Rank #1: Episode 60 - MAGICAL HOUSE PROTECTION
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.
Rank #2: Episode 1 - SLENDER MAN
The inaugural episode of The Folklore Podcast examines the recent development of the Slender Man phenomenon, with folklorist and associate professor, Dr Andrea Kitta.
It is a rare event indeed to be present at the birth of a Folklore motif or symbol and see it enter into a cultural environment. Is that what we are seeing with Slender Man? Andrea discusses her work and research on the subject.
Please visit www.thefolklorepodcast.com and click on Episodes for more information and to download the Supplement.
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Rank #3: 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.
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Learn more about Jon and his work at www.parablearts.co.uk
Rank #4: Episode 2 - COCKSTRIDES AND CARRIAGES
Ghosts are undoubtedly one of the most popular aspects of folklore stories. But in folklore there are two distinct types of ghost: the folk (or legendary) ghost or the haunting. In this episode of The Folklore Podcast, regular host Mark Norman examines two particular folk ghost motifs, the 'Cockstride' ghost, which serves some form of penance for evil, and the Phantom Coach.
The talk is illustrated with many examples from the South West of the United Kingdom, where these folk ghosts occur a lot in traditional accounts.
An episode supplement is available to download for this episode from the Folklore Podcast website. The supplement is a full 16-page fully designed e-zine featuring many more case studies, additional notes, comparisons of folk ghosts with stories in fictional literature and suggested reading.
Rank #5: Episode 13 - FAIRY LORE AND THE WITCH TRIALS
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
Rank #6: Episode 59 - THE GLASS WOMAN
1686, Iceland. A wild, isolated landscape that can swallow a man without so much as a volcanic gasp, where superstitious Icelanders are haunted by all-too-recent memories of witch trials.
Such is the setting for the novel "The Glass Woman", written by the special guest on this episode of The Folklore Podcast, Caroline Lea. The book is variously described as 'rich in superstition and mystery' and 'both chilling and beguiling'.
Caroline joins podcast creator and host Mark Norman to discuss her research into the folklore and superstition of historic Iceland, how she came to weave it into her novel, and more general thoughts on landscape and tradition.
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Rank #7: Episode 28 - VAMPIRES: A FOLKLORE PERSPECTIVE PART 1
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
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Rank #8: Episode 25 - WITCH
Rank #9: Episode 20: TRADITIONAL WITCHCRAFT NOW AND THEN
Rank #10: 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
Rank #11: Episode 43 - WOMEN AND FAIRIES AT WORK
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
Rank #12: Episode 35 - THE TRUTH ABOUT HANSEL AND GRETEL
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.
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Rank #13: Episode 9 - MODERN FAIRY SIGHTINGS
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
Rank #14: Episode 45 - AN INTRODUCTION TO NORSE MYTHOLOGY
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.
Rank #15: Episode 40 - FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW
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.