What in the Hell is the Jersey Devil

In the folklore of the American colonies there exist so many specimens of primeval megafauna, apex predators, and fantastical creatures to comprise a unique sub-genre of bestiaries, the most famous being Fearsome Critters, published in 1939. A compendium of the tall tales told in lumber camps across the North Eastern U.S., Fearsome Critters (and its 1910 predecessor Fearsome Creatures of… Read More »What in the Hell is the Jersey Devil

Gruß vom Krampus!

Behind the thin plastic shell of the Modern idea of Christmas as the “most magical time of the year” (ding-dong! ding-dong!) is a well known trope that Christmas is an appropriation of the Pagan midwinter festivals known as the Yuletide. Winters were especially cruel in Northern Europe during the Middle Ages, and the odds were very grim for a child who got lost in the woods after sundown.

The Haunted Highway: Route 1 and the Legend of the Goatman – Preview

Running from the tip of Florida to the top of Maine, US Route 1 was the first major construction project of the interstate highway system. Begun in the early 20th Century, the original Baltimore-Washington Boulevard was already obsolete within a decade. The increased traffic from military convoys during WWI continued as the University of Maryland moved its undergraduate campus from… Read More »The Haunted Highway: Route 1 and the Legend of the Goatman – Preview

Human Leopard Societies and the Politics of the Taboo – Preview

In the introduction to The Mystery of the Sherman Ranch: Horror or Hoax, I mentioned the notable parallels between the Native American legends of Skinwalkers and certain secret societies indigenous to West Africa. Sensationalized accounts of the mysterious events documented in George Knapp’s 2005 book Hunt for the Skinwalker have brought international fame to an aspect of Navajo culture that… Read More »Human Leopard Societies and the Politics of the Taboo – Preview

Is The Mandela Effect a Psy-Op?

In 2016, I got a tip from a friend about an eerie new phenomena spreading across the internet. Following the death of Nelson Mandela in 2013, people began reporting that they remembered him having died in jail sometime in the 1980’s. They claim to have no memory of his release from prison, his inauguration as the first black president of… Read More »Is The Mandela Effect a Psy-Op?

On Black Swans

For over a thousand years Europeans took for granted that black swans were mythological beings, like unicorns and mermaids. The Roman poet Juvenal wrote in his Satires that the ideal wife was “rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno” or, “a rare bird on earth, like a black swan.” Black swans were assumed not to exist because no one had… Read More »On Black Swans

Satanic Panic at the Disco

Moral panics are nothing new. Collective anxieties over periods of social instability manifest a primal desire to either propitiate, or punish, whatever is causing the ill fortunes. The Biblical ritual of the Scapegoat placed the sins of the tribe upon a sacrificial animal that was driven into the wilderness. Ironically, in the modern era the scapegoat became a human sacrifice.… Read More »Satanic Panic at the Disco

On Witch Hunts: A History of Gender, Politics, & Labor – Preview

Few phrases in the English language evoke the unique horror associated with the words “witch hunt” in any context. That specific form of religious persecution has become synonymous with injustice, so much so that notorious criminals will routinely invoke the words when deflecting questions about legitimate charges. The historical phenomena of witch hunts peaked between the 16th and 17th Centuries… Read More »On Witch Hunts: A History of Gender, Politics, & Labor – Preview