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Super Subcultures

Meet the people who build their lives around weird and wonderful obsessions.

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The High Priest of Heavy Metal

First he found God. Then he found death metal. But Father Robert Culat believes there’s no reason the two can’t co-exist.

Confessions of a 30-Something Hanson Fanatic

How rediscovering the boy band I obsessed over when I was 12—and connecting with other superfans from all over the world—helped me navigate life as an adult.

The Revival of a Bloodthirsty Obsession

Leeches were once a popular medical treatment for everything from headaches to hemorrhages. Now a subculture of true believers is reclaiming this ancient practice.

Secret Life of a Mermaid

Their lavish costumes and group swims provide a community they could never find on land — so much so that they don’t identify as human.

What It’s Like to Have a Hypnosis Fetish

When I first realized the idea of mind control turned me on, I was shocked and embarrassed. But then I found the hypnokink community.

Life Inside a Digital World for Chronically Ill Teens

As a bedridden kid, Starbright World became my lifeline. And it's where I met the best friend who would change my life IRL.

The Fight Over One of the World’s Deadliest Sports

In this thousand-year-old pastime, 50 men battle to mount a charging bull. The riders say it’s an essential part of their heritage. Animal rights activists want it outlawed.

They Meet Up in Motels Across America…to Trade Old Beer Cans

Their collections may look like trash to you, but these guys know every can has a story—and some have shockingly high price tags, too.

This Boy From Mumbai Became the World’s Unlikeliest Crossword King

As a teenager, Mangesh Ghogre was obsessed with decoding puzzles filled with foreign references. Now he’s the only non-American to ever create them for The New York Times.