Cover image of The Folklore Podcast

The Folklore Podcast

Folklore: Beliefs, traditions & culture of the people. Traditional folklore themes from around the world. One episode each month features a special guest from the field of folklore. Recalling our forgotten history, recording the new. The Folklore Podcast

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

All episodes

The best episodes ranked using user listens.

Podcast cover


The Girl Who Speaks Bear is Sophie Anderson's second book based around traditional Russian folk tales. Despite having only been published for a short time, she has already been shortlisted for a whole raft of awards - the Carnegie Medal, Children's Fiction Book of the Year, the Waterstones prize and many more. On this episode of the podcast, host Mark Norman talks to Sophie about Russian folklore, why it is important to her and how she uses it in her writing as a storytelling mechanism. To support the Folklore Podcast on Patreon to keep the show ad-free, and enjoy extra content, please visit www.patreon.com/thefolklorepodcast

17 Sep 2019

Rank #1

Podcast cover

Episode 29: ONCE UPON A TIME

Many of the folk tales that inspire us, teach us or just intrigue us have been passed down through many generations. In some cases we can find a root for the story. In most, we cannot. But they draw on the knowledge, the beliefs and the imaginations of our ancestors. Many of the stories that we have today, both the well-loved tales and the more obscure lore, survive because of the practices and skills of the storyteller. In this episode of The Folklore Podcast, creator and host Mark Norman is joined by classically trained actor and professional storyteller Jon Buckeridge, of Parable Arts, to discuss the synergies between folklore and storytelling. Visit the Folklore Podcast website at www.thefolklorepodcast.com Earn rewards by supporting the podcast on Patreon at www.patreon.com/thefolklorepodcast Learn more about Jon and his work at www.parablearts.co.uk

1hr 2mins

15 Oct 2017

Rank #2

Similar Podcasts

Podcast cover


In 1977, a set of three childrens books were published which would go on to become a cult classic. Among the most borrowed (and probably most stolen) from school libraries across the country, these three titles made up the Usborne Mysteries of the Unknown series. Individually, they were the Worlds of the Unknown that looked at Ghosts, Monsters and UFOs. Recently, an internet petition and campaign ran to bring back the most loved of these three titles, Ghosts. In this episode of the podcast, host Mark Norman discusses the importance of this book with Usborne staff member Anna Howorth (who launched the campaign to bring the book back) and director of the animated film 'Borley Rectory', Ashley Thorpe. To support the Folklore Podcast on Patreon and help keep all episodes ad-free, please visit www.patreon.com/thefolklorepodcast

1 Sep 2019

Rank #3

Podcast cover


In the winter of 1855, after a heavy fall of snow, residents across a large area of the county of Devon, in the South West of the UK, awoke to find a mysterious trail of prints in the snow. Looking like an hoof, the single-file line of prints allegedly covered a distance of some 100 miles, ignoring obstructions in their path and continuing over high walls hayricks and even the roofs of houses. No satisfactory explanation has ever been given for the event, which became known as the Great Devon Mystery. Although the case has been widely reported, interestingly it is not the only time that this has happened. Very similar lines of marks have been found in different parts of the world over the last 175 years or so. It's just that the other cases are much more obscure. In this episode of The Folklore Podcast, creator and host Mark Norman compares and contrasts cases from 1840 through to 2009.

4 Apr 2018

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

Podcast cover


Host of the Folklore Podcast, Mark Norman, is one of a few researchers specialising in the field of Black Dog ghosts and holds what is thought to be the UKs largest archive of sightings and traditions. In this episode, Mark draws on his extensive archive to examine ghostly apparitions of Black Dogs in folklore and specifically how the relate to the wider European folklore of the Wild Hunt legend. An electronic magazine supplement accompanies this show with more information on the subject matter included. Visit www.thefolklorepodcast.com and click on Episodes.


1 Sep 2016

Rank #5

Podcast cover


Russian hereditary witch,occultist and witchcraft scholar Natasha Helvin joins podcast host Mark Norman to discuss the beliefs, traditions and practices associated with witchcraft in the Slavic tradition. In what ways is this similar to other traditional witchcraft practices and how does it differ? To support the Folklore Podcast on Patreon, please visit www.patreon.com/thefolklorepodcast

11 Oct 2019

Rank #6

Podcast cover


Most people are familiar with the story of 'Count Dracula' and have more than a good general knowledge of the typical vampire tropes of stage and screen; the fangs, the pale skin, the blood sucking. But to truly understand the motif of the vampire in culture, we need to look across the world at all of our cultures and this is where the folklorists approach is so valuable. In the first of this special two-part examination of the vampire, podcast creator and host Mark Norman examines the origins and emergence of the idea of the vampire across races, religions and cultures through the folklore record. Part two next month will examine death lore and protection symbolism. An e-magazine supplement for this episode and the back catalogue are available at www.thefolklorepodcast.com To support The Folklore Podcast, pleas visit www.patreon.com/thefolklorepodcast


1 Oct 2017

Rank #7

Podcast cover

Episode 41 - WITCH BOTTLES

This episode of the Folklore Podcast is the first featuring expert presentations from the Hidden Charms 2 conference in Salisbury - a conference organised by Brian Hoggard of the Apotropaios website with John Billingsley and Jeremy Harte. The conference featured a day of talks on protection magic, charms, concealed apotropaic objects and similar themes. In this talk, "Witch Bottles - Findings from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic" - collections researcher and museum manager Dr Peter Hewitt discusses some of the bottles held at the museum, and argues that we may use folklore to help to decode the meanings that these bottles have for us in the modern world. Dr Hewitt suggests that their uses were far more varied than just as protective devices. To access a transcript of this episode, join the Folklore Podcast Patreon page at www.patreon.com/thefolklorepodcast

1 May 2018

Rank #8

Podcast cover


Many fairy tales have their roots in a much darker past, but these origins are watered down to make the tales more wholesome or moral. But did the story of Hansel and Gretel really stem from a case of entrepreneurial intrigue and murder in 17th century Germany? And did the Grimm Brothers know more than they were letting on it their version of the story? Why do the illustrations in their book look so similar to modern day locations? In this episode of The Folklore Podcast, creator and host Mark Norman examines a case to which their is certainly more than it seems at first glance. To support the Folklore Podcast and earn rewards, please visit www.patreon.com/thefolklorepodcast

15 Jan 2018

Rank #9

Podcast cover


This episode features two guest speakers, recorded live at the flagship conference of The Folklore Society in 2018, held at the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading and examining aspects of rural life and folklore from around the world. Rosalind Kerven presents "Spinners, Servants and Midwives: Women at Work in British and Irish Folk Narratives" and Jo HIckey-Hall speaks on fairy lore in her paper "Wilt gie us the lend of thy plough and tackle?: Fairies at Work". Full details of the guests and other episodes of the podcast can be found at www.thefolklorepodcast.com

7 Jun 2018

Rank #10

Podcast cover


Belief in fairies throughout the world is ancient and deep-rooted, and this means that there is much folklore and tradition surrounding fairy in all of its forms: elves, pixies, sprites, brownies ... the list continues. Widespread belief in fairies waned enormously in the 19th century but this does not mean that it has died out.In this episode of The Folklore Podcast, host Mark Norman talks to Jo Hickey-Hall about their research into modern fairy sightings and how they sit alongside our more traditional patterns of belief.For more information on this episode, our guest, and to download the e-magazine supplement please visit www.thefolklorepodcast.com

15 Nov 2016

Rank #11

Podcast cover


The witch trials of the 16th and 17th century have many facets within the accusations of the women (and men) involved. One of the most intriguing is the links between accused parties and the fairies. How did these people claim to be convening with the fae? What fairy magic did they profess to use?  In this special extended episode of The Folklore Podcast, host Mark Norman is joined by historian and tour guide of London's Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Jon Kaneko-James. Jon works extensively with original documents from the period and discusses a case that he stumbled across about which little is generally discussed. Jon writes extensively on the history of the supernatural on his blog at www.jonkanekojames.com He has released an exclusive blog in support of this episode which can be used along with the transcript of this episode and Jon's suggested reading which is available in the episode supplement from our website at www.thefolklorepodcast.com

15 Jan 2017

Rank #12

Podcast cover


The mythology of the Norse peoples is a rich and varied one, but little is found in the archaeological record to tell us much for certain. Some things we speculate about, others we get from primary sources. But what are these sources?In this episode of the podcast, Noah Tetzner from the "History of Vikings" podcast gives a basic introduction to the area of Norse mythology, discussing the mythic landscape and beliefs from the Scandinavian regions.

22 Aug 2018

Rank #13

Podcast cover


Cats ... shoes ... bottles ... coins. At first glance these objects don't seem to have much in common. But these, and many other objects, are all items which have been found concealed within the fabric of old buildings during renovations or other works. Why were they placed there? Joining host Mark Norman on this episode of The Folklore Podcast is Dr Ceri Houlbrook, an historical ethnographer and archaeologist who works as research assistant on the Concealed Revealed project, which is asking just this question. A 16-page electronic magazine supplement is available to complement this edition, featuring a full episode transcript, more information, suggested reading and galleries of images relating to the finds. Visit www.thefolklorepodcast.com and click on Episodes to find this.


15 Aug 2016

Rank #14

Podcast cover


Creator and host of the Folklore Podcast, Mark Norman, examines the lore and practices of those who follow a Traditional pathway of Folk Magic: the Cunning Man, the Wise Woman, the pellar and the wayside witch. This episode examines to what extent the role and the techniques of the Traditional Witch have changed over the last 200 years and how similar the folk magic beliefs are in more modern times.


1 May 2017

Rank #15

Podcast cover

Episode 25 - WITCH

WITCH - Preserving Tradition and Folklore through Theatre. The special guest on this episode of The Folklore Podcast is Historian and Author Tracey Norman. Tracey is discussing her acclaimed play WITCH, which takes as its premise actual events from witch trial documents and depositions from the early modern period and maps them onto three fictitious characters. This serves to give a voice to those people from our past who were denied one at the time, telling an important story. Tracey talks about her research, the play and the other projects which are coming out of this important work. Follow the project at www.traceynormanswitch.com


15 Jul 2017

Rank #16

Podcast cover


Season 5 of The Folklore Podcast kicks off with a special extended episode. Host Mark Norman is joined by author Morgan Daimler to discuss their book 'A New Dictionary of Fairies' which builds on the research done by eminent folklorist Katharine Briggs, focusing on fairies in the Celtic and Western European traditions. Support the Folklore Podcast on Patreon: www.patreon.com/thefolklorepodcast Visit Morgan's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MorganDaimler Featured music guest, Chalk Horse Music: www.chalkhorsemusic.com

10 Jan 2020

Rank #17

Podcast cover


Belief in magic and particularly the power of witchcraft was once a deep and enduring presence in popular culture; people created and concealed many objects to protect themselves from harmful magic. Brian Hoggard's book, Magical House Protection examines the principal forms of protection in Britain and beyond from the fourteenth century to the present day. Witch-bottles, dried cats, horse skulls, written charms, protection marks and concealed shoes were all used widely as methods of repelling, diverting or trapping negative energies. Many of these practices and symbols can be found around the globe, demonstrating the universal nature of efforts by people to protect themselves from witchcraft.In this episode of The Folklore Podcast, Brian discusses at length both the contents of the book and his extensive research project which has accumulated over 2,000 examples since it started in 1999.

1 Aug 2019

Rank #18

Podcast cover

Episode 38 - MIRROR MIRROR

Of all the objects in your house, the mirror probably has more superstitions attached to it than any other. It may be used for divination. It may be a portal to another dimension. And woe betide you if it should fall off the wall and break. In this episode of The Folklore Podcast, folklorist Mark Norman - the creator and host of the podcast - looks at the mirror through history and in various cultures to explore some of the more obscure folklore attached to it. Research assistance provided by Tracey Norman. Support the Folklore Podcast on Patreon to earn more content and rewards at www.patreon.com/thefolklorepodcast

1 Mar 2018

Rank #19

Podcast cover


There is no doubt that modern day ghost hunting is a big deal. From television programming to participatory events, the search for evidence of ghosts is more prevalent than ever. But how does folklore have a role to play in paranormal investigation? Benjamin Radford is editor of Sceptical Inquirer science magazine, a critical investigator and author or co-author of over 20 books and many hundreds of articles. In the episode of the Folklore Podcast, host Mark Norman discusses Ben's book 'Investigating Ghosts' and looks together they look at the important place for folklore in the field of ghost investigation.

1 Feb 2018

Rank #20