Episode 70: Your Urban Legends VII - Heck Puppers

Your stories this week were buck WILD. From fires and the mafia, to demon hunting internships, and secret government projects with some secret cannibalism, we are on a wild ride this episode. Julia wants to adopt a heck pupper. Eric decides he definitely doesn’t want to have a creepy kid. Amanda believes that electricity is caused by demons. All this and more in Your Urban Legends.



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Amanda: Welcome to Spirits podcast episode 70, your urban legends, part 7.

Julia: Amanda just informed me that she didn't remember recording this episode, so it's going to be a doozy.

Amanda: Yeah, no I had the title written down, because that's what my spreadsheet told me was happening, and I just had to double check with you because I wasn't quite sure.

Julia: You're like, "Did we record this?" And I was like, "Yes. Yes, we did."

Amanda: I just came back from an epic two week trip, half work, half vacation. And while the vacation part was very fun, I've also been away for two weeks and I don't know what my life is. I came back and I was like, "Whose house it this?" That's what's happening with me.

Julia: You were gone for two weeks, and I didn't know what my life was anymore.

Amanda: Oh, babe, that's so nice of you.

Julia: I miss you.

Amanda: I missed you too. But you know what kept me company while I was over in Amsterdam and Brussels?

Julia: Was it our wonderful, wonderful patrons?

Amanda: It was actually our wonderful, wonderful sponsor Talis Clothing that makes gorgeous shirts, the shirts that are inspired by astrology and divination and psychic protection. We're going to tell you all about the shirt that I wore during my little work day in Amsterdam in the mid role, but for now you can go to bit.ly/spiritstalis and use the code "Spirits" at checkout for 15 percent off your order.

Julia: And they worth every penny, these shirts. They are absolutely gorgeous and super comfortable. And we'll tell you all about that later.

Amanda: Also, gorgeous, as you said earlier Jules, our new patrons, Jenna, Joey, and Marina, as well as our supporting producer level patrons, Neil, Phillip, Julie, Sara, Christina, Josh, Ior, Maria, Cami, and Lindsey, Ryan, Shelby, Lynn, Mercedes, Phil, Catherine, and Debra.

Julia: Yeah, you guys are the best. And I don't remember any of the stories from this episode so I can't tell you that you're like any of them, but we do know that you're the best.

Amanda: And hanging out with you in your best tude are our legend level patrons who are going to be getting some physical stuff from us. We're sending it out next week and we are so stoked. This month I really like the items a lot. So thank you to Sandra, Ashley, Marie, Bucky, Leann, Ashley, Shannon, and Cassy for your support.

Julia: Ya'll are the best. You are the mermaids who survived the winter and are looking forward to spring, because same.

Amanda: Me too. God, I can't wait. And speaking of spring, spring cleaning, it's a good time to make sure that all of the stuff in your house is stuff you really want around, to make sure that all of the things that you're spending money on are stuff that you really do want to be spending money on. And if you want to prioritize supporting creators and supporting the media that you love in this season, it is a really good time to pledge to Patreon. At patreon.com/spiritspodcast you can get recipe cards that Julia makes for every single episode. You have two custom drinks, an alcoholic one and a non-alcoholic one, as well as our reflections and links and jokes where we write through the episode. We have lots of bullets about just extra stuff for you to enjoy, and jokes at each other's expense or about each others lovely qualities as we listen back to what our buzzed selves had to say during the episode.

Julia: You could also, if you join our legend level patrons, you can get a gift from us each month. Gifts have included cool recipe books, awesome stuffed animals that reminded us of our cool patrons, vintage pins from the USSR.

Amanda: So cool.

Julia: Yeah, those are awesome. I loved those.

Amanda: And we have even more great stuff in store. We could not make the show, we wouldn't be making it weekly without the support of our patrons, and we have some very cool goals coming up including an actual visit to actual Akron, Ohio, which now that it's becoming not winter I am feeling less bad about my promise to actually do that.

Julia: We're down to go not in winter to Akron, Ohio.

Amanda: Cleveland has a really cool Irish festival every, I think, early summer that Eric Schneider and friend of the show Tim Tellup go to every year, and I think that we would have a lot of fun there.

Julia: I think that would be super fun.

Amanda: Help us go to Cleveland and to Akron and get spaghetti stuffed and ...

Julia: And ghosts.

Amanda: ... Also, whiskey drunk. Also, ghosts maybe, who knows. We're going to Irish jig those ghosts away, who knows. Oh, boy, I'm tired. Okay, well in the meantime, listeners, I hope you enjoy Spirits podcast episode 70, your urban legends part 7.

[Theme music]

Amanda: Do you want to start, Julia, since you made fun of me last time?

Julia: Well, because you were just like, "Well, welcome to the episode." I was like, "That's never how we do it ever."

Amanda: Because I never start the episode.

Julia: I know, I always start the episode.

Amanda: I was trying to step up. Eric, you start the episode.

Eric: Welcome to Spirits podcast episode-                                                                                                                                                        

Julia: Not how we do it.

Amanda: That's the intro.

Julia: All right.

Eric: That's how we start the episode.

Julia: No, that's how we start the intros.

Amanda: Which are the episodes.

Julia: No.

Amanda: We're here, people, it's hometown urban legend week.

Julia: She got one.

Amanda: You read the title, you know what's happening, it's hometown urban legend time.

Julia: It is indeed. And Eric's here. He's always here.

Eric: I sure am.

Julia: His influence is always here.

Amanda: Him as a physical form is not always here. We fixed your mic though. Yay.

Julia: Yay.

Eric: We sure did. Don't know what happened but I somehow recorded the Skype call and not my microphone. So, sorry.

Julia: Classic editor mistakes.

Amanda: I know. People who don't make podcasts might be like, "Well that sounds dumb." People, podcasts are hard.

Julia: Podcasts are hard.

Eric: It's crazy because we recorded one episode with this new mic that I have without a single problem. I changed no settings and somehow mess it up for both Spirits and Way Station. But now we're back and it's good.

Julia: Yay.

Eric: Hopefully, unless it isn't and I mess it up again somehow, even though I tested it a bunch of times.

Amanda: That would be incredibly embarrassing.

Julia: You'll have to cut in with your shitty microphone and be like, "This is editor Eric. I fucked up. I'm sorry. It's not any better." Can I start off with like kind of a long one?

Amanda: Let's do it, I'm here.

Eric: Yes.

Amanda: I got my drink, I'm ready.

Julia: Sweet. This is an email from listener Dan, and Dan says, "Hey, Spirits gang, I had a couple of personal ghost stories I thought you might enjoy hearing. Not to get too deep into my family's history, we'll just fast forward to the present day." Thank you, I appreciate that.

Amanda: Go deep, Dan. Except not super deep in our email because we appreciate brevity.

Julia: "I bought my grandparents house last year, which greatly decreased my grandmother's stress level for her remaining year of life. The house came with three ghosts", in parentheses he goes "for now", "but only one or two are relevant to the tales."

Eric: Oh, boy.

Julia: "My sister and I are a little sensitive to the supernatural, her a little bit more than me. We can sense when a spirit is active, can pinpoint where it's concentrated, and can sense the general mood."

Amanda: Oh, shit.

Julia: He goes, "We're almost at the meat of the story, but I wanted to give you the quick rundown of what I know about what's living in my basement", which is horrifying.

Amanda: Dan, Dan? Are you okay, Dan?

Julia: "There's one that lives in a back corner in a closet. It's not a bad thing-"

Eric: I don't like that there's one. I know it's a ghost, but it sounds ominous when there's one. Of what though? A ghost, I know. But it still scares me.

Julia: He goes, "It's not a bad thing, but not fully okay either. I refer to it as the grumpy one. That one can get angry, but has not done anything outwardly malicious."

Amanda: Dan, this sounds like what people say lie, "Oh, she thought it was the nice one", before someone gets eaten.

Julia: Yep. "I have a decent rapport going with it, so it's become more tolerant over the last year. The second ghost we're not sure about. It's definitely a separate presence and is often a little mischievous, but there are no solid theories as to where it came from. The third one we suspect to be our grandfather who passed away upstairs in his favorite chair, he might be helping guard us from the grumpy one. The new one we strongly suspect is our grandmother, and if so, her spirit wandered its way into my house from a nursing home in which she passed. That's what I live with. Onto the stories."

Amanda: Dan.

Julia: "The first tale of the supernatural is a fairly short one. The ghosts don't come upstairs often and when they do they tend to just sort of hang out I the corner and observe."

Amanda: I'm sorry, can we just pause for a second and think about ghost physics. Wouldn't ghosts float upward?

Julia: Yes.

Amanda: Aren't they just like spectral puffs?

Julia: Are we assuming that the rule of thermodynamics works here and heat rises, so ghosts also rise-

Amanda: I suppose I am.

Julia: So they're hot?

Amanda: I guess they're cold though.

Julia: But ghosts are cold.

Eric: I mean, if we're assuming the laws of thermodynamics hold, then ghosts don't exist.

Julia: Shut up, Eric.

Eric: Right, right? I'm just saying, just saying.

Julia: "Usually this happens", the hanging out in the corner and observing, "Usually this happens when I have people over. One night, however, I was by myself and decided to watch Ghost Buster's II. I put it into the DVD and about 10 minutes into the movie I felt a ghost come upstairs and sit down beside me on the couch and seemed to be enjoying the flick. Once the movie ended it went back downstairs."

Eric: Hold on, hold on. I'm going to quickly jump ahead. Does he explain how he knew the ghost was enjoying it?

Julia: No, he doesn't. He says earlier in the email that he gets general vibes from the ghosts.

Amanda: Okay, okay.

Julia: "Once the movie ended it went back downstairs. This, of course, prompted me to text my dad to see if my grandfather had liked the first Ghost Buster's movie. We're not sure if he ever saw it, so there's no resolution to that one."

Amanda: Jesus.

Julia: "The second story I think you'll enjoy, and the main reason I wanted to send it your way, I have a few old school video game consoles hooked up in the basement, sometimes I even have invisible company while I play them. There was one fateful night when I was playing my NES after dinner. I had my iPad with me and it was tuned into a YouTube channel that I was following, two guys talking over bad video game videos."

Amanda: Nice.

Julia: "I had one of their playlists running in the background. At some point I felt a ghost snap into presence across the room to my left. The spirit felt pretty darn angry, but also did not feel like the grumpy one so I wasn't sure what was happening. I started talking to it, which usually calms them down, but to no success. I felt it cross the room so that it was right beside me, and goosebumps broke out across my arm and I had the feeling it was trying to push me from the couch. I had no idea at the time what set it off, but I knew it wanted me out of the basement. I tried reasoning with it, but eventually gave up and went upstairs. A few weeks went by with nothing like that happening. I was still down there gaming or playing pool with videos and music playing, but everything was calm until one day when I was again on the couch with my iPad playing videos. It was the same YouTube channel, and even though I was watching a different playlist it shared a few videos with the ones from weeks prior."

Amanda: Did this ghost not like that YouTube channel?

Julia: "Once again I felt he ghost angrily arrive to my left. I said hello but before I could say anything else I suddenly realized it was the same exact video that had been playing last time this happened. Keeping one eye to where I felt the presence, I tapped the button to skip to the next video. The ghost immediately calmed down and I instantly gained a lot of respect for it. I'm sure you're wondering what sort of YouTube video could anger a ghost." We were, thank you.

Amanda: Thank you.

Julia: "The video featured, as usual, two people talking over another video. The source of the movie in question was a pretty abysmal let's play os a Pokémon game. The guy playing the game seemed to hate everything about it, but his reactions to the battles are what made it standout. He kept battling the same type Pokémon and would hurtle the same insult at their way, which happened to be the "F" word often used with a hateful slur towards not heterosexual people. The commentators were doing a brilliant job of ripping him apart, and it's an oddly entertaining video to watch but only due to the commentary. So the only conclusion I was able to draw from that is that one of ghosts has no patience for homophobia."

Amanda: I love it.

Julia: "This is backed up by any time I tell the story in the house and drop the "F" bomb, the ghost will poke its head into the room and seem annoyed. After I reassure it that I'm just telling an amazing story and didn't mean anything hateful, it goes back to whatever its been doing." And that's the end of the email.

Eric: Now, when the ghost pokes its head into the room, is it like from around the corner or like through a wall?

Amanda: Probably through a wall.

Eric: Because that's an important detail.

Amanda: Or like snapping into existence.

Julia: Yeah, which I like that description as snapping into existence.

Amanda: Yeah.

Julia: Like all of a sudden it's like, "Hey, yo, what's up. I'm a ghost. What are you doing? Stop listening to that video." I don't know why that ghost is from Brooklyn.

Eric: You guys know about the haunted Pokémon game, Pokémon Black, right?

Amanda: No.

Julia: No. You mean like missing, no, or something?

Eric: No, there's a haunted Pokémon game.

Julia: Is there?

Eric: All the music is from Lavender Town and all the Pokémon are ghosts.

Julia: Oh, shit. That's kind of cool. I'm into it.

Amanda: That is kind of cool.

Eric: We should do an episode on like creepy pasta stories.

Amanda: Yeah, we really should.

Julia: We should.

Amanda: That's awesome though. I thought for sure you were going to say, Julia, that the Pokémon that this player was going up against again and again-

Julia: Was ghost type Pokémon?

Amanda: Yes.

Julia: That's what I thought too.

Amanda: I know. Like, "Hey, no violence against ghosts." But also no violence against gay people, so thank you.

Julia: Yeah, I appreciate both of those things.

Amanda: I love it. Our next email is from Juliana who writes to us about La Patasola, from Columbia. Juliana is a storyteller from Columbia who loves our show. Thank you. Just listened to the "Deer Woman" episode where we mentioned La Patasola, and Juliana was very excited to hear a mention of Columbia legend in the podcast and wanted to share some more about this story. "Some versions say that La Patasola was a beautiful unfaithful woman, and her husband in a fit of jealous rage cut off her leg and set fire to her house, and since then she wanders the mountains devouring men."

Julia: Same.

Amanda: "However, another possibly more accurate version is that she was a beautiful woman who, because of poverty, was driven to prostitution", which we spoke about in the episode.

Julia: Yeah.

Amanda: "When a new priest came to town he led a witch hunt against her, and the very men that would sleep with her judged her and condemned her to death."

Julia: Yo, that's fucked up.

Amanda: Which if there is a better anecdote about hetero patriarchy, show it to me please. "She begged them for mercy, but they cut off her leg as punishment and threw it into a bonfire made of cornhusks.

Julia: Why the leg though?

Amanda: "She crawled off into the forest bleeding, and then became an espanto, an evil spirit that haunts the living. Hatred boiled in her toward all men", same, "Especially devout Christians, ans he vowed revenge. She will not harm women or animals, but when men go through the mountains she will lure them deeper, deeper into the forests with cries for help."

Julia: Hell yeah.

Amanda: "Once they're lost and alone in the deepest part of the woods she pounces on them drinks their blood, and crunches their bones."

Julia: So good. Crunch those bones.

Eric: I like that.

Amanda: "La Patasola is the most feared of the Columbian spirits by men because she doesn't just scare you like most others do, she will actually kill you and she's also indiscriminate in her choice of male victims."

Eric: Good.

Amanda: "She hasn't been cited in many years and her story is quickly dying out, but just one or two generation ago the campesinos, which are farmers, people from the countryside, would learn a very long and complex prayer to fend her off. But, of crouse, when coming face to face with her, everyone forgets the prayer because you're scared, so the next best thing is to yell, "Ax, cornhusks, fire", which will make her think that you're going to cut off her other leg, and then you're fine."

Julia: Ax, cornhusks, fire.

Eric: I don't know if I like that. I mean, I guess self-preservation is key, but I don't ... That's a bummer for her.

Amanda: That seems, yeah, like you're terrorizing the spirit.

Julia: That reminds me of the slit mouthed woman story from Japan.

Amanda: Yeah.

Julia: Where it's just like she asks you a question, it's like, "Actually, I'm late to meet my husband, I'm sorry."

Amanda: Actually, I'm fine, goodbye.

Julia: "I'm sorry, bye. Do you want some candy? Sorry, bye. What time was me-"

Eric: Hard pass on this haunting, please.

Amanda: Julia, we need more Japanese urban legends.

Julia: Yeah, of course.

Amanda: God, I love them.

Julia: We'll work on it.

Amanda: Anyway, to finish up. Juliana doesn't know of any versions where La Patasola punishes people for cutting down her trees, that's the Madre Monte, or Mother of the Mountain, another fierce Columbian spirit who protects the wild places.

Julia: Hell yeah.

Amanda: In her research into Columbian traditional tales Juliana also discovered an intriguing trend. As far as she can tell they're all about fear, and as a storyteller she writes, "I wonder, were these stories told in order to say the things one could not say to explain why bodies showed up in the rivers, to tell why fathers went into the mountains and never came back, to fathom why community leaders were found with eh flesh stripped from their bones? Because it's no secret", she writes, "That Columbia has been at war pretty much from the beginning, and the mountains and forests are dangerous places because that is where the fugitives are. But you can't say it was them because some of them could be listening. Perhaps it's just easier to tell yourself that these cuts were made by a creature's talon instead of a chainsaw. The old stories are being forgotten and the parade of spirits that haunted the wild places are fading away. One is said to have drowned after they flooded his forest to create a dam, but some stories are still very much alive. In the countryside and witches in the cities with many, if not most, people of all backgrounds and educational levels believing in them today or having had some sort of personal experience with them." So Juliana thanks us for bringing us stories, and thank you, Juliana, for bringing us yours.

Julia: That's a great email.

Eric: Yeah, that was a great one.

Julia: That was super good.

Amanda: Yeah. For serious.

Julia: I have no jokes to make about I because it was a damn good email.

Amanda: I know but that's what we say all the time, right, is that stories help us explain what we can't explain in pother ways. And especially to see stories evolving over the course of country and nation of people and their life and ongoing conflict. I think it's pretty dope.

Julia: Yeah, for sure.

Eric: Yeah, for sure.

Amanda: Eric, what do you got?

Eric: I have a much more lighthearted email from Dan. Hopefully a different Dan, or the same Dan. If it's the same Dan though, Dan, you got two, give it a couple months before you send us a third one. This email is titled "Jim, the ghost."

Julia: Jim the ghost.

Eric: Much more lighthearted than our first two.

Julia: I hope so.

Eric: "My first job out of high school was a stagehand at a local community theater."

Amanda: Great start.

Eric: That's why I picked it.

Julia: You know us too well.

Eric: "I've heard it said that every theater has a ghost, and ours was no exception. While the theater was being built one of its founders passed away inside the unfinished building, int eh years since multiple people have reported hearing footsteps on the catwalk above the rigging when they knew they were the only person in the building."

Julia: Hold on. I want to think about this for a second. Why do you think all theaters have ghosts?

Amanda: I don't know, because that's where we invoke spirits of the past and tell stories to each other.

Julia: Oh, I was going to say because the personalities of the folks that go into spirits ...

Amanda: Oh, theater people are dramatic. Yeah, yeah.

Julia: Yes, people are dramatic, theater people in particular are super dramatic. Those egos are very large and, as we've discussed, ghosts are basically just ego.

Amanda: We have. I would say two things in addition. One is like I the same way that if you ever see a bar during the daytime with all its lights on, it's horrifying. It's like seeing a model without makeup, right, where you're used to seeing a person one way and then you see them under a completely different light and you're like, "Oh, God, what?" And that is what being in an empty theater feels like. It's built to hold tons of people with specific lighting and a different mood, and so to walk in there eat like 8:00 in the morning on a weekday or to be there ar 2:00 in the morning doing work, it's inherently kind of spooky. I think that's kind of why we're predisposed to see things and hear things and to think that someone else is there. But also, we walk in there to tell stories and to make apparitions and to create illusions, so to me it's super rich for spirits.

Julia: Yep, I agree.

Eric: "Since the building has a corrugated metal roof it would be pretty easy to put this down to just the roof reacting to temperature changes, but my boss always said that Jim was keeping an eye on the place, and it was the responsibility of the last person to leave every night to say goodnight to Jim before closing and locking the stage door." Very nice.

Julia: You always have to be polite to your ghosts. That's a just a rule of thumb.

Amanda: Just be polite. Give them some milk, give them some bread, be polite.

Eric: And here's why you should be polite to Jim the ghost. "Jim was a mostly helpful ghost. More than one co-worker lost a wrench or a stack of gels only to find it carefully laid on the lip of the stage the following morning."

Amanda: Oh, my God.

Julia: So sweet.

Eric: "But Jim also has a mischievous streak.”

Amanda: Of course.

Eric: "When we hired my friend Jake he was openly skeptical about our theater superstitions, including the existence of Jim the ghost. One night he and I were closing the theater, my cellphone rang so I handed the keys to Jake and went out onto the loading dock to take the call." I think we all know what's about to happen.

Julia: He doesn't say goodbye to Jim the ghost.

Amanda: Uh-oh.

Eric: "Despite being focused on the phone call I noticed that Jake didn't say goodnight to Jim before locking up. He then tossed me the keys and walked to his car. Just as he reached his car he stopped, stiffened, then came running back to me. Apparently he had just heard someone whisper, "Hello" from right behind him.”

Julia: Damn right.

Eric: "Not the most dramatic apparition in the world. I mean, that's not fair, this ghost lives in a theater, he's one of the most dramatic apparitions."

Julia: One could argue.

Eric: "However, not the most dramatic apparition in the world, but Jake always said goodnight to Jim after that."

Julia: Jake learned.

Amanda: Love it.

Julia: Jake learned that shit. Good for Jake.

Amanda: I know. We didn't have a ghost light in our theater in high school.

Julia: No.

Amanda: Which is a kind of single light bulb on like a rolling stand that you leave on the stage, both for safety and for ghosts. That's why it's called a ghost light, to keep the spirits at bay. Also, so that the first person to come during the daytime doesn't trip as she's finding her way to the lights. I always loved the image of that, and whenever I see one depicted in a play or on TV I always get a little feeling in my heart.

Julia: It's a warming feeling.

Amanda: It is.

Julia: That little light that's there to help us all.

Eric: Do you guys know about the one thing that definitely doesn't have a ghost?

Julia: No.

Amanda: No.

Eric: Because it has a phantom of the opera.

Julia: Amanda's just staring. She's like, "How, how did I get here?"

Eric: Amanda's shaking her head. She's not appreciating the joke. It wasn't good, so I understand. That's fair.

Julia: At least you owned up to it being terrible.

Amanda: At least you're self-aware. This is an email from Rachel. And Rachel says, "I'm a newish listener and I love your show. I learned so much already and I'm excited to dive into your back catalog for more." Thank you, Rachel, we appreciate it. So she says, "My family have a lot of lore and ghost stories about loved ones who have passed away, but I'll share one that actually happened to me. My parents and I moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1987 and my grandfather built a tree house for me in the backyard there. Basically, just a platform enclosed on three sides with a ladder, and the fourth side open, about six or seven feet in the air. My grandfather passed away the following year when I was six.”

Amanda: “Some months after he died I was up in the tree house and was startled by a beetle flying at me", which, same, been there before. She goes, "I remember jerking away from it, stepping backwards off the ledge where the ladder was and understanding I was going to fall. I also remember standing in the grass at the bottom of the ladder with my mother, but I don't remember anything in between. As my mother tells it. She was looking out the kitchen window when I started to fall, then lost sight of me as she was running through the house to the yard. When she got there she found me standing calmly and unhurt at the bottom of the ladder. When she asked me what happened I told her, 'It's okay, grandpa saved me.' Thanks for your fantastic podcast. Rachel."

Julia: That's pretty good.

Amanda: That's a pretty good one.

Julia: That's pretty good.

Amanda: I'm into it.

Julia: Oh, man.

Eric: I always like that, the helpful ghost that just kind of like-

Amanda: Me too.

Julia: Me too.

Eric: "You're fine. You're good now."

Julia: Yeah, your grandpa's not going to let you get hurt.

Amanda: It's so beautiful. And for kids too, it feels like they wouldn't lie for dramatic effect, and they wouldn't know how provocative that sentence is like, "Oh, grandpa just saved me." I love it.

Julia: But also, little kids are the ones that stare into corners and you're like, "What are you looking at?" They're like, "The wolf up there." You're like, "What fuckin' wolf, you weirdo?"

Eric: My entire office is women, and a lot of them have recently had children. And a lot of their children are just getting to that age where they can talk and point to something.

Julia: Oh, no.

Eric: And I was like, "See that's the number one birth control as far as I'm concerned", just a story about a creepy kid.

Julia: Yep same.

Eric: I'm like, "No, don't need that. Don't need that any time soon in my life."

Amanda: Similarly, today one of my colleagues who is pregnant was showing us a video where someone uses a balloon to show how the cervix lengthens and expands during labor. Ad we were just like, "No. No."

Eric: Wait, where was this?

Amanda: At work.

Julia: Why?

Amanda: It came up in conversation.

Julia: Sure it did.

Amanda: It did. Anyway. I have an email next from Stefania, who I'm hoping I'm pronouncing this correctly, who sends us an email titled "Hell hounds." So of course I clicked on it.

Julia: Yes.

Eric: Very good.

Amanda: Stefania tells this story specifically to her friends because it freaks them out, and everybody thinks that her family is cursed as a result.

Julia: Sweet.

Amanda: Some backstory. "This is something that happened to my grandfather who immigrated from Portugal. He grew up in a very small village in Northern Portugal called Rical, Rical?" I texted a friend of the show, Catherine Addington, for pronunciation to help, but she did not get back to me. Damn it, Catherine. So here we are.

Julia: We love you anyway.

Amanda: We love you. Anyway, this village is nested in the mountains. "I have a very few great aunts who still live there as nuns." Dope.

Julia: That's awesome.

Amanda: "That area is separated by a pretty wide river that's rough to cross, so not a lot of people ventured over there because of how many boats capsized. There is a bridge built across and it's still believed to be haunted by poltergeists and demons, since there's a road that, quote, "drains electricity." Flashlights go out and phone batteries die."

Julia: That sounds like aliens.

Amanda: "Back in my grandfather's day the village had no electricity because everybody believed it was witchcraft."

Julia: Sure.

Amanda: I love it, I love it.

Eric: Yep, fair.

Amanda: I feel like I would have been one of the people who was like, "Get that electricity demon out of my house."

Julia: Really?

Amanda: I think so. I think I would be like, "Don't want any part of that."

Julia: I would be into electricity, probably.

Amanda: You would be like a steampunk.

Julia: I would be a steam ... I would be Dr. Victor Frankenstein being just like, "Galvanism."

Amanda: But that makes sense, because there was an actual witch in this village, and she terrified Stefania's grandfather. "The houses were small and cramped together and the roads were dirt paths. At the time there were only a few families that occupied the village, so everybody knew everybody else, and one of my great aunts was already a nun at this time taking care of the small chapel in the village. At the outskirts of the village there were some old ruins that people didn't approach because of all the stories of it being haunted." So now, to the legend. The stories behind the ruins were that it was some sort of castle that belonged to a vampire or a demon", it kind of flip flops between which one it was.

Julia: Sure.

Amanda: "After the owner's death it was protected by, quote, "hell hounds." Rical is right next to an area called "Villa de Lobos", village of wolves, which was known for wild dogs and Liberian wolves that would attack cattle and sheep, so they would be seen at night in Rical."

Julia: The hell hounds should be known as "heck puppers."

Amanda: All right, all right, I'll get behind it.

Eric: I do like that.

Julia: Heck puppers.

Eric: That is very-

Julia: Someone draw me-

Eric: Like a tiny Pomeranian, but like it's on fire.

Julia: Pleas someone draw me the heck pupper.

Amanda: Okay, ready? #heckpupper, there it is. Send us your version of a heck pupper.

Julia: I need to know.

Amanda: I need it.

Julia: I need it.

Eric: That's P-U-P-P-E-R.

Amanda: Heck pupper.

Julia: P-U-P-P-E-R-, yep.

Amanda: I love it. We're social media stars. Anyway, back to-

Eric: Even if you just have Microsoft paint, as many as you can get to us, we'll take all of them.

Amanda: Oh, yeah, like margin notes in your work or school books. Please, anything. Love it. Draw it on your friends jeans with a sharpie. Remember people did that in middle school?

Julia: Yeah, what the fuck is wrong with people?

Amanda: I don't know. People's parents must have hated that. Back to Stefania's grandfather. "So when he was about eight years old his neighbors for around a week kept complaining of hearing something on their rooftop. At first, they thought they were rats, but after investigating there was nothing there, no signs of rats at all.

Julia: Bad choice, bad choices.

Amanda: "Then one day while they were sleeping there was a loud thud-thud-thud-"

Julia: Never sleep when there's hell hounds. Heck puppers.

Amanda: "There was a loud thud-thud-thud in the chimney that woke them all up."

Eric: It's Santa.

Julia: I was going to say it's raccoons.

Amanda: Not Santa, it's a hell hound. "In the fireplace a burning hot rock rolled out."

Julia: What the fuck?

Amanda: They just ignored it.

Julia: Why would you do that?

Eric: Not the right reaction at all.

Amanda: Oh, my God, now I want a drawing of a heck pupper like cuddled up next to a coal. Just like keeping warm.

Eric: That is so wrong.

Amanda: Oh, my God.

Eric: As like their chew toy.

Amanda: Aww, shit. That's so cute. Anyway, "This thud-thud-thud and the burning hot rock happened again the next night and the next night." So these people went across the street to Stefania's grandfather's house and explained that they believed there was a poltergeist inside their house. "One of the son's of that neighbor family who was a bit older than my grandfather shared the bed with him. In the middle of the night my grandfather felt something get on the bed. When he was trying to get up to see what it was, the other boy grabbed him and told him not to move. They both went very still as whatever was on the bed moved closer, and the way it moved made it feel like a dog or a cat had gotten on the bed. A few seconds later it moved and seemed to get off the bed, but they didn't hear anything hit the floor. Then it was gone. That morning, the boy didn't mention anything to my grandfather, but other people in the house had experienced something weird during the night, so they decided to sleep in the living room. The next night everybody slept by the fireplace, there was a thud-thud-thud, and a hot rock rolled out."

Julia: God damn it.

Amanda: "Everybody woke up to the sound and my grandfather's father reached out to grab it, but burned his hand." Burning hot rock.

Julia: Well, duh. It's a hot rock.

Amanda: Well, not an illusion, not an illusion.

Eric: Makes sense.

Amanda: Then another rock rolled down the chimney, and another one, all burning hot. They all heard something like quick footsteps on top of the roof, and so they ran outside to see what the heck is happening."

Julia: God damn it. Ya'll are bad at this.

Amanda: "My grandfather says that when they looked up there was nothing on the roof, but on top of the hill just behind the house staring at them was a black wolf with red eyes."

Julia: The heck pupper.

Amanda: "They all immediately ran to the chapel and slept there." Smart idea.

Julia: Smart move. Best decision so far.

Amanda: "In the morning they had the priest go and bless both their houses, and the other family went to get some sort of charm with the village witch to ward evil from their house. My grandfather's family didn't trust the witch, so they never went to her to seek counsel. After the blessings the hot rocks in the chimneys never happened again." There are other ghosts and demon stories that my grandfather experienced growing up before immigrating to America when he was 17, and Stefania's great aunts, who are nuns, experienced strange things as well while working in the chapel. Her dad and aunt even experienced weird things when he went to visit the village in Portugal the couple of times he went when he was little. And then Stefania says, "Hope you enjoyed this tale." Well, it sounds like your family is fundamentally cursed, and I love it and I want to hear about every single weird thing that's happened to you, please.

Eric: Yes, please.

Julia: Bad choices all together.

Eric: I like their determination to be like, "This too will pass."

Amanda: It'll be fine. Heck pupper. Love it.

Eric: Heck pupper.

[Theme music]

Amanda: So, Julia, like I said in the intro, I spent the last couple of weeks traveling.

Eric: Yes, yes, you did.

Amanda: I went to Brussels and Amsterdam, first it was for a vacation, and then also for a work trip. And when I'm away from home I do like to bring little slices of home with me. I brought my plowie, I brought my tiny pillow.

Eric: Of course, you did.

Amanda: I brought my own shampoo so that I smell like home, and I also brought a shirt from Talis, which is our sponsor this week, and Talis introduces clothing for psychic protection. It's run by this dope designer based in Los Angeles, and every garment is like a beautiful cotton shirt. There's short sleeve, there's long sleeve, there's colors, there's neutrals, black and white and this cool blue color, but everything that they have on it is for psychic protection and divination and tarot, stuff that just makes you feel a little bit more like protected. And frankly, it doesn't matter to me whether or not those effects are, quote unquote, "true", but having a thing that makes me feel a little bit stronger, whether it's like a saint metal or a shirt with a very cool diagram of Jupiter on it, or just my favorite hairband, it's a little something to help me get through what could otherwise be a stressful time.

Julia: Yeah, and it's always nice to feel like you have someone watching over you. Whether it's Saint Anthony or if it's like the Goddess of the moon or Mercury, like you have. These shirts kind of give you that extra push that someone's got your back, you can do this. Whatever you're doing today, you got this.

Amanda: Yeah, I really, really enjoy it, and I love that we match a little bit, even though our shirts are different colors. And as always, there's like a little historical bend to the things that we love, and in this case the designer behind Talis took actual notes and handwriting samples from a spirit medium from the 1800s, and he had taken notes, he wrote down names, like Caesar and Augustus, he wrote symbols and drawings and scribbles, and she kind of sampled all of that stuff to put onto the clothing. So there's a really cool actual historical tradition behind that as well.  

Julia: Yeah. And if you actually go to our Instagram today I'll be posting a picture of my shirt, which is really cool because it's a long sleeve shirt and there's these beautiful symbols which are ancient Greek Latin and Hebrew talismans for protection, luck, and good memory. And it's super, super cool. It's like one of my favorite things. I like don't want to wear it to the gym because I know I'll ruin it, but I love wearing it and it makes me feel powerful and safe, and I love it so much.

Amanda: I know. I really, really love when we're able to share stuff with our listeners that we genuinely love so much, and this is one of them. If you head over to bit.ly/spiritstalis, the link is also in the description of this podcast, and use the code "Spirits" at checkout, you'll get 15 percent off your order at Talis.

Julia: And like I said in the intro, these shirts are worth every penny. They are so comfortable, they're stylish, they would be up anyone's ally. I'm really excited, I just ordered this moto sleeveless leather vest, and I'm going to rock the shit out of my Talis shirt with the vest on top. It's going to be awesome.

Amanda: Oh, my gosh. I love my long sleeve shirt, but I'm going to order, I think, one or two short sleeve ones for the summer.

Julia: Nice.

Amanda: And the blue color is the same blue as my tattoo, and I can't wait to show it off.

Julia: It's going to look great.

Amanda: Awesome. Well, thank you so much to Talis for sponsoring this episode of Spirits. And, again, ya'll that's bit.ly/spiritstalis, and the code is "Spirits" for 15 percent off. Now, back to the show.

[Theme music]

Amanda: Eric, what do you got?

Eric: I've got an email from Emily, and it's titled "Fire, the mafia, and more."

Julia: Nice.

Eric: Emily writes, "I have few stories about the college I went to."

Julia: Good.

Eric: "I went to a small community college in Oregon that was founded some time in the 70s. It is surrounded by a huge lake and forest. Years ago a woman named Anne was working on a project at night in the welding yard, going against all-"

Amanda: Uh-oh, Anne, uh-oh.

Eric: We've got a little bit of theme between this email and mine.

Julia: They're making bad decisions altogether, ya'll.

Amanda: Just stop.

Eric: "Going against all the rules she was not wearing any protective clothes-"

Amanda: Anne.

Eric: "And was alone." You don't want to do that when welding.

Amanda: God damn it.

Julia: They said burn your bras, not your leather welding aprons. Come on.

Eric: Her clothes caught fire and she ran inside the art room searching for help. She burned to death.

Julia: Yep.

Amanda: I mean, there it is.

Julia: It's not wrong.

Eric: "Now at times the art room will become unexplainably hot and a woman's voice can be heard. I spent a night with a ghost hunting group in the room one time, a man that was with us pulled out a lighter letting it burn-"

Amanda: Why?

Julia: No.

Amanda: Why would you do that?

Julia: No.

Amanda: Be like, "Ha-ha, ghost, look fire." You deserve everything that happens to you after that point.

Julia: If he doesn't burn to death I'll be very disappointed.

Eric: To be fair, in our first myth the whole way to get rid of the ghost was to mock the way the ghost was killed, so this tracks in terms of ghost prevention possibly.

Amanda: Okay, that's fair.

Julia: All right, all right.

Eric: "Someone blew it out in front of my eyes, not just extinguished naturally, though no one was around and there was no breeze." That's story one.

Amanda: Okay. Fairly creepy.

Eric: Also, the lake near us has been cause for the death of multiple people, including a small child. When the mafia was active in the town in the 70s ..." I liked the idea of the Oregon mafia.

Amanda: I love it so much.

Eric: I'm not 100 percent convinced that the mafia was super active in Oregon even in the 70s. It doesn't seem like-

Amanda: Were they trafficking in fur trapping or like maple syrup?

Julia: In the 1970s?

Amanda: I'm asking, I don't know. I'm sorry, Oregon, but what is your industry besides tourism?

Julia: Water?

Eric: Vampires.

Amanda: Mills, logging, I'm trying to think of like rustic things. I'm picturing all the mafia men with like plaid ties at their grandma's houses like eating pasta.

Eric: I do like that, it's very good.

Amanda: Thank you.

Eric: "When the mafia was active in the town in the 70s it is said that they would take people to the woods near the lake, kill them, and dump them in the water."

Amanda: Yes, that's what the mafia does.

Julia: Classic.

Eric: "Needless to say, the woods are very spooky at night. My friends and I walk the lake path many times I the dead of night." I mean, you're just asking for trouble doing that.

Amanda: Listen, not a good plan.

Julia: You know what you did.

Eric: Emily.

Amanda: Emily, your life is valued.

Eric: Just do it at dusk, why the dead of night?

Amanda: Do it early morning.

Eric: You can get a bit of spooky feel at dusk or dawn even.

Amanda: An early morning woods walk with your Oregon friends and your Oregon dogs and your Oregon coffee, just with like the light only increasing as you go. That would be great.

Eric: Exactly. That's the way to do it, not the dead of night. "Extra footsteps, strange noises, and eve laughter could be heard. If you watch the woods across the lake at night from the dorms you could see shadows darting through the trees. Security guards I knew very well would tell me of voices, footsteps, and doors closing when they were alone walking the grounds of the buildings. Other students have many stories about strange events in their dorms as well. While a small place, it has many tragic stories and a very strange amount of unexplainable happenings." That it does.

Amanda: I like the idea of security guards on their coffee break just like comparing stories with each other or comparing, "Oh, man, I frickin'" .... You know that kid with the plaid that comes in every morning and looks asleep? Oh, my God, I scared him so much.

Julia: Can I share one more?

Amanda: Sure.

Julia: All right. "My hometown urban legend, satanic cults, chemical weapons, cannibalism, and World War II."

Amanda: Will, you overachiever.

Eric: Too much, too many things.

Julia: Just beating it down, come on.

Amanda: I know, I thought mafia and fire were great, but let's see what Will has to offer.

Julia: Bring it on. All right. So Will says, "I live in Anniston, Alabama. It's a pretty small city with a decent sized economy, but back in the day Anniston was bustling. Fort McClellan was a very large U.S. Army installation, it trained about half a million troops during World War II. The fort, as locals call it, was a major boom for our local economy in nearly 80 years. However, it has a very dark past. A little under 3,000 POWs were held at Fort McClellan, and it is the final resting place of 26 German and 3 Italian prisoners who died in captivity. Allegedly, if you are out on the fort in the early morning you can hear them screaming in pain. In the 19-

Eric: What we said last email about early morning being a better time-

Julia: Apparently not.

Eric: Maybe not always the right advice.

Julia: Apparently not.

Amanda: Maybe it's high noon on the summer solstice. Maybe that's the only time you're allowed to walk through any creepy grounds.

Julia: And it feels like the fae summer court is going to steal me away.

Amanda: God damn it.

Julia: All right. "In the 1950s Fort McClellan became the training center for the chemical corp. These men were well versed in the use and destruction of deadly chemical weapons. In secret the government tested chemical weapon's decontamination methods on soldiers using deadly nerve agents and mustard gas. It was called "Operation to hat." I ma friends with older men who say that part of their training they had to practice recovering their masks in mustard gas leaks." He says that mustard gas basically causes you to go into anaphylactic shock, so they were giving Epi pens that they had to inject in their own thighs.

Amanda: Jesus.

Julia: As the years went on Fort McClellan fell out of use and mush of it was abandoned. The incineration of chemical weapons was carried out on the fort, and I remember a special device being installed at my elementary school in case of a chemical leak at the incinerator. Evert second Tuesday of the month the government had to test sirens that would warn of a leak. Every now and then, the radio would bloop and blare and a serious sounding man would say, 'This is a test of the emergency alert system.' I also though a leak had happened and everyone was going to die."

Amanda: Are you sure you're not living in an audio drama?

Julia: It does kind of sound like that, doesn't it?

Amanda: Jesus.

Julia: "There is an abandoned apartment complex on the fort that I have rode by on several occasions, it's slightly hard to find but it's worth looking at. The apartments were put up but no one ever moved into them. I've heard stories that the water is too toxic or that they were built over unexploded ordinances, I have also heard that drug addicts and hookers sleep there at night." Sex workers.

Amanda: I mean, sure.

Julia: But yeah. There is a small community nearby of fairly well to do people who have had pets go missing. A six year old girl went missing a few years ago after the apartments were put up, and she was never found. Now that we've covered "Operation top hat" and the government testing chemical weapons on civilians and soldiers and kids and animals disappearing we can get into some weird shit."

Amanda: Okay, okay.

Eric: Wait, now we can get into the weird shit?

Julia: Now, we can get into the weird shit.

Eric: What have we been in up to now?

Julia: This is the background information.

Amanda: This is the exposition.

Julia: "Like I said, the fort closed down and fell out of use by the military. When the fort closed, soldiers and their families went elsewhere and the economy tanked. Many buildings were just left to fall in disrepair. The dilapidated buildings quickly became a popular destination for high schoolers and urban explorers."

Amanda: I mean, yeah.

Julia: "In the 80s word started getting around that a satanic cult was using part of the fort called the barracks for animal sacrifices and dark rituals."

Amanda: Okay, guys, so reasons that we miss not having grown up in the 80s.

Julia: Satanic cults.

Amanda: One is satanic cults, obviously.

Julia: Yeah.

Amanda: Two is leg warmers.

Julia: Yeah.

Amanda: Three is cultural references.

Julia: Okay.

Amanda: And four, is buying stock in Google.

Julia: Yes.

Amanda: Anyone have items to add to the list?

Julia: I think you covered most of them.

Eric: I would have liked to have watched the original run of Transformers when it was-

Amanda: That's very important, very important.

Julia: I understand.

Amanda: Okay. Glad we agree.

Julia: "It is also said that this is part of the fort where the chemical weapons were tested on POWs. According to one of my friends, him and a few buddies broke into the barracks one night to explore. At first, they didn't find much, just rows and rows of bunks where soldiers would have slept. However, has they were leaving they came across a row of rusty old cages and strange things like candles, knives, and animal skeletons.

Eric: No, no.

Julia: Nope, all right. We can just stop there if you want.

Eric: Yeah, let's do it, okay. Amanda, what's your story? I'm done with this one.

Julia: No, I need to know, I need to know. "My friend says that it was dark that night and they were using their flashlights to look around. One of his friends lights passed over a wall and he yelled out in fear. Written on the wall in rusty brown was a chilling phrase that haunts me to this day."

Amanda: Julia, I want you to think very carefully about whether or not Eric and I need to know this phrase.

Eric: I'm not joking, I was thinking to myself, "Whatever this build up is going through I'm going to jokingly get up from my chair and walk away." Now I might do it just for real.

Amanda: Julia, I want you to really think about this.

Julia: It's really good though.

Amanda: Look into your heart and say, "Is it worth it? Is it worth it?" In big-

Eric: Amanda, turn the webcam so I can look at Julia, so she can see the fear in my eyes as this happens.

Julia: I'm goin got look directly at you and tell you this story.

Eric: Okay, here we go, here we go.

Julia: "In big dripping letters were the words, 'She was ate before she was seven.'" Ate as in A-T-E, ate.

Amanda: Julia, I don't want to know that. I don't want to know that.

Eric: No.

Amanda: No.

Julia: "Whether it was blood or graffiti they skedaddled out of there fast as they could. I'm not sure if there ever really were satanic cults who had clandestine meetings in abandoned buildings at the fort, but when I drive by it I avoid the barracks and the POW cemetery."

Amanda: This was a grievous error in judgment.

Eric: When you said that I had the opposite of whatever… Whatever the opposite of that is, I had that.

Julia: Cool. The last paragraph. "Some people say that you can hear people screaming in pain from chemical weapon tests, others will tell you it's just coyotes. The bodies of two headed fish and deer with extra eyes have been found in rivers or by the road on the fort. If for some reason you find yourself in Anniston, don't get lost in Fort McClellan. You are guaranteed to run into something you wish to have never seen. The place has a very strange history." That's so fuckin' good. I'm so happy.

Amanda: I'm scarred for life.

Julia: Yep, you're welcome.

Eric: I don't like that.

Julia: Don't like that at all.

Eric: It's like a bad 7-8-9 joke.

Julia: No, it was ate as in they like ....

Amanda: No, I know but, you know ...

Julia: They ate the ... And it was the six year old that went missing.

Amanda: Julia, I know.

Julia: Okay.

Eric: Why was six afraid of seven?

Amanda: Because a six year old went missing and was probably murdered.

Julia: And got eaten by a satanic cult, apparently.

Amanda: Jesus.

Eric: I'm glad that it was written in rust and not like blood.

Julia: No, the implication is it's supposed to be dry blood.

Eric: Okay, never mind. I take back the one thing that made me have comfort in the story.

Amanda: There's nothing comforting in here, Eric. Well, I can't let us end on that.

Julia: Oh, God damn it.

Amanda: I am going to share one more actually heartwarming story from mark.

Julia: You always have to end on the heartwarming. God damn it, Amanda. Let's end on the horror sometimes.

Amanda: Because my heart is warm, Jules. Not an icy void.

Julia: Are you saying my heart is an icy void, Amanda?

Eric: Ouch.

Amanda: That is what my sentence implied.

Julia: Damn, all right. Maybe you're the one with the icy void of a heart after saying that.

Amanda: Probably. Sorry, besties.

Julia: All right. Warm my cold, cold heart.

Amanda: Mark writes us, subject line "We're here about the demon."

Julia: Okay, cool.

Amanda: Spirits team.

Eric: We're here about the demon?

Julia: Yep, sweet. Sold.

Amanda: Mark says, "Now that urban legends have become a regular segment of the podcast I felt inspired to write and share something a little unique from my life that you might all like. While perhaps not an urban legend in the strictest sense, this is nevertheless the story of the time I helped perform an exorcism. I hope you enjoy it."

Julia: Is it an accidental exorcism?

Amanda: It's an actual exorcism.

Julia: Okay.

Amanda: Mark's high school curriculum required a certain amount of career shadowing. He spent a week with a Catholic priest-

Eric: Oh, no. Oh, no.

Amanda: I broke her. You all right, babe?

Julia: I just know exactly where this story is going to go and it made me laugh.

Amanda: Career shadowing, I had to do an exorcism. My bad.

Eric: See, this is why we need separation of church and state, so high schoolers don't get roped into doing exorcisms for their junior year credits.

Amanda: Yeah, how do yo impose like a quarterly rubric on that? I don't know. So Mark spent a week with a Catholic priest following him through his community, meeting with people that he served, and doing most of the driving while the priest recovered from a broken leg. "I learned that much of his daily routine involved responding to the needs of parishioners and doing anything he could to help them work through whatever problems they faced in their lives. Usually, these were familiar sad stories, a family is hurt by poverty, crime, illness, or the many other human evils persistent in society", usually. "On the morning of the third day ..." Which sounds like a fuckin' biblical verse, Mark.

Julia: It does.

Amanda: Thanks for that.

Eric: It does.

Julia: On the third day ...

Eric: I mean, he learned something from this career shadowing.

Amanda: He did, he did. And it's an effective method od speech.

Eric: Excellent pros.

Amanda: "On the morning of the third day we set out to pay a visit to one of his parishioners." Was the third day like fish creatures? Water creatures? What was the third day?

Julia: No, I'm thinking on the third day he rose again.

Amanda: Oh, shit. Yeah, no that's right.

Julia: You know, for the Jesus.

Eric: Yeah, when the fish creature rose again.

Julia: The fish creature rose again.

Amanda: Listen, Eric, that was a 2018 best picture winner.

Julia: That is true.

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Julia: You can't mock it. I liked in one of our episodes that came out the week after the Oscars did we mentioned, "Oh, what was that movie called with eh fish man?" And I'm like, "The shape of water"? And you're like, "Yeah, that one." We predicted it.

Amanda: Mark and the priest out to pay a visit to one of his parishioners.

Julia: Of course.

Amanda: "He told me that they were having some problems, but we should be able to get it sorted out fairly quickly without much trouble." Julia's shaking her head and groaning.

Julia: No, you won't. You won't do it.

Amanda: When we arrived at the house he went around to the trunk and pulled out various pieces of equipment and handed them to me. It was only then that he told me what we had come here to do. The father of the family answered the priest's knock with a somewhat perplexed look on his face as if he had no idea why a priest would be knocking on his door. 'We're here about the demon', the priest offered. At these words the man lit up with recognition and ushered us inside."

Julia: Oh, no.

Amanda: "I had somewhat expected that under the circumstances a person wouldn't need to be reminded that the infernal presence plaguing their home-"

Julia: Yeah, you would think.

Amanda: "But this was my first haunting and I wanted to impress." Oh, Mark, I bet you're an overachiever. Mark you seem nice.

Eric: Yeah, I like him.

Amanda: "Between loud outbursts of prayer the father explained the nature of their haunting. He told the priest that he had been seeing strangely demonic shadows dance across the walls at night, and the mother added that she could very strongly sense some kind of infernal presence that made her feel unsafe in her home. The father continued that they weren't sure what was going on, but it became clear that it was some form of hell spawn when he awoke one morning and couldn't find a credit card left out on the counter the night before.

Julia: That's your child, sorry.

Amanda: "On this evidence there was no doubt, a missing credit card could only mean the work of an evil spirit. The priest nodded reassuringly to the family and calmly told them that he knew exactly what to do. He had-"

Eric: Wait, is this like a demon that hates capitalism?

Julia: Fuck capitalism.

Amanda: It's either that or like a Marxist punk anarchist kid or like a thief, I don't know.

Julia: Or both.

Amanda: Or like a cat.

Eric: The three options.

Amanda: The priest had Mark draw some water from the bathroom sink and the priest blessed it, then sprinkled it around the room with his aspergillum, which is the small mace-like instrument used to flick holy water over things and people that the altar boys carry."

Julia: There's your SAT word of the day.

Amanda: I know. You're welcome. "While reading incantations from a small leather tome commanding the demon to leave the family alone. It didn't take long, but at least tot eh family it was particularly effective. They said they could feel the presence gone and were extremely grateful that they could put this dark chapter of their lives behind them. We didn't stay long. It turns out there really isn't all that much to talk about after you perform a successful exorcism. All in all, I would say it took about 20 minutes." So Mark spent the rest of the day talking to the priest about the experience and what grew into a really beautiful conversation. "He told me that he really didn't believe that they had actually been haunted by a demon, it was almost certain that they hd simply misplaced the credit card and jumped to conclusions. But he also explained to me the necessity of accepting the full presumptive validity of other people's experiences, especially when that experience is very different from yours or even seems strange. In his line of work he had to coexist with all different kinds of people and wildly different backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures, but he was usually able to make it work by embracing that diversity while still finding a common ground that could bring people together. And that is something that I've tried to carry with me from the experience."

Julia: That's adorable.

Amanda: Right? A heartwarming exorcism, never a thing I thought I would experience.

Julia: Nope. Pretty sweet though.

Eric: Yeah. That does have a much more heartwarming ending than you would expect from an exorcism story.

Amanda: That's what we strive to bring you here at Spirits podcast.

Julia: I will admit, it was a good ending.

Amanda: Thank you.

Julia: Even though mine was better.

Amanda: And, Julia, if someone called you about a demon, what would you advise them?

Julia: I would tell them to make friends with that demon and also just stay creepy and stay cool.

[Theme music]

Amanda: Spirits was created by Amanda McLaughlin, Julia Shepeni, and Eric Schneider, with music by Kevin McCloud and visual design by Allison Wakeman.

Julia: Keep up with all things creepy and cool by following us on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram, @spiritspodcast. We also have all our episodes, collaborations, and guest appearances plus merch on our website spiritspodcast.com.

Amanda: Come on over to our Patreon page patreon.com/spiritspodcast for all kinds of behind the scenes stuff. Throw us as little as one dollar and get access to audio extras, recipe cards, directors commentaries, and patron only live streams.

Julia: And, hey, if you like the show, please share us with your friends. That is the best way to help us keep on growing.

Amanda: Thank yo so much for listening. Until next time.