Lore Report: “Skin Deep” (Episode 155); “Bottled Up” (Episode 156)


“Skin Deep” (Episode 155)


There are stories and legends we’ve told ourselves for centuries, from tribal campfires to Hollywood blockbusters. But many of the details have been worn away or buried beneath the waves of time. They were once part of the larger picture, but now they are all but forgotten. So today I want to take you on a journey into the past, to explore one of our favorite corners of folklore, and see what the shadows might be hiding. But be warned, because while the core of this legend might be familiar to most of you, there’s a darkness just beneath the surface, waiting to break free. And if there’s one thing we can all agree on, there are few creatures of folklore more terrifying than the werewolf.

Aaoooooo! Episode 155 of the Lore podcast goes heavy on the lycanthropy. Host Aaron Mahnke delves well beneath the surface here, delivering all the information the listener likely never knew before about werewolves. Mahnke unpacks the various ancient beliefs as to what a werewolf actually was (which included a connection to witches). He also covers the alleged causes of the hirsute condition, the various triggers of transformation, the personal traits of a werewolf when in human form, and the proposed (and often savage) “cures” for the afflicted. If such things as wound legends, backriders, werewolf trials, and the “Hounds of God” (a pack of benevolent werewolves) are unfamiliar to you, you will have a howling good time listening to “Skin Deep.”


“Bottled Up” (Episode 156)

Sometimes our guesswork prevents us from seeing the truth. We think we know something, but if we are given the chance to explore the true details, we can find ourselves surprised by what we discover. The lens through which we view the world is far from clear, so let’s spend some time trying to clean it up a bit. But be warned, because sometimes what lies within is entirely unexpected.

Episode 156 of the Lore podcast presents another subject quite germane to the Halloween season: witchcraft. Host Aaron Mahnke has dealt with witches in several previous episodes, but here he aims to surprise anyone who believes that he or she has heard the whole story already. Transporting listeners to the Essex County village of Canewdon in England (whose church tower–pictured above–sports an intriguing witch legend), Mahnke focuses on the objects and measures of “countermagic.” Prime among these is the fascinating, if disgusting, concoction known as a witch bottle–containing a hardly-potable brew (e.g., pins, nails, alcohol, human hair, fingernail clippings, urine) used to lure, trap, and even destroy witches. Mahnke momentarily invokes the notorious figure of Matthew Hopkins (portrayed by Vincent Price in the folk horror classic, Witchfinder General), but devotes more attention to the white witchery of “cunning folk” such as James Murrell. For those willing to cast aside their assumptions about the subject of witchcraft, “Bottled Up” serves as a terrific listen.



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