Info

Pleasing Terrors

Join acclaimed ghost storyteller Mike Brown for a bi-weekly tour through the shadows of history. The Pleasing Terrors Podcast features stories about haunted places, creepy history, and forgotten folklore.
RSS Feed
Pleasing Terrors
2018
April
March


2017
December
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: 2017
Dec 12, 2017

I am with Alyson Horrocks of The Strange and Unusual Podcast. It’s the evening of August 20th, 2017. We are in Danvers, MA which was previously known as Salem Village. We are visiting the Samuel Parris archeological site. Surrounded by a rail fence there are two stone lined cellars marking the location of the house that once stood here. Next to this location is a grassy path that leads to the back of a house with a wolves head door knocker.

A wolf can be a monster of many faces and a bad omen. This is one of the hidden places of American history. A place where the horrors of yesterday have cast a long shadow. The bright memory of a day spent walking the sunny streets of Salem have suddenly grown dim. Even though the sun has not yet set, we are surrounded by darkness.

  • This is the birthplace of the evil that enveloped Salem in the year 1692 and claimed the lives of over 20 people.
  • This place is of particular significance to Alyson, because one of the people killed was her direct ancestor Elizabeth Howe.
  • This was the home of Reverend Samuel Parris of Salem Village in 1692.
  • In 1692, it was believed that the devil took possession of many of the people in Salem Village.
  • Cotton Mather believed that there was a war going on with spirits trying to steal souls and witches roaming free and trying to set up Satan’s kingdom.
  • The story of Martha Goodwin and Cotton Mather’s observation.
  • Witchcraft and Ann Glover sentenced to death and hanged on Boston Common in 1688.
  • Her children were in the front row.
  • The Goodwin children suffered seizures which were likely caused by witchcraft.
  • The curse followed the Parris house from Boston, and the Parris children began to have the seizures.
  • Evil hands and supernatural afflictions.
  • A visit by Sarah Good and her daughter.
  • The Parris children accused their servant Tituba, Sarah Osborne, and Sarah Good of being witches.
  • The shattered mind of an imprisoned four-year old and Mercy.
  • Elizabeth Howe the wife of James Howe and mother of six children.
  • In 1682, Elizabeth was accused of being a witch by feuding neighbors.
  • As accusations spread, she realized the last 10 years had only been a reprieve.
  • She was arrested and her trial began in 1692.
  • She was found guilty and sentenced to death.
  • The testimony of Ann Putnam and the trial of George Burroughs.
  • There were really no witches in Salem, but there was a conspiracy that was Satanic in nature.

Resources:

Point Mystic

The Strange and Unusual Podcast

A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials

Cotton Mather

Horror Never Sleeps

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Oct 20, 2017

Alyson Horrocks from the Strange and Unusual Podcast took me on a tour of a historical site with a dark past. The site sits in a town called Danvers, but it was once Salem Village. This site was the culmination of a strange mix of religion, superstition, folklore, slavery, patriarchy, truth, and lies.

A place where people’s imagination or secret motives ran wild and story or lie or desperate attempt at redemption led to the basis for one of the darkest times in colonial American History. What started as a search for freedom to pursue religion and all things good, and ended in a nondescript historical site and archaeological dig, has a sinister history with a story that is hard to tell and even harder to understand.

  • Salem Village was settled in the late 1600s
  • In 1970, Richard B. Trask started excavating the “Danvers Dig”
  • 1688 Samuel Parris moved into the house that once stood at the dig.
  • Parris brought an enslaved South American couple named John and Tituba.
  • In 1692, the invisible world began to close around the Parris family.
  • Using Venus Glass and taking a peek into the invisible world.
  • How it’s human nature to be drawn to what is forbidden
  • In January of 1693, Betty Parris daughter of Samuel, and cousin Abigail were stricken with mysterious illnesses.
  • Sarah Good and her daughter visit the Parris home.
  • Dr. Griggs determines the affliction of Betty and Abigail is supernatural in nature.
  • Thomas Putnam goes to the Salem Town magistrates to file claims of witchcraft.
  • A woman's final plea for freedom opens the floodgates of imagination and evil to begin a dark era of lies and persecution.

Resources:

The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege

The Strange and Unusual Podcast

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Sep 29, 2017

Don't miss the rest of Hollywood & Crime here: smarturl.it/hollywoodandcrime

Sep 29, 2017

The history of the Navajo goes back in time to the Four Corners region in Arizona. Where the spider grandmother spun a giant web and threw it into the night sky to create the stars. This area known as Canyon de Chelly is also known as the Canyon of the Dead after a misguided weaver’s warning resulted in a cruel cave massacre.

Like the art and designs of the Navajo weaver’s blanket, the Navajo legends are intertwined with a ranch purchased by a Utah couple. The Sherman ranch seemed like an idyllic place to raise premium cattle, but strange things started happening almost immediately upon the family's arrival. This ranch is now known as the Skinwalker Ranch and the legends continue.

Episode Highlights:

  • Spider rock and the legend of the weaver and Navajo blankets.
  • Terry and Gwen Sherman purchase a Utah ranch in 1994.
  • The Sherman’s experienced strange phenomena and decided to sell.
  • Robert T. Bigelow purchases the ranch and dispatches the National Institute for Discovery Science to investigate.
  • A terrifying dark force grabs one of the observers before fading away.
  • Night vision goggles expose a tunnel through the light used by the black creature.
  • The Ute Tribe and the legend of the Navajo Tribe in New Mexico.
  • New Mexico, 1863 Kit Carson and his troops round up the Navajo for transport.
  • Canyon de Chelly and “The Long Walk” of the Navajo.
  • The legend of the skinwalker.

Resources:

Battle of Canyon de Chelly

Kit Carson’s Campaign Against the Indians

Skinwalker Ranch

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Sep 19, 2017

On November 20th, 1850 night watchman George Pollard Jr. makes his nightly rounds on the foggy Island of Nantucket, MA. An island once inhabited by proud tribes of Native Americans before the addition of the colonists. An island that was the whaling capital of the world for over a century.

The inhabitants and the whalers themselves were haunted with superstition and legends about the dark underworld of the sea and the evil that lied beneath the depths. The dangers were all too real, yet it wasn’t a sea monster or a devil ascended from Davy Jones’ Locker that posed the threat. It was an invisible threat that lurked in the hearts of men like the night watchman.

  • George Pollard Jr. Nantucket Nightwatchman
  • Davy Jones Locker and the dark underworld of the sea
  • The story of Jonah and being cursed by god
  • Pliny the Elder, sea monsters, the merman, and the Krakken
  • Sightings of mermaids, sirens, and mermen
  • WWI German U-boat surrenders to British patrol ship after sea monster attack
  • The legend of the black demon of the sea or megalodon
  • The story of Moby Dick based on a Nantucket whaling ship voyage
  • Mocha Dick the albino sperm whale and the voyage of the Ann Alexander
  • Captain George Pollard Jr. and the last voyage the whaling ship Essex
  • Owen Coffin and becoming what you fear most
  • November 20th, the anniversary of the destruction of the Essex

Resources:

Nantucket

How Nantucket Came to Be the Whaling Capital of the World

George Pollard Jr.
The True-Life Horror That Inspired Moby-Dick

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Book of Jonah

Pliny the Elder

Megalodon

Mocha Dick

 

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Aug 18, 2017

Count Dracula’s story is one of many pieces; a story of a man and the secrets that are hidden inside his castle. Bram Stoker, the story’s author, is also a man of many secrets who constructed his own castle and built a fortress around his heart. The puzzle of Count Dracula is not complete until the intertwining pieces are put together.

When put together what do the pieces reveal about the story and the man behind it?

Episode Highlights:

  • A young lawyer encounters strange experiences inside the Count’s castle
  • The captain of a Russian ship that has run aground is found lashed to the ship’s wheel
  • A beautiful lady who hunts children in the night
  • The tragic death of a woman about to be married
  • Dracula is forced to flee to his castle
  • The search for the real Dracula
  • The literary origin of Count Dracula
  • Who is Bram Stoker and his ties to prominent men of the time
  • The love that dare not speak its name
  • Stoker’s own castle built to conceal his secrets
  • What the secrets reveal

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Jul 31, 2017

Chicago’s West 63rd Street Post Office was built in 1938 over the site of what its creator referred to as “The Castle”, and in 1902 an Ohio Daily News article called it Chicago’s Ghost Castle. Whatever you want to call it, this site was once or possibly still is the home to a notorious killer.

A figure who built a home that included a 2nd floor full of secret passages, trap doors, and hidden staircases. The basement so notorious that a crowd would lay on the sidewalk and try to peer through the cracks as it was excavated.

The creator of “The Castle” claimed to be under an evil influence. An influence that seemed to continue to claim victims after his death. An influence that is still felt today

  • Moyamensing Prison was finished in 1835
  • Chicago Police Detective Frank Geyer interviews his nemesis in 1895
  • A crowd gathers for the excavation of “The Castle” basement excavation
  • Another crowd gathers outside “The Castle” to see if the owner returns after his execution
  • In 2012 a tunnel that leads to “The Castle” basement is discovered
  • The story of Herman Webster Mudgett
  • Christmas Day, 1891 Julia Smythe and her daughter Pearl disappear
  • The investigation into the Pitezel case
  • H.H. Holmes wrote Holmes’ Own Story while incarcerated at Moyamensing
  • Mysterious deaths of anyone connected to the case or “The Castle”

Resources:

Herman Webster Mudgett or H. H. Holmes

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Jul 24, 2017

The Heriot House in Georgetown, South Carolina was built in 1765. It is now the Harbor House Inn and there are many stories by visitors and Georgetown residents alike of seeing an image of a woman that looks like she doesn’t belong there. Is this woman the ghost of a forlorn lover or does she represent something more sinister?

 Something that ties in with the four circles of Dante’s Inferno and stretches all the way from the old Heriot House to a Greenwich Village neighborhood located on Jane Street. A story that crosses the founding of America and the early days of New York, featuring such notable founders as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and even George Washington.

Episode Highlights:

  • Dante Alighieri’s Inferno The Divine Comedy
  • Are ghosts fragments of energy left behind
  • A lantern in the window of The Heriot House
  • Jane Street hauntings and ghost sightings
  • The ghost of Alexander Hamilton
  • The home of Eliza Jumel
  • The story of Gulielma Sands and the Well of Malebolgia
  • The Ambition of Aaron Burr
  • Tragic life and death of Theodosia Burr Alston

Resources:

Divine Comedy

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Jul 7, 2017

In Austin, Texas in 1884 a female servant was killed in a gruesome ax murder. Feeble attempts were made to find the murderer, but to no avail. Soon a series of gruesome ax murders and attacks followed. Each one more horrific than the other, and the murders spread beyond the black servant population to the white community.

What originally was considered a black problem in the South twenty years after the Civil War became society's problem. This was a birth. The birth of legions of Demons cast out by Jesus. The birth referred to in the occult addicted mind of William Butler Yeats in his poem The Second Coming. The birth of something much more sinister.

Episode Highlights:

  • The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats
  • Yeats obsession with the occult and marriage to medium Georgie Hyde-Lees
  • The murder of Molly Smith
  • Many believed a demon had come to Austin
  • The Gospel of Mark and Jesus casting out demons in the Gerasenes
  • The legend of the boogeyman can be found in all cultures
  • The attack of Susan Hancock and murder of Jimmy and Eula Phillips
  • Christmas Day, 1885 the day “Hell Broke Loose”

Resources:

The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Jun 2, 2017

In Native American folklore, there was a dark creature that possessed the mind and body of men, instilling within them a great hunger for human flesh. The Wendigo was feared by tribes throughout what is now North America and Canada as stories of bloodshed and terror spread across the continent. Picture it: Your best friend, your husband, your sister -- crouched down and feasting upon the flesh of someone you love.

It’s been many, many years since a Wendigo was rumoured to be wreaking havoc, but are they truly gone for good? 

Episode Highlights:

  • Origins of the Wendigo
  • Fear and blood at the Hungry Hall outpost
  • Tales from Native American folklore
  • Swift Runner: A man possessed
  • What lurks beneath the surface of the lake
  • Hunting a monster
  • Psychosis or a wendigo? 

Resources: 

Dangerous Spirits: The Wendigo in Myth and History by Shawn Smallman

 

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

May 19, 2017

The Salisbury Plain is the name for the 300 miles of grasslands located in Wiltshire, England. Home to Stonehenge, a rich history, and a wide variety of plants and animals, the Salisbury Plain is one of the most famous locations in England. For the residents of Wiltshire, however, the area is notorious for more than its archaeological features and mystical energy. The great grassy plains of Salisbury border the mansions of Wiltshire, whose walls are painted in blood and sorrow.  In these great houses, the dead refuse to rest.

Episode Highlights:

  • The Monuments of Wiltshire County
  • The beautiful maiden in Avebury Manor and the Grey Lady: Ghosts searching for lost loves
  • Midwife of death
  • Spiders, cats, and the Spanish Lady
  • Goody Orchard’s curse
  • The legend of the Salisbury hare
  • Murder in the Road Hill House


Resources:

Haunted Wiltshire by Sonia Smith

 

@2PodsADay 

 

If you are looking for podcasts that are similar to Pleasing Terrors, check out:

The Strange and Unusual Podcast

The Not Alone Podcast

Quid Pro Quo Podcast, episode 10 “Double Trouble”

 

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

May 2, 2017

The White House: In all it’s glory, from the immaculately-kept gardens to the walls hung with priceless art, is an icon of American history and power. Home to every President since 1800, the White House is seen as a safe haven for the President and their family.

Not even the heavy iron fence that borders the grounds of the White House can keep dark magic from harming its inhabitants. A curse muttered on a bloodied battlefield in 1812 has left over a hundred years of President’s scared for their lives, but has the debt finally been paid?

Episode Highlights:

  • Strange sights in the Lincoln Bedroom
  • The tall tales and magical powers of Tenskwatawa
  • A dark prophecy
  • Lincoln’s bloody presidency
  • Tainted water in the President’s glass
  • Mediums and séances in the White House
  • Dreams of an ominous voyage
  • A row of white headstones in the Presidential cemetery
  • A debt is paid


Resources:

The History Goes Bump Podcast, Episode 162: The White House

 

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Apr 14, 2017

Deep within the heart of New Jersey lies an untamed swath of trees and brush, long believed to be the home of the Jersey Devil itself. A horrifying creature with the head of a goat and the wings of a bat, the legend of the Jersey Devil has haunted the Pine Barrens for generations.

Yet the Jersey Devil might not be the only degenerate creature lurking within the shadows of the Pines. What dark secrets does the Devil guard?

Episode Highlights:

  • The many forms of dragons
  • What secrets does the dragon’s lair hold?
  • The dwellers amongst the Pines
  • Ghostly apparitions in the trees
  • The many faces of the Jersey Devil
  • Hoofprints in the snow: A sinister creature stalks through the night
  • The 13th child of Deborah Leeds
  • Demonic symbols hidden in the Leeds Almanac
  • Dismembered bodies within the trees: Satanic murder in the Pines

Resources:

Dogma and Ritual of High Magic by Eliphas Levi

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Apr 4, 2017

Who can forget the classic tale of the mad scientist who creates a gorgeously gruesome Creature, only to become frightened and disgusted by his own creation? Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is one of the most widely taught examples of Gothic literature, yet most readers don’t know the true story behind Shelley’s most famous work. Was Frankenstein really the product of a writing competition between friends while on summer vacation, as most people believe it to be, or was the story of the scientist and his Monster born out of a much darker mindset?

Episode Highlights:

  • June 1816: The year without a summer
  • The feminists daughter
  • The twisted love life of Percy Shelley
  • An empty crib in the nursery
  • Vacations in the villa with Lord Byron
  • A ghostly competition between friends
  • Reviving the dead with electricity
  • The waking dream of Mary Shelley
  • Giving birth to Frankenstein's monster
  • Who was the mad scientist? Who was the Monster?

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Mar 17, 2017

Fairy tales often teach an important moral lesson, hidden within the entertaining twists and turns of the story. The tale of Bluebeard, the rich man who keeps the bodies of his murdered wives locked behind the forbidden doors of the dungeon in his castle, doomed to have his wrongdoing exposed by his newest wife, serves as a reminder to young women that curiosity can sometimes be your downfall -- or your savior. In real life there are rarely happy endings to tragedies and moral lessons must be learned the hard way.

For Zona Shue, choked to death in her own home, life was certainly no fairytale. Yet the strange events that led to a murder conviction were as fantastical as any tale written up in a storybook. The moral lesson in her twisted fairy tale?

Mothers are always right.

Episode Highlights:

  • The horrifying fairy tale of Bluebeard and his wives
  • The trial of the Greenbrier Ghost
  • Zona and Trout: A love story gone sour
  • A grisly discovery
  • Witnesses on the stand
  • Mary Jane Hester’s otherworldly visitor
  • Confessions from beyond the grave
  • Broken vertebrae and bruised skin: Autopsy discoveries
  • Trout Shue’s troubled life
  • A mother’s vengeance -- fact or fairytale?

Resources:

The Man Who Wanted Seven Wives by Katie Letcher Lyle, Quarrier Press 1999

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Feb 24, 2017

The time between three and four in the morning is said to be the hour when evil is at the height of it’s power -- the time when the Devil ascends from Hell and ghosts haunt the land of the living. In part two of my experience of the Devil’s hour inside Charleston’s Old City Jail, I receive a message from Hell itself, and discover the truth about one of the jail’s most famous prisoners -- Lavinia Fisher herself.

Episode Highlights:

  • 3 AM inside the Old City Jail
  • Torture chambers, the crane of pain, and the hangman’s lair
  • Lorraine Warren visits the Old City Jail
  • Footsteps in an empty corridor
  • A child behind bars
  • Lavinia Fisher and Daniel Duncan: Old City Jail’s famous residents
  • An exploration to the third floor
  • My conversation with Bruce Orr: The truth about Lavinia Fisher

Resources:

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Feb 17, 2017

Nestled inside Charleston, South Carolina lives a menacing stone monstrosity, often called the most haunted building in America -- The Old City Jail. The square upon which the Jail sits has been home to untold amounts of suffering and torture, making it the perfect breeding ground for the supernatural to take hold.

As part of my training and experience as a storyteller and tour guide, I have been visiting haunted locations for the past 19 years. There have been many times that I’ve been in the presence of people having a paranormal encounter, but I had never felt anything myself until the night I decided to enter the Old City Jail. This is part one of my experience, the story of a night that shook me to my very core.

Episode Highlights:

  • My journey into Charleston’s Old City Jail, the most haunted building in America
  • A blood-soaked address
  • Walking through Hell in the Old City Jail -- three terrifying tour experiences
  • The woman in the white dress
  • Horror in the Six Mile Wayfarer House
  • Paranormal investigations inside Old City Jail
  • The Devil’s Hour

Resources:

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

Feb 3, 2017

The railroad tracks over the Tsavo river are flanked on either side with lush grasses. A picturesque river runs below, providing a calming base for the trains that rush from Uganda to Kenya and back again. During it’s construction, men from all over India and far parts of Africa gathered at the Tsavo river, working for months on end. At first, the men were oblivious to the twin pairs of golden eyes stalking them from the grasses… until half-devoured bodies and screams in the night became commonplace.

From a distance, from a viewpoint high above the clouds, the Kenya-Uganda Railway snakes its way across deserts and through forests of thorns, trailing bloodshed and pain in its wake.

Episode Highlights:

  • Demons in the Forest of Thorns
  • Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson and the Tsavo River
  • Devoured men and lion prints: A campsite surrounded
  • Patterson’s hunt for a pride of unordinary lions
  • The figure on the platform
  • Blood on the desert sand
  • The price of the railroad

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

 

 

Jan 13, 2017

Throughout history, disasters of astronomical proportions have taken place on one auspicious day -- Friday the Thirteenth. Shipwrecks, tsunamis, raging forest fires, brutal murderers, and horrifying accidents have all claimed victims on a day that many believe has been cursed since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The same serpent who tested the pair has become the dark figurehead of Friday the Thirteenth, feared by ancient cultures for centuries.

The fear of 13 seems like old suspicions that were born and died in ancient times, but as an asteroid headed straight for the Earth threatens to destroy civilization as we know it, the due date of Friday the Thirteenth might be more relevant than ever.

Episode Highlights:

  • Shipwrecks, gruesome murders, natural disasters, and cannibalism: A trail of death through history
  • The fear of Friday the 13th
  • Numerology and mysticism
  • Adam, Eve, the Serpent, and 13
  • Symbolism in the works of Edgar Allan Poe
  • Sinister snakes and dark evil in Ancient Egypt
  • Flying asteroids to strike the Earth

Resources:

Friday the Thirteenth by Thomas William Lawson

“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe

 

Enjoyed this episode? Please support the show by rating, reviewing, and subscribing on iTunes.

Please visit Pleasing Terrors, the podcast behind Old Charleston’s best ghost tour, on Facebook and Twitter!

 

 

1