Mania & the Art of Madness

“Resurrecting history’s nightmares and monsters.”

That is the slogan, at least. But what birthed such a project?

The Mania Podcast was inspired by the colourful lows and highs of mental illness.

It is no secret that some of the greatest artists grapple with forms of depression. In searching for success, inspiration, and mastery of their craft, many creatives find that they struggle with some psychological disorder or another. With enough fortitude, these challenges allow artists to harvest unforgettable creations. Not in spite of their obstacles, rather, because of them. Or so I argue.

Just as well, some of the most horrific incidents are borne out of the hands of madmen. Inspired, one might say, by similar valleys and hills of obsession, manic moods, or depression.

Madness permeates humanity with an unparalleled diversity. It paints the world in vibrancy—history, its infinite canvas.

In childhood, we believe that the world is cast in two colours—a binary of virtue and depravity. As we all come to find, the world is not populated by demons and angels, but humans. A wonderful combination of the two.

As such, many of history’s more notable stories arrive with just that: a confusing mixture. Ghosts aren’t just scary. They’re lonely. Demons aren’t evil. Just fallen angels. Killers aren’t (always) cold-hearted. They have motives rooted deep in emotions like yours and mine, sometimes even justifiable ones.

When we read history, we read it from the perspective of the bystander. The onlooker. The innocent society that watches, helplessly, as the world is painted by all kinds of madness. We read it from out seats at cafés. The fine print of newspapers making the actions of evildoers seem so very distant—unthinkable—from the innocence of our ways.

Mania says, “No, no, it isn’t so simple.”

Ironically, by narrowing the perspective.

We get close to the antagonists, the villains, the monsters of history and make them the main character. To do this, we have to tell the stories in a way history cannot. Since recounts are often riddled with gaps and uncertainties, whenever there are holes in a narrative, Mania fills them in with fiction to craft seamless, intimate stories.

At the end of each episode, the contents are parcelled out, labeled, and discussed to provide a clear distinction from truth and fiction. And, most importantly, from understanding and hypocrisy. Through this, we may confidently say:

I do not fear that which I understand.

Thank you for reading; I look forward to you joining me. The show opens up twice a month. Already, it has presented stories such as an unsolved murder of Victorian London, previously lost recounts of banshees, and, most popular, early Galvanic scientists whom truly were flesh-and-blood Dr. Frankensteins.

The podcast is available on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and even YouTube.