Mind Viruses/ Haunted Albuquerque

Hosted byLisa Garr

Mind Viruses/ Haunted Albuquerque

About the show

Host Lisa Garr (email) was joined, in the first half of the program, by technology expert Richard Brodie, who discussed how everyday people become robotically enslaved by advertising, religion, fantasies, and cults through "mind viruses" or "memes." He described this phenomena as something which catches the attention, whether intentionally or inadvertently, and, in turn, "that act of absorbing it compels you to go out and spread the word." Brodie differentiated between memes and mind viruses by explaining that the latter are simply self-contained ideas which lend themselves to repeatability. On the other hand, he said, a virus of the mind is a complex "cultural organism" such as a religion, a government, or a way of life. To that end, he pointed to the idea of the 'American Dream' a meme while a political party would be a mind virus, since it actively attempts to spread its influence.

Brodie also talked about the controversial field of evolutionary psychology which proposes that human instincts and emotional responses evolved through Darwinian evolution. He argued that the concept allows for the "best explanation for why people have various underlying motivations." He used the example of how people pay attention to dangerous things because, in evolutionary times, failure to do so would likely result in death. Therefore, he said, this behavior would pass down and grow as humans evolved over time. Brodie noted that many of the motivating factors for modern humans appear to be rooted in the basic needs of their ancient ancestors, such as concerns about danger, the desire for food, and awareness of mating opportunities.


In the latter half, Charlie Frates, a ghost tour guide in Albuquerque, New Mexico, shared tales of hauntings from the Old Town portion of the city as well as his own paranormal experiences. "These are not stories," he said of the encounters he details during his tours, "these are actual tales from diaries, journals, and eyewitness accounts." He explained that they generally surround ghosts that have been seen multiple times by different, unrelated witnesses, thus eliminating the potential for urban legends or misidentifications. Frates also stressed that, due to his own paranormal experiences, he eschews the role of 'ghost hunter' and prefers to not personally engage these spirits, in order to avoid "any hitchhikers going home with me."

During his appearance, Frates recounted a number of ghost tales from famous locations in Albuquerque's Old Town district, such as a place known as the haunted chapel. He detailed how this chapel was built in the 1970's by a group of nuns and, during its construction, they saw an older woman wearing all black Victorian funeral garb wandering around the grounds. After the chapel was completed, the ghost seemed to move inside, where she was frequently seen rising from a pew, going to the center of the room, and then disappearing by dropping down through the floor. According to Frates, witnesses of this display often reacted with such shock and fear that they fainted and had to be taken to the hospital.

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