Weight Loss Drugs / Sylvia Plath & the Occult

Hosted byGeorge Noory

Weight Loss Drugs / Sylvia Plath & the Occult

About the show

Author Johann Hari is one of the top-rated TED talkers of all time. In the first half, he discussed how weight loss drugs such as Ozempic are about to change our world, for better and for worse, and explained the way they work. "Obesity is the biggest killer in the United States. By one measure, it kills over 680,000 people a year," he noted, adding that we now have a series of drugs that reverse obesity. Ozempic is one of a group of semaglutide injectable medications that mimic the GLP-1 hormone released naturally in the body that contributes to a sense of satiety when we've eaten enough. Originally, these medications were used for treating diabetics, and as such, they have been on the market for nearly 20 years, so we have data on their relative safety, he pointed out. 

Hari, who has struggled with obesity over the years, described taking the drug himself, and how it almost immediately reduced his appetite, which was initially an odd sensation. One of the common side effects from the drug is nausea, which he said was relatively mild for him, and while there are other more serious side effects, they are rare, and he has concluded that the benefits of the medication in reducing the health problems that come from obesity outweighs the other risks. He pinned the rise of obesity in America on the change in diet from natural, whole foods to highly processed ones. Hari sounded a note of caution about people with eating disorders taking the drug, and suggested that doctors should only prescribe it to people with a BMI rate that is higher than 35.  


Julia Gordon-Bramer is a professional Tarot card reader, scholar, and writer/poet. In the latter half, she talked about the lesser-known fact that occult influences fueled the work of poet and novelist Sylvia Plath, who used meditation, crystal-gazing, astrology, Kabbalah, Tarot, automatic writing, and the Ouija board. She found evidence that Plath and her husband, the poet Ted Hughes, were actively into Kabbalah, an ancient form of Jewish mysticism. But according to the rules of Kabbalah, going back to some of the old rabbis, it should only be practiced by males over 40 years of age, so they both broke the rules, and the punishment was said to be madness. Plath, who is thought to have suffered from bipolar disorder, committed suicide at age 30 in 1963 by carbon monoxide poisoning.

One of Plath's poems refers to a Ouija board that Hughes built for them, and how they were trying to summon her father and the god Pan. Hughes was heavily into shamanism and alchemy and viewed Plath as his willing pupil. There is a line in one of her poems where she writes: "I am the magician's girl. I do not flinch," which Gordon-Bramer interprets as being about her devotion to Hughes and their occult practices. During the last hour, she gave Tarot readings to callers using a three-card spread. Gordon-Bramer considers Tarot to be akin to dream analysis, and working with the unconscious, as opposed to the spirit summoning process of the Ouija board.

News segment guests: Lauren Weinstein, Steve Kates

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