Weird stories abound in The Box of Oddities. Kat & Jethro from the popular podcast join us and share some of their spookiest.
You can find The Box of Oddities at TheBoxofOddities.com and on your podcast app of choice.
In part two, Heather Green joins us to talk about how witches have been portrayed by Hollywood over the decades.
You can find her book on Amazon: Lights, Camera, Witchcraft: A Critical History of Witches in American Film and Television
Thanks Kat, Jethro and Heather!
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Paranormal Podcast Announcer 0:13
This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.
Jim Harold 0:17
Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I am Jim Harold and so glad to be with you once again and boy, do we have a double shot of goodness for you today: a two part Paranormal Podcast our first of the year. First up will be stories from Kat and Jethro, from the Box of Oddities, some of your favorite stories they’re going to be sharing with us stories of the weird in the strange and always glad to catch up with them. That’s a lot of fun. And in part two, Heather Greene will join us to talk about how witches and witchcraft have been portrayed in Hollywood and her book, Lights, Camera, Witchcraft. A really interesting show today. And here it is. One of the things we’ve been doing in 2022 is featuring paranormal power couples, and people who are doing great things in podcasting. And we’ve had our current guests on the show quite a few times. And they’re two of our favorite people with one of their favorite podcasts. We’re talking about cat and Jethro, from the Box of Oddities. And I think they’re over well over 400 episodes now and they’re just growing and everything’s going great. And they have a great show. And we welcome Kat and Jethro from Box of Oddities. Welcome back, guys.
Thanks so much Jim. You’re Jim Harold!
Jim Harold 1:40
Yeah. I don’t know about that. I mean, you guys are like real pro radio people. So when I talk to you, it’s like, oh, I’m self critiquing myself. With every word with every word. Because you have those dulcet tones. You just hit the post every time you guys appreciate. So Kat and Jethro: I mean, you guys, we were talking a little bit of shot beforehand. You been doing this for about four years now. Right?
That’s right. Yeah. I think next month, we’ll hit our four year anniversary.
Yeah, we rolled it out, I think march seventh of 2018.
Jim Harold 2:21
Well, congratulations. And I don’t want to tell anything out of school but you guys have millions and millions and millions and millions of downloads. I mean, the Box of Oddities has really taken off.
We’ve We’ve been very very fortunate for sure. And I don’t think when we started it we had hopes that that that would happen. But of course you know there’s always that self doubt and it seemed like a pretty big hurdle to clear we were just so grateful that people have helped us you know grow the show like like yourself you know you really helped us out at a very early point for us and that’s made all the difference.
Jim Harold 3:00
Well glad to be of service and glad to do it you know fellow you know they’re they’re good people out there in podcasting and they certainly count you guys chief among them and glad to help out the little bit that I can and always was glad to to talk to you and the way I explained your show you know you’re not 100% Paranormal. You have paranormal aspects to your show your kind of paranormal-adjacent, you may have a paranormal story, but you have like a weird creepy stories. How would you explain the mix of stories and cases that you guys cover?
Well, the way that JG has described it on several occasions and I love this is like highly improvised creepy Ripley’s Believe It or Not, you know it can I can really run the gamut. I can go from true crime to the bizarre history of soup.
Yeah. Which, which is one of the creepier episodes really. You have no idea how terrifying soup can be.
Jim Harold 4:00
But will tell us a little bit about that you kind of I don’t want to we gotta have the information. Now. Tell us about this weird soup. What’s going on with the soup?
Well, I mean, we may have been exaggerating a little bit about it being creepy, but soup really did start as like a travel food. And it came in like blocks and they called it pocket soup. And you could just put it in your pocket and take it with you. And then you Yeah, I mean, the face that you’re making right now is accurate.
Jim Harold 4:26
Yeah, we’re like, it reminds me that fair, that reminds me that Ferris Bueller thing where the Canada offers the principle. The gummy bears. You know, do you want some of these warm gummy bears that were in my pocket?
Yeah, yeah, no thank you.
Better or like the guy who smuggled illegal bathtub cheese across the border in its pants. You hear about that?
Jim Harold 4:53
No, no, tell us.
Yeah, yeah. Well, I guess what kind of cheese is that? I don’t remember but it’s They call it bathtub cheese because it’s made in a bathtub. And it’s it’s very popular, but it’s hard to get in the United States and it says it’s made in a bathtub. It’s made in a bathtub. And so people were smuggling it across the border, like Tijuana, I guess. And they got busted. They had 40 pounds of cheese in their pants.
Jim Harold 5:21
I could say a lot of things. I’m not gonna say any of them. ,
Well, yeah pants cheese goes really well with pocket soup.
Jim Harold 5:28
The French onion, you know, you’ve got the you’ve got the soup, and you’ve got the cheese on top. Right. And we won’t get into the onions. Now I’m being done as it as it may. I’m looking here at some recent shows in January on 399. You talked about a time fabric light guy. What is a time fabric light Guy?
Time fabric light guy? Which episode was?
Jim Harold 5:55
399 399 was the one? Because we talked about time travel and stuff on the show? Was this guy bending space and time? Was he?
Uh, no, actually, I think that was just a oftentimes we name our episodes, just bizarre comments that happened during the show. And so consequently, the titles don’t always reflect the subject matter. But in that particular case was a mystery. It was a mystery. I don’t know how we got to time fabric light guy.
I do not remember that at all.
But we I talked about, what what it’s called, what are the types of tiles what were they called, these rubber tiles were cheap tear, cheap, cheap, a tear, yes, Tjipetir tiles. These there, they were these rubber blocks looking like tiles that periodically wash up on the shores in in Europe, specifically in England. And they have this strange word Tjipetir stamped in them. And nobody knew what they were and they’ve been just washing up on the shore for decades now. And nobody really understood what that was all about. Until recently, a woman who found one did some research and found out that they are actually blocks of a type of substance that’s similar to rubber that was harvested and manufactured in I think it was Indonesia in the in the name of the town and the factory was Tjipetir. And so these were being shipped all over the world. They made golf balls out of them, they made lots of different things. They were it was important in the process of creating, like the transcontinental or transatlantic cable. So they were shipping these all over the place. And some of them were shipped in the Titanic, as well as other ships. And so many of the ships that went down 100 years ago or so had these rubber tiles in them, and slowly as the ships would start to decay would release these tiles. And so periodically for decades now they’ve just been floating ashore, in places from, I guess, Portugal, all the way up to parts of Norway and stuff. It’s kind of strange.
Jim Harold 8:14
And that’s the kind of story the things that you guys do. Because basically the premise as I understand it, and listening to the show for years, is you both come up with cases you spring them up on each other and then get your kind of natural back and forth interplay in reaction to those cases. But the thing is, is that many times they these fall into what I call head scratchers, they’re not necessarily paranormal, they’re not necessarily I mean, but those are the ones that I love. The ones are kind of like, what the heck was going on with that? I think about my favorite all time story that you guys have told and we talked about on the shows before is the man from Taured? Yes, that was a fun one. And the one about the man who showed up at an airport, I think it was in Japan. And he claimed to be from a country called Taured. T A U R E D, I believe and and he had all like a passport from this country, and all documentation that would substantiate that he was from this country. But of course the problem is the country doesn’t exist. And then if I remember correctly, armed guards were put at his door as so the story goes. And in the morning when they went to get him he had disappeared along with all of his paperwork. That’s basically the gist of it. Right?
Yeah, that’s the gist of it right there. They I think the what their equivalent of like the State Department put him in a hotel room until they could figure out what was going on. And they did they posted guards at the door. And from what I remember it was a room on a very high floor so there was no way out. Other than coming through that door. Next morning. He was just gone and all of all the belongings he had disappeared too including, as you mentioned a passport, paperwork, and money from this country that did not exist. And his reaction when they told him that his country did not exist was almost one of anger.
Right? Which makes a lot of sense. Well, yeah, of course, you’d be like, What are you talking about?
So I don’t know, it was at a time slip. Was that an alternate universe thing? It’s it’s hard to say. But it certainly is, as you would say, a head scratcher.
Jim Harold 10:26
And the thing that I think that these things that we get some of these things on my campfire show from time to time, and that’s the whole thing on our shoulder head scratchers. And I was talking to another podcaster, I was on his show the other day, and we’re talking about the nature of reality. In some of this stuff. I mean, I know you guys do a lot of funny stuff, or, you know, kind of Darwin Award stuff and those kinds of things. But these kinds of stories, to me hint, that reality isn’t always what we think it is have, doing all these stories, has it kind of changed your guy’s perspective on your outlook on reality in the world? What are your thoughts?
Well, it hasn’t changed mine. Because from the beginning, I’m pretty convinced we’re living in a computer simulation. I, you know, you laugh, but a lot of people do. Elon Musk says that there’s a pretty high probability that what we’re experiencing right now is some sort of highly advanced virtual reality, and that we’re playing out roles in essentially what is a big video game. And when you get into the principles of like, the holographic universe and things like that, scientifically, it suggests that that is true, it certainly doesn’t disprove it. And so I find that extremely interesting. And I love the whole idea of reality not being exactly what we think it is. And, and it is different than how we perceive it. Because we have such limited abilities, you know, we can only see a certain part of the light spectrum, we can only hear certain sounds, you only, you know, to a certain point. But just because we can’t see, x rays, for example, doesn’t mean that they’re, they’re not there, and that they could be a color. They’re just a color we can’t see there in the light spectrum. So how do we know we don’t?
Jim Harold 12:24
That’s right. What do you think, Kat?
So I tend to be more of the the skeptic of the team. And I wouldn’t say that my perspective has changed. But my perspective has been broadened, I guess. So I absolutely agree that reality is not what we understand it to be because I understand a certain amount of science. So I mean, that in the most natural basic way, reality is not what we see or what we understand, because we can’t, so I know that there’s more to it than what we experience. I just am more. I vibe more with the idea that we just haven’t figured it out. Rather than throwing out all the theories that we hope we’ve figured it out.
It’s interesting when you when you think about like, sound, you know, there are it’s like, dough Re Mi, Fa, Sol, La Ti, so they’re seven, you know, seven notes in a scale. And in the visible spectrum, it’s red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, seven. And I heard a theory, one that somebody put forward that if you take the you know, the note C, and you play it at, like an extremely high octave. That it’s the the color green.
Jim Harold 14:00
Yeah, yeah. I mean, the science can be more mind blowing than then some paranormal stuff, you know. And the thing is, is that Jethro, you know, when you were talking about us possibly being a simulation, and many people might think, well, that’s against, for example, my religion, but maybe not. Maybe God is simply the great coder. Maybe hacker in the sky. So yeah, the God created the world. He built his computer program, you know, in seven days, or whatever it might be.
How would you describe that to an ancient people?
Jim Harold 14:36
Right exactly. So it might and I’m not even being funny here, or not trying to be funny is that God may be a computer programmer, essentially.
We don’t know. You don’t know.
You don’t know, and so much of what we’ve talked about before, so much of the things written historically and in the Bible, line up with quantum physics. So I mean, Obviously, there’s there’s some really interesting connections there. So why couldn’t everything be connected in that way? And still both be true?
Yeah. I mean, we can call it what you want to call it. But it could be the same thing we just, we don’t know. We just don’t know.
Jim Harold 15:17
That we don’t. But it’s so fun talking about it. And so fun talking with cat and Jethro from the box of oddities. And we’ll be back right after this. The Paranormal Podcast is brought to you by StartMail. Did you know free email services like Gmail and Yahoo aren’t really free. In fact, you pay with your privacy. Internet giants like big tech. Well, they bank on exploiting your data by selling it to the highest bidder. Your business plan, Google has it. Your medical records, the folks over at StartMail tell me that Yahoo can actually sell them to the drug companies. Now people may say, Well, I have nothing to hide. But think about this companies with these free services can sell data to people with intrusive ads. And that can open you up to things like identity theft and phishing attacks. And you certainly don’t want that. That’s why I’m so glad I have a personal StartMail account. It makes me feel safe again, because StartMail keeps your email private period. Every email can be encrypted even if the recipient doesn’t use encryption. And when you delete an email in StartMail, it’s gone forever. And StartMail uses their own servers not Amazon which means they can’t be put out of business like a lot of services you hear about then Amazon decides they don’t like and they put you out of business well, that’s not the case with StartMail. They are self reliant. Now switching to StartMail is seamless to you can easily transfer all of your current email data so there is no starting from scratch. StartMail is also backed by the most stringent privacy laws in the world. You get unlimited anonymous aliases. This feature protects your main email address from spam and phishing attacks. So when you’re giving your email to a company but want to protect your identity, StartMail can generate a shareable alias email so people can’t sell your information. I think that is so cool. And those alias email addresses can be deleted at any time. So I love that you know, you want to sign up for something, but you don’t want to be spammed to death. Just use one of those alias emails. So so cool. I love their interface. It’s very simple. It’s very clean. And I love the idea of protecting my privacy and I think you should strongly consider the same and switch to StartMail. Your cybersecurity has never been more at risk. Email snoops and scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic as phishing has skyrocketed in the last year. Take control of your privacy with StartMail before it’s too late. Start securing your email privacy with StartMail. Sign up today and you’ll get 50% off your first year. Go to Startmail.com/paranormal That’s Start Mail with a T – S T A R T mail.com/paranormal for 50% off your first year startmail.com/paranormal And we thank StartMail for their support of the Paranormal Podcast.
Paranormal Podcast Announcer 2 18:37
Keep up to date with everything at the spooky studio. Sign up for Jim’s free newsletter at Jimharold.com/newsletter. Now, back to the Paranormal podcast.
Jim Harold 18:52
We’re back on the paranormal podcast, our guests our podcasters par excellence Kat and Jethro from the Box of Oddities. And we’re so glad to speak with them once again and talk about their fabulous podcast and their fabulous stories. And speaking of which, guys, you know, it occurs to me that having done over 400 episodes of this some stories have to kind of rise to the top and are your favorites. So I’ll ask individually and we’ll start with Jethro. What’s one of your that doesn’t have to be the absolute favorite but one of your favorite Box of Oddities stories?
I did one I don’t know a month or so ago that that. Have you heard of the Red Barn murders?
Jim Harold 19:37
I don’t think so.
Okay. I think it was murder, murder, murder son singular. Back in 1827. in Suffolk, England. There was a couple that lived on a farm and they lived with their daughter and she went ran off and married a guy and they eloped to a different city but they hadn’t heard from her for quite some time. And the mother started having these dreams and this premonition that something was wrong with with her daughter.
Her stepdaughter. That’s fine.
And she had this recurring dream that her stepdaughters body was found under the floorboards of a red barn, which was a mile or so from from their homestead. And it was a recurring dream it happened over and over and over.
Which is going to be pretty creepy. Maria’s buried in the barn over and over again. That’s, that’s no way to wake up.
Jim Harold 20:43
Well, that’s just a weird dream to have, regardless of what happens afterwards. It’s just a bizarre dream to have to begin with.
She told her husband, I’m having these dreams about Maria. And would you go and check the barn? And he went reluctantly, because he thought, well, you know, it’s a dream. It’s certainly not a reason to get all upset about this. But he went there and he saw some loose floorboards and he lifted the boards, and he could see the Earth had been dug into there was a concave there. So he dug into the dirt. And he found Maria there. She was exactly where her stepmother dreamed that she would be. And what they determined happened was the guy that she ran off with, killed her in the barn, and then he moved to the city and married somebody else. And ultimately, they had to go get him and bring him back.
And he kept up this ruse of like, yeah, no, she went to visit her sister or whatever. And she can’t write because she hurt her hand. And yeah, she’s out taking a bath or something, you know? Yeah, just Yeah, that’s a good excuse. Exactly. And it was, it was problematic for a lot of reasons. But because the stepmother had been having these dreams, and a lot of people didn’t buy into it, then some people thought that she had been involved in the murder.
Yeah. But he was sentenced to hang, which he did for the crime. He said throughout the trial, I’m not guilty. I’m not guilty. I had nothing to do with this, even though, you know, he had gone and married somebody else. So really, it’s probably one of the few times that we can say definitively that a murder was solved by a dream.
Jim Harold 22:40
Yeah, you know, pre cognition is something I totally buy into. We had someone who told a story, I believe it was about her aunt. And she had to go down to this downtown area, business district for an appointment, or to pick something up or something. So anyway, she went up to her appointment, and she came back out, picture a busy downtown area. And there was a building and there were some construction workers doing work on their scaffolding and everything. And she saw in front of her and this was about I think this was 12 noon time where she was at, she saw a construction worker fall to her his death. And she’s like, Oh, my God, I can’t believe what I just saw. And she kind of looked around and look back and everything was normal. Like it never happened. Okay, that’s weird. That’s weird. Maybe that’s a hallucination thing. A very upsetting, very sad. And then she went home, she was beside herself, because I saw this. And then I unsaw it didn’t happen there. You know, where I saw the person lying. There was no one there. There was no sign of any falling. Everybody was going about their business. Her family’s like, Oh, don’t worry about you know, things happen, whatever. And, you know, she looks to see if there’s a news reports nothing. And then later, she watches the news. And he said, oh, a horrible thing happened downtown in the business district today, a construction. A construction worker fell to his death at around 3pm. She saw it. Three hours, four hours before it actually happened.
Wow. Same spot, same location
Jim Harold 24:25
Exactly. Exactly. And there’s so many stories I’ve heard whether it’s through the shows, or just in general with people having premonitions of things. I believe that’s a thing. I don’t know what it is tapping into some kind of universal knowledge base. But I believe that’s the thing I remember. My mom my late mom used to tell the story of she was living in a home with her mom, and her mom told him in her West Virginia accent your brother’s gonna come home really bad hurt or he’s gonna to be killed on the job today, where they live in West Virginia, it was pretty, pretty backwards, up until I don’t think they electric into the, like 1970s or something. So, but anyway, they didn’t have a phone. But somebody came that day and said that he had been hurt really badly on an accident and he had broken his pelvis. And the gram, my grandmother foretold that hours before it happened. These are salt of the earth people, these these people, you know, were, you know, figuring out their chakras and didn’t pray to pyramids and kind of salt of the earth people by definition. So my point is, is I believe precognition exists. And that’s a perfect example of that story.
That’s a an interesting thing that a lot of times people because I am, you know, the, the skeptic of the show, will kind of be surprised because I absolutely believe in pre cognition, because time is not linear. And so I don’t, we just, we can only perceive it as linear, right? So I don’t believe that precognition is necessarily, you know, from somewhere else, I just think that it’s, maybe something happened in in the way that they’re perceiving time. And so again, it’s another example of, maybe it’s not one or the other. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.
Jim Harold 26:27
Right, right. Now in terms of Box of Oddities stories, Kat, it’s your turn to be on the hot seat here. What’s one of all one of your all time favorites?
Well, I think something that we’ve been experiencing a lot lately is an effect that we call the Boo effect. And it’s an instance where a person who’s listened to the podcast has had something very strange happen in connection to an episode that they’ve just listened to, or an episode that that’s coming up
Yeah, a Box of Oddities effect or a BOO effect, and it’s become, it’s, it’s, we probably had 100 150 emails this week alone, people talking about bizarre coincidences that happened to them involving an episode of the Box of Oddities.
Recently, there was just an example a guy driving through town that we were talking about on the podcast, when you know, someone was buried in that town. And he drove by the cemetery that they were buried in, just as we were talking about it, that kind of thing. Yeah. Well, we had a really interesting BOO effect happen. Not long ago, where a guy was telling us about a recurring dream that he had when he was a kid. He was going on this field trip with his classmates, they were going to the Capitol, to learn about their their country’s history. And he kept having this dream leading up to the field trip that one of his classmates stood up on the bus and shared something. And everyone was really upset by it. They were all shocked. Some people were crying. Night after night. He’s having the same dream. Sean stands up. Sean says something, but he can’t hear what it is that Sean says. And so the day comes that they’re going on this field trip and they’re tootling along and he said, it actually happened. Sean stood up, and he yelled out, Princess Di has been killed. And people reacted in exactly the way you would imagine. Some people were really upset. Some people were crying. But it happened to be you know, we were talking about Princess Di. And in that episode, and we also talked about precognition. So it was really interesting that he had had that precog instance where it involved Princess Diana and I can’t imagine how frustrating that must be, especially for a child not understanding like why did I Why did I know this is happening?
And wasn’t it the day he was asleep? Listening to that episode was the anniversary of her marriage to Prince Charles? There’s some kind of a weird coincidence there. And this type of thing happens all the time. We had we were talking about how we see the number 11 11. Yeah. Have you heard about this phenomenon?
Jim Harold 29:24
Yeah, I’ve done interviews on it. There’s there’s a book by Marie D Jones called the 11 11 time prompt phenomenon.
Interesting. Well, we see it all the time. In fact, we when we started doing this podcast, and we incorporated, we named our corporation, 11 11. Because it’s always played a big part in our life, and it shows up everywhere for us. And we were talking about that one day on our podcast and a listener wrote in and said, I was listening to this at the drive thru at McDonald’s, and the person’s license plate in front of me said 11 11. And she took a picture of it and sent it into us.
Jim Harold 30:01
You know, I thought that I was the only one. But apparently this is a podcast thing, because I’ll tell you what happens with my campfire show and this is uncanny. And uncannily weird. People call in the same times about the same subjects. But the thing is, is that we put a calendar out there, we have a kind of set up. You know, we’re, we’re a small team, you’ve got one full time employee, I’ve got a part time assistant producer, my kids also work for me and do some do some editing. But I’m the only full time person so we try to automate when we can. So the way that people sign up for campfire is they express their interest through a form on the website, then Maddy reaches out and says, Yes, we’d love to have you here is the link to our schedule. And they can go in pick a time, and they pick a time at random, we don’t say UFOs one time or ghosts another time, whatever it might be, then they schedule it then are automatically sent the Zoom link, it’s actually pretty, pretty slick. But the point is that, what will happen is invariably, I will have people like I have two hour slots that I record campfire calls, usually one in the afternoon and one in the evening. So we can accommodate everybody’s time zone. And many times either two or three calls in a session will touch on exactly the same topic. I mean, it’s uncanny. We had one a couple weeks ago, where the first person called in about living growing up in a haunted childhood house. And also seeing a doppelganger and the very next call was about a woman who grew up in a childhood home and experienced a doppelganger.
So so how do you explain that?
Jim Harold 31:48
I don’t I mean, I don’t think it’s I say it’s the universe kind of saying, you know, that old saying, if you stare into the abyss, it will stare back at you. It’s almost like I’ve heard other people who delve into the paranormal. It’s almost like a kind of like, yeah, I see what you’re doing. I know that you’re noticing me. And I think John Keel said something like, I think it was Keel. You noticed them, and they noticed that you notice them. And I think that because I think there’s when it comes to paranormal phenomena, I believe there’s a certain amount of like tricksterism, I think we’re almost being messed with in a way. So I think sometimes when somebody starts whether they’re a paranormal investigator, or they are a podcast or delving into these kinds of things, or whatever, or a writer, things will happen that kind of says, I know you’re watching me and I’m watching you too.
What is the, we have we have a sign a piece of art actually hanging on one of our walls. And I think it is it Longfellow says once. Once you make a decision the universe conspires to make it happen. I think now. Oh, no, Emerson, I think it was Emerson.
Jim Harold 33:02
Yeah. Well speaking are we’re going to tell one more story that happened on campfire there’s just so mind blowing. So I and this this, this was like a double weird thing. It was what I described to you just now but plus, okay. So I was talking to a gentleman, I can’t remember where it was at. And he was talking about he was his friend had purchased him a digital download of a Robert Johnson box set, the famous blues man who supposedly sold his soul to the
I have that. Yeah, it’s a black and white photo on the cover of him playing his guitar
Jim Harold 33:43
and he supposedly sold his soul to the devil. Okay. And then the next person who called in, I can’t remember if it was directly the next person or there was a call or in between, but the next person call called in about, and the idea of this guy’s call, the first guys call was that he was thinking of the person who bought him the set and then the box set, start playing on his iPad automatically. Okay, we’re good. We’re weird. It gets weirder. So the next person who’s either very next caller, or there would made them one in between the two calls, same session tells a story about hearing. They were going to a funeral, the person died very young, and the person loved KISS. And all of a sudden they’re driving. They’re they’re late, they feel badly and so forth. And all of a sudden on the radio Kiss starts playing. That’s that’s a neat coincidence. I mean, it could be just a coincidence. But then I said, I mentioned this Robert Johnson thing. And I said, You know what? Kind of weird we just had a call about like a musical kind of synchronicity. And she said, Well, that’s interesting, but let me tell you, I’m an artist. I was just drawing A picture of an artist, you might be interested in the name of that artist that I was just drawing a picture of. The artist name is Robert Johnson. And after the call immediately after the call, she emailed me the picture. Because at first I’m like, no, come on. We gotta be joking. No way. You’re making that up.
We’ve had very strange experiences between the two of us, we joke that we have the same brain, we’ll be both working on something, we’re both sitting there with the laptops doing some editing or something. And we haven’t said anything for maybe 10, 15 minutes. And we will both burst out in song, the same song at the same place in the song at the same moment. This has happened more than once and unfortunately, it’s usually ABBA.
Jim Harold 35:53
Well, the thing is, I’m just hearing Fernando in my head.
It was Fernando!
Jim Harold 36:05
Okay, we can’t do that we’ll get Yeah, we don’t have an ASCAP or BMI license. But the point is, and I do believe that I see that with my with Dar, my wife, all the time, mind meld, It’s eerie and weird. Like, we’ll text each other about something. And the other one say, Oh, I was just about to text you about that? Oh, yeah. Or, you know, whatever the case may be is just uncanny. And I do think when you’re close to people, whether it’s by blood relation, or you just have a very deep relationship with somebody, there is that mind meld component that I think most of us it’s, it’s like an unspoken language. Just know. We’ll be back with our final segment with Kat and Jethro from the box of oddities right after this on the paranormal podcast. The Paranormal Podcast is brought to you by Calm and for this ad break take a moment to survey your thoughts. What are you holding on to? I’ll give you a moment. Did you think about that? Well let go of your to do list and pending projects and just focus on your breath. We all need a few moments in the day where we are at one with ourselves and Calm can help and that’s why I’m so glad that we are partnering with Calm. The number one mental wellness app to give you the tools that improve the way you feel. Clear head with guided daily meditations improve your focus with Calm’s curated music tracks, and drift off to dreamland with Calm’s imaginative sleep stories for both children and adults. And if you go to Calm.com/Jim, you’ll get a limited time offer of 40% off a Calm premium subscription, which includes hundreds of hours of programming, and new content is added every week. Over 100 million people around the world use calm to take care of their minds. We do that here at the Harold household we love it. It’s a great way to relax and to go to sleep. I absolutely love Calm I think you will to sleep more stress less live better with calm and for listeners of the Paranormal Podcast Calm is offering a special limited time promotion of 40% off a Calm premium subscription at calm.com/jim. Go to calm.com/jim for 40% off unlimited access to Calm’s entire library. That’s calm.com/jim. And we thank Calm for their support of the Paranormal Podcast.
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Subscribe to Jim’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/JimHarold for video campfire stories, interviews, our paranormal quiz game show, and whatever he comes up with next. And be sure to hit that notification bell when you subscribe so you’ll never miss a video. Now we return to the Paranormal Podcast.
Jim Harold 39:12
We are back with Kat and Jethro from the Box of Oddities, so much fun to talk with them. It’s just not. It’s not even like working. It’s not like doing a show. It’s just having a fun conversation. I really enjoy both of them. And they are great what they do with the Box of Oddities podcast. So I thought maybe for this final segment, we could talk about a couple more kind of favorite or interesting stories, maybe even some things like they kind of pull in the paranormal. Jethro, I know you had one coming up that you’re really excited about.
Yeah, that’s true. So I think it’s going to I can’t remember what day it’s going to drop. But coming up in the next week or so. It’s a preview of one of the topics that I’m going to discuss and it involves some pretty strange things about the construction and the methods involved in building the pyramids, well, specifically the Great Pyramid? And the question, who did it and why and how and some history tells us one thing, but science is starting to tell us something a little bit different, or at least suggesting that. For example, the the pyramid faces true north with only three sixteenths of a degree of error. It points directly to the North Pole. And the East-West parallel that crosses most land. And the south north meridian that crosses the most land intersect in two places on earth. One is in the middle of the ocean, and one is dead center of the Great Pyramid of Egypt. So, you know, Atlantis, maybe?
Jim Harold 40:57
I you know, I don’t know. But the thing is, is that I mean, the tolerances and and first of all, get this out of the way, because some people will say, Well, you know, if you think about Ancient Aliens, you talk about other external explanations that you’re kind of dissing the ancient Egyptian people, and you’re not giving them full credit. I give them all the credit in the world. I think, obviously, they were a magnificent civilization with so many achievements. But my point, whether it’s a journey, aliens, or whatever it is, we’re missing a big piece of the picture. Yeah. It’s kind of like if you look at a jigsaw puzzle, and like, half of it’ss gone, there’s something we’re missing because they had too much cape, capability. They had these tolerances. If you look at it, ancient sitet, and I hope I pronounced the right, Gobekli Tepe. Yeah, you look at the way that the stone cutting was done that I not even sure they can replicate today, or it takes very high end saws to do which they couldn’t possibly have the How does that happen? That speaks to something that we are missing. Now, maybe there’s a mundane explanation for that. But there’s something we’re really missing about how these ancient sites came to be.
That that singular stone that’s in the center of the Great Pyramid, it I think it was a coffer
In the king’s chamber. Yeah,
And that’s a great example of exactly that.
Yep, the it’s a solid granite block that’s been carved out with great precision. And in studying the coffer researchers, through microscopic analysis had discovered that the coffer was made with a six with a fixed point drill that used some sort of jewel bit with a drilling force that had to be of at least two tons. So how you know, that’s a pretty sophisticated piece of machinery, right? Another thing that really blows my mind, too is on the sides of the pyramid, there are slight concaves and I’m talking about Khufu, pyramid pyramid, the Great Pyramid, there are slight concaves on each side that you can’t see from the ground, you can’t see from any perspective other than directly above it. And during a certain time of the year, on the first sunrise of the spring, or I’m sorry, the summer and the first sunrise of the winter Equinox. From above the shadows it creates, makes it look like it’s eight-sided, but you can only see it from high above. Now, is that just a weird effect that they didn’t plan to create that just happened? It’s certainly possible. But what about this, the pyramid was covered in capstones. During its its heyday, it was covered in highly polished limestone. So it was completely smooth and polished from top to bottom. It wasn’t until the 14th century where there was an earthquake that knocked a lot of them loose. And then the the stones were used to build mosques and other buildings, but based on the type of stone that they used, based on the high degree of polishing, that the stones had the angles that the stones were mounted and the amount of stones, they said that through research they determined that it would have reflected light like a mirror. In fact, they the the word for the ancient Egyptian word for pyramid was… I had it here, I wrote it down. It means shining jewel, is what what it means. But based on this information, what they determined is that the light reflected would be so great You’d be able to see it from the moon, it would look like a shining jewel from the moon or essentially a beacon of sorts.
Jim Harold 45:09
Yeah, there’s more than meets the eye. And and again, people said, well, you don’t respect science. I respect science right now what we’re doing and folks can’t see it. But we’re on video. This used to be the purview of Ted Koppel, right? You know, this was the purview of people who had satellites, and so forth. And we can do this from our home studios now. Science is fantastic. I love science. But I think, to Kat’s point earlier, the idea that we have maybe figured a lot out, but we haven’t figured it all out. There’s a lot that we haven’t figured out. So I don’t think questioning that in any way is anti science. I think it’s saying, Hey, we’ve got a lot more to figure out.
Well, if if we truly are scientists, or we truly take a scientific approach to things, you have to leave open the possibility that there’s more information to come. Otherwise, you’re not being scientific.
Jim Harold 46:07
Right, right. Right. That’s the when you know, the the old thing about the earth being flat, you know, or he center of the universe. You know, the scientists that time had their mind made up, but you have the Great Pyramid, such such a mystery and many ancient sites, including even one here in Ohio called Serpent Mound, which is in the shape of a snake. I’ve been there, but you can’t see it unless you’re in the air.
Right? Or the Nazca Lines.
Jim Harold 46:34
Oh, yeah, definitely the Nazca Lines. That’s, that’s one of the great ones. Now, on this show, we cover a lot of different things. One of the upcoming shows that we’re going to be doing is with the academe about a big survey, he’s done a big book on the topic of vampires. But Kat, I understand you have a story that that you really enjoyed about vampires?
Yeah. So this is an example of what these researchers believe was a real life vampire. This body was discovered. And when they were uncovering her in 2006, they discovered she was from the 16th century. And she had when buried, a brick jammed in her mouth. Oh, which sounds very, very uncomfortable. This was the time during the plague. And there were a lot of misunderstandings about what caused plague. And one of those those theories was vampires caused plagues. And in fact, if I remember correctly, the the word nosferatu translates to something along the lines of disease carrier. And so they vampires, obviously, you don’t want them around. And one of the ways that they thought and this is very rudimentary, of course, but the way that you keep a vampire from, from coming back from the grave, and attacking you and giving you the plague was by burying them with a brick jammed in their mouth. And this had been a story that had been passed down. But this uncovering of this, this woman’s body in 2006 was the first instance that they had found evidence that that was actually practiced, rather than just a story that had been told.
Jim Harold 48:35
Yeah, that’s interesting. I’m looking forward to interviewing this gentleman. He’s a PhD at Baylor. So you know, pretty, pretty serious guy who’s written a huge book, it’s called the vampire almanac. It’s probably about a couple inches thick. It’s kind of like an encyclopedia of vampires. So I’m looking at, I’m interested in looking at the legend and lore. And if you’re listening to this, that should be out within the next couple of weeks. So that should be a fun episode. So when you mentioned vampires, I’m like, it is interesting to know that it isn’t just something we see in movies, but it had and there’s people who practice what they consider to be a form of vampirism today. But that, you know, there was a historical background for for all of this lore that we’ve enjoyed in entertainment and we’ve speculated about,
Tt’s interesting too when you look at periods in history where there have been, there’s been an outbreak, quote, unquote, of vampire attacks, or vampire hysteria, if you will. It coincides quite often with tuberculosis outbreaks, in the fact that somebody who has tuberculosis kind of withers away to nothing, they become very thin and pale and gone, and they cough up blood, so there’s blood on the corners of their mouths. People will come in in the morning and they will see that and they’ll go well, this person’s obviously a vampire. And it’s interest thing that if you go back throughout history, tuberculosis outbreaks is it coincides with people thinking that vampires are attacking.
Jim Harold 50:10
Yeah, I, you know, and that’s the thing. I mean, I think that anytime you look into the paranormal, my feeling on it is that I think you need to have an open mind. But you also have to have your feet planted on the ground as well. For example, on my shows, and I’m sure you’re the same way, I won’t do any of the medical stuff. I mean, I won’t in terms of like, people who come on and say, well throw your cancer pills away, and do this healing rock crystal, you know, I will not do shows like that. Because I think that even though we should have an open mind, we also should have our feet planted on the ground. And my favorite phrase is, have an open mind, but not so open, your brains fall out. Now in terms of medical stuff, I’m kind of like if somebody says, Well, I believe in Reiki, or I believe in this modality, if you’re doing that as a supplement to traditional medicine. And you know, your physician doesn’t say that it’s going to cause any harm. I say go for it. Why not? I mean, you know, for example, things like meditation and so forth are supposed to have some great, great benefits, but see your physician and do what they say. Just Just my two cents on all of that. And it does show what in the reason I mentioned that is it showed that, you know, a belief in the paranormal I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing. I certainly am a believer in the paranormal. But it’s like anything, you can take it to an extreme and those people because they weren’t educated and so forth. Took it to that extreme. And then there are things that nobody knew nobody knew back then. You know, it’s the old thing about leeches. Right? You know,
oh, don’t get started on that.She won’t watch Stand By Me. Because of that leech scene.
Jim Harold 52:04
Well, I think we’ve sucked all out this episode that we can get No, I’m just kidding. No, actually, these guys are great. They are fantastic. I know they’ve got a lot of big plans coming up. And they are some of the best. They’re great people, theyre great podcasters, great broadcasters. And they have a fantastic show the Box of Oddities, Kat and Jethro. First of all, where can people find the box of oddities, and I saw something here you have an I love this is the greatest name ever. The Order of Freaks. I think that’s great. So tell us where we can find the show. And then tell us a little bit about the Order of Freaks and everything else going on?
Sure, well, the website everything pretty much is there, theboxofoddities.com, everything from live shows, which we do do have a couple coming up in the next couple of months. And merch of course there and everything and link to all of our episodes, but also our Patreon.
Yeah, Patreon is where the Order of Freaks live. They are our patrons who get access to episodes a day early and bonus episodes and commercial-free. Every one of the things that we’ve been really fortunate to do is 10% of our monthly patreon income comes to or ends up going to charity and our patrons choose the charity so that’s how it’s really fun.
Jim Harold 53:38
That’s very nice. That is fantastic. Well, Kat and Jethro, thank you so much continued success with the box of oddities. You’re some of our favorite people out there and keep on pumping out those podcasts.
Thank you, Jim. So much Jim, it’s always an honor.
Jim Harold 53:57
As always, Kat and Jethro are awesome. Check out their podcast by all means, and we have another awesome guest coming up right after the break. Heather Greene is going to talk to us all about Lights, Camera and Witchcraft right after this. The Paranormal Podcast is brought to you by Shudder and I love Shudder because as a fan of the supernatural thrillers and all things horror, this is the greatest month ever. Why? Because Shudder has released the most amazing shows and I just can’t get enough. Now with Shudder you can stream supernatural thriller and horror movies and TV shows across all of your favorite devices. Shudder streaming library has just about everything from original movies like VHS 94, the boy behind the door and PG psycho Gorman to the hit series creeps show by executive producer Greg Nicotero of The Walking Dead. Now if you’re a fan of old classics or looking For the next classic, you’re going to love Shudder’s collection from around the world. They’ve got The Wicker Man, blood on Satan’s claw, and the all new movie The Last thing Mary saw and so much more. And Shudder has just released an exclusive documentary called woodlands dark and days bewitched. It’s the ultimate history of the Folk horror genre. And speaking of genre, I absolutely love that genre. I think things like The Wicker Man and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and blood on Satan’s claw and those kinds of things. I love those things. I’ve been watching some of those they think about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre I saw when I was way too young. But I absolutely love revisiting those classics and also visiting the new classics. And the greatest place you can do that is Shudder really the only place you can do it is shutter and you can stream all this and more from Shudder’s ever growing library ad free for just $5.99 a month. So I highly recommend it. If you’re a fan of supernatural thriller and all things horror. You’re going to love Shudder as much as I do. And right now you can stream your first 30 days of Shudder for free. Yes, that’s true for free. Go to shudder.com and use code paranormal that’s shudder.com code paranormal to stream your first 30 days of shutter for free shudder.com code paranormal. You’re gonna love it. I love it. Thanks Shudder.
Paranormal Podcast Announcer 56:43
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Jim Harold 56:55
And we’re gonna have a great show for you today. We’re gonna talk about something a little bit different Lights, Camera, Witchcraf: a critical history of witches in American film and television. And we’ve got the perfect guest, the author of the book by the same name Heather Greene, she is a freelance writer, journalist and editor. She received a BA at Wesleyan University and an MA in film studies from Emory University. She also studied film and theatre at Cornell University and the University of Paris how impressive. Heather has written for Religion News Service, Turner Classic Movies, The Wild Hunt, circle magazine, pafos.com, and other outlets. She’s a member of the circle sanctuary covenant of the Goddess and the religion, news Writers Association and Heather Greene So glad to have you on the show.
Heather Greene 57:48
Hi, I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you.
Jim Harold 57:50
You know, I’ve done a lot of interviews over the years about these types of topics. But not something exactly like this. I’ve done over probably 24 – 2500 episodes all told, and never had anybody do a book like this. I think it’s very unique. What was the inspiration?
Heather Greene 58:10
Well, I think it was the merger of two of my biggest interests really. I adore film as you can see from my studies in college and grad school, I love watching old movies, particularly Golden Era cinema. And I also am very interested in the occult. I’ve been studying different aspects of it from witchcraft, tarot, astrology, all of that. Gosh, now I don’t want to date myself, but 30 years maybe so both of them put together sort of merged into this book.
Jim Harold 58:44
Yeah, I think that’s just great. I think it’s a great idea. I was a Comm major and took a lot film classes, even though I didn’t major in it. So I’ve always had a great interest in film as well. So I mean, just thinking on the face of it. Hollywood’s not been very generous to witches over the years, is that a fair assessment?
Heather Greene 59:06
I think that’s a fair sort of surface assessment. But I think when you dive deeper, the story’s more complex. And actually, there are moments in history especially more recently, where that’s changed. There has been attempts to be fair, or to give a broader look at what witchcraft means because it’s so diverse and so so it has so much loaded meaning in it.
Jim Harold 59:34
Now, I’ll give you an example. It’s almost like a cartoonish figure, you’re probably the maybe the most famous witch in the history of movie, Margaret Hamilton. As the Wicked Witch of the West, in in Wizard of Oz, The Wizard of Oz. Now to me, that’s like somebody was doing a cartoon character, right. They made a very broad, you know, they made or the you know, the villain, you know, somebody had to be the villain. It didn’t strike me that they were necessarily trying to offend witches, they were just kind of drawing a broad cartoon of what they thought, uh, which was. Your thoughts?
Heather Greene 1:00:15
Yeah, and you’re, you’re right. Basically, if you look at the original text, witches, there were four of them, they were a little bit more complex and there, and their design was different. But what Hollywood was doing in 1939 1938, when she was created was they sort of, like you said, to the broad stroke. And a lot of a lot of her design was based on the animated witches from prior decades, which were very much look similar to her, but did not have the green face. So you had this very concentrated version of evil, and a very concentrated version of iconic version, boiled down, I think, did you say that of what an evil witch is. And that’s what makes her so powerful and strong, because she is so concentrated?
Jim Harold 1:01:03
Do you think in past years, that Hollywood didn’t even think of witchcraft as a religion or as a practice, they thought of it, again, as almost this kind of comic book thing. In other words, the people writing these scripts, directing these movies producing these movies, didn’t even really take into consideration that there were real people practicing real witchcraft.
Heather Greene 1:01:28
That’s absolutely true. And it goes a step further than that. They did not even think witchcraft was real. And that was one of the more interesting, interesting things that I get at in my book is that when Hollywood began its journey, and then even into the 20s, and 30s. And 40s. Witchcraft is not seen as something real. It’s like you said comic book, fantasy fairy tale. It does not exist. And people that did practice occult things like whether it was ceremonial magic, or tarot and stuff that was a cult. And that’s not the that was not seen as the same thing at this point in time. So there was no connection. So witchcraft was fantasy, these people weren’t trying to parody mock or demonize modern day witches, that if they existed at that, well, they did exist at the time, but were probably very deep in the broom closet. They weren’t doing that what they were doing was expressing something they saw as fantasy or like you said, comic book.
Jim Harold 1:02:26
Now, here is one that I’ve always enjoyed the movie, but there’s a lot of stuff going on in it. And I’d love to get your take on this. And this goes back to the 50s. Bell, book and candle. Your thoughts on that classic with James Stewart and Kim Novak?
Heather Greene 1:02:45
Yeah, that’s, that’s a fantastic film. It’s one of my favorites. It is a you know, it was a film based that was based on a play that was created a little bit earlier in that decade, 1952, I believe it was on Broadway. And you know, that’s one of the classic ones, I use an example to show that witchcraft at this point in Hollywood was really an allegory for female power for women’s power. Um, so you have a lot of gender stuff going on in this. And that witchcraft, for example, she can’t, she either has to give up her magic, her witchcraft, or have a husband in love. And in the 1950s melodrama, love and marriage is the ideal thing women want in these in these narratives. Okay, so she either had to have her personal power and her identity with her family, and her magic, or she could go for marriage and love and family and, and Christmas, which is one of the things she wants to celebrate. So it’s a very interesting dichotomy there within the narrative, this conflict for the woman, the other piece of it that a lot of people don’t realize is that in the witchcraft world, in that play, and then subsequently in the film, is another allegory, there’s another layer, and it’s an it’s an allegory for the, the gay community in New York City at the time. So the witches stand in for that. So when they say things like, I don’t know, if the guy in the train knew what I was, there’s a double meaning. And that translate, and most people don’t realize that when they watch the film, so it’s a it’s a very interesting film with a lot of good layers.
Jim Harold 1:04:15
Now, interestingly enough, a few years later, there was a popular show on ABC that the creators I understand admits that partially was taken from the ideas of Bell book and candle and also happens to be maybe my favorite TV series growing up, I absolutely loved Elizabeth Montgomery and that is Bewitched. Now, it strikes me thinking about this at a higher level than just a kid who loved to watch Samantha pull funny tricks. And I still love that show. I have a DVD set. I watch it all the time. When I’m you know, when I went kind of comfort food, I watched the prices right and Bewitched, to kind of comfort TV. That has to be the Bob Barker reruns by the way, but anyway, the point the point Being One thing that I thought about bewitched when thinking at a higher level was maybe the beginning of the de demonization of witches because Samantha was a good person we liked Samantha we rooted for Samantha she we wanted her to get out of the the latest jam that Aunt Clara created by forgetting her speller, whatever the situation was. We wrote it for like rerouted for Lucille Ball. Can you talk about Bewitched in maybe was it a turning point on how we although it may not have been sophisticated, still a meaningful turning point of how we look at witches in popular entertainment.
Heather Greene 1:05:42
It definitely was a turning point in that it was made just before the production code was eliminated the censorship code no in Hollywood, which allowed Hollywood to then give us witchcraft representations in the horror realm, which gave us Rosemary’s Baby and a string of B horror films that were really demonized witchcraft or I should say tied it back with satanic witchcraft, which essentially at that point was demonizing so but Bewitcheditself is a very interesting because it it’s definitely a point in time. And you know, everybody loves it. And there’s a reason we do root for her because she is now she is sort of like the Jillian of Bell book and candle that didn’t have to give up her magic to get married. She’s the next step in the evolution of women’s power in the US. And so ideally really, she is a very strong force for women’s power for taking control of your life and having that internal authenticity. And so she is not there not through her she is not being demonized. Like you said we love her we want her to use magic, we want her to be herself and also have it all hurt the the family and she’s always the one solving the problems not Darren so is a very progressive film in so many ways. It kind of took the other film and, and moved it forward in time into the into the 1960s. So it was a great film, but shortly after, is when you see the changeover. So it isn’t bewitched that’s the change. It’s it’s right after that.
Jim Harold 1:07:27
But I do want to ask about you mentioned one of my favorite horror movies of all time. And the reason it is is because there’s not blood and guts there’s not gore, but when you watch it, I don’t know if it was the direction I don’t know if it was the music all of these things. You know, the best in Hollywood can do things very subtly, and make you feel a certain way. And you don’t know why. But you just felt very sinister after watching Rosemary’s Baby, I just watched it not this Halloween, but the previous Halloween and showed it to my daughters and my wife and it was just good. I just feel like oooh, and it still gets me to the movies still gets me. And I don’t know why.
Heather Greene 1:08:12
It’s a it’s a it’s a well made movie. That’s why because a really good well, we may well made movie can can stand the test of time and that one does. And it was intentional. That was Roman Polanski’s intention was not to ever show you the threat overtly was to just suggest and that’s what makes the film so creepy. So you don’t have the jump scares, you haven’t traditional, or I shouldn’t say traditional horror but but in the horror, we’re used to you don’t. There’s no, it’s not false. It is very much a creep factor. You see a similar thing going on in the more recent film, The VVitch were you you people went into that movie too, when they thought they were going to have these jumps cares it was going to be more like a Saw or that type of film. But it’s the creep factor. It just sits on your shoulders the whole time staring at you almost like can see what you’re watching here, you know, and that’s Rosemary’s Baby. And that really is the marker for me of the beginning of what you mentioned earlier the demonization of witchcraft. And it’s tying directly to not only Satanism which being defined by an age old lore from hundreds of years ago, but also but also tying it to real life because that’s what makes that movie so creepy. Creepy. The witches could be anyone living next door. I grew up in New York City, those I knew people that look like that.
Jim Harold 1:09:40
Yeah, that’s, that’s interesting. That’s interesting. So So what was the next step in the evolution?
Heather Greene 1:09:47
Um, well, after you get through the 70s, and all of the fun horror that hits that hits hard. The next big step that that I like to talk about is the Satanic Panic. So you go through some pretty The Progressive Era, you have some expressions in the 70s of the movements. But then when you get to the 80s, you hit that Satanic Panic, which was a moral panic. And that’s where people were fearful that children were being abducted and abused by Satanists, particularly in child care centers. And this sort of law was launched during the very conservative period in our American history. So the pendulum swung from progressive 60s and 70s, to a more conservative Reagan era. And that is when the satanic panic happened. And so at that point, you don’t have a ton of expression of it until the late 80s 90s. And that’s what a lot of people talk about as the films of the late 80s 90s. And examples would be Hocus Pocus, or the Witches, which are both the witch, which both contain witches that are trying to harm children. And there’s other examples of that. Those are just two of the most well known. And the Witches of Eastwick is another one. Although children are involved, or to save a child is another one there, there are a string of them, where the witch becomes evil again, in a very different way than the 70s. That reflects the Satanic Panic.
Jim Harold 1:11:15
So when and if is there the turn towards a more realistic which to what, which is really are or are we still waiting for it?
Heather Greene 1:11:26
Well, I think there was a turn and I would, I would say 1996 was the big one. Because at that point, and I like to say The Craft was a marker, because and also the crucible happened. Ironically, the crucible, which had never been filmed before, was filmed right at the end of this Satanic Panic right at the end of a modern moral panic. And so it was perfectly timed right, probably not an accident. And that’s the marker of change. Because at that point, so many modern witches had come out to fight against the Satanic Panic that it became more apparent. In modern culture, it became more apparent to the public to Hollywood to writers, and the term Wicca became very well known. And that became a religion. So now, it didn’t become a religion. I said that wrong. It, it was now being publicly understood to be a religion, defined as a religion. So you have this changeover. And so the late 1960s no the late 1960s, excuse me, the late 1990s, you start to see that language at rhetoric in Hollywood films, more in television, especially television geared to teens. And so you start to see this, Wicca is a religion. And then there is the bad bad magic or bad witchcraft, which is more tied to Satanism. So that delineation is happening. And you see that particularly present in films, as I’ve shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, the craft, you also see it in X Files. Mulder loves to point that out when when witchcraft becomes the center of a show. You also see it in law shows, court shows all into the 2000s.
Jim Harold 1:13:11
And where do you see us going from here? I mean, do you see that this movement towards acknowledging witchcraft is a religion? Is that going to continue? Do you see the possibility of maybe another backlash? Where Where do you think we go from here?
Heather Greene 1:13:26
Well, I think it’s interesting. There was a changeover in about 2013, 2011. I can’t remember the exact date where you start to see an upswing in witch films again, in witch popularity just generally in our culture, witchcraft is trending again, right since about then. And so the difference there is we’re starting to see a redefinition of what witchcraft is, the modern community is diversifying. So the term witch doesn’t just mean Wicca anymore, it could mean a number of different practices, including folk magic practices. And that’s what’s being reflected in film. We also see a lot of films that have dark fantasy and renegotiations of a lot of our old stories like Hansel and Gretel being retold a lot of what they call fractured fairytales, where we’re sort of reinvestigating what our history is and what our definitions are. And so the past 10 years, we’ve seen a lot of diversification of representation of the witch so we see witches look different. They aren’t always the green face, black hair, hat wearing witch or, or just the young white girl who’s 16 You know, so we see a lot of diversification in the representation and film, more male witches, LGBTQ representation, ethnicity, race, all of that is happening in film and television. So that’s where we are now. Whether where we go from here, it’s very hard to say I can take out my crystal ball for you I really don’t know because you know, the the different, what’s defining it as our culture. So what’s defining is our relationship with progressive movements, gender, politics, there’s a lot of things in play. And so if we swing back to a very conservative, um, backlash against these things, we may very well see things like we saw in the Satanic Panic. But, you know, the one thing I always say is that culture builds on itself. It doesn’t just eradicate what it did in the past, even though sometimes it seems so the definitions we’re seeing now won’t go away, it will build on that. So it’s going to be interesting. Definitely.
Jim Harold 1:15:41
So why do you think that Entertainment has been so fascinated with the topic of witches and why it’s a reoccurring theme was it to go from just a, you know, useful cartoon character, as we mentioned before, to something more, but what, why, and why are we as the audience so fascinated by witches?
Heather Greene 1:16:04
Well, I think she, she provokes in us a lot of different feelings. And she’s one she’s an expression of unfettered female power, which it that’s it that’s the classic representation, right? So she is expressing something that either women themselves could not express because they were being, you know, boxed into a certain certain role in society, they couldn’t do this, they couldn’t do that. So the Witch allowed them to be something they wanted to be, they gave them permission, even through the screen for just a moment, like Samantha or Jennifer, to experience authentic power. Um, so you have that, okay, that includes sexuality that includes a job, a placement includes everything, okay for a woman, so you have that aspect of it. You also have the magical aspect that just that that’s exciting. And it’s like what I call wishcraft, a lot of films and a lot of TV shows, especially those for teens are about wishcraft. If I only had magic, I could do this. It’s sort of this idea. And that’s very tantalizing and exciting to imagine if I could just wiggle my nose and make the vacuum cleaner run, How exciting would that bait, it’s fun to watch what if, you know, the fantasy scenario. And then the other aspect is the fear. And, you know, fear brings us to the screen. We like that, that visceral fright. And so witches have also been a part of that, linked to it through their old age old notions of Satanism and evil and devil that kind of brings in that sort of exploitation of these tantalizing subjects. So witches is wind up in horror, they wind up in pornography, they wind up in all of these genres that are exciting because of that fear factor. We want the terror, and she’s there, she’s sexy, she’s frightening, she could kill us. But she’s on the screen, at least,So you’ve got multiple reasons. You’ve got the empowerment, you’ve got the fear factor, you’ve got the wish factor. She just, she brings them all together, or separately, I should say, but she brings, she can embody all three of those things very easily.
Jim Harold 1:18:30
Now, it occurs to me that not only our films and TV a reflection of society, but they also change it. How do you think popular culture and its evolution has informed the real life thoughts on witches? For example, you were talking about witchcraft, I think about something like the secret, you know, now that was a very, very popular book and documentary and audio book and all of that several years ago. And I don’t see necessarily maybe that wouldn’t be as popular if we weren’t comfortable with Samantha wiggling her nose, it seems silly, but do you think that the the acceptance of witchcraft, even though it’s been negatively portrayed sometimes has been informed by popular entertainment itself?
Heather Greene 1:19:26
Absolutely. No doubt. And there’s a number of reasons Um, well, first of all, the craft in 1996 brought invited a lot of people into a lot of young people into the practice of Wicca that was well known. That’s one of the reasons why it has a cult following. So because of it’s a beautiful introduction to a nature based magical practice, which it does at the beginning. Of course, it loses that towards the end, but but it is, it has that element and that alone, introduce people to the cloud. concept that magic could be something beautiful. It could be a religion, it could be spiritual. But also the other piece that’s really interesting to me is that the the law films, the Law TV shows that I mentioned earlier the police ones and the courtroom courtroom. I’m trying to think courtroom drama, not dramas. Yeah, courtroom dramas, Boston Legal. A number of those shows are, are one of those things they do really well, week after week is sort of define good from bad in our culture. So you watch them and you see, like, they they’re always defining this is a bad guy. And this is a good guy, this is what we root for the good there, there are moral definers the main characters are the ones who are telling us what’s right and wrong, the laws. Okay, and so, all of them at some point, all of the big show, the mentalist, bones, all of these shows, at some point, interact with some kind of witch. Okay. And of course, they go through the same thing of saying, you know, oh, my God, this is bad. No, wait a minute, it’s not similar to what the X Files would do earlier a decade earlier. So so they were systematically slowly defining witchcraft for the pocket of population of people in from the late 90s, into the 2000s, which completely shattered what was being said in the 80s. So I definitely believe since that was so observable, for over such a long time, even an even CSI did in 2013. That I think those pieces all of those pieces put together, from the teens of the 90s being raised on Sabrina and the craft to the shows systematically doing it, the shows that define us in terms of our legal standing in our laws, and good and bad, you know, through a whole decade. I think that’s what is sort of a you know, raise the bar, so to speak on magic and changed it.
Jim Harold 1:22:06
I’ve got to believe that after having watched and written about so many portrayals of witches in popular media, that you have to have a favorite, what’s your favorite and why?
Heather Greene 1:22:21
Um, I always say the witch and The Wizard of Oz. That’s been my favorite movie forever. And since I was a small child, I remember watching it on Halloween every year. So that was just a treat. And I just have always loved the movie, just generally not just the witch. She’s just fascinating. I mean, you just can’t go wrong with her. And Margaret Hamilton was absolutely brilliant. And she commands that movie in a way none of the other characters do and I think she was on screen for like 11 minutes total. It might have I can’t remember the exact number, but it’s real small. But she’s what we remember more than anything else. And she was always she frightened me to a degree, but I was more fascinated with her. So I think that would would be my my choice. No, I know, that would be my choice. But you know, I also love Golden Era film, and it’s just such an amazing movie.
Jim Harold 1:23:18
Well, I must, must say that’s a great answer. Margaret Hamilton is, I believe a native of my hometown, Cleveland, Ohio. So and I’m dating myself a little bit, but when I was a little kid, I remember she also did commercials as Cora for Maxwell House coffee.
Heather Greene 1:23:40
She has a fascinating story herself. I mean, she was a strong woman. But she what’s interesting about her is that that of all of the characters she was the one who came back as her as her character. The most frequently she was she revived it either. Like in children, she was in Sesame Street. She was in Mr. Rogers talking about her character. She also played witches. She was the mother in Addams Family. She was Morticia’s mother, and she was in coming around the mountain in 1951 as a witch, which totally recalls the movie very much so. So she, as The Wizard of Oz became more popular and became a classic because of television’s, repetition, repetition of it every year. She started to appear more and more as witches. I think she was on a Lucy show. She was on a Paulin show. She just kept going. And it was she’s just she’s just brilliant.
Jim Harold 1:24:39
And the thing that people don’t realize, I mean, that movie was made in 1939. I believe she was in her late 30s. She was not an people think she was older than she really was when she portrayed that character.
Heather Greene 1:24:52
That’s true. I don’t know how old she was. But she was not old. I mean, she was acting I can’t remember when she she passed but she was acting well into the 80s. And I, I actually don’t know all of her exact timeline history, so I won’t speak to that. But she was very much very prominent for a lot of years. And she did other stuff, too. Besides witchy stuff. As you said she was in the commercials.
Jim Harold 1:25:18
Well, it’s been a great discussion, I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s always good to have a discussion about something different and unique. And that certainly falls into it. And it’s also great when you have a fantastic guest. And that’s been Heather Greene. The book is Lights, Camera, witchcraft, a critical history of witches and American film and television. Heather, please tell us where we can find the book and where we can find more information about all your work.
Heather Greene 1:25:46
Well, the book is available at all major retailers online as well as the publishers site, you can get it directly through them. That’s llewellyn.com. And you can find me at my website heathergreene.net. And I’m on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and all the good socials, I’m on there. But talking about witch films.
Jim Harold 1:26:12
Thank you for joining us today to talk about Lights, Camera, Witchcraft.
Heather Greene 1:26:18
Thank you very much. It’s been wonderful. Well, thank
Jim Harold 1:26:20
Well, thank you for joining us today on the Paranormal Podcast. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, what fun it was. And if you like what we do on the program, please make sure that you rate review and follow on whatever podcast app, you use the ratings and reviews kind of serve as social proof, people see the reviews and say, hey, I’ll check that show out. And that really does help us and then also telling a friend showing a friend how to listen to the show. I’m convinced that there are so many people out there who would love our shows, if they just know about them. And we do what we can to spread the word. We invest in some advertising and do things but we don’t have unlimited or even large budgets for that kind of thing. So we really count on you to spread the word. So tell a friend and your online communities in your online groups, online forums, your personal friends, people you see day to day, your co workers, your brothers, your sisters, your wives, your husbands, your significant others. We would appreciate it very much tell a friend about the Paranormal Podcast and Jim Harold’s Campfire today. We thank you so much. We’ll talk to you next time. Have a great week everybody and as always: stay spooky. Bye bye
Transcribed by https://otter.ai