Episode 22: Swamp Gas and UFOs

This time on Great Lakes Lore, Samantha and Aaron tackle their first modern UFO case. They’ll introduce the broader topic of UFO sightings and the government response to them in the 1950s and 1960s and then dive into looking at the 1966 wave of sightings in southeast Michigan that garnered national attention and led, eventually, to huge changes in how the US military dealt with UFOs.

Read J. Allen Hynek’s final Blue Book Report on the sighting here!

A UFO Primer- 3:45
Sightings and Reporting- 9:51
NICAP and the Robertson Panel- 13:05
Project Blue Book and J. Allen Hynek- 15:22
The Dexter and Hillsdale Sightings- 22:09
Midway Break- 34:38
The Investigation- 39:17
The Findings- 45:26
The Reaction- 49:30
The Consequences- 52:43
Questions and Wrapping Up- 55:57

Episode 21: The Whitechapel Club

Club? Professional networking opportunity? Secret society? In Gilded-Age Chicago, the Whitechapel Club was a little bit of all of these. Join Samantha and Aaron as they explore the origins, activities, and membership of this macabre circle of journalists. Along the way, enjoy a story from a belly dancer, phrenology, and a ritualistic funeral pyre on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Time Stamps

Introduction: Secret Societies- 1:11
Club Life in the Gilded Age- 6:40
Establishing the Whitechapel Club- 11:00
Club Activities- 14:14
Mid-way Break- 25:07
The End of the Whitechapel Club- 31:26
Who was a Member?- 33:53
The Funeral Pyre- 37:10
Professionalization, Phrenology, the Morbid, and the Occult- 42:11

Episode 20: The Rattle Run Murder

What happens when a bloody torso is found in a small Michigan church in 1909? With no immediate identification of the body, no apparent motive for the crime, and mysterious rumors in town, investigators threw out numerous hypotheses and put out BOLOs in surrounding states and Canada. And, while this crime does end with a confession, the reasons for it are still a mystery. Check out this week’s episode to hear Samantha and Aaron share the story of the Rattle Run Murder and come up with a few hypotheses of their own! 

Time Stamps:

A Body in the Church!- 2:38
Suspicions Arise- 7:17
A Blood Sacrifice- 14:43
But Where’s the Reverend?- 18:14
Midway Break- 21:46
A Letter from John Elder- 27:14
Newspaper Reactions- 32:55
Possible Motives- 35:37
Sam and Aaron Hot Takes- 41:58

For a complete transcription of one of the confession letters, see the Lost in Michigan website here.

Episode 19: Gangster Ghosts of St. Paul

Haunted histories can be fun and they can allow people to explore actual history along with deeper metaphysical questions. But where is the line between haunted history and haunted attraction? In this episode Samantha and Aaron dive into the stories of two haunted locations in St. Paul, Minnesota that have connections to Prohibition and, perhaps, gangster ghosts. Perhaps? Maybe? 

Timestamps:

Intro- 2:14
What’s the Deal with Prohibition? – 3:34
The Wabasha Street Caves – 12:30
Mid-Way Break- 35:32
The Schmidt Brewery- 43:17
Why do Gangsters Intrigue Us?- 52:11
Ghost Tourism, History Tourism, and Dark Tourism- 54:45
The Boundaries Between History and Legend- 55:57

Further Reading
Adrian Lee. Mysterious Minnesota: Digging up the Ghostly Past at 13 Haunted Sites. 2nd Edition, 2017.

Episode 18: The Lake Ontario Triangle

Can the shipwrecks that plague to eastern end of Lake Ontario be attributed to normal dangers on a lake of that size, or do they speak to something more mysterious? Samantha tackles the maritime history and Aaron the…stranger explanations in this episode on the Lake Ontario Triangle. You might just find that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. 

Time stamps
Intro- 1:06
The Allure of Maritime Mysteries- 2:07
So Many Triangles- 5:13
The Marysburgh Vortex- 8:29
The Quinlan’s Strange Attractions- 13:33
The Bavaria- 18:21
The Picton- 28:43
Midway Break- 36:46
Vanishing Aircraft are More Boring than Vanishing Ships: 39:32
Everything from Lost Cities to Cattle Mutilations- 43:32
UFOs- 46:42
Sam Encounters Commander X for the First Time- 48:00
Explanations (rational and otherwise)- 52:26
Concluding Questions- 59:56

Episode 17: Le Nain Rouge


Does a small red demon roam the streets of Detroit, Michigan? Probably not! In this episode, Samantha and Aaron dive into the story of the Nain Rouge. The creature first appeared in an 1880s tale on the history of Detroit as the foil to Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac, and today the creature is taunted and chased out of the city in an annual parade called La Marche du Nain Rouge. Was the story of the Nain Rouge fact? Should we chase the “red devil” out of Detroit? Listen to this episode and find out!

Intro- 00:14
Settling Michigan and the Scoundrel Cadillac- 02:43
The Hamlin Narrative- 07:20
Hamlin’s History- 15:07
Charles Montgomery Skinner- 17:30
Other Appearances- 19:24
Midway Break- 24:04
Lutin- 28:55
Puckwudgies!- 32:00
La Marche du Nain Rouge- 36:00
Stop the Nain Shame!- 38:08
What Do We Do With It All?- 41:25

Further Reading:
Legends of Le Detroit (Overview with link to book)
Detroit Metro Times Article
Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac
Wayne State University Project
Charles Montgomery Skinner’s Myths and Legends of Our Own Land

Episode 16: The Windigo: From Legend to Pop Culture

The legendary monster of Algonquian lore, the Windigo (or Wendigo), regularly appears in popular culture, but how well is it represented? What is the Windigo? Samantha and Aaron dive into the legend of the Windigo, explore actual Windigo cases, and then put television and comic books to task. Who passes and who fails? What do we lose when the monster is removed from its cultural context? Find out in this week’s episode of Great Lakes Lore!

The Windigo’s MO- 1:39
Cannibalism!- 5:52 
Jack Fiddler the Windigo Hunter- 8:47
The Swift Runner Case- 12:37
The Windigo and Canadian Law- 14:52
L’Espagnol- 17:57
Midway Break- 20:26
Algernon Blackwood- 27:32
Native American Legends in Pop Culture- 29:55
X-Files and the Manitou- 32:56
Hulk Smash Windigo!- 39:02
Charmed- 41:46 
Supernatural- 43:22
Windigo Psychosis- 49:25
Wrap-Up- 53:20

Further Reading

Jack Fiddler

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

“Cannibals and Colonizers: An Analysis of the Wendigo in Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine” by Elaine Tousignant from The University of San Francisco

“The Windigo Psychosis: Psychodynamic, Cultural, and Social Factors in Aberrant Behavior” by Thomas H. Hay

“The Windigo in the Material World” by Robert R. Brightman in Ethnohistory 35, no. 4 (1988): 337–79.

Gitchi Bitobig, Grand Marais: Early Accounts of the Anishinaabeg and the North Shore Fur Trade by Timothy Cochrane

Nazare, Joe. “The Horror! The Horror? The Appropriation, and Reclamation, of Native American Mythology.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 11, no. 1 (41) (2000): 24–51. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43308417.

DeSanti, Brady. Journal of Religion & Popular Culture, Fall 2015, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p186-201

Evans, Catherine L. “Heart of Ice: Indigenous Defendants and Colonial Law in the Canadian North-West.” Law and History Review 36, no. 2 (2018): 199–234. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26564583.

Episode 15: Were There Witches in Whitewater?

America’s “Second Salem,” you say? We’re on it! Aaron and Samantha dive in to explore the legends surrounding the town of Whitewater, Wisconsin. When they got down to the sources did they find evidence of witchcraft, cursed books, murder, and spiritualists? You’ll have to tune in to find out. The pair put their history skillz (yes, with a ‘z’) to the test  in “Were There Witches in Whitewater?”.

Intro- 00:20
Whitewater Background- 02:15
The Legends- 04:29
Morris Pratt- 09:40
Pratt’s Spiritualist Temple- 12:27
Midway Break- 17:58
The Morris Pratt Institute- 23:26
Spiritualism 101- 26:21
Mary Worth- 38:38
Real Murder in Whitewater- 46:13
Wrapping It All Up- 52:45

Further Reading:

National Spiritualist Association of Churches

Whitewater Historical Society

Swedenborg Foundation

Morris Pratt Institute

Episode 14: The Circleville Letter Writer

The mystery of the Circleville, Ohio letters is a tangled web of accusations and threats that Samantha and Aaron attempt to unknot in this week’s episode. They begin by outlining the basic chronology of the strange happenings that began in Circleville in 1972 and then move on to look into the way the story has been shared by news outlets, television shows, and podcasts. Why are we fascinated with true crime? What is it about this mystery, in particular, that has pulled Aaron down a weird dark rabbit hole? Are we all worried someone will find our secrets? 

Timestamps

Introduction- 0:00:40
The First Letters- 0:04:31
Letters Continue (And Signs!)- 0:10:37
Ron’s Death- 0:13:28
More Letters and a Gun (!)- 0:15:16
Midway Break- 0:18:01
Paul Freshour’s Arrest- 0:22:20
Freshour’s Appeal to the FBI- 0:29:43
The Weird Website- 0:34:00
Martin Yant Article (With More Letters!)- 0:36:25
Unsolved Mysteries- 0:40:50
48 Hours- 0:42:22
Whatever Remains Podcast- 0:47:17
Internet Forums and Why We Like True Crime- 0:56:32
United State Postal Inspection Service- 1:03:03
Final Thoughts (Finally!)- 1:05:51

Sources/Further Reading
48 Hours Episode

Strange Circleville Letters Website

Unsolved Mysteries


Episode 13: The Haunting History of Mackinac Island

Some places accumulate stories more readily than others and Mackinac Island is just that place. With thousands of years of history and deep spiritual connections, this 4.3 square mile island is oozing with stories demanding our attention. In this episode, Samantha and Aaron are joined by Claire Herhold, a public historian who spent six seasons working on the island, to dive into this rich and diverse history. We’re positive you’ll find the true history far more interesting than some of the ghost stories folks have made up over the years. 

You can find Claire on Instagram and TikTok @clairherhold!

As you may have seen around our social media, our Patreon is now live! Cheeso Media, which produces Great Lakes Lore and The Saucer Life has launched a Patreon, which will give subscribers additional material for each show, every month! Two shows for the price of one! You can find it at patreon.com/cheesomedia.

Timestamps
Introductions- 0:01:14
A Brief History- 0:04:34
Forts and War- 0:06:50
Natural Landmarks and Legends- 0:26:23
Break- 0:37:37
Mission House Boarding School- 0:39:21
Tourism- 0:46:52
The Drowning Pool- 1:00:35
Magdalaine LaFramboise- 1:07:17
The Problem with (some) Ghost Stories- 1:11:05
Postscript- 1:26:42

Further Reading
Mackinac State Historic Parks
Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau
Grand Hotel History
On Boarding Schools