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Ghosthropology

The Ghosthropologist

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Ghostthropology Podcast examines ghost stories, folklore, and tales of the weird. It is writen and preformed by Matthew Armstrong and produced by Kaylia Metcalfe
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In this episode, Matt speaks with archaeologist Dr. April Beisaw about the connection between archaeology and ghost hunting, as well as what academics might learn from ghost hunters in terms of communicating with the public.Dr. April M. Beisaw is a professor of anthropology at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. There she teaches courses on archaeo…
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In honor of the tradition of sharing spooky stories during midwinter, Matt revisits four scary stories. Commentary can be found in their previous episodes (49: Dudleytown, 35: Poveglia Island, 55: Shanghai Tunnels, 18: Himuro Mansion) Until 2024...Από τον The Ghosthropologist
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La Llorona is a story that many of us have heard, but it has a history and a meaning that goes beyond the surface. In this episode, Matthew gets into the politics, art, and history of the weeping white lady looking for her children.Previous episodes, sources, show notes, and more: kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcastFind us on Facebook: fa…
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In this episode, Matt speaks with folklorist Trevor Blank about digital folklore, including creepypasta, and its role in shaping how creepy subjects are discussed. Matt and Trevor also discuss why folklorists were slow to accept that online folklore is, in fact, folklore. Along the way, there are detours into prison folklore, Slender Man, and Blood…
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The Myrtles Plantation, claimed by many to be one of the most haunted places in the United States, is famed primarily for the ghost of a young enslaved woman named Chloe. In this episode, Matt provides a few different perspectives on how the ghost stories of the Myrtles developed and what they mean to visitors. Previous episodes, sources, show note…
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In this episode, Kaylia joins Matt to discuss something more ghost-adjacent than ghostly: the vampire. Much of what is generally thought of as vampire folklore is actually the result of 19th-century fiction, but Matt and Kaylia get into even earlier actual folklore from Europe.Previous episodes, sources, show notes, and more: kmmamedia.com/podcasts…
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Matt and his old friend Liberty Stanavage talk about the ghosts rumored to haunt their alma mater, the University of California Santa Cruz. Along the way, they discuss how these ghost stories reflect both student life on campus and the way that the faculty and student body of the university view themselves. Previous episodes, sources, show notes, a…
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In this episode, Matt talks with Dr. Justin Sledge, an expert on esoteric and occult traditions in philosophy and religion. They discuss the transition from priests to necromancers in Medieval Europe as well as the influence of the Protestant Reformation on beliefs about ghosts.Esoterica: https://www.youtube.com/@TheEsotericaChannel/about Previous …
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The Brookdale Lodge in the Santa Cruz Mountains is both a large resort hotel and a local haunted house. In this episode, Matt shares the local lore, talks with two people who had eerie encounters at the Brookdale Lodge, and shares his own experiences there. He also discusses the inherently social nature of the stories that surround this place and h…
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Ghost stories are often associated with campfires, and common perception is that Scout camps are a prime place to learn ghost stories. But the logistics of camp, and of the counselor's need to keep control over campers, makes that situation a bit more complicated. In this episode, Matt is joined by his old friend, and former Girl Scout camp counsel…
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Colleges and universities attract spooky stories like nobody's business. The sharing of creepy tales and urban legends is a common part of student life on many campuses. But New York University is somewhat unusual in that it seems to obtain its creepy folklore as part of real estate transactions. In this episode, NYU faculty member Dr. Michele Hank…
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In this episode, Matt revisits the story of Robert Johnson and his supposed deal with the Devil at the crossroads. Along the way we discuss the history of Blues music, Jim Crow-era racism, and how the culture of the 1980s led to the story of the bluesman who sold his soul becoming permanently affixed to Johnson.Previous episodes, sources, show note…
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You have likely heard, especially if you have ever been a pre-teen girl, that if you stand in front of a mirror in a dark room and perform a specific ritual, you will summon a ghost, or demon, or witch or some other such being. It’s dangerous, thrilling, and, for many, a rite of passage. In this episode, Matt discusses one of the most widespread gh…
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The Cannon Beach and Seaside areas of Oregon’s coast are home to an unusual spirit - the Bandage Man. Part ghost, part mummy, part reanimated corpse, this creature is the central character of a local urban legend and serves as something of a local mascot. Join Matt for a discussion of this weirdly delightful story. Previous episodes, sources, show …
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No, Matt is not going to turn this into a podcast on gnomes and other fairy folk…but there are more connections between fairies, gnomes, and ghosts than one might think. In this episode, Matt talks about a scary gnome that might be a demon, as well as a man who died and came back as a ghost that appears to resemble a gnome or brownie.Previous episo…
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Mission La Purisima in California’s Santa Barbara County is one of the few remaining structures that attest to the Spanish colonization of California. While it is no surprise that these places are said to be haunted, the ghost stories about the Mission, both in what they include and what they surprisingly exclude, tell us quite a bit about how mode…
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In this special episode, Matt talks with his Good Lady Wife / Producer and their Daughter about the spooky and not-so-spooky happenings in their home... and beyond!Previous episodes: kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcastSupport us on Patreon: patreon.com/ghosthropologyFind us on Facebook: facebook.com/ghosthropologyThis podcast is a part of…
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If you have an interest in the history of Portland, Oregon, the odds are that you have heard of the Shanghai Tunnels. If you are interested in the paranormal, then odds are that you have heard they are haunted. In this episode, Matt talks about how commerce, tall tales, and xenophobia collide with notions of innocence and victimization in developin…
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Perched on a tree-covered riverbank in the coastal town of Capitola, California there is a once-glorious mansion. Built by Henry Rispin, this “haunted house” has been abandoned for decades and now lurks in the shade just outside of easy view. In this episode, Matt discusses the history of the mansion, the ghosts who are said to haunt it, and its ro…
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In this episode, the second in an occasional series on what has been learned writing this podcast, Matt pontificates on the relationship between ghost stories and history. He discusses how ghost stories both enhance and warp our understanding of the past. The relationship between historic understanding and the paranormal is complex and fascinating,…
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Using an Ouija board may put you in contact with all manner of spirits and other entities. You may gain occult knowledge, you may learn entertaining facts, or you may have your life destroyed and your soul endangered by an encounter with a demon known as Zozo. Assuming, of course, that Zozo is real.Full sources, show notes, and previous episodes: w…
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Dr. Michele Hanks, an anthropologist who does ethnographic work with paranormal investigation groups, joins Matt to discuss the role of doubt in paranormal investigation. Full sources, show notes, and previous episodes: kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcastSupport us on Patreon: patreon.com/ghosthropologyFind us on Facebook: facebook.com/gh…
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In this episode, Matt wraps up the last Ghosthropology episode of 2022 by telling the audience how they can go to Hell, if they feel so inclined. We’re talking gateways to damnation, and they are in the unlikeliest of places. This episode is a bit light on analysis, but heavy on fun. However, remember, most of these locations are either unsafe or o…
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Dudleytown is often described as one of the strangest and most haunted places in North America. In this episode, Matt tells the tale, then is a total killjoy and destroys the tale, and then discusses how the folklore surrounding Dudleytown came to be. Full sources, show notes, and previous episodes: kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcastSupp…
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In this episode, Matt talks with Dr. Alena Pirok about her recently published book The Spirit of Colonial Williamsburg, which covers the intersection of belief in ghosts, public perception of history, and ghost tourism.Full sources, show notes, and previous episodes: kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcastSupport us on Patreon: patreon.com/gh…
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In this special crossover episode, Kaylia (Pages and Popcorn) and Matt (Ghosthropology) talk about that 1970s classic: The Exorcist. We discuss the “true story” that inspired the novel, the novel that inspired the movie, and the movie that has inspired fear for almost 50 years. KMMA Media online: www.kmmamedia.com KMMA_Media on Instagram:@kmma_medi…
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In this episode, Matt begins what will be an intermittent and ongoing effort to summarize what he has learned from the time he has spent collecting stories and talking with others about them. He starts by defining the term “ghost story”, which is more slippery than you might think, and then talks about ghost stories as entertainment and as stories …
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If you have spent much time on the web looking into paranormal lore, you likely have heard of the Curse of the Crying Boy Painting. In this episode, Matt discusses how the story developed and what we can learn about both folklore and our own beliefs from studying the tale. Full sources and show notes at kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcast…
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In this episode, James Tyner returns to speak with Matt about his time as a monk and, more specifically, about an exorcism that he witnessed, group sleep paralysis at the monastery, and a few other strange things worth talking about.Full sources and show notes at kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcastSupport us on Patreon: patreon.com/ghosth…
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Women driving on the back roads of Madera County, near the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in California, have reported seeing a strange specter - a man who appears on the roads and who requires that drivers take care to avoid hitting him, but then he vanishes. In this episode, Matt discusses the uncertain origin and possible meaning of this particu…
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One of the most frightening modern ghost stories, the Slender Man is a known work of fiction…except to those who believe in him… which may be nobody…or not. In this episode, Matt discusses the line between fiction vs folklore and the difficulty in telling people’s real beliefs from stories told for fun.Full sources and show notes at kmmamedia.com/p…
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In another special supplemental episode, recorded near the beginning of the year, Matt returns to Monterey in search of the ghost of the Chinese Fisherman featured in Episode 15. Along the way, he talks about how our views of history can be both reflected and distorted by the landscape as we walk through it. Full sources and show notes at kmmamedia…
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In this episode, Matt has the opportunity to speak with Dr. Irving Finkel, curator in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum, and author of The First Ghosts. Dr. Finkel was kind enough to discuss ghost/demon beliefs in ancient Mesopotamia and how those beliefs reflect a lineage of such beliefs that continues through to the present …
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In a very special supplemental episode, The Ghosthropologist takes us along as he hikes into the Monterey hills in search of Episode 16's Dark Watchers.Full sources and show notes at kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcast/Support us on Patreon: www.patreon.com/ghosthropologyFind us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ghosthropologyKMMA_Media on Fa…
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The USS Hornet is one of several Naval vessels permanently moored and used as a museum. Like most of these vessels, the Hornet has a reputation for being haunted. In this episode, Matt has an opportunity to speak with Laura Fies, the Executive Officer of the USS Hornet Museum, about the ghosts and the role that ghost stories play in the educational…
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Throughout the British Isles, people claim to see the specters of Roman soldiers, but there may be more to these stories than initially meets the eye. In this episode, Matt constrains himself to sightings of Roman ghosts, specifically in England, to discuss what these stories may be telling us about English/British identity and their attitudes towa…
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The story of the Winchester Mystery House is well known and often retold - the frightened widow who continued to build on to her already massive and sprawling home out of a fear that if she stopped, evil spirits would kill her. The truth of Sarah Winchester is, however, very different. In this episode, Matt discusses what is known about the origins…
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Matt interviews Dr. Alena Pirok, author of The Spirit of Colonial Williamsburg about the very special relationship Virginians have with their ghosts and how these stories and first-person interpretations serve to link modern Williamsburg to historic Williamsburg. Full sources and show notes at https://kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcast/S…
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The story of the Lalaurie mansion in New Orleans is part true atrocity tale and part urban legend, so naturally, it ended up as a ghost story. In this episode, Matt discusses how these legends form, how they can misinform us about the past, and how ghost stories can sometimes soothe us into a false sense of security about who we are and what values…
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The Island of Poveglia, in the Venice Lagoon, is said to be haunted by plague victims, Roman soldiers, and possibly an evil mad scientist. Regardless of whether or not the stories are true, that they persist tells us something about how we perceive the past and how we view people in the present.Full sources and show notes at https://kmmamedia.com/p…
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In this episode, Matt speaks with fellow archaeologist and podcaster Sara Head about her show, Paranormal Archaeology, and the ways in which belief in the supernatural influences how people interact with physical objects and spaces.Full sources and show notes at https://kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcast/Support us on Patreon: https://ww…
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In this episode, Matt returns to the Mojave Desert to tell the stories of two bodies of water said to play host to the supernatural. One lake is said to be the final resting place of a murderer and his victims, and the other is said to be the site of a showdown between the toughest immigrant ever to arrive in California and a literal Demon from hel…
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Return to Babylon is a film said to have been altered by supernatural forces. In this episode, Matt talks about the story, its possible origins, and how it relates to “The Dark Side of Oz,” legend tripping on your couch, and the very real very disturbing truth behind what happened on the set of Poltergeist.Show notes, sources, and other episodes fo…
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The wonderfully creepy story of Robert the Doll, a haunted toy in Key West, Florida, contains more layers than it appears to when you first hear it. Matt discusses how this disturbing doll invokes ideas from psychology, modern gender politics, and the history of race relations in the United States. Show notes, sources, and other episodes found at h…
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In this episode, Matt is again joined by Albie Robles to discuss one of Mexico’s better known, and creepier, ghost stories: the tale of a haunted mannequin that is also rumored to be a well-preserved corpse… La Pasculaita. Show notes, sources, and other episodes found at https://kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcast/Support us on Patreon: h…
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Matt is joined by voice actor and host of the Scare Me Podcast, Albie Robles. Albie relates his own personal story about a ghost encounter in a mining town in Mexico and shares some of the tales he heard from his family’s experiences in that town. Show notes, sources, and other episodes found at https://kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcast…
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Freetown State Forest in Massachusetts is said to be a center for high weirdness. There are many different locations within this forest that are haunted, and UFO and Bigfoot sightings are also common. This episode provides an overview of the location and discusses some of the most prominent stories.Show notes, sources, and other episodes found at h…
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Ghost towns dot the American Southwest, and many are said to be haunted. But Calico is the only one that is haunted by the ghost of a dog that delivers mail. In this episode, Matt considers how our often self-contradicting views of the Old West tell us something about how we view ourselves in the modern world.Show notes and sources: www.kmmamedia.c…
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In this very special Crossover Halloween Episode, Matt and Kaylia talk about the folklore that became the book, the book that became the movie: the Mothman Prophecies! We talk about what works and what doesn’t, what the book/movie can tell us about US society in the 70s and early 2000s, and attempt to determine if the Mothman, the UFOs, the Men In …
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In a very special supplemental episode, The Ghosthropologist answers listener questions and shares a fascinating story about a very famous (CENSORED) that, for obvious reasons, was not included in an earlier episode. For show notes please visit the show’s website at https://kmmamedia.com/podcasts/ghosthropology-podcast/Ghosthropology is on Facebook…
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