For many people, listening to podcasts means learning something new and different. For others, it’s for that tradition of storytelling, passed from the podcasters’ mouths to our ears. If you fit a Venn diagram containing both of these – learning something new, while being told a story – then you need to check out the Astonishing Legends podcast.
I was first turned on to Astonishing Legends the same way most of us “uncover” little gems on the internet: Reddit. While I had my fill of Serial and The Black Tapes and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, I was in search of something that had all of that and more. That’s when a user’s comment, buried beneath all the other recommendations, mentioned this podcast that I had never heard of: Astonishing Legends.
A quick overview of their episode titles will illuminate what type of podcast AL produces: multiple episodes on Skinwalker Ranch, the Jersey Devil, Dyatlov Pass, and more recently the Bell Witch. Demons, ghosts, UFOs, Nazis, gates to Hell, folklore, legends, myths. This is Unsolved Mysteries for the new millennium, and way more researched.
Astonishing Legends are for skeptics and believers alike, making it stand out from most speculative podcasts out there. Co-hosts Scott Philbrook and Forrest Burgess start each episode with a healthy dose of creepiness by carrying on the oral tradition of the subject’s lore, and whether you believe or not this is a treat for anyone who enjoy a good story. From there, they delve into a sequence of events regarding the story, sprinkling in historical tidbits about the main players. The context of the time in which the legends was borne, what life was like to have produced a tale.
In what is usually Part Two, Scott and Forrest then descend into the theories surrounding each legend; could it have happened? What socio-economic-psychological explanation could there be to explain these events? What cannot be explained? This is a treat for the healthy skeptics among us – Astonishing Legends provides every aspect of a legend so that the listener can come to their own conclusion. Throughout the series they reference firsthand accounts to help conclude their findings, providing every book, article, and journal title down to the page number.
This transparency makes it all the more unsettling when certain events still cannot be explained. A perfect example of this would be the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter (hint: it wasn’t owls). And then, there are well known occurrences that most assume to be true, only for Forrest and Scott to provide lesser known – and more plausible – possibilities. To see this in action, listen to The Devil and Anneliese Michel – Exorcism on Trial series.
For more enticement, here are a few more subjects you may find interesting:
- The Mothman
- The Count of Saint Germain
- The Kecksburg Incident
- Amelia Earhart
- Flight 19
- The Sludge Entity
- The Delphos Ring
If you are in the Halloween spirit and have a long commute ahead of you (each episode are between an hour and three hours long!), give Scott and Forrest a chance. Their jovial banter and well researched storytelling will get you hooked well past the month of October.
Astonishing Legends is available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, Audioboom, Podcast Addict, and more, including their website.