And because it’s still here, we can see just how much our world has changed. How the relative safety we enjoy today would have seemed impossible just a few centuries before. How a lack of systems and technology left people feeling adrift in a sea of fear and danger. And how folklore could often make the situation so much worse.
True crime and dark superstition intersect in the latest episode of the Lore podcast. Host Aaron Mahnke delves into the Ratcliffe Highway Murders that rocked the outskirts of London in 1811. The crimes themselves are of a strikingly gruesome nature–men, women, and children brutally dispatched via chisel and maul. A leading suspect dies while in custody (suicide? frame-up by the real murderers?), and the locals’ subsequent maneuvers with the man’s corpse prove quite curious in their own right. The lore of crossroads burial comes into play here, a rich topic that Mahnke might have mined even further. Add in a haunting account (in the episode’s concluding segment) about a ghost that attempts to throttle those it encounters, and “Straight to the Heart” succeeds in giving listeners the exact opposite of the warm fuzzies.