43. The Madera Man

Women driving on the back roads of Madera County, near the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in California, have reported seeing a strange specter – a man who appears on the roads and who requires that drivers take care to avoid hitting him, but then he vanishes. In this episode, Matt discusses the uncertain origin and possible meaning of this particular ghost story.

42. The Slender Man

ne of the most frightening modern ghost stories, the Slender Man is a known work of fiction…except to those who believe in him… which may be nobody…or not. In this episode, Matt discusses the line between fiction vs folklore and the difficulty in telling people’s real beliefs from stories told for fun.

41. The First Ghosts (Interview With Dr. Irving Finkel)

In this episode, Matt has the opportunity to speak with Dr. Irving Finkel, curator in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum, and author of The First Ghosts. Dr. Finkel was kind enough to discuss ghost/demon beliefs in ancient Mesopotamia and how those beliefs reflect a lineage of such beliefs that continues through to the present day.

40. USS Hornet (Interview With Laura Fies)

The USS Hornet is one of several Naval vessels permanently moored and used as a museum. Like most of these vessels, the Hornet has a reputation for being haunted. In this episode, Matt has an opportunity to speak with Laura Fies, the Executive Officer of the USS Hornet Museum, about the ghosts and the role that ghost stories play in the educational mission of the museum. 

39. Roman Ghosts of Britain

Throughout the British Isles, people claim to see the specters of Roman soldiers, but there may be more to these stories than initially meets the eye. In this episode, Matt constrains himself to sightings of Roman ghosts, specifically in England, to discuss what these stories may be telling us about English/British identity and their attitudes towards history.

38. The Winchester Mystery House

The story of the Winchester Mystery House is well known and often retold – the frightened widow who continued to build on to her already massive and sprawling home out of a fear that if she stopped, evil spirits would kill her. The truth of Sarah Winchester is, however, very different. In this episode, Matt discusses what is known about the origins of the Winchester Mystery House and why it is often worthwhile to dig deeper into popular legends.

37. Interview With Dr. Alena Pirok

Matt interviews Dr. Alena Pirok, author of The Spirit of Colonial Williamsburg about the very special relationship Virginians have with their ghosts and how these stories and first-person interpretations serve to link modern Williamsburg to historic Williamsburg.

36. Lalaurie Mansion, New Orleans

naturally, it ended up as a ghost story. In this episode, Matt discusses how these legends form, how they can misinform us about the past, and how ghost stories can sometimes soothe us into a false sense of security about who we are and what values we hold.

35. Poveglia Island, Italy

The Island of Poveglia, in the Venice Lagoon, is said to be haunted by plague victims, Roman soldiers, and possibly an evil mad scientist. Regardless of whether or not the stories are true, that they persist tells us something about how we perceive the past and how we view people in the present.

34. Interview With Sara Head

In this episode, Matt speaks with fellow archaeologist and podcaster Sara Head about her show, Paranormal Archaeology, and the ways in which belief in the supernatural influences how people interact with physical objects and spaces.