Created with Sketch.
The Secret Life of Death Podcast
49 minutes | Jun 14, 2022
True Crimes from Olden Times - Episode 1: The Farmhand's Awful Work
Here at TSLOD, we are excited to announce a new podcast collaboration with Caitlin Abrams (of TikTok cemetery fame with her fantastic gravestone cleaning/story telling videos as Manicpixiemom). I interviewed Caitlin last summer (Episode 9: Taphosphere) and frankly, we hit it off! Caitlin and I both cover cemeteries but in different ways, so we had the idea to join forces (like Superman and Batman in the Justice League) and do a little spin-off show of our own (like Joanie Loves Cha-chi spun off of Happy Days - except our show would be good …woof!) Caitlin and I will be discussing some of the stories about historic crime and such that we’ve come across while doing our respective research projects in this new series we’re calling TSLOD Presents: True Crimes from Olden Times. In this first episode, we’ll be talking about the 1913 double murder of Walter and Katherine Nichols in West Guilford, VT. We’ll get into the details about the crime, its effect on the local community and of course, we’ll be talking about cemeteries and the gravestones of the Nichols and that of the person who murdered them.
66 minutes | Apr 19, 2022
Episode 10: Neighborhood
Taphophiles are a niche group of enthusiasts and so too, it would follow, are the podcasts that cater to them. What follows is an interview with another neat and nichey cemetery podcaster, Liz Clappin - host of the Tomb With A View Podcast. From her perspective as an urban planner in Atlanta, GA, Liz has some very interesting ideas for the future of historic cemeteries. I love it!
58 minutes | Dec 20, 2021
Episode 9: Taphosphere
Taking a break on the finishing touches on Episode 8: Identity to round out the year, with a new show, Episode 9: Taphosphere! This one is F.U.N! When I met internet cemetery sensation, Caitlin Abrams, for the first time this fall, I felt like I had known her forever. We “knew” each other, as only two people who share and interest boarding on obsession can - our shared love of historic New England cemeteries unknowingly connected us through the ether - this world of like-minded cemetery weirdos that I call “The TAPHOSPHERE”. Caitlin has taken the world by storm with her videos of cleaning historic gravestones throughout VT and eastern NY, while telling the stories of the people in those graves (her work can be found on TikTok @Manicpixiemom and Instagram @stonedinnewengland). In September of 2021, she was kind enough to show me some of her cleaning work at the Old Pawlet Cemetery in Pawlet, VT, as the two of us gabbed and jabbered away about all things cemetery! And we made some very interesting connections between some gravestones I had seen over in NH to what we saw in the Old Pawlet Cemetery and Caitlin is going to be making some TikTok videos describing what we discovered! [CROSSOVER ALERT!!!] You can find a teaser for Caitlin’s upcoming videos HERE and more to come after the new year.
26 minutes | Sep 6, 2021
Episode 8: Identity, Charity and Sylvia Teaser
Turns out, in the process of podcastery, a lot of extra audio material gets left of the cutting room floor, so I’ve taken some of that extra stuff and cut together another “teaser”/”pre-show” show. So come along and visit the Weybridge Hill Cemetery with me and TSLoD cemetery adventure team (CAT) as we explore the grave sites of Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake. Charity and Sylvia were a same sex couple who lived together in Weybridge, VT between 1809-1851. Side note: we’re in the final stages of production for the upcoming, long awaited and long suffering TSLoD Episode 8: Identity series - about Andrews Inn, the first gay hotel/bar in the state of Vermont (1974-1982). This series is slated to come out this fall, so please stay tuned.
14 minutes | May 17, 2021
Episode 8: Identity, Fall Mountain Hike Teaser
Another quick teaser episode with extra material from the cutting room floor from the upcoming Episode 8: Identity series. I take a hike up local landmark, Fall Mountain, with my friend and frequent TSLoD guest, Kate Butt and we learn some local history while enjoying the views and being scoped out by turkey vultures. It's a lot of fun! We’re still working away on the next installment of TSLoD, I swear! I know I keep saying that it’s coming soon, and it is, I swear - Episode 8: Identity, about the Andrews Inn, a 1970s and 80s LGBTQ+ bar and hotel in Bellows Falls, VT, just keeps getting bigger (and better) the more time I spend on it. It’s going to be well worth the wait, I swear (I keep saying that, don’t I?)
2 minutes | Mar 6, 2021
Episode 8: Identity, Toilet Teaser
The winter wears on and I am still working away on the next series, Episode 8: Identity, about Andrews Inn - the first LGBTQ+ bar and hotel in the state of Vermont. It was actually the ONLY such place in the state for its decade of existence (1973-1984). The series isn’t done yet but close! And I thought you might enjoy some clip reels of the material that was funny or was good but wasn’t going to show up in any of the broadcast episodes. So, I put together this short, that I have classily called “The Toilet Teaser”. If you’ve ever wondered just HOW excited a group of historic preservation nerds get about intact period bathrooms, this is your answer. You’re welcome.
7 minutes | Jan 13, 2021
Episode 8: Identity, Prologue
We welcome you to Season 3 of TSLoD Podcast with the prologue to Episode 8: Identity~ We’re doing this prologue to help set up the Episode 8: Identity series because for this show, we’re going to be doing things a little differently. The Episode 8: Identity series is about a place called Andrews Inn, an LGBTQ+ hotel and bar that existed in Bellows Falls, VT during the 1970s and 80s. So, a more modern history, a more local history and a more personal history - for me - because Bellows Falls is where I grew up and where my family have lived for generations. For a change, history wasn’t some abstract thing, happening to people I didn’t know in a place I had never been. It had happened in my backyard, within my lifetime and I knew very little about it. In learning about the history of Andrews Inn and the LGBTQ+ movement in VT and NH, I began to wonder about history itself. How and why certain events and people get committed to the record while others, don’t, and the dangers of hanging our hats on an incomplete and inaccurate version of history.
37 minutes | Oct 28, 2020
Episode 7: Degenerate, Part 2
Picking up where we left off in Episode 7: Degenerate, Part 1, Part 2 delves into the deep, complicated historic reasons why cemeteries in New England became abandoned. We talk to the experts: Robin Lacy, of Spade and the Grave, who shares her research into Puritan burial customs and culture; Brian Post, of Standing Stone Landscape Architecture, who takes us on a tour of some of his gravestone restoration work; and Tom Giffin, of VOCA, the Vermont Old Cemetery Association, who walks us through why cemeteries are not just an opportunity for remembrance but also, community investment. And we continue to explore what influences the neglect in white Anglo-American versus Black and Indigenous Persons burying grounds in New England. By again discussing the historical and current situations with the Western Abenaki Burying Ground in Bellows Falls, VT and the African Burying Ground in Portsmouth, NH, we try to shed a light on how and why marginalized groups become more so, even in death. Covid has made organizing interviews much more difficult and so while I have been in conversations with representatives from the Elnu Abenaki in VT and the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire to get their comments and perspective on the treatment of THEIR ancestors, it just was not feasible at this time. I hope next year to follow up with both groups and include an addendum to this episode with their interviews.
28 minutes | Sep 5, 2020
Episode 7: Degenerate, Part 1
The Kathan Cemetery in Putney, VT, is the oldest burying ground in town, set up by and for the earliest Anglo-American settlers in the area. It’s situated on a high bluff, on an old road that used to connect the village of Putney to the Connecticut River. All pretty typical New Englandy stuff. But from the first approach to this place, you can tell something’s not right. First, it’s tucked away, behind a house and you have to literally cross the yard to access it. Second, there are only a few slate stones on site, most of them were broken, with chunks of slate from other broken gravestones all over the ground. This scene of vandalism is NOT typical New Englandy stuff. Or is it?
38 minutes | Jun 15, 2020
Episode 6: Awe, Part 4
In the final installment of the "Awe" series, we discuss the connection between gravestone motif design and other artistic forms, like mourning jewelry, at the turn of the 19th century. And we thumb through all of our research thus far and see what the art of Relief Wilcox Town's gravestone says about her, in the context of her time.
28 minutes | Jun 5, 2020
Episode 6: Awe, Part 3
In the third part of this series, we are still trying to understand and interpret the meaning and origin of the incredible artistic design of the gravestone of Relief Wilcox Town (d. 1813) from Halifax, VT. To that end, we try to learn more about Relief herself, and start with dissecting the inscription on her epitaph. Turn-of-the-19th-century Epitaphs are a great place to find all sorts of cultural and social clues. They give us the basics like, name, date of and age at death but they can also tell you about social rank and even how a person died. We also talk to some real artists, from The Drawing Studio in Brattleboro VT, to get their impressions as to what the broken-willow, moon-soul effiigy and stars and the deliberate empty space in the center of the design, says to them. There is one more episode to go to finish up this investigation (I know I said that last time but I really mean it). The show will drop early next week so don’t go anywhere! Or, at least take us with you where ever you do go so you don’t miss out!
29 minutes | Mar 4, 2020
Episode 6: Awe, Part 2
In this, the second of three shows, we are still contemplating the fascinating gravestone art on the stone of Relief Wilcox Town of Halifax, VT, and the extravagant and symbolic nature of the moon/stars and willow motif. To understand what is could mean, we need a lesson is the history of gravestone art in the region. From skulls, to soul effigies to the ubiquitous willow and urn, gravestone art changes over time. Come and learn what drove those changes and where Relief's stone fits into it all.
37 minutes | Feb 22, 2020
Episode 6: Awe, Part 1
The gravestone inscriptions of late 18th/early 19th century New England can tell us more than just the deceased name and date of death. Symbolic and literal representations of life and death flourish during this time period, creating gravestone art in a wide and dazzling array of styles. Knowing what those symbols mean can help us interpret the life of the individual as well as their time and culture. In this three part series, we visit an old friend: Relief Wilcox Town, from TSLoD Episode 3: Relief. Her gravestone is one of the most beautiful and unique designs I’ve ever seen and it made me wonder what all of that said about her. These show will look into the origin and meaning of gravestone art found in the Middle Connecticut River Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as some information about specific gravestone carvers. We’ll take some trips to local cemeteries, visit with an historic gravestone restorationist and since we’re talking about art, go visit some artists to see what they think. Should be fun…..
27 minutes | Dec 20, 2019
(Bonus) Episode 1: Epidemic, The Follow-up
This show is a follow-up to my very first TSLoD episode, (http://www.thesecretlifeofdeath.com/tslod-episodes/2017/3/26/episode-1 ) about a devastating epidemic disease outbreak in the town of Acworth, NH in the year 1812. This epidemic was terrifying. It killed people within hours of the first symptoms and had incredibly high mortality rates. In the day, doctors were calling the disease "Spotted Fever", which usually referred to typhus, a flea/louse borne bacterial infection, and that is what I reported in my story. I was contacted by a listener, Grant Meyers, of Austin, Quebec, who was also doing research into the events surrounding this epidemic in Southern Quebec, and his research showed that the culprit was not typhus but something else...he agreed to an interview with me and share his research on the topic to help me right the wrongs of my first show and provide a more accurate, detailed picture of this fascinating and yet horrifying event in the history of the Northeast.
33 minutes | Nov 22, 2019
Episode 4: Langmaid, Part 4
By 1880, murder victim Josie Langmaid had been dead for 5 years; while her step-mother and sisters stayed in Pembroke, NH, her father James was out in MN. Why? Complete the journey and find out what happened to The Langmaids family and what became of Josie's legacy.
26 minutes | Nov 14, 2019
Episode 4: Langmaid, Part 3
The 1875 murder of 17 year-old Josie Langmaid broke the hearts of everyone in her hometown, Pembroke, NH. And since the manner of her death was heretofore unheard of, so was the community’s response to it. A “murder ballad” was composed, telling the story of her abduction and death in grim detail; her town erected a large, marble obelisk on the site of her abduction; a local minister wrote a poem and printed a book to her memory; and a constant stream of sight-seers from all over made the pilgrimage to the site of her murder, her home and her grave. And at the center of this outpouring of grief, were the remaining members of Josie’s family; father, James; step-mother, Sarah; brother, Waldo, and sisters Grace, Elizabeth and Abbie. How would they cope? What would become of the Langmaid’s of Pembroke?
24 minutes | Nov 7, 2019
Episode 4: Langmaid, Part 2
Pembroke, NH 1875: Authorities working the murder of 17 year-old Josie Langmaid had reached an impasse in their investigation when the alibis of all of their local suspects checked out. They were wondering where to look next when they got a telegram from officials in St. Albans, VT, a town near the Canadian border. St. Albans reported that a little over a year before, there was a similar murder in their town, of a school teacher, Marietta Ball, and the man they felt was responsible, Joseph LaPage, was now living in Suncook/Pembroke, NH. Police found LaPage, arrested him, and took items from his house and had them tested against evidence gathered from the crime scene. The State of NH assembled quite a case against LaPage but we are left to wonder, 140 years later, how accurate were their scientific findings? *A reminder: just as in Part 1 of Episode 4, Part 2 contains descriptions of assault, sexual violence and murder and may not be suitable for all listeners. Parts 3 and 4 of Episode 4 put us past those topics, so please, come back for the rest of the story.
28 minutes | Oct 31, 2019
Episode 4: Langmaid, Part 1
The morning of October 4, 1875, was like many others in home of the Langmaid’s of Pembroke, NH. Seventeen year old, Josie, was late for school and rushing out the door to make the 1.5 mile walk to her school, Pembroke Academy before the bell. But Josie would never make it to school that day. Her body* was found that evening by a group of search volunteers, horribly assaulted and mutilated. A crime of this magnitude was unheard of in Pembroke and big-city professionals were brought in from Boston to conduct the search for her killer. This is a four-part series that will be released weekly, so be sure to come back for Parts 2-4! *Just a warning, Parts 1 and 2 of Episode 4 contain detailed descriptions of Josie’s murder and what happened to her body. While not gratuitous, it is a frank presentation of the facts. If you are at all squeamish about such things or could be triggered by discussions of stalking, sexual assault or murder, you may be better off waiting picking up the story with Part 3, which will be coming out in a few weeks.
35 minutes | Aug 26, 2019
Episode 3: Relief
Old New England cemeteries showcase history, art and let’s face it, some really weird names. Deliverance, Jazaniaah, Mindwell and Relief. Why? What do they mean? Where do they come from? Come with me and my friend Kate to Halifax, VT, where explore the answers to those questions and more, through the analysis of a very unique gravestone belonging to Mrs. Relief Clews Wilcox Towne. Local historian and archaeologist, Gail Golec, writes, hosts, researches and produces this show.
44 minutes | May 2, 2018
Episode 2: Graffiti, Part 2
The Old Dodge Tavern was built around 1800 in Walpole, NH. It served as a stop of the early stage coach routes through southwest NH, connecting Boston to Montreal. Many people have come and gone over the past 200 plus years, leaving many things behind in the house, including a gravestone! Who did it belong to? How did it get there? And how does it fit into the history of The Tavern?Local historian and archaeologist, Gail Golec, writes, hosts, researches and produces this show.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2022