This Is Actually Happening

by Wondery

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.
New episodes come out every Tuesday for free, with ad-free episodes and exclusive past episodes available for Wondery+ subscribers.

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Recent Reviews
  • Emido
    Wow! Find inspiration and resilience here!
    I heard the show advertised on one of my other podcasts. I figured I would check it out. Every story I have listened to so far, even ones that don’t really relate to anything in my life, have been so inspiring. These people are amazing, what the human mind can endure, the determination to persevere. “The monster in the mirror” is my favorite episode so far, because of the strides that the narrator has made, the conscious changes he made in his life. All of them, they are super amazing.
  • zxclandjsme sk
    I used to love this podcast. But now it’s full of woe is me stories that really really aren’t that abnormal or bad. It’s 30+ minutes of someone telling their life story most of the time it sounds like a great history/family/etc… I made myself read reviews to see if anyone agreed and it seems to be a decent consensus
  • BandMadi
    Life changing
    I was recently introduced to this podcast by my sister. After listening to this last episode “facing the monster in the mirror “ my life has changed. This story of addiction was all too real for me. To hear someone share such intimate details of their lives made me realize how anything is possible! I found myself crying happy and sad tears. So happy for this podcast.
  • CharlieGrape
    Good stories
    Good stories 99.9 percent of the time. Well told, good editing. Appropriate tone and sensitivity. These stories help me learn a lot about mental health and other peoples experiences. Helps me with my own struggles
  • SuRoxy
    Episode 217
    Wow. This young woman. Beautifully told. Parallel lives in so many ways. From Effexor to migraines. From the realistic visions to the paralysis of life. From nursing to 16 years of hospice nursing and being the last person a patient sees before they die. The entire episode I thought yes kim. I understand. Yes Kim that’s exactly it. Thank you
  • littlebabybadger
    Heart-wrenching, beautiful, inspiring
    Every story is a shot to the heart for me. This podcast makes you feel something. I think people have grown desensitized and disinterested in the lives and suffering of others. This will make you think and feel a profound empathy and kinship with your fellow human beings. Your fellow sufferers… I hear my own story in nearly every one of them. That says something about us all. I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast. It’s life changing, truly.
  • NellyYes
    Love but…
    This is one of my favorite podcasts, and I tell everyone about it. My only suggestion is to get rid of the background music. Most recent episode also has the background music volume dramatically coming in and out. I’d like to see it gone totally, but if not, turned it down pretty low. Thanks!
  • TattoosbyJoelle
    Inspiring, raw and fascinatingly real
    I started listening to this podcast and fell in love with it! To my surprise I heard my own name being broadcasted in every episode! Turns out I am most likely distantly related to the host as we share a last name but never knew each other and live on opposite ends of the country. He seems like an amazing person and I laud him and the work he is doing. Some of these episodes I found truly captivating. So many were relatable on multiple levels for me. These sort of stories deserve to be told, so thanks Whit for getting them out there! Proud to possibly share some kind of lineage with ya! Haha Keep up the good work!
  • Shiggy Bop
    Horrible Mom
    #118 rebroadcast was especially moving!! That sweet girl went through a lot in her life thanks to her horrible mother!!! I was honestly speechless at how someone could treat their own child so poorly!! Good luck to you and all of your siblings❤️
  • Erinforthearts
    Practice in empathy
    Listening to this podcast is the BEST way to practice empathy and compassion. To hear another human’s story, uninterrupted by any other voices, brings you right in to their experiences. To hear others embrace vulnerability also invites the listener to take a deep dive into our own traumas and life-shaping experiences, so that maybe we can show ourselves a little grace and compassion too. Thank you for the work that you do, Whit!
  • mirrormagpie
    Humane Tales
    The human spirit displayed by real people.
  • Danny Boy100
    Re: Rebroadcast #118
    This story was my intro to this podcast, but while it was gentle and moving, my comment is not about the content but about the presentation. Maybe it is just me, but after about 15 minutes of listening to one narrator (a bit repetitive too), without a break, I almost welcomed the ads and also found that taking my own breaks reduced the “drone” effect. Will the other episodes be similar? We’ll see.
  • Jbinggg
    I’m hooked every time.
    Each episode, I think, “wow that was incredible, best one yet.” Then, I listen to the next and think, “wow that was even better than the last.” I find myself aimlessness driving passed my house so I can finish the episode I’m on, and then of course, tell everyone I know about the story. These have truly changed the way I think about, relate to, and have compassion for trauma. Such well-told, beautifully curated tales of human strength and weakness.
  • SkylerJune
    Lovely stories, truly beautiful podcast.
    This podcast is simply amazing. Everything about it is amazing. It truly captures the beauty and complexity of life. Edit: Just listened to Kennith in the Episode ‘What If you faced the monster in the mirror’ and I am moved beyond words. His story, struggle and then complete 180 change for a better life for himself, for his loved ones, and community… it’s truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing this story. Big thank you to Kennith for sharing everything, and giving serious inspiration.
  • grapefruitcat333
    I love this podcast, but what is up with requiring a subscription to listen to the older episodes? This is the first time i have seen that on Apple podcasts
  • Ortsac66
    Excellent but difficult testimonials
    TIAH is easily one of my top five favorite podcasts. Certainly, the stories aren’t easy to hear. I especially appreciate the honesty and vulnerability shared by the survivors of these extraordinary events.
  • babyjohnnysiera
    Love you. Made me think, truly. Listened since the begging. I want you to make Monetary gain, but sad that I Now have to subscribe to episodes I’ve listened to.
  • kimmi429
    Pandora’s box
    Very brave mom & daughter and kudos to both of them for their strength and faith. Mom, good job following your gut and God Bless your family and God continue to give you strength. You best cancer and you will beat this monster too❤️😘🌹
  • IamMissShannon
    Life changing
    I happened to find this show while browsing new podcasts and immediately knew I wanted to subscribe! You guys are wonderful and GOD bless every single person that’s been vulnerable enough to share their story❤️❤️
  • flockafem
    Christian Proselytizing
    Used to love this podcast but there's just too much christian proselytizing now!
  • Desert Rose 94
    What Happened?
    Lately he’s choosing terrible, insipid stories. Over the past couple of months the quality has seriously downgraded. The storytellers are self indulgent and delusional at best and stupid at worst. The stories themselves appear to have no meaningful takeaway, or climax , or resolution. This podcast used to be genius. I was a hardcore fan, even bought a Wondery subscription. Lately I’m not compelled to finish a single episode
  • Kittybo57
    These incredible stories behind the lives of everyday people are not only moving, but addictive to listen to. I can't get episodes soon enough. It's the type of podcast that makes you feel not so alone in this not so perfect world. It's bizarre that people downgrade a podcast merely for it going to subscription based, a decision that wonders made. You've been listening to podcasts for free, i'm sure you can pay $4 a month to help keep a show on the air. Also, the idea that anyone thinks you would make up a story, go on a show and pretend to bare your soul to the world, exposing yourself to idiots that are going to judge you is ridiculous. The process of vetting stories is lengthy and to have to pretend something for hours on end is ridiculous (45 minutes isn't the true length of most podcast interviews). Don't like to listen what others have been through? Move on.
  • Fswrgv174
    I was about to write a good review about this podcast; it’s opened my eyes to experiences I would’ve never heard anywhere before. But now the backlogs are subscription only? Your episodes are already littered with ads. Sad to see this. As if folks have the expenses now to listen to a podcast that has always been free. Lost a listener for this gross decision here.
  • pjbrock
    The back ground music
    Love the podcast however the back ground music is distracting and annoying but love the stories
  • Carriep63
    Well done pod, too much proselytizing
    This podcast is very well done, and I truly enjoy the storytelling and the production. Whether they are exaggerating or not doesn’t bother me, but a huge portion of these stories contain so much religion and proselytizing that I feel like there is some sort of agenda here. It’s off-putting for me. To the recent reviewer that complained about the 14 year old girl having consensual sex: children cannot consent to sex, my friend. It’s SA whether she “wanted it” or not. Do better.
  • nice, naive, and beautiful
    I absolutely love this podcast, I found it recently and have been binging. I can’t help but wonder if the content creators are involved in recovery, because so many of the stories touch upon addiction (I’m in recovery so I really enjoy that piece). I was surprised to see that people didn’t like the recent episodes, I thought they were incredible. Thanks for a great podcast!
  • 000002467
    Lost me
    This is about the story where the girl huffed the dust off … lost me when she said she was sexually assaulted when she was 14… she WANTED to lose her virginity, went into a room with a guy, had sex with him, and then I guess because it wasn’t how she thought it was going to be, she says she was sexually assaulted ….sorry but no, that’s not being sexually assaulted. I feel bad for the guy almost. And then goes on about how women don’t speak up about things that happen to them and now this is about how women are made to feel . Lost me
    Fiction ?
    I’m wondering if some of these stories are even real? Predictable outcomes for people that I could care less about . I feel horrible admitting that but it’s true I just can’t ….
  • Acm14453865
    I enjoyed this podcast until they decided to make the majority of it wondery subscription. Delete I guess. No sense in keeping a podcast I can’t hear.
  • Erinbangify
    Going down hill
    I used to loveee this podcast but the episodes are just going down hill with stories I honestly don’t want to hear. I can’t imagine you can’t find more interesting stories/people. I’ll keep listening but I really really hope y’all bring some more interesting content. Update: now I’m going to have to stop listening. Almost every episode now weaves in Christianity. It’s ridiculous. I already listen to cult podcasts, I don’t need another one.
  • Skynoire
    Good but they’ve started proselytizing
    The last episode was cool but it turned into weird evangelical Christian proselytizing at the end. If you’re going to do that can you at least feature the stories of people from a variety of different faith backgrounds talking about their religion and how it helped them heal from trauma? Thanks for considering. Otherwise please clearly advertise yourselves as an evangelical Christian podcast.
  • LeahJH
    Stories that go nowhere
    Not worth your time and disappointing for wondery. This weeks episode (11/22) is maybe worth an essay but not a podcast
  • jessiek75
    Truly enjoy the stories and tone!!
  • thankskimberly
    Fantastically produced!
    Started listening to this podcast abut a week ago and don’t want to stop! Amazingly curated, very interesting and great stories
  • mkclipp
    Incredible podcast that evokes empathy and compassion
    It’s been a long time since I’ve been obsessed with a podcast, but this one is truly special. Somehow you really feel and understand each individual’s experience. Amazing. I’d love to tell my own story. Please keep making them.
  • USA Mknitter
    Jessie Bains courage (210?)
    What an incredible amount of courage for you to share your rape story, and how you have sought help as a result of that horrible experience. It will never leave you, and I greatly admire how you deal with the traumatic as it reintroduces itself into your daily/weekly life. Thank you so much for your vulnerability in speaking of this experience.
  • Lindsay Rae Nicks
    Kind, caring and beautiful host
    I never write reviews but had to here. On the episode What if you didn’t know where they were taking you?, host addressed bullying and cruelty by listeners to one person in particular who shared their story. Give it a listen! It was so beautifully said. It would help all of humanity to abide by his words: be kind and loving even through imperfection. Know that we all are suffering at times in this human experience. We are all learning and struggling and trying. Being understanding and kind is a conscious effort we must make, and we can challenge ourselves every day to do it. Such a beautiful thought that we can emotionally help ourselves and others by keeping in mind that we ALL are flawed beings. Think of how people would respond to you, and others in turn, if you chose empathy. Thank you!!!
  • K362DW
    Lost a listener
    I adored this podcast, but if you’re dressing up medical negligence and narcissism as heroism and then admonishing your listeners for being concerned and outraged over a medical professional doing things that could kill someone, maybe you’ve lost the plot. Most of episode 209 was completely unbelievable. Sorry, not sorry.
  • TRSD221
    This show is special
    I love this show so much. And appreciate even more that you are not allowing comments on the Instagram feed choosing to protect your authors with the hopes of decency from your audience. Well done and thank you. This show shows so many beautiful challenges and victories it’s just really special work you’re doing allowing people to tell their stories. If I could get 100 stars instead of 5 I would.
  • nhersue
    Keep Doing What Your Doing!!! Sending love from Haiti
    Is been a tough year and you truly have helped me cope. I downloaded all your episodes before I went home to Haiti. I am back to the states now and all caught up. The stories are so interesting and I can relate to a lot of them. It saddens me that the people reacted that way for episode 209. All that you say is so true. What resonated what “ you don’t have to like everyone but you can love them” Well I like and love you and your show.
  • ....2122
    Lazy people
    I love your stories. Spread love and hope those haters will wake up and stop hurting others. Keep shining your brightness and wonderful stories. ☺️
  • fionaschip
    Amazing stories presented perfectly!!
    It blows me away that this team is able to release such long, quality episodes every week. It’s refreshing to hear stories first hand, as if the person is talking directly to you and not through a host. This Is Actually Happening has broadened my view towards the people and experiences around me.
  • DubbRunn
    These stories have changed my life.
    I am so appreciative of this podcast. I love that the real stories are told by the people who lived them. I identify with many of the stories and often find that the narrator explains their experiences and feelings in a way I have not been able to for myself. The editing is great and episodes always end with a good wrap-up. Thank you for the good work to shed light on other’s fascinating experiences. I appreciate your recent words in response to listeners who had negative feedback. It hit home and I’m so glad you spoke up. It applies to life in general. Thank you.
  • MegsPR
    I am obsessed
    It breaks my heart to see anything less than 5 stars given to this podcast. Each episode is incredibly unique and I absolutely love hearing it directly from the source and that it’s not a retelling by someone else. The negative comments here about specific episodes are unwarranted. Each episode explains trigger warnings in the show notes and if it seems like an episode you won’t like - just click to the next. I love clicking around to see which titles seem most interesting. The work Whit has put into this podcast for the last 9 years is astounding. Bravo.
  • J-Rom
    We Need a Reason to Trust You
    This podcast is labeled as true crime, but the host does very little in the way of demonstrating that the stories have been verified, corroborated, or vetted in any way. It is critical that people who have survived trauma are able to tell their stories, if they wish to, and their anonymity should be respected. However, when such harrowing and deeply disturbing stories are shared, it is the host’s burden to establish the veracity of the claims for the listener. You don’t have to BE an investigative journalist to be a good podcaster, but you do have to INVESTIGATE, otherwise anyone can say anything. This is not The Moth Radio Hour. These stories involve disturbing allegations, graphic details and violent or sexual crimes that have not been reported. Perhaps the host does have some vetting or verification process, but if so, it does not seem to be communicated to his audience. (Or at least not frequently enough that I have come across it.) If there is not a vetting process, literally every episode needs to disclaim that the stories are uncorroborated, not as a slight to those telling their stories, but as a reminder that no story has only one side. The podcast is called This is Actually Happening, but is it? Would that it were so simple that we could believe that without other assurances. I truly hope that all of the stories told here are the truth, and that all of the survivors at the center of them are healing and have benefited from sharing their stories. In the most recent episode, the host voiced his frustration with the doubt his listeners have about the veracity of the stories told, and he said “trust me, they’re true.” Why would we trust you? We don’t know you. We need a reason to trust you. I think it is profoundly irresponsible not to make that reason more apparent, given the gravity of the stories being shared. There are many great podcasts that keep storytellers anonymous while giving their audiences reason to trust them. I meditated before I typed this.
  • Boreas22!
    Not a review
    I am horrified hearing about hate towards your recent story teller. So sorry
  • ALou_61
    Amazing stories you are a good person keep up the good work. Don’t listen to the stupid.
  • please talk better
    The intro episode 210, Whits response to folks being unkind online, what an outstanding statement. Very touched by that. Thanks for setting a caring and compassionate precedent.
  • Hector LaVoy
    Incredibly powerful stories
    These stories are incredibly powerful. Thank you for sharing.
  • Chicken 1234
    made me cry
    thank you, mr missildine, for what you do. i’m not on social media, but your intro on episode 210 is enlightening. i hope you never stop. i’ve been following since the inception and i have loved listening and sharing and even recognized a friend of mine who taught me how to eat from the bountiful dumpsters of squamish :)
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