Although able to appear as a beautiful young woman, the jorōgumo is really a deadly spider monster in disguise. This episode dives into the fascinating world of yōkai and the long history of beautiful women and spiders in Japanese folklore. You’ll learn about the real-world spider that may have inspired this monster, and discover two of the oldest recorded jorōgumo stories in existence.
In this special episode, Dr. Zarka shows you what’s inside her “go bag,” a kit of survival supplies she keeps on hand at all times. In this episode you’ll find out how the horror genre can inspire real-world preparedness and take a look at how humans throughout history use literature, film, and art as ways to explore (and even practice for) real-world pandemics and disasters.
Dr. Zarka explains the timeline of this Internet folklore sensation, examining how unlike so many other monster origins stories, we know exactly when and why this one was created. From Creepypasta to video games, horror movies to doctored photographs, Slenderman is everywhere. Find out why he consumes our imaginations.
Jinn is a popular character in fiction and their origins continue to influence Islamic cultures today. From the Qur’an to The Thousand and One Nights, the story of Aladdin to I Dream of Jeannie and everything in between—the jinn are more than just a being trapped in a lamp who grants wishes. They’re powerful, intellectual entities whose stories are woven into ancient Islamic culture.
Dr. Zarka examines the yeti’s origins, from Tibetan folklore and religion to the Westernized abominable snowman version. She explains how Buddhist beliefs, a series of intrepid 20th-century explorers, and a creatively translated word make the yeti the creature we recognize today—and how it led to some pretty incredible scientific discoveries.
Hansel and Gretel is one of the most famous fairy tales of the Western world, and contains one of the most notorious witches. In this episode you’ll learn about witch trials in Germany, the role famine and poverty play in creating monsters, and how the Grimm brothers evolved oral folklore into legendary tales. The real story of Hansel and Gretel is even more scary than you think.
He can grow higher than the trees, or smaller than a blade of grass. Both demon and deity, guardian and antagonist, the Leshy is rooted deep in the cultural and religious history of the Slavic people.