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This Is Actually Happening

Author: Wondery

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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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“It’s truly such an indescribable feeling…kind of like the walls are closing in on you, like reality is just collapsing.”Producer: Whit MissildineSocial Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappeningWebsite: www.thisisactuallyhappening.comToday’s episode featured Catherine Cole. You can find out more about her on Instagram @catcole20Engage with the Community: Join the This Is Actually Happening Discussion Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/201783687561039/Shop at the Store: The This Is Actually Happening online store is now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. Content/Trigger Warnings: charges of statutory rape and sexual molestation, domestic abuse, explicit languageIntro Music: "Illabye" – TipperMusic Bed: Ambient Themes by Nigel Coutinho ServicesIf you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of trauma or mental illness, please refer to the following resources.National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN): 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)Crisis Text Line: Within the US, text HOME to 741741
“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 MissildineSocial Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappeningWebsite: www.thisisactuallyhappening.comContent/Trigger Warnings: murder, gang violence, death, incarceration, explicit languageToday’s episode featured Quan Huynh. You can read more about Quan’s story in his memoir, Sparrow in the Razorwire - www.sparrowintherazorwire.com. You can also find out more about Quan and his current work at www.quanxhuynh.com and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @quanxhuynhEngage with the Community: Join the This Is Actually Happening Discussion Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/201783687561039/Shop at the Store: The This Is Actually Happening online store is now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. Intro Music: "Illabye" – TipperMusic Bed: “Cyliner Four/Five” – Chris ZabriskieOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/
“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 MissildineSocial Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappeningWebsite: thisisactuallyhappening.comContent/Trigger Warnings: child abuse, sexual abuse, suicide, death, drug use, mental illness, explicit languageEngage with the Community: Join the This Is Actually Happening Discussion Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/201783687561039/Shop at the Store: The This Is Actually Happening online store is now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. Intro Music: "Illabye" – TipperMusic Bed: “Union Flow” – SpunticOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/
“That feeling…honestly I will never forget it, just your heart dropping into your stomach…it’s unreal.”Today's episode featured Evan Pestona. If you have any information or resources you feel could help bring justice for Evan and his mother, you can email him at justiceforsteph@gmail.comProducer: Whit MissildineSocial Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappeningWebsite: thisisactuallyhappening.comContent/Trigger Warnings: domestic violence, death, murder, suicide, discriminatory slurs, explicit languageEngage with the Community: Join the This Is Actually Happening Discussion Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/201783687561039/Shop at the Store: The This Is Actually Happening online store is now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. Intro Music: "Illabye" – TipperMusic Bed: “Re-Entry” – Lee RosevereOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/
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 MissildineSocial Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappeningShow Website: thisisactuallyhappening.comAndrew Waits Website: andrewwaits.comContent/Trigger Warnings: near-death experiences, explicit languageToday’s episode features: Tiki Mashy, Greg Barnes, and Shaina MaytumTiki Mashy is an owner and operator at Cowboy Up Hanggliding in Wharton, Texas. You can find out more about it at cuhanggliding.comGreg Barnes currently lives in Guam and works at Castle Zion Church (괌 시온성교회) as the youth / English ministry pastor. He is currently turning his story into a book. Greg welcomes anyone contacting him at gregbarnesguam@gmail.com. That’s barns, spelled Barnes.Shaina Maytum is a writer living in Colorado. You can read her work at shainamaytum.comEngage with the Community: Join the This Is Actually Happening Discussion Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/201783687561039/Shop at the Store: The This Is Actually Happening online store is now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. Intro Music: "Illabye" – TipperMusic Bed: Ambient Themes by Nigel Coutinho and Ryan BlackOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/
“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 MissildineSocial Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappeningWebsite: thisisactuallyhappening.comContent/Trigger Warnings: sexual assault, sexual violence, rape, explicit languageToday’s episode features Kira Knight. You can reach Kira at violentcrimesurvivors@gmail.comEngage with the Community: Join the This Is Actually Happening Discussion Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/201783687561039/Shop at the Store: The This Is Actually Happening online store is now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. Intro Music: "Illabye" – TipperMusic Bed: Ambient Themes by Nigel CoutinhoOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/
“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 MissildineSocial Media: Instagram: @actuallyhappeningWebsite: thisisactuallyhappening.comContent/Trigger Warnings: childhood trauma, parental abuse, graphic violence, murder, explicit languageEngage with the Community: Join the This Is Actually Happening Discussion Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/201783687561039/Shop at the Store: The This Is Actually Happening online store is now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. Intro Music: "Illabye" – TipperMusic Bed: “Cylinder Four/Cylinder Five” – Chris ZabriskieOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/
“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 Missildinethisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningContent/Trigger Warnings: domestic abuse, mental illness, suicide, explicit languageToday’s episode featured Dexter L. Booth. Dexter is the author of the poetry collection, Scratching the Ghost from Graywolf Press, which won the 2012 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, as well as the chapbook Rhapsody from Etchings Press. Booth’s poems have been included in the anthologies The Best American Poetry 2015, The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss, The Golden Shovel Anthology honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, and Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry. He is a professor in the Ashland University MFA program and a residential faculty member at Paradise Valley Community College where he teaches poetry and English composition. You can find out more about Dexter, his writing and teaching by following him on Instagram @dexter_two_omelettes, or on Facebook or Twitter. You can find his books Scratching the Ghost and Rhapsody on Bookshop.org, Amazon, or wherever books are sold.Support The Show: You can support the show by supporting our sponsors, including today’s sponsor: Park Predators, the podcast.Intro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed:  “Union Flow” - SpunticOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/This Is Actually Happening Store: This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“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 Missildinethisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningContent/Trigger Warnings: parental abuse, sexual abuse, explicit languageSupport The Show: You can support the show by supporting our sponsors.Intro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed:  “Re-Entry” – Lee RosevereOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/This Is Actually Happening Store: This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“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 Missildinethisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningContent/Trigger Warnings: drugs, near death, explicit languageSupport The Show: You can support the show by supporting our sponsors.Intro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed:  Ambient Themes by Nigel CoutinhoOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/This Is Actually Happening Store: This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“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 Missildinethisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningContent/Trigger Warnings: death, mental illness, explicit languageSupport The Show: You can support the show by supporting our sponsorsEpisode Sponsors: Simplisafe https://simplisafe.com/Intro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed:  “Cylinder Four/Cylinder Five” – Chris ZabriskieOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/This Is Actually Happening Store: This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“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.”Producers: Whit MissildineContent/Trigger Warnings: mental illness, murder, explicit languageToday’s episode featured Nova Reeves. To find out more about Nova, you can Google her article on the death penalty in the Tacoma Tribune. You can hear her reading poetry on YouTube by searching for Quiet Lightning. You can also get a copy of her zine by emailing her directly at novareeves@gmail.comthisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningIntro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed: “Union Flow” - SpunticOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“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.” Producers: Whit MissildineContent/Trigger Warnings: eating disorder, death, domestic abuse, explicit languagethisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningIntro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed: “Re-Entry” – Lee RosevereOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/ This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“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.”Producers: Whit MissildineContent/Trigger Warnings: war, severe injury, gun violence, PTSD, explicit languageToday's episode featured Will Hoover. To find out more about Will, he’s on Twitter and Instagram @WillHooverTV, or you can check his own recently launched podcast about film and technology called Uncovered Cinema.thisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningIntro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed: Ambient themes by Nigel CoutinhoOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/ This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“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 MissildineContent/Trigger Warnings: emotional abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug use, explicit languagethisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningIntro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed: “Cylinder Four/Cylinder Five” – Chris ZabriskieOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/ Episode Sponsors:Great Courses Plus, thegreatcoursesplus.com PROMO CODE: HAPPENINGUpstart, upstart.com/HAPPENINGSimplisafe: simplisafe.com/HAPPENINGGabi Insurance: gabi.com/HAPPENINGYou can now find new and archival episodes of This Is Actually Happening completely ad-free, on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of Stitcher Premium, go to stitcherpremium.com/wondery and use promo code WONDERY. This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“My earliest memories as a child were fear and anxiety…I was never able to control the situation and that unknown just haunted me.”Today’s episode featured Arielle Hermanson. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @arijbligeProducer/Editor: Whit MissildineContent/Trigger Warnings: abuse, domestic violence, explicit languagethisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningIntro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed: “Union Flow” - SpunticOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/You can now find new and archival episodes of This Is Actually Happening completely ad-free, on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of Stitcher Premium, go to stitcherpremium.com/wondery and use promo code WONDERY. This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
 “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?”Producer/Editor: Nigel Coutinho, Stephanie Lepp, Whit MissildineContent/Trigger Warnings: child sexual abuse, explicit languageToday's episode featured Gil Gustafson. This episode was originally produced by Stephanie Lepp at Reckonings, and adapted for This Is Actually Happening. You can find Reckonings wherever you listen, and at: www.reckonings.showthisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningIntro Music: "Illabye" - TipperAmbient Themes by Nigel CoutinhoOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/You can now find new and archival episodes of This Is Actually Happening completely ad-free, on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of Stitcher Premium, go to stitcherpremium.com/wondery and use promo code WONDERY. This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“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/Editor: Whit MissildineContent/Trigger Warnings: death, car crash, explicit languagethisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningEpisode Sponsors:Buffy: buffy.co PROMO CODE: HAPPENINGIntro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed: “Cylinder Four/Cylinder Five” – Chris ZabriskieOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/ This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“It’s much better to try to move forward with your life and accept that things are nebulous, and there are no clear answers.”Editors: Sara Marinelli, Whit MissildineProducer: Whit MissildineContent/Trigger Warnings: explicit languagethisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningEpisode Sponsors: Simplisafe: simplisafe.com/HAPPENINGGreat Courses Plus: thegreatcoursesplus.com PROMO CODE: HAPPENINGIntro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed:  “Re-entry” – Lee RosevereOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/ You can now find new and archival episodes of This Is Actually Happening completely ad-free, on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of Stitcher Premium, go to stitcherpremium.com/wondery and use promo code WONDERY. The This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to purchase branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
“I completely lost touch with reality. You can’t rely on those around you, and you can’t rely on what’s within you. That’s the most terrifying thing in the world.”Producer/Editor: Whit MissildineContent/Trigger Warnings: drug use, mental breakdown, explicit languagethisisactuallyhappening.comInstagram: @actuallyhappeningEpisode Sponsors:Upstart: upstart.com/HAPPENINGGreat Courses Plus: thegreatcoursesplus.com PROMO CODE: HAPPENINGIntro Music: "Illabye" - TipperMusic Bed: Ambient Themes by Nigel CoutinhoOutro Music: "The Moon is Down" - El Diablo & Adam Schraft (Rojo y Negro) @eldiablosf @rojo-y-negro www.eldiablobass.com/ This Is Actually Happening online store now officially open. Follow this link https://www.teepublic.com/stores/this-is-actually-happening-store?ref_id=9467 to access branded t-shirts, posters, stickers and more from the shop. 
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Comments (235)

Randy A

what a dumbass dad

Oct 23rd
Reply

Shannon Scottsdale

lying whore

Oct 10th
Reply

Arb Thai

why does show notes and podcast explain nothing about what they went growing up

Oct 10th
Reply

Jeremiah C.

well... I'm glad I lived a straight edge life, waited until I was married, never did drugs, or get drunk..yada yada yada. I'll have to say...not bad! so there are a few of us out there who are quite happy :-) but my feelers definitely go out to so many who deal with mental illnesses or bad family life that do not have the environment to enjoy much stability :-( This world can be A difficult place to live with many insidious ways too self alleviate:-(

Oct 9th
Reply

Miss Anne Thrope

This is so sad. Such a shame that this young man internalised all the xenophobia and racism.

Oct 6th
Reply

Lloyd Cormier

This should be made into a video and dispersed thought the school system everywhere!

Oct 6th
Reply

Mae Lee Arant

mangroves are an essential barrier against pollutant. you having your way through one of the few places for wildlife for ego is pathetic

Oct 5th
Reply

Lloyd Cormier

This was very heart wrenching to listen to! I hope you know you are a beautiful soul!

Oct 2nd
Reply

Rhiannon Lawrence

Did she go up Murder Mountain??

Sep 30th
Reply

Rhiannon Lawrence

cPTSD

Sep 30th
Reply

Daria Dwyer

man this guy feels sorry for himself way too much. just put him in the bin

Sep 28th
Reply

Rhiannon Lawrence

He should leave! Mental illness is no excuse for abuse. I hope he figures it out, this was so so sad to listen to.

Sep 28th
Reply

Kai Edwards

damn girl - you are so strong!

Sep 27th
Reply

mel

wow.

Sep 23rd
Reply

Jeremiah C.

poor girl. she that sound like a very selfish person unfortunately formed by her environment. too bad the incident didn't teach her humility, but rather it seems like she has disdain for those who helped her.

Sep 21st
Reply (1)

Bessy Eek

Is there a word for backpfeifengesicht, but for a voice?

Sep 20th
Reply

Jeremiah C.

Don't do drugs

Sep 16th
Reply

Bessy Eek

Infuriating person.

Sep 14th
Reply

Sarah Smith

I absolutely get that victims have to heal at their own pace, but it is so infuriating to me that she will not report these people! I know that she has been brainwashed, and there's so much more to it than I can ever understand, but in the meantime they get to keep on doing business as usual. And the money she admittedly blackmails them for probably comes from the torture of some other poor child! I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but this whole story is so screwed up.

Sep 13th
Reply (1)

Stephanie Cybulski

This is...wow. As a victim of molestation from a family member for many years...whew. I hope he's being honest when he says he was fasley accused. This was hard to get through.

Sep 13th
Reply
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