Some journeys into history are more dangerous, because while legends might offer us a window into the past, we have no control over the things we might learn. Folklore might hold a new detail that could unlock our understanding of who our ancestors really were, but it could also reveal something else–our failures, our flaws, and the less savory aspects of human nature. Folklore contains powerful stories, for sure, but it also holds something darker: the truth about who we are.
In Episode 158 of the Lore podcast, host Aaron Mahnke serves as our storytelling tour guide of Vancouver Island in British Columbia–a place sporting more than its fair share of strange tales. Mahnke narratively explores local ghost towns (the remnants of an era of gold fever), spectral ladies in white, even a haunted castle. Most extended coverage is given to “Caddy,” an ostensible sea serpent reputed to swim in the surrounding waters of Vancouver Island, and which seemed to transmute from the mythic to the grimly physical when a bizarre carcass (pictured above) was discovered inside a whale’s stomach in 1937 (intriguingly, Caddy is also connected here in “A Grain of Truth” to a certain legendary sea creature from Scotland). The true reward of this episode, though, comes from Mahnke’s thematic concern with stepping back from the specific examples and pondering the very purpose–and ongoing power–of folklore.