102: Your Urban Legends XV: Schools are Spooky

This week’s roundup, we chat about several haunted schools and camps, have some grandma stories creep out and inspire us, and hear Eric’s first hand account of a recent tarot reading!

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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 102, Your Urban Legends Part 15.

Julia: Coming back around with another Urban Legends.

Amanda: Gosh, I love these episodes so much.

Julia: They're so good.

Amanda: Also so good, as always, our newest patrons, Meg, William, Anastasia, and Jeff, and our supporting producer level patrons who come around every day and week to help make the show happen, Amara, Deborah, Jessica, Josie, Neal, Phil Fresh, Christina, and Philip.

Julia: You know how when you go to another place and then you come home and that feeling of just being home is super cozy and wonderful? That's what our patrons are like.

Amanda: Ugh, amazing. I bet that our legend level patrons all have really lovely house slippers to put on the moment they get in from traveling. So, that would be Audra, Jack, Jess, Jordan, Leanne, Mercedes, Sandra, Sarah, Stina, and Zoe.

Julia: What pleasing alliteration. So good. Thank you for all the S names.

Amanda: And thank you, legend level patrons, and every single one of our patrons for your support. Julia and I just spent the weekend along with multitude friend, Eric Silver, at PatreCon, which Patreon's annual convention for creators. I cannot tell you how excited it made me to say, "Yeah, I'm a full-time podcaster." Yeah, we're able to do this because patrons like you support us and our community is incredible, and just hearing all the other Patreon creators talk in the same way about people that they consider their family was just awesome.

Julia: Yeah, it's fantastic to just know that you are here to support us and it means the world to us.

Amanda: It really does. Jules, tell us what local beer we're drinking for this local urban legends episode.

Julia: Amanda, you know how much I love Dogfish Head. We have talked about it many a time, but I picked up at the end of the season the Punkin Ale, which is not pumpkin, it's punkin, because it's a pun, because Dogfish Head loves me, and we had that for our roundup this week.

Amanda: We sure did, and I actually took notes this week in a beautiful leather-bound book that was sent to us by some listeners by TJ and Alana Skidmore. They are actually running a Kickstarter that I wanted to just tell you about because it's awesome. I love their products, and I just wanted to give you the heads up. They're called The Happy Leather Company, and so they are making mouse pads and valet trays, which is a cute little tray you can put your keys and your wallet on, and leather-bound books. Amazing. Go to bit.ly/happyleatherco to back their Kickstarter, or if you're listening after November 2018, use that same link to go to their shop. They are great. They are super sweet. Love the stuff, so shout out to Happy Leather Co.

Julia: My mouse is currently on a mouse pad right now that they made us and it's absolutely the coolest thing ever.

Amanda: With the Spirits logo. It's so beautiful.

Julia: I know. It says creepy and cool on it.

Amanda: Which we are.

Julia: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amanda: Also, thanks to our sponsors for this episode, HoneyBook and Rx Bar. You can get 50% off your first year of HoneyBook's services for small businesses at honeybook.com/spirits, and Rx Bar will give you 25% off your first order at rxbar.com/spirits.

Julia: October is over now, but you can keep the spookiness going all year long by recommending Spirits to a friend today, like today today.

Amanda: Yeah, if you text a friend the link to spiritspodcast.com, they'll be able to subscribe on whatever podcast player they use, but more importantly, tell them why they would love the show. Tell them what episode to start with. Help us grow the family.

Julia: And if you want to tweet a screenshot to us of you taking a picture of the text that you sent, we will shower you with thanks and also GIFs, not gifts with a T, but GIFs, the thing that moves.

Amanda: Virtual gifts are just as good as physical ones, hot take.

Julia: I think so.

Amanda: Without further hot takes and without further ado, please enjoy episode 102, Your Urban Legends Part 15.

I'm not getting conned into starting this episode.

Eric: You're not getting conned into it?

Amanda: Nope. I was just thinking about Eric's yappy dog and how you're not allowed to read stories about dogs anymore, Eric.

Julia: No, he's not.

Eric: That's true. It's not my yappy dog. It's the neighbor's yappy dog.

Amanda: Your dog is very good and only sometimes whines during recording when he wants to be let out.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, not that Way Station is not the superior podcast, but Way Station is a much smaller podcast and he's never disturbed us during Spirits, which does weirdly mean a lot to me.

Amanda: He knows.

Eric: Honestly, we're getting very close to what we refer to as the witching hour in our house, and who knows which way he's going to take it? He is sleeping, so last I checked, we should be-

Amanda: Wait, what happens during the witching hour?

Eric: Oh, between 6:30 and 7:30, he believes it is dinner time, but dinner time's not until 7:30.

Amanda: Oh.

Eric: That's when the whining gets the worst.

Julia: Oh, that's so cute.

Amanda: Wait. Why don't you move dinner time up? Because you don't want to reward-

Julia: Because you don't appease the dog, Amanda. You are the alpha of the house.

Eric: Well, because witching hour also starts at 6:30 AM, so he also wakes up at 6:30 in the morning to go to the bathroom and then gets fed at 7:30, but if we started feeding him earlier at night, he'll wake up even earlier in the morning.

Amanda: I see, I see.

Eric: Now, it did get particularly worse this last Daylight Savings switch, so we're hoping that when we fall back in a few weeks, it might reverse itself and will actually be ... He won't know the difference so that the next six months will be a lot easier.

Julia: He probably won't, because he's a dog.

Eric: Yeah. Well, he won't know. Exactly. He won't know the time, which means his 6:30 wake ups will now be 7:30.

Julia: His biological clock is going to move back. It's all good. You're set.

Eric: Exactly. I think everything will fix itself.

Julia: No, but when we fall back, it gets earlier, so his 6:30 wake ups are going to be at 5:30.

Amanda: Is that how that works?

Julia: Shit. You're fucked, man. I'm sorry to tell you that I think your plan has to wait until spring.

Eric: But spring just brings us to the current situation.

Julia: Yeah, yeah, it does, it does.

Eric: So that's a story about a dog in which the dog doesn't die and become stoned like the last time I did a story about dogs.

Julia: We're so proud of you.

Eric: So, now we can all do our stories.

Julia: You know what's great? I do have a story that's labeled not safe for Eric.

Eric: Great.

Julia: I think that's a great place to start with.

Eric: I just want to say real quickly, not safe for Eric doesn't mean that it's not safe for me to read. It means we can't end on them, but I like that it's become shorthand for, "Don't let Eric read this one because if he reads it last it's going to be super sad and bum everybody out."

Amanda: Well, that's why Julia said she now only selects emails labeled not safe for Eric because they are guaranteed to be the spookiest.

Julia: The horrifying ones.

Eric: It's true.

Julia: That's what I'm here for. All right, so this email was titled True Campfire Horror Story, Not Safe for Eric.

Amanda: Yeah.

Julia: They start with, "I've been a listener for years and I've loved your urban legends episodes."

Eric: That's wild. Years.

Julia: I know. I was just going to say, "Guys, wait."

Eric: What? Thank you. Thank you to all our listeners, but that's mind-boggling.

Julia: That's wild.

Eric: People are like, "I've been listening for years."

Amanda: Guys, if people live in a town where junior high comprises three years, they could have done all of high school listening to Spirits as of February. Isn't that wild? Isn't that wild?

Julia: That's so weird.

Eric: That's a lot of very specific caveats, but that is wild.

Amanda: Listen. All I'm saying is that three years is a milestone.

Eric: It is. It undeniably is.

Amanda: Gonna have to think of something really good for our anniversary. Okay, let's go.

Julia: I know, we do. Sorry. When I was a kid, I used to go to a YMCA summer camp called Camp Ernst. As a camper, I'd taken hikes to the historic cemetery on the property and we'd been told the history of the land. Strange I know for a cemetery to be on a kid's summer camp, but it holds a lot of historic significance in the area.

However, the year I first became a volunteer at the camp after I'd graduated from being a camper, our counselor sat us down around the campfire and told us a story about the land that we'd never heard. The young couple, both of which can still be found in the cemetery and I have seen for myself, owned a big chunk of land that the camp is now built on, including the land that still covered the untouched forest. They tried for years to have a child but this was way before anything could be done about such things, and they were nearly ready to give up when they found out that they were finally pregnant.

Margaret Wright gave birth to a healthy but rather odd daughter named Renee. It was said that even at birth, Renee had thick red hair that covered her entire body and that she was much larger than other children of her age, described at nearly six foot by the age of 10. I heard groaning already. Here we go.

Eric: That was just a very slow, scared, "What?"

Julia: Good.

Amanda: I was also nearly six foot at the age of 10, so that's not too bad.

Julia: All right. You weren't covered with thick red hair though, so that's a plus.

Amanda: That's true.

Julia: Although her parents loved her, they opted to keep her home from school ... Back then you could choose to do so ... To save her from ridicule from the rest of the town. I feel like I've heard this story before, not gonna lie.

Moving forward, though. She spent most of her time with the animals on the farm and grew quite fond of them as a result. One day, people started noticing small animals on their land were dying strangely. Their bodies were found limp in the woods with their heads turned completely backwards. It says in quotes, "Pause for Amanda's reaction."

Amanda: No!

Julia: There we go.

Amanda: No!

Eric: Also, before Amanda had heard that, there was a lot of facial reaction.

Julia: Oh, her eyes were the biggest-

Eric: Very wide-eyed and leaning back from the mic, just so everyone knows Amanda was properly reacting as expected.

Amanda: My eyes were big as half dollars.

Julia: Of course, the townspeople immediately assumed that this was the work of the strange Underhill child, but Renee's parents assured them that she would never do such a thing. She loved animals, but the killings didn't stop. They got worse. It started with squirrels and raccoons and maybe a cat, but then people found their dogs dead in the woods and then goats and even cows all with their necks snapped and turned 180 degrees.

Each time someone would come up to the Underhill's door demanding repercussions until finally nearly the whole town showed up like an angry mob. Scared for their daughter's life, the couple agreed to lock her in the barn for the night. If any killings happened that night, they knew it wasn't her.

The town awoke the next morning in a panic. In the night, a young girl had gone missing and Renee had escaped. Satisfied with their answer, the townspeople grabbed their torches and pitchforks. Renee was soon found in the forest and murdered.

In a show of cruel irony, the girl who'd gone missing was found soon after Renee had been killed. Unable to live among the people who had killed their daughter, Michael and Margaret sold their land and moved away. Eventually it fell into the hands of the current owners and they started a summer camp there. Stay with me here. It gets better.

Eric: Wait, wait, there's more?

Julia: There's more.

Eric: That's ... No. I-

Amanda: I'm quitting the podcast.

Eric: I don't accept. I don't accept. That was a middle, a start before that, then the middle, and then the ending. That was a whole arc right there.

Amanda: We had the whole witch's hat. We're over the hump.

Julia: There's another one. There's another hump, a cool ending. Here we go.

A few generations after the Underhills, a couple of dudes were getting rowdy at a bar nearby and started telling the story of a red-headed bigfoot that lurks through the woods and her family's old land. Sightings of Renee were and are common. One such dude bro, intent on disproving the myth, drunkenly agreed to stay the night on Renee's grave. Pause for Eric's reaction.

Eric: Don't do that. That's just like ... I don't know.

Julia: I like that they knew I was gonna be the one that read this too, because there's no, "Pause for Julia's reaction."

Eric: Yeah.

Amanda: How about instead, you do anything else?

Julia: Maybe.

Amanda: How about instead, you learn knitting? How about instead, you play a banjo? How about instead, you play bocce?

Eric: Banjo music. I love banjo music.

Amanda: Me too. I love it.

Julia: I'm not surprised by that.

When they arrived, his buddies literally chained him to a tree to keep him from backing out and left him there. The best part, the next day was a Sunday morning and they forgot him until after church. When they finally returned the next day-

Eric: These don't sound like church-going folks.

Julia: No, probably not.

Eric: I don't mean to poke holes in the story, but these don't sound like church-going folks.

Julia: So when they finally returned the next day, he was exactly where they'd left him leaning on Renee's tombstone, head completely backwards.

Amanda: No!

Eric: No good. Also, he was tied to a tree and on the tombstone?

Julia: Yeah, I guess there was a tree next to the tombstone. I don't know. Listen, I wasn't there. Okay.

What I find so crazy about this story is how much is based in reality. The Underhills were real people whose gravestones I have seen while at camp, and even more interestingly is that the young man who died in the cemetery can supposedly be found in an obituary from the '40s.

However, the story's shrouded in a lot of mystery. In fact, counselors are not allowed to tell official campers this story, which is why it's a tradition to tell crew members because they're considered "volunteers". The camp enforces a no tolerance policy about this because campers get so scared that they've had to get picked up early in the week. Counselors have been known to get fired for it.

In addition, many counselors and staff claim to have seen Renee, a huge, lumbering creature covered in red hair stalking through the forest at night. Even the old camp owner, who would often run so early in the morning that he needed to take a flashlight with him, had seen her dart by one morning.

I tried to do research on the story and the Underhills, but I've never found anything until just this week. I got a new hit from Ancestry.com where someone had posted in the forum to look for the info for the exact same story and the exact same call, so they must still be telling it at the camp. Talk about a legend. I hope you guys liked it, and keep doing what you're doing. That is from Natasha.

Amanda: Natasha, what a tale. This really took me on a journey.

Julia: Yeah, no, it's real good.

Eric: Yeah. Didn't expect the extra stuff at all.

Julia: Yeah, you got to have at least one death, mystery death.

Eric: Love a good mystery death.

Julia: Me too.

Eric: I have a story from Chelsea titled Southern Baptist College Haunts.

Julia: Yeah, that sounds up your alley.

Eric: I picked this one because my freshman year of college, I went to a southern baptist university. So, I've got some experience here. It wasn't haunted as far as I know, but you know.

Amanda: Haunted with the path not taken.

Eric: For the first semester of my freshman year of college in 2009, I attended a small southern baptist college in central Louisiana. The campus was constructed in the early 1920s and was absolutely overflowing with southern charm. As is standard in Christian colleges-

Julia: I thought you were going to say ghosts, demons, cryptids.

Eric: Lots of ghosts.

Amanda: You know, exorcisms, they go there when they're done.

Eric: And then we're going to get into the haunting a bit later. That's the second sentence.

Julia: I don't know. They could have a great topic sentence.

Eric: A great topic sentence?

Amanda: Great thesis. Go on.

Julia: It's the first semester of college. You're going to take a writing class. Come on.

Eric: That's true. That's true. It was overflowing with southern charm and maybe ghosts. We'll find out.

Julia: We'll find out.

Eric: As is standard in Christian colleges, boys and girls had separate dorms, as well as visiting hours that include signing in, lights staying on, doors staying open, both feet on the floor. They're not joking. They're not joking. That is 100% accurate.

Amanda: But what if you're a disaster bi and you cannot sit in a chair with both feet on the floor?

Julia: That's true. I'm literally not right now.

Amanda: Me neither.

Eric: Yeah. We never had the feet on the floor thing. I think occasionally it was like three feet on the floor was the joke.

Julia: Oh my god.

Eric: That part is irrelevant to my story, but I just like to throw it in because what the fuck.

Julia: Thanks.

Eric: So the girls' housing, Cottingham Hall, was a four story brick building that hadn't been renovated since at least the '70s with a boarded up elevator shaft and a heavily locked fourth floor. It seems like every college or old building with an old elevator has a story of someone dying in the elevator, and Cottingham Hall was no exception.

Story has it that a girl committed suicide in the elevator on the fourth floor. No one knows where or when it happened, of course, but after the gruesome scene and much consideration, the elevator was boarded up and the fourth floor of the building was locked with strict orders for students to go nowhere near it. Lucky for me as a freshman, I got to live on the third floor.

Julia: Ooh. Also, not making your stuff accessible to people who can't use stairs just because someone committed suicide seems kind of shitty.

Eric: There could be another elevator in the building. I don't know.

Julia: It doesn't seem like it's a two elevator kind of building.

Eric: That's true. Our dorm had four floors and two elevators, so it's possible. It's possible. Also, if it's a freshman dorm, you are not lucky for being on the third floor. You want that first floor because you probably don't have AC and you want to be as low to the ground as possible.

Julia: That's true.

Eric: That's just my experience. Could be different.

Within the first month of living in our dorm, my friend Alex and I started notice odd things happening. First, minor things ... I was trying to come up with a joke there about odd things happen at the beginning of college and couldn't. I just started with the sentence-

Julia: Socks randomly appeared on doorknobs.

Eric: I made myself go like, "That is dumb."

Julia: Like the possibility of a sexual encounter and then they go, "Nope," and run away?

Eric: Exactly. First, minor things like leaving and coming back having things not where we left them, the kind of things you can just write off to stress. One night, things escalated slightly. I like that they escalated slightly and not quickly because that's how things normally escalate in these stories.

Julia: It's good pacing.

Eric: This one just went, "Just a bit. Just a bit more intense now."

As Alex and I had just said good night and turned off our lamps, we heard what sounded like furniture or something heavy dragging on the floor above us, a noise coming from the fourth floor at 2 AM. We both whispered, making sure the other was hearing the same thing, and then it stopped. We sat in silent panic for a few moments before deciding we were overreacting-

Amanda: Terrifying.

Eric: ... and tried to go to sleep again, when all of a sudden, two pictures flew, literally flew from the walls and onto the floor towards the center of the room. The next morning we picked the pictures up and put them back on the wall and tried to act as if everything was fine.

Julia: It's chill. It's just some pictures that fell on the wall.

Eric: Just flew from the walls to the center of the room.

Julia: It's fine. It's fine.

Amanda: No. No, no, no, no, no. I don't like it.

Eric: A few nights after this, Alex and I were sitting on her bed watching a movie and trying to relax.

Amanda: Sorry, pause. What college freshmen are put together enough to have framed pictures on their wall and not just a Fight Club poster with masking tape?

Julia: Same.

Eric: I mean, I've seen how these Instagram people deck out their rooms now. I mean, when did you start college, Amanda?

Amanda: 2010.

Eric: Okay, so this was before that, so I don't know. Maybe you just didn't have the-

Amanda: Maybe instead of having sex, southern baptists are having advanced home décor.

Julia: I'm just baffled by Eric suggesting that you didn't have your shit together enough to have framed photos, Amanda, knowing you as a person who has their shit together.

Eric: Amanda's the one that suggested that no college freshmen would have the time to do this.

Amanda: Not even I had framed photos.

Eric: I was not making any insinuation about Amanda not having shit together. She obviously has her shit together.

Julia: She does. It's scary.

Amanda: I would never.

Eric: Honestly, I'm more confused that Amanda presumably did have a duct taped Fight Club poster on her wall.

Julia: Didn't we all, though?

Amanda: I sure did, Eric. At least the masking tape was on the back of it so it looked seamless, but yes, I sure did.

Eric: Perfect.

A few nights after this, Alex and I were sitting on her bed watching a movie trying to relax when we heard a loud crash from the area around the corner where our sink was.

Amanda: Well, that's relaxing.

Julia: Nope.

Eric: So relaxing.

Julia: Hard nope.

Eric: As adults do, we played rock paper scissors to see who would go look and I lost.

Julia: Smart.

Eric: I walked over to find that all our things we had on the shelves surrounding the sink had all fallen directly into the sink without anyone or anything being near it. We once tried to again to write it off. No one else was having these odd things happen, but I seem to be one of those unfortunate people who get to experience things like this, and poor Alex was along for the ride.

Julia: I feel like maybe your shelves sucked because college dorms are not well put together. That's just my take.

Amanda: I mean, at least they had someone else corroborating this weird shit. It wasn't like it was me specifically and one of the possibilities could be that I was making things up or having lucid dreams or something like that.

Julia: That's fair.

Eric: I've got one final paragraph.

Julia: Do it.

Eric: See if it's all the shelves.

Nearly two months pass and nothing else happens, so with Halloween right around the corner, we decide to have a scary movie night in a friend's room.

Julia: Bad choice.

Eric: As we were watching the movie, I noticed the digital clock on their desk running through the numbers. I stare and finally it stops. I decide not to say anything to anyone, as I don't want to scare them, but I glance again and it's going again even faster this time. Alex notices and whispers to me if I see what she sees, which I give her a terrified stare.

Finally, Gabby, the room and the clock's owner, sees the clock and freaks out, pulling the clock from the outlet, causing it to fall on the floor and lose power.

Julia: Gabby, correct choice.

Amanda: Correct.

Eric: But the numbers kept running-

Amanda: Shit. I don't like it.

Julia: That's real bad.

Eric: We ran out of the room and down the stairs out of the building. I applied for a different college the next day.

Julia: Oh shit. Damn, not even like, "A new dorm, please." Nope, full new college.

Amanda: I mean, if it was the devil trying to make you stray from Christ, it did its job.

Julia: It did real good.

Eric: Did real good. Did very, very good. They say, "Sorry for the long story." No need to apologize.

Julia: We just kept interrupting.

Amanda: And we love it.

Eric: This was great. Enjoyed it very much.

Amanda: I have a story, not about a college, but about an elementary school. Would you like to hear it?

Julia: Yes.

Eric: Yes.

Amanda: So this is from Janine, who wrote in and said they were listening the other day, the episode with Paul Bay talking about ghost stories with his students and witnessing the creation of an urban legend.

It reminded me of something that happened while I was teaching English as a foreign language in South Korea. I don't know if this story necessarily counts as an urban legend, but from what I hear from teachers who are still at the school, it has become one.

Let me set the scene for you. I taught at a private Kindergarten outside of Seoul, connected by the dark blue subway slash train line, but pretty far out there still. The school itself is in a pretty rural area. There's a livestock farm behind the school and the school has a yard with a playground, sandbox, and vegetable garden.

The building itself is shaped like a castle. It's a squarish red brick, three story building with circular towers in the front two corners. My class was all boys. They were obnoxious, adorable little pains in the ass, but god, I loved those boys. They were about five or six years old, so the equivalent of Kindergarten.

One rainy, drizzly day, I was setting up an activity about the five senses in my classroom during the kids' play break. They were playing inside because of the rain, and I was just setting up my lesson, listening to them play.

The school was English immersion, so they weren't technically supposed to speak Korean, but of course they did anyway. I kept noticing my boys crowd around the window whispering to each other and then run away shrieking before stealing themselves to go back to the window again.

Julia: Children are horrifying.

Eric: Looks like this lesson was about to be about the sixth sense.

Julia: That was awful. That was so bad.

Amanda: You know it's good because even Julia laughed.

Okay. My Korean was not great at the time, but they kept repeating the Korean word, halmoni, which means grandma. At first, I thought they were referring to the director of the school's mother, who was an elderly lady that helped out and tended to put the fear of God into misbehaving students, but I'd never heard them call her grandma before.

Eventually my curiosity got the better of me, so I walked over to the window. I peeked out to see what got the boys so worked up, but I could barely see anything except the swing set swinging gently. The school was in a sort of valley, so it often got very foggy and I couldn't see far.

The kids continued pointing out the window and saying grandma. I finally gave in and asked them what was going on. You have to understand that they were five and six year olds who usually haven't spoken English before, so getting them to explain things to me often turned into a theatrical performance. They have to use words that they know to describe words that they don't know, combined with gestures, acting things out, and occasionally drawing pictures. It sounds like me ordering in French.

Julia: Yes.

Amanda: It's essentially playing charades with a bunch of Korean Kindergartners, an in case you're wondering, it's even cuter than it sounds.

Julia: It does sound adorable, despite how horrifying children are.

Amanda: Seeing an opportunity, I canceled the lesson I was planning and sat my boys in a circle in the middle of the room and we spent all next class period discussing the grandma ghost. The boys were more focused and using more language skills than I had ever seen them in any lesson, even the really fun ones.

I learned that the word I thought meant grandma really just meant old woman, and they'd been seeing a creepy old lady ghost who comes out of the fog on rainy days.

Julia: Wonderful.

Amanda: She has long, messy, gray hair, and they showed me the exact shade by picking out a specific gray crayon. A, these kids are fucking geniuses. B, how terrifying is that? Five year olds don't know to make up details that specific to sell a lie. That's all I'm saying.

Julia: Yep.

Amanda: All right. So, long messy gray hair, all black eyes, and a dirty white shredded hanbok, Korean traditional clothing. She only comes out when it's cloudy, but especially when it's foggy. She was apparently dead from some sort of choking or hanging. There were a lot of boys miming wringing each other's necks and making choking sounds, which dissolved into giggles for a while.

Julia: How do they know that?

Amanda: I don't know. It's gotten much less cute of a picture, I must say.

Julia: Uh-huh.

Amanda: I tried asking them what she did exactly, but they didn't seem to have an answer except, "Teacher, we run away," accompanied by a shrug. Apparently no one had been caught yet. I'm guessing for the murder.

Julia: Or no, like the children ran away-

Amanda: Oh, had been caught by the ghost.

Julia: So they hadn't been caught by the ghost. They don't know what's up with the ghost.

Amanda: Smart, smart. Run away, kids. That's a good instinct.

Julia: Smart. Good choice.

Amanda: Then I asked what her name was. Okay. I asked the boys what her name was. I was met with looks of abject horror. "No, teacher, no name!" They exclaimed. One boy stood up and actually covered my mouth with his hand. I couldn't get anything more out of him about this. I still don't know for sure if this meant she had no name or that it was somehow dangerous to speak or find out her name.

After this conversation, I learned that the story of grandma ghost was not contained to my class. I questioned kids from other classes, and they all had a similar story independently of each other.

Side note, Janine, this is such a great investigatory practice. You have good instincts. You are getting us data. You are giving us details. Well done.

Some of the older kids knew the story but didn't seem to believe it, while some insisted they did believe it but would laugh and giggle about it and others seemed genuinely afraid. However, on rainy or foggy days, I would still catch even the more mature students glancing nervously toward the playground and staying away from the windows.

I have since learned that the old lady ghost is a common trope in Korean media and culture, so it's not like the boys pulled it out of thin air, but the legend of the grandma ghost persisted throughout the year I worked there.

After thinking about the story, I contacted some of my former coworkers still at the school, and they immediately knew what I was talking about. Most of the kids I taught are no longer there, but the grandma ghost is still talked about and feared. Apparently now she is known to be a vampire and the cause of all broken equipment and dead vegetables in the garden.

Julia: Checks out.

Amanda: I also talked to some of the teachers before me, but they had never heard of it, so we think it originated with us.

Julia: Oh, that's so cool.

Eric: Wow, right at the origin of the story.

Amanda: All right. So Janine says, "Stay creepy," and Janine, we will. But first, let's go get a refill.

Eric: Let's do it.

Amanda: So Julia, this weekend at PatreCon, it was so awesome to chat with people about their artistic creations and the communities that they are cultivating on Patreon, but something that everybody had in common was like, "So, money sucks, huh?" and keeping track of the paperwork.

Me specifically, I really had trouble managing all of the receipts and making sure at the end of the month that I am billing our clients for the right amount of hours. But I am using our sponsor this week, HoneyBook, to make sure that I can track my time and turn that time tracking into invoices. It helps me save time. It helps me not doubt myself and be like, "Oh wait, last week did I work on this client or this client?" It really takes all the ambiguity out of running a small business.

So, HoneyBook is just for businesses. They are a business management platform, so everyone from photographers to event professionals and other entrepreneurs, like me, can save hours and can make sure that they spend their time doing the things that they want to do by using HoneyBook.

If you go to honeybook.com/spirits, they are offering Spirits listeners half off your first year of services. That is half off. That's really, really great, and we are very happy that they chose to support the show because they know that Spirits listeners love doing stuff. They have small businesses. They have side hustles. You guys I think can really benefit from their services.

So again, that's at honeybook.com/spirits for 50% off. That's honeybook.com/spirits.

Julia: Awesome, and I'm going to tell you this week about our other sponsor, Rx Bar. Rx Bar is a whole food protein bar, and that means their bars are made with real, whole ingredients, so they are transparent and upfront with their customers about what goes into their bars.

The fact is, they're delicious. We were just on a plane ride back from LA and they had Rx Bars on the plane. It was wonderful. It was honestly the coolest thing. And so it is perfect for jumping on a plane and going. Those six hour flights, I need a snack in between and sometimes I don't want the potato chips that they give me on the plane.

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Amanda: AKA the best flavors of all time.

Julia: Absolutely. And now they also have nut butter, which I mean, I love peanut butter, but I haven't really dived into the other kinds of nut butter, but with Rx Bar, I can and they're going to be amazing because I know that their stuff is always delicious. So they have new ones. It's honey cinnamon peanut butter, regular peanut butter, and a vanilla almond butter, which I'm definitely going to be trying soon.

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Julia: Yes. 25% off your first order. Rxbar.com/spirits, enter promo code spirits.

Amanda: Yeah. You checking out our sponsors, you placing orders, you doing free trials tells the sponsor that our audiences like to support the show, that they're going to try links and check things out, so we really appreciate you going to rxbar.com/spirits with promo code spirits at checkout. And again, US only. Now, let's get back to the show.

Julia: I think I've got another one here for us, if you're ready for it.

Amanda: I have a drink. Let's go.

Eric: We're ready.

Julia: The subject of the email is My Dead Grandma Set Me Up With My Girlfriend.

Amanda: Yeah.

Eric: We've really got an arc going over these stories.

Amanda: That's true.

Eric: I feel like they're all tangentially related so far.

Julia: Yeah. I'm enjoying it. This is from Georgie. They say, "Yo my dudes, it's your boy. Okay, so this is less an urban legend and more of a slightly supernatural gay romance, so who else to share it with you but you guys?" Yes, our brand. It has come together. That's really good.

So, this happened about two years ago when I was spending the night at my auntie's house so that we could go to London the next day for my birthday. We went to a cat café. It was great. My dad ended up coming around that night so it was just me, my auntie, and my dad.

You see, my dad's side of the family is very superstitious. Their mom was apparently someone who could read tea leaves and use crystal balls and see ghosts, all of that shiz, and just my luck, it supposedly passed down to every second generation's eldest child. That's me on my dad's side.

Amanda: Like twins.

Julia: Yeah. Not really important, just something I felt like mentioning. Anyway, so my dad, auntie and I were just chilling when my dad suddenly decided that we should try to talk to the dead with this Ouija type game that ties with their family. So being the spoopy and edgy child that I am, I agreed. The game is called Glassy Glassy. Amazing name for anything.

Amanda: Uh-oh.

Julia: It consists of putting a circle of letters and numbers on the table, putting a light glass in the middle upside down, and each lightly touching it with your finger, sitting in darkness, only lit by the flickering of candlelight, and asking questions to those no longer in the living world.

Eric: This sounds like what the Ouija board was before it became a mass-produced product.

Julia: I agree.

Eric: This seems like a homemade way to speak to the dead, and then some people are like, "What if we sold this?"

Julia: We're not gonna give our money to Hasbro. We can do it with a glass and some chalk. I was just gonna say, "Hey, Mr. Hasbro, want to tango?" Okay.

Eric: I'm like 95% the Ouija board is a Milton Bradley product.

Julia: It probably is, you're right. Anyway.

Amanda: Why is that the phrase that came to mind?

Eric: Really don't know. It doesn't really have any connotation that would make sense here.

Amanda: Subtitle idea, get sloppy.

Julia: Okay. Georgie continues.

I had never played this game before, but my dad would sometimes mention some strange stories from his childhood when we would play it with his twin brother. Even one time, they were told to leave but refused and the glass flew off the table and shattered. So yeah, fun times.

Eric: No. Done. I'm done playing this game.

Julia: So we all gathered around the table in a somewhat ritual-like manner. My dad is religious, so he said a prayer asking for someone to come and talk to us. Nothing happened for a while, and though I was shaking in my seat, I didn't expect anything too much, maybe some vague things at most, but nope.

My dad and auntie started asking questions and the glass responded. At first we were apparently talking to one of their uncles, which I found quite weird because they're both from South Africa and we live in England, but I guess geography doesn't matter to a spirit.

It was all pretty chill, though, and my dad and aunt asked some questions about money and housing and got some pretty straightforward answers. Then, their uncle said someone else wanted to talk to them and that he was becoming tired anyway so had to go. We all said goodbye and let the next spirit join us. It was my grandma.

You could feel that the person talking was definitely someone else, someone more talented with communication? The movements of the glass were much stronger and quicker, whilst the last person took their time to find each letter in the circle. This dude, my grandma, could easily jump from letter to letter with ease.

My dad and aunt were ecstatic. They both loved their mom and were so sad that I couldn't have gotten to know her more before she died, as she lived in South Africa. So, they were happy I could speak to her now.

I didn't really know what to say. I hadn't asked anything yet. My grandma laughed at my awkwardness, apparently, "Ha, ha, ha, ha," of the board or something like that, and then let my auntie talk for me. "Will Georgie find a soulmate?" My auntie asked. J-O-

Eric: Gosh, heavy question.

Julia: Yeah. I know, right? And so the board responded, "J-O-Y." Fuck, I am extremely gay, but not at all out to my dad or auntie at this time, so you know I was slightly freaking out.

Amanda: Damn.

Julia: I know, calling it out, grandma. Come on.

Eric: I figured it was like ... Wait. J-O-Y?

Julia: J-O-Y. Joy.

Amanda: Joy.

Eric: I figured it meant, "You will find joy in a relationship." I was reading it that way.

Amanda: Eric, that's the reading of a straight person.

Julia: Well luckily, that's probably what the auntie and the dad thought. Anyway. It was passed over, though, and we brought the game to an end a little while later, saying our goodbyes and getting our final words in to the spirit world. I slept that night meters away from the table we spoke from freaking out.

The next day, my auntie and I left early for London by train. She'd presumably forgotten that my grandma outed me to her the night before, so I wasn't going to bring it up.

Anyway, we arrived at the cat café early, so decided to walk around for a little bit. We were in this cool and hip vintage street, so spent some time walking through graffiti-covered streets.

Then, I spotted something, a shop across the street with big, sleek letters above the door, "Joy." The freaking shop was called Joy, so you know ya boy had to get themselves in there.

My auntie and I walked in. I hadn't mentioned the connection I made from the night before, though I kept my eye out for someone, anyone. The shop was relatively empty, so I started to look around at what was actually in the shop. The walls were covered in vintage clothing and records, random knickknacks on the shelves and some really cool random socks, but one table in the middle of the shop caught my eye. It was covered in the color yellow, bursting with sunflowers and bees, little books and fairy lights, poetry and Polaroids all dipped in the color yellow.

Amanda: Whoa.

Julia: Okay. This might not seem like much, but I think we can fast forward to now. I am dating the most amazing person I could ever think of. Her favorite color is yellow. She has an obsession with bees and sunflowers, loves when we read books together, had almost as many fairy lights as me, and takes way too many pictures of random things. Her name isn't Joy but damn if she brings it. Aw.

Eric: It sounds like they might be dating Amanda.

Amanda: Everything is true. Not sunflowers.

Julia: So, that was a much more pleasant and upbeat story than I usually tell, but it was too cute not to.

Eric: It really was.

Amanda: I would love to give you a kind story about someone's grandma, but it does have a creepy edge to it.

Julia: Yeah. That's my jam.

Amanda: This is "Another Urban Legend from my Grandma" from Nasli, whose first ghost story in our grandma extravaganza episode still stays with me.

Eric: What was her first story? Do you remember?

Amanda: Yeah, it was the kindly old man spirits in their flat in Turkey.

Julia: Oh, the one that wanted to help teach people how to read.

Eric: Okay. Okay. I couldn't remember if it was the Hell Peppers, because I feel like the Hell Peppers was around that time, too.

Amanda: It was around that time, yeah, but no, Nasli's grandma was like, "Yeah, no, it's there. What do you want?"

Today I have another story told by my grandma, which reminded me of one of your Irish myths, changelings. I would like to share that creepy story with you.

Julia: Do it.

Amanda: My grandma has four other siblings, an older sister, two older brothers, and one younger brother. They believed her younger brother was either a changeling or cursed by his name when he was a baby.

Julia: Those are very specific things to assume. Continue.

Amanda: My grand-uncle, who I know as Zecky, was named Mohammed when he was born. He was a sickly baby and had some developmental problems and couldn't walk by the age of four, so his parents took him to a doctor, but they were unable to find a cure. So, they started to look at other options.

My great-grandmother took her sick child to an old religious man in the village who was known to cast or broke spells by prayer. He took a look at the child and says there are only two reasons for this condition. The first possibility is that the name they had given him was too heavy for a young child. Second, he was cursed by Djinn.

Julia: I mean, honestly, either one. Those are pretty legit.

Eric: Not good either way for sure.

Amanda: "Naming a child after the prophet Mohammed," he said, "Could be too much responsibility for some babies, so much so that it could make them sick." He suggested that they change his name to something lighter, a name that would not give him too much responsibility. So, his mother decided to change his name to Zecky, which means intelligent and bright.

Julia: I really like that name.

Amanda: Unfortunately, the name change didn't work. So, they decided to try the second option. The old man told them to perform a ritual which would convince the Djinn to give their real child back.

Side note, I didn't know that Djinn and changelings had a tradition there. I'd be fascinated, if any listeners have grandmothers or parents or themselves who have Djinn lore knowledge, please get in touch.

So, the ritual to convince the Djinn to give their real child back meant my great grandmother and her eldest son would go to a graveyard at midnight with the child.

Julia: Awesome.

Amanda: They would stand on opposite sides of the graveyard walls and give the child to each other over the wall three times while saying, "Get your own baby and give ours back." Then, they would leave the child with some water and bread there and after a few minutes, one of them would come and get their "real child" back.

Eric: A red-haired child came up and they're all linked. It's all one story, again.

Julia: You know, I was going to say, best place to leave your child while child-rearing is clearly a graveyard.

Eric: Extreme measures for extreme curses, Julia.

Amanda: They changed his name. Yeah. So, they did that. My great-uncle, who was a teenager at the time, went to get his brother afterward. So, the older boy got the younger boy back. To this day, he says he heard whispers in the dark that said, "Give our son back. Give our son back." He freaked out and ran with his little brother away from the graveyard.

Julia: Yikes.

Amanda: Zecky got better after a while. It turned out that he had a calcium deficiency and he was better after some supplements. People are very good with telling stories-

Julia: I'm sorry. I don't mean to laugh at that because that's a really serious thing. He couldn't walk for four years.

Eric: Yeah, that was very good.

Amanda: This is where the podcast pivots to a brand endorsement of gummy vitamins.

People are very good with telling stories and coming up with explanations when things are difficult to understand. Your podcast showed me how diverse, yet how similar, the stories you share could be. So, thanks very much. Stay creepy and stay cool from Nasli

Julia: Thanks, Nasli

Eric: Thank you. I like how we have an actual conclusion to one of these. It's like, "And it turns out, it was just not enough calcium."

Julia: A medical problem.

Amanda: A calcium deficiency. Put fear into that kid.

Julia: He did get a cool new name, though, so that's pretty tight.

Amanda: He got a great origin story. He got a bonding moment with his older brother, and he probably is not a changeling, so it sounds like Zecky won.

Julia: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Julia: Yeah.

Eric: Our last story comes from me.

Julia: Ya boy?

Eric: It's a twist.

Julia: I'm very excited. Tell me about it.

Eric: I was recently at a speakeasy-themed party.

Julia: I thought you were gonna say Spaghetti Warehouse and got real jealous real quick.

Eric: I would never go to Spaghetti Warehouse without you guys. That would be ridiculous. I was at a speakeasy-themed party, and down in the basement, one of my cousins who was hosting the party's friends was doing tarot card readings.

Julia: Whoa.

Eric: I was like, "I've never done that," and there was not a lot of people hanging out down there, so I was like, "Why not try it out?" So, I did.

Amanda: I mean, if it went bad, we're gonna find out why.

Eric: So, I mean, I'll go through the wide sweeping details because I'm no expert in this. So, there's a lot of things happening, cards flipping and stuff. I think I got most of it. I don't know what kind of deck they were using. There were four suits and they were based in land, water, air, and fire maybe, so it was a specific type of tarot. I don't think it was a traditional tarot card, but I did some Googling and there are sets of tarot that use suits of stuff.

Julia: Most tarot uses suits of stuff, but interesting that they did an elemental tarot. That's not something super common.

Eric: That's what I thought. They started the reading by putting a bunch of cards face down on the thing and they asked me about a specific thing that had happened recently in my life so they could pick a card to represent me.

Julia: Got you.

Eric: Which feels like a bit of a hot read, because now they've got details out of me, that they're able to start adding things to that whole conclusion about it. So my girlfriend recently had back surgery. She's doing fine. She's on the mend, but I gave the person that kind of example as something significant happening in my life.

The first couple cards, I wasn't really understanding where they were kind of coming from, like, what was it? The thing that is the underlying issue and the thing that is the thing that controls everything and the past and look forward, but as it went on, it was interesting. Almost all of my cards were face cards except for-

Amanda: That means the ones with kings and queens and stuff?

Eric: I mean, I guess. Yeah, they were major arcana cards. Thank you, Julia.

Julia: You're welcome.

Eric: Which is in this deck, I asked them afterwards, I think they said there were 89 cards in the deck or something like that and only 16 of them were face cards.

Julia: Yeah, it's only like a fifth of it.

Eric: The odds of all but one or two of mine being face cards is very, very crazy. Just statistics, outside of any magical thing, that's extremely low.

Julia: The universe had shit to tell you.

Eric: Yeah. They said that it showed signs of a very interpersonal reading instead of a wide sweeping kind of, "Here is your future," kind of thing. This has very specific things. The most interesting thing was there were like three cards that were the underlying thing, and then, I don't remember, the future and then the solution. They weren't those things, but they were in order. As they were flipping them in the order, they showed that the cards slowly progressed in higher of the suit, these three face cards.

Julia: Interesting.

Eric: Which kind of showed a level of growth, which was really fascinating, especially since the reading was based around recovery and health. So, it was a really interesting experience. I feel like there were a lot of things that didn't entirely add up and just some kind of confusing bits. I mean, I don't know how these things work. Maybe I'm not getting the reading as fully as possible, but it was really, really interesting. There were a lot of really interesting aspects of it, especially those three cards, that were all linked together very specifically. It wasn't like the middle one was first and then the top one and the bottom one. It was like low, mid, high, as you went through, so it seemed like it had a very ... If nothing else, it seemed like the reading had an arc to it, which was pretty cool.

Julia: Yeah, no, that's super interesting. When we talked about tarot in our episode with Julie Kerr, she did talk about a lot how tarot is a lot of self-introspection and a lot of times when you're reading the cards either for yourself or having someone else read it for you, it doesn't always line up and it might line up and click two weeks from now or when the thing actually happens it was making reference to. So, that makes a lot of sense.

Eric: It was a cool experience. If you're at a party and someone that seems to know what they're doing is offering free readings, I mean, why not? It was fun. It was something to spend 20 or so minutes doing and it was a good time.

Julia: That's sweet.

Amanda: Oh, that sounds like you had fun.

Eric: Also, the deck was really dope. It was very well-designed. I didn't find out what the design was or anything, but it was really cool-looking. It was visually cool the way everything was laid out and everything. I didn't realize that there was as much pre-setup to tarot readings. I've always assumed it was like I flip over a card and then I flip over another card, but this one was all laid out, and then it was like, "These are the cards that do these things," and then you flip them as you go. That was cool. I didn't know that.

Julia: Yeah. Aw, that's awesome, though.

Amanda: That sounds like a good Patreon goal for Julia and me to go have readings done by maybe Jolie's favorite person in New York.

Julia: Yeah, that would be dope.

Eric: That would be very cool.

Amanda: I dig it. I dig it. Well, thanks for sharing, Eric. That sounds like a very neat experience and fun and totally not creepy way to end this Urban Legends episode.

Julia: Yes, very

Amanda: So, just to recap, some lessons. Don't play in the fog.

Eric: Don't record podcasts at the witching hour. I hear the dog outside the door. We've got to wrap this up quick. That's a lesson we are learning right now.

Julia: When your grandma outs you to your family, you will find your soulmate. Oh, one more thing. Remember to stay creepy.

Amanda: Stay cool.