Here Be Monsters Podcast

The Podcast About the Unknown

HBM095: The Bats that Stay

Not all migratory bats migrate.  We don’t know why some choose to stay behind at their summer roosts.  But according to the University of Washington’s Sharlene Santana, the bats that stay tend to die.  

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Content note:


Language (fleeting)

In this episode, HBM host Jeff Emtman attempts to make a metaphor about bats and humans.  Perhaps it’s anthropomorphic, perhaps it’s unnecessarily poetic, or perhaps it’s a fair one.  

Jeff leaves his home in Seattle to move cross-country to Boston.  Along the way he takes a five day layover in Colorado to meet up with an old friend (Helen Katich) and her girlfriend (Laura Goldhamer).  The three drive from Denver to the San Luis Valley of Central Colorado.  They visit Valley View Hot Springs and walk to the mouth of an abandoned iron mine 10,000 feet above sea level called “The Glory Hole.”  

The Glory Hole houses an estimated 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats each summer.  These bats migrate in from Central and South America to eat bugs and raise their pups.  They fly together at dusk in gatherings visually similar to the murmurations of starlings.   This bat species, also known as the Brazilian free-tailed bat, is extremely social, and perhaps nature’s most gregarious mammal species.  

A preserved Mexican free-tailed bat at the welcome center of Valley View Hot Springs

Helen Katich

Despite this, their social and hunting calls are completely inaudible to humans.  They produce ultrasounds, sounds too high pitched for human ears. But some audio equipment (see below) can still record these sounds, then computer algorithms can pitch them down into human-audible sounds.  

One evening, Jeff and Helen and Laura hike to the mouth of the mine.  At this vantage point, they watch some of the bats flying out and Jeff manages to record some of their loud, ultrasonic vocalizations, before the storm forces them back downhill.  The next day, Jeff flies to his new home in Boston.

Jeff Emtman produced this episode.  He recorded the bat calls with a Tascam DR100MK3 at 192kHZ sample rate and an Echo Meter Touch 2 Pro at sample rates of 256kHZ and 384kHZ.  The calls were recorded at frequencies of approximately 21kHZ to 36kHZ and time/pitch-shifted with Elastique 3.2.3 Pro.

Music: The Black Spot ||| Laura Goldhamer

HBM032: Fugitives of the Blue Laguna

Back when David was a nerdy Oklahoman teenager, he fell in love with Stephanie. They both had angst towards their overbearing, conservative parents and they both wanted out.

So, when the opportunity presented itself, they decided to run for it. They took David's blue 1976 Chevy Laguna and as much money as they could find and started driving to Portland to start a new life.

Stephanie's mom found out and hired a private investigator. She told the PI to break David's arms if he ever caught up with them.

So, they drove across the United States binge-listening to the the only cassette they had: The Cure's Standing on the Beach Singles.

They get arrested for stealing condoms and deodorant, they learn how to sweet-talk free food out of Taco Bell, and they create fake identities for themselves.

David and Stephanie make it to Boise, Idaho, where they move in with a bunch of Mormon punk rockers and assume a new life.

And then they find out the FBI's involved. Suddenly David's facing 30 years of prison time for kidnapping and statutory rape. And, what started as an adventure, turns into something really serious, really fast.

This week's show was co-produced and recorded by a good friend of HBM, Alex Kime. He's a writer and sound engineer living in Chicago, Illinois.

Original music on the show from Justin LaForte and Lucky Dragons

David now works as a professor of Sociology in Washington State at a community college, where lives with his wife (not Stephanie) and daughter. He was one of the founding members of the Infernal Noise Brigade.

This episode is sponsored by SquareSpace. Go to squarespace.com and use the code "monsters" to get 10% off your new website.

HBM025: The Sasquatch of Pumpkintown VS Motley Crue Jon Bon Jovi

Homemade Bigfoot costumes can get you in a lot of trouble. And in gun-toting community of Pumpkintown, SC, a fake Bigfoot costume might get you killed too. But when the recession caused a local outfitter’s store sales to sag, it was a risk he was willing to take.

In the episode, Ben Becker tells the story of a disgusting hound dog named “Motley Crue John Bon Jovi”, a tobacco-juice soaked Sasquatch suit, and the world’s worst hot sauce.

Sharp listeners should note that no one fact-checked a single claim in this story. Wait, actually, we did look up Pumpkintown on Google Maps. It’s a real place. Use discretion before you use anything else in your term paper.

Music from: Flowerpetal Downpour ||| Lucky Dragons ||| Nym ||| Swamp Dog

Here Be Monsters is now a proud member of the Mule Radio Syndicate, which distributes some other really great podcasts. Check them out at MuleRadio.net.

Hey! Review HBM on iTunes! And like us on Facebook!

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, the easiest way to create a professional website. They’ve got a great deal for HBM listeners. Go to SquareSpace.com and use the promo code “monsters9” to get 10% off and a free trial.

HBM021: Potential Energy

Season 2 of Here Be Monsters begins.

The reasons why I bike at night are diverse. It’s partly because I don’t feel graceful anywhere else, it’s partly to run away and it’s partly out of persistent defiance of my failing vision.

 

I recently biked out to a parking garage on the outskirts of Boulder, Colorado and remembered the most significant moment of my eighteenth year, a night that made everything I do now possible.

The story involves electronic dance music, a laundromat, a bunch of sweaty teenagers pretending like it’s the eighties and one of the loudest amplifiers I’ve ever heard.

Music from: Nym ||| The Black Spot

Here Be Monsters is now a proud member of the Mule Radio Syndicate, which distributes some other really great podcasts. Check them out at MuleRadio.net.

Hey! Review HBM on iTunes!