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

Episode 12: Mystery Airships

Aaron and Samantha travel back to the nineteenth century to explore the mystery airships that were spotted throughout the country in 1896/97. What started as a trio of lights above Sacramento, California, grew to reported sightings of actual ships that moved from the west coast to the Great Plains and into the Great Lakes States. Samantha and Aaron look at various sightings, possible explanations, and touch on the history of aviation. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s a wild ride.

Time Stamps
The Gilded Age- 1:10
California-8:25
Wisconsin- 12:34
Midway Break- 22:08
Michigan- 29:35
Lanark, Illinois- 39:10
Aurora, Texas- 49:42
The History of Aviation- 53:30
Wrap-Up and Outro- 56:30

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.

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