GETTYSBURG COLLEGE POPLORE PODCAST PROJECT

 

The Jersey Devil, the resident legendary cryptid of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey. According to local lore, this creature has haunted this wilderness area of southern New Jersey for nearly 250 years. Depicted in this drawing by Linda Reddington of Manahawkin, New Jersey, a writer and artist who has studied the regional legend extensively, the Jersey Devil is often described as having the head of a horse and the wings of a bat. (Bettmann/Corbis)

The Jersey Devil, the resident legendary cryptid of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey. According to local lore, this creature has haunted this wilderness area of southern New Jersey for nearly 250 years. Depicted in this drawing by Linda Reddington of Manahawkin, New Jersey, a writer and artist who has studied the regional legend extensively, the Jersey Devil is often described as having the head of a horse and the wings of a bat. (From: Fee, Christopher R., and Jeffrey B. Webb, editors. American Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales: An Encyclopedia of American Folklore. 3 Vols., ABC-CLIO, 2016. Image Credit: Bettmann/Corbis)

ENG 318: Saga, Myth, and Orality:

From the Lost Gods of Britain to Contemporary Conspiracy Theories

Heard any good stories lately? Perhaps from the friend of a friend? All cultures have their stories, and as different as they may be on the surface, most myths, legends, and folktales have some important similarities, as well as the crucial differences that reflect realities of a given culture and that make a particular story vibrant and unique. Storytelling provides answers to life's persistent questions: "All peoples everywhere ponder the same mysteries, and the answers developed by a particular culture can tell us a lot about that people. A society that worships a thunderbolt-wielding king god may be a warrior aristocracy; one that venerates an earth goddess fertility figure may be agrarian in nature; one that deifies tragic pop icons struck down by their own excesses may be obsessed with cults of celebrity and narcissism, as well as the inviolate sanctity of individual expression." Students in this course examine how new electronic outlets have transformed storytelling in the 21st century, scrutinizing social media, urban legends, fake news, and conspiracy theories through the lenses of folklore studies and comparative mythology.

 

The Poplore Podcast Project

 

The culmination of each semester of studying myth, legend, and folklore is The Poplore Podcast Project, in which each student records an original exploration of a fascinating tidbit of popular lore suitable for inclusion in this permanent online archive. This project gives each student a chance to research and to shine a light on a topic that may not be familiar to most Americans. Each entry is an original audio file recorded by the student credited for that podcast, and represents a personal passion of that student, often an enthusiasm resulting from exposure to community or family stories. Many of these items are of local or regional interest, and some represent lesser-known American oral traditions. Each podcast is an engaging audio culmination of an original research project, and the student involved retains copyright to both the written and audio versions of that work, while allowing such work to be available through this archive.

 

Poplore 2020

 

These original student podcasts are short (averaging 5 minutes), fun, and interesting, yet they also display deep knowledge of the nature and function of lore in popular culture. Taking us from the woods of Vermont to the shores of the Monongahela, from the Pine Barrens of New Jersey to the depths of Lake Champlain, 2020's podcasts discuss varied features and creatures of the landscape of the American imagination, ranging from witches to ghosts to monsters, and from lovable furry friends to deceptively mischievous fairies to cursed video games.

 

Angeline Tubbs: The Witch of Saratoga

Researched & Narrated by Mirabelle Cohen

An investigation of the life and legacy of Angeline Tubbs, who came to Saratoga Springs, NY during the Revolutionary War and stayed forevermore; even after death.

 

Clinton Road, New Jersey: 10 Miles of Nightmares

Researched & Narrated by Victoria Ramsay

With ghost boys, ghost trucks, and Satanists lurking around every turn, are you brave enough to take a drive down Clinton Road?

 

Creepypastas: The Internet's Urban Horror Stories

Researched & Narrated by Alejandro Kaempfer

As the Internet develops its own culture, urban legends begin to be generated electronically; countless tales are now shared online, just as they've been transmitted orally for eons.

 

The Cropsey Maniac

Researched & Narrated by Kimberly Delgado

The Cropsey Maniac is an urban legend from New York, but the residents of Staten Island faced the reality of this urban legend coming to life.

 

The Ghosts of Mount Misery and Sweet Hollow Roads

Researched & Narrated by Emma Schilling

Considered among the most haunted places on Long Island, Mount Misery and Sweet Hollow Roads seem to be magnets for the weird and inexplicable. For centuries, the area has been the site of unexplained mysteries, urban legends, rumors, and above all, stories of ghosts wandering along those narrow, wooded roads.

 

Groundhog Day: Fun, Folklore, and Folklore

Researched & Narrated by Abigail Deaven

Groundhog Day is an annual celebration that turns a slightly obese marmot into a weather oracle, but does it have any real folkloric significance?

 

The Haunted Folklore of Eastern State Penitentiary

Researched & Narrated by Alexi Ralston

This podcast explores the history of Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary, one of the most famous and expensive prisons ever built -- as well as the most haunted.

 

Kuchi-sake-onna: The Widest Smile

Researched & Narrated by Nicholas Koloian

The Japanese urban legend kuchi-sake-onna is both a darling of urban legend fear and popular media coverage.

 

The Legend of Lake Champlain

Researched & Narrated by Michael Hueglin

The community around Lake Champlain, including the oldest boys camp in America, possesses an intriguing mystery about what monster may lie below the surface.

 

The Melon Heads of Connecticut

Researched & Narrated by Michael Dampf

The Melon Heads are a varied and fascinating creature of American folklore, and this podcast explores the Melon Heads of Connecticut.

 

The Pennsylvania Hermit

Researched & Narrated by Esmeralda Orndorff

The story of William "Amos" Wilson, who is also known as "The Pennsylvania Hermit," is a prime example of real-life events that rapidly evolved into a localized legend due to the immensely tragic circumstances that led to the man's decision to exclude himself from society.

 

The Pittsburgh Ghost Bomber 

Researched & Narrated by River Larson-Pollock

The tale of a mysterious bomber plane that was lost and never recovered in the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

 

Snakes, Jams, Alakazam: Overcoat Joe and the Infamous Jersey Devil

Researched & Narrated by Casey Creagh

This podcast discusses highly localized lore regarding the legendary Jersey Devil, who is said to have wandered the Pine Barrens of South Jersey for centuries.

 

Swiss-American Family Fairy-lore

Researched & Narrated by Shelby Allen

This podcast is a folkloric analysis of Swiss-American fairytales, focusing on how these stories depict conventional trickster figures of fairy lore, and reveal fundamental truths about human nature.

 

Vermont-lore: The Bennington Triangle

Researched & Narrated by Rowan Clymer

You've heard of the Bermuda Triangle, but few have heard of the Bennington Triangle. Located deep in the mountains of southwestern Vermont, the area is known for its mysterious disappearances and spooky happenings. 

 

 

Recordings copyright Indicated Narrators 2020; page text and layout copyright Christopher R. Fee 2020.