ross and Carrie: podcasting investigative journalists join cults, try woo, and get prodded — for science!

I've just finished listening to the entire, three-year run of Oh No Ross and Carrie, a podcast hosted by two former Evangelical Christians turned skeptics, who join cults and fringe religions, visit psychics and healers of varying degrees of woo-ness, and partake of quack remedies and other newage rituals. After dozens of hours of listening, enjoying, laughing and learning, I'm totally converted to their faith.

In the course of the podcast, Ross and Carrie take a suite of Mormon teachings and become baptized (part one, part two); then renounce Mormonism and become baptized Crowleyites through the Ordo Templi Orientis (part one, part two — spoiler, they get kicked out of the OTO), then join the Raelians (part one, part two) who subsequently threaten to sue them.

They also try out reflexology, Reiki, and a juice-fast (and even colonic irrigation).

Their strapline is "We show up so you don't have to," and that sums it up pretty much perfectly. If you've ever wondered what happens at an evangelical prayer meeting (say, with the Tony Alamo church, whose leader was sentenced to 175 years in prison for raping children) (part one, part two) or a sound bath or a palmist, Ross and Carrie will take you there from the comfort of your own podcatcher, without your having to enrich any quacks or cults on the way.

One thing I loved about Ross and Carrie was their compassion and respect for the good side of even the most woo, most cultlike practices. Having grown up in hardcore Creationist/young earth Christian traditions, and they both are alive to the benefits of belonging to a faith. They are careful to call out the good that these practices do for their practitioners, and go out of their way to give the other side airtime — for example, here's a delightful interview they did with a pagan.

And they're never afraid to take one for science. In one of my favorite episodes, the two of them become roaring drunk in order to test a hangover remedy. Ross actually pukes on-mic!

As comedians, Ross and Carrie are always punching up, and never punching down. They may make fun of Rael or Tony Alamo, but they're scrupulous in pointing out whatever comfort and joy their followers get out of the experience.

Ross and Carrie have joined the Maximum Fun podcast network (home of Judge John Hodgman, another favorite of mine), which is how I found out about them.

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