May 24, 2002

Devil on My Shoulder

Stories of people who are trying to convince you that the Devil is there, whispering in your ear...and stories of people who try to deny he's there, against some very heavy evidence.


How does the Devil work? We hear stories from five different people who say they found themselves inexplicably doing something random and bad, something which made no sense to them at all. Host Ira Glass explains why this might be, cadging a bit from C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters. (11 minutes)
Act One

It's Fun To Make Hell On Earth

Trinity Church in Texas puts on something called Hell House every Halloween. It's like a haunted house, but each scene shows teenage church members acting out scenes of things the church considers sins. There's a homosexual dying of AIDS; a girl in an abortion clinic (on a doctor's table with fake blood splashed between her legs); a mom who leaves her family for someone she meets on the Internet. George Ratliff made a documentary about all this called Hell House. He plays some of his footage and talks about how effective it is, and how much of a thrill it is for the pious teenagers to act like sinners. (14 minutes)

Act Two

Sixteen Candles Can Lead To A Lot Of Fire

Faron Yoder lives in Amish country in Indiana. When he was a teenager, like every Amish sixteen-year-old, Faron was allowed to abandon the restrictions of Amish life and live as a regular American teenager. It's part of an Amish tradition called rumspringa, which lets Amish kids drive cars and drink and party for a few years, before they decide whether or not to be baptised into the Amish church and live an Amish life. Now 21, Faron explains to Ira why most Amish kids decide to stay Amish after rumspringa, and why, at 21, he hasn't. He's featured in a documentary called Devil's Playground, by filmmaker Lucy Walker. (9 minutes)
Act Three

Devil In Angel's Clothing, Or Is It The Other Way Around?

The story of a man who committed a murder when he was a teenager. He got away with it, and didn't tell the police for twenty years. But then one day, for reasons that aren't entirely clear to him, he did. Reporter Sarah Koenig talked with him in prison, about what it's like to come clean after twenty years, but not even remember how or why. (21 minutes)