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BHA91: Wanderlust Syndrome - From Chris McCandless to 'The Grizzly Man' & Many More Adventurers Gone Awry

This week on Black Hoodie Alchemy, we have a very information-dense topic! Lots of notes, lots of twists and turns, tragedy and comedy, philosophy and practicality, and a combination of essentially every topic that this show tends to cover. It's wilderness adventure-time.



I'm joined once again by my cohorts Seedperson1 and Chris Fiato, and I share with them ten stories of men who experience what I can only describe as "wanderlust syndrome", which is throwing away all of their worldly possessions to hit the open expanse -- whether it be the Alaskan wilderness, the desert, the mountains, the beach, or elsewhere. Sometimes this syndrome turns out for the best, in the case of people like John Muir, and sometimes in the case of Chris McCandless of 'Into the Wild' fame or Timothy Treadwell of Werner Herzog's tragic documentary 'The Grizzly Man', it can end in the most horrifying ways imaginable.


⁠⁠BHA DISCORD CHAT⁠⁠ (invite link expires in 7 days but it's easy to find on discord, or you can send it to you on social media)


Here's the list of the names we discuss in the episode:


Chris "Alexander Supertramp" McCandless - a transcendentalist adventurer who foolishly died in the Alaskan wilderness, famous from John Krakauer's book 'Into the Wild.'


Everett Ruess - a young American adventurer from the early 20th century that embodied genuine poetic wanderlust, and who mysteriously disappeared in the Utah deserts.


Carl McCunn - a wilderness photographer who was lost in the Alaskan wilderness during a series of very unfortunate events.


John Waterman - a celebrated and very eccentric alpinist and mountaineer who mysteriously disappeared in the Denali Mountain Range.


Gene Rosellini - another eccentric and philosphical man, like a mild-mannered Ted Kaczynksi, who attempted to live like a stone-age man in the wilderness of Alaska for over a decade before committing suicide.


Timothy Treadwell - a very curious man who lived in the Alaskan wilderness amongst bears for many seasons before staying too late into the fall, only to be eaten alive on camera. He eventually became the focus of Werner Herzog's documentary 'The Grizzly Man'.


August Engelhardt - a strange German man who lived and died on the beach eating only coconuts, claiming that they were the fruit of the gods, only to slowly starve to death in the public eye.


Nathan Campbell - a man who went out searching for the alleged 'Dark Pyramid of Alaska' in 2020 and was never seen again.


John Muir - an ecologist, philosopher, adventurer, and the man on this list that embodies the truest definition of the genuine poetic wanderlust, because he is the only man on this list that doesn't have a tragic ending to his story.


We also bring up to lesser degrees: Aron Ralston of the '127 Hours' fame, Ted Kaczynski the Unabomber himself, and Carl Panzram the serial-killing train-riding hobo from the early 20th century.


Lots to mull over this week! We hope you dig it.



INTO THE WILD by John Krakauer

WALDEN by Henry David Thoreau


This week's featured music comes from an OG forgotten band that deserves way more respect for their innovation of hardcore, rock n roll, and experimentation!


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