The Dark Origin Story of Internet Spiritual Guru Teal Swan

By Jennings Brown on at

Last week, Gizmodo launched The Gateway, an investigative podcast about Teal Swan an internet spiritual guru who creates hypnotic YouTube videos aimed at people who are struggling with depression. These videos share controversial messages about mental health with her devoted fans who follow her online and in person. Many people get so wrapped up in her messages, they join Swan’s intentional community and move out to her retreat centre in Costa Rica.

The second episode, which you can listen to here, looks into Swan’s backstory, which helps explain why she criticises the mental health system, and why she focuses on suicide. And it presents some of our reporting on the death of one of her first followers.

Her messaging on death is important because she is reaching millions of people with her self-help videos

The Gateway is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, iHeart Radio, or TuneIn.

The Gateway is hosted by Jennings Brown, produced by Jessica Glazer and Emily Pontecorvo, and edited by Bari Finkel of Pineapple Street Media. Mandana Mofidi is the Fusion Media Group Executive Director of Audio. Editorial oversight provided by Kelly Bourdet. Original score and mixing by Hannis Brown.