Lions in the Suburbs and 4 Other Must-Hear Podcast Getaways

Ready to escape the daily commute? Get away to a suburb in Australia with lions on the loose, or a variety show broadcast from a ballroom at the top of the Eiffel Tower. These podcasts will still get you back in time for work — and you’ll feel grateful your job doesn’t involve flesh-eating beetles, haunted letters, or John Hodgman’s teen insecurities.

Dead Pilots Society, “Only Child”

In the autobiographical “Only Child”, a 14-year-old John Hodgman navigates a band practice romance, the pot-smoking guidance counselor who lives in his house, and the question of why his parents won’t allow him to have his own apartment. Host Ben Blacker (Thrilling Adventure Hour) interviews Hodgman about the TV pilot that somehow never got made — and Hodgman acts as himself in a table read, cast alongside 14-year-old co-stars. Listen here.

Credit: Dead Pilots Society

In the autobiographical “Only Child”, a 14-year-old John Hodgman navigates a band practice romance, the pot-smoking guidance counselor who lives in his house, and the question of why his parents won’t allow him to have his own apartment. Host Ben Blacker (Thrilling Adventure Hour) interviews Hodgman about the TV pilot that somehow never got made — and Hodgman acts as himself in a table read, cast alongside 14-year-old co-stars. Listen here.

The Real Thing, “Backyard Lion Safari”

What would you do if you found your dog in the mouth of a lion? This podcast from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation tells bizarre true stories from the country’s residents, and this tale of escaped lions on the loose in the suburbs offers all you hoped for from a childhood in Australia. Hear from kids who grew up next door to the lions, who sprinkle their stories with Australian slang, imitations of their neighbors eating dinner, and the tale of a dog’s tragic end. Listen here.

Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

What would you do if you found your dog in the mouth of a lion? This podcast from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation tells bizarre true stories from the country’s residents, and this tale of escaped lions on the loose in the suburbs offers all you hoped for from a childhood in Australia. Hear from kids who grew up next door to the lions, who sprinkle their stories with Australian slang, imitations of their neighbors eating dinner, and the tale of a dog’s tragic end. Listen here.

Mabel, “The Letters”

Ana Limón has been working as a caretaker for Sally, an elderly woman, for six months. And eerie things have started to happen, perhaps because of a powerful box of letters. Ana doesn’t have anyone to turn to except Sally’s estranged granddaughter, Mabel, who won’t return her calls. Told through Ana’s increasingly panicked voicemails for Mabel, this fictional drama is creepy and personal. Listen here.

Credit: Mabel

Ana Limón has been working as a caretaker for Sally, an elderly woman, for six months. And eerie things have started to happen, perhaps because of a powerful box of letters. Ana doesn’t have anyone to turn to except Sally’s estranged granddaughter, Mabel, who won’t return her calls. Told through Ana’s increasingly panicked voicemails for Mabel, this fictional drama is creepy and personal. Listen here.

Here Be Monsters, “We Pay Them in Meat”

Ah, the sound of 20,000 beetles gnawing at owl flesh. In this episode of Here Be Monsters, learn about the “museum volunteers” who help curators prepare macaws and jaguars for natural history exhibits in record time (less than 24 hours to clean a squirrel-sized animal!). Hear the beetles at work and be grateful you don’t see them — or smell anything. As curator Chris Stinson says, “You have no idea what a rotting skull smells like.”

Ah, the sound of 20,000 beetles gnawing at owl flesh. In this episode of Here Be Monsters, learn about the “museum volunteers” who help curators prepare macaws and jaguars for natural history exhibits in record time (less than 24 hours to clean a squirrel-sized animal!). Hear the beetles at work and be grateful you don’t see them — or smell anything. As curator Chris Stinson says, “You have no idea what a rotting skull smells like.”

Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air), “Season One, Episode 1”

Julian hopes to be a part of it all: the ventriloquism lessons, the cricket translation machine, the bird who plays every instrument in an orchestra save the viola. But Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air), a fictional variety radio show broadcast from a ballroom at the top of the Eiffel Tower, has no place for a lonely, bumbling janitor. Told by Julian’s imaginary friend—or at least, imaginary narrator—the latest project from the Welcome to Nightvale team is as delightfully strange as you’d expect.

Julian hopes to be a part of it all: the ventriloquism lessons, the cricket translation machine, the bird who plays every instrument in an orchestra save the viola. But Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air), a fictional variety radio show broadcast from a ballroom at the top of the Eiffel Tower, has no place for a lonely, bumbling janitor. Told by Julian’s imaginary friend—or at least, imaginary narrator—the latest project from the Welcome to Nightvale team is as delightfully strange as you’d expect.

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