VAMPIRES, WITCHES AND A POLTERGEIST FERRET
Much of the Z List Dead List deals with the supernatural. In the most recent episode, Brenna Hassett talks about Margaret Murray: a tiny, genius archaeologist who revolutionised Egyptology but at the same time got a bit er... carried away with some of the spells she read about. So much so she claimed to have won the first world war by putting a hex on the Kaiser!
But she isn't the only 'real' witch that I've done interviews about. Deborah Hyde is such a massive fan of Margery Jourdemayne (AKA The Witch of Eye) that her twitter handle is @jourdemayne. Her story is one of helping out the wrong woman. Accused of making love potions, and refusing to give up her witchcraft (or medicine as it might be called today) she was burned at the stake!
What both of these 'witches' have in common seems to be that they were both career women. Neither came from prestigious backgrounds and both seemed to get in the way of ambitious men. To this day, ambitious women are seen as super threatening... and the word witch is still a label you hear bandied about in the press.
And of course we mustn't forget the brilliant bullshitter Helen Duncan, the last woman to be tried and convicted of the Witchcraft Act of 1735... in 1940s Britain!
A real vampire would only sparkle
because of the ooze dripping from his decomposing body...
As sexy as the idea of Christopher Lee is, flapping at your windows and leaning over your bed, real vampires are a much less attractive prospect. Skeptic Magazine Editor Deborah Hyde also features in a Vampire Special of The Z List Dead List talking about the times when disease was an unknown quantity.
It was assumed during epidemics that the dead were rising from their fresh shallow graves and infecting what was left of the living population. Walking past a plague pit, you could hear the 'chewing' a lip smacking sound of the undead... actually their bodies decomposing. Fear caused communities to unearth their relatives, and finding their corpses warm (because of decomposition) and blood dripping from their mouths (also decomposition), freaked the hell out. How best to stop the dead rising under the cover of darkness? Why, stake them down into their graves of course! They won't turn to dust like they do in Buffy, but much like a stupid zombie, they wont be able to get up either. What to find out more? Check out the Vampire special of the Z List Dead List Podcast...
GEF: THE POLTERGEIST FERRET
Of course we can't forget the terribly frightening tale of Gef, the talking poltergeist ferret...
Paul Gannon is a huge fan of Harry Price, who when he wasn't debunking witches, and trying out ancient spells was travelling to the Isle of Man to talk to a ghostly talking ferret. While Gef remains 'unexplained' the whole saga ended up costing a man at the BBC his career and being brought up in the British Parliament! To find out more listen to S06E1 of the Z list Dead List Podcast.
Alas like most spooky stories there always seems to be a rational explanation. Hauntings have been happening for centuries and nearly always have a Scooby Doo motive behind them. Take the case of Anne Robinson (not that one):
Have a frightening halloween, and remember: History is full of weird and unexpected stories. Entertain yourself with some of them by listening to The Z List Dead List Podcast.
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