#26 Lullabies and Nightmares

#26 Lullabies and Nightmares

This episode examines the terrors that come by night, not-so-soothing lullabies, prayers and charms against the nightmare. We open with the grim Icelandic lulluby “Móðir mín í kví kví,” which tells the story of a newborn’s ghost haunting the mother who abandoned it. Another lovely, yet menacing Icelandic lullaby follows. “Bíum, bíum, Bambaló” alludes to …

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#25 Death by Mother

#25 Death by Mother

For Mother’s Day this year we examine murderous mothers and maternal instincts gone very, very wrong in folklore, legends, and ballads. We begin with a look at the Latin American legend of La Llorona (“the weeping woman”). We begin with a snippet of the trailer from the recently released film The Curse of La Llorona …

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#24 Possessed Nuns and Holy Demoniacs

#24 Possessed Nuns and Holy Demoniacs

This episode finds the Devil where you’d least expect him: stories of possessed nuns and demonic attacks on the rigorously devout.. It’s a bit of a follow-up to our last episode on Ghastly Saint Stories. We open with a clip from the 1999 film Stigmata, in which we hear it asserted that those marked by …

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#23 Ghastly Saint Stories

#23 Ghastly Saint Stories

Our collection of ghastly stories of saints highlights notions of extreme self-mortification as a spiritual practice along with a preoccupation with the saintly body  after death. While these aspects of Catholicism are anathema to secular outsiders and jarring to many contemporary adherents, they’ve been embraced by the Gothic.  We begin with an illustrative clip from John …

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#22 The Devil’s Due: Musicians and Marksmen

#22 The Devil’s Due: Musicians and Marksmen

In this episode we look at legends of musicians and marksmen said to have made Faustian deals with the Devil. We begin with The Phantom of the Opera, a story which does not exactly share our theme, but was set against the backdrop of a staging of the opera Faust by Charles Gounod.  The story, written …

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#21 A Deal with the Devil

#21 A Deal with the Devil

The legend of Faust is the archetypal deal with the Devil. This episode looks at the figure as represented in folklore, local legends, plays, puppet shows, literature, films, and opera. A precedent for the tale seems to be the story of St. Theophilus, a cleric in 6th-century Adana (in modern Turkey) who, as legends have it, …

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#20 The Undead Come Courting

#20 The Undead Come Courting

Vampire mythology first appears in the West in works as early Romantic authors meld themes from folk ballads of resurrected lovers with Balkan folklore of the undead. Valentine’s Day seemed a fitting occasion for this show’s look at the vampire’s tragically romantic tendency to prey upon those they love. We begin with  a (very seasonal) snippet …

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#19 Worm Songs and Beastly Sucklers

#19 Worm Songs and Beastly Sucklers

This episode examines the Lambton Worm, a dragon legend that inspired works by Bram Stoker and Ken Russel as well as well as the curious role of milk plays that story and in superstitions surrounding witchcraft. The show begins with Wilkinson and Ridenour reviewing a phone message from Blake Smith of the Monster Talk podcast, …

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#18 Wild Men, Furry Saints, and Burning Dancers

#18 Wild Men, Furry Saints, and Burning Dancers

This time round we look at the medieval myth of the Wild Man, its connection to seasonal folk traditions, peculiar influence on Church teachings, and a macabre historical incident featuring dancers costumed as Wild Men. We begin with a bit of Edgar Allen Poe filtered through Roger Corman, namely a clip from the director’s 1964 …

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