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Strange Country

Sometimes you need to have a glass of wine, cuppa whatever and listen to a good old weird story. Musical score Resting Place by A Cast of Thousands.

Jun 27, 2019

You know what they say, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. In this case it's probably best to keep those birds in the bushes and wash your hands immediately. On this week's episode Strange Country co-hosts Beth and Kelly talk about the Parrot Fever Epidemic of 1930 where it seemed Polly wanted more than a cracker...she wanted your soul!

Theme music: Resting Place by A Cast of Thousands.

Cite your sources:

Honigsbaum, Mark. Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria and Hubris. W. W. Norton & Company, 2019.

Inglis-Arkell, Esther. “Cows Are Deadlier Than You Ever Knew.” Gizmodo, 16 Dec. 2015,

Lepore, Jill. “It’s Spreading: Outbreaks, Media Scares, and the Parrot Panic of 1930.” The New Yorker, 25 May 2009,

Psittacosis (Ornithosis, Parrot Fever, Chlamydiosis). New York State Department of Health, Aug. 2017,

Quammen, David. Spillover: Animal Infections and the next Human Pandemic. W.W. Norton, 2013.

Reuell, Peter. “Harvard Study Shows Parrots Can Pass Classic Test of Intelligence.” Harvard Gazette, 27 Feb. 2019,

Rooney, Kate. “Joe Biden's Swine Flu Hysteria.” Time, 8 Dec. 2009,,28804,1945379_1944338_1944286,00.html.