Can’t Let Go of ‘S-Town’? Here’s What to Read Next

“The thing that’s been special for me in the last few months,” he said, “has been to hear the surprising ways it seems to have affected people. Specific ways that I couldn’t have predicted.” Mr. Reed said he has heard from people around the world who are now noticing sundials and “thinking of time differently,” and from people who say “they’re grateful for a story that they feel represents the South.”

“I hadn’t realized people from the South were so starved for three-dimensional representation,” he said.


A water tower in Woodstock, Ala.

Jay Reeves/Associated Press

For those who can’t seem to forget about Mr. McLemore and company, here’s a roundup of articles that took a harder look at some of the more significant moments in the series. (There are spoilers ahead.)

Mercury poisoning

Was mercury poisoning to blame for Mr. McLemore’s odd behavior? The suggestion was raised in the final chapter, and it cast the entire series in a different light.

Mr. McLemore practiced the ancient method of fire gilding, in which mercury and gold are heated to an extreme temperature, causing the gold to transfer onto an object — in his case, mostly antique clocks. According to “S-Town,” Mr. McLemore practiced this dangerous procedure without protection or proper ventilation dozens of times a year. It can, Mr. Reed said, affect a person’s physical or mental health.

There was no way for Mr. Reed to confirm the claim, since the current owners of Mr. McLemore’s property denied access to his former workshop for testing.

Still, Vox looked at the history and science behind mercury poisoning.

“He was doing it for years, so the quantity of mercury in his workshop must have been unbelievable,” Jack Caravanos, an environmental health professor at New York University, told Vox. “So that’s why his health effects, I think, are completely…

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