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Astonishing Legends

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Astonishing Legends

Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess

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The world is more mysterious than most people are comfortable imagining. We cross paths with the mystical from time to time and may not even notice it. If we do, we quickly return to our usually mundane daily existence. But what if we not only acknowledged the unknown, we investigated it and spoke with those in the know? That’s what co-hosts Scott & Forrest, and their producer Tess Pfeifle do at Astonishing Legends. Over 85 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of listeners have shown ...
 
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On Friday, September 4, 1964, Donald Shrum and two friends from his job at Aerojet made camp in a remote section of wilderness near the Loch Leven Lakes in an area called Cisco Grove, roughly 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, CA. The three men had planned a relaxing weekend of bow hunting for deer, but those plans would change later that evening as…
 
Tonight's episode concludes this series of our listeners' most terrifying true tales for Halloween. In the final Part Three of this anthology, we're proud to present five stories we believe were some of the most horrifying we've ever heard. The collection covers a curated compilation of creepy creatures. You may be tempted to classify them under th…
 
As we continue with Part Two of our Halloween series featuring our listeners' true accounts, tonight's episode presents another three eerie tales of the supernatural. The first story tells of a haunted college rooming house with a spirit fond of movie catchphrases. And it may have the power to compel humans to deliver poignant messages. Our second …
 
Astonishing Legends is all about fascinating and mysterious topics. And within that category, the details we cover can be unsettling or downright terrifying. But you may not realize that some of the most chilling and creepy accounts we've ever encountered have come from our listeners! We've received thousands of emails over our eight years of podca…
 
In Part Two of our series on the Missing 411 phenomenon, we'll first examine a study conducted to determine which National Parks are the most dangerous in the United States. The numbers and causes may surprise you. We then take a closer look at a few more puzzling cases and, with a critical eye, examine the data presented by David Paulides and the …
 
A former police officer turned writer David Paulides was taken aside by a National Park Ranger and told about a disturbing trend he'd realized. This Ranger asserted that some people were going missing in the woods under mysterious circumstances leaving only puzzling evidence of their fate. Of course, people often go missing in the wilderness in tra…
 
Since antiquity, espionage and deceit have always been crucial weapons of warfare. As technology and strategy have advanced over the centuries, methods for governments to deliver information and orders to their secret agents in the field have become more sophisticated. Yet, one form of cryptic communication implemented in the early 20th century has…
 
On December 1, 1948, an unknown man was found lying dead on the sand on Somerton Beach next to the neighborhood of Glenelg, about 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Adelaide, South Australia. He had no money or identification on him, the labels in his clothing were cut off, and his minimal possessions yielded no clues. Further adding to the mystery, a ro…
 
As we continue our discussion based on Blake Lemoine’s assertion that the Large Language Model chatbot LaMDA had become sentient, we relay the rest of his conversation with the program and then some questions and answers with Lemoine himself. But as Lemoine has said, machine sentience and personhood are just some of many questions to be considered.…
 
On June 11, 2022, The Washington Post published an article by their San Francisco-based tech culture reporter Nitasha Tiku titled, "The Google engineer who thinks the company's AI has come to life." The piece focused on the claims of a Google software engineer named Blake Lemoine, who said he believed the company's artificially intelligent chatbot …
 
We're marvelously fortunate and extraordinarily grateful that so many listeners have sent us their personal stories of mysterious experiences over the years. While it's not possible to respond to all of them, we can and should present some for the entertainment and edification of all. So as thanks to those who've shared, and a treat for us that lov…
 
As we dive further into the epic of Mel's Hole, we learn that in the third phone call to Art Bell on the Coast to Coast AM radio show on April 24, 2000, Mel reveals what had happened to him since his initial calls in 1997. After supposedly taking the deal from the US government to relocate to Australia and receive a compensation of $250,000 per mon…
 
One of the most enduring and pervasive tropes to ever capture the human imagination is the concept of a "bottomless pit." On Friday, February 22, 1997, a man calling himself "Mel Waters" had faxed Art Bell, the much-beloved and sadly now-passed host of the highly-rated, paranormal-themed radio talk show, Coast to Coast AM, claiming to have one on h…
 
Often when one hears about some group of people claiming to experience a highly strange event or similarly acting out in bizarre and irrational manners, it's easy and common to dismiss the episode as a case of "mass hysteria." Phenomena like the audience reaction to Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio broadcast, "The Dancing Plague of 1518," the …
 
On the evening of April 15, 1973, Enfield, Illinois, resident Henry McDaniel heard a scratching noise outside his door he thought might be a bear. He opened it to find a hideous creature he described as having "... three legs on it, a short body, two little, short arms coming out of its breast area, and two pink eyes as big as flashlights. It stood…
 
In the second part of our series on Charles Hoy Fort, we first return to the formative events of his adolescence that shaped his personality, career, and personal philosophies. Fort chronicled anecdotes from his youth in an unpublished manuscript titled Many Parts, written while in his 20s and of which only fragments remain. What can be gleaned fro…
 
Perhaps most everyone listening to this show is familiar with the term "Fortean," meaning something related to the paranormal, the supernatural, or just generally strange phenomena. But where did that term come from? How did "Forteana" come to describe many of the topics we cover on the podcast? We owe that cognomen and a good deal of our inspirati…
 
In tonight's Part Two of our series, we continue with the "Why?" of Tiwanaku and Pumapunku. As in, why was it all built? Why did Tiwanaku society spend so much effort and resources on it, and what did it mean to them? We then transition to the "How?" such a monumental architectural and cultural feat could be accomplished. What craftsmanship skills …
 
We’ve all heard of the mystical and wondrous ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica and South America: The Maya, Olmecs, Aztecs, and the Inca. But one culture that developed on the southern end of Lake Titicaca in present-day western Bolivia near the border with Peru left behind ruins so monumental they continue to intrigue archaeologists and spark h…
 
In part two of our conversation with Remote Viewing instructor Lori Lambert Williams, we'll discuss what is known about how the process works and what is still unknown. Including how the practice can get your non-local consciousness to work with your subconscious and how it can improve your daily life. We'll also explore the mechanics and procedure…
 
We're honored and excited to present a conversation with our good friend and Remote Viewing sensei Lori Lambert Williams. Lori first started studying Remote Viewing back in 1996, mentored by her now longtime friend, Lyn Buchanan. Lyn was one of the original members of the military unit of Viewers created in 1972 at the Standford Research Institute …
 
One of the most baffling, disturbing, and popular subjects we've ever covered on the show is the mystery of Skinwalker Ranch. The groundbreaking book Hunt for the Skinwalker was the source for most of our research. And this is why we're honored and excited to discuss the follow-up book Skinwalkers at the Pentagon: An Insiders' Account of the Secret…
 
We at Astonishing Legends love… well... legends of course, and myths, and traditions. The first two often lead to the latter. But none of it, no story we've ever come across or covered, happens in a vacuum. The one constant connection between all of it, which matters most to us, is people. And so continuing on with a new tradition of our own, we'd …
 
More people have personal paranormal stories than you know. Even some of your relatives or your closest friends. They're not likely to share those stories because they know or suspect the telling will be met with, at the least, eye-rolling or good-natured ribbing, and at the worst, ridicule, scorn, and even anger. Beyond confessions of seeing ghost…
 
We're proud and pleased to bring back one of our most intriguing guests, Terry Lovelace, Esq., to talk about his new book, Devil's Den: The Reckoning. Our first interview with Terry, episode 155: "Abduction at Devil's Den," which aired on October 13, 2019, is one of our most popular and one of the most talked-about. Surprisingly, not because of its…
 
Now that we've heard the shocking details of Ronnie Hunkeler's exorcism, we're once again left to wonder at what point does a logical, scientific explanation become inadequate in accounting for all the extreme events that occurred? Looking objectively at Ronnie's behavior before, during, and after the exorcisms, those who favor a psychiatric or med…
 
We've probably all seen exorcisms performed in movies and TV, but how accurate are those portrayals? Are they really as ferociously terrifying as these shows would have us believe? Where did the writers get their ideas and details about what actually takes place during an exorcism? The Roman Catholic Church has only one sanctioned procedure, and it…
 
We've probably all seen exorcisms performed in movies and TV, but how accurate are those portrayals? Are they really as ferociously terrifying as these shows would have us believe? Where did the writers get their ideas and details about what actually takes place during an exorcism? The Roman Catholic Church has only one sanctioned procedure, and it…
 
What every horror film loves to boast, if possible, is the claim of "Based on a True Story." Because if the story is not just from some writer's imagination, if there is a thread to an actual event with real people, no matter how thin, then the fear becomes more real. William Friedkin's 1973 motion picture The Exorcist is considered one of, if not …
 
As we continue with Part Two of our discussion with Richard Hatem of Ken Webster's book, The Vertical Plane, we find that "The Mystery of the Dodleston Messages" has become even more fantastical and bizarre. As unimaginable as it would be to ostensibly communicate with a living person from hundreds of years ago, Ken and his friends now find themsel…
 
Many of us enjoy a good ghost story. Many of us enjoy Science Fiction. But how many stories do you know that start off as one and evolve into the other? What's become known as "The mystery of the Dodleston messages" is precisely just such a case. And if the story is accurate, it comes with some of the most incredible, baffling, and mind-bending imp…
 
Now that we've covered the story essentials of the strange case of Mary Lurancy Vennum, known as "The Watseka Wonder," it's time to take a look at the possible causes and mechanics of this apparent miracle. Suppose Lurancy's possession was merely the imaginative prank of an attention-seeking impressionable teenager. How then did she know intimate, …
 
An apartment complex hosts a big Halloween party with themed rooms and costumed partygoers. By the end of the night, one of the party’s hosts is murdered. And the partygoers are the main suspects in the eyes of the police: was it the guy in the devil mask, the guy dressed as Jesus, the bank robber, the construction worker? As a complex investigatio…
 
We often wonder when was the first time a now well-known phenomenon first occurred or was recorded. In the instance of spiritual possession, at least in the United States, we may have an answer in the case known as “The Watseka Wonder.” Indeed, if such a condition exists, it’s likely people have been claiming or appearing to be possessed by a super…
 
One question we often receive is, do we think the US Government will ever disclose the existence of UFOs? We believe the answer is, they've already begun. Since the groundbreaking, front-page article appeared in the December 17, 2017 edition of the New York Times with a title exclaiming "Real UFOs," the world has seen drips and drops of Pentagon-au…
 
Here's a question: What makes a haunted house spooky if you've never been there? How scary can a haunted house be if no one has repeatedly investigated it? In other words, what is more frightening, the honest anecdotes about experienced paranormal activity in a haunted location or the unverified legends and lore of a place that send the frights of …
 
It's much more comfortable for most of us to think of paranormal subjects as having their origins beginning only in recent history – an amusing byproduct of mid-twentieth century foolishness or the internet age. Much easier to dismiss then. Many people, persuaded by an uninformed media, believe UFOs only started appearing to the public after pilot …
 
Our goal in covering the story of the Perron family's experience while living for a decade at the Arnold Estate, the inspiration for the motion picture, The Conjuring, was to uncover the real story behind the persistent hauntings. What we discovered once again was the actual truths at the heart of this, and other famous cases are as murky and nebul…
 
Whether you're a fan of horror films or not, you've probably heard of the 2013 motion picture, "The Conjuring." This film, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, struck such a chord with viewers that it spawned a franchise of related films like The Conjuring sequels, The Nun, Annabelle, and The Curse of La Llorona. But the initial movie was insp…
 
Many of us have taken an adventurous expedition to check out some local, notorious spot to see if we could witness or sense some evidence of a past famous or infamous incident. Most of the time, one only returns with a minor anecdote or pictures of an ordinary location bereft of anything noteworthy. The more realistic purpose is not so much to find…
 
So, as we close out our three-part series on Crop Circles, what have we all learned so far? Well, we've learned that Crop Circles are not just another fad from the 1980s and 90s. Generations of farmers going back at least to the turn of the last century have found them, and probably long before that if written accounts are accurate. They may have b…
 
As we dive deeper into exploring the phenomenon of Crop Circles, it seems that the story of its research takes on the shape of other histories of paranormal investigation. Misinformation and misdirection from government and military agencies, hoaxes complicating genuinely anomalous evidence, and the phenomena itself presenting an ever-moving target…
 
On a July afternoon in 1983, Colin Andrews, an electrical engineer and officer employed by the British regional government, was driving between his offices near Winchester and Hampshire when something caught his eye. Seeing something unusual in a farmer's field next to the road, he felt strongly compelled to pull over and check it out. A strange ph…
 
We have a very special guest joining us tonight, metaphysical "astralnaut," philosopher of the liminal, "Pope of the Paranormal," and host of the AM Radio talk show Dark Air, Terry Carnation. Terry first got his start in the paranormal radio genre when unexpectedly thrust into taking over for another show. While working as a late-night rock n' roll…
 
As legend would have it, or at least how the story goes from Marie Caroline Watson Hamlin's 1884 book, Legends of Le Détroit, on the evening of the 10th of March, 1701, a lively banquet took place in the castle of St. Louis, Quebec. The celebratory dinner host was the governor of "New France," Hector Louis de Callière. The guest of honor was Monsie…
 
In the years between 1764 and 1767, a real-life monster had brutally savaged the residents of the former province of Gévaudan in the highland region of south-central France. While the creature's first attack was reportedly unsuccessful in killing its intended victim, it did provide a horrific description of it. Some sort of massive, canine-like cre…
 
Who among us hasn't wanted to know the future or have insight into the hidden, at least in passing? From the first instance a human had a premonition that came true, it seems likely that the adventurous who were shocked and astounded wondered how those without the "gift" could duplicate this impossible experience. Then, when someone stared too inte…
 
As we wrap up our coverage of the Frederick Valentich story in Part 3 of our series, we'll continue our conversation with Melbourne resident Chris Tyler about his research into the case and other possibly related UFO incidents around the same time and area. We'll also examine the Australian Department of Transport accident report's remaining findin…
 
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