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2017 Episodes

December 24th: Christmas Special # 5: The Open Window

For the Annual MonsterTalk Christmas Special, Blake Smith reads The Open Window by H. H. Munro (Saki).

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December 20th: Fermi to Know and UFO to Find Out (episode 145)

MonsterTalk interviews Seth Shostak, chief astronomer for the SETI Institute, and host of their podcast and radio show, Big Picture Science. Our interview questions come from Facebook listeners, and we also comment on recent news regarding secret US government UFO research.

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December 6th: UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens (episode 144)

In this episode of MonsterTalk, we welcome back alum Don Prothero (Episode 22, Episode 43, Episode 68) and first time guest Timothy Callahan to discuss their new book: UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says. From an introduction to the scientific method, to the often overlooked explanations behind many undying legends of the UFO field, the two authors dive deep into the conspiracies, misconceptions, hoaxes and religions that have emerged from the field of UFOlogy.

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November 29th: Grimoires—Part II (episode 143)

MonsterTalk continues its series on Magic with Part II of its coverage of Grimoires. We continue our interview with researcher Jerry Drake, and focus on the view of magic books in various magical traditions of Western Europe.

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November 22nd: Grimoires—Part I (episode 142)

In this episode MonsterTalk continues its special series on Magic as it examines the history of Grimoires in Western culture. State Department Archivist Jerry Drake, PhD, discusses the history of magic books, magic writing and how it fits into the history of science. This is the first of a two-part interview.

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November 15th: The Crypto-Kid (episode 141)

In this episode of MonsterTalk, we interview cryptozoology enthusiast Colin Schneider, a young and enthusiastic researcher of Fortean and paranormal topics about his research into animal exsanguination. It’s a fun discussion of the field of cryptozoology, the disturbing topic of animal mutilation and the work done by the British organization, the Center for Fortean Zoology.

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October 30th: Haunted Objects (episode 140)

Happy Halloween! In this special bonus episode (no charge for our Patreon supporters) we join the Archeology Fantasies podcast crew (Sarah Head, Jeb Card and Ken Feder) to talk about “Haunted Objects” and a variety of other spooky topics. Warning: The language in this episode is uncensored, there are way too many puns, and alcohol was consumed during the recording. You’ve been warned.

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October 29th: Witches, Pleas (episode 139)

Just in time for Halloween, we begin our multi-episode coverage of “magic” by taking a look at the witch in Western European culture with the editor of The Skeptic, Deborah Hyde (@Jourdemayne). In a wide-ranging conversation we talk about the alleged powers of witches, the difference between the more benign figure of the Cunning Woman and the culturally monstrous figure of the witch as viewed during Witch Crazes and Witch Hunts.

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October 18th: American Goblins—Part 3 (episode 138)

Our final part of our three-part look at the Kentucky Goblins case of 1955 concludes with an interview with the hosts of Astonishing Legends, Scott Philbrook and Forrest Burgess. We discuss the facts of the case, possible explanations, and the problems with the Wikipedia entry and the scholarly journal article cited within it. This episode’s topic is also discussed in a blog post by Blake Smith: Astonishing Legends, Questionable Facts.

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October 11th: American Goblins—Part 2 (episode 137)

In this episode of MonsterTalk — The Science Show About Monsters, we continue our examination of the case of the Kentucky Goblins. Blake is joined by CSI investigator Joe Nickell to discuss the details of the Kelly-Hopkinsville case and what real world creature Joe thinks best accounts for the mysterious events on that Kentucky farm back in 1955.

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October 4th: American Goblins—Part 1 (episode 136)

In August of 1955, a farm family in Kentucky found their home under attack by strange goblin-like monsters. In the years since the attack, the case has retained a perplexing endurance. What happened that night in Kentucky? Were aliens to blame? Underworld monsters? Misidentified natural causes? This is part one of our discussion of what has become known as The Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter.

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September 20th: The Tracks We Left At DragonCon and CryptidCon (episode 135)

In this episode of MonsterTalk, Karen and Blake discuss MonsterTalk’s presence at Dragon*Con and CryptidCon 2017. Blake got to travel to Kentucky for the inaugural cryptid-themed convention and had many interesting interactions with monster fans from across the country.

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August 30th: The Science Behind Monsters (episode 134)

In this episode of MonsterTalk, we take a look at the convergence of science and monsters, as Blake Smith prepares to talk at 2017’s CryptidCon in Frankfort, Kentucky. What does science have to tell us about monsters?

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August 16th: Dropbears (episode 133)

Australia is home to monsters both real and legendary. In a country where a tiny octopus is toxic enough to kill 20 adults, where huge spiders can catch birds and eat them, where people are so tough that they voluntarily eat Vegemite, what kind of creature could be the apex monster? Not the bunyip. Not the yowie. Keep looking up in the trees; it’s time to face the dropbears!

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July 26th: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft (episode 132)

Author Scott Poole (previously with us for Vampira and Monsters in America) joins us to talk about his new biography on American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, In The Mountains of Madness: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H.P. Lovecraft. What is it about the writing of this peculiar and complicated writer from New England that has cast such an oversized shadow over American literature?

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July 12th: Naming Monsters (episode 131)

What’s in a name? More than you might imagine, if you’re a scientist trying to officially name a new species. In this episode of MonsterTalk, we talk to Ichthyologist Ben Frable about the process (and many challenges) of scientifically identifying and naming new species.

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June 28th: England’s Most Haunted Village (episode 130)

Is the little village of Pluckley truly the most haunted village in England? We interview skeptical ghost hunter Hayley Stevens (The Spooktater) about the curious little town more famous for its dead than its living.

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June 21st: Minions, Mobs & Myrmidons (episode 129)

From ancient Greece to modern movies, monsters and villains often get their assistance from mindless mobs of maleficent minions. Are they simply plot devices, or do minions tell us something about the real-world role of the follower when loyal obedience is valued more than heroic ethics? In this episode of Monstertalk, David Perlumtter and Cait Mongrain join us to discuss Minions, Mobs and Myrmidons.

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May 17th: Spooky Geology (episode 128)

In this episode, MonsterTalk welcomes back notable skeptic, scientist, researcher and author (and now Podcaster) Sharon Hill. Sharon’s got a new podcast (15 Credibility Street), new science blog (Spooky Geology), and a book coming out later this year. In this discussion we talk about skepticism, science communication and the mysterious phenomena known as The Stone Tape theory of repetitive hauntings.

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May 3rd: Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot (episode 127)

In this episode of MonsterTalk Blake Smith interviews Joe Gisondi, author of Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot. A journalism professor takes us on a first-hand tour of Bigfoot Hunter culture.

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April 12th: The Enfield Poltergeist — Part 2 (episode 126)

Part 2 of our look at the Enfield Poltergeist brings together interviews with Chris French (@ChrisCFrench), Joe Nickell (@RealJoeNickell) and Deborah Hyde (@jourdemayne). We look at why skeptics tend to be so reluctant to accept the existence of poltergeists.

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April 5th: Man’s Best Fiend (episode 125)

In this episode of MonsterTalk, we are joined by folklorist and author Mark Norman to discuss legends of black hounds. Mark is the author of Black Dog Folklore as well as the host of The Folklore Podcast. This is a special cross-over episode with The Folklore Podcast and contains a slightly different edit of the interview audio. Discussion ranges from the legends of dark hounds in European folklore, to the nature of the academic study of folklore.

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March 29th: Crush, Crumble and Chomp (episode 124)

This MonsterTalk is another special literary/pop-culture episode as we take on the biggest topic in monsters: Giant City-Destroying Kaiju! Guests are Ed Godziszewski author of Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa (Oct 2017) and Michael Keller, co-author (with Edward Holland) of the magazine Monster Attack Team and the upcoming podcast Area 42.

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March 8th: The Enfield Poltergeist — Part 1 (episode 123)

In this episode of MonsterTalk we present an interview with Guy Lyon Playfair, one of the original investigators into perhaps the most famous British poltergeist case in modern times.

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February 8th: Psychic Soldiers and Imperilled Silverware (episode 122)

In this MonsterTalk, we’re pleased to bring you an interview with psychologist Ray Hyman, a long time skeptical activist and educator, a founding member of CSICOP (now CSI) and one of the key investigators into the US government’s program to develop psychic soldiers. Some of this story was revealed in Jon Ronson’s The Men Who Stare at Goats, but in this interview you’ll hear Ray’s personal recollections about magic, skepticism and the mysterious claims of a famous psychic named Uri Geller.

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January 11th: One Rogue Planet: A Star Warrior’s Story (episode 121)

In this episode of MonsterTalk, we continue with Part 2 of our coverage of Zecharia Sitchin and “Planet-X” aka “Nibiru” by talking with astronomer Stuart Robbins, host of the Exposing PseudoAstronomy pocast. We discuss rogue planets, exo-planets, and the curious history of “Planet-X” apocalypse stories.

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