MonsterTalk: The Science Show About Monsters is a free audio podcast that critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or werewolves.


  • Blake and Karen take listener questions

    May 15 2020

    In the March 29th episode, Karen and Blake hang out and take listener questions. This video will be available on YouTube.

  • MonsterTalk Live - Douglas Tate

    May 15 2020

    Actor Douglas Tate joins us to talk about playing monsters in film.  Douglas has played Bigfoot more than any other actor. (YouTube of this interview)   (IMDB) Douglas Tait was born on December 17, 1978 in Tarzana, California, USA as Douglas J. Tait. He is known for his work on Annabelle Comes Home (2019), Hellboy (2019) and Legacies (2018).

  • MonsterTalk Live - Brian Sharples - 22MAR2020

    May 06 2020

    [EXPLICIT] Audio (podcast) feed from our MonsterTalk Live - this one with Dr. Brian Sharpless discussing the weird (real life) conditions behind lots of movies and myths. Brian previously joined us for one of my favorite interviews to discuss Sleep Paralysis. Find Brian's books and info here: http://briansharpless.com/index.html Video of this Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvlN8c-CcZo&t=131s  

  • 212 - We Believe in Dinosaurs

    Apr 25 2020

    [Warning: This episode deals with politics and religion.] Karen and Blake discuss the new film We Believe in Dinosaurs with filmmaker Clayton Brown (who co-directed with Monica Long Ross) and paleontologist Dan Phelps.  Want to help Dan with his research into the financial entities behind these parks? Reach out to him and volunteer: edrioasteroid@msn.com We Believe in Dinosaurs is streaming on: Amazon | Apple TV | Google Play | VUDU | X-Box    Interested in the movie? Join the Virtual Watch Par...more

  • #211 - The Screaming Skulls

    Mar 31 2020

    Today Karen and Blake discuss "Screaming Skulls" - a surprisingly common yet particularly English kind of haunting. Karen has a new short story based on this legend. Multiple Examples: Bettiscombe manor, Bettiscome, Dorset Dickie – Tunstead Farm, Tunstead Milton, Derbyshire  Skull of St Ambrose Barlow – Wardley Hall, Manchester (1641) - Catholic relic  Skull of (Katherine) Anne Griffith – Burton Agnes Hall, Yorkshire (1620) “Owd Nance” -  Skull of Theophilus Broome – Higher Chilton Farm, Chil...more

  • Announcement: MonsterTalk Live

    Mar 29 2020

    We're doing a live video-chat with guest Brian Sharpless. Sunday night March 29, 2020 9 pm EST   The show is free - but it's being streamed via Facebook so you'll need to join the MonsterTalk Facebook Group to participate.   We plan to switch to streaming via YouTube soon - but this worked well in our small trial run last week.  Hopefully, you'll enjoy hanging out with some other listeners and talking monsters. The topic for this one is the psychological conditions behind popular horror movie...more

  • Spooktator Presents: Hellier (Haylier)

    Mar 29 2020

    It's Blake here! I made a little cameo over at Hayley Stevens' podcast The Spooktator, joining Jeb Card (In ReSearch Of) to talk about the paranormal series HELLIER (Amazon, YouTube).  If you're not familiar with that show, it's an independent paranormal show that combines pretty much every kind of paranormal topic you can think of into a strange narrative about... you know what?  Just check out our coverage.   (And Hayley's extensive show notes HERE.) 

  • 210 - Going Viral: The Covid19 Monster

    Mar 15 2020

    Discussing COVID19 with virology expert Vincent Racaniello. Best place to get Covid19 Information:  WHO (World Health Organization) and CDC (Center for Disease Control) sites for the latest factual information on this pandemic.  Non-Profit Vaccine Effort: https://cepi.net/ Tony Fauci - NHI health advisor to US Master site for Vincent's network:  http://www.microbe.tv/ Shows from the Microbe.TV network:  IMMUNE * TWiEVO: This Week in Evolution * TWiM: This Week in Microbiology * TWiN: This Week i...more

  • 209 - Strange But True

    Mar 11 2020

    We are joined by author Kathryn Hulick, author of the new book Strange but True: 10 of the World's Greatest Mysteries Explained. The book introduces 10 weird topics covering everything from Atlantis to Zombies and meshes it all with skepticism and critical thinking. It's a great way to introduce a curious teen to the strange and unusual while arming them with the right tools to examine the questions critically.  Topics include haunted houses, zombies, the mystery of Dyatlov pass and more. Find K...more

  • Introducing Life's Little Mysteries

    Mar 02 2020

    The world can be a pretty mysterious place and we at Live Science love to ask and answer questions about mysteries big and small: about ancient civilizations, our planet and our solar system, the plants and animals that live alongside us, our bodies and how they work, and the technologies that we use every day. Join us on this exciting voyage of discovery and downright weirdness as we solve… Life’s Little Mysteries. Find Life's Little Mysteries in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audioboom, iHeartRadi...more

  • 208 - Monsters in the Media

    Feb 22 2020

    We welcome Dr. James Mueller, associate dean of Journalism at the University of North Texas.   He's the author of three books (with a fourth on the way) and they are:  Shooting Arrows and Slinging Mud: Custer, the Press, and the Little Bighorn Tag Teaming the Press  Towel Snapping the Press. He's also a member of the American Journalism Historians Association, and he joins us to talk about the history of newspapers and journalism and how to contextualize weird stories in the news. Discussed in ...more

  • 207 - The Guyra Ghost

    Feb 01 2020

    Karen tells us about her research into the strange 1921 case known as "The Guyra Ghost."  Rocks thrown, windows broken, strange knockings, spiritualists, and more!  Her write up of this investigation appears in the January 2020 issue of Fortean Times. Discussed in this episode: The Guyra Ghost Mystery (1921) - lost contemporary comedy film shot on location Minnie Bowen, the center of the alleged haunting: Photograph of window damage at the Bowen home.     Related: Karen's two recent short stor...more

  • #206 - Magic: Wicca and Witchcraft

    Jan 22 2020

    We are joined by Rebecca Fox, who has been both a witch and a science & skepticism advocate, to discuss the history of modern witchcraft.  RIP Terry Jones (of Monty Python) who passed away on Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020. Discussed in this episode: Gerald Gardner, father of Wicca  Doreen Valiente  Margaret Murray, an anthropologist whose The Witch-Cult in Western Europe was very influential on both Wicca and H. P. Lovecraft & R. E. Howard Ronald Hutton, author of Triumph of the Moon and The Witch.

  • #205 - Burial Practice Makes Perfect

    Dec 29 2019

    Tana's Thesis: Paying Respects: Death, Commodity Culture, and the Middle Class in Victorian London. Death Photos of the Victorian Age - memento mori  The Catholic incorruptible saints British "natural death" burial laws Garden Cemeteries The Cremation Society (behind the 1902 UK Cremation Act) The Highgate Vampire case of the early 1970s Nicholas Cage's pyramid tomb in New Orleans St. Louis Cemetery  (Source: Atlas Obscura) New Orleans Above Ground Burial: "When St. Peter Street graveyard was c...more

  • Christmas Special 2019

    Dec 24 2019

    A reading of The Night Wire by H. F. Arnold.  Karen and I wish you all a safe and happy holiday.  Oh - and if you're doing any traveling for the season I suggest you steer clear of Xebico. Some background on Mr. Arnold.

  • 204 - Joe vs the Sea Monsters

    Dec 19 2019

    We're joined by veteran monster investigator Joe Nickell (of CSI) to discuss three historic sea monster cases he thinks he's solved. Classic monsters and science in this one. Case Files discussed in this episode: Gloucester Sea Serpent  Arkansas White River Monster  Kraken: Monster of the Deep  Also mentioned: Karen has some new short stories on Amazon!  

  • MonsterTalk finally has a shop!

    Dec 12 2019

    Snag some merchandise based on our new artwork at http://bit.ly/shopmonstertalk - 30% off sale going on right now.

  • #203 - Will O' The Wisp

    Nov 15 2019

    [Correction inserted Nov 15, 9:30 AM regarding the gas in the Cameroon lake incident being CO2, not Methane.] This episode we look at Will O' The Wisp, Ghost Lights, Ball Lightning and all manner of glowing monstrous and bizarre lucent phenomena.  Joining us for the discussion is researcher, Jerry Drake.  We discuss some quite peculiar case details and Jerry has sent me some photos that I've attached here in the show notes. Let us know what you think over at the MonsterTalk Facebook Group.   ...more

  • 202 - Monstrous with Carlyn Beccia

    Oct 29 2019

    Carlyn Beccia has written a new book for kids that combines Monsters and Science!  Monstrous: The Lore, Gore and Science Behind Your Favorite Monsters is an ooey-gooey romp through the world of monsters and the many fascinating things you can learn when you apply science to their premises.  But don't think it's just for kids. This book has lots of cool, disgusting, crunchy science morsels in it plus gorgeous art that make it a perfect Coffee Table book for macabre decor.  Here are some sample sh...more

  • #201 - Serial Killers

    Oct 23 2019

    We're joined by Stacy Sharp, friend of the show and former USN law enforcement with Blake back in his Navy days in Bahrain. Stacy has spent much of his post-Navy career working in law enforcement, victims rights and the judicial system.  Discussion is on serial killers, their motivations, their methodologies and how to balance fascination with the macabre with keeping the victims rather than the killers foremost in mind.  The crimes discussed in this episode are graphic, disturbing and will not...more

  • Introducing "IN RESEARCH OF"

    Oct 05 2019

    This is a sample episode of our new show In reSearch Of, which I'm co-hosting with Jeb Card.  I hope you'll consider subscribing.  I'm planning to keep the regular IRO episodes free, but offer bonus content for Patreon supporters. This is the pilot episode of In reSearch Of, the show where we watch the original TV show IN SEARCH OF… and consider some of the explanations that the producers chose not to present. In our inaugural episode, we watch the TV Special In Search of Ancient Astronauts, a r...more

  • 200 - In Search Of...

    Oct 05 2019

    A look back at the highly influential television show In Search Of... which was hosted by Leonard Nimoy.  Features remembrances from Steven Novella, Lyle Blackburn, Matthew Baxter, and Brian Dunning. Along with archaeologist Jeb Card, I'm launching a new show called In Research Of... which will revisit this original series and add some explanations the producers chose not to include. (Link to show on iTunes.) In Search Of... had 6 seasons in its original run and you can currently (as of this pos...more

  • #199 - We Never Play Ouija Bored

    Sep 04 2019

    Is the Ouija Board a tool for talking to the dead? Or is it just a game from Hasbro? We dig into the history of Talking Boards with Robert Murch!   LINKS: The Talking Board Historical Society (Est. 2013) Helen Peter Nosworthy Michael Faraday & Spiritualism

  • #198 - The Grotesque 10

    Sep 01 2019

    In a follow-up to our episode on Gargoyles, photographer and author Mathew M. Duman has produced a new book visiting ten American campuses with gothic architectural and artistic features to document them for your edification and delight. Check out his book, The Grotesque 10 at his website. During our interview, we talked about the term for the sculptures on a church bench. Some of these are called Bench Ends, and others are called Poppy Heads. I thought I should include that detail here. You can...more

  • The Frighteners

    Aug 11 2019

    Check out our Audible deal, where you can select Peter Law's book The Frighteners or any of the amazing titles from the Audible collection.   What is it like to be an ordained minister who loves the macabre? And is there a value to the morbid, horrific and dark milieu beyond the financial? What if it turned out that horror can even be therapy? We talk with author Peter Laws about these questions and more. The Frighteners: A Journey Through our Cultural Fascination with the Macabre    Peter's ...more

  • What Makes US Tick

    Aug 09 2019

      There are a lot of weird Tick stories in the news lately.  From stories of exsanguinated cows in North Carolina, to books about government conspiracy and bioweapons testing of ticks as delivery vehicles for disease, it seems everybody's trying to latch onto tick and tick-borne disease stories.  Acarologist Dr. Danielle Tufts, visits with us to help debunk some of the outright myths about ticks, to tell us more about how these diseases are transferred, and to get a better grip on how frighten...more

  • Thomas Jefferson: Monster Hunter

    Jul 29 2019

    If you thought Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter was fun - wait till you hear the shocking true story of Thomas Jefferson, Monster Hunter!  We're joined by Justin Mullis who presented his paper on Jefferson's work in Cryptozoology at the Of Gods and Monsters conference at Texas State in San Marcos, in April 2019. Links of interest: Martin Rudwick - The Meaning of Fossils  Glossopetrae - an outdated theory about fossilized shark teeth  Lee Alan Dugatkin's Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose   Georges...more

  • The Mapinguari Is Not The Territory

    Jul 15 2019

    We've officially hit a decade of MonsterTalk. In this episode we get "old school" and talk about the legendary Mapinguari, and how cryptozoologists have tried to explain the folklore of this massive South American animal by claiming it to be a kind of Bigfoot creature, or even a Giant Ground Sloth. We take a deep dive into what Paleontology can tell us about the real historical records of Giant Ground Sloths (Megatherium) and see how well these creatures line up with the legend of the Mapinguari...more

  • The Shaver Mysteries (Part 2)

    Jun 28 2019

    In part two of our Shaver Mystery coverage, we look at the influence of Ray Palmer and Richard Shaver on Science Fiction, UFOlogy, and the cultural fringe. (Part two of our Shaver Mystery coverage featuring Drs. Jerry Drake and Jeb Card). Read the episode notes

  • The Shaver Mysteries (Part 1)

    Jun 18 2019

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, we get a brief overview of the history of Hollow Earth theories and start our deep dive into the topic of The Shaver Mystery with repeat guests Dr. Jerry Drake and Dr. Jeb Card. Weird-Science, lost civilizations, UFOs, and Nazis — this story has more threads than a fancy bedsheet set! Read the episode notes

  • The Zana Problem

    May 28 2019

    MonsterTalk revisits the story of Zana, the alleged Almasti wild woman of Abkhazia who was the subject of Bryan Sykes DNA research in his book The Nature of the Beast. A legendary forest spirit of the Balkans may have some relevance to the story of Zana and her descendants. Read the epsiode notes

  • Dragons

    May 27 2019

    Where do Dragons come from — and why do so many cultures have them? Learn about the origins of Dragon legends with Eric Mortensen of Guilford College. Our conversation also touches on Fairies and Yeti — and we will doubtless be revisiting both Eric and the topic of Dragons in future episodes. Read the episode notes

  • Ghosts of the White House

    May 16 2019

    An interview with White House historian Lindsay Chervinsky (of the White House Historical Association) about the ghostly legends of the White House. Read the episode notes

  • Larry Blamire

    May 02 2019

    Larry Blamire, the talented writer, artist and director of the indy homage to 50’s cinema, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra joins us to talk monsters. Hurry up and support Larry’s Kickstarter for the 10-year anniversary BluRay of The Lost Skeleton Returns Again. Read the episode notes

  • Monsters of the Mythos

    May 02 2019

    H.P. Lovecraft Literary Crossover! I’m joined by Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer of the incredible H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast to talk monsters of the mythos. It’s a wide-ranging wild and wacky ride. Hang on to your earbuds! If you’re not already a subscriber to their fine product, I urge you to waste no time in fixing that! Warning: Listener discretion is advised.  

  • Disputin’ Rasputin

    Apr 15 2019

    An illuminating discussion about the Russian Monk, Rasputin, by author Douglas Smith. We’ll be discussing the myths and facts about Rasputin as described in Smith’s book, Rasputin: Faith, Power and the Twilight of the Romanovs. Read the episode notes

  • Hitler’s Monsters

    Apr 03 2019

    In MonsterTalk episode # 187, we talk about the role of the supernatural and occult in Nazi Germany. Our guest is author Dr. Eric Kurlander, author of the book Hitler’s Monsters, which chronicles the rise of the Nazis and their strange relationship with the occult including fringe theories, Border Science, astrology, homeopathy, and even Nostradamus. Read the episode notes

  • Humans as Monsters

    Mar 29 2019

    In MonsterTalk episode # 186 we talk with Dr. David D. Perlmutter, dean of the College of Media & Communications at Texas Tech University in Lubbock about the ways that humans can become monsters, and the ways that humans turn other humans into monsters. We discuss war crimes both recent and ancient, serial killers, and more. We reference his book, Visions of War. This free Patreon-edit of the show is brought to you by TTU’s new STEM Leadership Communication online program. Read the episode no...more

  • The Resurrection of Bob Lazar(us)

    Mar 09 2019

    A new UFO/Area-51 documentary by Jeremy Corbell (see Hunt for the Skinwalker mentioned in MonsterTalk Patreon Bonus Episode 001) has been very successful. Blake and Karen discuss the documentary and the legend of Bob Lazar. Some of Lazar’s personal history deals with adult topics, so I’m putting an explicit tag on this episode. Read the episode notes

  • Ghost Hunting Gear

    Mar 09 2019

      In this episode of MonsterTalk, Karen and Blake are joined by Mathew Baxter (paranormal investigator, lecturer, magician and Karen’s husband) to talk about ghost hunting gear used by amateur investigators. Read the episode notes

  • Monstrous Medicine: Disease

    Feb 23 2019

    What is a disease? We’re joined by science writer Mike McRae, author of Unwell: What Makes a Disease a Disease? to discuss the history of the whole concept of diseases which turn out to have a large, often hidden, social component. For US audiences, be advised that Mike’s book is not available directly in the US. You’ll need to order it through an International bookseller like Booktopia (link above). Read the epsiode notes

  • Skinwalker Ranch Dressing

    Jan 30 2019

    This is Patreon Bonus content edited slightly for the regular MonsterTalk feed. (Expect more of this content thanks to the generous support of our Patrons.) This episode is a deep dive into the Skinwalker Ranch mystery and a discussion of the new documentary, Hunt for the Skinwalker. Dr. Jeb Card (Spooky Archaeology) joins me for the discussion.

  • Teaching with Monsters

    Jan 29 2019

    In episode 182 of MonsterTalk, we are delighted to introduce Dr. Thor Hansen to listeners. For several years he’s been teaching a course at Western Washington University that uses monsters to teach science. I think you’re going to enjoy what he’s been up to — and I know some of you may want to reach out to him about similar projects or check out his course online. Listen to MonsterTalk via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App for iOS, Androi...more

  • The Monkey’s Paw

    Dec 25 2018

    For the Annual MonsterTalk Christmas Special, Blake Smith reads The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs. Read the episode notes

  • La Corriveau

    Dec 25 2018

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, we’re joined by historian Joseph Gagne to discuss the many legends and interesting facts about one of Quebec’s most legendary historical figures. Witch? Murderer? Whatever she was in life, her story has seeded hundreds of legends and fictions. Read the episode notes

  • Ghosts, Gears, Gadgets and Golems

    Dec 18 2018

    Peter Bebergal studied religion and culture at Harvard Divinity School, and is the author of the new book Strange Frequencies, which chronicles many of the ways people have sought to use technology to transcend the mundane to reach the numinous. We talk about the ways people have used (and continue to use) technology in fringe research, art, entertainment, and in pursuit of revelation. Listen to MonsterTalk via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Get the MonsterTalk Podca...more

  • Monsters and Folklore of the Balkans

    Nov 30 2018

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, we are joined by Christopher Klimovitz in a wide-ranging discussion of the history and monstrous folklore of the Balkans. From ghosts and vampires to fairies and Baba Yaga, this region has been fractured by war but bound together with stories. Listen to MonsterTalk via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App for iOS, Android, and Windows. Read the episode notes

  • The Bunyip Seal of Approval

    Nov 26 2018

    In this episode, we go down to the billabong to look for a monster indigenous to Australian folklore and myth — but perhaps with a foot (-er flipper?) in the real world: The Bunyip. We are joined by cultural history professional Paul-Michael Donovan for a fascinating look at the legend (and a possible non-monstrous explanation) for this famous chimeric creek critter. Listen to MonsterTalk via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App for iOS, And...more

  • Appalachian Monsters

    Nov 12 2018

    Asher Elbein and Tiffany Turrill join us to talk about monsters and folklore of Appalachia. Their new project about fictional witch Anna O’Brien draws heavily from authentic folklore of this storied region of the United States. Read the episode notes

  • Big Footprints, Big Voice — Wild Thing

    Oct 30 2018

    Bigfoot nests, the Patterson-Gimlin film, DNA testing — it’s all new to journalist and former NPR producer Laura Krantz. She’s digging into the world of Bigfoot in the popular new podcast Wild Thing, and she joins MonsterTalk to discuss what it’s like to walk into the strange world of cryptozoology as an outsider. Listen to MonsterTalk via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App for iOS, Android, and Windows. Read the episode notes

  • MT/AF Cross-Over 3: Attack of the Killer Tangents

    Oct 29 2018

    Our third annual cross-over event with the Archy Fantasies Podcast features our combined efforts to find movies which highlight a theme familiar to listeners - and in keeping with our respective shows’ motifs. You’ll find ghosts, mummies, curses and plagues a plenty. We hope you enjoy it. Read the episode notes

  • Introducing Blackwood

    Oct 24 2018

    Five years ago, three teenagers set out to investigate the local legend of their small town, The Blackwood Bugman, and the mysterious disappearances and murders connected to him over the years. But as they soon come to find out, getting too close to the truth can be very dangerous. From the masterminds behind Hunt A Killer comes a chilling tale of secrets, monsters, and murder. Subscribe to Blackwood today at wondery.fm/monster.  

  • The Appeal of Yurei

    Oct 17 2018

    Dr. Chris Harding is a lecturer on Asian History at the University of Edinburgh. He has focused on Indian and Japanese history in his academic work, and recently wrote an article about Japanese ghost stories and their context in time. He joins MonsterTalk to discuss Yurei — the ghosts of Japan. Listen to MonsterTalk via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App for iOS, Android, and Windows. Read the episode notes

  • Smalltown Monsters

    Oct 10 2018

    Since 2015, Seth Breedlove has been producing documentaries about cryptozoology and the impact that a cluster of monster sightings can have on a small town. His latest film is The Bray Road Beast, and Seth joins us to discuss the peculiar aspects of the creature that some have called a werewolf, a dog-man or even a demonic entity. Listen to MonsterTalk via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App for iOS, Android, and Windows. Read the episode n...more

  • Jurassic Snark

    Oct 03 2018

    This weekend (Oct 6 & 7, 2018) Darren Naish is hosting TetZoo Con #5. It’s also been 25 years since the release of Jurassic Park. To celebrate, and promote Darren’s convention, I thought it would be fun to talk dinosaurs with a paleontologist. It was. An extended (and somewhat NSFW) version of this interview is available to Patreon supporters of any level. Read the episode notes

  • Long and Drawn Out: Bigfoot Pictographs

    Oct 02 2018

    An interview with archaeologist Ken Feder (see numerous other episodes including Giants and Atlantis) about the Tule River reservation Mayak Datat (“Hairy Man”) pictographs which have been called evidence for Bigfoot. Hopefully, this will be part 1 of at least a 2 part look. Listen to MonsterTalk via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App for iOS, Android, and Windows. Read the episode notes

  • To Sleep, Perchance to Scream

    Sep 26 2018

    Blake and Karen interview Jeffrey Reddick, a Hollywood screenwriter, producer, and director (perhaps best known for penning Final Destination) about his recent horror film Dead Awake which combines fictional elements with the real-world phenomena of sleep paralysis. Listen to MonsterTalk via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App for iOS, Android, and Windows. Read the episode notes

  • Seneca Legends

    Sep 24 2018

    Karen and Blake interview David Shango from the Seneca Nation Museum (in Salamanca, NY) about the legends and monsters of the Seneca people. This is the first part of some dedicated focus on Native American lore which we plan to cover over the next few months. Read the episode notes

  • Guns & Goblins: CryptidCon 2018

    Sep 12 2018

    Blake Smith and Jeb Card (Spooky Archaeology) discuss CryptidCon 2018 and Blake’s continuing research into the Kelly-Hopkinsville Goblins Case. (See MonsterTalk’s 3 part previous coverage: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) Additional notes later this week. Please check back. Read the episode notes

  • Werewolves and Change

    Sep 04 2018

    When did full moons become required in werewolf lore? Could the beast of Gevaudan have been a Hyena? Why does silver have such power in folklore? Can silver coins preserve milk? In episode 167 of MonsterTalk, Karen and Blake discuss further discoveries about werewolf lore. Read the episode notes  

  • Chained Heir: Gothic Horror in Glamis Castle

    Aug 29 2018

    Glamis Castle has secrets—and one of them is monstrous. Mike Dash (Spring Heeled Jack) joins us to talk about his research into the dark folklore around this ancient, beautiful household. Read the episode notes

  • Jail Ghost Round Table

    Aug 24 2018

    Blake and Karen are joined again by Hayley Stevens (The Spooktator Podcast) to talk about haunted jails and prisons. Hayley previously appeared on MonsterTalk in episode # 36 to discuss lake monster mysteries. Read the episode notes.  

  • Here Come The PERSONS In Black

    Jul 31 2018

    Karen and Blake discuss the early history of Men in Black lore going back to some primary sources. Stories of mysterious strangers questioning and intimidating (and confounding) UFO investigators have a strange, continuously evolving history. Read the episode notes  

  • The Toll of A. Bell

    Jul 25 2018

    MonsterTalk host Blake Smith looks back at the career and impact of radio-host Art Bell who passed away on April 13, 2018 at the age of 72. Bell’s influential radio show Coast to Coast AM (still being produced today with George Noory at the microphone) was the launching pad for thousands of stories of the bizarre, the mysterious and the conspiratorial. Was he simply an entertainer? Was he harmful to the American radio listener? Some thoughts on the cultural impact of this titan of the night. Rea...more

  • Krampus in July

    Jul 17 2018

    On a hot Summer day it’s nice to cool off and contemplate the hairy, horned winter monster of the Alps known as The Krampus. In MonsterTalk # 162, Blake interviews Al Ridenour, author of The Krampus and the Old Dark Christmas. Al is also the host of the folklore and pop-culture podcast Bone & Sickle. Read the episode notes  

  • The Call of Tut-Thulhu

    Jul 12 2018

    Archaeologist and author Jeb Card joins Blake Smith to discuss his new book Spooky Archaeology. The book is about many weird, spooky topics which are tied to the field of archaeology—but this episode spends a lot of time talking about the unusual connection between H. P. Lovecraft and the discovery of King Tut’s Tomb. Warning: Some of the language in this episode may not be suitable for children. Listener discretion is advised. Read the episode notes

  • The Meg

    Jun 27 2018

    Does a giant prehistoric shark lurk deep in the waters of the ocean, surviving against all odds to surprise us by occasionally biting a giant whale in half? No. But these animals did once exist and we don’t need to pretend they’re still alive to be blown away by their stunning biological features. We talk with Dr. Craig McClain about the amazing animal we call Megalodon. Read the episode notes

  • Nessie Unloched

    Jun 20 2018

    We interview Professor Neil Gemmell (@ProfGemmell) who is currently conducting eDNA research into various lake monsters of Scotland, especially Nessie and Morag. His lab at the University of Otago in New Zealand is hoping to find a lot of new information about the life within these cold, deep lakes using cutting edge techniques for gathering DNA from the waters at various depths. Neil was inspired to this research from reading MT alum Darren Naish’s book Hunting Monsters, which is now available ...more

  • An interview with Richard Hatem (Part II)

    Jun 06 2018

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, we present part two of Blake’s interview with screenwriter Richard Hatem about his work adapting John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies for the 2002 motion picture. If you missed Part I last week, listen to it first. Read the episode notes

  • An interview with Richard Hatem (Part I)

    May 30 2018

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, Blake interviews screenwriter Richard Hatem about his work adapting John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies for the 2002 motion picture. This wide-ranging discussion is broken into two parts. Part two will air next week, but Patreon supporters will have early access through http://patreon.com/monstertalk. Read the episode notes  

  • Magic: Sex, Drugs and Rocket Propulsion

    May 23 2018

    The history of magic and science converged in the explosive life of Jack Parsons. By day he was a pioneer in the field of rocket propulsion whose work helped win WWII. By night he performed magic rituals and hoped to invoke powers which would change the world. Researcher Jerry Drake joins us to tell the astonishing story of Jack Parsons, a man whose short life seemed to intersect with some of the most intriguing figures in pop-culture, religion and science, but whose career contributions seemed ...more

  • The Greyfriars Kirkyard Ghost

    May 16 2018

    Since the late 1990s people have been reporting strange incidents and injuries when touring the graveyard known as the Greyfriars Kirkyard. Some call it The Mackenzie Poltergeist, but whatever you call it it’s been the claimed cause of numerous injuries and scary stories. In this episode we interview City of the Dead tour-guide Fred Fogarty. We discuss the history of the site, some of the stories, and how one might do deeper research into this mystery. Note: Fred will be appearing at the Hawaii ...more

  • The Chicago Mothman — Site Seeing

    May 01 2018

    Allison Jornlin is a paranormal researcher and host of The Otherside podcast. She’s been diligently researching the recent (2017–present) Chicago Mothman sightings as popularized on Lon Strickler’s Phantoms and Monsters website and book. You can find all of Allison’s on-site video recordings from her Mothman research on YouTube. Read the episode notes

  • Spouting off about Gargoyles

    Apr 18 2018

    We’re getting our minds in the gutter this week but hopefully won’t leave you drained as we climb into the nooks and crevices of Yale University’s gargoyles and grotesques with photographer and author Mathew Duman, author of An Education in the Grotesque: The Gargoyles of Yale University. Read the episode notes

  • Rampage: A Huge Croc

    Mar 28 2018

    In the new movie Rampage, a giant mutant crocodile joins up with a giant ape and a giant wolf to destroy Chicago. But this is not the first giant croc to hit the big screen. Lake Placid (1999) and Alligator (1980) are just two of the many horror films that pit giant crocodilians against puny humans. The fossil record tells us that giant crocs did once roam the earth, but are they still out there today? Join us as we talk with Dr. Paul Willis about crocodiles, alligators and the facts and myths ...more

  • The Great Beast 666

    Mar 14 2018

      In this episode of MonsterTalk, we complete our discussion about Western Esotericism with John L. Crow. In this final part we talk about the life of occultist Aleister Crowley, a man some called The Wickedest Man on Earth. Read the episode notes

  • Magic: Spiritualism and Theosophy, Part II

    Feb 28 2018

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, we continue our discussion about Western Esotericism with John L. Crow. In part two, we talk about the origins of Theosophy, the nature of secret and occult societies in this era, and the groundwork that led to the rise of magical orders in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Theosophy figures into the modern Western conception of Tulpas, which we discussed in episode 86, and also Slenderman. Read the episode notes

  • Winchester’s Cathedral

    Feb 14 2018

    The Winchester Mystery House is a sprawling Victorian mansion in San Jose, California. It is a famous piece of American architectural history, yet nearly every story commonly told about its mysterious history is likely untrue. In this episode of MonsterTalk, we are joined by Colin Dickey, author of the fantastic book Ghostland to discuss the case of the Winchester house and some of the other fascinating places he covers in his fascinating work. Read the episode notes  

  • Magic: Spiritualism and Theosophy

    Jan 30 2018

    The 19th century saw the rise of a variety of secret and secretive movements. Free Masons, Spiritualists, Theosophy and Esoteric Orders give rise to a variety of mystic-themed groups whose influence lurks under the mainstream themes of the 19th century. In this episode of MonsterTalk, we talk with religious studies scholar John Crow about the birth of these movements and how they influenced 19th (and 20th) century thought. Read the episode notes  

  • Alien Intrusion and the Ultraterrestrial Hypothesis

    Jan 17 2018

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, we return to discussion of the Ultraterrestrial Hypothesis (UTH) and what seems to be its growing influence in paranormal circles. It’s been used to explain UFOs, mothman, bigfoot, fairies, dogman, ghosts and many other phenomena which defy scientific demonstrability. Now it crops up again in a new film event titled Alien Intrusion which turned out to be a stealth evangelical creationist film which suggests that aliens and UFOs are actually demonic. We are joined ...more

  • The Tail of the Lizard Man

    Jan 03 2018

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, we creep narratively into the swamps of South Carolina as we talk of the strange lizard man who is alleged to live in the swamps outside Bishopville. Lyle Blackburn leads our expedition as he recounts the story as told in his book Lizard Man: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster. Lyle previously joined us for episode 106: What The Fouke? The Beast of Boggy Creek. Read the episode notes

  • Christmas Special # 5: The Open Window

    Dec 24 2017

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

  • Fermi to Know and UFO to Find Out

    Dec 20 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens

    Dec 06 2017

    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. Read the episode notes...more

  • Grimoires—Part II

    Nov 29 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • Grimoires—Part I

    Nov 22 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • The Crypto-Kid

    Nov 14 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • Haunted Objects

    Oct 30 2017

    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. Read the episode notes.

  • Witches, Pleas

    Oct 30 2017

      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. Read the episode notes.

  • American Goblins — Part 3

    Oct 18 2017

    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. If you missed them, be sure to listen to Part 1 and Part 2 ...more

  • American Goblins — Part 2

    Oct 11 2017

    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. Read the episide notes

  • American Goblins — Part 1

    Oct 04 2017

    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. Read the episide notes

  • The Tracks We Left At DragonCon and CryptidCon

    Sep 20 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • The Science Behind Monsters

    Aug 30 2017

    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? Read the episode notes

  • Dropbears

    Aug 16 2017

    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! Read the episode notes

  • The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft

    Jul 26 2017

    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? Read the episode notes

  • Naming Monsters

    Jul 12 2017

    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. Read the episode notes  

  • England's Most Haunted Village

    Jun 28 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • Minions, Mobs & Myrmidons

    Jun 21 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • Spooky Geology

    May 16 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • Monster Trek

    May 02 2017

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

  • The Enfield Poltergeist (Part 2)

    Apr 12 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • Man's Best Fiend

    Apr 04 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • Crush, Crumble and Chomp

    Mar 29 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • The Enfield Poltergeist

    Mar 08 2017

    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. Read the episode notes  

  • MonsterTalk Essay 001

    Feb 21 2017

  • Psychic Soldiers and Imperilled Silverware

    Feb 08 2017

    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. Read ...more

  • One Rogue Planet: A Star Warrior's Story

    Jan 11 2017

    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. Read the episode notes

  • Christmas Special # 4: The Thing in the Cellar

    Dec 30 2016

    Blake Smith reads a story titled The Thing in the Cellar as 2016’s annual Christmas special. MonsterTalk will return to normal science and skepticism episodes in 2017. This story was first published in Weird Tales magazine issue #360 and is read by the author.  

  • Bitchin' 'bout Sitchin

    Dec 21 2016

    Ancient Aliens theorists seem to love the work of Zecharia Sitchin (The 12th Planet). Sitchin proposed that mysterious space beings called Anunnaki visited earth to steal our gold, and passed on their wisdom to the ancient people of Sumer. In this first of a 2-part look at Sitchin’s impact on Ancient Astronaut lore, we talk with Dr. Michael Heiser about the plausibility of Sitchin’s views from an evaluation of the ancient texts Sitchin purports to have used for his source material. Read the epis...more

  • Achievement Unloched — Morar Ness

    Dec 14 2016

    Writer and researcher Mike Dash (Spring Heeled Jack) returns to talk about the less famous Scottish lake monster alleged to live in Loch Morar. While not as widely known as Nessie, Morag (as she is known) has her own fascinating history. Read the episode notes  

  • Science and Sea Monster

    Nov 30 2016

    What do you get when you combine a love for statistics, a love for biological maritime mysteries and a relentless curiosity? Dr. Charles Paxton has applied biology and math work to produce several papers on the mysterious creatures called “sea monsters.” In this episode of MonsterTalk, we discuss sea monsters, math and naughty ostriches. Read the episode notes  

  • Fairies! An ArchyFantasies Crossover

    Oct 31 2016

    The cast of archaeologists from the Archaeological Fantasies podcast join Blake and Karen to talk about fairies, how they’ve evolved culturally, and the ways that archaeology, folklore and the fair folk overlap. Read the episode notes

  • Yetipalooza

    Oct 25 2016

    In this week’s episode of MonsterTalk, Eugenie Scott, Brian Regal, and Daniel Loxton join Karen Stollznow and Blake Smith to discuss The Yeti. This episode was our first-ever dedicated Yeti talk, as well as our first-ever live streamed show, which aired on YouTube on Sunday, October 23, 2016 at 8 pm EST. Read the episode notes

  • MonsterTalk Meets The Lovecraft Geek

    Oct 19 2016

    A special for the Halloween Season, Robert Price returns to MonsterTalk to give us a raw dripping sample of his podcast The Lovecraft Geek, a kind of secular version of his popular The Bible Geek podcast. Questions from listeners are tossed down into the well of Price’s vast knowledge to see what answers echo back up to drive us mad. Check out our episode notes for lots of links to Lovecraft-inspired books and movies. Read the episode notes  

  • MonsterTalk Live Stream Event

    Oct 19 2016

    Sunday, October 23, 2016 at 8 pm EST Join us for our first ever MonsterTalk live streaming event. Scheduled guests Eugenie Scott, Brian Regal, Daniel Loxton will join Karen and me to discuss The Yeti. So this will be our first dedicated Yeti talk, and our first live streaming show. I hope you can join us. How do you attend? A link to the show is pinned at our Facebook page, and will be on our website at monstertalk.org. There’s also this short link that is (hopefully) easy to remember: http://bi...more

  • Demon Dolls

    Oct 12 2016

    In this week’s episode of MonsterTalk, we talk about demonic or evil dolls, and look into the history of one of America’s most famous creepy playthings: Robert the Doll. Our interview is with Dr. Cori Convertito, Curator of the Key West Art and Historical Society, which oversees the Fort East Martello Museum, home of Robert the Doll. Read the episode notes  

  • Frauds, Hoaxes and Splendor in the Past

    Sep 28 2016

    Ken Feder returns to talk about his new book Ancient America: Fifty Archaeological Sites to See for Yourself, which is available for pre-order now on Amazon. Discussion in this episode centers around the failings of science coverage in the media, the latest on the famous Piltdown Man hoax, and why everyone needs to visit historical archaeological sites when they can. Read the episode notes  

  • Folklore and Urban Legends

    Sep 14 2016

    We are joined by Heather Joseph-Witham, Associate Professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences Department at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. She has a PhD in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA. In this episode, we talk about folklore as an academic field, urban legends, the nature of culture and story, and much more… Read the episode notes

  • The Best Laid Plans

    Aug 31 2016

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, Karen and Blake thank listeners for their amazing support, and discuss upcoming episodes in the works. Read the episode notes  

  • Tell Me Strange Things

    Aug 16 2016

    MonsterTalk explores the life of author and research Montague Summers, a researcher of dogged determination whose own life is shrouded in mystery and occluded by the theatrical. Brian Regal discusses his research into this fascinating and controversial figure of occult studies. Read the episode notes  

  • Broadcasting for a Spell

    Aug 02 2016

    James “The Amazing” Randi joins us to discuss his work on the Long John Nebel “Party Line,” a late-night AM radio show from New York’s WOR that defined the paranormal-themed chat show and was a precursor to shows like those of Art Bell, George Noory and Dave Schrader. This episode features clips from the Long John Nebel show and from Randi’s tenure after he took over Nebel’s slot. Read the episode notes  

  • Skeptics Talking About Monsters

    Jul 20 2016

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, we talk with Deborah Hyde, editor of the British magazine The Skeptic. Deborah is deeply interested in folklore, anthropology, monsters and skepticism. Our conversation covers a variety of topics including vampires, werewolves, ghosts and movies. Follow Deborah on Twitter @jourdemayne. Read the episode notes  

  • The Episode They Don’t Want You To Know About

    Jul 06 2016

    Rob Brotherton is the author of Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories. Rob has a doctorate in the psychology of conspiracy theories, and taught classes at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths. He joins us in this episode to discuss the psychology of conspiracies. Read the episode notes

  • What the Fouke? The Beast of Boggy Creek

    Jun 08 2016

    Lyle Blackburn is a musician, actor, and cryptid researcher who explores the US in search of creatures in swamplands and backwoods. He is the author of The Beast of Boggy Creek: The True Story of the Fouke Monster and Lizard Man: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster. Lyle is a staff writer for the horror magazine Rue Morgue, he has been featured on Coast to Coast AM, and on numerous TV shows on Discovery, Animal Planet and more. Lyle joins us to discuss the history and impact of “the Boggy ...more

  • Bigfoot Skepticism

    May 24 2016

    Eugenie Scott is an anthropologist but is probably most well known for her work fighting against Creationism in the American public education system as director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). Perhaps less well-known is the fact that she’s long been interested in Bigfoot. In this episode of MonsterTalk we discuss Bigfoot, science promotion, and the usefulness of thinking about monsters in honing critical thinking skills. Read the episode notes

  • Bad UFOs

    May 04 2016

    Have you learned most of your UFO stories from The History Channel and motion pictures? Chances are these glossy presentations of aliens and mysterious craft have hidden from you some of the shocking and silly history of this fascinating field. Join us as we interview UFO researcher Robert Sheaffer about Bad UFOs. Read episode notes

  • A Serpent's Tale

    Apr 19 2016

    Tales of enormous snakes have been a part of folklore for thousands of years. From myths to legends, to eyewitness testimony and photographs, these stories slither through our culture and seem inescapable. Prepare to recoil in horror as we talk about giant snakes with John C. Murphy, co-author of the fascinating book Tales of Giant Snakes. Do giant man-eating snakes lurk out there waiting to swallow the unwary? The answer is more complicated than you might suspect. Listen to episode 103

  • Skepticism 101

    Apr 13 2016

    What is a Skeptic anyway? Are they just naysayers? Are they cynics? Do they just automatically say “that’s not real” to anything exciting and mysterious? Find out the true meaning of Skepticism in this MonsterTalk special episode — Skepticism 101, featuring Dr. Steven Novella. Dr. Steven Novella is a clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine. He is a prominent figure in the Skeptic community, he is the host of The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, and he i...more

  • Hunting Monsters

    Mar 09 2016

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, paleontologist Dr. Darren Naish (@TetZoo) returns to discuss his newest book, an overview of the field of cryptozoology, titled Hunting Monsters: Cryptozoology and the Reality Behind the Myths. READ the episode notes

  • Christmas Special # 3: Pickman's Model

    Dec 30 2015

    In this MonsterTalk Christmas Special episode, Blake Smith reads aloud Pickman’s Model, a story by H.P. Lovecraft and gives a brief update about the MonsterTalk podcast. Read the episode notes

  • Conclusions (Episode 100)

    Jul 15 2015

    In the 100th episode of MonsterTalk: The Science Show About Monsters, DNA researcher and author Bryan Sykes discusses the research behind his landmark book The Nature of the Beast: The First Genetic Evidence on the Survival of Apemen, Yeti, Bigfoot and Other Mysterious Creatures into Modern Times; plus, thoughts and reflections on 100 episodes of MonsterTalk, including hearing from many listeners about their own favorite monsters… READ the episode notes

  • Let's Get This Off Our Chest

    Jun 03 2015

    There are legends from around the world of a creature that comes to you at night and sits on your chest, sucking away your life force. The incubus, the succubus, the old hag — people really report these experiences, but how does science explain it? Dr. Brian Sharpless, co-author of the new book Sleep Paralysis: Historical, Psychological and Medical Perspectives, joins us to discuss the terrifying phenomenon. READ the episode notes

  • Doctor Atlantis

    May 20 2015

    You’ve heard the legend of Atlantis. But have you ever heard the facts behind the legend? Dr. Kenny Feder returns to talk about the true story of Atlantis and it isn’t what most people think. LISTEN to this episode

  • Shame on the Lizard People

    Apr 15 2015

    Is the world secretly being controlled by a dark, shadowy cabal? Are many of the world’s leaders actually blood-drinking, child-abusing lizard people? No, they aren’t. But in this episode of MonsterTalk we talk with Jon Ronson about his experiences with conspiracy theorist David Icke. READ the episode notes

  • Fear Itself

    Mar 18 2015

    Why do we fear? What is fear? The Ressler Lab is located in the Yerkes Primate Research Center in Atlanta, and the studies they’re conducting seek to understand fear at the cellular, molecular and neural-circuitry level of granularity. Dr. Kerry Ressler, head of the lab, joins us to talk about that research and the neurological basis of fear. READ the episode notes

  • El D20ablo — The Satanic Panic & Role-Playing Games

    Mar 04 2015

    The late 1970s and 1980s saw the rise of a new kind of game. Dungeons & Dragons and its many competitors captivated many high-school and college students, but many parents and authority figures feared that these new games were a gateway to Satanic ritual and perhaps even murder. Author Joseph Laycock returns to discuss his new book: Dangerous Games. LISTEN to this episode

  • A Fear of Spiders

    Jan 28 2015

    One of the most common fears in the world is the fear of spiders. But what does a rationalist do when gripped by an irrational fear? MonsterTalk interviews author Lynne Kelly about her transition from arachnophobia to spider enthusiast. Note: This episode deals with spider sexual reproduction which includes masturbation and cannibalism. Read the episode notes

  • Christmas Special #002: An Inhabitant of Carcosa

    Jan 02 2015

    Blake Smith reads aloud An Inhabitant of Carcosa, a story by Ambrose Bierce. The story itself is brief, but its impact on American horror literature is still being felt today.

  • Fangs That Go Bump in the Night

    Oct 22 2014

    We’ve all seen the vampires of cinema and pop culture. Caped aristocrats, sparkling teens, monstrous revenants—which of these best corresponds to the real legends of vampires? Richard Sugg returns to talk about his fascinating research into historic vampire cases. He’s uncovered a recurring relationship between outbreaks of vampirism and poltergeist activity, which will be the subject of his next book. READ the episode notes

  • Demon Purrsession: Tales of Demonically Possessed Cats

    Oct 15 2014

    Can a domesticated cat be a monster? What if it can talk, fly, predict the future and grow to enormous size? Get ready for some of the strangest lore we’ve ever covered on MonsterTalk as we interview art historian Dr. Paul Koudounaris about demonically possessed cats. LISTEN to this episode

  • The Robot Apocalypse

    Oct 08 2014

    When the robots take over, will we all be forced to speak bocce? Author and robotics engineer Daniel H. Wilson visits MonsterTalk to discuss the nature of robots and the risk of a robot apocalypse. Steven Spielberg has purchased the rights to produce a film version of his New York Times bestseller, Robopocalypse. LISTEN to this episode

  • Vampira

    Sep 24 2014

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, Blake conducts a pop-culture interview with historian Scott Poole on the first monstrous horror movie host, Vampira (Maila Nurmi). His new book is Vampira, Dark Goddess of Horror. READ the episode notes

  • City Lion, Country Lion

    Sep 10 2014

    Was an African lion wandering the streets of Los Angeles? The case of the Norwalk Lion is solved beyond reasonable doubt—yet why do questions linger? READ the episode notes

  • More Brainssss

    Aug 20 2014

    What can a shambling zombie teach us about the human brain? According to Brad Voytek and Tim Verstynen, quite a lot. Their new book is called Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep? and in this episode of MonsterTalk we’ll be talking “Brainssss…” READ the episode notes

  • Slenderman and Tulpas

    Jul 30 2014

    They say Slenderman was created for a contest on a website. But the thin, faceless character has gone viral appearing in numerous art, stories, videos and even games. Some claim that all that combined focus has turned him real — a process known by ancient Tibetan Buddhists as forming a Tulpa. In this episode of MonsterTalk, Blake Smith interviews professor of religious studies Joe Laycock and doctoral student of Tibetan studies Natalia Mikels to discover the truth about Tulpas. Since the creati...more

  • Alienable Rites

    Jul 16 2014

    What causes a person to be possessed? Are there demons? Is it mental illness? Is it abnormal neurology? Does exorcism work? in this episode of MonsterTalk, paranormal researcher psychologist Dr. Chris French joins us to discuss the psychology of demonic possession and exorcisms. READ the episode notes

  • New MT on the Bounty

    Jul 02 2014

    The 10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty television contest is over and we’re going to talk to the science advisers for the show to see how they felt about the outcome. Did science win the day? Did editing take away the good take-aways? Will Justin Smeja be getting in trouble for hunting feral humans? Check it out in this episode of MonsterTalk! READ the episode notes

  • The Cures of the Mummy's Tomb

    Jun 18 2014

    Unwrap the secrets of the Mummy's tomb as we talk to "Mr. Mummy" Dr. Bob Brier about the history of mummies and the world's fascination with Egyptology. And then, we discuss the strange history of mummies as medicine with Dr. Richard Sugg. Join as we learn about The Cures of the Mummy's Tomb! READ the episode notes

  • The Mongolian Death Worm

    Jun 04 2014

    THE MONGOLIAN DEATH WORM—its name conjures up images of fantastic beasts like the sand worms in Dune or the creatures from the film Tremors, but the actual legends are even stranger. We discuss the legends and facts behind this cryptid with the official zoologist for the Center for Fortean Zoology, Richard Freeman. Read the episode notes

  • A Tiger by the Tale

    May 06 2014

    Are mysterious large cats killing livestock and stalking the wilds of Australia? Dr. David Waldron returns to MonsterTalk to discuss his research on alien big cats down under: Snarls from the Tea-Tree: Big Cat Folklore, co-written with Simon Townsend. READ the episode notes

  • A Wolf in the Fold

    Apr 02 2014

    Did it take a silver bullet to kill the beast of Gévaudan? Is that where Curt Siodmak got the idea for his film The Wolfman? Host Blake Smith reveals his findings from more than two years of werewolf research. This episode is the first to go live with a complete transcript and lengthy bibliography. READ episode notes READ the transcript

  • Plesiosaur Parenting

    Mar 12 2014

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, Blake interviews Junior Skeptic author/artist Daniel Loxton on the final book in his prehistoric animal thrillogy, Plesiosaur Peril. We talk about dinosaur names, raising kids with science literacy, and the reboot of Cosmos. READ the episode notes

  • Demons, Ghosts and Gary Indiana

    Feb 26 2014

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, Blake and Karen talk about how skeptics evaluate the Gary Indiana Demon case. READ the episode notes

  • You Won't Believe What These Skeptics Have To Say About Bigfoot

    Jan 29 2014

    Sharon Hill (Doubtful News) joins us to discuss the recent history of Bigfoot bodies. From bigfoot steaks to Russian slavers, it’s time to catch up on some sasquatch news. READ the episode notes

  • Nature's Rich Bounty

    Jan 08 2014

    If Bigfoot is real, would a $10,000,000 bounty be enough to bring the beast down? That’s the premise of a new show on Spike TV. In this episode, MonsterTalk interviews two of the scientists who are working on the show to find out if this is a serious search for Bigfoot, or just folks out in the woods raising cane. READ the episode notes

  • Zombies, Cults, and Demons

    Dec 23 2013

    A familiar voice returns to MonsterTalk as Dr. Karen Stollznow joins us to discuss her new book, God Bless America. READ episode notes

  • MonsterTalk Christmas Special #001 — CASTING THE RUNES

    Dec 23 2013

    Blake Smith reads aloud the M. R. James classic story Casting the Runes. This macabre tale was the basis for the 1957 film, Curse of the Demon. (MonsterTalk theme music by Peach Stealing Monkeys.)

  • Cryptozoologicon: Volume I

    Dec 18 2013

    Darin Naish returns to MonsterTalk to discuss his latest book, Cryptozoologicon: Volume I. From the well known to the very obscure, this book takes three looks at monsters. It critically examines them, but also speculates on what they might be like if they were real — combined with fantastic illustrations by science illustrators John Conway and C. M. Koseman. READ the episode notes

  • Speak of the Devil

    Nov 13 2013

    MonsterTalk welcomes back Bible scholar Robert M. Price to discuss the biggest and most well known villain in Western culture: Satan. Who is this character and how has he changed over the history of Judeo/Christian religions? From servant of God to dark villain, we track the evolution of the Devil. READ the episode notes

  • MonsterTalk Special #003: Seeing is Believing

    Oct 30 2013

    “I know what I saw.” So say many witnesses to the bizarre and unusual—and even the mundane. But do you really know what you saw? In this special episode of MonsterTalk, memory expert Elizabeth Loftus and psychologist Richard Wiseman explain how perilous and frail are the tools and materials we use to build our fortresses of certitude. READ the episode notes

  • The Warren Omission

    Oct 16 2013

    Was the story of The Conjuring the true story of how Ed and Lorraine Warren fought demonic forces in Rhode Island? In this special episode of MonsterTalk, we hear a different side to the story of America’s first family of ghost hunting. Features interviews with investigators Joe Nickell and Steven Novella. READ the episode notes

  • His Tory of the Jersey Devil

    Sep 18 2013

    Kean University History Professor, Brian Regal, has tracked the Jersey Devil back to its astonishing historical roots. Religious in-fighting, self-publishing, snarky founding fathers, sorcery and political intrigue make the idea of a flying horse-faced monster almost seem tame. READ episode notes

  • More Map Monsters

    Sep 04 2013

    Medieval Art expert Asa Mittman discusses his love of monsters, the kinds of monsters that populate medieval land maps, and the persistent practice of monsterization as a cultural method for labeling “out-groups” in human interaction. READ episode notes

  • The Key to the Legend of the Map Monsters

    Aug 07 2013

    Join us for a fascinating look at the mysterious sea monsters that decorated medieval maps. We talk with Chet Van Duzer about his recent book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps, which brings to light the remarkable sources behind the strange looking creatures which populate the seas of these beautiful old documents. Chet Van Duzer is a writer and researcher and is currently an Invited Research Scholar at the John Carter Brown Library in Rhode Island. He has published extensively on me...more

  • Return of the Revenge of the Son of the Bride of MonsterTalk

    Jul 31 2013

    MonsterTalk returns from its break with guests Donald Prothero and Daniel Loxton who introduce their long-awaited book Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids. READ episode notes

  • MonsterTalk Special #002

    Jun 12 2013

    The Tetrapod Zoology Podcast Super Cross-Over Tetrapodcats (sic erat scriptum) MonsterTalk host Blake Smith teams up with paleontologist Darren Naish and artist John Conway to introduce MonsterTalk listeners to this entertaining and educational podcast known as “The Tetrapod Zoology Podcast.” Topics include cryptozoology, pterosaur controversy, whale penis commentary and a scientist’s take on the film Cloverfield. Read episode notes

  • MonsterTalk Special #001

    Jun 05 2013

    In this special episode of MonsterTalk, we take a brief break from our break to bring you breaking news about Ben Radford’s monstrous new project Undead Apocalypse—a board game featuring zombies, vampires and other horrors. The interview features artist Jeff Zornow, whose drawings were used to design the miniatures for this kickstarter project. Read episode notes

  • What's Good for the Mongoose...

    Apr 17 2013

    On the Isle of Man, between the World Wars, a lonely hilltop was home to a family of hardscrabble farmers. The father was a former piano salesman, and he struggled to make ends meet for his wife and daughter in their windswept cottage. And then one day, from up in the attic and behind the walls they began to hear the whispers of a mongoose-like creature who called itself Gef. READ episode notes

  • The Zombie Antpocalypse

    Mar 20 2013

    What if your will were not your own? What if your mind were being controlled by something other than your own volition? This isn’t an imaginary scenario. Real lifeforms here on earth can profoundly influence the behavior of other lifeforms, turning them into helpless zombies, forced to do the bidding of their emotionless masters. In this episode of MonsterTalk, we interview entomologist David Hughes about host behavior modification by parasitic organisms. READ episode notes

  • Weak Are The Champ Puns

    Mar 06 2013

    The shores of the lake were packed with strangers looking to catch a glimpse of the beast. A $50,000 reward was issued for its capture. Newspapers around the world carried the story of the strange creature that was said to lurk beneath these waters. Loch Ness? No—this is 1880s Vermont and the monster is alleged to be living in Lake Champlain. in this episode of MonsterTalk, Robert E. Bartholomew joins us to discuss his latest book, The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America’s Loch Ne...more

  • Arachnophilia

    Feb 20 2013

    Some people have a fear of bugs and creepy crawlies. Kristie Reddick and Jessica Honaker—collectively known as The Bug Chicks—work to fight myths about these fascinating creatures and to promote science and wonder. In this episode of MonsterTalk, we discuss giant spiders, common misconceptions and the entomologists’ experience on the TV show MonsterQuest. READ episode notes

  • Hop Springs Eternal

    Feb 06 2013

    London of the 1830s was terrorized by an astonishing figure—a caped man with long sharp metallic claws who spouted blue fire from his mouth and leaped over rooftops. Surely such a creature could be no more than myth, right? Or was there a mysterious aristocrat playing tricks on the working class? In this week’s episode of MonsterTalk, we talk with historian Mike Dash about the legendary figure known as Spring Heeled Jack. READ episode notes

  • Witch You Talkin' About?

    Jan 23 2013

    According to legend, in the early 1800s the farm of John Bell of Tennessee was terrorized by a supernatural assailant who came to be known as The Bell Witch. MonsterTalk hosts Blake Smith, Ben Radford and Dr. Karen Stollznow discuss the case, following a visit to the site of the haunting by Ben and Blake. READ episode notes

  • 2012-The Year in Monsters

    Jan 02 2013

    To wind up 2012, MonsterTalk welcomes back Sharon Hill, founder of the Doubtful News website, to talk us through a year’s worth of monstrous topics. READ episode notes

  • Sasquatch: Ketchum If You Can

    Dec 05 2012

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, your hosts interview Dr. Todd Disotell on the recent press release regarding Melba Ketchum’s Sasquatch DNA research. Disotell returns for the second time since his visit on the very first episode of MonsterTalk with news about Spike TV’s new Bigfoot show, Bigfoot DNA, science by press-release, and lots of other goodies. READ episode notes

  • YEC and Beowulf: It's verse than you think

    Oct 24 2012

    There are those who believe the Earth is only about 6000 years old. They believe that the evidence for this is all in the Bible, but as we’ve discussed on MonsterTalk before, they still seek confirmatory evidence from other works. So it was only a matter of time before someone suggested that the epic poem Beowulf helps prove that (a) the earth is indeed very, very young and (b) that the monsters in the poem Beowulf were dinosaurs. Hard to believe? Tune in as we talk to skeptic and Humanities res...more

  • Yokai Attack!

    Sep 12 2012

    This week on MonsterTalk, we interview Matt Alt and Hiroko Yoda, authors of Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide, a book which details many folkloric monsters of Japan. From the slash-mouthed woman to a giant disgusting foot—these creatures have inspired fear and wonder in Japan and influenced books, movies and video-games. READ episode notes

  • The Blair Fish Project

    Aug 22 2012

    For thousands of years, people who made their living by working the sea have reported creatures that appeared to be half-human and half-fish. Some of these stories are legends and fairy tales, but more recent sightings are reported as real animals. Confounding things even more are mummified mermaids brought to Europe from sailors coming back from Asia. A recent Animal Planet “documentary” claimed that mermaids are real and the US government is hiding the truth. This week on MonsterTalk, we inter...more

  • Assault and Giant Battery

    Aug 08 2012

    For decades, legends of a giant sexually-assaulting bat-creature have trickled out of Zanzibar. In this episode of MonsterTalk we interview Ben Radford about his investigation of the creature and the role that the monster called Popabawa has played in culture and politics in the United States. READ episode notes

  • Skeptics are Redoubtable

    Jun 13 2012

    The hosts of MonsterTalk interview Sharon Hill, creator of the website Doubtful News. The discussion includes updates on the latest in monster news trends, as well as information about The Amaz!ng Meeting—the James Randi Educational Foundation’s annual meeting of skeptical scientists, researchers, artists, performers, teachers and other rational-minded folk in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also in this episode, Brian Thompson of the JREF stops by to discuss TAM 2012. READ episode notes

  • Qu'est Que C'est?

    May 02 2012

    Remorseless killers are the stuff of countless films. Sadly, the real world has even more of them. Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, H. H. Holmes, John Wayne Gacy—these remorseless psychopaths filled graveyards with corpses and sleeping minds with nightmares. But these aren’t monsters—they’re real people who have a brain that developed differently than most peoples. Author Jon Ronson joins us on this episode of MonsterTalk to discuss the condition of psychopathy—and to share with us his journey into t...more

  • Onan the Jar Burying

    Apr 25 2012

    In modern science the homunculus refers to various models of the human mind, but in medieval times it was something quite different. Join us for a fascinating interview with professor William R. Newman, of Indiana University’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science. He is the author of seven books, including Promethean Ambitions: Alchemy and the Quest to Perfect Nature—a book which provides much insight into the seedy back-story of this strange creature. This episode contains adult mate...more

  • ThylaCinema and Nocturnal Submissions

    Apr 04 2012

    Join the hosts of MonsterTalk for an interview with Daniel Nettheim, director of a new film about a man hunting for thylacines. The Hunter stars Willem Dafoe as the eponymous character tasked with seeking out the last living thylacine in the wild. Also, Scott Sigler calls in to discuss his newest monster book, Nocturnal. READ episode notes

  • What the Bigfoot market will bear

    Mar 28 2012

    In the forests of Pennsylvania, on a dark September night, a trail-cam took a series of controversial pictures. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) still claims they show a juvenile Bigfoot. Skeptics claim the photos show a bear. Join the hosts of MonsterTalk as they discuss Bigfoot photos, fair-use and the economics of unusual photos. READ episode notes

  • Hell Hath No Furry!

    Mar 07 2012

    Episode 50 of MonsterTalk takes us to a small English village in the 1570s where a morning church service is interrupted by a horrific storm which heralds, perhaps, the appearance of Satan himself in the form of a huge black hound. Join us as we talk with David Waldron (author of Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay) as he helps us discover the facts behind this creepy tale—a tale which influences paranormal literature even today. READ episode notes

  • Internet Video Hoaxes: A Mammoth Undertaking

    Feb 22 2012

    Did you see that popular Internet video that allegedly showed a mammoth crossing a river in Siberia? You probably figured it was a hoax—and we did too—but we decided to get to the bottom of the matter. Join us as we discuss the methods and motives for Internet hoax videos. This episode also includes interviews with documentary film maker Ludovic Petho and Alan Melikdjanian (aka Captain Disillusion). Was there really something fishy about that video? Listen to see if you can bear the truth! READ...more

  • Monsters in America (interview with Scott Poole)

    Feb 08 2012

    This week on MonsterTalk, the hosts talk with the author of Monsters In America, Dr. Scott Poole. His book chronicles the history of monsters from colonial America to modern times—and tries to tackle the issue of meaning in a world where monsters are “meaning machines.” Content Advisory: The content in this episode is rated is PG13. Be sure to read the episode notes to see the winners of the MonsterTalk t-shirt design contest and see the three winning designs. READ episode notes

  • Something Wiccan This Way Comes

    Jan 18 2012

    In this episode of MonsterTalk, two skeptics interview a witch about how to battle evil with magic. Emily Carlin is a magical instructor at The Grey School—an online magical university and the author of Defense Against the Dark: A Field Guide to Protecting Yourself from Predatory Spirits, Energy Vampires and Malevolent Magic. Is magic the best defense against evil monsters? Or is skepticism? Pull up a chair and sit a spell to find out. READ episode notes

  • Squatching with The Krampus

    Dec 21 2011

    By popular demand, we take a brief aside into fantasy to talk with one the more sinister figures associated with the Winter Holidays: The Krampus. Then we get a bit more serious as we welcome one of the co-hosts of the popular podcast The Bigfoot Show, documentarian and comedian, Scott Herriott. Scott has made several films about walking the Pacific Coast Trail and about his personal quest to find Bigfoot—and the people he’s met in that search. This MonsterTalk interview includes a detailed reco...more

  • Unbottling some Jinn

    Dec 07 2011

    If you think Genies are funny like in Aladdin, or sexy like in I Dream of Jeannie get ready to have your assumptions challenged. In the Middle East, Jinn aren’t whimsical characters of fantasy. They are considered to be frightening, real entities that haunt desolate places and can perform terrible magic. In this episode of MonsterTalk we interview author Robert Lebling about his book Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar. If you miss this episode you’ll wish you ha...more

  • Paranormality: Psychic Dogs, Ghosts and Silly Voices-an Interview with Richard Wiseman

    Nov 09 2011

    WHILE AT TAM9, the hosts of MonsterTalk sat down to talk with psychologist Richard Wiseman about his new book Paranormality: Why we see what isn’t there. It was supposed to be a chat about the paranormal, ghosts and Wiseman’s findings. But a conversation with Richard Wiseman is rarely so simple as that. READ episode notes

  • Crypt O' Zoology: Dinosaurs in Africa!

    Oct 26 2011

    From The Lost World to Alley Oop to The Flintstones, the idea of dinosaurs and humans living together has captured the imagination of readers across the globe. But there are some who believe that this idea isn’t fictional. Is there a population of sauropod dinosaurs living in Africa in modern times? In this episode of MonsterTalk, we interview paleontologist Dr. Donald Prothero at TAM9 about his research into the creature known as Mokele Mbembe! Cryptozoology, paleontology and creationism conver...more

  • Bad Wolf

    Oct 05 2011

    On November 8, 2005 Canadian geological engineering student Kenton Carnegie went for a walk. He told people that he’d be back by 5 pm. When he hadn’t returned by 7 pm, a search party went out and discovered his remains in the woods. In this episode of Monstertalk (a follow-up to last week’s), we interview professor Valerius Geist about the true cause of Kenton Carnegie’s death. Some people thought he was killed by a bear, but more likely he was killed by a myth. READ episode notes

  • The Big Bad Wolf

    Sep 21 2011

    CHANCES ARE IF YOU LISTEN to MonsterTalk you probably like nature documentaries. No doubt you’ve seen stories about wolves and heard words to the effect that wolves are often maligned and that wolves have an undeserved reputation for being killers. Yet how does one reconcile the idea that dangerous wolves are a myth with the many myths and fairy tales which feature wolves as the villain? In this episode of MonsterTalk we take on the legend of the big, bad wolf and what we find may surprise you. ...more

  • Dead Men Are a Ghoul's Best Friend

    Sep 07 2011

    IN THIS EPISODE of MonsterTalk we discuss Ghouls and their real world counterpart: cannibals. The hosts are joined by Carole A. Travis-Henikoff, author of Dinner With A Cannibal: The Complete History of Mankind’s Oldest Taboo. This episode also features guest MonsterTalker Adam Levenstein, a long-time friend of the show whose background combines anthropology and skepticism. READ episode notes

  • A Connecticut Haunting in a Keen Author's Court

    Aug 10 2011

    The 2009 film The Haunting in Connecticut is purported to be based on true events. Similarly, there was the 2002 documentary A Haunting in Connecticut (which aired on The Discovery Channel and helped spawn the series A Haunting). These true events have been compiled by author Ray Garton into his book In A Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting. The shocking tale contains adult elements of a graphic nature, and if true, described a terrifying case of a demonic and ghostly attack on a family. Bu...more

  • Ancient Alien Astronauts: Interview with Ken Feder

    Jul 27 2011

    Did ancient humans gain their technological achievements through the assistance of creatures from other planets? This week on MonsterTalk, Dr. Feder, an archaeology professor who has taught a course on the topic, shares his thoughts. Feder is the author of Frauds, Myths and Mysteries—a book with more good scientific content on the cover than most TV shows have in an entire season. READ full episode notes

  • Hayley Stevens’ Lake Monster Mysteries

    Jul 06 2011

    There are very few people who make their living hunting monsters. For most of us who investigate such mysteries, it is a labor of love. Today on MonsterTalk we get to talk with one of our listeners about her investigation into a lake monster. In her investigation she went where few would dare to tread. Join us as we talk with amateur investigator Hayley Stevens about her dive into lake monster mysteries. READ full episode notes

  • Searching For Sasquatch

    Jun 08 2011

    Is cryptozoology science or pseudoscience? Do scientists ever really study cryptozoology, or merely ignore the field entirely? This week we dig into the history of Cryptozoology itself—focusing on the search for America’s most famous cryptid: Sasquatch. This week on MonsterTalk, we’re joined by Dr. Brian Regal to talk about his latest book, Searching For Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads and Cryptozoology. READ full episode notes

  • The Zombie Autopsies

    May 11 2011

    This week on MonsterTalk, we interview Harvard medical doctor Steven Schlozman, author of The Zombie Autopsies and get inside the walking dead to discuss a plausible mechanism for the zombie apocalypse. READ full episode notes

  • Tracking the Manbeasts

    Apr 20 2011

    Renowned investigator Joe Nickell returns to MonsterTalk to discuss his latest book Tracking the Man-beasts: Sasquatch, Vampires, Zombies, and More—a survey of a human-like monsters that runs the gamut from Almas to Zombie. The book covers scores of monsters from legend and lore, and many entries include insights from Joe’s personal investigations. READ full episode notes

  • Resurrecting the Extinct

    Mar 30 2011

    Plenty of people have hypothesized about being able to bring back an extinct animal, but (so far as the MonsterTalk team knows) the only person who has successfully brought an extinct animal’s gene back to be able to express itself in a living organism is Dr. Andrew Pask and his team of genetics experts. Tasmania’s marsupial tiger, the Thylacine, appears to be extinct. But today MonsterTalk interviews Dr. Pask about his experiments, the best chances of resurrecting dead species, and what makes t...more

  • Is The Skookum Fair Dinkum?

    Mar 16 2011

    In the year 2000 startling claims of a body cast of a Bigfoot emerged from the deep woods of Washington State. More than a decade later, MonsterTalk interviews Bigfoot researcher Daniel Perez about the facts behind this contentious artifact — which some still claim to be one of the best pieces of evidence for the existence of Bigfoot. READ full episode notes

  • Tracking the Chupacabra

    Mar 02 2011

    This week MonsterTalk co-host Benjamin Radford becomes the interviewee! Radford discusses his newest book, Tracking the Chupacabra. The culmination of a five-year investigation, this book may provide an actual solution to these mysterious humanoid sightings. READ full episode notes

  • Tracking the Chupacabra (exclusive preview)

    Feb 25 2011

    Exclusive for MonsterTalk listeners, an audio preview from Ben Radford’s latest book Tracking the Chupacabra. This 32 minute selection contains material from the opening of this new book, which provides the solution to the mysterious bloodsucking beast known as El Chupacabra. Read by the author, you’ll get a taste of the book — which is now available for order at radfordbooks.com and chupacabramystery.com. We hope you enjoy this free sample. Please feel free to share it with your friends.

  • Unmasking the Ninja

    Jan 26 2011

    This week the hosts of MonsterTalk take on the mysterious, mystical, legendary menace of the ninja! Should ninjas be considered monsters? They come out at night, have mysterious powers and use fear and lethality to wreak havoc. But to be sure, we Ask a Ninja. Also, we interview Matt Alt, co-author (with Hiroko Yoda) of Ninja Attack: True Tales of Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws. READ full episode notes

  • Ethnobiology - A Lizard's Tale

    Jan 12 2011

    IN THIS EPISODE, the MonsterTalk crew interviews Dr. Tony Russell, a professor at the University of Calgary who studies evolutionary and functional morphology in geckos. Dr. Russell’s work includes ethnobiology — the utilization of folklore to guide his research. He discuss the uses and limitations of this mode of research, as well as the remarkable features of the lizards that he studies. READ full episode notes

  • A Bestiary of Creatures

    Dec 22 2010

    Author Christopher Dell has collected an astonishing array of art from around the world depicting many obscure and mysterious creatures in his new book Monsters: A Bestiary of Devils, Demons, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Magical Creatures. Christopher Dell joins the MonsterTalk crew to discuss why humans are so fascinated by these bizarre entities. READ full episode notes

  • The Iceman Goeth

    Dec 01 2010

    Late in the 1960s, in the era which gave us the famous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film, fairgoers in Minnesota were confronted with a marvel: a hairy, primitive-looking humanoid frozen in a block of ice. Was it an anthropological relic? Was it a sasquatch? As investigators from the Smithsonian Institute and cryptozoological researchers studied the frozen creature, they came to very different conclusions as to what it represented. The MonsterTalk hosts interview Bigfoot researcher and former side-s...more

  • On Monsters

    Nov 03 2010

    This week on MonsterTalk, author Stephen Asma (Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago) speaks about his comprehensive book surveying Western monster-lore. Is humankind’s fascination with monsters broader than any single cause? Asma’s On Monsters examines hundreds of legends — and their cultural, psychological and social implications. READ full episode notes

  • The Rise of Bat Boy

    Oct 20 2010

    In the pantheon of American monsters, only one truly dominated the newspapers of the 1990s. Checkout lines everywhere were haunted by the bald-headed, wide-mawed visage of Bat Boy. What was Bat Boy, and where did he come from? The MonsterTalk team interviews cartoonist Tye Bourdony, a former employee of the Weekly World News. Bourdony shares his insights about Bat Boy and the rise and fall of the famous tabloid paper. READ full episode notes

  • Dragon*Con's Skeptrack 2010

    Sep 29 2010

    THIS WEEK’S EPISODE was recorded before a live studio audience at Dragon*Con’s Skeptrack 2010 (in Atlanta, Georgia). MonsterTalk hosts Ben Radford and Blake Smith bravely faced the horror of live questions from listeners — including Australian skeptical activist Dr. Rachael Dunlop, Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning, and others! READ full episode notes

  • Just Scratching the Surface

    Sep 15 2010

    MonsterTalk frequently explores tales of imaginary monsters — creatures of myth, fiction, and folklore. Today, the hosts consider a real creature, one that preys on humans and their closest animal companions. It is often invisible. It drinks blood to survive. And, it is responsible for many of the sightings of the dreaded chupacabra. Podcast audiences may cringe and recoil in horror to learn the true facts of the creature known as — Sarcoptes scabiei! READ full episode notes

  • Cryptozoology & Science, Part 2

    Sep 01 2010

    This week, MonsterTalk continues its discussion of the intersection between science and cryptozoology. The hosts interview Dr. Donald Prothero and Daniel Loxton, who are working on a book that will give a deep overview of the field of cryptozoology and how it intersects with actual science. This interview was recorded at The Amaz!ng Meeting 8 in Las Vegas. READ full episode notes

  • Cryptozoology & Science: Part 1

    Aug 11 2010

    What is cryptozoology? Is it science? Is it folklore? Does it make predictions? In part 1 of a 2-part series, MonsterTalk examines cryptozoology as a field, including speculation on the cryptids most likely to turn out to be real. Guest Dr. Darren Naish, paleontologist and science blogger, makes some surprising statements about the field, its role in science and culture, and the intersection of amateur and professional science. READ full episode notes

  • The Columbus Poltergeist (featuring James Randi)

    Jul 21 2010

    In 1984, objects began to fly around the room in the presence of a Columbus Ohio teen named Tina Resch. The local paper claimed this was a poltergeist attack, and published photos to prove it. Tina’s story caught the attention of a young organization called the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal [CSICOP, now Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI)] and its chief investigator, James “The Amazing” Randi. In this episode, Randi tells the MonsterTalk hosts about the...more

  • Cthulhu Rises

    Jun 16 2010

    In this special literary edition, MonsterTalk ventures into a dark domain that can be confidently called fiction: the monstrous, genre-defining oeuvre of horror writer Howard Philips Lovecraft. Joined by noted Lovecraft scholar Robert M. Price and biologist PZ Myers, the MonsterTalk hosts discuss Lovecraft’s life and works, and dare to confront his most famous creation: the vast alien monstrosity Cthulhu. Can the hosts gaze into the shrieking outer darkness and return with their sanity intact? F...more

  • Bringing Light to a Moth

    May 26 2010

    In this episode, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP) investigator Joe Nickell joins the MonsterTalk crew for a look into the West Virginian legend of Mothman — allegedly a human-sized creature with wings and glowing red eyes. Nickell discusses the ways monsters evolve following a community’s initial reports, and the cyclical nature of spates of sightings. READ full episode notes

  • Monsters from the Lab

    May 05 2010

    In this week’s episode, MonsterTalk looks once again at genetics and creatures created in the laboratory. Dr. Marcus C. Davis joins the hosts to discuss what constitutes a “monster.” In his work, Davis deals with paleontology, as well as embryological manipulation — which, by some definitions, means he literally creates monsters. What kinds of creatures are scientists making in labs today? What is the scope of their power? What guides their ethics? Learn more this week on MonsterTalk! READ full ...more

  • Historical Ghost Investigations Part II: Sinking the Watertown

    Apr 21 2010

    This week, MonsterTalk continues its two-part discussion of historical ghost investigations. Blake Smith describes his investigation into a famous photo that allegedly shows two dead sailors floating off the side of a 1920’s oil tanker. Methodology for conducting historical investigation is detailed, using Ben Radford’s upcoming book on scientific paranormal investigation as a basis for the talk. Did two sailors haunt their fellow shipmates? Does the photo really show two ghosts? Find out the an...more

  • Historical Ghost Investigations Part I: Kimo / Therapy

    Apr 07 2010

    Ghost investigations often feature in television shows and other media. Typically, these amount to people wandering around at night with EMF detectors, talking into the darkness and jumping at shadows and noises. But how does one do a scientific paranormal investigation? On this first half of a two-part MonsterTalk, the hosts review two past ghost investigations (Ben Radford’s “Kimo Theater Ghost” and Dr. Karen Stollznow’s “Waverly Hills Sanatorium” investigations) and discuss some of the techni...more

  • Ghost Bird

    Mar 24 2010

    What happens when a creature thought to be extinct is spotted alive in the swamps of Arkansas? Can such a creature have survived? Can scientists verify the story? And when a town’s hopes and a school’s grant money are on the line, to what lengths will people go to find proof? This week on MonsterTalk we discuss these issues with Scott Crocker, the documentary filmmaker behind Ghost Bird — a feature length exploration into the mystery of the Ivory-billed woodpecker. READ full episode notes

  • Getting into the Spirit of Things

    Mar 03 2010

    What does neuroscience have to say about the possibility of consciousness or mind existing outside the body — or continuing on after the body has died? This episode’s guest is neurologist Dr. Steven Novella (veteran of on-site ghost investigations, and host of the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast, who shares his insights on brains, minds, and specters from beyond the grave. READ full episode notes

  • Suitable for Framing

    Feb 17 2010

    In this episode, the hosts of MonsterTalk talk with Greg Long, author of the 2004 book The Making of Bigfoot (which was reviewed at the time by Skeptic’s own Daniel Loxton). Long’s book is built from hours of interviews with surviving contemporaries of Roger Patterson, the filmmaker who shot the influential Patterson-Gimlin footage. For many people, this film remains the best evidence that Bigfoot is real. However, Long’s research uncovered a side of Patterson most people had never heard of befo...more

  • Bigfoot: First Impressions

    Feb 03 2010

    In the world of Bigfoot, good evidence is hard to come by. Anecdotes and blurry photos keep the documentaries coming, but most skeptics agree that a body or a living specimen are needed to confirm the existence of a large North American mystery mammal. But what of alleged Bigfoot footprints? One expert claims that at least some track castings contain proof of an actual unknown ape. That expert is retired law enforcement agent Jimmy Chilcutt — and he’s agreed to come talk with the skeptics on Mon...more

  • Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum!

    Jan 13 2010

    Giants appear in cultures around the world: Biblical tales of giants more than ten feet tall; Roman and Greek stories of titans and heroes; European stories of giants of mountain and hill. They all have one thing in common: enormous monsters. On this episode of MonsterTalk we chat with archeologist Dr. Ken Feder about giants, biblical archeology — and one of the biggest hoaxes in American history. READ full episode notes

  • I'm Gonna Get You, Goat Sucker!

    Dec 23 2009

    The most famous of the Latin American cryptids is El Chupacabra, the goat sucker. This episode of MonsterTalk examines the lore behind this slinking, sinister, blood-sucking creature. Is it a real animal? A creation of secret scientific experiments? An alien’s pet accidentally released on Earth? Co-host Benjamin Radford takes the guest spot this week as we discuss the research behind his upcoming book (tentatively titled) Tracking the Vampire: Chupacabras in Fact, Fiction and Folklore. READ full...more

  • They Came From Outer Space!

    Dec 09 2009

    Are creatures from other planets visiting the earth, trampling our crops to create cryptic messages, violating people in their sleep, and doing terrible things to our livestock? How plausible is it that we are being visited by intelligent beings from beyond Earth, or that we’ve been visited in the distant past? This week on MonsterTalk, astronomer Dr. Phil Plait, author of Death from the Skies! joins us to talk about monsters — from outer space! READ full episode notes

  • Horrifying Hybrids

    Nov 18 2009

    In this episode, MonsterTalk examines monsters that genetically blend humans with the other. Hosts Blake Smith, Ben Radford, and Dr. Karen Stollznow explore the plausibility of alien-human hybridizations, dig into the real science of genetics -- and consider the ethical questions involved. Weighing in on these issues is Dr. Steven Jones -- noted geneticist, teacher, and television presenter. (He is also the author of many books including Darwin's Ghost, Introducing Genetics, Coral: A Pessimist i...more

  • Darwin vs. the Wolfman

    Oct 28 2009

    In this week's Halloween episode, MonsterTalk ventures into the realm of the werewolves -- and asks what Charles Darwin's Origin of Species implies for this fearsome monster's plausibility. Guest Dr. Brian Regal (Assistant Professor for the History of Science at Kean University) discusses his lecture about whether Darwin slew the last of the werewolves. Professor Regal also explores the relationship between creationists and cryptozoology, and introduces his new book, Pseudoscience: A Critical En...more

  • Pterosaurs

    Oct 13 2009

    Paleontologist Dr. David Martill joins us to talk about prehistoric flying reptiles and his visit to Papua New Guinea with the TV show MonsterQuest to search for the legendary Ropen, an animal which some say is a modern day surviving Pterosaur. Dr. Martill is a reader in Paleobiology with the University of Portsmouth and he joins us to talk about the current state of Pterosaur science and to discuss the plausibility of surviving populations of these fascinating creatures. Read full episode notes...more

  • The Plesiosaur Hypothesis

    Aug 24 2009

    Is there a mysterious prehistoric "living fossil" lurking beneath the waters of Loch Ness? The idea that a colony of Plesiosaurs might have survived into modern times in the deep dark waters of Loch Ness has long captured the imagination of cryptozoology fans. But what do we know about these mesozoic marine animals whose fossils disappear from the record at the same time as the dinosaurs? MonsterTalk found an expert to answer some of our questions about what science can tell us of these magnific...more

  • Fins & Fossil Footprints

    Aug 16 2009

    Did a Japanese fishing vessel catch the body of a prehistoric aquatic dinosaur? In this week's MonsterTalk, we interview Glen Kuban to discuss the 1977 case of the Zuiyo-Maru, dinosaurs, paleontology, cryptozoology and why so many creationists want to find living dinosaurs. Kuban has done extensive research on two cases important to monster enthusiasts. His article explaining the true nature of the 'mysterious' carcass netted by the Japanese fishing vessel Zuiyo-maru and his decades long investi...more

  • Anatomy of a Beast

    Jul 28 2009

    In this week's MonsterTalk, we interview Michael McLeod, a writer, producer, and director who has created documentaries for PBS, the PBS series Frontline, the Discovery Channel, and other national venues. His book "Anatomy of a Beast" is an in-depth look at the origins of the Bigfoot mythology that culminated in the Patterson-Gimlin film. He examines the lives and beliefs of the men (for it was mostly men) whose writing, research, hoaxes, stories and films brought us the Bigfoot we know today in...more

  • Bigfoot DNA

    Jul 02 2009

    Our panel (Ben Radford, Dr. Karen Stollznow and Blake Smith) interview Professor Todd Disotell, PhD. Todd has been a guest on multiple television shows to examine potential Bigfoot and Yeti DNA. We ask him about the science of DNA analysis, his thoughts on cryptid-TV, and what he's found in his studies. Read full episode notes