Ghosts, American vampire scares, 18th-century psychic teens, and Ouija boards! Here are three episodes from ‘The Dollop’ podcast that will make your Hallowe’en a lot more awesome!
Okay, first, a warning: don’t listen to this podcast while attending, say, a funeral or operating, say, a chainsaw. Throughout each episode, you will experience multiple bouts of spontaneous and uncontrollable laughter that, in the former situation, will probably get you dis-invited from any upcoming funerals, and in the latter, will probably mean, well, a closed casket for you.
Hosted by comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, ‘The Dollop’ is a history podcast with a twist: For each episode, Dave exhaustively researches a specific event or figure from (usually) American history, and then shares what he has found with you, the listener. As he recounts each story, co-host Gareth, who has no idea what Dave will talk about, offers a hilarious running commentary. The subjects range from obscure to commonly known — but even with well-known topics, like George Washington’s teeth or Ford’s Pinto fiasco, Dave always finds several fascinating tidbits of information that will leave most listeners slapping their foreheads in disbelief.
Since it’s Hallowe’en, I’ll focus on three of their spookier shows:
Episode XII, American Vampire Panic, looks at the bizarre and gruesome events that took place in the New England states throughout the 1800s, as tuberculosis ravaged the population. Medical science had no answers, and so country farmers took it upon themselves to come up with their own cures. And, boy, were they whoppers!
Episode IX, Ghosts, looks at how modern Americans deal with hauntings and ghostly apparitions. Shady ghost hunters and psychic investigators are debunked mercilessly, and some strange corners of parapsychology are brought to light, including the practice of snorting mummies for better health, and ghosts being a bit naughty between the sheets 🙂
The Talk Board is my favourite of the three episodes, covering both the Fox sisters, America’s most famous ‘psychic’ teens, and the origin, rise, and eventual fall from public grace of the Ouija board!
Many thanks to Johnny Krueg for getting the word out about this great show 😀
Want to know more?
A Ouija board article on the Skeptic’s Online Dictionary.
Another article about Ouija boards on Slate.com.
An article about the Fox sisters at Smithsonian.com.
An article about the New England vampire scare at Smithsonian.com.
An article about vampire graves from The Atlantic.
‘The Vampire’ by Philip Burne-jones from Wikimedia Commons