Here Be Monsters Podcast

The Podcast About the Unknown

HBM085: Ascended Fiction

There’s an office in every church of Scientology dedicated to the founder.  It’s a full reconstruction: desks, chairs, books and memorabilia.  The church says these offices are traditional, a way of honoring the memory of L. Ron Hubbard, who died back in 1986.  

L. Ron Hubbard’s office in Copenhagen, Denmark sits on a busy street.  There’s a big window that allows passersby to speculate on its utility.  

Elisabeth Pedersen heard a rumor that the office was more than traditional.  She heard that it might be needed by the author upon his alleged reincarnation and return to earth.  

Sussing out the veracity of this claim is difficult, because Hubbard and his successor David Miscavige choose to keep much of Scientology’s scripture out of the public’s reach.  And therefore, many of the Church of Scientology’s core beliefs must be sifted either through church officials, court documents, or the religion's detractors.

One of those detractors is Tony Ortega, who’s been writing on Scientology since the 1990’s. He thinks Elisabeth’s rumor is a garbled understanding of a belief that might be held in an secretive wing of Scientology known as the Church of Spiritual Technology.  The CST is the group that holds and protects the copyrights to Hubbard’s body of work.  Tony says a defector from the CST told him about preparations being made for the return of L. Ron Hubbard.  His source later denied this.  

When a religion has scriptural gatekeepers, how can you know if a rumor’s been debunked?  A friendly person at the church’s info center pointed out that the internet is full of misinformation about scientology and suggested that listeners of this podcast consult Scientologists Taking Action Against Discrimination for factual information about the religion and its beliefs.  They also suggested Freedom Magazine.  Scientology’s press officers were contacted several times in the months before release, but never responded.  

Jeff Emtman produced this episode with help from Bethany Denton.  This episode’s title was inspired by TV Trope’s article on Ascended Fanfic.

Music: Serocell | | | The Black Spot


Before you go…

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Second, we have a question for you. Have you ever intentionally withheld knowledge?  Maybe you know the location of a buried treasure.  Maybe you have a second family in another state. Maybe you won’t tell your kids the family’s secret pot roast recipe.  So, have you ever withheld knowledge? And if so, whose sake was it for?  Was it the right thing to do?

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HBM084: Are You Sure You're Awake?

Chrissy was having trouble remembering who she was when she woke up.  First she thought it was early-onset dementia, then she thought it was schizophrenia.  She had recurring hallucinations about being stalked by a beast that would talk to her while she slept.  

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Content Note:

- Language

A doctor eventually told her she was waking up frequently throughout the night, some 30+ times per hour.  It was this inability to maintain a regular sleep cycle that helped her get a diagnosis of narcolepsy, explaining Chrissy’s excessive sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and sometimes episodes of cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle control after having a strong emotional response).

Chrissy’s diagnoses frightened her. She tried to pretend it wasn’t true. This attitude drastically changed one day when she woke up in traffic, driving 100kph with her kids in the back seat.  She finally accepted her illness, recognized it as a beast, and looked for ways to feed it that wouldn’t affect her children.  She says that’s the only way it’s won—if it gets her kids.  

This episode was produced by Bec Fary. Bec is a freelance audio producer and creator of the podcast Sleep Talker. Bec’s show is about sleep, dreams, and nightmares, and she’s covered narcolepsy before. That’s how Chrissy got in touch with Bec to share her story. If you have a story you want to share with us, get in touch.

This episode was edited by Bethany Denton and Jeff Emtman. Our editor at KCRW is Nick White.

Music: Phantom Fauna | | |  The Black Spot


Before you go…

There are two things you can do to help us out.

First, KCRW wants to know more about you - who you are, and how you listen. Head over to kcrw.com/survey. It’ll take just three minutes of your time, and we’d really appreciate it.


Second, we want to hear from you for an upcoming episode.  Here’s the question, what is unknowable to archaeologists of the future? A lot of knowledge can be preserved in writing, or in landfills, or in collective consciousness. But there must be things that the archaeologists, 3 million years from now, fundamentally can't understand about the world today. Maybe it's the smell of snow melting after a long winter. Maybe it's the softness of a stingray's skin. Maybe those archaeologists will look in vain for those "complete breakfasts" we were supposed to be eating with our Corn Pops.

Leave us a voicemail at (765) 374-5263

HBM083: Sweet Like Snap Peas

Ryan Graves thinks that store-bought asparagus is as flavorless as potatoes.  But that's just because he's spoiled on the really good stuff. 

His preferred crop grows wild among the tombstones at Clinton Cemetery, hidden on an old gravel road between the towns of Pullman, Washington and Moscow, Idaho.  Most who are buried there died over 100 years ago. 

That intervening century left the cemetery mostly forgotten and overgrown.  And Ryan thinks the deep-rooted asparagus taste so good because of the natural quality of their fertilizer.  

Ryan Graves thinks that store-bought asparagus is as flavorless as potatoes.  But that’s just because he’s spoiled on the really good stuff.

His preferred crop grows wild among the tombstones at Clinton Cemetery, hidden on an old gravel road between the towns of Pullman, Washington and Moscow, Idaho.  Most who are buried there died over 100 years ago. 

Ryan Graves also appears on HBM042: Deers.  Jeff Emtman produced this episode.  

Music: The Black Spot


We have a question for you:

What will be unknowable to the archaeologists 3 million years from now?  What is understandable only to people of today?  

Send a voice memo to HBMpodcast@gmail.com.  Or leave a message on our voicemail: (765) 374-5263.  We may include your audio in an upcoming episode.

HBM082: MI5 MI6 KGB CIA

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Content Note:

- Language

John Barner spent his entire childhood fiddling with his dad’s shortwave radio, picking up transmissions from all over the world. He like the way the sounds crackled, and the voices speaking foreign languages, and the eerie whine of transmissions coming in and out of static.

One night John got a phone call from one of his friends who also had a shortwave radio. “I think I just found spy stuff,” John’s friend said, “come over.”

John and his friends had found a number station, coded transmissions broadcast on unlicensed frequencies. Number stations are believed to be a form of espionage where intelligence agencies broadcast encrypted messages to field operatives. But no government has claimed responsibility for their existence.

Number stations come in many forms. Some are beeps or sustained tones. Some are repeated bars of familiar folk songs. The rest are strings of numbers and words from the phonetic alphabet.

Spectrograms of suspected number stations. 

John, like countless other shortwave enthusiasts, has been captivated by the mystery ever since discovering them as a teenager. He used to try to crack the coded messages, thinking he’d stumbled on the X-Files.

Henry Cooke at the Electromagnetic Field Festival.

Henry Cooke, a technologist and number stations enthusiast, believes that its the indecipherable code that makes number stations so alluring. He’s found internet forums dedicated to tracking number stations broadcasts and even videos of radio sleuths claiming to have found broadcast locations. Henry believes this to be a type of modern folklore; that shortwave enthusiasts trading theories about the origins and meaning behind the number stations are almost like telling ghost stories around the campfire.

Garrett Tiedemann produced this episode. Garrett also produces the podcast The White Whale. Bethany Denton edited this episode with help from Jeff Emtman and Nick White.

Number Station recordings courtesy of The Conet Project. Full archive can be found here.

Music from John Barner’s new album, Shadow Time.  

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HBM081: Kinnikinnick Nick VS The Bear

Content Advisory:
- Language
- Drug use

We've changed the way we denote explicit material.   The above box gives information on an episode's content.  This system better than the previous one, though far from perfect, so please use discretion. 

  

Boy Scout Leadership Camp was a bad fit for Jeff Emtman.  He was a meek 13 year old who didn’t eat meat and talked to animals with his mind.

Regardless, Jeff wound up in the dry forests of Eastern Washington, with a group of other boys and a young scout leader, Nick, whose leadership style was...let’s just call it “eclectic”.

Nick was rarely around, and when he did show up, he’d impart scouting wisdom on building giant towers, making drug paraphernalia, and pooping in the woods.  It was Nick’s lesson on plant identification that earned him the nickname “Kinnikinnick Nick”.  He browbeat the virtues of smoking the dried leaves Bearberry, a plant that grew wild across camp.  He claimed the plant an intoxicant similar to LSD.  Nick also sold weed.

As the camp’s middle management wised to Nick’s dealings, they slowly sowed the seeds of conspiracy into the minds of the Jeff and the other campers.  And the middle management prepared for a late-night sting.

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

Music:  The Black Spot


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