Let’s get right to it: This episode has EVERYTHING. Eric attempts to do an old timey voice. Julia freaks out over a Blair Witch style game. Amanda denies playing Pokemon in movie theatres. All in all, we deliver some of the most buckwild stories to date, including the Bunny Man Bridge, mistakes in masonry, and better ways to cure your ghost coyote infected loved ones.
You can also get tickets to our LIVE SHOW at Brooklyn Horror Film Festival!
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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 94, Your Urban Legends, Part 13, mostly outtakes really.
Julia: I mean, it says what it is and that happens quite a bit in our urban legends episodes, but we love you and we love your stories.
Amanda: We do love your stories. And if you want to send a spooky thing that's happened in your life, or a relative's life, or your hometown, you can do that at spiritspodcast.com/contact.
Julia: It is super easy. You fill out the form. We get an email and we file it away in our secret archives, because we have secret archives now.
Amanda: Filing system. We do.
Julia: Amanda does the filing because she enjoys filing.
Amanda: Do you know who else enjoys filing, Julia?
Julia: Would it be our new patrons? I feel like we should put that on them.
Amanda: I mean, I happen to think it's very cool, so if they do enjoy filing, we're going to bond over it. That would be our newest patrons. Julie, Greg, Simon, Garrett, Nicole, Jaclyn, Allie, and Trish, welcome.
Julia: Welcome. If you don't want to file things, you can hang out in the basement archives lounge.
Amanda: Yeah, it has an Xbox or a PlayStation 4, Spider Man? What are teens talking about these days?
Julia: Spider Man. Spider Man. They're talking about Spider Man. There's also booze.
Amanda: Yay. We will pour our first drinks for our supporting producer level patrons, Philip, Julie, Christina, ER, Josie, Sam, Amara, Ella, Neil, Jessica, Maria, Ryan, Phil, and Debra, as well as our legendary legend level patrons Elisa, Zoe, Lorelei, Cassie, Sandra, Sarah, Audra, Jack, and Leanne.
Julia: You all can just hang out in the cool basement lounge whenever you want. The walls are made out of stone. It's really cool. It's very exclusive.
Amanda: Yeah, and they retain heat or coldness depending on what kind of weather is happening, really well.
Julia: That's very specific, but I love it.
Amanda: Jules, what are we drinking for this episode?
Julia: Well, you know, we always do local beers for our urban legends episodes, Amanda.
Amanda: Hell yeah.
Julia: That's just a given. So I picked up a case of Long Summer Nights Witbier from Moustache Brewing, which is this amazing witbier. You know how much I love witbier.
Amanda: I do.
Julia: It's got these lemon and melon notes and Moustache Brewing is local here on Long Island.
Amanda: Hell yeah. I actually had a weekend full of local beer. I went to OctFest, which is a beer and music festival on Governors Island here in New York City. Julia, you know that I'm not particularly, let's say, a outdoorsy, adventurous type.
Julia: Checks out.
Amanda: I don't like being uncomfortable. I don't like being too hot or too cold or too wet or too dry. In general, I'm kind of like a succulent. I need a really steady and specific environment to be my best. But it was so much fun. Even though it was raining and freezing cold, I had so much fun trying not just New York State beers, but beers from all over the country and the world. There were some Japanese brewers there who don't distribute in the US and we discovered them right when the thing opened, and then later looked and saw that the line was hundreds of people long.
This week, we usually recommend a book or a podcast, but my recommendation is going to be trying something new that maybe you don't ... not sure you would like, but you're going with good company and you're willing to give it a go.
Julia: Go to festivals, is basically Amanda's recommendation for this week.
Amanda: Yes, it is. Before we get into the show, we also want to thank our two sponsors for this episode, Skillshare and Calm, which is a meditation app, brand new sponsor to the show. We are a big fan and we'll tell you all about both of them later in the episode.
Julia: Oh hey. One second. Speaking of festivals, we are going to be at the Brooklyn Horror Festival in October.
Amanda: What? Yes, we are.
Julia: We're doing a live show.
Amanda: Didn't even plan that segue. Didn't even remember to put it in the show notes, but-
Julia: You're welcome.
Amanda: ... now I will.
Julia: Yeah, the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival. It is in October. We are going to be doing a live show. The festival is from October 11th to the 18th.
Amanda: Yeah, we are so excited. We're going to be doing a live show on Sunday, October 14th. You can buy tickets just for that. You don't have to have a pass or have a general admission to the festival in order to come. It is affordable. It is exciting. It's at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, which is such a fancy venue.
Damn, Julia. We're fancy bitches. God, I'm so excited.
Julia: Yeah, and we're going to be doing some local New York urban legends and some performances of some emails that y'all sent us.
Amanda: So if you have a Brooklyn-specific or New York City-specific urban legend, now is the time. This is your moment. And if you can be at the show, let us know. That way we can read your myth with you there in the room. So fun.
Julia: Yes. If you send it to us, just say that it is a New York or Brooklyn-specific email and we'll file it away in the archives like we do.
Amanda: Yeah, definitely mention Brooklyn or the Horror Festival in there so we can make sure we pay attention. But that is upcoming in October. October's going to be a really good month. We have some good stuff planned.
Julia: We do.
Amanda: All righty. Well, that about wraps it up for us. So enjoy Spirits Podcast, episode 94, Your Urban Legends, Part 13. Spooky.
Okay, how about a quick little round robin improv game. Spookiest way to stay cool in the summer.
Eric: Spookiest way to stay cool in the summer?
Julia: Go to the most haunted place you can, where there's a bunch of cold spots, and just use it as paranormal air conditioning.
Amanda: Cool, cool. Good start. Eric?
Eric: Haunted freezer? That was something that was in a recent episode, I think.
Amanda: That was in a recent episode, a haunted walk-in freezer. Very good.
Eric: Yeah. That's a cool place for the summer.
Amanda: Checks out.
Julia: How about going to a haunted movie theater?
Amanda: Oh, you thought it was just a random question, but it's a segue.
Eric: Until you said that it was a segue, I didn't know that it was going to be a segue. Also, can you segue out of the not start of the episode? There was nothing before this.
Amanda: The question was a ruse to set up my story. You're trapped in my puzzle. Let me tell you about a haunted movie theater, y'all. This comes to us from Godeleva, who writes about a haunted movie theater in their hometown in Indonesia.
"Years back, when there was only one movie theater in town, that theater burned down. According to the stories I heard, this happened-"
Julia: So there was one and then there was none. Just for the record.
Amanda: It's like the cold open of this podcast. You thought it was a great anecdote, and then it wasn't.
"According to the stories I heard, this happened during the midnight showing, so probably around 11:00 or 12:00 at night. I don't know how many survivors there were, if any, but there were a lot of people who died in the fire. Fast forward to the present day. A few years ago, a new movie theater was built right where the old theater burned down. Why people think this was a good idea, is beyond me. At this point, there were other movie theaters in town, but those were built inside shopping malls. This was the only movie theater that actually stands on its own.
"if the schedule hadn't changed from the last time I went there, it starts showing movies around midday. The theater also has midnight showings with the tickets being slightly cheaper. Now because the midnight shows are held on midnight, obviously not everyone is going to choose this time to watch movies in the theater. So the theater that shows movies at this time is usually not totally full. Generally, the back rows are pretty much all empty. But people have said that sometimes the room feels warmer than usual. If the back rows are empty and you turn around to look when the room feels warm, you might see people all sitting in supposedly the empty seats, all watching the movie.
"Some people have said that their faces are melting, but I think this is more to scare children and scaredy people. Now I never tried going to the midnight showing and I probably never would, but given that many people have claimed they've seen these ghosts, I am inclined to believe them." And they add, "This reminds me of one of the shopping malls with the movie theater built-in that always has two floors of the parking lot empty to appease spirits that dwell within in the mall due to some workers dying and buried in cement when the mall was being built, which I think is sometimes confused with the burned down theater story. The details have blurred together, I think. But that's something else."
Julia: That's concerning.
Amanda: Whoa. Twist at the end.
Julia: That's concerning.
Eric: That is a lot. That's a lot.
Julia: Also, I feel like movie theater ghost is, if I could choose what my afterlife is going to be like-
Amanda: Pretty good.
Julia: If I decide to stay on this mortal coil, getting to watch movies every night, pretty good ghost life, pretty solid ghost choice.
Amanda: Yeah. I feel like being a ghost in the Internet would be too much, but being a ghost in a movie theater, pretty great. These ghosts are also pretty polite. They don't take the seats that you want to take. Maybe you do want to sit in the back row, check your phone, play your Game Boy SP, I don't know. But these ghosts only show up after the theater's full.
Eric: Amanda, are you playing Pokemon in the back of movie theaters?
Julia: I'm concerned.
Amanda: No, I'm only playing Pokemon on the subway and in my house. I promise.
Eric: Okay, because you've been posting lovely Twitter pictures of you playing Pokemon doing a nice Nuzlocke run and if I found out that you were bringing that into a movie theater-
Eric: ... disrupting people around you, I was going to lose it.
Amanda: Anyway, I liked this because it was about movie theaters, which I love and find very charming. And secondly because you know I am a sucker for a good spirit of a place and I liked this through line of the fire. I liked that it was warmth and not coldness that preceded the ghost because this is kind of unusual. And that little twist at the end with the shopping mall and the very real issue of migrant labor and unsafe construction practices all over the world turning into an idea to leave two floors of it empty, I think is pretty cool.
Julia: I have another story. The problem is, I just opened it up and I realized the first line requests that Eric read it. So I'm concerned and conflicted now.
Eric: It requests that I read it?
Julia: Yes. It says, "Please make Eric read this one."
Eric: I mean, here, you email me that one. I'll email you one of mine.
Julia: All right. That's a fair swap. Hold on.
Eric: We'll do a quick swap.
Amanda: Oh shit. That's what the cold open should have been.
Amanda: This is number 13. Spooky.
Julia: Oh, we fucked up now.
Eric: Okay, here's what we're going to do, we're going to put this in front of the cold open.
Eric: And then we're going to ... so this'll happen and then the cold open will happen in about a minute from now. So you guys are now hearing this colder open.
Amanda: No. No.
Julia: The coldest open.
Eric: No, we're not doing this. Amanda's not a fan of the plan.
Amanda: This open is like a Popsicle that you bought 45 minutes ago from the ice cream man and now it's still on the sidewalk in its wrapper, limp and sad.
Eric: I've received an email from Julia that was requested for me to do and I will now read it. This comes from Mika. And it says: "Hello. Please make Eric read this one."
Julia: There we go.
Eric: "I've been sending in these stories a lot, but I'm going to continue because my favorite drag queen says, 'You'll never get anything in life without being a pain in the ass.'"
Julia: That is true.
Amanda: Hell yes.
Eric: "So here are two urban legends, plus an encounter I had."
Amanda: Quick plug, people who have sent us urban legends, share them on our Facebook group. Go to facebook.com/spiritspodcast. Click the link to our group. Share that. People love it. Share it right away and get instant gratification before we can read it on the show. Do it up.
Eric: Bricks Soaked in Virgin's Blood. That's real intense.
Julia: That's why I picked it.
Eric: Real intense. Real intense.
Eric: "My hometown, Cedar City, Utah, has a pretty okay university built in the late 1800s. The only problem with the university is the main building was built with bricks soaked in virgin's blood."
Amanda: Oh shit.
Julia: Okay. As a historian, who documented that? What happened?
Amanda: As a historian, furthermore, bullshit. I'm not a historian. You could just say that because it's very funny and what college-
Julia: Was it weird shit has happened?
Eric: I think I might have the answer in the rest of this email.
Julia: Oh, go.
Eric: How? You may ask?
Eric: "Well, a young girl named Virginia Loomis was found stabbed to death on a boulder. The boulder was covered in blood."
Amanda: Listen. I'm sorry to say ah, and not oh. But that was my ah.
Eric: Is it possible that there has been a mistranslation over the years the time of this story and it's just Virginia's blood and not virgin's blood, just-
Julia: Well, her name was Virginia, so clearly she was a virgin.
Amanda: I love a good bit of word play.
Julia: No one named Virginia has ever had sex ever, historically.
Amanda: I love a good bit of word play in my murder stories.
Eric: "Her boyfriend, the killer, fled town and was never seen and the university did the smartest thing they could imagine, take the boulder soaked in virgin blood and make it into bricks for their school."
Julia: Okay, now Amanda.
Julia: You come from a long line of masons and bricklayers-
Amanda: I do.
Julia: ... and folks like that.
Eric: I was really wondering where that was going.
Julia: Do they just make bricks out of boulders? Because I thought that bricks were specifically a certain type of stone, am I wrong?
Amanda: Bricks are forged from clay, that is true. But what does happen is if you've ever seen beautiful photos of fields in Ireland and the UK and Europe and places and you'll see that they'll have these stacked up stone walls in the fields. I sort of assumed that's, I guess, to divide different paddocks for sheep or whatever. No, it's just because when you're digging up your field to level it or move shrubs, people don't want to do anything with the stones, so they just stack them. So there's just a bunch of walls that you don't need because you just don't want to carry the rocks to the creek or wherever.
But no. Can confirm. Not made from blood-soaked whatever.
Eric: "So now it is said Virginia haunts the main building and has killed everyone." Nope. That's not what it says. That's wrong.
Julia: Keep that in, please.
Eric: "And has killed ..." I got nervous because I had a burp coming and I read it wrong.
Amanda: I just did a weird close-mouthed laugh because I had water in my mouth, so we're very skilled podcasters coming up on 100 here.
Eric: "And has even killed someone. A janitor was lighting a furnace in 1948 and the door slammed on his arm. He burned to death, unable to wrench free, becoming the human torch that burned down the building the first time." This is some dark shit. Why did I have to read this? What punishment did I get?
Amanda: Maybe he wants to haunt your nightmares.
Julia: I give the people what they want.
Eric: "Witnesses say they saw Virginia laughing in flames as she got revenge on the town, who let her soul to be trapped."
Julia: Okay. Sure.
Eric: That story won.
Amanda: Oh, boy.
Julia: Cool. Can we up it?
Eric: I got two more in this email. The next two are a bit shorter. We'll plow right through these ones.
"Ghost Fury and why Eggs are not Worth Your Life. This young girl, Mary Jane McCune, had just gotten married and her hubby went off on business, so she stayed with her friend, Johiel." I think.
Eric: "One night, they heard a commotion coming from the chicken coop. When they got closer, they saw a rabid coyote. In a flash of bravery to save the chickens, Mary Jane went in and promptly got her throat bitten by the beast."
Eric: "Her wound healed." Okay.
Eric: A lot of better than I thought that was going to go.
"But just as it did, she began to exhibit signs of rabies. In pity for her, the family decided to put her out of her misery by smothering her with a mattress in her sleep."
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: "It is now said on a full moon, you can hear her howling in the cemetery as a ghostly coyote circles the graveyard."
Julia: Ooh. Kind of-
Amanda: That's a good image.
Julia: ... ghost were-coyote. I'm into it.
Eric: They're forever entwined, the ghost coyote and the woman killed by the ghost. Also, let's talk about ways to put people out of their misery.
Amanda: Listen, compassionate euthanasia is a serious topic that I debated in my Lincoln Douglas debate club in high school and probably too early for that.
Amanda: 15, probably too early. But anyway, this is not the way to do it.
Eric: Also, a mattress.
Amanda: Yeah, that's-
Julia: Why not a pillow? Why not a pillow?
Eric: A mattress is very large.
Julia: It's a lot.
Eric: You gotta put some manpower behind moving a mattress.
Amanda: What year was this?
Eric: This was in this year unnamed.
Amanda: Old times?
Amanda: Old timey times?
Eric: Unnumbered. There's someone named Mary Jane McCune and Johiel and neither of names sound like the last century. I don't know. Those don't sound like recently named people.
Julia: Also the fact that we have a cure for rabies now, right?
Julia: Yeah, you don't have to just murder people when they have rabies any more.
Amanda: Well, I asked because in old timey times, everyone knows beds were all very uncomfortable and a bed was basically like a very thin mattress with some straw in it if you were lucky. I don't know.
Eric: That's a good point.
Amanda: Maybe they used to be easier to move, but this is not the detail that we should be stuck on.
Julia: We are very stuck on this for some reason.
Eric: I mean, that's the darkest part of the story to me. That's the scariest part of this whole thing.
Julia: Fuck the ghost coyote. We're focused on the mattresses.
Eric: Ghost coyote, very cool.
Amanda: Ghost coyote, also great Patronus. That would be awesome.
Eric: But if you're going to throw extra details into this story, you never know which one we're going to get caught on.
Amanda: Oh yeah, no. All the details. Paint us a picture.
Eric: Also, to be fair, to be fair, they put smothering her with a mattress in her sleep in all caps. So it really does call it out in the email as the main part.
Amanda: It is the climax.
Julia: That is fair.
Eric: Yeah. The final little bit we have here is titled, Rare Blonde Ghost.
Amanda: Oh. Having just played with a lot of Pokemon.
Julia: The shiny Pokemon.
Amanda: Having played a lot of Pokemon in the last two days, I can confirm that shiny things are probably worth picking up, maybe not in this case.
Eric: "To wrap it all up, here's a personal experience I had with a ghost. As background, most people in Cedar are blonde, probably due to inbreeding." I don't know, man.
Eric: Could be. Maybe.
Julia: It's quite a jump, but all right.
Eric: Also, just genetics maybe. I don't know.
"I, a small being around the age of seven, was sleeping on the bottom bunk of my bunk bed when I heard someone calling my birth name. I didn't change it until I was 14. 'Sophie. Sophie, dear, wake up.' I opened my eyes and saw a ghostly figure with a long, braided plait of gold hair and a flowing white dress. The woman smiled at me as if she knew me, then she was gone. Who was it? Hell if I know. Why did she call me? Hell if I know."
Julia: Fair enough.
Eric: There you go.
Julia: All right. Creepy. I feel like blonde ghosts would be distinctly creepier. I don't know why.
Amanda: Yeah. Also, you think of Victorian, dark hair, pale skin ghosts and that would seem ... I don't know. To me, I always pictured angels as blonde, probably the white person bullshit imagery that we grew up with, whitewashing all Christian figures. But that, to me, is like, oh man, this is seriously unearthly type stuff.
Julia: I guess speaking of ghosts, I can transition to my story, which was titled-
Eric: Which Amanda will now read.
Julia: It specifically asks for Amanda, no I'm kidding. So it is-
Amanda: Julia, we are letting you go.
Julia: It's fine. I'm going to get outta here.
This story is titled, The Ghost that Follows Me aka The Ghost I Punched Once.
Amanda: Yes. Punch the ghost.
Julia: So we're already good.
This comes from Gabriel or Gabrielle. "Not sure if this is a good story for the podcast, but I feel like y'all would appreciate it. I tend to have really strong instincts and at times, I've just gotten the immense sense that something is wrong and I should leave wherever I am at the time." It get that too. It's called anxiety.
Eric: The spookiest.
Julia: The spookiest anxiety. Okay.
Amanda: It really is. It's like, "Huh, what? Huh, huh. I'm missing something." It really is haunting.
Julia: I've talked about this quite a bit. I legitimately thought for a fairly long time that I had sort of precog superpowers because I would just get these feelings of overwhelming dread at times and was like, oh no, something bad is going to happen because why else would I feel this way for no reason?
Amanda: Nah, babe. It's your brain.
Julia: I discovered it was anxiety.
Eric: Before we get in the story, I'm going on one quick tangent. What if Peter Parker doesn't have superpowers and he just has really bad ... that's what the spidey sense is. The spidey sense is completely unrelated to the wall climbing abilities and he's just like, "Ugh, I've got anxiety."
Julia: Complete other side note. You know that scene in Infinity War where they see all of his hair stand up on his arm?
Julia: I was reading an article where they're like, "That wasn't CGI. That effect was actually just caused by someone blowing in Tom Holland's ear."
Amanda: That is horrifying. That's the worst story we've ever told.
Julia: The best job ever.
Amanda: Oh my God.
Eric: That's a bonus preview story for you right there, everybody.
Julia: There you go.
Julia: Anyway, back to the story.
"So they said I could usually just leave and that would be it, but a couple of times I've been stuck and strange things have happened, the most notable of which occurred one night about 12 years ago. I woke up in the middle of the night and needed to go to the bathroom. As I approached my door however, I got the same feeling of quote, 'This is wrong,' and I should be in a place that's not here. Nature's call couldn't be ignored though, so I steeled myself and opened the door. To my shock, a humanoid figure stood before me. It was oddly indistinct, like a clay figure viewed through foggy glass. But I could see it breathing. I could feel it looking at me and in my panic, I tried to punch it."
Amanda: Awesome. Safe.
Amanda: Good instincts.
Julia: "To my utter horror, I didn't feel anything solid, so much as it felt like my arm was moving under water. It was not solid, but it slowed or resisted. The figure recoiled as if the blow had landed, and I slammed the door closed again. In what was probably minutes but felt like years, I finally got desperate enough to open the door again and the figure was gone. After I finished my business," fair enough, "I searched the whole house, but couldn't find anything amiss aside the fact that all three of my family's cats refused to go toward the side of the house where my room was at." Never good. Trust cats always.
Amanda: Trust cats.
Julia: "To this day, I occasionally think I see it when it's dark out, regardless of my sleep level. And I sometimes hear knocking when my instincts act up. The friends I have that also think they might be haunted are left alone when I'm nearby. I think that makes mine territorial and I can only hope that I merely piqued its interest and that it isn't playing the long game to get me. Either way, I love the podcast and look forward to more awesome stories."
Amanda: Oh wow.
Julia: That's such a good survival instinct, I feel.
Amanda: Yeah. I love it. I was watching a program the other day about the honey badger, which is great. And it showed a lion, a lion, sneaking up on this raccoon-sized honey badger. Honey badger turns around and raises its hackles and hisses and the lion's like ...
Julia: "My bad."
Amanda: I wanted to take notes. It was great.
I am excited to tell y'all about another spooky tale, but first, let's get a refill.
Julia: Get those beers.
Eric: Let's go.
Amanda: Julia, you know how sometimes you want to be a different person than you are?
Julia: Yes, all the time, always.
Amanda: No, you're great. But specifically, I really want to be the kind of person who meditates.
Julia: That's fair. I'm proud of you.
Amanda: I know that it's good for you. I know that you're supposed to do it. I'm sure it would help me out as a person who is eternally stressed and anxious, but I just ... My brain is too busy to do it and I need some help, which is why I'm so stoked that our sponsor for this week is Calm. They are the number one meditation and mindfulness app. This is a gorgeous app. Get it on the app store. It helps you meditate. It helps you be mindful. It has beautiful soundscapes. You can listen as if you're in a lake or in a rainstorm or some kind of beautiful white noise while you're working. And they have sleep meditations.
Insomnia definitely strikes me, so I listened last night to a sleep story about the Trans-Siberian Railroad. This really-
Julia: That sounds amazing.
Amanda: ... lovely, resonant narrator's voice walked me through the Trans-Siberian Railroad's journey and I slept like a baby.
Julia: I also have sleep troubles, as you well know, so that sounds really, really nice. I am totally going to check that out.
Amanda: Yeah, they're like bedtime stories for grownups. They are very, very good. So please check out Calm at calm.com/spirits where you can get a 25% discount off of a premium subscription. That's at calm.com/spirits.
I feel like this was made to make fun of our accents. It wasn't but ...
Julia: A little bit, just a tiny bit.
Amanda: Little bit, little bit. Thank you to Calm for sponsoring the program.
Somewhere else that you can learn good stuff is Skillshare.
Julia: I love Skillshare. What's up Skillshare? Teach me some new things.
Amanda: You know was I learned this weekend, Jules?
Julia: What did you learn?
Amanda: When I was not at the beer festival, I was baking. And yes, it was a Toll House pre-prepared cookie dough. Cheat.
Julia: I'm proud of you.
Amanda: But I was also watching Great British Bake Off, which makes me feel very aspirational about the kind of baking I want to take on. So I-
Julia: Wasn't this season so good, by the way?
Amanda: It is a very good season. I was very nervous, but it's very, very good.
So I looked up on Skillshare. I was like, hmm, I know what proofing is. I can be a baker. No. I need to check out some of the fundamentals. So I checked out The Art of Baking, a Beginner's Guide, a course on Skillshare, which is very beautiful and not too long. It really just teaches you what you have to know. It is very, very good. I think I'm going to be trying an actual cake next weekend.
Julia: Amazing. And you can get two months of Skillshare for just 99 cents. To sign up, you can go to skillshare.com/spirits. Again, go to skillshare.com/spirits to get two months of unlimited access to over 20,000 classes for only 99 cents. So you can start learning how to make a cake right now. Do it.
Amanda: Or whatever. We love you. Thank you so much, Skillshare. And thank you to Calm. Now, let's get back to the show.
All right. I have an email titled, Narwhal Drawing Plus kind of Spooky Tale, so you know I was going to click it.
Julia: Yeah, you and your-
Eric: Much weaker segue on this one, to be honest.
Julia: You and your narwhals.
Amanda: Got a drink. We punched a ghost. We're ready to go.
This is from Spooky Creations Rebels who has a very fun Instagram that we're going to link in the show notes, as well as this beautiful drawing of a narwhal, which I am going to post on our Insta, @spiritspodcast.
So they write, "I binge podcasts while drawing comics and Spirits has become one of my absolute favorites. I wanted to tell you a story about when my sister and I were elementary school age, going to different schools. Now, before you ask, 'How does that work? Did you live together?' We did. I was diagnosed with autism at a very young age and as a result, my parents got me into this local school specializing in taking care of and educating kids with special needs. Because of that, my sister and I were in different schools and were taught by different teachers.
"One day, she comes home and tells about a story her teacher had told her that day. He and three of his friends had been mountain hiking that winter break and they'd encountered a pretty eerie phenomenon. The way this works is that in Norway, where I live, there's a hiking association whose job it is to maintain popular trails and mark them so people don't veer off the track and get lost in the unforgiving wilderness beyond."
Julia: Already good.
Amanda: "They also own a bunch of cabins strewn across the mountains where any member of the association can stay there for free. A popular thing to do amongst sporty Norwegians is to hike across the mountains walking from cabin to cabin, and this is what the teacher and his group of friends set out to do." This also exists in Scotland and it would be so fun, I think, to stay in these beautiful ... you can Google them, these beautiful little stone huts for hikers, so fun.
Eric: I was just listening. I think there's a 99% Visible-
Amanda: Oh shit, yeah. Yes.
Eric: ... episode that's about almost this exact ... there's one that's about both about the right to roam and another one about the huts placed mostly around New Zealand, but it sounds like a very similar thing.
Amanda: Man, a country with robust social services, what must that be like?
"For the first few days of the trip, everything went rather well. They hiked during the day and settled into a predetermined cabin at night. But one day, they failed to find the cabin they were supposed to settle into for the night. Instead, they come across this ramshackle little shed on its own in the middle of a snowy mountain."
Eric: Ghost cabin.
Julia: Don't go into the ghost cabin.
Eric: The cabin's the ghost. The cabin's going to be the ghost.
Julia: Don't. Not snow-covered. If the yugionah has taught us anything, don't just show up at a fucking snow-covered cabin, you idiots.
Eric: I think we're thinking two different things. I think you're suggesting they don't go into this ramshackle cabin that they found.
Julia: No, I'm suggesting that it is either the thing is haunted or there is going to be someone haunted in there and it's bad.
Eric: What I'm suggesting is that the cabin they were looking for is a ghost that disappeared.
Julia: Fair. That is totally fair.
Amanda: "Well, with the daylight rapidly depleting, the group decides to wait out the night in the shed and search for the correct cabin in the morning. Inside, they slip off their backpacks, stretch a bit, and soon realize that it'll be too cold to actually settle down and get some rest. So instead, they made this game to get them through the night, staying awake and warm. They each find a corner to stand in and then walk along the walls to one another. So person one-"
Julia: Nope, nope. No. No.
Amanda: Julie is so scared.
Julia: You said go to the corners and I immediately Blair Witched in my mind and just panicked.
Eric: I have legitimately never seen Julia as frightened-
Amanda: Yeah, me neither. No, no, no.
Eric: ... as she was in that moment.
Amanda: She just moved backward.
Eric: She legitimately had a minor panic attack.
Amanda: No, no, no.
Amanda: I respect their need to stay warm and stay awake and not want to lay down and die, but also this is not much better.
Eric: Yeah, just play Seven Up instead. Why you gotta do this weird ... Why you gotta play this thing?
Julia: Build a goddamned fire.
Amanda: Or a game where you maintain eye contact, maybe.
Eric: So not mafia?
Amanda: No. So okay, the game.
"Everyone is in a different corner and person one walks to person two. Person two walks to person three. Person three walks to person four, and so on and so forth." It's just a little like ... oh Julia looks so concerned. Okay.
"They keep this game going for the entire night to-"
Eric: So to be clear, not so much a game as an activity.
Amanda: Whatever, Eric.
Eric: Well no. I was like, okay, what are the rules? But it's really just people walking.
Julia: How do we get points?
Amanda: Instead of sitting down or just standing aimlessly and getting tired and whatever, they're keeping each other in motion. That's the idea.
"They keep this going for the entire night to keep warm and stay awake. At the crack of dawn, they pack up their gear and head out. After a while of searching, they finally come across the cabin they were supposed to have reached the previous night. They settle in-"
Julia: Not a ghost.
Amanda: "... grab a bite to eat, and then catch up on some much-needed Zs." Not a ghost cabin, I'm sorry. "Later that day, they sat down to discuss the game they'd invented." I guess, to rehash it. Oh I'm sorry. There is an answer in the email. "The teacher is especially interested, thinking he can pitch the idea to the PE teacher when he gets home." What an enterprising young teacher.
Julia: It's basically a walking relay race inside a cabin.
Amanda: A slow, very clearly demarcated relay race.
"The four hikers set about coming up with rules for the game. While discussing it, they realize, wait, this game doesn't work with four people. Because when person one leaves their corner and walks to person two, person two walks to person three, person three walks to person four, but when person four walks, there's no one left in the first corner to continue the game."
Julia: Fuck this shit.
Eric: No. I'm out. Bye.
Amanda: "And yet, their game had gone on for the entire night."
Julia: Fuck this.
Eric: See you later.
Amanda: Oh no.
Julia: Goodbye forever.
Eric: I'm leaving for good.
Amanda: Eric has quit the podcast. He has left. He's gone as far as his headphones will allow.
Eric: I'm back. Well, they could go farther.
Amanda: Anyway, the email finishes with, "I'm certain they all looked at each other, each of them hesitant to utter what they all wondered out loud. Who had been the fifth person in that shack keeping the game going throughout the night?"
Julia: Hey. Hey. Fuck this. Fuck this so hard. I'm just done. No. Not any more.
Amanda: I thought it was pretty good. So you can cleanse your palates with an adorable narwhal drawing that this person, Spooky Creations Rebel, has given us on our Insta. But yeah. Fuck that. No. No physical activity. No travel. No games. That's how you keep safe.
Julia: No. Don't play weird relay games with ghosts, you idiots.
This is an email from Elle and they say, "I'm bad at introducing emails and full of chaotic bastard energy. Hello, Spirits Podcast, newish listener here. I found Spirits when looking for a mythology podcast to inspire me while I'm working on my own mythology-based comic series, Nymphs of the Great Lakes, Exotic Dance Clubs for Fae, Mentoring Goats, No Dead Gays, and True Lady Love Defeating Evil. You know, the things I'd wished I'd gotten as a queer teen.
"Anyway, I love your podcast and how you dig up new info on old stories. I have a spooky tale for you. I don't know if this counts, but it was one of the creepiest things that ever happened to me and it happened while listening to Spirits." Amazing. So good already.
Amanda: The urban legends have evolved. They have graduated. They've created a perpetual motion machine.
Julia: They say, "I usually put on podcasts/YouTube to listen to before bed. That night I put on Spirits. As I drifted off to sleep, I began to grow terrified. I clearly heard your voices through my headphones, but the stories seemed a lot scarier than they usually are. Something about skin peeling or wearing skin or something skinless. I can't remember the exact content, but I recall the sound of your voices clearly. I felt terrified. Despite not being able to recall what you were really saying, I felt as though someone was looking at me through the door of my open closet."
Amanda: No. No. No closet monsters. No. Never. No.
Julia: "I kept thinking that I shouldn't listen to spooky things before bed as I apparently drifted in and out of sleep. The episodes remained terrifying. Eventually, after what felt like five or six episodes and a few checks across the room I, quote, 'fell asleep'. The next morning I woke up thinking about how strange the previous night was. I'd had my computer on my bed, so I shook the cursor to see what episodes could have been so scary. It turns out, my computer only went through one episode, which had nothing to do with any of what I thought I heard you guys saying. It seems I'd had the scariest kind of nightmare. One so seamless that it's indistinguishable from real life.
"I dreamt lying down in bed listening to your podcast, dreamt falling in and out of sleep through several episodes and dreamt thinking it was too scary and would give me bad dreams. I can't tell you if me checking across the room was real or if the feeling of being watched was real. I had put an episode on before bed, but the rest I had seemingly made up. I wonder if I would have chalked this experience up to an evil spirit if I had been alive 100 years ago and not understood what lucid dreaming was, if that was what happened. Makes me wonder how much myth is based on half-dreams or waking dreams. Either way, your podcast is good and pure and I hope I can donate some day."
I didn't get any ... no lesbians, but all right.
Eric: If you were alive 100 years ago and listening to podcasts-
Julia: That'd be fascinated.
Eric: ... they definitely would burn you at the stake. They'd be like, "What is this technology?"
Julia: It's weird witchcraft.
Amanda: Is it just like putting a radio next to your pillow and falling asleep to it?
Julia: I guess. It would have been 1918, so they did have radios back then.
Amanda: Oh my God.
Eric: Is it possible that we went into the dream world with her?
Julia: Yes. I think that it is very possible that we entered the dreamscape a la Freddy Krueger with this dear listener and saw what happened.
Amanda: I am so honored. I feel like the spirits have used us as their mouthpieces, instead of us using them for our own entertainment which, fair enough, you may take your revenge. And I apologize.
Julia: Our bad. Sorry.
Amanda: Our total bad.
Eric: We're going to finish it off with this tale from Ava. Ava writes, "I'm from northern Virginia, just outside DC, which is not known for its urban legends. We really only have one, Bunny Man Bridge."
Julia: Oh, no.
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: "This isn't the focus of what I'm talking about, but here's a short summary." Here's why I picked this email. Because this isn't even what the email's about, but it is insane. Here's the summary. "Guy in a bunny suit near a local bridge threatens and throws hatchets at people-"
Julia: Wait. I feel like this was one of our first emails. I've heard of Bunny Man Bridge before.
Amanda: Isn't this Donnie Darko?
Eric: "... leaves skinned rabbits everywhere and one report says the guy ate a runaway cat." You've heard this before, Julia?
Julia: I have.
Eric: I don't remember this.
Julia: I feel like I totally have.
Amanda: Julia's so connected.
Eric: Julia, you might have just read this email.
Julia: That's possible, but I feel like early on this was ... I might have done research for an episode and it just never made it into the episode, but I know Bunny Man Bridge. I know this place.
Eric: That's Bunny Man Bridge.
Eric: That's not what we're talking about though.
Julia: Ate a cat.
Amanda: Oh my God.
Eric: "But back to the subject at hand. What I'm talking about is simply referred to as the banging in the distance."
Amanda: Okay. Okay.
Eric: "There is always construction in this area." Excellent. Love a good public works project.
Julia: Good. I'm glad we got our answer right away.
Amanda: Spooky. Infrastructure projects that are unclear and never finish.
Eric: I don't think that's what they're getting at. I think there going to be more details ahead-
Julia: Spooky construction.
Eric: ... than there's construction around.
"They've currently got three houses going up on my street alone. It's getting really inconvenient, especially because a few people have had their tires popped by nails in the street and other things."
Amanda: I really thought you were going to say because a few people have died and I was like, that's more than inconvenient, mate. I'm sorry to the person that emailed us, that I assumed so little of you, but I'm just in that head space. I'm in that urban legends monthly recording session head space.
Julia: People just keep getting murdered. It's really inconvenient.
Amanda: Come on.
Julia: That just sounds like an '80s trope. It's like, "All those teenagers keep getting murdered by that guy in the mask. It's so irritating."
Amanda: Who knows?
Eric: "With the construction, it's not uncommon to hear loud noises during the day. However, in the evening when the workers have packed up for the day, sometimes I hear the distant sounds of construction, most notably a banging, like a large metal object hitting the ground." Ghost buildings, they're building ghost cabins.
Julia: That's the theme for this episode.
Eric: Metal ghost cabins. "What makes this creepy, more so than the Bunny Man story ..." You're going to really have to sell me on these next couple sentences, Ava, because I do not believe that whatever you're going to say is going to be more creepy than that. But we'll plow through and find out.
"... is the fact that, aside from myself, one friend, and people from out of town, no one notices it. It's not easy to miss. Imagine how obvious thunder would sound if there was no accompanying rain. There are no local legends about it. The friend and I have made a few regional Gothic-style jokes about the banging, but we've never been able to find out where and what it comes from. Is it a town-wide conspiracy that only me and my friend aren't in on? Ghosts, fair folk, aliens, who knows? Whatever it is, it will continue to confuse out of towners and myself for years to come."
Julia: I feel like it's a really distinct form of tinnitus perhaps.
Amanda: That could be.
Julia: I just hear weird banging sometimes.
Eric: I don't think it's creepier than the bunny story, I'll be honest. That's the craziest shit I've ever heard. But I do like the banging in the ... I do like this distant drumming, metal sound that's a harbinger of terrible things to come.
Julia: I've actually genuinely interested that the Bunny Man is ... we have been doing, this is our 13th of this episode and that's the weirdest, most fucked up thing you've heard is the Bunny Man?
Eric: No. I mean, it's definitely just more fucked up than the banging in the distance, I think.
Julia: For sure. That's fine.
Amanda: I thought that was a fur pun.
Eric: Fur sure.
Julia: Fur sure.
Amanda: Well done. Because the bunnies are skinless.
Eric: When the mispronunciation becomes the pun.
Julia: Yes, in this podcast.
Amanda: I will say though, that I do find it very creepy when a thing is just plausible enough that it never occurred to you to question it. That I really love. Or when a little kid's like, oh yeah, my best friend, and the mom's like, what? If it is so folded into the fabric of everyday life that it's really surprising when it's revealed to be untrue, that to me is pretty creepy. Not as creepy as a person who dresses up in a bunny suit and leaves carcasses all over town and throws machetes. Did I get that right? Yeah, no.
Julia: Yeah. Hatchets.
Amanda: Also bad. Also bad.
Eric: Much easier to throw, which is honestly worse.
Amanda: What's the difference between a hatchet and a machete?
Eric: I'd rather have a machete thrown at me than a hatchet.
Julia: A hatchet's more of an ax and a machete is like a big knife.
Eric: A long blade.
Amanda: Oh. I think I had conflated those.
Eric: Yeah, you can get a lot more distance on a hatchet, I think.
Julia: Yeah, because it's the way that it's balanced.
Amanda: Now you know.
Eric: It turns out me and Julia are the Bunny guy.
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: As you can tell by our knowledge of hatchet throwing.
Julia: I eat the cat.
Amanda: No, but listen. How badly do you guys want to read a newspaper article and reporting about the Bunny Man?
Julia: I will find one right now. Hold on. Let's just pause real quick.
Eric: Yeah. 100%.
Julia: All right. I'm going to read this quick article.
Amanda: Wait. Or should Eric read it because he's a very good old timey voice?
Julia: Do you want to read it, Eric?
Eric: How old is the ...
Amanda: Reporter. Reporter.
Amanda: Eons ago.
Julia: Do you want to do your reporter voice?
Eric: Yeah, yeah. Some people like it in the Google Hangout.
Julia: Yeah, one second.
Amanda: Listen, people. We are puppets to be manipulated, so please tell us if you want one or another of us to read your emails. We will.
Eric: I have to do a voice?
Amanda: I thought you were going to do your old timey voice?
Eric: Should I just do a 1920s voice?
Amanda: Yeah. Yeah.
Julia: Do your old timey voice.
Amanda: All reporters are from the 1920s.
Eric: "I'm under a bridge."
Julia: What just happened there? What's going on?
Eric: I can't bring it on command. I have to be ... it doesn't work like that.
Amanda: For more of Eric in his element, listen to Way Station season two, episode two, where we get a good five minutes of old timey Eric voice and it's the best.
Eric: It's very bad.
Amanda: All right. Give us a normal reading. Give us a normal reading.
Eric: "I'm under a bridge on" ... I can't even say this word.
Eric: Colchester. This was the thing I learned when I was in New England a month ago. I don't know how to say any of these New England names.
Amanda: I was going to say, Julia, Eric hasn't been brought up in the bullshit that we have.
Eric: I'm like yeah, Worcester and all the other ones. It's terrible.
Julia: Sweetie, sweetie. It's Worcester.
Eric: I know it's Worcester. I knew that one.
Julia: You're pronouncing the R at the end. There's no R.
Eric: I'm sick of the ... all your old timey pronunciations are ridiculous.
Eric: "I'm under a bridge on Colchester Road in Fairfax County listening to an Amtrak train speeding overhead. Some would say I'm putting my life at risk right now and not only by lingering near railroad tracks. According to local lore, this bridge is one of the most dangerous locations in northern Virginia. Hang around here at midnight on Halloween and you could be butchered by the Bunny Man."
Julia: The Bunny Man.
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: "The bridge is where I meet journalist, Matt Blitz. He heard the Bunny Man legend as a teenager growing up in Fairfax County. The story as he tells it, is that in 1904 there was an asylum not far from this bridge. Clifton residents didn't like the idea of mental patients near their new homes, so they got it shut down and all the patients were taken by bus to Lorton prison. Then the bus swerved and crashed they said. They were all ..."
Julia: You were doing so well.
Amanda: I just froze.
Eric: "They were able to locate the inmates that were on that bus except for one. The escaped ..." See, my voice works a lot better when I'm just saying, "It'd be terrible if something had to happen to your butcher shop here."
Julia: If you're intimidating people a la a '20s gangster, yes.
Eric: Yeah, that's when the voice is best. It's not good for these things.
Amanda: Okay. Okay. I absolve you of this responsibility.
Eric: It's going to take four minutes my ass.
Julia: Do you want me to finish it up?
Eric: Nope. Nope. I'm going to read at least until the end of this section, and then you can take it from there.
Julia: All right. Cool.
Eric: "The escaped mental patient was named Douglas Griffin."
Amanda: Two first names, don't trust it.
Eric: Exactly. "After the crash, he disappeared. Weeks passed and the rabbit corpses ..." I wasn't prepared for the word corpses in that sentence so it just kind of ... I wasn't ready to pronounce the word corpses. It caught me off guard.
"... began appearing in the woods. Douglas was apparently eating bunnies to stay alive. This went on for a while."
Julia: Keep going.
Eric: "Then one Halloween night, a group of ..." I like that Julia's like, "Just keep reading. Just keep reading."
Julia: Just give it to us.
Eric: "Then one Halloween night, a group of kids were hanging around the bridge. 'They reported seeing some sort of bright light or orb,' Blitz said. And then in a flash, they'd all be strung up like the bunnies, gutted and hanging from this bridge."
Julia: Hey, hey. Question. How did the group of kids report seeing these things if they were all gutted and hanging from the bridge?
Eric: You know what? That's a good point.
Amanda: Wait. Weren't the corpses gutted and hanging?
Julia: No. The kids. They'd all been strung up like the bunnies.
Amanda: Wait. This is real?
Eric: Yeah, this is straight out of wamu.org. That's W-A-M-U.
Amanda: Eric, we work in audio.
Eric: 88.5 American University.
Eric: Look, if American University isn't using the ... saying, "You're listening to WAMU." I don't know. It's so rare that your call site is pronounceable that you better be using it when you have the chance.
This has apparently all happened, except for the part where the kids that were gutted also then later reported seeing bright light or an orb. That don't make a lot of sense.
"The missing mental patient was, of course, assumed to be the killer and the rumor goes, if you are here on Halloween night at midnight, you'll end up just like those kids and those bunnies, Blitz says. This all sounds unlikely. Tor one, there was never an asylum at Clifton." That's a big get. That blows the case wide open. "And for another, 1904 was an awfully early time for buses to be on the roads." Also a great point.
Eric: "But it's been said that every urban legend is based on a kernel of truth and Brian Connolly is the guy who set out to find the truth."
Julia: The next section is called, The Genesis of an Urban Legend. "Connolly is an archivist for the Fairfax County government. In the 1990s, he worked for the county's library system as a historian, and people kept coming in and asking if the Bunny Man was real. 'We simply got tired of having to say I don't know,' Connolly said."
Julia: "So Connolly started digging and he found what he calls the Bunny Man Legends Genesis Event. Here's what he discovered. 'In 1970, a couple was parked in a driveway not far from the train overpass when they had a terrifying encounter. Someone appeared very quickly, yelled something having to do with trespassing, and threw a hatchet at the car,' Connolly explains. They did not get a very good look at the person. All they really got was, dressed in white or light-colored clothing and may or may not have had something on his head. When the story made the papers, that something on his head become bunny ears."
Amanda: Oh, people.
Julia: "'From there,' the archivist says, 'the story quickly morphed into something else.' Within a few years, children were swapping stories about a man in a bunny suit chasing kids through the woods with a hatchet. The version journalist, Matt Blitz, heard involved a guy eating bunnies. Like a game of Telephone, the story went from one person to another, taking in increasingly imaginative details." Yes, Amanda?
Amanda: I thought you said virgin journalist right there, which one, rude and unnecessary.
Julia: Call out.
Amanda: Two, is there going to be a brick wall made of virgin blood somewhere in the forest-
Amanda: ... of the asylum appeared. Maybe the asylum was a ghost because they found a second asylum that they did not reserve in advance and the asylum would be filled with a fifth person that made their four corner walking game that was such a hit that the teacher had to bring it back to his colleague in physical education. Is that what happened? No?
Julia: Yeah. You got it.
Eric: What if it turned out that there was a crazy through line to all of these stories and we have been masterminding the craziest urban legend in history?
Amanda: Listen, what if a person dreams a dream that is actually an encounter with a demon and they know all the tropes and they know how to escape because they listened to our fucking stories so much?
Julia: That would help. I'm going to wrap this up.
Eric: You're suggesting this has become a public service?
Julia: We do provide a public service.
Amanda: I'm not going to call us heroes, Eric, but if people choose to, they can.
Julia: All right. "So today, the Bunny Man legend has traveled far beyond Fairfax County. There are Bunny Man T-Shirts, Bunny Man beer, and a Bunny Man horror movie franchise. As Connolly's research on the true story of the Bunny Man has circulated online, some refuse to believe he's telling the truth. 'There are some people out there that are convinced that the story as it's told is true,' Connolly says, 'and that myself and Fairfax County are trying to cover something up.'"
Amanda: Yes, because archivists are in the profession of lying. That's exactly why they painstakingly source original documents.
Julia: Checks out.
"'While it's fun debunking the Bunny Man legend,' Connolly says, 'it's even more fun to believe it.'"
Amanda: Aw. That's very generous of you.
Julia: Thank you, thank you, American University student who wrote that article.
Julia: I think that's it.
Eric: That was a lot. That was a lot.
Amanda: And we've all learned an important lesson today.
Eric: More than I was expecting. I just want to point out one thing. Eating bunnies, that sounds terrible, but it's a game animal. That's the least creepy part of that whole story, but yet it somehow comes across as the creepiest part of the story.
Julia: Rabbits are delicious. That's just how it is.
Amanda: Yeah, well, I think it's also the 100-some years between then and now where back then, people knew how to skin animals. They hunted all the time. It was fine. Now, it's just like, oh no. Blood.
Julia: Not prepackaged meat. Butchering your own livestock.
Amanda: But I love a good myth with some primary sources, some secondary sources, some good reporting, some archive and library and information science professionals. What up?
Thank you. Thank you all for sending in your emails. People, you can email us any time, spiritspodcast.com/contact. That's where you can find our little email form and we would love to hear from you. We love your links. We love your drawings. We love your photos. And definitely, definitely, if you've emailed us before or if you want to write up a shorter version or send in a future thing, also share it to our Facebook group, facebook.com/groups/spiritspodcast or just search for Spirits and share it with other people there. It's a very fun group. It is very active and people there are going to love your stories.
Eric: It's true.
Julia: Thanks, Eric.
Amanda: Can you give us that again in an old timey voice?
Eric: No. I can't.
Julia: He can't do it on demand.
Eric: It's not enough words. It needs to like naturally ... I was able to do it-
Amanda: Okay. How about, it's true whippersnapper.
Julia: It's true.
Eric: Are we staying creepy and staying cool though?
Julia: Oh yeah. Shit. We gotta do that. Like the Bunny Man, please remember to stay creepy.
Amanda: Stay cool.