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The Strange and Unusual Podcast
42 minutes | a month ago
7: A Victorian Dark Parade, Pt 2 | Ep 27
On this supernatural look at the 19th century Victorian cult of death, as we explore banshees, ominous clocks, death tokens, harbingers, the birth of Victorian gothic literature, and madness brought on by death and body snatchers.
43 minutes | 2 months ago
A Victorian Dark Parade, Pt 1 | Ep 26
"Dark Parade," a phrase in a Emily Dickinson’s poem, captures the spirit of the Victorian cult of death, a social movement built on strict mourning rules and funerals, the fetishizing of ephemera of the dead, a movement that was meant to beautify and romanticize the horrific. In this first part of our look into Victorian mourning and death, we explore death by fashion, Queen Victoria's mourning, the Victorian concept of "The Good Death", wakes and vigils gone wrong, and premature burial.
46 minutes | 3 months ago
The Beast Within | Ep 25
This episode gets kind of beastly, as we go through the history of the werewolf from prehistoric times. We follow the wolf man through tales written by Bram Stoker, through the medieval werewolf trials, the lunacy of lycanthropy, and so much more.
85 minutes | 3 months ago
Sleepy Hollow, A Region of Shadows | Ep 24
Often we want to sequester ourselves in some pretty, little hamlet, and leave the rest of the world behind. But in this telling of 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow', we find that when you do, you may just lose your head. Join me as I talk of contagion and fear, ghosts and goblins, and of the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane during this spooky time of year.
73 minutes | 5 months ago
The Curse of Winthrop Falls, Pt 3 | Ep 23
Join me as I tell part three, THE CONCLUSION, of a ghostly tale I wrote about an old, haunted house in the fictional town of Winthrop Falls, Massachusetts. The curse of Winthrop Falls began on Halloween night in 1866, after a mysterious, bloody, accident befell a young woman alone in a dark cellar, but the curse touches everyone in the house up through current day. And so, Jennifer, the current teen resident, must go through all the clues she can find surrounding the home's tragic history, in order to save herself. Can she do it? Find out in the conclusion!
28 minutes | a year ago
The Curse of Winthrop Falls, pt 2 | Ep 22
Join me as I tell part two of a ghostly tale I wrote specifically focused on the Halloween season, though it fits all seasons, if you're macabre enough! The curse of Winthrop Falls, Massachusetts began on Halloween night in 1866 after a mysterious, bloody accident befell a young woman alone in a dark cellar. But was she really alone? In part two, we follow the curse as it touches the young of Winthrop Falls during the 19th century, continuing into the 20th and 21st centuries. Will the curse ever be brought to an end?
20 minutes | a year ago
The Curse of Winthrop Falls, Pt 1 | Ep 21
Join me as I tell a ghostly tale I wrote specifically for the late autumn season. The curse of Winthrop Falls, Massachusetts began on Halloween night in 1866 after a mysterious and bloody accident befell a young woman who, at the time, was alone in a dark cellar. But was she really alone? In part one we follow the curse as it winds it way through the 1980s and current day to those unfortunate enough to live in the house at 10 Black Manor Gardens.
53 minutes | a year ago
Here There Be Monsters | Ep 20
Monsters have been with us from the dawn of humankind. The monster's history in our mythology and belief systems speaks to the many hidden needs and fears within the human mind. On this episode, we explore why the human mind has always needed monsters, through combat myths, Beowulf, an Egyptian creation myth, Greek tragedy, and more. And in homage to scary monster stories, it opens with a monster-under-the-bed tale I call 'Silver Eyes'. 'Silver Eyes' written by Alyson Horrocks Research Sources: 'Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts, and all Manner of Imaginary Terrors' by David D. Gilmore 'On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears' by Stephen T. Asma
57 minutes | 2 years ago
Send in the Clowns | Ep 19
Clowns, clowns, clowns! This episode starts off with a dramatized clown urban legend, before exploring the long history of clowning that stretches back to ancient times, with a special emphasis on Joseph Grimaldi, the first modern clown. The fear of clowns is also delved into, as the psychological reasons for this fear is explained, as well as the real-life and fictional examples of those who've inspired it, like John Wayne Gacy, Pennywise, and the clown doll from 'Poltergeist'. The role of the clown in society is analyzed as well, from his appearance in Shakespare's plays down to the killer clown panics that began in the 1980s. Send in the clowns!
57 minutes | 2 years ago
A Haunting Winter | Ep. 18
The custom of telling winter’s tales is not known to most of us today, but it was a custom that stretches back hundreds of years. And more often then not, these winter tales turned to horror. The popularity of these winter ghost tales peaked to an all time high during the Victorian era and became a celebrated Christmas tradition. And this entanglement of ghosts and Christmas, ultimately led to a ghost story becoming the most enduring Christmas tale of all, Charles Dickens, ‘A Christmas Carol’, a story in which the ghosts of past, present, and future, change a man’s life for the better. Join The Strange and Unusual Podcast, as we explore the tradition of winter ghost stories and the reasons they meant to so much to our ancestors, and maybe ought to be kept alive today.
49 minutes | 2 years ago
The Masque of the Red Death and A Memento Mori Halloween, Part 2
A telling of 'The Masque of the Red Death' by Edgar Allan Poe, as well as the conclusion of A Memento Mori Halloween is in this episode. European witch trials, Macbeth, Irish and Scottish traditions, the evolution of Samhain and Halloween, and the Dance of Death is all a part of this fascinating and spooky story.
36 minutes | 2 years ago
A Memento Mori Halloween, Part 1
In this episode, Halloween, and its predecessor Samhain, is explored with the telling of the ghost story 'The Pale Man' and a dive into its evolving history, which includes a look at the Gaelic Celts, The Black Death, Danse Macabre, All Saints and Souls Days, the concept of Memento Mori, and more.
62 minutes | 2 years ago
Conjuring Magic and Murder: A Mystery in Motor City
On July 3, 1929, Italian immigrant and occult mystic healer, Benny Evangelist, was beheaded with an ax in his home office. The killer than murdered Benny's sleeping wife, Santina, and their four children upstairs. The murders remain a mystery, but what kind of motivation could inspire such a frenzied and brutal attack? In this episode, we delve into occult practices, magic, folk Catholicism, magical healers, a suicide inspired by fear of the ax killer, Italian folklore, as well as a look at the misconceptions about immigrants at the time, and how that may have affected the case, leaving it a perplexing, eternal mystery.
68 minutes | 3 years ago
14: The Affair of the Poisons, Part 3
In the conclusion of this series about the Affair of the Poisons, the increasing accusations against those in King Louis XIV's royal court become more sinister, shocking investigators and the king. With black magic, human sacrifice, witchcraft, priests admitting demonic practices, orgies, love spells and potions, aphrodisiacs, and black masses, this investigation could not have become stranger. (WARNING: sexual function is discussed in this episode, using the actual stories, taken from documents from the time)
59 minutes | 3 years ago
13: The Affair of the Poisons, Part 2
In February of 1677 the 'Affair of the Poisons' was launched in Paris, France. And King Louis XIV, who had named himself the Sun King, after the Greek god, Apollo, was being faced with possible poisoning murder attempts within his own royal court, as well as realizing that those within his own circle may have sought the services of the magical underworld of Paris. Fortune-tellers, alchemists, diviners, conjurers, magicians, and those accused of practicing both white and black magic were rounded up, as well as so many who were now being of accused of murder by poison within the highest ranks of Paris. King Louis would be faced with his childhood fear of betrayal and rebellion, all while building up the grand palace of Versailles. For the next several years those practicing magic and those within the Church said to be holding black masses, as well as sacrificing babies and more to the devil, would become the focus of fascination and horror of those within French society.
52 minutes | 3 years ago
12: The Affair of the Poisons, Part 1
In 1672, mysterious poisons were found in the home of a recently deceased Frenchman. This discovery would eventually lead to a years-long murder scandal that would come to be known as 'The Affair of the Poisons', and before it done even those in the noble class would be accused of devil worship, human sacrifice, treason, murder and more. In this first part, Mme de Brinvilliers' murder of her father and brothers by poison will be explored, as this was the case that started it all. Also, explored in this episode, in relation to the world view and time period, is alchemy, the philosopher's stone, and the lives of Sir Issac Newton and Nicolas Flamel.
53 minutes | 3 years ago
11: Wolf in Sheep's Clothes
In 1873, three Norwegian women were murdered on the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of New England, by someone they thought they could trust. in this episode, we explore the uncertainty, fear, and the sometimes unfortunate results of trusting real-life wolves in sheep's clothing. Along with an accounting of this murder, the phenomenon is also examined through Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack the Ripper, ax murder, and more.
52 minutes | 3 years ago
10: Grave Matters in Edinburgh
In 1836, seventeen tiny coffins were found on the hillside of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland, adding to the mystery and legends of that location. A new theory emerged in the 1990's as to their purpose, and it would center on the infamous 19th century West Port murders, perpetrated by Burke and Hare. Join me as we enter the world of body snatchers, and explore 19th century Edinburgh.
48 minutes | 3 years ago
9: The Catacombs of Paris and Holidaying with the Dead
Dark tourism is explored in this episode, as my visit and history of the Catacombs of Paris is detailed. I am also joined by Alyssa Conary, historian and resident of Salem, Massachusetts, in a discussion of dark tourism, its history, and a closer look at some of the most popular attractions that fall under this category. The 19th century phenomenon of tourist visits to the Paris Morgue, current day bed and breakfast stays at the Lizzie Borden House, witch tourism both in Salem and Pendle, and more is detailed in this episode.
40 minutes | 4 years ago
8: The Tell-Tale Heart and Murder in Salem
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" found its inspiration in a real life murder in Salem, Massachusetts in 1830. In this episode, we examine Poe's story of madness, guilt, and paranoia and the shocking murder case of Captain Joseph White, which would inspire it.
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