It’s the day of romance. You can almost smell the roses and taste the milk chocolate. But beyond all the modern adornments, Valentine’s Day has a murky and dark past. Full of strange rituals, quirky superstitions, and fascinating lore, this episode will put a new spin on the day of love.
I often ask my friends what their favorite fairy tale is. It gives me an idea of their personality. Because I have a lot of friends who love books, Beauty and the Beast is probably the most popular answer. Who can resist the sweet, intelligent charms of Belle?
At our core, we all want someone who can love us past our looks and our sometimes rough nature. We want someone who sees the Beast within but isn't afraid.
The most tragic events are often the ones that are the most remembered. Such is the case of the 1897 Paris tragedy. The Bazar de la Charité would be the end of many of France's most wealthiest women. Thirty terrifying minutes would change everything.
Death at a charity bazaar makes one remember the phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished." This horrible accident reminds us that tragedy isn't a respecter of persons. We're all fighting to survive.
"I will do something by-and-by. Don't care what, teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family, and I'll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won't." – These are the words of young Louisa May Alcott, a determined woman who sought to pull her family from poverty in a time when women rarely did such a thing. Much like her literary counterpart, Jo March, Louisa was a rebel with a fundamental cause—to feed her parents and sisters. The Alcott family struggled most of their lives, and if it weren't for Louisa, they likely would have continued to do so.
Born November 29th, 1832, to transcendentalist parents Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott, Louisa worked from an early age to help the family's ongoing financial crisis. She proved to be a force in the literary world with her novel, Little Women, which skyrocketed her fame and cemented her place in classic literature.
Many women and some men have fond memories of the first time they read the book—the cozy feelings they felt when escaping in the loving warmth of the March’s home. I certainly have those memories.
But life for Louisa and her family was much more challenging than the charming novel described.
While some prefer their cozy warm drinks, nights by the fire and sweet romance movies on television, others of us enjoy a deep dive into folklore. We want to know what is hiding in the shadows of the holiday season. We want to know the secrets.
We’re about to venture outside the traditional box—wrapped in lovely paper with bright, big bows—of Christmas. Warning: There will be devils.
Promp: Homespun Haints
Deep in the rolling hills of North Carolina, sits a stately manor that rivals the castles of Europe. Built by a true visionary, the Biltmore Estate is a breathtaking place. And just beyond its borders, the town of Asheville has some secrets to share.
Let’s step back in time and visit America’s version of Downton Abbey and its neighboring town. There will be grandeur, and there just may be a few ghosts.
Promo: Realm of Unknown
The South has its beauty with dripping Spanish moss, massive oaks, thick woods, and vibrant green vegetation. Along with the remnants of abandoned mansions and decaying buildings—forgotten and buried in a time long ago—the South has more than a few skeletons in its closet. And its secrets keep crawling out of the grave, refusing to stay buried.
After a recent trip to Atlanta and its hauntingly beautiful Historic Oakland Cemetery, I picked up a few books that uncover some of the Gate City’s dark past. This is the horrifically true story of the Atlanta Ripper.
Promo: History Goes Bump
What makes a witch a witch? In colonial times, it didn't take much for one to be accused of witchcraft. Such was the case of Moll Dyer, a woman accused of witchcraft in colonial Maryland. She lost her life because of superstition. This is a cautionary tale that's been remembered for over 320 years.
And for good reason…
Promo: Southern Gothic
Her birth took a life. Her life birthed a nightmare. And her greatest loves died way too soon.
Most of us have read and watched the various versions of Frankenstein. The image of the nameless monster created by a mad scientist is at the center of horror culture. But what inspired such a horrific and grisly tale?
Mary Shelley’s life was its own gothic tragedy—full of loss, pain, and even a few monsters.
This episode mentions rape and cannibalism. Listener/reader discretion is advised.
Fairy tales remind us that there is real evil in the world, but that evil cannot and will not prevail. But the marks it leaves on us are unmistakable, unavoidable, and sometimes have everlasting consequences.
The real story of Sleeping Beauty, at its core, isn't a tale of a damsel in distress; instead, it's a tale of overcoming the worst monstrosities to the best of her ability. The early editions reveal a dark truth. When women are mistreated, bad things happen—the princess learns to save herself, or monsters are created.
Promo: Short Stories of Augie Peterson