Lots of hauntings in this episode. So many. Haunted castles, haunted mirrors, haunted… punch bowls? Also featuring a hot air balloon accident, an influx of priests, and our own version of The Bee Movie.
This week Amanda recommends Object Lessons by Bloomsbury.
- Calm, the #1 app for meditation, mindfulness, and sleep. Get 25% off a Premium subscription at calm.com/spirits
- Skillshare is an online learning community where you can learn—and teach—just about anything. Visit skillshare.com/spirits2 to get two months of Skillshare Premium for free! This week Julia recommends “Making A Hero: Protagonist Development for Film & Fiction.”
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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 114, Your Urban Legends Part 18. Ooh, so many numbers.
Julia So many numbers. Ooh, we're getting towards some good XX numbers.
Amanda: Oh yeah, like the super bowl hats, you know. We won't be able to have a jersey that's just like double X, triple X blah.
Julia I can't wait until we're at L, where it's just like L for love.
Amanda: So confusing. We have to think, maybe we can get some sexy legends for episode triple X.
Julia Ooh, sexy.
Amanda: Well in the meantime, we would love to welcome our newest patrons Tristan and Mod Mom Aaron from the join the party fam. Hello, welcome.
Julia Hey Aaron, what's up?
Amanda: And thank you to our supporting producer level patrons whose support sustains us and makes the show possible. Phillip, Julie, Eeyore, Cathy, Vinny, Danika, Marissa, Sammy, Josie, Amara, Neil, Jessica, Phil Fresh, and Debora.
Julia Oh man, I wish all of you could just come and have a beer with us.
Amanda: That would be awesome. And of course we would be sure to invite our legend level patrons, Jordan, Jess, Sarah, Zoe, Sandra, Audra, Mercedes, Jack Marie, and Liam.
Julia First round's on us. Anytime y'all hang out with us, first round's on us.
Amanda: Speaking of first rounds, I recently visited Lake Placid, New York, where my family often went when I was a little kid, and makes my absolute favorite beer in the world. Do you know what that is?
Julia No I don't actually.
Amanda: Well you tasted it Julia. I didn't tell you what it was, but I did pour it for you, and you just drank it. Which is Ubu Ale from Lake Placid Brewery. It is just this like ... I think it's like 8%, so it has some kick to it. Just like a smooth, dark ale. Not too carbonated, not too hoppy, not too malty. It is the beer that I could drink literally all day long. And growler refills are $12.
Julia Wow, that's good.
Amanda: So, nothing like it, and Ubu Ale, that's what we were drinking this episode.
Julia Amanda you could hand me a drink of anything, anytime, and I would drink it without question.
Amanda: Well I very much appreciate that, and I feel that way when you recommend books to me. Like you just give me a book and I'm like yes, I will read this, and don't even think about it. So this week I want to recommend a book that I feel that way about to our listeners. This is The Object Lessons series, by Bloomsbury. So this is basically like a series of small books. I saw it in a bookstore and they were so beautifully designed that I had to just pick it up and investigate. But basically all the books are like smallish, squarish, black books with just a noun for a title. And it is a series of essays about the hidden lives of ordinary things. So if you like 99% Invisible, if you like a show like this, where you learn about the history of stuff you already know, you should check out the Object Lessons series. Every single book investigates a different object through a variety of approaches like poetry, or essays, or academic criticism. The first book I read was the Hotel book, about just how hotels are fucking weird and interesting spaces. I'm going read Potato next.
And so it's just like every book is just so intriguing. If you like Maggie Nelson, if you like Rebecca Solnit, if you like some of these kind of contemporary, cultural critics and academic writers, who write stuff you actually want to read even outside of school, Object Lessons if for you.
Julia Those sound incredible. I'm definitely going to check those out.
Amanda: And they were kind enough to send me some review copies to read and to share on the show, so I am just very thankful. They were all very cool people to work with, and I would love to write one of these books one day. So in the meantime, you should check it out.
Julia Hey, thanks Bloomsbury. Speaking of things that I want to learn more about Amanda, I would love, I would love, if our listeners who are from the Portland area, lived in the Portland area and have moved away etcetera, if you have Portland, Oregon stories, please email them to us. I want to read them. And also we might read them at a live show in Portland.
Amanda: Yeah, we're going to be there February 16th and 17th for a bunch of Multitude live shows. You can go to multitude.poroductions/live, to get your tickets to that. But we love doing local stories when we do local urban legend shows. So if you have been like, uh maybe I'll send them an email, maybe I won't, and you have something related to Portland, or Oregon, or even the pacific northwest, now is your moment.
Julia Yeah, do you have a bigfoot sighting story? Please tell me about it.
Amanda: Spiritspodcast.com, and you can use the little contact link.
Julia Yeah. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amanda: Either one works. And finally this week, we would love it if you would share Spirits with a friend. Just one friend. Just pause the podcast, open up your messages, and text the friend that you think is the creepiest and coolest person you know. Because Spirits is great, sure, but what really is the best is bonding with your friends over creepy shit. And this is the podcast that hopefully can bring you a little bit closer to one of your coolest friends.
Julia If your friendship isn't based on creepy shit already, we'll help you make it based on creepy shit. That's what we do.
Amanda: It's that whole other layer. That whole next dimension. All right without further ado, enjoy Spirits podcast episode 114, Your Urban Legends part 18.
Guys do you know what's not creepy?
Julia A lot of things.
Eric: Most things aren't creepy.
Eric: Well that depends if you're a vampire. If you're a vampire sunlight is very creepy.
Amanda: It's less creepy then like escorchiating. Is that the word I'm trying to use? Yeah, like scorches the life out of you. But no, I was going to say all hanging out together, because we just did that at PodCon yo.
Julia We did it, we did it.
Amanda: And it was so exciting. We got to see each other, got to meet some listeners, we had a big booth in the expo hall with a bunch of stickers. We have new stickers coming by the way, for our upcoming events this year, and they're going to be great. Thank you art mom Alison Wakemen.
Eric: It was the longest four days in so many different ways. I had never been so tired.
Amanda: And we've been to VidCon for nine years. But it was awesome. Though now, we're back home, back to the routine, and that means talking early in the morning, once every few weeks, to record and urban legends episode for all of you.
Julia I took a nap after I woke up today.
Amanda: You know, that's very good.
Eric: It's only 11 a.m. Julia.
Julia I woke up at five, and I took a nap from like eight to nine.
Amanda: I respect the game.
Eric: That is impressive.
Julia Sometimes you got to play.
Eric: My dog is currently snoring quite a bit in the background, so if you hear it while I speak, I apologize.
Julia I love him so much.
Eric: He's very sleepy. He doesn't know that he's going on a road trip today, so he is going to have a panic attack in about the next few hours.
Julia Sounds like my kind of day.
Eric: He thinks we're leaving him forever every time we pack a single suitcase.
Amanda: Same though.
Julia Do you want to start with a story about Thor, the devil, highway men, murder, ghosts, and a deadly curse all in one place?
Eric: Yes. I thought that was a list, and I had already forgotten the first thing once you got to the third, but then when you're like oh, it's all together, then I was like, yes. I am invested now.
Julia Yes, sold.
Amanda: Whatever that is, I'm down.
Julia All right, so this comes from a listener named Kate. And they say, "I'm waving at you all from across the ocean, while singing along to your theme song, which keeps getting stuck in my head." Thank you. Apparently people keep pointing out that it was also in like a Netflix porno?
Amanda: In a Netflix series, and in the series they were shooting a porno. What I think is funniest, is that Netflix does not want to pay the license music, and so like us, three years ago decided to use the best free music out there, incompetech.org by Kevin Macleod.
Julia Thanks Kevin Macleod, you're the best.
"I love listening to Spirits, and I wanted to let you know about my local urban myth from England. I live close to Hindhead Common in Surrey, in the southeast of England. Part of this woodland and common includes, the Devil's Punch Bowl. A large hollow or bowl shaped area, a couple of miles across. There are many legends about this area, but I wanted to tell you two, one ancient, which includes the devil and thor together, and one a bit more recent, which includes sailors, highway men, murder, hanging, ghosts, and a deadly curse."
Amanda: Fuck yeah.
Julia All right, so "There are many ancient legends of how the Devil's Punch Bowl was formed, but the most popular involves Thor and of course the devil."
Amanda: I'm sorry, that's just sinking in. The Devil's Punch Bowl. Aren't all punch bowls the Devil's Punch bowl?
Julia Only if you spike them.
Amanda: Ah bless.
Julia "So the legend says that the Devil lived near the Devil's Jump. The name of three hills in a row near Hindhead. Very cool name. Which is close to Thor's Lie, a village that is now known as Thursley."
Amanda: Thor's Lie?
Julia Thor's Lie. Like lying down I imagine.
Amanda: I was like-
Julia Not like Thor lied to me.
Amanda: I know that Loki told a lot of lies, but I thought Thor was relatively straightforward.
Julia He just does a lot of murder, that's just how it goes. "So apparently they would regularly torment each other by jumping from hill to hill, with Thor throwing thunder and lightening bolts at the devil. And the devil retaliating by scooping up hand fulls of earth, and hurling it at Thor. One of the largest of these left the bowl shape of the punch bowl. The area is now a tourist area for hiking, cycling, and the national trust that manages the land graze ponies, as well as some huge highland cattle with enormous horns."
"When it is a misty foggy day, the fog lies low in the punch bowl and neighboring hills, and looks really atmospheric. Which is lovely, until you see an enormous highland cow coming towards you in the mist. I'm sure they've given a few hikers a bit of a scare."
Amanda: That's very good.
Julia Can you imagine just like a big ole cow coming towards you, with big ole horns? Just appearing out of the mist?
Amanda: Adorable. I love it. It's very like Instagram. There are a lot people on Instagram who are like travel influencers, and would just like post foggy pictures from Iceland all the time. And I very much pictured this as being one of those. Be on a photo shoot, and then the cow just like doesn't stop coming toward you. And you're like, oh, oh no, oh wait.
Julia Oh no. Please, I don't have any, whatever cows eat ... grass? Hay? I don't know.
"The other legend I wanted to tell you about is slightly more recent and is probably the most famous in our local area. It relates to the barbaric murder of an unknown sailor and a curse that was put on his memorial stone. So here we go. In September 1786, a sailor was walking back along the main road from London to Portsmouth on the south coast of England, where his ship was moored. This rout was infamous for local highway men and robbers who would regularly attack stage coaches as they traveled along the road. The highway men would rush down the hill of the punch bowl and jump out in front of the coaches and scare the horses, causing them to crash down the hill."
Julia Rude. Very rude.
Eric: Just a rude thing to do.
Julia "This sailor was walking along this route, and stopped at a local inn near Thursley." Thursley, I keep almost saying Thursday. Near Thursley-
Eric: I mean it could have happened on a Wednesday, so it could have been near Thursday as well.
Julia It could have also been Thursday, thank you Eric.
Julia That was a dad joke. All right, "So he stopped at a local inn near Thursley for a rest and a drink. Whilst he was there, he met three men who he bought drinks for during the evening. At the end of the night, these three men followed the sailor from the inn, they attacked him, stripped him of his clothes, stole all of his belongings, and then murdered him by cutting his throat so severely they almost decapitated him."
Amanda: Oh my god.
Julia This is Nearly Headless Nick bullshit right here.
Amanda: That's very Sweeney Todd. That's very much like, oh Sweeney, so thank you for saving my life, I'll see you later on the streets maybe. And then like all the other crew have just died.
Julia That was a great Anthony impression, thank you for that. "They finally pushed his body down the hill into the punch bowl. Amazingly, the men were apprehended not long after the murder, and six months later were declared guilty and hung to death at Gibbet", I think or Gibbet. Something with an with a-
Amanda: Again, another escalation. We really can stop the violence somewhere. Oh goodness.
Julia All right, so "They were hung to death on a gibbet at the top of the hill above the punch bowl, close to the crime scene. Their bodies were left there for around three years as a deterrent." That's too long.
Amanda: What? Three days would be too long. Three hours would be like, okay I get it.
Eric: Hold on. These are dead bodies?
Julia Dead bodies.
Eric: That were left for there for three years?
Eric: Too long. Too long.
Julia Well they were left there as a deterrent to highway men and others thinking of committing similar crimes. It's like how they used to hang like the bodies of pirates outside of harbors, so pirates know, hey don't come here.
Amanda: Yeah, but how do the skeletons stay together as all the shit decomposes?
Eric: There're surely animals. There're surly animals around that would have like ... Also it's not ...
Julia Listen, I'm just telling the story. I'm just telling the story. All right-
Eric: No, this is an inquisition on you Julia. You have to answer all of our questions.
Amanda: God, you are responsible.
Julia I picked the story, I have to answer the questions for it, fine. "Soon after the murder, a stone was erected along the side of the road to mark the spot where the sailor met his death. In 1826, the road was moved and caused a long running feud between local land owners. The stone was moved to a new location along the road, but after many arguments between the land owners, it was moved back to its original location, and a curse was added to the back of the stone to prevent it from being moved again. The curse read, 'This stone was erected by order, and at the cost of James Stilwell ESQ, of Cosford, 1786. Cursed be the man who injureth or removeth this stone.'" A good good use of eth.
Amanda: Oh yeah.
Julia "The other land owner didn't like this at all, and so placed his own replica stone on the road and on some point before 1889, the original stone was vandalized, and moved back again to the new road. The stone was not moved again for over 40 years. But in 1932 to much divided opinion on the logic of defying the curse, it was moved for a final time back to the original site, where it has remained ever since. For this final move in 1932, according to local legend, the manager of a local garage laughed at the curse and volunteered himself and his employees to move the stone. One employee is known to have died shortly after from an unexpected illness, while the garage manager himself broke his shoulder when he fell from a ladder and caused enough damage to prevent him from ever working again."
Amanda: Oh god.
Julia "Another volunteer is known to have died of a heart attack a short while after having moved the stone. It is now said that the stone must never be moved again, but some local people say that if it is ever moved, it can only be moved by women. Going back to the hanging at the gibbet, after the hanging of the three guilty men occurred, many fears and superstitions arose around gibbet hill, with people saying that they saw ghosts of these men, and the sailor coming out of the mist that can hand low around the gibbet and the punch bowl. Superstitions here became so famous that they're mentioned in novels such as Charles Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby, and Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes, said it was his inspiration for the book The Hound of the Baskervilles."
Amanda: I do like that story a lot. Bad episode of the Sherlock TV show, but a good story.
Julia "Therefore in 1851 Sir William Earl, a local judge, paid for a Celtic cross to be erected to banish these ghostly fears, and raise the local spirits." Get it? Raise the spirits. Like of the people, but also the ghosts.
Eric: Wait hold on. That gets a hey but my thing got a boo? Unfair. Unfair standards at Spirits podcast.
Julia And "ate says "Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope it caused a few shivers for your spines."
Eric: It did cause some shivers, but that's because for some reason between like 10:30 and 12, my office just becomes really cold every day. And I don't know why, it's very strange. Like I always get really, really cold at that time of day.
Amanda: Is that why you send me adorable snaps of your adorable dog Arnie, just like in a nest of blankets?
Eric: I mean that's just how he is regardless of the temperature. He always loves a big nest of blankets.
Amanda: That's why we get along.
Julia Who doesn't love a big nest of blankets?
Amanda: I don't know.
Julia They're wrong.
Eric: He hates making his nest it seems, because if ... Amanda will attest to this, that whenever I send snaps of him making a nest, he is just constantly whining. And like seems like he is so distraught, but then he's immediately happy afterwards. And we can't tell if it's just part of the ritual for him, or if he's genuinely like, why can't I get this to be the way I want it to be?
Julia Your dog is so anxious and I love it.
Amanda: I know, I really relate to it so much. Or what happens to me is like when I'm coming home from an event, or from traveling, that's like the five minutes when I'm closest to home that I most acutely need to be home. Like as it approaches I'm just like, I want to be in my bed. And I get so sleepy, and like giddy with sleep, because I really want to be there. And so I feel like Arnie is just like I want to be in my nest. And as the nest is closer to being assembled, he just gets more and more impatient.
Julia I get it.
Eric: He's also very old. So he's just kind of a crotchety old man.
Julia Just an old boy.
Amanda: What a good segue. I have a story about a creepy, crotchety old man.
Julia Tell me about it.
Amanda: This is titled, The Devil on my Doorstep, literally from Layla. They say, "So this happened when I was an itty bitty, four or five year old child. So I don't remember it happening, but my mom told me the story couple of times and I tell it to my friends when they want to hear something creepy, or if they don't."
Julia That's a mood.
Amanda: "So one day my aunt was over at my house with her kids for a play date with me and my brother. My mom was in the kitchen getting us all snacks, while my aunt was in the living room keeping an eye on us kids, when the doorbell rings. Now since my mom was in the kitchen, and my aunt was close to the door, she decided to get the door for my mom. When my aunt answered the door, she saw an older man in his 60s or 70s?, who was dressed like a priest." A, saying dressed like a priest is so ominous.
Julia It means it's definitely not a priest.
Amanda: So ominous. I mean you'll recognize your priest, like that's how it works.
Eric: I love when there's a priest on my flight. I'm not Catholic. Anytime I see a priest on my flight I'm like this'll work out. I don't know why. There's absolutely no reason that I would be comforted by a priest on a flight at all. But I'm always like, this seems better.
Julia How many times have you had a priest on your flight where this is like a common thing that you know every time I see one?
Eric: Of my four flights, two and from PodCon, three of them had a priest on them.
Julia What the fuck.
Amanda: Eric are you sure it wasn't a shape shifter with one shirt in his suitcase?
Eric: It is extremely common. I would say a solid 30% of my flights have a priest on them.
Julia What? That is a wild number.
Amanda: I've seen a priest in the wild like twice.
Eric: Airports are the number one place I see priests.
Amanda: I see nuns all the time in airports, but priests not so often.
Eric: I don't know if I've ever seen a nun at an airport. There was also a priest when I flew earlier in January, before PodCon. There was also a priest on one of my flights.
Julia Hey, Ohio is wild. Why are there so many priests?
Eric: A lot of the time I'm taking connecting flights that are not too or from Ohio. So I'm just saying, there're a lot of priests flying around.
Amanda: Are these places super in need of priestly care, or are these priests just super worldly, and out and about doing stuff?
Eric: I just assume they have to like go like ... I don't know. I don't know what they're doing.
Amanda: My great grandmother was in a Lutheran choir, and would travel on Greyhound buses all around the eastern half of the US going to performances and visiting her friends and stuff. And apparently she was BFFs with a bunch of nuns in her church organization. And they knew how to travel. They had cute little overnight bags, knew how to put their stuff away, had a container for their habits. I think it's awesome. So back to Layla's story. "The man said hello, and started talking to my aunt, asking if he could come in and talk to the lady of the house."
Julia Don't do it.
Amanda: "Now for some background info, my mom and my aunt have always had spiritual things happen to them, and they both believe in spirits and other entities, as they've had too many experiences not to. So when this old man asked to come in, my aunt got this sick feeling like something was wrong, so naturally she told him he couldn't come in and he needed to leave." Good call.
Amanda: "The old man got angry and started arguing with my aunt that she just had to let him in to speak to my mom. Meanwhile, my mom heard my aunt start to raise her voice as she was arguing with the old man, but when it was the old man's turn to say something back during the argument, all my mom heard from the kitchen was this gargled, guttural noise."
Julia No. No.
Amanda: "My mom understandably got freaked out and ran to the door with a knife in her hand (I think she was cutting up fruit or something), and was pointing it at the fake priest, yelling at him that he's not allowed into this house, and never will be, that God is protecting the house and that he needs to leave. So finally the old man leaves all pissed off and stuff, and my mom and aunt talk about it, because they're both freaking out and knew something was wrong, and they were just really glad that nothing happened."
Julia That's just it huh.
Amanda: And they finished with, "This isn't the only story I have, it's just one that I have the most facts about. I'm also trying to get more facts for a story about how my brother had a demon as an imaginary friend when he was little. Hope to share more in the future."
Julia So many children have demon imaginary best friends and we need to talk about that real quick.
Amanda: Yeah, I mean I had an imaginary friend that was an anthropomorphized bee named Buzzer Bee. Actually I think it was a bee shaped bee. But he was very sweet and liked having him. And we were hanging out with my brother Connor at PodCon and he was like "Oh yeah, no, I made up an imaginary friend because you had one and I was jealous." And I was like oh, yeah, checks out.
Eric: I'm glad that it wasn't an anthropomorphized bee because-
Amanda: No. It was pre Bee Movie and Buzzer Bee was just like a cute little fat bumble bee.
Eric: Okay. You caught on to the track that I was definitely going onto which was your friend was Jerry Seinfeld, the bee from Bee Movie.
Amanda: No. Super no.
Amanda: Buzzer Bee was pure.
Eric: Bee Movie, but it's an episode of Spirits podcast.
Julia Already haunted. Checks out.
Eric: We've probably said all the words in Bee Movie. I could probably just go through and cut all of the words and just post them into the Bee Movie movie.
Julia That's horrifying. Please don't ever do that.
Amanda: Cursed audio.
Eric: Now that we've said bee a bunch of times we definitely have that one covered.
Eric: I bet we could get the rest. We just need to find the character names. I guarantee a listener has been named every character in Bee Movie by now.
Amanda: Oh no. I have no idea what the plot is but you'll just need lines like "Oh no, an anteater is coming to the hive."
Eric: From what I understand a lawyer trying to save the bees falls in love with a bee.
Amanda: That sounds wrong.
Eric: Yeah. No, it's very wrong.
Julia Oh, it's very bad.
Eric: I have a story that I see says that their grandmother was a devout Irish Catholic. So that seems like it's on the chain of what we've been talking about.
Julia We're on brand today. Let's do it up.
Amanda: Let's do it.
Eric: So I'm going to read this story from Heather. And it goes a little something like this.
Julia Every time. Every time.
Eric: It's titled Flying Ghost Children.
Amanda: I'm down.
Eric: "My mom is the oldest girl of seven brothers and sisters. Fun fact is that the children went boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, boy. My nan was a very devout Irish Catholic." Obviously by the seven children. "But she was also very spiritual. When she was alive she told me about the ghosts that they experienced when they lived in their house in London. When my mom was about five or six she was playing in her bedroom when she noticed that there was a girl that she didn't recognize sitting there on the chair in her room. She wasn't scared but went to find my nan and asked who the girl was. Obviously when she went to investigate, there was no girl there. About a year later my uncle, who would have been around three or four years old at the time, was playing with a little boy in his bedroom upstairs. The little boy stopped playing and flew out of the open window."
Eric: "My uncle then jumped out the window after him. I need to stress that my uncle was fine and thankfully only got some scratches and bruises." Hey uncles, maybe don't jump out windows. That seems like a very uncle move. Seems like something that I'll end up doing in the next five years or so.
Amanda: Yeah, like there's a trampoline below. Don't worry. Just freaked out my kids and gave them nightmares forever.
Julia Yeah. Now everyone's afraid of heights.
Eric: When asked why he had jumped out the window he said he wanted to follow the boy. The creepy thing is that my mom's younger sister said that she had seen my uncle playing with a boy that she didn't recognize, but thought it was just a friend from school." I want to point out I'm now realizing that the uncle was three are four in the story and not an uncle at the time.
Julia Not a grown man.
Eric: Because when I said that's a real uncle move I was thinking like a grown man. I had forgotten the age thing already, and that he was going out to save the child.
Amanda: Listen, some toddlers are born toddlers, some toddlers are born uncles to be.
Eric: I mean that's true. That's very true.
"Also my mom told me that recently both my nan and granddad had both seen a ghostly woman leaning over the youngest auntie's crib on separate occasions. They hadn't told each other until they had moved as they didn't want to scare the other."
Julia Just tell people things. Just tell them the things.
Eric: "My nan also told me that in the house she would be sitting, watching TV and a woman would walk into her room and then walk out the opposite side wall. I don't think they saw anything else."
Nothing else though. Don't worry. They didn't see anything else.
Julia Honestly, like unsubstantiated, the rest, if there was more, totally understandable.
Eric: "I don't think they saw anything else once they moved. But I often wonder if the new occupants had seen anything else in that house. Thanks for the amazing podcast. Can't wait to hear more."
Julia Okay. I have a question for y'all. Hypothetical question.
Julia If you had lived in a haunted house and you moved out of the haunted house, would you ever try to track down the people who were currently living in your house to find out like "Hey, you got ghosts? The ghosts, they there?"
Amanda: I saw enough of Hill House the know that that's never a good idea to revisit previous hauntings. And no.
Julia No? All right.
Eric: I don't think the house I grew up in was haunted but I will say that all three of me and my two sisters slept walked a bunch until we moved and then never slept walked again.
Julia That's horrifying.
Amanda: What? Eric how are we just learning this?
Julia You can't just tell us you were a creepy child now.
Eric: No, no. I want to be very clear. Sleepwalking is not a creepy kid thing.
Julia Yes it is.
Amanda: It's creepy.
Eric: Sleepwalking is a creepy thing that happens to people across all age groups and is not the weirdest thing that you can do. I'm not saying like there's a little boy in my closet. I'm not saying creepy shit. I'm just like sleepwalking is a thing that happens. But we did all immediately stop. We also didn't sleepwalk a ton. It happened very rarely. But we never did it. Even though we were all different ages, immediately stopped once we moved into a different house.
Julia That's so fucking weird.
Amanda: You know, Eric, like eleventh graders told us in elementary school regarding, I don't know, cocaine, never even once. Never once. Don't even do it once.
Julia What eleventh graders were telling you not to do cocaine?
Eric: What am I not supposed to be doing? Sleepwalking? You don't control it. You don't decide to sleepwalk. I can decide if I do cocaine or not. It's very different.
Amanda: They were probably talking about pot. And all of us were like okay.
Eric: Well, before I sleepwalk away from this podcast I think we should get a drink and get back to it in a little bit.
Julia And think about our choices. Sure, let's go.
So Amanda I was taking the flight back from PodCon and I missed it terribly. But I got such creative juices flowing from attending PodCon. Just talking to a bunch of creators who are really passionate about all their stuff.
Amanda: Yeah. It was awesome.
Julia So instantly the first thing I wanted to do, I was like what if I went on Skillshare real quick and saw if they had any classes about developing characters and developing writing stuff that I can really utilize with all these creative juices that are flowing through my body. And of course Skillshare did.
Amanda: Skillshare provides.
Julia So I found a wonderful class called Making A Hero, Protagonist development for film and fiction, and you bet I enjoyed that. It was very, very cool. Basically the teacher kind of poses a series of questions that help you both generate ideas and also solidify who your main character is in relation to your plot. Which is really, really important if you know anything about creating fiction. And if you want to learn about that or if you want to learn about how to shoot photography, or if you want to learn about how to market your podcast, Skillshare is the online community for you. It's the online community for creators. They now have over 25,000 classes and they will help you fuel your curiosity, creativity, and career.
Amanda: Yeah. Skillshare is the absolute bomb and I love that subject. I always think of setting ideas, but characters are harder. So learning a little bit more about how to develop a protagonist and relate them to your story sounds right up my alley. And you can sign up for two free months of Skillshare premium at skillshare.com/spirits2. New year, new URL. That's skillshare.com/spirits2.
Julia Spirits two. Check it out. Take a class. Learn about life.
Amanda: And let us know how you like it. We are also sponsored this week by Calm. Now Julia, you mentioned the immense amount of travel that we have been doing and I always get a little bit nervous when traveling because my sleep routine is really specific and I have a little alarm that tells me when the start getting ready for bed, and I brush my teeth, I check my devices, I get into bed, turn my fairy lights on, and I just kind of ease into sleep. But that's not always possible when you're traveling. But luckily the most important part of my bedtime routine can come with me anywhere. Because those are sleep stories on Calm.
They help me just focus on one thing as I'm trying to fall asleep. They're wonderful voices. The person that played Martha in Doctor Who now narrates one of the stories. It's very exciting.
Julia That is very cool.
Amanda: And they're just good, old bedtime stories. There are ones for kids, ones for adults, one that anyone will enjoy and you can just listen to that as you drift off into sleep. So whether you need help sleeping, whether you're feeling stressed or anxious, you want to try meditating in 2019, Calm is the app to use. And for a limited time listeners of Spirits can get 25% off a Calm premium subscription at calm.com/spirits. So that means you get unlimited access to all of Calm's amazing content, all of their sleep stories, all of their meditations. That's calm.com/spirits.
Amanda: Thank you Calm. All right. Now let's get back to the show.
Julia Do you want to hear about druids, the elemental, and four haunted castles from Ireland?
Amanda: Hell yeah.
Eric: Four haunted castles?
Julia Four whole haunted castles.
Eric: No. I only want to hear about five haunted castles.
Julia This comes from Serca. "I've been meaning to send this in for a while so here it goes. I grew up in a small town in the Irish midlands, which just so happened to be within a 40 minute drive of four of the most haunted castles in the country. A fact which I never even thought was weird or interesting until recently."
Why? I don't understand. I would find that so interesting.
"Most of them I visited quite often, though some I only really found out the extent of the haunting once I started looking into them more. So without further ado-"
Eric: Hey, hey, hey. Real quick. How often are you visiting these haunted castles? And why?
Julia Apparently quite often.
Eric: Why? Why are you going "All right, you know where I'm going to go today? The haunted castle."
Julia I mean, I would go to some haunted castles if they were within driving distance.
Eric: I would definitely go to a haunted castle. I wouldn't go to the same four haunted castles quite often.
Julia Yeah, all right. Fair enough.
Amanda: Yeah, but if there isn't much else to do, what are your options there?
Julia That's fair.
Eric: I guess. I guess.
Julia It's the Irish midlands. I don't know what the nightlife is like around there. All right. "So without further ado here is a quick roundup of my local haunted castles." I love that you can do a full roundup of your local haunted castles. "I will start with Kinnitty Castle. There have been several castles in the same area dating back to before 1200."
Eric: Anything that old is haunted.
Julia "Though the current structure was built in 1630 then burned down and was rebuilt in the 1920s. It is now a hotel and a beautiful wedding venue if you don't mind a few uninvited guests from the spirit realm."
Amanda: Can I just suggest that-
Amanda: That's wild. Can I just suggest that maybe if a thing burns down you leave it?
Eric: What about the White House? The White House burned down. You ought to build another White House.
Amanda: Maybe we should have just left it though.
Eric: Good point. Good point.
Julia All right. Actually, Amanda we should probably think about changing my wedding venue now to this haunted castle. I don't know. Just a thought.
Amanda: I mean, I've very down.
Eric: I don't want to fly to Ireland for that. That's a long flight.
Julia Fine. All right. Don't come to my wedding then.
Eric: I mean I'll happily fly to your place assuming LaGuardia's open by then.
Julia All right. Yeah, jesus, don't do that to me. All right. "It stands near a woodland area where it is said that druids used to worship and there are also remains of an abbey nearby. Now that I think about it, it would honestly be surprising if there wasn't a ghost there. The main ghost is a monk named Hue, who tends to hang around the bar in the dungeon and is said to be six foot tall and swathed in black." Just going to let that sit there for a second. Because Hue hangs out at the bar in the dungeon. It's very good.
Amanda: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Creepy. Yes.
Julia "Some of the hotel's bedrooms, the Geraldine room and the Elizabeth room, also seem to be haunted by the white lady, Lady Catherine Hutchinson, who commissioned the current castle prior to it being burned down. Along with an unnamed child whose laughter can be heard from time to time. The next castle is Charleville."
Eric: I can't believe that was all just one castle.
Julia That was all one castle. There're so many rooms it's got to be haunted.
Eric: So many different things happened to that one castle. That's enough bad stuff to happen to four castles.
Amanda: At least.
Julia "The next castle is Charleville and this is the one that I visited the most growing up. My cousins even had an overnight stay there on Halloween, but I prefer to only visit during daylight for obvious reasons."
Eric: Smart. Our one smart listener.
Julia "It was built in the late 1700s, not long after the surrounding town was all but destroyed in a fire caused by a freak hot air balloon incident." They linked to an article about it. I'm going to read it later.
Amanda: Oh no.
Julia I broke Eric with that one.
Amanda: Yep, Eric's broken.
Eric: So, spoilers for the 50th hour of Red Dead Redemption 2, but there is a hot air balloon chase in that game and now I'm just imagining that ending in a crash into a castle and it's-
Amanda: I'm surprised it didn't.
Eric: No. It doesn't. But man sometimes that game just goes you know what, here's a bit of that surreal Grand Theft Auto humor in a mostly grounded western game.
Julia Sure. Fair enough.
Amanda: Oh no.
Julia Okay. "This castle is also located in a wooded area, which also has evidence of druidic rituals. The castle was owned by the Bury family for generations and the family is said to have a strong link to the large oak tree at the entrance of the grounds known as the King's Oak. It is said that any time a branch fell from the tree a member of the family would die."
Eric: Bad tree.
Julia "In 1963 there was a huge storm and the tree was hit by lightning, splitting it down the middle. The tree survived but not long after the head of the Bury family and the last of the family to own the castle died suddenly and unexpectedly. The tree still stands there today and it is perfect for climbing. We used to use it for picnics all the time. Just try not to think about the death. The main ghost which haunts Charleville is the young girl named Harriet who lived in the castle and died after falling while sliding down the balustrade."
Julia Balustrade. Thank you Amanda.
Amanda: You got it. It's like banister. But posh.
Julia That's what I figured it was. "Of the main staircase in 1861. She can be heard singing, laughing, and crying from time to time and has even been seen on camera a few times."
Amanda: Okay. Question. Do y'all think it's creepier for the ghost child to have varied forms of expression and like laugh and cry and yell and whisper, or to have the consistent ghost that only will creepily whisper are creepily cry?
Julia I like variety in my ghost hauntings.
Eric: I don't like any of it.
Julia Fair enough.
Eric: I don't want any of the hauntings.
Amanda: You just want fiery balloon crashes is what I'm hearing.
Julia Well we've got two more. "Clonony Castle was built in the 16th century and gifted from Henry VII to Anne Boleyn's father in exchange for her hand in marriage. Two of Anne's nieces lived there and when one of them died the other jumped off the tower as she could no longer live without her sister."
Amanda: Oh no.
"The tower is haunted by a figure known as the Thin Man, who is seen hanging around at night with a green glow around him."
Amanda: No. Uh-uh. Take it back. Walk it back.
Julia I can't. I can't do it. Sorry.
"It is now owned by my former ballet teacher and she said she saw the ghost herself after having invited a psychic to draw him out, but he doesn't come out often." That's the best situation for a ghost where it's like "He's around sometimes."
Eric: I have a quick inquiry.
Eric: How much do ballet teachers make?
Julia Apparently a lot.
Eric: Because I'm quitting the podcast and going to teach ballet because apparently you can buy a castle on that salary.
Julia Only haunted ones.
Amanda: Castles are very cheap in Ireland. There are a lot of them. And a lot of them are in disrepair. They also have tax incentives to buy historic properties and then renovate them.
Eric: I've heard about this actually for some reason recently. It was probably at PodCon.
Amanda: It's very doable actually.
Julia Hey Amanda, you're an Irish citizen.
Amanda: I am.
Julia We could buy a castle.
Amanda: We super could buy a castle. Oh, why hasn't this occurred to me?
Eric: Hold on. Yeah, we definitely need to change it to buying a haunted house in America to just buying any castle in Ireland.
Amanda: Okay. That's it. We're doing it. 1,000 patrons, we're going to buy a haunted castle in Ireland.
Eric: Let's look at the prices of what castles cost and then figure out what 1,000 patrons would be. Because let's not promise at 1,000 patrons we'd buy a castle. That might be not feasible.
Amanda: Let's make it 6,666 patrons.
Eric: Perfect. We will definitely buy a castle if that many people become patrons.
Amanda: I personally will buy a castle or else I'm not going to invite a haunting on my name and house and lineage, but I will flagellate myself in the internet.
Julia All right. We have one last castle. "And finally we have Leap Castle. Which might be the most haunted place in Ireland. Some even say all of Europe. It was built in 1250 and was the home of the O'Carroll clan who were very fond of murdering each other. One pair of the brothers, Tiege and Thadius, were in competition over which of them would inherit the castle. Tiege burst into the castle's chapel where Thadius was saying mass and stabbed him in the back so that he died at the altar. He still haunts what is now known as the bloody chapel. Especially since in 1922 a secret room was found behind the chapel full of human remains dropped from a trapdoor in the room above by the O'Carrolls."
Amanda: No. I'm sorry. You know you have a problem when you have to build infrastructure to support and conceal your habit of murdering. That's bad.
Julia "The McMahon family also haunts the castle, who were poisoned by the O'Carrolls at a feast."
Amanda: Yoinks. I'm also related to some Mahons, which is a similar spelling of the same original family. So, yikes.
Julia "The castle has then been passed to the Darby family. And if you thought this was about as haunted as it could get, you have no idea. Mildred Darby who lived in the castle around 1900 was quite fond of the occult and held quite a few seances. At one of these she accidentally summoned an elemental which attached itself to the castle and remains there to this day. She also summoned dozens of other spirits who still linger in the castle. It is now occupied the Ryan family who seem to get along quite well with their ghost housemates."
Amanda: So much. I echo Eric's statement that each of these castles has enough haunting for a full county of castles.
Eric: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. For sure. And I'd also like to apologize to our other listeners who are also smart people since I said this person was our only smart listener. There are at least three other smart listeners to Spirits that don't walk into the most spooky situations and don't immediately turn around.
Amanda: Actually we got an email from one of those very smart Spirits listeners so I'll tell you all about that. This is from Olivia, who we actually met at PodCon. They write "I was the anxious gapey who briefly said hi." Which just like ... mood. I want a T-shirt. I love you. Yes. We feel you.
Eric: Also you're going to have to be more specific.
Amanda: Yeah. Olivia writes "After we went to your live show we went back to our hotel room where I began to feel a little creeped out as if someone was looking over my shoulder whenever I was in the middle of doing something. And I woke up twice during the night to discover the closet door had opened on its own."
Eric: I just want to point something out real quick here. Real quick here. Everybody that went to PodCon stayed in the same hotel except for me and Julia. Which means Amanda you stayed, most likely, in the exact same hotel as this person. You stayed at a haunted hotel. You did it.
Julia Proud of you.
Amanda: I done goofed. Olivia continues "Now if this were a horror movie the protagonist would walk into the closet while ooky, spooky violins played and you shout 'No, don't go in there' at the screen. But I listen to Spirits so what did I do? Sunday morning I went in the closet and turned on the lights. I mention the lights because the fixture wasn't connected to a light switch, it was just an old fashioned pull string."
So, different hotel Eric. Eat your words.
Julia Already creepy. Already don't like it.
Amanda: Meaning, to turn on the light you have to step into the dark closet and wait a moment as you wrench on that string. Unless you're a spirit of some kind of course. So I step in, pull on the chain, go to grab my coat and bag when the light suddenly turns out. I quickly turn the light back on, grab my things, and as I rush out the light turns back off again."
Eric: That's faulty wiring. That's just faulty wiring. Hopefully.
Amanda: So that is why Olivia titled the email Is the Spirits Team A Ghost Portal?
Julia Oh, we might be. Much like the girlfriend from that live show.
Eric: No we are not. Nope.
Amanda: And they speculate that there may be an obvious conclusion here. That the Spirits show was haunted and a ghost latched onto me there and followed me back to my hotel.
Julia You know, that checks out.
Eric: Let's not claim those things. Let's be very careful.
Julia I don't know. I think you're haunted now.
Eric: I have a story titled Haunted Mirror Story That Is Safe For Eric To Read. So I did not read this one beforehand because it said it was safe for me to read so I'm just relying on Martha to guide us through to the end of this episode.
Amanda: All right.
Eric: They write "Hello Spirits squad. I found your podcast via Potterless and absolutely love the urban legends episodes. Growing up I had and still have an overactive imagination and scary stories would freak me the fuck out."
"I avoided them for a long time but also now work in an emergency room so scary shit is just par for the course. This story is not mine, but my aunt's. She grew up in the midwest and when she married moved down to Georgia. We went to visit her once when I was around 12 and overheard my parents talking with her about how one of the first houses she owned down south was haunted. She and her children were in the backyard, no one was in the house, and they looked up and saw children's faces in the windows. I scooby doo the hell out of the room after that and didn't hear the next story until just recently."
Julia Question for y'all. What is the most haunted state? Because I would argue Georgia is probably the most haunted state.
Eric: Well see, that's because of my whole issue. That's where probably the most people died during the Civil War.
Julia Probably, yeah.
Eric: And people always see these Civil War ghosts.
Amanda: Old timey ghosts.
Julia Old timey ghosts.
Amanda: Or are we talking about modern hauntings and cryptids? Because that's got to be Florida.
Eric: I don't know. Apparently Ohio is where the most big foot sightings are now.
Amanda: I really thought you were going to say the most priests because that sounds true.
Eric: No. Are you kidding me? We are not. We're like bible belt north. We definitely have more baptists than Catholics.
Amanda: Well based on Julia's and my favorite Instagram account, Cheap Old Houses, which is now on Patreon and you can support it, which you should. I don't know who they are, but it's incredible and you can get a whole secret account with more houses if you support them. It's amazing. Oh yeah. No, you got to get on it. Got to get on it. Anyway Cheap Old Houses, it's great. But the most haunted looking houses that they ever post are either in Ohio or Maine. So just population wise I think Ohio might be the answer.
Eric: Well we'll figure that out later and assume until then it's not Ohio.
Julia Fair enough.
Eric: Back to the second story from Martha. "When my aunt was still living in Nebraska" ... This woman's lived all over the place. "She had purchased an antique mirror with beautiful molding all around it. Several parts of the frame were damaged and she meticulously recreated all of the broken parts until it was restored."
Amanda: Oh no. Oh no.
Eric: Good job aunt. Very good.
Amanda: But then when the aunt put the final splinter in it glowed and it sucked her into the spirit realm and spat back out a doppelganger that would haunt the life out of her family. Oh my god.
Eric: That would be quite the twist if that's what happens.
Amanda: I am also just this moment realizing that all the mirrors I own are antique mirrors. I have never bought one of them new and maybe I have to rethink my choices.
Eric: Yeah. For sure. You do have a substantial amount of mirrors in that apartment.
Amanda: I have a fair number of mirrors. I do. They're good for bouncing light all around. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh beans.
Eric: That little extra detail about bouncing light.
"One day she was talking on the phone with a friend only several feet away from the mirror. Somehow the conversation-"
Amanda: I am several feet away from a mirror at all times in my house. Oh no. Oh nerts.
Eric: And you're talking to friends right now, technically over the phone.
"Somehow the conversation came around to ghosts/poltergeist." This is literally about you. This is about your future niece or nephew just telling a story about what's about to happen to you right now Amanda.
Amanda: Okay. Rip the band-aid. Let's find out.
Eric: "And my aunt loudly said 'Oh goodness, I don't believe in poltergeists.'" Can you say that now Amanda?
Amanda: No. I won't.
Eric: It's your destiny but fine.
Amanda: One day.
Eric: "As soon as she said that the mirror flew off the wall and fell about six feet away with all of the restored molding breaking off the mirror."
Amanda: That's bad.
Eric: "The mirror had also been nailed into a stud in the wall and the wood from the stud had splintered from the force of the nail being removed."
Julia What the fuck?
Eric: "needless to say my aunt was freaked. Later at a different house the mirror was hanging above a radiator-"
Julia Why would you keep the mirror at this point?
Amanda: Oh beans.
Eric: "And it fell off the wall several times. However, when you think about it being above a radiator you would think that it would either fall on top or behind the radiator. Nope. It fell several feet in front of the radiator. I don't think she has the mirror still." Smart. "But after this first incident I would have thrown that shit out."
Here's the thing. At first I'm like you know what, there are weighted nails and hooks for hanging stuff. Maybe it was just that. But the fact that it's falling a distance away from the wall is extreme.
Julia It splintered the stud.
Amanda: I've never heard of that happening.
Julia That requires force.
Amanda: Yeah. Unless you drag the painting up or down the wall and the nail rips in a direction. Just falling, I've never heard of.
Eric: I also like that the sentence that she said was "Oh goodness, I don't believe in poltergeists." Which is, I feel like, a thing no one's ever actually said. Oh goodness me, I don't believe in poltergeists.
Julia Well you've said it several times now. I hope there's no mirror in that room.
Eric: There is not a mirror in this room and multiple things hanging up on the wall and none of them have fallen.
Amanda: Let's hope that remains true during your trip.
Amanda: Oh no. That sounded creepier than I wanted it to.
Eric: Yeah, I didn't like that one bit. Why'd you have to do that?
Amanda: Oh, sorry
Eric: Don't put that omen on me.
Amanda: Okay. Well I'm the aunt so clearly this is going to happen to me at some point.
Well, we had a lot of hauntings this episode but also a lot of smart choices so listeners I feel like together we are all deciding and learning and future proofing ourselves against hauntings.
Julia Yes. And remembering to stay creepy.
Amanda: And stay cool.