Whit Missildine/Wondery public
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What if your mother left to follow a cult… or you woke up in a morgue… or if your boat got caught in a storm and began to sink -- what would you do? This is Actually Happening brings you extraordinary true stories of life-changing events told by the people who lived them. From a man who finds out a celebrity crush isn’t who she seems to a woman stranded in a Mexican desert fighting to survive, these stories will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what happens next.
 
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“I cannot get over the fact that this actually happened. It felt strangely prophetic.” Producers: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits Episode Summary: Growing up with an unreliable mother, a woman develops severe OCD with multiple phobias, until she must confront the most improbable scenario Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisis…
 
“I was forced into being vulnerable, I was forced into being present, I was forced into existing suddenly with my lights turned on.” Producers: Whit Missildine, Sara Marinelli Episode Summary: Grappling with her identity and disruptive health anxiety, a woman reaches in adulthood with a dream job and strong community, when suddenly her worst-case s…
 
“No matter how hard you fight against having no change in your life, it’s going to come anyway.” Producers: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: Growing up in an environment of constant change, a woman vows to find a different path to stability, only to have a shocking revelation turn her world upside down Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening We…
 
A charismatic Russian woman arrives in the US on a mission to improve relations between the two countries, and she soon makes some powerful friends. But who is Maria Butina? And who is she working for? As Maria gets closer to the rich and connected she also attracts the attention of the FBI. In the politically charged world of US-Russia relations, …
 
“If you could imagine having thoughts that frightened you, then other times they made you believe things about your perception or what you were seeing weren’t real or distorted…you would do anything to stop it.” Producers: Whit Missildine, Matt Volla Episode Summary: After making a successful career and surviving several tumultuous relationships, a…
 
Listen to MANslaughter now at: wondery.fm/MS_actuallyhapp MANslaughter tells intertwining stories about how one gunshot on a cold Wisconsin night in 1970 dramatically changed multiple lives. A bullet brutally tore through decorated law enforcement veteran LaVerne Stordock. Decades later, his niece, Dorothy Marcic, transformed herself into an amateu…
 
“I close my eyes even to this day reliving it over and over in my head like, ‘Did that really happen?’ I wasn’t for sure that it was really real.” Producer: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits Episode Summary: A mother struggles to raise her child through a series of chaotic relationships, when one day, as her daughter’s mental illness spirals out of con…
 
“I just kept saying ‘I don’t know, I’m sorry, I don’t know, it’s all my fault. I can’t believe I just did that,’… I’m in disbelief.” Producer: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits Episode Summary: After a traumatic childhood, a young woman spirals into mental illness and in her darkest moment makes an unthinkable decision that will change her family forev…
 
“Time just did not exist, the only thing that existed was decisions.” Producers: Whit Missildine, Jason Blalock Episode Summary: A young woman’s first trip to reconnect with her homeland in Ethiopia takes a terrifying turn as hijackers take over an otherwise routine flight Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisisactuallyhappe…
 
“I saw myself in the mirror, and it was like seeing a CGI character…I’m sitting here looking at this frail person that looks nothing like me.” Producer: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits Episode Summary: A horrific accident leaves a man severely disabled, but after hitting rock bottom in his recovery a new life opens he could never have imagined Today’…
 
“Will I ever be able to be one of them ever again, or am I just like an alien now?” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A woman finally escapes the trauma of her mother’s mental illness only to find a new, more horrifying monster in the very place she finds respite Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisisactuallyhappen…
 
“I felt like my brain was in Saran Wrap…you’re just not all there.” Producer: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits Episode Summary: Having adapted to the challenges of growing up with cerebral palsy, a woman is sideswiped into a new life after a crash she can’t remember changes everything. Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisisact…
 
“I was asleep. Everything I was going through was not real, and it’s just this very convincing feeling that you’re right about this” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A woman develops a severe eating disorder that lands her in intensive psychiatric care, where an extreme treatment program traps her in an alternate reality from which she ca…
 
“They were there to remind me who I was in the world, and it hurt too much on the inside, being hurt on the outside didn’t matter as much.” Producer: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits Episode Summary: A man’s rage grows after growing up with racism and abuse, leading to transformative encounters with brutality, violence and ultimately, inner strength. …
 
“The hardest part about the whole thing is just not knowing; for a few hours that night I wasn’t me and that’s terrifying.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A woman answers a Craigslist ad for a job and ends up on a harrowing night that doesn’t add up Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisisactuallyhappening.com Sup…
 
“You just think this is a nightmare, and then you realize nope this is my life, this is real.” Producers: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits Episode Summary: A mother faces the ultimate tragedy at the hands of those who are supposed to protect and serve. Today’s episode featured Taun Hall. To find out more about Taun and Miles and the Miles Hall Foundat…
 
“I just didn't feel like a person, I didn't feel like I was a being walking on this planet a lot of the time." Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A woman fights for her life after her husband turns into a monster. Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisisactuallyhappening.com Support the Show: Support The Show on Patre…
 
“This might be the beginning of my last few minutes on the planet.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: An American working in Tokyo ends up in the crosshairs of a notorious organized crime family. Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisisactuallyhappening.com Support the Show: Support The Show on Patreon https://www.pa…
 
“It took me a long time to feel even like a person again." Producers: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A woman is left stranded by her abusive boyfriend in the middle of the night in unfamiliar territory Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisisactuallyhappening.com Support the Show: Support The Show on Patreon https://www.pat…
 
“I did have a hard time ever really feeling safe anywhere, and the problem was just that inside of me it wasn’t safe so it didn’t matter where I was.” Producers: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: After a brutal rape at age 11, a woman keeps her secret, only to be haunted decades later by events that compel her to confront her deepest fears Social Me…
 
“Looking down the barrel of a gun is devastating….Although I was a kid it was very clear that there was lots of hate, and I was kind of frozen.” Producers: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits Episode Summary: Growing up surrounded by racism and police brutality, a man tries to understand and heal his past by seeing what’s really inside the belly of the b…
 
“It felt like the earth had stopped rotating like I was trapped in this moment of just complete all-encompassing fear.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A young woman hungry to explore the world goes on a trip to Tanzania and unexpectedly finds herself caught in an endless cycle of impending doom. Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappeni…
 
“I would do everything I could that had to happen to engage with this object that I needed to do and then I would bury it….And I had to realize at a certain point that it was just not going to work.” Producers: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits Episode Summary: At a young age, a man develops a fetish for diapers that ends up reshaping the course of his…
 
“It’s like you’ve lost yourself completely, and you’re basically left in a million different pieces.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A woman self-medicating for anxiety and depression spirals into an alternate reality after an other-worldly encounter Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisisactuallyhappening.com Su…
 
“Once I was able to be in control of what I decide is disgusting instead of having that placed on me, that’s what helped me become friends with the feeling.” Producer: Whit Missildine , Andrew Waits Episode Summary: After growing up in a rigid Christian community, a woman finds beauty in revolting behaviors. Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappen…
 
“The mind almost has to find a way to prove that it’s not real. This cannot be happening.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: After visiting a psychiatrist for mild anxiety, a young man embarks on a wild spree that will alter the course of his life forever. Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisisactuallyhappening.com…
 
“In these spaces I, as a vulnerable person, am suddenly given the gift of somebody else’s vulnerability.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: Growing up blind and isolated from her peers in a strict upbringing, a woman finds empowerment in a kinky world where the power balance is reversed. Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website:…
 
“It’s truly such an indescribable feeling…kind of like the walls are closing in on you, like reality is just collapsing.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: After a teenage girl begins dating her mom’s student, a shocking accusation leaves a small-town family in ruins. Today’s episode featured Catherine Cole. You can find out more about her…
 
The uncanny, extraordinary, true stories of events that have dramatically altered the lives of ordinary people; a son is shot by his own father, a woman's sister develops multiple personalities, a man wakes up in the morgue. These are riveting, moving and often haunting stories that will stick with you long after you listen.…
 
“Any sense of identity no matter how fake was better than no sense of identity, yet if I don’t have a sense of identity, then who am I as a person?” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: After tragedy strikes a Vietnamese refugee family, a young man finds his new home in a violent gang, forever marking his life path through acts of destruction…
 
“I didn’t know what normal was, so everything looked so scary….Everything I was doing I was learning for the time it was like my birth into the world.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A woman puts the pieces of her life back together after a childhood spent inside an insidious religious cult in Los Angeles. Social Media: Instagram: @actu…
 
“That feeling…honestly I will never forget it, just your heart dropping into your stomach…it’s unreal.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: After growing up in an abusive household, a man confronts a startling, ambiguous loss Today's episode featured Evan Pestona. If you have any information or resources you feel could help bring justice for…
 
Today we launch a new series of bonus content called “Happenings” with three stories of people facing their deepest fears in the unforgiving wilderness of the natural world. Part 1: What if the desert dried your sorrow? Part 2: What if the ocean tested your faith? Part 3: What if a boulder crushed your dreams? Producers: Andrew Waits, Whit Missildi…
 
“Right in the center of your body there’s this lead heavy ball, and inside of it is an immediate understanding of evil.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A woman walking to work in the early morning hours faces the ultimate terror. Today’s episode features Kira Knight. You can reach Kira at violentcrimesurvivors@gmail.com Social Media: In…
 
“I could live with the nightmares. I could live with the panic attacks. But the thing that was tearing me apart was questioning if everything I know in my life was real at all.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A lifelong friendship filled with care, love and personal growth takes a shocking turn in the aftermath of a brutal act of violen…
 
“You try to take off your skin to try to get rid of this voice, and it goes all the way down to the bone.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A man suffering the deep generational traumas of poverty, racism, abuse and mental illness finds transformative power in an ancient plant medicine. Today’s episode featured Dexter L. Booth. Dexter is …
 
"All of the ways we define ourselves are going to be stripped away by illness or the dying process...now who am I?" Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: After 30 years running a Zen Hospice center, a man reflects on what it's like to help transition people through the dying process. Today’s episode features Frank Ostaseski Author of: "The Fiv…
 
**This rebroadcast episode originally aired in April, 2017** “It’s in these places that you begin to see the limits of human capacity – how resilient we are...how we will find a way.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A Yale student moves to Congo to pursue his journalistic dreams and finds an ignored world of people suffering under war an…
 
“The idea that they had plucked me from this terrible life…and it was all going to be sunflowers and rainbows and shit…I just view that as a fantasy.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A young black girl born to a drug-addicted mother is adopted by white, middle-class parents, only to face more sinister taboos as she becomes a stranger wit…
 
“I had to go through having taken everything away from me to come to the conclusion that … you’ll come back a person that’s wiser and a more full, satisfied human.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A young man looking for a quick way to get rid of student loan debt gambles with his life and nearly pays the ultimate price Social Media: Ins…
 
“When somebody hurts you and then they’re like, ‘now you have to take care of him, you’re responsible for him…’ I didn’t know how to feel.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A young woman is forced to make a decision about the fate of a father she never knew. Social Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappening Website: www.thisisactuallyhappening.…
 
“I had total grief and sadness and fear and also just disbelief that it happened. But it’s different when you lose somebody who hurt you.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: After surviving a family broken by drug addiction and mental illness, a woman finds out her mother’s death was tied to one of the most notorious crimes in American hist…
 
Today, I'm introducing the podcast What Was That Like, by Scott Johnson. Featuring real people in unreal situations, What Was That Like covers similar, jaw-dropping stories to This Is Actually Happening, but with its own uniquely fascinating format and style. Today's show will feature a full episode from What Was That Like titled, "Tyson was abduct…
 
“I had this secret inside me that I felt was my one and only friend and companion that took me away from all the pain and anxiety that I had moving through my life.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A young girl’s world is turned upside-down by the early death of her father, but starving herself to cope with the pain becomes a sinister co…
 
“This fake face I was putting on for everybody was my only sense of normality when my whole life is already changed. I didn’t want to admit that stuff was wrong, and I did it in such a convincing way that the majority of people believed me.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A man becomes a hero during a horrific act of war only to face th…
 
“I was sure that this was his mental illness and not something wrong with me until I started hearing it in my head. And that was when I started to think, 'maybe I’m actually going crazy'.” Producers: Sara Marinelli, Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A woman finds respite from childhood anxieties in relationships only to enter a spiral of mental illn…
 
“My earliest memories as a child were fear and anxiety…I was never able to control the situation and that unknown just haunted me.” Producer/Editor: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A girl straddles many worlds growing up biracial with a single white mother whose new boyfriend brings chaos into a peaceful home. Today’s episode featured Arielle Herm…
 
“I misused my position of power to get my needs met…How is it that if we’re called by God to this ministry we could possibly do such a destructive thing?” Producers/Editors: Nigel Coutinho, Stephanie Lepp, Whit Missildine Episode Summary: A priest struggles to transform his life after facing the consequences of his most shameful secret. Today's epi…
 
“We have so much less control than we think we do….Death is really close at hand and we do not do ourselves often any favors by forgetting that.” Producer: Whit Missildine Episode Summary: Firmly established in adulthood with a great career behind her and a wonderful life, a woman suddenly finds herself to be an unlikely perpetrator of the most hor…
 
“It’s much better to try to move forward with your life and accept that things are nebulous, and there are no clear answers.” Producer: Whit Missildine Editors: Sara Marinelli, Whit Missildine Episode Summary: After finally being accepted to an elite college sorority, a woman makes a new best friend whose terminal illness leaves her consumed by unc…
 
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