Episode 87: Horses

This is it. The lost, cursed episode of Spirits. We never thought it would see the light of day. But now you get to learn about all the CREEPY HORSES FROM AROUND THE WORLD. Amanda guesses a lot of stuff wrong, but embraces her fear of creature hybrids. Julia breaks out some poetry and the most horrifying horse creatures known to man. Y’know, the usual stuff.

Check out the newest Multitude show, HORSE, in any podcast app, at horsehoops.com, or on Twitter @HORSE_Hoops.



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Amanda: Welcome to Spirits Podcast, a boozy dive into mythology, legends, and folklore. Every week we pour a drink and learn about a new story from around the world. I'm Amanda.

Julia: And I'm Julia.

Amanda: And this is Episode 87, Horses. I put a dramatic pause in there because this episode, people, let's tell you a story about this episode.

Julia: Go ahead, tell them. Tell them the story.

Amanda: I messed up. We recorded this episode and, in the recording process, I completely forgot to plug in our microphones. The interface-

Julia: Is that what happened?

Amanda: That was the first time.

Julia: Oh, okay.

Amanda: The interface was just straight up not plugged into my computer. The recording was from my laptop mic, which was not suitable.

Julia: Correct.

Amanda: Then we re-recorded it and, in the saving process, the file appeared to disappear, but in fact -- reader, listener -- where was it hiding? It was hiding on my backup hard drive. I only discovered this because we were having an interview with a very special guest, whose interview I valued so much that I double-checked that I had saved the episode both to my hard drive and to my backup. And what did I find? I find our lost episode, on horses.

Julia: It was like a ghost of a sailor come home for his wife, and she's not sure if she's happy about it because it is scary, but it did happen. And now you get this episode.

Amanda: That's a great point because this genuinely, I am going to give you a little bit of a warning here, this is a very scary episode. If you listened before -- Julia just shrugged -- but if you listen before going to bed or listen with small kids, you may way want to screen this and/or listen in the daylight.

Julia: To be fair, there's some nice parts in here, and then there's some extremely scary parts in here.

Amanda: Yeah, very-

Julia: And I have no regrets.

Amanda: Julia, that's what I rely on you for, to bring me the wholesome stuff and also the scary stuff.

Julia: Do you know who else has no regrets, Amanda?

Amanda: Is that our new patrons: Nema, Katie, Rachel, and Brit?

Julia: God, I hope so.

Amanda: And I think that folks who like, they have such a well adjusted attitude to life that mistakes are not mistakes, but experience points and stories. That attitude belongs to our supporting producer level patrons: Phillip, Julie, Kristina, Josh, Eeyore, Ella, Ashley, Marie, Neil, Jessica, Maria, Ryan, Phil Fresh, and Debra, as well as our legendary legend level patrons: Sandra, Audra, Mercedes, Jack, Marie, Leanne, and Cassie.

Julia: They never have cursed episodes that sometimes appear months, almost years later, after they've been recorded.

Amanda: Never, ever, ever. Julia, do you remember what you were drinking? Frankly, I don't.

Julia: Honestly, Amanda, it was lost to time, much like this episode.

Amanda: You know what, that's okay. Maybe this episode requires some mystery punch.

Julia: Yeah.

Amanda: You know, not sure what's in there. We'll find out.

Julia: It's like you're going to a college party and someone brings out a vat of, one would assume, alcohol. You have no idea what went in there, but it doesn't matter because it tastes good and it gets you fucked up.

Amanda: And it's important, before such parties, to make sure you have some sustenance in you-

Julia: This is true.

Amanda: ... because you don't want to drink on an empty stomach, which is why this week's sponsor, RXBAR, is such a killer choice. Rxbar.com/spirits, using the code SPIRITS for 25 percent off your first order, is going to be a good idea.

Julia: Get that protein in your stomach, so you can drink more.

Amanda: I love it. And finally, for this week's intro we wanted to plug, again, the newest show on Multitude Horse, it is a horse themed week. This haunted horse episode was back just in time. I cannot believe the timing.

Julia: I genuinely cannot believe that this has happened.

Amanda: It was a genuine accident, but we are very happy for it. But if you like witches, if you like scary stories, if you like stories about people's moms, if you like BFFs talking about stuff they love, you're also going to like Horse.

Julia: If you like to hear why Ben Franklin, out of all the Founding Fathers, would make the best player on a basketball team, this is the podcast for you.

Amanda: It absolutely is. Look up Horse or Multitude in your podcast app.

Julia: And it'll be there.

Amanda: It will. And without further ado, brace yourselves, people, for Spirits Podcast, Episode 87, Horses.

[Theme Music]

Julia: Okay, Amanda. Given what I've seen in our social media, we are now very associated with murder horses.

Amanda: I am so proud and honored to accept this mantle.

Julia: Me, too.

Amanda: And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Julia: I don't know what exactly we did to spark this craze with people, besides loving kelpies too much, I guess.

Amanda: I don't know, but if loving kelpies is a crime, I don't want to be right. I just don't want to be right.

Julia: Don't want to be right! No, I don't. But I figured, like any good entertainer I want to give the people what they want, so this is going to be an equine themed round-up.

Amanda: Murder horse roundup!

Julia: (singing)

Amanda: I'm so excited, and my neighbors are probably so confused.

Julia: Yes. One had to reset. And I promise that I'm not even going to mention the fact that you were secretly a horse girl as a child, in this episode.

Amanda: Listen, Julia, give me the tape. Show me the tape.

Julia: I will show you the tape. I will show you photos of us riding horses at horse riding lessons together.

Amanda: I was a girl who rode horses. I was not a horse girl.

Julia: Horse girl.

Amanda: If this is the sticking point in our friendship, I'll take it. It's fine.

Julia: I'm totally okay with that. So, like any episode when we have a roundup, you know where we're going to start.

Amanda: Scotland? Japan?

Julia: Let's try that again. So, like any roundup episode, you know where we're going to start.

Amanda: Japan?

Julia: No!

Amanda: Where?

Julia: Greece, motherfucking Greece!

Amanda: Oh, okay. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Julia: No, that's okay. We're just going to leave that, all that, in.

Amanda: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I resign from the podcast.

Julia: We're going to have obligatory Greek stuff because that's how we do. So, the Greeks were really big fans of the horse, as one is, and you can tell that by the story, the fact that they have a story that explains the origin of the horse.

Amanda: Oh, yeah. Then you know it's important to the society if it's like, origins of stuff. Hmm, let me think: water, sky, land, man-

Julia: Horse.

Amanda: ... horse.

Julia: Which, I love. You're just like, oh, it's so important we need to talk about the horses.

Amanda: Yeah.

Julia: So the story starts with how Poseidon was into Demeter, which we learn from our Medusa story, never ends well. Don't fuck a sea god.

Amanda: Never fuck a sea god.

Julia: Demeter wasn't about it, so in order to deter him she asked him to make her a gift. She asked for the most beautiful animal she had ever seen. As the mother of plants and agriculture and stuff, she'd seen a lot of animals.

Amanda: Yeah.

Julia: In order to impress her, Poseidon creates the first horse, but it takes a bit of time for him to make a perfect, elegant creature like the horse, obviously.

Amanda: Right, right. Which is what, the peak of symmetry? Don't get me wrong. I like horses. I don't get why they're the most perfect, but whatever.

Julia: I don't know, man. They're just so free and majestic.

Amanda: I mean, they're very useful.

Julia: They are. So Poseidon actually puts more focus into creating the horse than he does into his interest to Demeter.

Amanda: Classic. Also, what a good redirection tactic.

Julia: I know.

Amanda: She's so smart!

Julia: It worked so well. So, by the time the horse was finished, he wasn't really interested in Demeter anymore.

Amanda: Oh my God, it's so perfect. The fuck boy goes away and we get a horse.

Julia: He made the horse for land, but he liked the idea of a water version so much that he created the hippocampus, which is a literal seahorse, not like tiny, tiny seahorses with their little pouches.

Amanda: Right.

Julia: But of course that has a fish tail.

Amanda: Oh my God. So cute.

Julia: Historically, the hippocampus was part of Etruscan mythology, but was later adapted to Greek mythology.

Amanda: Man, Etruscans, they don't get enough love.

Julia: Yeah, the Etruscans don't get enough love. They kind of get enveloped into early Greek mythology and we forget all about them. So the hippocampus, like I said, top half is full horse, bottom half is fish. Occasionally they'll even have wings, which is kind of cool.

Amanda: Undersea Pegasus.

Julia: Yeah. In a decent amount of art, Poseidon is seen riding a hippocampus into battle, and is usually described in the stories as a two-hoofed horse.

Amanda: Huh. Hold on, so what has two hooves?

Julia: The horse.

Amanda: It's standing up?

Julia: No, so it's ... The front part of it, the front legs, horse.

Amanda: Right.

Julia: Up to the waist, horse.

Amanda: Okay.

Julia: Hit the waist, fishtail.

Amanda: Oh, I thought you meant that the tail of the horse was instead a fish tail-

Julia: No.

Amanda: ... which I was like, oh, cute, like a rudder.

Julia: That would not work very well for swimming, I don't think.

Amanda: I mean, the little legs could swim, and the tail could steer.

Julia: Just think how ridiculous that would look. You know what's great about flippers? Big surface area, nice and flat.

Amanda: Exactly.

Julia: You know what horse legs aren't? Not that. Not those things that you just described.

Amanda: Not flippers. I'm no equine scientist, but I can tell you that horse legs aren't flippers.

Julia: That's true. That's very true. But of course, Greek stories about horses do not end there.

Amanda: No.

Julia: We all know what we're going to talk about next.

Amanda: Did someone fuck the horse?

Julia: No. Kind of, I guess.

Amanda: Pegasus.

Julia: Centaurs.

Amanda: Oh, good.

Julia: What, you're saying, "Fucking the horse," you'd think half horse, half human would be where your mind goes, but no. You go, "Pegasus," for some reason. Oh, man. You're just not on the ball today, my friend.

Amanda: I'm not. My River Horse Tripel Horse is too strong.

Julia: Yeah, mine too. All right, anyway. So, anyone who doesn't know what a centaur is, it's basically just a horse lower body, which all four legs, and then a human from the waist up. So, where the neck of the horse starts, it's a human waist-up from there.

Amanda: Yep, so ...

Julia: Which is weird to describe, when you have to say it out loud.

Amanda: Yeah, I always wondered, double stomach? Double lungs? I mean, I don't know what the whole deal is there.

Julia: I don't know, man. I could not possibly start to think about the anatomy of a centaur, though there's a Greek book series that I'm going to forget now, where it basically creates the anatomy. It's illustrated, and it's the anatomy of mythological creatures, and it's very cool.

Amanda: That's awesome.

Julia: I cannot remember, for the life of me. I will look it up and put it in the show notes. Listen, there are a lot of stories about centaurs, and I could easily do a full episode on centaurs, but we're going to dumb it down for you, mostly, and just talk about horses and talk about centaurs. Let's do it. Centaurs were born of Ixion, who is the king of Lapiths -- it's a weird thing, Lapiths -- who was the son of Ares, and Nephele, who is a cloud nymph who took the form of Hera.

Amanda: Okay.

Julia: Zeus sent Nephele to Ixion to test his integrity, because he had expressed his lust for Hera in the presence of Zeus, which you don't do.

Amanda: No.

Julia: Just don't do it.

Amanda: In the way that you're like, "Yes, King, you're so smart. Yes, Queen, you're so beautiful," you're like, "Yes, Zeus, you're the only person who has that desire in this room."

Julia: Is allowed to ... Yeah. So Ixion, of course, fucks up. He has sex with Nephele, who's disguised as Hera, and fathers the centaurs.

Amanda: Oh.

Julia: The centaurs form different tribes, which could be found all over Greece and Cyprus. The centaurs in Cyprus were actually said to have been fathered by Zeus, who was going after Aphrodite but she managed to elude him. Frustrated, he quote/unquote, "spilled his seed on the ground," and the centaurs were born of the earth.

Amanda: No. Okay, okay.

Julia: So, that's the segue story.

Amanda: That is a super interesting, sort of infrastructurally. I didn't know that there were meant to be colonies and lore and societies. That's awesome. So why did they come out as centaurs, if two gods, you know?

Julia: Well, so the one was a mortal man.

Amanda: Right.

Julia: And then he had sex with a nymph.

Amanda: Right.

Julia: And one would assume that Zeus had something to be involved with that, so he had the children that were born of that relationship become, quote/unquote, "monsters." Which, I don't consider centaurs really monsters, but ...

Amanda: Were they monsters in the kind of imagining of that society?

Julia: Somewhat.

Amanda: Okay.

Julia: There's some arguments where they're kind of described as brutish, but there are a few centaurs who are considered intelligent and teachers. We'll talk about one in particular, later on.

Amanda: Cool.

Julia: So the centaurs from Cyprus, they actually would have horns. That was the distinguishing factor between the ones from Greece and the ones from Cypress.

Amanda: Ooh, little tiny ones, or ram style?

Julia: Little tiny ones, I think.

Amanda: Cute. Don't you think about how nice it would be to have that, if you put your sunglasses back on your head, or like, wanted to wear a headband and it would never slip?

Julia: That is very cute. That's adorable. We'll get you some prosthetic horns, so you can try it out. So, the war between them was known as the Centauromachy, and it was considered a metaphor for the conflict between base, or lower appetites, and the civilized behavior of humankind.

Amanda: Oh, that is a pretty good metaphor.

Julia: It is a pretty good metaphor.

Amanda: I like that a lot.

Julia: The war actually ends when well known hero Theseus enters the conflict and helps the Lapiths win the battle. Not all the centaurs were considered beasts or monsters or barbarians, as we discussed. There is Chiron, who was considered wise and just, and was fostered by Apollo and Artemis.

Amanda: That is a pretty good parentage.

Julia: Honestly, that's a solid parentage. I would want to get parented by them.

Amanda: If I had to choose, I don't know if I could choose any better.

Julia: No, it's pretty solid.

Amanda: Yeah. Though TBH, I would kind of want to be, I would kind of want to have Hades as my dad.

Julia: I would want Persephone and Hades as my parents.

Amanda: Right? I mean, Persephone seems a little volatile in a way that, I don't need more predispositions toward mental illness, honestly, but Hades great lineage, great domain. Visiting home is real easy. Just peel open a trapdoor of grass, sort of Acme style, and then jump down there.

Julia: I think you're not giving Persephone the credit that she's due. She may be volatile, but her volatile state has bounds in which it exists.

Amanda: Yeah, that's true. And I think it is a good example to show kids that you can be angry and recover, be sad and recover. There's normal ups and downs to life, and it's important to model resilience.

Julia: Yeah, exactly.

Amanda: You're 26 year old friend's parenting corner.

Julia: There we go. Back to Chiron. So, from Apollo and Artemis he learned medicine, botany, pharmacy, music, archer, prophecy, and was involved in the training of several warriors and heroes, including Achilles.

Amanda: Oh my God, what a catch.

Julia: Yeah. Oh, and speaking of prophecy, in my mind I was like, "Oh, so this is just like Firenze in Harry Potter," and many of-

Amanda: Oh, sorry. I meant Doctor Dillamond from Wicked.

Julia: Okay.

Amanda: But he's a, I think it's a sheep or a ram?

Julia: He's a goat.

Amanda: Oh, okay.

Julia: He's a goat.

Amanda: Well, he reminds me of this guy. Anyway, continue. That's fine.

Julia: But Firenze and the centaurs in the Harry Potter series are very closely associated with the art of divination and prophecy.

Amanda: They are.

Julia: Which is very cool. And we don't really ... I mean, J. K. Rowling doesn't really discuss it as much as I would hope that she did, but this is the connection that she makes, and why they're able to use the stars in order to tell prophecy, and why Firenze ends up teaching divination at the end of Order of the Phoenix.

Amanda: Yes. And similarly to what you described, they are sort of strong and taciturn and unpredictable, slightly, like they're meant to be a little bit intimidating, but not scary and not uncivilized. So I think that's actually a pretty good analog, it seems, to what you described them having thought in the moment.

Julia: Yeah. And I think it's really interesting, too, when you're creating a horse-slash-human-like figure, where they have this sort of unknown mystique to them, which the Greeks tended to give themselves a kind of pat on the back, like, "Oh, we're so intelligent and so civilized," but meanwhile, these creatures had a power that they don't necessarily have.

Amanda: Yeah, and I mean I know it wasn't as simple as we think it is, but I think of ancient Greece as all paved in marble, and big columns, and democracy and things. I mean, that's not how it was for the whole era, or all over the place, or ever.

Julia: Yeah, that's super late Greece.

Amanda: Right. But part of me thinks, doesn't anybody in a society that's organized and civilized enough to have mythos that they write down and refine and all that, doesn't part of you yearn to rebel, and yearn to encounter the monstrous and things that you don't understand? So for them to have, these creatures have a whiff of humanity, but they're wild. That is really appealing on some kind of base level.

Julia: I agree. I think it's really cool, and it is a very good representation of what the Greeks mean in current philosophy, and our understanding of the Greeks.

Amanda: Yes.

Julia: So I think that's pretty on the nose, my friend. Also, Firenze -- or Firenze, I don't know how you actually say it -- definitely sexiest non-main character in Harry Potter. Fight me.

Amanda: Non-named character?

Julia: Non-main character.

Amanda: Oh, non-main character. Remus Lupin, my dude. Remus Lupin.

Julia: Mm-mm (negative). Mm-mm (negative).

Amanda: All right, whatever. I want Remus' sweaters. I want to have a hot and tawdry summer affair with Charlie Weasley. And then I ... What? What?

Julia: I'm just confused. All right, yeah. All right, go on.

Amanda: And, you know, I call a date with Firenze.

Julia: All right.

Amanda: He's cute.

Julia: Okay.

Amanda: Drawing a line in the sand.

Julia: I'm drawing a line in the sand, right there, where I'm not going to cross it. You can cross it.

Amanda: I know. I'm watching you not cross that line. We'll revisit at a later date what our relationship might look like, but he seems nice and mysterious.

Julia: Speaking of Harry Potter, and in not too far away from Greece, we have the Roman hippogriff. Hey. The first mention of the hippogriff is from our boy Virgil, who mentions it in his poem The Eclogues. The hippogriff is a steed born of a mare and a griffin. It is supposedly extremely fast and in the story it is able to fly around the world and to the moon. Wow, yeah. In classical eras starting around the early 16th century hippogriffs were ridden by magicians and a knight or two.

In some traditions the hippogriff is said to be a symbol of love, as its parents were natural enemies, which I like. That's very sweet. That's very sweet, adorable. In other stories it is said to be the Christian dualistic representation of Jesus' divine and human nature.

Amanda: Sounds like syncretism.

Julia: (singing) I mean, you're in Rome. You're going to get that syncretism at some point.

Amanda: I know, I know. Hotbed.

Julia: Just a hotbed of syncretism. I took a great class in college where it was called The Religions of Rome. And I got to go to Rome for two weeks, and it was wonderful.

Amanda: Yeah, you did? I wrote you a bunch of letters, that you opened one each day.

Julia: You did. It was very cute. But it was an excellent, excellent class. And yeah, there's a shit ton of syncretism when you're in Rome, or in the Roman Empire. That's just how it works.

Amanda: The class that I took in college, where we got to travel, was a seminar on Abu Dhabi and the modern politics of the United Arab Emirates. And we went to Abu Dhabi and toured a bunch of construction sites. And it was pretty fun, nice.

Julia: Sounds fun. Yeah, I remember you Skyping me from Abu Dhabi. It was pretty cool.

Amanda: I mean, it was awesome. It was the furthest away from home I'd ever been. I'd never been to a country where I couldn't read the signs, you know, where they weren't in Roman characters. Everyone was really sweet, and it was a very ... Like, 2012, late 2012 was a very interesting time. The city has already completely changed in the last five years.

Julia: Yeah., that's for sure. So Amanda, let's head to the grassy plains of India and Persia, to see a creature called the Karkadann. But first I'm going to need a refill. Let's do it.

[Theme Music]

Amanda: Jules, sometimes you have the kind of night where you, frankly, forget a little bit of it. You know? You try not to, but that kind of thing happens occasionally, and I must admit the only times in the past few years that I have made some poor choices when it comes to drinks, which are our favorite pastime, perhaps, was when I forgot to eat before I went out. This is not a on-brand talking point for RXBAR, but I love to just keep one in my purse so that I can just eat on the go.

Got something there if I end up going for drinks with a friend and it turns into a night to remember, I'm going to remember it and be the level of buzz that I want to be because I have an RXBAR.

Julia: Sometimes bar food is too expensive. If you're meeting someone for happy hour and you have to go from work the the happy hour, sometimes you just want to down some food before you go. An RXBAR is perfect for that. You are absolutely right.

Amanda: And I'm lactose intolerant, so a lot of bar food does not work well for me, but I have no issues at all with RXBAR, which are not only made from actual food ingredients, real cacao, fruit, spices, stuff like that, but also the protein is in the form of egg whites, which are very easy for your body to absorb and they give my very delicate tum no problems whatsoever.

Julia: And the best part is, they actually taste good, which not a lot of protein bars do. Let's be real, here.

Amanda: What's your fave, recently?

Julia: Ooh, my fave right now. Ooh, you know I really like the chocolate sea salt. I like that savory sweetness. Like, I don't like overly sweet stuff, so a little bit of savoriness really brings it together for me.

Amanda: Yeah, and there are over 10 flavors, so whatever you like, and however and wherever you want to use them, we definitely recommend checking out rxbar.com/spirits and entering the promo code SPIRITS at checkout for 25 percent off your first order.

Julia: Yeah, so check it out, get a snack, and you're going to need it before we head back into this episode.

Amanda: All right, we have our refills. Let's go.

Julia: We find ourselves now in the grassy plains of India and Persia, to see a creature that is known as the Karkadann. Early descriptions from the 10th century describe it as an animal with the build of a buffalo, and with black, scaly skin, a dewlap hanging down underneath the skin. It has three yellow hooves on each foot. On the top of its nose is a single horn that is bent upwards.

Amanda: Whoa.

Julia: What creature are you getting from this?

Amanda: Rooster?

Julia: Rooster?

Amanda: Yeah, like scaly three-toed feet, scales, one single kind of cockerel on top? No?

Julia: It was a rhino. Rhino is what we were looking for.

Amanda: Oh, okay.

Julia: Show me rooster. Nope, only rhino.

Amanda: I am just, I'm like a drunk person doing darts. I am just surely, very confidently throwing my shot and it's ending up way far in left field.

Julia: It's ending up in someone's neck, like three feet away. So, I got rhino. Clearly, you did not. But there was some major confusion about rhinos and unicorns during this time, because Persian language used to use the same word for both of them ...

Amanda: Oh my God.

Julia: ... which was Karkadann.

Amanda: Wow.

Julia: Its horn was said to be used as an antidote for poison, and later it was often used for the manufacturing of knife handles. Its name also means, "Lord of the Desert," which I think is really cool.

Amanda: That is super badass, and also super sad because poaching is real and some of these beliefs persist.

Julia: And to be fair, this was while the species was still thriving and it was an acceptable thing to hunt in that area, because they would use it for meat and all that, but now poaching for ivory and poaching for horns and all of that is a really fucked up thing, and don't do it.

Amanda: Yay, PSA.

Julia: In case we haven't said it yet in this episode, we are drinking River Horse Tripel Horse, which is a Belgian style ale that is brewed with spices, and it tastes exactly like banana bread.

Amanda: It does, and it's one of the Belgian beers that you can find in most beer retailers. I love all kinds of craft breweries and things, but if I can't find something I like, I know that the Horse is going to get me.

Julia: I feel you. I feel you real hard. I know that feeling with a Westbrook Gose.

Amanda: Yes.

Julia: That's how I always go for the Westbrook Gose.

Amanda: Yeah. I walk into a beer store. I say, "Listen man, fuck me up. What's the saltiest beer you got," and I buy that for you.

Julia: Fits me. Exactly, that is exactly correct.

Amanda: You should say, "What is the highest ABB? Okay, I'll take two," and that's me.

Julia: Or, "What's the darkest thing you have? I will drink it?"

Amanda: Yeah. I mean, often it's like ... I love quadruples, right? I love super serious porters and stouts. I love red ales that are really potent.

Julia: But you don't do barley wine, which is usually the hightest ABB.

Amanda: I don't mind barley wine.

Julia: Okay, yeah. I'm surprised. Yeah. It doesn't seem like your taste, like I feel like it would be too fruity for you, but ...

Amanda: Well, sops, props. I go fruity, on occasion.

Julia: All right. So we're going to move a little bit further east, where we discover the longma, which is a fabled winged horse with dragon scales in Chinese mythology.

Amanda: Whoa. I love this image, by the way, of a quadruped scaled thing. I think of the scales and my brain goes to, you know, little lizards, snakes, fish.

Julia: Roosters, apparently.

Amanda: I mean, little scaly feet? Listen, roosters are modern dinosaurs. Fight me.

Julia: Listen, I know. Birds are creepy because they're just Velociraptors but scaled down.

Amanda: 100 percent. Point being, I love the image of a big, glistening scales, you know, like a monster that can really fuck you up.

Julia: Yeah. So seeing longma would not only be amazing, but there's also an omen that a legendary sage-slash-ruler is coming into power.

Amanda: Whoa. I thought you were going to say omen of death. No, opposite.

Julia: No, exciting things.

Amanda: Whoa.

Julia: Its name combines the word dragon and horse, and the word can also mean an eminent or strong person, or someone who has vigorous spirit in old age, which I love.

Amanda: Amazing. May we all aspire to be longmas in our old age, yes.

Julia: I'm going to give you a quick poem about the longma-

Amanda: Oh my God, please.

Julia: ... because you know it's my favorite thing.

Amanda: Yes.

Julia: Your favorite thing. The Heavenly Horses are coming, coming from the Far West. They are crossing the flowing sands, for barbarians are conquered. The Heavenly Horses are coming. Jupiter is in the Dragon. Should they choose to soar aloft, who could keep pace with them? They will draw me up and carry me to the Holy Mountain of K'un-lun. The Heavenly Horses have come, and the Dragon will follow in their wake. I shall reach the place of Heaven, and I shall see the palace of God.

Amanda: Holy shit, that was so beautiful.

Julia: Some good imagery, too.

Amanda: And also, in about 30 seconds, you just entertained me more than the entire Doctor Strange movie.

Julia: And also, the entire Iron Fist series.

Amanda: Oh, fuck. That's what I meant. Sorry.

Julia: No-no-no, both of those are very K'un-lun-ee, so I give it to you.

Amanda: Right? Yeah, okay. All right. I just saw Thor yesterday, so my brain is like, "Oh, fucking Doctor Strange book. Get out of here. Get out of here." But it is excellent. But holy shit, that's so good. I love that idea, what is the line about Jupiter?

Julia: Jupiter is in the Dragon.

Amanda: Oh, fuck. That is the kind of prophecy, where if I uncovered it in a game or read it in a book, I would be like, "I'm all in. Shit's going down! I need to know!"

Julia: It's really cool.

Amanda: I also, I love the idea of an omen of great things, you know? Of like, conquering is being done and you will soon know why and how and where. It's just so awesome.

Julia: Yeah, it's a really cool poem. I think the longma, just being this representation of all of the good and power and high esteem is a really, really awesome image.

Amanda: And, as applied to somebody nearing the end of life. You can view that as, "Oh, they're on the decline," like they're almost out, et cetera, or you can say, "This person is about to fucking crush it. They have done a great life, and they've learned so much, and they are ripened to bursting. They have just, a spirit bigger than them within them."

Julia: Yes.

Amanda: I know, it's awesome.

Julia: No, it's really cool. It's a really, really great image. It's one of my favorites on this list.

Amanda: And was there an author to that poem, or was it just unattributed?

Julia: I don't have the author on hand, but I can look it up and put it in the show notes. So, we're going to head back to Europe really quick, and we're going to talk about Sleipnir.

Amanda: Okay.

Julia: Since you mentioned that you just saw Thor recently.

Amanda: I sure did.

Julia: Sleipnir is the eight-legged horse.

Amanda: Oh, no!

Julia: Do you know this story?

Amanda: No, I don't like the look of it! I don't like an eight-legged horse. Get out of here! Get out of here!

Julia: Okay.

Amanda: Get outta here with your eight legs!

Julia: Shh, you know you're going to-

Amanda: Take at least four of them and go!

Julia: You're going to love this story though, my friend.

Amanda: I need a minute. And I was all excited to be like, "And Julia, we had no horrifying mashups of creatures this episode."

Julia: You know I have to include at least a couple. There's another really good one later on, too. All right, you ready?

Amanda: Okay.

Julia: Sleipnir, he is the steed of Odin and he is the child of Loki, and it is described as the best of all horses.

Amanda: Okay.

Julia: He is, in some stories, said to be needed to ride to the location of Hell, which is really cool. Sleipnir has a cool story because, when the gods were beginning to establish Midgard and build Valhalla, an unnamed builder offered to build the fortification of the gods, in three seasons, that would keep out invaders.

Amanda: Okay.

Julia: His price was Freya, the sun, and the moon, Freya being the wife of Odin and also the mother goddess, basically.

Amanda: Too much, too high. No, no.

Julia: So the gods agree to this-

Amanda: Fuck.

Julia: ... but place a number of restrictions on the builder, saying he must do the building with help of no man.

Amanda: Of no people, right, not a person named No Man?

Julia: No.

Amanda: Is that what you mean?

Julia: No other people.

Amanda: That would be a pretty dumb loophole, in the Macbeth style, like no man or woman born is the prophecy.

Julia: Yeah. The builder asked to have the help of his stallion, which the gods allow. With the help of the horse he is just about able to manage to pull this off, so he's about to do this thing that the gods didn't think he was going to be able to do.

Amanda: And was it physical fortification?

Julia: Yes.

Amanda: Okay.

Julia: It's a palace, basically. He manages to almost pull this off, with three days to spare. The gods panic and decide that it's Loki's fault, because he argued that the builder should be allowed to use the horse.

Amanda: Everything is indeed Loki's fault. That's right.

Julia: So they make Loki scheme, so that they can get away with the builder-

Amanda: Classic Loki.

Julia: ... and make him forfeit his payment by violating his terms of contract, basically.

Amanda: Whatever. Did they turn the horse into a person?

Julia: So, Loki turns into a mare ...

Amanda: Yep, there we go.

Julia: ... basically seduces the builder's horse-

Amanda: There it is.

Julia: So he can't meet his deadline. Thor kills the builder and Loki gives birth to Sleipnir.

Amanda: Wow. So much, so much. Loki is such a gift.

Julia: God, yeah. It's a pretty good story. It's very like, "Trickery will save the day."

Amanda: I mean, it's sort of like trickery will save you from the mistakes you yourself made.

Julia: Yeah, for it to be fair.

Amanda: But that poor guy, aw, he died.

Julia: Yeah. Well, you know. He tried to trick them into giving up Freya, and also the sun and moon.

Amanda: That's true. And it also feels like, if you have that level of talent, surely you have some kind of obligation to share it. You know what I mean? How dare you extort people for the celestial bodies.

Julia: Yeah, help the gods out a little bit. You know?

Amanda: Yeah, show them your soft belly and give them a sacrifice, and maybe they won't fuck your horse.

Julia: Sure, pretty much. So Amanda, because you mentioned it we're going to move on to another story, that includes your favorite thing.

Amanda: Let's go, fucked up animals. Give it to me.

Julia: This story that we're covering is the story of the Tikbalang, which is a tall, bony, humanoid creature with the head and hooves of a horse, disproportionately long limbs, and a human body.

Amanda: Great, worst of all worlds.

Julia: This story is from the Philippines. Shout out Philippines, we love you.

Amanda: I had hoped and prayed that it was. I heard the name and I was like, "Wait, are we back in arguably my favorite country?" Yes, we are.

Julia: In some stories the Tikbalang is said to have been a transformed fetus that died before birth, which was sent to earth from limbo.

Amanda: Oh.

Julia: Yeah, kind of sad. The Tikbalang has roots in Hinduism and ties to animism. They scare travelers, lead them astray, and play tricks on them such that travelers keep on returning to an arbitrary path, no matter how far they go or turn.

Amanda: Yikes.

Julia: Which is my favorite thing of all time.

Amanda: I know. I really like and fear that as a trope.

Julia: That is my favorite horror movie trope, I think.

Amanda: Yeah, yeah.

Julia: It's definitely up there.

Amanda: Yeah.

Julia: If you find this happening to you, all you have to do is wear your shirt inside-out and you'll find your path again.

Amanda: I love it!

Julia: I know. It's so easy. You'll stumble upon a Tikbalang standing at the foot of a large tree, looking for anyone who means to do harm to their forest or to their trees.

Amanda: Oh, so they're protective.

Julia: Yeah, they are. They're like forest spirits. They're protecting certain trees or certain areas of a forest, except they were-

Amanda: So kind of like a druid spirit, which I imagine as being very elongated and kind of wispy, like a tree, but with a fucked up horse head.

Julia: Yeah, pretty much. Sun showers, actually, or ... If anyone doesn't know what a sun shower is, it's when there's rain even though there's a clear sky.

Amanda: Right. And it's sort of like, "Ooh, how is this happening?"

Julia: Yeah, and a lot of different cultures have different names for it. We call it sun showers, other people call it other things, which I don't know. But in Filipino it is known as a Tikbalang is getting married.

Amanda: Aw!

Julia: Did I turn you around on the creepy Tikbalang?

Amanda: You did, I think. Only because it reminds me of, every time you see a rainbow a gay kid is having their first kiss, or something. I try to have adorable clear head canons like that. And that one is super cute.

Julia: It's really cute.

Amanda: Also in my head, all Tikbalangs are just really, kindly, gay forest spirits.

Julia: All right, fair enough. I'm into it.

Amanda: Can't say I'm wrong, because there's no right.

Julia: I can say you're wrong.

Amanda: Because there's no right.

Julia: And then, ooh, here's another good one.

Amanda: Oh, no. Julia just had such a look of glee on her face that I am visibly recoiling.

Julia: The next is the nuckelavee, which I find probably the most horrifying horse creature on this list.

Amanda: Well, saving the best for the end.

Julia: This is a horse-like demon that has origins in Norse mythology, but then spread up to Scotland's Northern Isles.

Amanda: Oh my God, what a great double fucked up origin story.

Julia: Yep, right? It's come from the Norse, so you know it's going to be buck-wild, going to Scotland where you know it's going to make it dark. Listen, it's pretty fucking terrifying, actually.

Amanda: Let's do it.

Julia: The nuckelavee has the man's torso attached to a horse's back, as though it were the rider, but the torso has no legs. But its arms can reach the ground from the position on top of the horse, and the horses legs have fin-like appendages. It gets worse. A man's body has a large head that rolls back and forth as though it has no control over it. The equine head has an enormous, gaping mouth that exudes toxic vapor, and has a giant eye like a burning red flame.

Amanda: Scarlet, what are you doing up there?

Julia: Oh, and one more thing. The nuckelavee has no skin.

Amanda: What? Is this a dream? Is this a nightmare?

Julia: Yes, it's a nightmare. It's a literal nightmare.

Amanda: Is this an LSD trip in the Bodies exhibit circa 2009?

Julia: Basically.

Amanda: Oh my God.

Julia: So, it is just a skinless man body attached to a skinless horse body, and it is huge and disgusting.

Amanda: With two long arms and fins and one giant of Sauron?

Julia: Yep. Its breath will wilt crops and sicken livestock, and it was often said to have emerged from the sea on turbulent days.

Amanda: Yeah, I bet.

Julia: The one weakness that it has is that it can't abide fresh water, so passing over a river will keep you safe, and if it starts raining you're all good.

Amanda: Fuck.

Julia: Yeah.

Amanda: Why? Whence? Wherefore?

Julia: Uh, yeah. All those things. Agreed.

Amanda: Oh my God. I'll never be the same.

Julia: Nope. I kind of figured as much. I must say, though, that I enjoy that the salt versus fresh water bit is, especially if there's no skin to the thing, saltwater is going to have a preserving factor.

Amanda: Sure. I also think that would hurt more, but yeah.

Julia: Oh.

Amanda: Yeah, because saltwater hurts in open wounds and stuff, but it also does preserve.

Julia: I get it. I get it.

Amanda: Or in salt marshes and things, the bodies get preserved.

Julia: Yeah, I get you.

Amanda: So I mean, to me it at least makes sense that the fresh water would have a degradation sort of effect on the fucking horrible creature that we're talking about here, but oh my God, that is so specific. It's like my image is a body of a person riding a horse, either dead and it's all just animated, or it was found in the ground somewhere and tragically, you know, a person died on a horse.

It's laying, decomposing, whatever, and appendages swell, proportions change. There's no more integrity to the body, so parts move in ways that parts shouldn't move. I don't know about the whole fin aspect. I do not want to hear about that further.

Julia: Well, because it's from the ocean.

Amanda: Okay, all right. And you laughed at me earlier about my horse swimming legs. Okay, so we have an example. Leave me alone.

Julia: It's got little fins on it.

Amanda: All right, so it's got one thing going for it.

Julia: It's already creepy. It doesn't need like, half fish body too.

Amanda: Well, hold on. Wait. So which way do the fins go?

Julia: I don't know, man.

Amanda: They face backward?

Julia: They face backward, so they can steer and shit.

Amanda: Right, all right. Okay, okay.

Julia: Because you know, we're in fish [crosstalk 00:38:34]

Amanda: You super did. You just moved like a zombie, with just like a weird shoulder shimmy.

Julia: Okay.

Amanda: Anyway, I just wanted to make sure that the fins weren't facing forward, and people were walking dumbly, like a person walking toward a diving pool. You know?

Julia: No, we're good. We're good.

Amanda: Oh boy. Wow. Scotland, man. No one doesn't like you.

Julia: You know, you're preserving notes and the fact that we're talking about Scotland right now actually reminded me of my favorite thing of all time from cheese making history, and that is bog butter. Do you not know what bog butter is?

Amanda: No.

Julia: It's basically this thing where they make butter and then they just bury it in a bog. And 200 years later you can fucking eat that butter because it's so well preserved in the bog. And it just tastes like truffles. It's fucking amazing.

Amanda: Wait, so they make it now, still?

Julia: They discover a lot of it, still.

Amanda: And people eat it?

Julia: Yeah.

Amanda: Jesus.

Julia: It's like a really fancy Norwegian thing, and also I guess a Scotland thing, because they find it in the bogs of Scotland.

Amanda: You have bogs, yeah. Like peat mosses and things. Jesus.

Julia: Yeah, we'll look up a video of some bog butter, later.

Amanda: Cheese is like humanity flirting with death.

Julia: Yeah.

Amanda: It's like a substance from a different animal, that can maybe kill you if it isn't pasteurized, and also, "Oh, we're going to put mold on it. Oh it tastes delicious."

Julia: You're going to make me rant about pasteurization for a second, real quick.

Amanda: Oh, no. No, I know. I know it's all fucked.

Julia: Yeah. You don't need to pasteurize your cheese-

Amanda: No, you don't.

Julia: ... as long as your quality of stuff is, you know, you're not mixing animal feces with your milk.

Amanda: Yeah.

Julia: As long as your milk is clean, you do not need to pasteurize your cheese.

Amanda: Yep.

Julia: Anyway, the FDA is annoying, and fuck them.

Amanda: Yep, I hope that a nuckelavee visits all of them in their homes.

Julia: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). I had beer in my mouth, so all I could do was agree.

Amanda: But anyway, but just, it is so buck-wild that we eat milk from other animals.

Julia: Yeah-yeah-yeah. It's fucking weird.

Amanda: And also that we let things get moldy and then eat them and realize that it's great. Just that humans, through trial and error, have found out that mushrooms are fine, and mold is good sometimes.

Julia: Yeah.

Amanda: And also, you can just stir milk a lot and then get butter. I don't know, it's amazing. It's also reminding me of, I went to a bunch of museums in Copenhagen, where they have amazingly preserved bodies that were found in bogs. And you can see people's belts, and you can see the knots in their hair, and ...

Julia: That's why the bog butter works so well.

Amanda: It is incredibly interesting. Would you eat bog butter? I know your answer's yes.

Julia: 100 fucking percent, I would eat bog butter.

Amanda: Yeah. No, me too.

Julia: I'd eat the shit out of it.

Amanda: The experience to consume a thing that's 200 years old? Fuck, yes. Give it to me.

Julia: Yeah, I'd eat the crap out of it.

Amanda: Let me consume its power.

Julia: Let me consume and gain its power.

Amanda: Any listeners have access to bog butter ...

Julia: Please send us some.

Amanda: ... please do not tell U.S. Customs, and please DM us on Twitter for our address.

Julia: We will eat that bog butter on live video. Okay, bye.

Amanda: Yeah.

Julia: Okay, so let's finish up with something a little bit lighter than nuckelavees and bog butter.

Amanda: All right, cool.

Julia: We're going to talk about probably the most well-known magical horse, at least by Western standards, and that is the unicorn.

Amanda: Oh.

Julia: We tend to think of unicorns as a European thing, but actually the first depiction of the unicorn was on formal seals from the Indus Valley civilization.

Amanda: Oh, like on letters and things.

Julia: Yeah.

Amanda: Wow.

Julia: Like, a real seal, basically.

Amanda: Yeah.

Julia: Just in case anyone is having trouble picturing a unicorn, they are defined by their single large spiraling pointed horn that comes out of their forehead.

Amanda: So, listen. We have had some contention in the past about me not realizing that narwhals are real. I just want to point, creatures that look like other creatures, but otherwise have a gigantic horn on their foreheads, in the past have been fake. So like, a unicorn is a horse but with a big horn, and it's fake. Right? Yeah, it's mythical. But, therefore, in my brain logic a narwhal is a mythical version of a seal.

Julia: It's not, though!

Amanda: I know that it's not.

Julia: Also, it's a whale. It's not a seal.

Amanda: But I just want for you ... I mean, just whatever, like big and seal and whale shaped. Whatever, like a big floating marine creature. But just, in my brain, that is how those two things mapped against each other. I also really enjoyed The Mists of Avalon as a kid. Please continue with your unicorn story.

Julia: Fight me on narwhals. Just do it, just fight me on 'em.

Amanda: I would really like, now, a photo of a narwhal, or a the-shirt with the, I don't know, some kind of narwhal illustration.

Julia: That just says, "Fight me on narwhals."

Amanda: Yes.

Julia: Okay, cool. Starting in the Indus River Valley, it spreads to Ancient Greece. It was mentioned in the bible and then spread to the rest of European folklore during the Middle Ages.

Amanda: Wow.

Julia: By this point, the unicorn was considered an extremely wild woodland creature, and was the symbol of purity and grace.

Amanda: Are they always white?

Julia: That's an interesting question. In most depictions by the Middle Ages they are white-

Amanda: Right, because purity and ...

Julia: ... but I'm sure that there are some instances in earlier mythology where they are not.

Amanda: I'm just really interested in what the origins of the unicorn are, compared to what we think of them in, again, in Harry Potter. Right? Of like, only the pure can look at them, and all their appendages have magical properties, and they're just pure white and docile. And I wondered if they were originally a little bit more animalistic.

Julia: Well, they're definitely not docile during the Middle Ages. Legend has it that because of its association with purity, only a virgin was able to capture a unicorn.

Amanda: Right.

Julia: Otherwise it was just, it would rampage and murder people.

Amanda: Oh, wow.

Julia: Yeah, like the horn is just used for a reason.

Amanda: Wow. Not just delicately spearing apples off the higher tiers of apple trees?

Julia: Yes, not just that. It's actually said that its horn was said to have the power to render poisoned water potable and heal sickness.

Amanda: Wow.

Julia: If you were to mention ... Oh, sorry. Sorry. If you were to look at mentions of the unicorn in Ancient Greece, unicorns were not described in mythology but accounts of natural history.

Amanda: Really? Wow.

Julia: Yeah, so the Greeks genuinely believed that unicorns existed.

Amanda: I mean, it's not a super far leap.

Julia: No, it's not.

Amanda: If there are horned animals, there are horses, it's not totally outside the realm of imagining that thing would be legit.

Julia: Yeah. But let's talk about if you wanted to catch a unicorn for some reason, because many people wanted to do that.

Amanda: All right.

Julia: One traditional method was described by Leonardo da Vinci, actually.

Amanda: Da Vinci, getting your fingers into so many kinds of pies.

Julia: The unicorn, through its temperance and not knowing how to control itself for the love it bears to fair maidens, forgets its ferocity and wildness. And laying aside all fear it will go up to a seated damsel and go to sleep in her lap, and thus the hunters take it.

Amanda: Oh, wow.

Julia: Actually, one of my favorite illustrations of the unicorn is the one that hangs in the Cloisters in New York City. It is part of a series of tapestries called The Hunt of the Unicorn, but its most famous one is The Unicorn in Captivity, which shows a unicorn which has been depicted as killed in an earlier panel, actually, is shown alive and well but chained to a pomegranate tree surrounded by a fence.

Amanda: Wow, what mythologically laden imagery.

Julia: Yeah, it's also surrounded by a field of flowers, which it's like, "Just look how temperate and docile it is now. The pomegranate tree actually represents the unicorn's fertility. And the unicorn in the Middle Ages had a very distinct look. It had a goat's cloven hooves, a goat beard, a lion's tail, and the slender horn.

Amanda: Wow. I do super love that humanity just looks at a horn, anywhere, and it's like, "Must be something good in there," and just assumes that it is useful somewhere.

Julia: Yeah, it's like, "Oh, that weird thing out of that creature that we probably don't know too much about, probably cures sickness and stuff."

Amanda: Something.

Julia: "It's probably fine."

Amanda: "Let's do it."

Julia: "Yeah, let's just cut it off and make it into a powder, and then snort it I guess?"

Amanda: "No, I think put it in a poultice."

Julia: Oh, maybe.

Amanda: "Or dissolve it in a drink." But I don't know, there's something about horns that just seems so antithetical when you compare it to soft woodland creature, or a soft bird. I don't know, just a ...

Julia: A soft bird.

Amanda: Yeah, yeah. But just the, I don't know.

Julia: Like a little sparrow is compared to an eagle. Is that what you mean by soft bird?

Amanda: Yes, I do.

Julia: Okay.

Amanda: Like a bird that's otherwise just adorable, and then has a super sharp beak. You're like, "Oh, God!" And a horse that looks like it's just meant for grazing in the meadow, and then if something has a horn you're like, "Oh my God. What are you doing?"

Julia: Okay, that's fair.

Amanda: It's like that meme that's going around now, after Thor, Immigrant Song intensifies, which is the title song that they use in the movie.

Julia: I'm so excited to watch this movie. I haven't seen it yet.

Amanda: It's like, animal intensifies immediately by the addition of horn.

Julia: Yes. I agree. It's probably that good, good horn is messing with all the gracious and the graceful and docile nature of horses before.

Amanda: And listeners, are we talking about phallic symbols here? No, we're not.

Julia: No.

Amanda: Because people have done it before.

Julia: Yeah.

Amanda: And I don't have time for that.

Julia: I ain't got time for that shit.

Amanda: Let's move on.

Julia: So we're actually going to move on to China's version of the unicorn.

Amanda: I bet it's super interesting.

Julia: It's a similar story of a horned chimera-esque horse. It was known as the qirin or qilin, which was said to appear only during the imminent arrival or passing of a sage or illustrious leader. So it kind of [crosstalk 00:48:12].

Amanda: Wow.

Julia: It is depicted as a good omen. Its body is usually on fire.

Amanda: Okay.

Julia: Appearance-wise they have thick eyelashes, their manes always flow upwards, their bodies are partially or fully scaled, but they're shaped like a horse.

Amanda: I really want to see some illustrations now, because that sounds deeply trippy.

Julia: They're very cool. They also have cloven feet, and golden antlers instead of the single horn like the Western unicorn.

Amanda: Oh, shit.

Julia: Actually though, there's some instances where it does have the single horn. And also, the word in China for the unicorn is the qirin.

Amanda: That sounds, for the first time, I think, like in mashup of animals, that's pretty cute, pretty cool.

Julia: Yeah. I think the only other one I can think of is the one that we covered in 30 mix in 30 minutes, where it was like, "A little bunny that has horns and wings."

Amanda: Yeah, yeah. That on was also super cute, but I mean in this instance I'm just picturing a supermodel with a fan blowing up at her at all times, I suppose because its mane is just always going upward.

Julia: It is the supermodel of horse creatures.

Amanda: And what better subject to end on?

Julia: Yeah, I know. Honestly, it's just so pretty. I like it a lot.

Amanda: Wow.

Julia: I had to throw in a little bit of positivity at the end there, because we got in a really, really negative with the nuckelavee.

Amanda: [crosstalk 00:49:21] Oh, God. I'm just going to keep thinking about that beautiful horse with its golden antlers turning its head in the wind, because otherwise I'll think of the fucking skinless fusion of death and disorder, and not sleep again, ever. Thanks, Jul.

Julia: You're welcome. Always a pleasure, my friend. Always a pleasure. Is there anything else we need to cover before we sign off?

Amanda: You know, I wasn't a horse person, but-

Julia: Sure.

Amanda: ... there's no shame in it. No, I rode horses for several years as a kid, and it was amazing.

Julia: Horse lady.

Amanda: It was ... Listen, I'm trying to get serious here. For a kid who was not athletic, and always felt like gym class was torture, and basketball and volleyball and tennis and soccer and all those other sports my parents made me play was just an exercise in just being humiliated, equestrian was different. I just super ... I don't know. It was amazing to win an animal's trust, and to understand how to move with it to accomplish a goal. And it was very, very cool.

Julia: And I think that actually explains a lot of why horses are so prominent in mythology, they're so prominent in our culture. The rise of human beings as cultured and civilized societies has a lot to do with horses.

Amanda: Absolutely. The fertile crescent, and certainly the establishment of agriculture, and the mechanization of agriculture and being able to really scale and start selling produce. And I mean, all the things that allowed humanity to really settle and divide work and prosper in a way that has now fucked a lot of people over. But anyway, move on. A lot of that is dependent on horses, and they are a pretty huge part of history.

Julia: Yeah, and that's why we have so much mythology about them.

Amanda: Absolutely.

Julia: It's that idea that the human experience, it is completely universal in a lot of ways. Cultures that have horses, of course they're going to have stories about horses.

Amanda: I can't think of a better subject, Julia, for which to wish our listeners ...

Julia: To stay creepy.

Amanda: And stay cool. Watch out for nuckelavee.

[Theme Music]

Amanda: Spirits was created by Amanda McLoughlin, Julia Schifini, and Eric Schneider, with music by Kevin MacLeod and visual design by Allyson Wakeman.

Julia: Keep up with all things creepy and cool by following us @spiritspodcast on Twitter, instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. We also have all our episode transcripts, guest appearances, and merch on our website, as well as a form to send us your urban legends, at spiritspodcast.com.

Amanda: Join our member community on Patreon, patreon.com/spiritspodcast, for all kinds of behind-the-scenes stuff. Just $1 gets you access to audio extras, with so much more available too: recipe cards, director’s commentaries, exclusive merch, and real physical gifts.

Julia: We are a founding member of Multitude, a collective of independent audio professionals. If you like Spirits you will love the other shows that live on our website, at multitude.productions.

Amanda: And above all else, if you liked what you heard today, share us with your friends! That is the very best way to help us keep on growing.

Julia: Thank you so much for listening. Til next time.