Disclosure: We might have been creepy kids as children. We wanted to let you know because it’s the creepy cool LAW. We also learn not to trust your house ghosts, talk about spooky friendship goals, the weirdest summer trip EVER, and why “lock ins” are just the creepiest form of sleep over.
Amanda recommended this week the podcast, Working Sunday!
- Lola, providers of organic cotton tampons, pads, liners and more. Use code spirits to get 40% off any of their flexible subscriptions at mylola.com.
- Skillshare is an online learning community where you can learn—and teach—just about anything. Visit skillshare.com/spirits2 to get two months of Skillshare Premium for free! This week Julia recommends Creative Writing: Crafting Personal Essays with Impact.
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Amanda: Welcome to Spirits Podcast. A boozy dive into mythology, legends, and folklore. Every week we pour a drink, and learn about a new story from around the world. I'm Amanda.
Julia: And I'm Julia.
Amanda: And this is episode 110. One of our monthly, Your Urban Legend Series.
Julia: Oh, boy, here it comes another urban legends.
Amanda: We love doing these, especially now that we get to do two per month. We're doing a whole new bonus urban legend episode every single month for our patrons at the $4.00 level and above, so super stoked we were able to get our first one out for December, and it'll be every month here after.
Julia: Yeah. We did some real spooky ones for the patron exclusive one, so if you want me scaring the crap out of Amanda and Eric I highly-
Amanda: So bad.
Julia: Highly recommend pledging at that level.
Amanda: We also want to thank everyone who joined our Patreon over the last week. Lauren, Hillary, Christen, Kathy, and Lada I'm sorry I got your name wrong the first time, but thank you all so much for joining us.
Julia: They joined the ranks of our wonderful supporting producer level patrons Phillip, Julie, Christina, Eeyore, Sammy, Marie, Josie, Amara, Neil, Jessica, Phil Fresh, and Debra.
Amanda: And our legend level patrons Jordan, Jess, Zoey, Sandra, Audra, Mercedes, Jack, Marie, and Lee Ann. Our January package for our legends is extremely exciting. I cannot wait to get it out to them.
Julia: I am also very stoked. I love them almost as much as the beer that you chose for this episode, Amanda.
Amanda: Yes. Normally, Julia brings the recommendations, but this week I tried a beer so good that I had to bring it to our recording. It's a coffee chocolate stout from Big Alice Brewing here in Long Island City, Queens.
Julia: Got to love the super, super local stuff.
Amanda: Yeah. Super good, and unlike most chocolate stouts it wasn't completely sweet. It had a really nice coffee note to it. You can get it locally here in New York, I'm not sure about the distribution situation, but if you see Big Alice definitely try them out.
Julia: Amanda, I think it's your recommendation this week what are you recommending for us?
Amanda: Yes. I would love to recommend a podcast called, Working Sunday, so this is a really beautiful sounding, beautifully made podcast about the reality of making a living as a creative person, and this time of the year I like to do a lot of kind of reflection, and goal setting, and looking forward. I think a lot of people do, so I really liked hearing about how 10 different working artists in LA are just experiencing the ups and downs of being a professional creator. Multitude actually helped consult on the show, but I'm just really proud of its producer, Rubin, and how the show came out, so I wanted to recommend, Working Sunday, which you can get in any podcast app.
Julia: That sounds amazing. Thanks for the recommendation, Amanda.
Amanda: I also wanted to thank our two sponsors this week. Skillshare is actually now offering you two months of premium for free at skillshare.com/spirits. You can save those .99 cents, don't spend them all in one place, and we're welcoming a new sponsor Lola to the show, they are a company created by people with periods for people with periods. You can get 40% off a subscription of sanitary products at mylola.com, code Spirits.
Julia: Yeah. All right. Thank you so much to Lola, welcome, and thank you as always to Skillshare, we love you.
Amanda: Our final piece of news this week is we are performing a whole lot in the Pacific Northwest in the winter time.
Julia: So much. Amazing.
Amanda: We as you know are doing two live shows around PodCon and then a podcast festival in February, all those details are at multitude.productions/live, but we also wanted to tell you that we're doing a live show at PodCon, gosh, darn it. We're doing a live show at PodCon-
Julia: Gosh darn.
Amanda: For PodCon pass holders. Oh, my God, I can't wait.
Julia: I know. It's going to be great. As soon as we have the information as to what day, and what time it will be in we will let you know, but we have some really cool guests lined up, and I'm very excited.
Amanda: Yeah. You can not only come to the Multitude Live Show, and see our evening underground lights out performance, but if you are going to PodCon itself you can come and see us perform at whatever size that stage is, I'm a little bit nervous about it.
Julia: Yes. I'm very, very nervous in a good, good way.
Amanda: All those details, again, are at multitude.productions/live. Without further ado, enjoy Spirits Podcast, episode 110. Your Urban Legends, Part 17 ...
Eric: Last, Your Urban Legends episode we picked between two stories that Julia brought us, we ended up going with Human Meat Buns, but there was a runner up in that, and we're going to start with that one, aren't we?
Julia: Yes, we are. It is Nightmare's In Babysitting, which sounds like a great, why a children's series similar to Sweet Valley High, in my opinion. I don't know.
Amanda: Isn't all babysitting ultimately a nightmare?
Amanda: Where every moment you're staving off disaster? That could-
Amanda: End the life of the sweet thing that you are trying to keep safe?
Julia: That is correct.
Amanda: Or is that just me?
Julia: No. That is everyone.
Amanda: You never know
Julia: Human lives so fragile and terrified.
Amanda: You never know.
Julia: Yeah. This is from Alexis. They say, “Good afternoon Spirits crew. I started listening to you after binging Potterless, because I love all the episodes you guys were on, and after hearing many a plug for Spirits in the process I figured I'd try it out. I have not been disappointed, I love the podcast, so far, and was listening to a couple of Your Urban Legends episodes, and it reminded me of this one super weird thing that happened to me.”
“I will preface this by saying that I am not a religious person, and therefore have never been afraid of demons, or possession, with that being said this story is the one time that firm resolution I have that demons don't exist was ever shaken. I was a freshman in college, and a nanny for a very well off pair of lawyers in Silicon Valley. I would come to their house after classes and pick up their eight year old daughter, Gretchen, from school. The first month I was working for this family, Gretchen did not say two words to me unless she absolutely had to. I would ask, “How was your day?” It was always met with stony silence. “Did you do anything fun, or play with your friends?” I'd look in the rear view mirror, and she'd just be glaring at me.” I know. Right? “Normally, I would have chalked this up to shyness, or maybe that she was a little less social, but she was very chatty with her friends, sister, and parents. Figuring she just didn't like me I brushed it off, because quite frankly the pay was worth the uncomfortable silences.” Don't I know that feeling? “As time wore on, she did start to talk to me, but I quickly wished she hadn't.”
Eric: Oh, no.
Julia: “She was often rude. Sometimes even walking into the room, and greeting me with things like, “You're fat,” which I was not.”
Amanda: Oh, wow.
Julia: “Not that it matters, but it's fucking rude, regardless. Also, if you're going to insult me at least make it accurate, but that's not the point. However, as anyone who has ever babysat, or has younger relatives knows sometimes kids are just shitty for no real reason.” She says, “I promise the creepy part is coming. I just wanted to paint a picture of this child. Anyway, one night I was asked to stay late because her parents were going to a party, and they told me that they would be back around 1:00 a.m.”
That is late to leave a child with a babysitter. Damn. All right. “The kid's bedtime was 8:00, and I had homework to do, and plenty of coffee, so I was all set for it to be a normal night. It was now about 1:30 a.m., I'm very tired, and starting to fade when I hear a noise. At first, I thought it was the parents coming home, but when I looked around there was nothing. I continued surveying the room when my eyes fell on a blank TV screen.”
“One of those boxy CRT ones that no one has anymore. I'm not one for horror movies, and all I knew of The Ring was that a creepy girl crawls out of a TV set. Needless to say, I was not happy being basically alone in the middle of the night with that shit behind me. I turned away to grab my coffee, and when I glanced back at the screen I see the little girl. For lack of a better term, I flipped my shit for a second before I realized it's just Gretchen in the reflection. I laughed to myself-
Amanda: Oh, it's still fucking scary.
Eric: Yikes. Oh, God.
Amanda: Oh, no. Oh, shit.
Eric: I hate it. I hate it so much.
Julia: I'm glad we started like this. “I laugh at myself, and turn back around and ask Gretchen, “What's wrong? Why are you up so late? Did you have a bad dream?” No response, but she moves closer to me, slightly unnerved I asked again, “Is everything all right?” She moves silently again until she's right by me, twists up her face in a gruesome way, balls her fists, and starts chanting in a low gravely voice, “Crimson demon. Crimson demon.”
Eric: I don't believe this-
Eric: Happened. I choose not to believe that this happened.
Eric: This is-
Amanda: I have a firm belief-
Eric: Someone telling us a very scary story, and I appreciate the scary story, but it definitely did not happen.
Amanda: No. Definitely mythical. It can't be real. If so, I have to revisit my whole world view. Nope.
Julia: “I sit there horror struck and speechless doing everything in my power not to push her out of the way, and bolt out the door. After only five to 10 seconds of this her face drops, her arms relax, and she just calmly walks back to her room without another word. I obviously freak the fuck out trying to rationalize what has happened. Her parents finally come home. I do not ask or care why they're late, I take the money, tell them goodnight, and go home as quickly as possible. I asked Gretchen about that night two days later, and she swears it never happened, and has no idea what I'm talking about.”
Eric: You went back? Why'd you go back?
Julia: “Never got a real explanation for all this. I know she was probably just fucking with me, or maybe she was sleep walking that night, but I'm not even-
Amanda: It's worse.
Julia: “Not entirely convinced that I didn't babysit a demon this day.” She goes, “Not sure if this is a testament to how broke I was, or how well it paid, but I nannied for that family for another six months after that. Guess my soul was worth $20.00 an hour.”
Amanda: Listen, 20 bucks an hour ain't nothing to sniff at.
Eric: Yeah, not at all. Under the table, no tax.
Eric: That's some good payment.
Julia: Some solid ones. That's a demon child for you. It's a great start. Thank you for letting me start with that.
Amanda: I have a really soul warming story about girl ghosts.
Julia: Tell me.
Amanda: This is a short and sweet email from Leslie. Titled, Ghost Girls Helping Girls, so you know I was going to click on it.
Amanda: “Years ago when I was a small Girl Scout, I went to Girl Scout camp, and was cabin mates with this girl who told me what is to this day the best ghost story I've ever heard. My cabin mates troupe had the honor of spending the night in the Juliette Gordon Low house in Savannah, Georgia. In case, you don't know, Juliette Low is the founder of Girl Scouts, and the house where she lived and started the Girl Scouts is a place you can visit in Savannah. I don't believe they allow lock ins,” which I think means sleepovers, anymore, but it's so cool to go take a tour and hear her story.
Julia: Let's just point out the fact that the term lock in is much scarier than sleepover, and we shouldn't use it.
Amanda: Yeah. What the hell?
Eric: Yeah. You were never locked in.
Eric: I did lock ins, and I'm pretty sure you weren't allowed to leave just randomly, but you weren't stuck in there if something happened, and like-
Julia: I mean is a school day a lock in until you get lunch privileges in high school? Jesus.
Eric: Pretty much.
Eric: But it's fun, I feel like lock ins have fun.
Amanda: I think a lock in has to be overnight, doesn't it?
Eric: It has to be overnight and fun.
Amanda: The only place I want to be locked in is a museum.
Julia: Depends on the museum, though, it could be a creepy museum.
Amanda: Yeah. That's true. I guess that this troupe did a lock in, and Leslie says, “My cabin mates troupe leader slept in a different room from the girls, and according to her she remembers being nudged awake around 11:00 p.m. on that night. At first, she thought it was one of her scouts who was trying to wake her. As she became more conscious, she realized the figure above her was too tall to be one of her brownie scouts.”
Amanda: “She couldn't quite make out a face, but she knew that the gear was a woman because of the white nightgown she was wearing. Apparently, all the figure did was point toward the door where the girls were staying and disappear. Probably still,” sorry.
Julia: No, I was just going to say probably in a get the fuck out kind of situation, or like these children shouldn't be here. Goodbye.
Amanda: Yeah. I would wake every kid and leave. “Probably still delirious, and unsure of what she was seeing the troupe leader entered the girls room to find out one of her scouts had just started having a seizure. Luckily, she was able to call an ambulance and get the girl the help she needed. I like to think that the figure was the ghost of Juliette Low looking out for her fellow scouts and making sure they stayed creepy and cool.”
Julia: That's actually much sweeter than I was implying.
Amanda: I think it is very sweet. If I were a ghost, I would not be wearing my nightgown, though. I would wear like a cool old tight-y Girl Scout uniform. Anyway.
Eric: That would be a good look.
Amanda: A little palate cleanser to our very creepy start.
Julia: Holy shit.
Eric: I have a story that was sent by Julia that I missed in the inbox that is from a fellow Ohioan, so I have no idea what I'm about to read, so hopefully it is Eric approved.
Julia: They didn't send it to you, so hopefully. Fingers crossed.
Eric: They did, yeah, so hopefully, this is on them, I guess, if it goes south. “Hello everyone. My name is Haley. First off, I want to say I love the show, and listen every day on my hour drive to and from work. Anyways, I have a hometown legend, you guessed it from Stryker, Ohio. The legend of Lockport Bridge.”
Julia: All of the names have been great so far. Striker, Ohio.
Eric: Yeah. Stryker with a Y, so you know it's badass.
Julia: That's like, I'm pretty sure that's a Marvel character. I could be wrong.
Amanda: I was going to say it sounds like a villain or a superhero, or something.
Eric: “Stryker is a one stop light town where everyone knows everyone, and is situated in the middle of a corn field.” What most of northwest of Ohio is and honestly most of Ohio that isn't a major city. “Just outside town there's a covered bridge that leads right into a cemetery, and goes into Goll's Woods. The woods are supposed to be haunted, as well. The bridge runs perpendicular to the Tiffin River, and on both sides it's lined with thick woods. The story goes that the Goll family, G-O-L-L, were the first to settle in the area in 1871.”
Amanda: That's pretty late.
Eric: We have a rule generally that if a date is a very specific date, then it's spookier.
Eric: We're in for some good scares.
Amanda: Research is spookier.
Eric: “More and more families joined them and slowly a town was built up. Sometime later for an unknown reason the towns people banished them to the woods where an unstable park and cemetery sit today. The father, distraught with having to live in these conditions isolated supposedly took his wife and two sons to the bridge, and they hung themselves as a family.”
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: “I tried to do some research on this and got nothing. It must be a story passed down through the generations. In November 2012 I had just come home,” fast forward-
Amanda: Specific date.
Julia: Fast forward.
Eric: “I had just come from active duty training for the holidays. I was hanging out with a few friends in our small town, there wasn't much to do except go to Walmart, or drive around on the back roads.”
Eric: “We had already done the Walmart trip, and it was about 10:30 at night when one of my friends mentions Lockport, we all agreed to go, so we drove there hyping each other up, and trying to scare each other.”
Julia: The worst possible scenario that you could do this kind of trip for.
Eric: “To give you a visual, the road leading to the bridge twists like a snake in tightly wound series of turns, which is eerie in its own right. As the bridge comes into vision, it's dark except for the moonlight giving it a yellowish glow, and is weirdly quiet. We slowed down a bit as we positioned the car in the center of the bridge facing the cemetery. One of my friends was supposed to turn off the car, and open all the windows, a crack, so we obliged.” That's good, just a crack.
Amanda: A tiny little-
Eric: Just a ghost could get in, but not a serial killer.
Eric: “Then, she told me to flash the headlights three times. Now, I was getting creeped out at this point, rightfully so, but my dumb ass did it anyways. We all held our breaths and we waited for any signs of a ghost, or whatever the hell we were supposed to be seeing. A few minutes passed by and I let out a laugh breaking the silence and tension saying, this was stupid.”
Amanda: Bad choice.
Julia: Don't tempt the ghost.
Amanda: Don't you love that teenagers do that, where they're like in a moment of emotional vulnerability or something, and they're like, “This is dumb,” I just think it's really sweet.
Eric: “But, just as the words left my mouth, we heard something, a scratching noise.”
Eric: “We looked around and didn't see anything out in the black void.”
Julia: Even worse.
Eric: “But, then we heard it again louder.”
Eric: “This time came to realize that the sound was coming from above us.”
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: “Needless to say we were freaked the fuck out. I panicked and tried to drive off not remembering the car was not on.”
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: “That's when we saw it. At the end of the bridge a dark tall figure was standing there, and it felt like it was watching us, trying to figure us out. We all felt the air around us become like static, like that feeling you get after rubbing a balloon in your hair, at that point I had, had enough. I slammed the key into the ignition, and threw the car in reverse, and got the hell out of there. It is still so vivid in my mind even today. The eeriness, the uneasy feeling. It wasn't until we got back to my house, and out of the car when we saw tiny kid like hand prints all over the backend of my car.”
Eric: “And a long ridges across the top of my car. If I had to guess, I'd say the kid hand prints were from the two sons trying to push the car towards the dark figure that stood ahead of us, but I don't know.”
Amanda: Oh, fuck.
Eric: No, God
Julia: That's very plausible, holy shit.
Amanda: Oh, God.
Eric: “I'm really just bullshitting it because there's no logical explanation for what happened that night. I have not been back since, and don't plan on going back, but I hope you guys enjoyed this kind of creepy, kind of cool,” kind of creepy, kind of creepy?
Amanda: Turn into 11, creepy.
Eric: “Kind of cool story. Keep doing what you're doing. Much love and appreciation, Haley.”
Julia: Okay. I kind of love this story, because I feel like I've heard it a million times, but in a good way, where it's like, roll down your window-
Eric: This is the good way, just to be clear.
Amanda: Just like all of them.
Julia: Just like, roll down your windows, park under this weird bridge where someone committed suicide. Amanda and I like literally just went to a place like that last year.
Julia: To kind of investigate it, and it was down the road from a cemetery as well, and I just love it. I love that every town has one of these.
Amanda: Yeah. I'm really amazed by the frontier narrative of it as well, because A, imagine being the first family to move to a place, like, that takes a lot of balls to be like, I'm going to go move all the way over there where no one is, and either you intend to be alone, and people follow you, and you're like shit, or you hope that people come after you, and then you have the really difficult work of like building a community together, but to be cast out, ultimately by a community that you were the first one to found, I don't know, that must be terribly traumatizing, so I kind of appreciate that angle, and that context on the social isolation of this crime that may or may not have happened.
Eric: Bits of this are kind of the setup plot of the movie, The Witch, the horror film, the suspense horror film-
Eric: Which came out a few years ago, which is very, very good. It only has one jump scare if that is not your thing, but it is a well deserved jump scare that is the exact right time and place. The movie is phenomenal, it's very spooky, and it's very scary.
Julia: Yes, please go watch, The Witch. I'm pretty sure it's on Netflix.
Amanda: This email comes from Rebecca, it's titled, Two Falconers and a Skin Walker..
Eric: I'm so in.
Eric: A skin walker?
Eric: Yes. Good.
Amanda: Like our black dog story from one of the first Urban Legends episodes.
Julia: Man who walks like dog, dog who that walks like man.
Amanda: Very good.
Julia: Oh, fuck, so good.
Amanda: Okay. “Hey, there. Avid listener, first time story sharer. For months, I've been wanting to share a creepy cool two lady falconers on a road trip story with you, so here it goes. Think Thelma and Louise only with pickup trucks instead of a convertible with hawks instead of Brad Pitt and in the midnight Mohave Desert where everyone makes it out alive at the end.”
Julia: I would 100% swap falcons for Brad Pitt any day.
Amanda: You mean swap out Brad Pitt in order to get falcons?
Julia: Yes, correct.
Amanda: Okay. Good. I just wanted to make sure.
Julia: The only choice.
Amanda: I wanted to make sure weren't body swap there for a second.
Julia: It's Brad Pitt's body, but a falcon's mind.
Eric: You know, I would swap into a falcon to meet Brad Pitt, if that's the cost of meeting Brad Pitt that's what I would do, I would become a falcon
Amanda: If I had been brought to a movie set, and the reward of some lottery was to meet Brad Pitt, and there was a falcon nearby I would leave to go meet the falcon.
Julia: Okay. Good. I was like, you would just leave because there was a falcon there?
Amanda: No. Falcons are dope.
Julia: Yeah. Falcons are great.
Amanda: Falconer, or H is for Hawk, rather is one of the best book I've ever read, so good.
Julia: My Side Of The Mountain, also features a falcon, which is very good.
Eric: That's a book that-
Amanda: There we go.
Amanda: There are no birds of prey in Hatchet.
Eric: I just want to saya book too.
Amanda: Okay. All right. Calm down everybody.
Julia: We got really distracted by the Brad Pitt falcon, I'm sorry.
Amanda: “My BFF, Nicole and I have been falconers for 25 years, so our personal mythologies and spirit stories revolve closely around the wilderness crazy magic that happens in the field, and in the shadow of a hawk, and things we've seen that terrify us just a little, and we can't explain. I'm pretty sure that a huge component of why we are still such close friends. The stories that get told in dark motel rooms when we eat ice cream into the witching hours are some of the best moments of my life.”
“We may both be pushing 50, but spooky stories are the glue that holds friendships together for a lifetime. A couple of years ago in November we met up at my house at dawn. We spent all day hunting with our hawks. Nicki was flying a goshawk,” I think is how it's pronounced, “and a Harris's hawk. I was flying a Cooper's hawk and a red-tailed hawk. That's a lot of birds to fly. A lot of hiking, and pretty exhausting. We had a wonderful day, though, the kind that's full of perils, and wonder, and laughter. The hawks fed their bellies, and we fed our souls.”
Julia: This is the sweetest email we've gotten so far by the way.
Amanda: I know.
Eric: This is very adorable.
Amanda: I'm a little bit teary eyed.
Eric: I love it.
Amanda: It's very good. “It was getting on dark, and we both utterly exhausted, but wound up, so we decided as one does that we should just get on the road and go somewhere wonderful, and wild to keep hunting for the weekend.” Serious friendship goals, like come on Rebecca, this is amazing.
Julia: Hey, Amanda, do you want to become falconers and do this for the next 25 years?
Amanda: I mean, yeah. I'll be less allergic to the bird when it's flying then when it's on my arm.
Julia: That's true.
Julia: Are you also allergic to birds?
Amanda: Yes, anything fluffy, or furry, or cute.
Julia: God damn dander.
Amanda: All right. “I live just outside of Palm Springs, and we decided if we left right then we can make it to Pahrump, which is just outside of Las Vegas. We could be there an hour or so after midnight. We packed our shit and our feathery friends in our vehicles and hit the road.”
Julia: Can you imagine just being like, “Hi. One motel room. Four arm chairs to have our hawks sleep in,” like come on.
Eric: Wait. Where is Palm Springs?
Julia: It's in California. I also though Florida, don't worry.
Eric: Okay. I was thinking Florida, and I was like, wow, that is-
Julia: When you ride on the back of a hawk, Eric, you can-
Amanda: Get anywhere.
Julia: Fly faster than the speed of light.
Eric: Pretty sure.
Amanda: “We'd been on the road for just over an hour when Google decided we should take a back highway that cut through the Mohave. I was leading, and the googles are my robot boss, so I went with it. Soon we were deep into the desert on a highway with not a single other car in sight, no headlights, no street lights, just vast desert darkness, and the narrow guiding path of my headlights. That was when the sky started falling. Have you ever been so utterly exhausted that you're giddy and drunk with tired?”
Julia: Yes. All the time.
Amanda: “I was that, and the stars were streaking across the sky, not just a couple, but dozens. My logical mind said it was a meteor shower, but I called Nicki in her car just to make sure that I wasn't the only one seeing it. She did, and was as entranced, and unnerved as I was. It felt like we were traveling through space and into some frightening other dimension. Like, Google had taken us on some Stephen King shortcut in a short story.”
Julia: That checks out, Google is evil.
Amanda: “Since I was utterly freaked out, Nicki thought she should tell me about the scariest thing that ever happened to her on a drive like this one.”
Julia: Hey, Nicki, why? How come?
Amanda: “My eyes darting from the breaking sky to the pitch black around me and then back to the endless dark road. Nicki told me about a similar drive across the San Diego desert, driving along alone in the same sort of darkness, she spotted a figure alongside the road. It was a humanoid figure, but it wasn't quite right for humanity. It's angles were off, and jesters ethereal, and it's clothing was ragged, and kind of shimmering. As she caulked her head trying to wrap her tired mind around what she was seeing it leaped into the road, lifting and landing in a way that was not possible for a person.”
Amanda: Julia, wide eyed shaking her head.
Amanda: “As it landed, it's body shifted in a way that was neither right, nor pretty, and when it finished wrenching into the shape of something else a coyote that was too big to be a coyote, or maybe even a wolf, it stood square in the road, it's gaze focused straight at her. They stared at each other for a beat, and then in another bound it reached the other side of the road, and disappeared into the same sort of late swallowing pitch black we were surrounded by, now. She told me I know it was a skin walker. I don't believe in these things, but I know that it was. I also know there are things we aren't supposed to see, so I never told anyone about it, because I was worried about the repercussions of accidentally witnessing something not meant for people. Bad things happen, you know? Right then, her phone cut off. Our signal was gone, we were deep in the desert, and for the next two hours there was nothing but her headlights, far behind me, and my agitated imagination.”
Julia's crying. “At any moment I expected a skin walker on the side of the road, an inexplicable monster to land on the roof of my truck, or for something not of this world to fall from the sky with the stars. I've never been so terrified in my entire life with nothing to do about it except keep driving. I wasn't going to stop for anything that was certain. When we made it to the hotel just out of the desert, at last, I scramble from my truck and hugged my BFF so hard I almost broke her. I felt like we survived the darkest most treacherous journey imaginable, and we stayed up all night rehashing it like heroes. Two takeaways. One, if you want to tell your friend a spooky story, dude, that's one way to do it. Two, Julie and Amanda, you have many years of terrifying each other to look forward to, it only gets better. Love, Rebecca.” Rebecca.
Julia: That's so cute. That was so sweet, and fucking scary. Also, I was crying, but I was also laughing, because in the camera I could see Eric shaking his head like that Tracy Morgan GIF, he was like-
Eric: I was shaking my head so much. There was so much spookiness.
Amanda: Well, my first thought was like why the fuck wouldn't you stop and finish the story, but then also good plan, don't stop, don't get out. Yes. Okay.
Julia: Yes. Dark desert, don't want those coyotes coming to get you.
Amanda: Oh, boy. What a story. Any reactions, or just let's process-
Julia: Just horrifying, but also heartwarming. I don't know. I don't know how our listeners manage to do that.
Amanda: Why don't we discuss a little bit more over a drink? Let's go get a refill ...
Julia: Amanda, we're sponsored this week by our lovely, lovely friends at Skillshare.
Amanda: Yes, I love a Skillshare week.
Julia: Skillshare is an online learning community for creators with more than 25,000 classes in design, business, and more. You can discover countless ways to feel your creativity, your curiosity, and your career, so you can take classes in like social media marketing, mobile photography, which is super cool, creative writing, or even illustration, so if you're starting to discover a new passion, or if you want to start a side hustle, or you want to gain some professional skills, Skillshare is there to keep you learning, thriving, and reaching those new year goals.
Amanda: What class did you take this week?
Julia: Amanda, I took the creative writing class, because I'm trying to get my creative juices flowing, I got a lot of things that are coming up in the new year, so I really wanted to think about my creative process, so took creative writing, crafting personal essays with impact, and it's taught by Roxane Gay.
Julia: I know. I would have clicked on it regardless, but then I saw Roxane Gay's face, and I was just like oh, no, I got to take this class. I got to do it.
Amanda: That sounds awesome.
Julia: Yeah. It's a one hour master class. It provides this insightful, inspiring look on how to transform your own personal stories into personal essays, and it helps you kind of craft your personal voice in sort of a wider context. It's really good. It's really useful for giving a voice to your own stories, and I loved the way that she taught it.
Amanda: Where can folks find this class, and many, many more?
Julia: You can join millions of students already learning on Skillshare today. You can sign up for free, for two months by going to skillshare.com/spirits. Again, that is skillshare.com/spirits to start your two months for free right now.
Amanda: That is awesome. I want to tell you a little bit about our second sponsor this week, so Lola is a maker of sanitary and reproductive health products. It's a company made by people with periods for people with periods, and their whole thing is about ease, and flexibility, and transparency. The FDA actually doesn't regulate the brands that make sanitary products the same way as a lot of others, so you don't have to disclose a list of ingredients that are actually in your sanitary products-
Julia: That's gross.
Amanda: Which super sucks. Yeah. Most of the brands you've heard of don't. Lola, is made in direct kind of comparison to that, so they offer complete transparency about the ingredients found in their tampons, pads, liners, sanitary wipes, all kinds of things.
Julia: Gosh, the things that we do to our vaginas sometimes.
Amanda: Yeah. It's a little bit terrifying, and I can vouch for them, the products are lovely. The applicators are great, they're made with BPA free plastic, it's organic cotton, and everything is just like exactly as we'd want it to be. Lola, actually makes subscriptions, so you can customize what kinds of products you get, how often, the number of boxes, everything, because every person's body is different. You're going to need a different thing in your subscription.
Julia: As someone who always forgets to buy tampons before my period, and has run out from the last month, this is the best thing I've ever heard of in my entire life.
Amanda: Yeah. It's really great, and they actually also email you two days before your box is set to ship that way if you're like, oh, wait, add more, add less, skip this month, you can do it, there're no fees, no surprises, no gimmicks.
Julia: That's so useful. I think, one of the nice things about Lola, too, is for every purchase that is made, they donate sanitary products to homeless shelters across the US, because that's a product that is often forgotten when we're donating things to homeless shelters, and to homeless people in general, we don't provide stuff that they absolutely do need to live a normal life.
Amanda: Yeah. It's awesome, and my whole experience with this company has been really great, so far, so if you want to start a subscription, maybe for yourself, maybe for your office, for people in your house, or guests who might need them, you can go to mylola.com and use code Spirits for 40% off all subscriptions.
Julia: Yeah. Get your coverage, today.
Amanda: I love it. That's mylola.com with code Spirits for 40% off. Mylola.com code Spirits. All right. Let's get back to the show. I loved our previous episode on haunted houses, for the most part and for your shops, because that's another kind of house, so much that. I wanted to read this new haunted house email from Victoria, so subject, My Haunted House. “I can remember from my early childhood that it was kind of known to every family member, and I have a pretty large family, that our house is haunted. I don't really remember how the introduced me to this topic as a kid, but it always seemed pretty normal that you would hear things here or there, especially when my house is almost a 100 years old, and was built, and designed by my great-grandfather.” Okay, let's pause. The idea of a house designed by someone in your family is fucking terrifying to me, because if you're designing a house obviously you're going to build in secret rooms and passageways, and after I die, who's going to be there to hide my secrets?
Julia: Amanda, I need to yell at you another time.
Julia: Please watch Hill House.
Amanda: I can't. I shan't.
Julia: Please watch Hill House.
Amanda: You have to hold my hand. We have to watch it in the daylight-
Amanda: And drink rose.
Julia: Fine. Come over-
Julia: We'll do that.
Amanda: Okay. “There's one particular room that I was always scared of, and later on I found out that this was the room where all the people who died in my family would lay on our big dining table that we would use back in the day to layout the coffins of other dead relatives.”
Amanda: And then parenthesis, “Old Polish times, you know?” I guess if you had a wake in your house-
Julia: You did.
Amanda: You would have-
Eric: I get it.
Julia: I don't like.
Eric: Olden times.
Julia: I don't like it.
Amanda: “There are many stories to tell about this house, and each family member has their own set of experiences, but ghosts, or the ghosts of the house would always be considered protective or good, so every time something would happen we'd just say, even around the guests, “Oh, don't worry it was just our ghosts, they're good though, which I think is great.” Every encounter of mine wasn't really scary, it was just kind of creepy, kind of cool. Up until this one thing happened.”
Julia: Oh, no. There's always one exception.
Amanda: Spirits listeners are great storytellers, let's just acknowledge that. It's awesome.
Julia: They are, they're great.
Amanda: “This happened some years ago before smartphones were a thing, and a laptop that was very, very expensive, so even though my family had one I was never allowed to use it. It was a hot summer morning around 10:00 or 11:00 a.m., and I was about 16. My best friend and I were coming back from the house party of another friend, we stayed for the night at his place with our group, and before walking her back to her house we decided to come over to my place to take a shower, brush our teeth, whatever.”
“Now, it's important that I describe a bit more of the area around my house, where it was happening. We were on the second floor small corridor, where closest to the stairs our family computer was with music on connecting to the rest of the rooms upstairs, so computer has the speaker system all around the house. First, there was my room on the left, my parents room on the right, and next to my room a bathroom. My friend was doing something in my room while I was washing my hair in the sink,” so teenager, I love it, “music was playing, I was singing along as the water ran down my head, ears, and hair. Then, the song ended, and right before the next one started I heard a scream.”
Julia: Oh, no.
Amanda: “It wasn't like a regular girl scream, it sounded like one of those horror movie screams, not giving it a second thought I assumed that my friend saw a spider in my room, because she was deadly scared of them, and it was a very old house. After some seconds, she came into the bedroom, pale as a ghost asking me, “Victoria, why were you screaming?” With water dripping all over, I took my head from the sink, and looked in her eyes to check whether, or not she was joking, and she wasn't.”
“I didn't scream.” Her face became paler. “Wait, you heard it from downstairs? I wasn't screaming,” I said. Her face became paler. “Wait, so you also heard it?” And I said, “Yeah. I guess, I did,” so I had to conclude that it was probably the end of the last song or the beginning of the next one. Right? I checked and it wasn't. After we got ready, we literally sprinted down the stairs to get to the main door to go out as soon as possible. That day I would make sure to go back only when someone else was home already. When I told this story to my mom about what happened she literally said, “Oh, you're silly. We only have good ghosts protecting our family,” but from that point on I wasn't so sure, anymore.”
Julia: Don't assume that. No, until you get fucked up by the ghosts.
Amanda: I just loved the idea of like a protective ghost where everyone's like, “Of course there are ghosts, but of course they're lovely,” but also this is like when there's someone else there to witness what's happening, that is so irrefutable, like that is so terrifying.
Eric: Yeah. It's always one thing when it's like, oh, maybe I something-
Julia: Made it up.
Eric: Was up in my eye, or something.
Eric: But, when there's another person hearing the same thing as you, you're like, what happened.
Amanda: Yeah, and to have water in your ears at that time. Right? It must be pretty piercing to get through a sound of a sink directly above your head.
Julia: Not great. I don't like it.
Julia: I don't like it. I have another one coming up right now.
Amanda: Oh, no. From your tone, I'm worried.
Julia: It's from Alexis, and the subject line was, Do Creepy Kids Grow Up, and When Is It Best Not To Listen To Ghost Stories?
Amanda: Oh, that's very good.
Eric: It's definitely best to listen to ghost stories right now.
Julia: Right now.
Eric: Because you're tuned into Spirits Podcast. WSPR.
Julia: I love it. Good.
Julia: Alexa says, “I found your podcast a few weeks ago, because feminism booze and mermaids. I'm training for-
Eric: Wait. Hold on. They found it because of those things, but they just typed feminism, booze, mermaids into Google, and does Spirits just come up
Julia: God, I hope so, I'm going to do that right now.
Amanda: Hold on.
Eric: Real quick. Let's do a quick Google search. Amanda is typing.
Amanda: I'm going to say I do see a Pinterest board titled 15 best mermaids against misogyny, so that's great.
Eric: That's very good.
Julia: That's good.
Eric: Yeah. We didn't find our own podcast, but we found something else just as good it sounds like.
Julia: Alexis, says, “I'm training for an ultra marathon, 250K-
Julia: Which how does one do that?
Eric: I've done some running in my life, nothing remotely close to this. I get why someone would do a half marathon, I kind of get why someone would do a full marathon, I don't understand this at all. There's like one thing where they do four marathons in four days and it's in a desert, and just why are you doing that? I don't get it. I don't get it one bit. Anyways, continue.
Julia: Just for the record, 250 kilometers is a 155 miles.
Eric: Yeah. That's too many miles.
Julia: Anyway, she says that she listens to the show on her runs, and it makes them both fun and informative instead of just painful and sweaty, so I'm glad we have that at least. She says that, “I blazed through pretty much every episode, and wanted to pass along two stories to you guys. First, is about my husbands new ban on my listening to Spirits if we're running late at night. Before you get mad at him, he has a pretty good reason. Two weeks ago, we were on a run and I was listening to heck puppers, and since we're about seven miles in at this point I was listening to all the hometown urban legends in a row, so I was pretty creeped out, just as you guys got to the part about wild dogs attacking people to protect the witches house, we saw two sets of reflective dots float around a corner.”
“We are at this point surrounded by six to seven foot tall corn stalks on our right, and a fence, and dense forest on our left. It took me a moment to realize they weren't just bugs, or whatever, but then I immediately thought we had perhaps run across something being protected by evil dog spirits, as the dots were in pairs about two feet off the ground, and appeared to be bounding. Sure enough when we got close enough they were dark and dog shaped, and running directly at us, I screamed at the top of my lungs, and my husband who is way more practical than I am, got big, and ran at them. They left only to return moments later with two more dogs at which point I went very white girl in a horror movie, and just collapsed to the ground in tears. It turns out someone was just walking their four black dogs off leash at night on a known running trail, and the owner apparently thought my sobs about being attacked by heck puppers were a mild overreaction.”
Amanda: Oh, no. I'm so sorry, Alexis.
Eric: Okay. No. Hold on. Did they say where they were located?
Eric: It is unacceptable to just at night to be walking your dogs without a leash.
Amanda: No, it's not.
Eric: That's just ridiculous. This is entirely on that person. You made, I mean, you may not have made the exact right decision, by falling to the ground, and just crying, but you didn't make the wrong decision, this person walking these dogs without a leash made the wrong decision.
Julia: Alexis, says that she doesn't think it was an overreaction, but, “I'm also no longer allowed to be creepy, since I can't be cool on my runs.”
Eric: That's very good.
Julia: “Secondly, I have also just caught up on a lot of the creepy children episodes. I have something I haven't told many people about, but you guys seem like you might appreciate it. I was a creepy child.
Eric: It's unfair that this wasn't the first part of the email.
Julia: I'm sorry.
Eric: You can't pull us in and then be like, but I was a creepy kid.
Amanda: I'm just like you, I get scared by things at the dark, also I'm a ghost.
Eric: It's unfair. If you're a creepy kid you have to disclose that you're a creepy kid, that's the law.
Julia: If you're a creepy kid you got to tell us, it's the law.
Amanda: It's like campaign finance disclosures.
Julia: “I know it happened more than once, but the only instance I can remember without having being told by my parents, or siblings happened when I was about five years old. My bedtime was 8:30 at that age, and I dutifully brushed my teeth, and climbed into bed despite the sun not being set. Shout out to the deep south in summer.”
Eric: My name is Gretchen, and I live in Silicon Valley.
Julia: No, she says she lives in the deep south, so that helps. Okay. “I woke some hours later and walked out of my bedroom and into my living room. My dad and stepmom were watching TV in the evening, and I walked behind them and asked unannounced, “Is Mark okay?” Mark was the brother of my longtime babysitter, and son of my parents good friends. They looked at me puzzled said they were sure he was fine, and gave me a glass of water to take to bed. The next morning-
Eric: Mark's going to be dead.
Julia: Marks going to be dead. Mark is definitely already dead.
Amanda: Oh, no.
Julia: "The next morning, during breakfast, my dad got a call that Mark had killed himself in our church parking lot the night before."
Amanda: Oh, no.
Julia: "Some time around 10:00."
Julia: "But had not been found until the next morning."
Amanda: Oh, no.
Julia: Kids are creepy, always, even if they're you.
Julia: I thought that was the end of the email.
Julia: Sometimes they turn into normal adults that just you know maybe always double check the doors and windows at night.
Amanda: Alexis, did they, or are you an adult who runs ultra marathons?
Julia: Poor Alexis, we shouldn't be calling her out.
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: She's clearly running from something.
Amanda: Oh, no.
Amanda: Oh, shit, that's so scary. Oh, no.
Julia: Thank you, Alexis. You did a great job.
Amanda: Oh, no. Oh, my eyes have scared tears.
Julia: Do we have something to lighten the mood a little after my scary, scary stories?
Eric: Yes. I have a-
Amanda: I must say my favorite part of Urban Legend episodes is when Julia finishes reading a horrifying email, and just sits back looking really content with herself.
Julia: I do. I get a little smirk.
Eric: I have a story that's very light. It's about a possible small haunting. There's a detail in here that doesn't even have to do with the spooky part of it. I'm just going to read the whole thing, and I want your reactions afterwards.
Eric: No reactions during.
Julia: We'll keep our mouths shut.
Eric: “The year is 1951. The Toronto Maple Leaves are playing the Montreal Canadians in a game of hockey for the Stanley Cup Final. Defense-man, Bill Barilko scores the winning goal in overtime, and wins the series for the Leaves. That summer, he partakes in the time honored tradition of going to the cottage for the summer, flying to northern Quebec with his dentist. On the flight back-
Julia: I can't.
Amanda: I'm sorry, you can't.
Eric: Okay. We're going to cut it, and we're going to keep going? We're going to cut. That's obviously the part. That's obviously the part that's buck wild, and we're going to-
Amanda: This time honored tradition of going into summer with your dentist.
Eric: That's obviously the part that we're not going to react to, and then we're just going to keep going.
Amanda: I'm sorry.
Eric: We just got to keep going through-
Amanda: Just silence our microphones, and keep reading.
Eric: I'm just going to keep going. “On the flight back the plane goes missing. The next season starts an 11 year cup drought for the Maple Leaves, and abnormally long time between championships considering there are only 16 teams in the league at that time. The wreckage was found in the summer of 1962 having veered off course during the final flight. That season, the Leaves win the cup, not quite a creepy ghost story, but that one has stuck with me as a Leaves fan and a fan of blaming stuff on ghosts.”
Obviously, you've got your spooky bit in there with this guy who's apparently a star on the team, he presumably dies right after winning the cup, and then the team has a drought for the exact amount of time they cannot find where his plane crashed. The detail that we're obviously going to be discussing is flying to a cabin in northern Quebec with your dentist.
Amanda: Let's think through the possibilities. One, they could have been lovers. Right?
Julia: That was my theory, too.
Amanda: Yeah. And they need some guys, that's why they travel together. Okay. Two, they could be best friends, and they happen to have met because he's his dentist.
Julia: Three, the guy is a hockey player, so he probably needs a lot of dental work after the season is done, and-
Amanda: That's true.
Julia: He might as well recover while taking a trip up to the cabin with my dentist.
Amanda: That's true.
Eric: With your dentist?
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: But, your dentist doesn't have a chair up in the cabin.
Amanda: They could just be-
Eric: You can't just do dentistry.
Amanda: He liked him for more than his dentistry. Okay.
Julia: It's all he could ask for.
Eric: It's just, I mean, maybe it's the way that Aaron wrote the story, but it's not like his friend who is also a dentist, it's with his dentist, as if the-
Eric: The relationship is purely patient, dentist-
Amanda: Right. Like, MBA players will fly with their barbers, so they can get haircuts before games, or with your rehabilitation, like a sport's medicine person-
Julia: What was this guy's name again?
Eric: This was Bill Barilko, B-A-R-I-L-K-O.
Julia: All right. I'm going to do a Google real quick, see what the fucks up with this dentist.
Amanda: Yeah. It just says with his dentist. There's no explanation for it. What is happening here?
Julia: Hold on. I'm going to search dentist, as well, see if we can find anything.
Amanda: The curse ended when they found the wreckage?
Julia: Oh, okay. Hold on. The dentist was not only his dentist, but it was the small towns only pilot.
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: Oh, man. There's so much happening. It's just like-
Amanda: Oh, it's amazing.
Eric: Just like, oh, yeah, I'm going to go to the cabin with my dentist, you know, me and Chuck just hanging out.
Julia: I guess they weren't going to hang out together.
Eric: Talking hockey and dentistry.
Amanda: He was going to drop him off, and then I guess come back in two months or something.
Amanda: That is legitimately the plot of Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.
Julia: Okay. He was visiting his family in Timmens, where he grew up, and accepted a last minute invitation from friend and local dentist, Henry Hudson, to fly to Rupert House on James Bay in northern Quebec.
Eric: I love it. I just love the casual detail of like the time honored tradition-
Julia: Of going up to the cabin.
Eric: Taking a flight with your dentist to a cabin.
Julia: It's so good.
Amanda: I love it.
Eric: Hey, how was your hockey season? Good. How was your dental season? Oh, yeah, I pulled some teeth.
Julia: Got all those good teeth out, a bunch of root canals and stuff.
Amanda: Wow. The orthodontic surgeon that took out my wisdom teeth also did the same procedure for my mom, and I don't want to be agist, but I think that's too long to be practicing dentistry.
Julia: Yeah. I'd worry about the hands a little bit and how shaky they are.
Amanda: Yeah. That is like a full 35 years difference, and I was like, oh, wait.
Julia: That's fucking hilarious.
Amanda: I was kind of creeped out by OBGYN's that delivered a baby, and then deliver that person's baby later. I don't know.
Eric: Yeah. That's something, maybe-
Amanda: Something about it.
Eric: If it's a young OBGYN, I mean-
Amanda: I don't know, I just-
Eric: That's like 30 years in medicine, or dentistry isn't that long, I feel like.
Amanda: It's not, but just something specifically about, wow, I delivered you, now, I'm delivering your child.
Amanda: There's like a beauty to it, but I'm also like, oh, fuck no, like that's why I live in New York City no one knows me.
Eric: Like, you've already seen that, you've already seen the person naked as a baby, now you see them naked again as an adult.
Amanda: I don't know.
Eric: There's a circular thing there.
Julia: I feel like it's a small town thing, too, like we've only got the one OBGYN, so obviously everyone has gone to him or her, whereas I guess in less rural places that is not the case, we have options.
Amanda: I don't know. I just never want a barista to like know my coffee order. I just want to be a little bit anonymous.
Julia: You do want a bartender to know your drink order, though, that's important.
Amanda: That is true. I don't want to walk into the Bodega, and they're like, oh, good, I'll start preparing your bacon, egg, and cheese with ketchup, because I will feel to predictable.
Julia: That's fair. I disagree, but that's fair.
Amanda: I think we've all learned a lot today. Go hawking with your best friend.
Julia: Don't travel with your dentist.
Amanda: Never travel with your dentist, or ask before you fly if your pilot is also a dentist, maybe that's the takeaway.
Julia: That's the problem.
Eric: Yeah. That's it.
Amanda: And if you live in old houses, but the ghosts are friendly still be a little careful.
Julia: That's fair. Oh, and also always to remember to stay creepy.
Amanda: Stay cool.