Dr. Z travels to the town of Point Pleasant, WV to research the complicated history of the flying creature and how the town was forever changed by the myth of the Mothman. Newspapers gave the winged, red-eyed creature its name after it was spotted on November 15, 1966—an incident followed by almost a hundred other eyewitness accounts.
Explore the symbolic interpretations of the windigo with Dr. Zarka as she explains how this Native American legend can teach us about the spiritual beliefs and social values of the early indigenous peoples of North America.
Dr. Zarka shows how this wailing female ghost connects to the very real Irish tradition of keening— a rhythmic wailing and mourning performed by women as part of the death ritual. Tune in to see how fact and fiction combine to create a supernatural tradition that connects the people of Ireland to their ancestors.
In this episode, you’ll hear all about Homer’s Polyphemus and Hesiod’s one-eyed blacksmiths, but also a little about the role paleontology has played in creating monsters. Join Dr. Zarka and special guests Kallie Moore and Blake de Pastino from Eons to learn all about the surprising fossil inspiration behind cyclopes.
From the invading, high-tech aliens of ‘War of the Worlds’ to post-world war escapism literature and even real-life scientific exploration today, the stories of Martians have changed throughout time. Find out how we’ve gone from viewing Mars as a pre-existing utopia populated by alien races to actually seeing the planet as a potential new home for earthlings.
The legend of La Llorona, the “weeping woman,” has terrified generations. This female ghost wanders in the darkness, crying as she searches for her children--the children she murdered. Some even say that she will capture other kids in her desperation. How could a murderous mother become such a cultural symbol?
Made from clay and animated by the sacred word of G-d, the golem of Jewish origin has evolved from a 6th-century meditation of creation, to a source of labor, and finally, an avenging symbol of redemption. The golem many people recognize today wasn’t invented until the 19th century--but how did it become so influential?
The impossible, three-headed monster of Ancient Greek mythology, the Chimaera, may have started off as a fantasy, but today, the word “chimera” can be used to refer to anything that seems impossible. This includes the real-life, interspecies animals humans have successfully created.
Godzilla is one of the most recognizable monsters in film, and he should be. After all, he is part of the longest running film franchise in the world, but you might be surprised to learn that his history in literature is just as prolific. Without his giant footsteps paving the way, we wouldn’t have the female kaijū Mothra, who is perhaps even more beloved.
Did you know there are two different types of chupacabras? Or that these bloodsucking monsters only starting popping up 25 years ago? Sightings of el chupacabras, the “goatsucker,” began in Puerto Rico in 1994 for a very real reason—the unexplained deaths of many farm animals.
What do the Sagas of the Icelanders and Game of Thrones have in common? Dr. Zarka answers this question and explores how the draugr, Nordic undead monsters, bear a striking resemblance to the White Walkers—and more importantly, how these monsters connect to the history of Ancient Nordic peoples.
Medusa has inspired art for centuries, whether as a symbol of protection or a monster. Explore her literary and cultural history in this episode of Monstrum from PBS Digital Studios. #GreatReadPBS
Stories of blood-sucking monsters have been around for centuries. But the one who have outlived them all is Dracula! Revisit the Count and other vampires he inspired in this episode of Monstrum
In the first episode of Monstrum, Dr. Emily Zarka reveals the mythological origins of iconic dragons from Game of Thrones and The Hobbit, and explains why dragons have been a part of human culture for thousands of years.
Now celebrating its 200th anniversary, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was a revolutionary text that pioneered the sci-fi genre. On the surface, it’s a novel about a scary monster, but the sympathetic description of a soulful creature makes us rethink the label.