Episode 4: The Paranormal Is Personal

In this episode, Samantha and Aaron step back from examining actual pieces of lore in order to share their own personal paranormal experiences. They examine the reasons why eye-witness testimonies of supernatural phenomena need to be handled with care, the ways their own experiences influence the way they interpret those from others, and how their training as historians has prepared them to analyze sources. 

Time Stamps
History of Paranormal Research- 2:20
Analyzing Sources- 13:46
Personal Stories- 15:55
Legend or Lie- 39:47
Interpreting the Paranormal- 44:06
The Desire to Have an Encounter- 54:07

Sources
For this episode we relied on a lot of articles to help us explain some of the thoughts we had about why people believe in the paranormal, what can influence that belief, and the power of biases. In case you’d like to look at these, we’ve divided them into helpful categories.

On the Public Belief in Ghosts
Why do People Believe in Ghosts? (The Atlantic)
The Truth about the Paranormal (BBC)
Why do We Like a Scary Story? (Oxford Open Learning)

On Dark vs. Supernatural Tourism
Dark Tourism, Explained (Washington Post)
Dark Tourism: The Most Haunted Destinations in the World (Culture Trip)

On Why We Like to Feel Scared
Why People will Pay to Feel Scared (The Atlantic)
On Cryptids
So Why do People Believe in Bigfoot Anyway? (California Magazine)
Have Scientists Finally Killed off the Loch Ness Monster? (The Conversation)
Why Won’t Scientific Evidence Change the Minds of Loch Ness Monster True Believers? (The Conversation)

For a complete look at the Fox sisters and some pieces of nineteenth-century spiritualism, this Smithsonian article provides a good overview. Samantha also relied on previous research regarding the idea of a “Good Death” and the Civil War from Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War

Aaron and Samantha visited the Michigan Bigfoot Conference in this episode of The Saucer Life

The quotation that begins the second part of the episode is from Aaron’s book The Chaos Conundrum.

(Amazon affiliate link purchases help support Great Lakes Lore!)

Episode 2: The Mad Gasser of Mattoon

“He moves through the night as nimbly and secretly as a cat, squirting a sweetish gas through bedroom windows.” -(citation needed)

In this episode Samantha and Aaron are exploring the case of the Mad Gasser of Mattoon! In late-August and September of 1944 the citizens of Mattoon, Illinois began reporting cases of sweet smells in the home at night, followed by physical symptoms, such as a burning throat and temporary paralysis. Was there really an “anesthetic prowler” attacking the residents of Mattoon or is there another explanation? 

Time Stamps: 

Intro- 0:00

Setting the Scene- 3:10

What the Papers Said- 6:52

Legend or Lie?- 44:58

Paranormal Explanations- 49:17

Psychological Explanations- 57:53

An Actual Criminal?- 1:08:51

Note! There are a couple of spots that had some brief, un-fixable audio distortion–only a second or so, here and there. Thank you for understanding.

For More Information:

On the Gassings in Botetourt County

On Spring-Heeled Jack

On The Dancing Plague of 1518

Episode 1: The Dudgeon Swamp Mystery

In our inaugural episode, the Great Lakes Lore team will be diving into the sources and exploring the deaths of a father and son in rural, 1920s West Michigan. The Dudgeon family moved to White Cloud, Michigan in 1905 and, less than twenty years later three members of the family were convicted of murder. Were they guilty or were the locals out to get the new folks in town? 
A special thanks to the folks at The October Project for bringing together many of the primary sources we used in our research. You can find Meda’s handwritten account of her husband’s death there, as well as more pictures and the history by Harry Spooner that we reference.