Here Be Monsters Podcast

The Podcast About the Unknown

HBM071: The Evangelists of Nudism

Growing up Mormon in Montana, Bethany Denton had a phrase drilled into her mind from an early age: “modest is hottest.”  To her, it became a mantra even while many of her friends, especially other girls, struggled with Mormonism’s strict modesty standards. But never Bethany–she was fat enough to know that no one wanted to see that anyway.

By the time Bethany moved to Washington State for college, she had rejected the church and was looking for new, broader experiences.  She got a job as a campus security officer, started drinking, and began wading into feminism.  She looked for new, non-Mormon role models to help her find adventure. That’s when she met Helen, a punk rock pirate who invited Bethany to join her for an all-expenses paid nude vacation, courtesy of an eccentric tech millionaire who evangelized the merits of nudism.

Bethany said yes, and went with Helen to California to bake in the sun for a week, and to learn about the body she’d been hiding for the past 20 years, learn to decouple nakedness from sexuality.

And when she returned, she felt utterly changed.  But she’d soon tearfully discover she was not entirely untangled from childhood guilt.

Names in this story have been changed.

"Artist's" Renderings of what Bethany Saw
Photos by Jeff Emtman

This episode was written and produced by Bethany Denton, and was edited by Jeff Emtman. Nick White is HBM’s editor at KCRW.

Music:  Nym | | | Half Ghost  | | |  Lucky Dragons 

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wet-slop-plop.wav (Among Other Sounds)

There are about 10,000 files in the Here Be Monsters sound library.   HBM producer Jeff Emtman has been recording, synthesizing and downloading them since way back before this show started.  And of these thousands of sounds, there’s a tiny subset of them that just keep winding up on podcast episodes.

On this interstitial episode, Jeff plays back some of these heavily-used sounds and asks whether they occur because of an inherent goodness, a force of habit, or some kind of weird nostalgia he feels for the early days of the podcast. 

The site Jeff often downloads sound from is FreeSound.org (see Jeff’s download history).  A big thank you to the many recordists there who volunteer their work to the public domain, especially Felix Blume, a sound artist and sound engineer who is responsible for many of the site’s best recordings.

HBM070: The Way The Blood Flows

“I used to think you were brilliant” Evan Williamson’s dad wrote to him in a letter.  Evan was in treatment for chemical dependency at the time.  His father asked if they could meet in Alaska to continue a family tradition of fathers and sons who fished together.  

The Alaskan waters were teeming, and two spent entire days ending lives together.  Evan’s dad, amid all the death, explained that he too was dying.  

The boat chartered by Evan and his father.

Some of the fish Evan and his father caught in Alaska.

The Way The Blood Flows a short story written and read by Evan Williamson, who currently makes videos and music with his wife Sidra as they travel the world.  Their series is called Sid and Evan Leave America.  You can follow them on YouTube and Facebook.

Music: The Black Spot

Jeff Emtman produced this episode with help from Bethany Denton and Nick White. 

Here's some other news: Nick and Jeff have just published another podcast project: The Outer Reach: Stories From Beyond a sci-fi anthology from Howl.FM.  Give a listen!

 

 

HBM069: Redwoods of the In-World [Explicit]

Please Note: This episode contains a brief description of sexual violence (and casual swearing too, but we don’t usually warn you about that).

Ariadne, Jacqueline, North, and others unnamed are all part of the same system.  They share a single body.  They take turns “fronting” the body, controlling it.  And when they’re not fronting, the system members are free to roam an infinite landscape, a pocket reality that they call the “in-world”.

Together, they go to work every day, spend time with friends and lovers, go to shows, play video games, and live many aspects of a typical life. But when multiple people with varying interests, social skills, and gender identities share a single body, some things are tough.  It’s tough to live in a world that doesn’t understand you, doesn’t know your secrets, or just wants to diagnose you.

The system members refer to their living situation as being “plural” or “multiple”.  Psychiatry calls similar situations Dissociative Identity Disorder.  The system members don’t identify with this diagnosis, as it requires the multiplicity to be hindrance.  They say it’s the opposite of a hindrance--it’s what lets them survive.

Another perspective on multiplicity can be found in the work of philosopher John Perry.  1978, he published a paper called A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality which critiques popular assumptions of personal identity.  This writing was brought to our attention by Barry Lam, the producer of a soon-to-be released philosophy podcast called Hi-Phi Nation.  

We mailed our spare recorder to the system’s home in the spring of 2016.  Over the course of several months, system members created diary entries and field recordings to share the world that Ari calls too “bright and loud”.

Producer Jeff Emtman did an interview with Jacqueline, where she also described the building process of the in-world, including the creation a spot of reverence within it--a grove of redwood trees modeled on a forest near Oakland.

One day, Jacqueline hopes to move from the city to the wilderness and have dogs.  Jacqueline said that there are no current plans to integrate the system.

We found out about Ari, North, Jacqueline et al because we asked for listeners to tell us their secrets.   If you have a secret you’d like to share, please get in touch.

This episode was produced by Jeff Emtman and Bethany Denton.  Nick White is HBM’s editor at KCRW.  

Music: The Black Spot

In other news:  there’s a chance that you subscribed to our podcast while you were looking for the work of another podcaster named Derek Hayes.  He has a show that’s also about monsters (though his are more the bigfoot, chupacabra and hellhound variety).  Until recently, his show had a very similar name to ours.  So, to clear up any confusion, Derek’s changed his podcast’s name to Monsters Among Us.

HBM068: The Wake Up Stick [EXPLICIT]

When Dylan Wright placed his first Craigslist ad back in 2006, he called himself a “nice and genuine person with waking up problems.”  He was looking for someone to help him in the mornings.  First it was phone calls, but those didn’t work, so he moved on to something more personal.

Dylan’s problem is that, left to his own devices, he sleeps and doesn’t stop sleeping: “Seventeen hours was the longest I ever slept...that’s like four times as much as some people get daily.” And he’s tried to fix it in a lot of ways—bright lights suspended over his bed hooked to a timer, multiple alarms—nothing worked.  He lost jobs, missed flights, messed up personal relationships, all because he couldn’t wake up.

So for most of the last decade, Dylan’s hired someone to come to his house, and physically wake him up.  “Nothing weird or inappropriate about this, it’s just a job.” he says.  Dylan estimates he’s had ten people fill this job.  Most of them quit abruptly, or just stopped showing up.  But he likes his current guy, who doesn’t even come into the house.   Instead, he’s taken to knocking on Dylan’s bedroom window with a long stick (that way he doesn’t have to stand in the flowerbeds).  He knocks until Dylan gets out of bed puts on clothes and makes himself some coffee.

It’s $10 per day, five days per week, sometimes six.

Lisa Cantrell produced this piece.  She’s the host of An Inexact Science, which is a podcast about human psychology.  

Music: The Black Spot

 

In other news:  there’s a chance that you subscribed to our podcast while you were looking for the work of another podcaster named Derek Hayes.  He has a show that’s also about monsters (though his are more the bigfoot, chupacabra and hellhound variety).  Until recently, his show had a very similar name to ours.  So, to clear up any confusion, Derek’s changed his podcast’s name to Monsters Among Us.