Astonishing Legends

Astonishing Legends

The world is more mysterious than most people are comfortable imagining. We cross paths with the mystical from time to time and may not even notice it. If we do, we quickly return to our usually mundane daily existence. But what if we not only acknowledged the unknown, we investigated it and spoke with those in the know? That’s what co-hosts Scott & Forrest, and their producer Tess Pfeifle do at Astonishing Legends. Over 85 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of listeners have shown that exploring and embracing the wonders of our world can be not only enlightening but exciting.  Welcome to Astonishing Legends!

  • 1 hour 37 minutes
    Nightmarchers of Hawaii
    Those who have visited Hawaii have experienced its natural beauty, soothing lifestyle, and the charm and friendliness of the inhabitants. However, only a select few may have encountered what the locals know and revere – the supernatural entities and legends that are still active and enduring. Some, like seeing "Madame Pele," can invigorate awe and wonder, while others can be terrifying. One of the latter and seemingly more prevalent is encountering the Night Marchers. They usually appear as a column of warriors floating above the ground along a predetermined path, weapons or torches in hand. Many report only hearing their presence in the form of unexplainable beating drums or the ghostly blowing of a conch shell. And just seeing them, it's said, ensures a disappearance or violent death to the witness if the proper respect isn't paid in their presence. But what is their origin story, and what do they want? Are they soldiers defeated by King Kamehameha I advancing towards a counterattack or seeking revenge? Or are they keepers and enforcers of ancient Hawaiian cultural laws and mores? To help us explore these questions and relay some of his personal experiences, tonight's guest is Kamuela "Kamu" Kaneshiro. As a native Hawaiian, content creator, and podcaster for 20 years, Kamu has extensive knowledge of the lore and heritage of his homeland. His royal lineage might even protect him from these fearsome spectral guardians. Join us for a fascinating discussion as we warily watch for the Night Marchers of Hawaii.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

    19 May 2024, 2:05 am
  • 2 hours 14 minutes
    The SS Kamloops and Old Whitey
    When most of us think of shipwrecks, images of rough ocean waves and sailing vessels of yore come to mind. But those familiar with the Great Lakes region of the north-central United States and southern Canada know all too well that these massive bodies of fresh water produce devastating storms and treacherous swells to rival any sea. Estimates are that around 6000 vessels and 30,000 lives have fallen victim to their notoriously severe weather and deadly waters. In December 1927, a "raging blizzard" on Lake Superior claimed the steamship SS Kamloops and all 22 souls aboard. But was she really a "Ghost Ship," as the legends often describe? The ship went missing and remained undiscovered until 1977 but is in unusually, reasonably intact condition. So, although the wreck was found, the SS Kamloops is still known for a ghost of its own. At least one crew member remains, still manning his station, who is perhaps both a ghost and a corpse. Some divers on the wreck have claimed that the body of this crewman follows them around as they explore, known as "Old Whitey" because of his appearance. Others have also claimed to see a spirit nicknamed "Grandpa" because of his appearance, still on duty in the icy depths. Are these beings the same, and are their perceived actions the result of fluid dynamics and decompression sickness? Join us as we take a deep dive to get to the bottom of the legend of the SS Kamloops and Old Whitey.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

    11 May 2024, 10:13 pm
  • 1 hour 47 minutes
    The Elusive Force: A Powerful Polish Poltergeist Part 2
    For part two of our examination of the elusive force that flowed through Joasia Gajeweski, we're fortunate and honored to present a conversation with three knowledgeable professionals familiar with the case. We first learned of this fantastic story and the book that documented it from a clinical therapist, author, parapsychologist, past show guest, and friend, Brandon Massullo. Brandon then offered to put us in touch with psychologist, researcher, and author James Houran, Ph.D., who studied the case extensively. And for the trifecta, another past guest and friend, Michael Kishbucher, connected us with Joel Stern. Joel was a staff translator and reviewer in the Office of Language Services at the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC, for 28 years. He translated The Elusive Force: A Remarkable Case of Poltergeist Activity and Psychokinetic Power into English and spent decades attempting to get the book published, which finally occurred in 2023. Joel also spent time with Joasia and her family during the process and has specific insights into the people and their circumstances. Join us tonight for a lively discussion from the viewpoint of parapsychology and human behavior when it collides with the paranormal, and the impossible becomes impossible to dismiss. 

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

    27 April 2024, 11:12 pm
  • 49 minutes 34 seconds
    The World of Ted Serios
    The Astonishing Legends Network presents the third episode of Richard Hatem's Paranormal Bookshelf! Listen, and after you love it, find and subscribe to it wherever you get your podcasts!

    Richard delves into challenging misconceptions held by both skeptics and believers through the lens of Jule Eisenbud's "The World of Ted Serios," which underscores the significance of caution in scientific inquiry while also exploring the debilitating doubt often encountered in paranormal exploration.

    “Certainly an attitude of caution and skepticism should be expected of anyone undertaking to test a hypothesis according to conventional cannons of scientific inquiry. But not the kind of gnawing, festering doubt that took possession of me." –The World of Ted Serios by Jule Eisenbud

    In this episode of Richard Hatem’s Paranormal Bookshelf, we’re exploring The World of Ted Serios by Jule Eisenbud. And we’re taking on one of the longest-standing feuds in the world of paranormal exploration: skeptics vs. believers.

    In the 1960s, Theodore Judd Serios, a Chicago bellhop, gained fame for producing "thoughtographs.” Ted, it seems,  could think images onto film. Polaroid film to be exact. Parapsychologist Jule Eisenbud arranges to meet with him, and over the next three years of wild experiments, Jule goes down a rabbit hole from which he never completely emerged.

    As Richard immerses himself in Eisenbud's narrative, he grapples with the dichotomy between skeptics and believers, challenging misconceptions that often plague serious paranormal inquiry. Through insightful commentary, Richard sheds light on the rational pursuit of knowledge among individuals intrigued by the unexplained, contrasting it with the hasty conclusions drawn by both skeptics and true believers. 
    24 April 2024, 10:13 pm
  • 6 minutes 44 seconds
    Vote 80's TV Ladies for a Webby!
    Vote for 80’s TV Ladies for Best Indie Podcast at the Webby Awards Now! Voting ends Thursday, April 18th, 2024.
    16 April 2024, 8:37 pm
  • 1 hour 47 minutes
    The Elusive Force: A Powerful Polish Poltergeist Part 1
    Significant poltergeist events often start with a minor incident and incrementally grow with a bit of intensity until they eventually fade.  This is somewhat true about the paranormal activity in a small town in southern Poland in 1983, except in this case, what started as a weird action by an unseen force quickly escalated into one of the most extreme and extraordinary poltergeist cases ever recorded.  Around 3:00 a.m. on April 4th of that year, Marian Tomecki awoke to a decorative straw mat falling on his head.  He tried to fasten it back to the wall when it "tore itself from his hands and danced around." Immediately, glassware and household items erratically fly around the apartment belonging to his daughter and son-in-law where he was staying, smashing into walls and furniture.  Andrzej and Ewa Gajewski's 13-year-old daughter and Marian's grandaughter, Joasia, appeared to be the catalyst for the impossible destruction, consistent with current theories about human conduits in many cases of the phenomena.  As the Gajewski family continued to be terrorized by the violent trashing, neighbors, local authorities, Joasia's school, and even a Japanese news crew became eyewitnesses to the bizarre happenings, becoming national news in Poland.  What also makes the Gajewski case groundbreaking is that it continued for an extended period and with such consistent power that scientists could study it.  Join us for a case of RSPK or "recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis" so disturbing and astonishing it has divided the parapsychologist community.  

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

    14 April 2024, 1:02 am
  • 40 minutes 14 seconds
    Ghosts and Specters
    “Whether you believe in ghosts or not—these stories are true.” –Ghosts & Specters by Bruce and Nancy Roberts

    Being a kid can be scary.  In the premiere episode of Richard Hatem's Paranormal Bookshelf, Richard takes us on a nostalgic journey back to his childhood discovery of the book that changed everything. 

    Travel back to 1974 as he recounts the pivotal moment when Aunt Sally gifted him Ghosts & Specters by Bruce and Nancy Roberts. This slim hardback, filled with haunting tales and eerie photographs, ignited Richard's fear and imagination and sparked a complicated lifelong fascination with the strange and unexplained that would later fuel his screenwriting career.

    While Ghosts & Specters by Bruce and Nancy Roberts may seem unlikely to inspire an entire life, to Richard, it is anything but. It started him on a journey into the unknown, and he’s never looked back. Published by Doubleday, this collection of 10 stories describes ghostly apparitions and happenings paired with ghoulish photographs that seem to creep right out of the pages and into reality. Each tale within these pages transports readers to a world where the inexplicable becomes possible, and fear gives way to fascination (and then moves back to fear again). Maybe YOU have a book just like this on your shelf. It terrified you so completely that you couldn't put it down. Or, even stranger, maybe this is the same book that brought you to this podcast.

    Join Richard as he reflects on the power of books that act as a beacon into the unknown and the transformative journey that book lovers and librarians can have in our lives. 
    27 March 2024, 11:31 pm
  • 2 hours 11 minutes
    The Third Man Syndrome Part 2
    In part two of our exploration of the Third Man Syndrome, we continue recounting harrowing tales of survival in extreme and unusual environments or “EUEs,” such as Christopher Columbus’ 15th-century pilot taking the helm for Joshua Slocum during the first solo circumnavigation of the globe; and Aron Ralston’s excruciating canyon escape after becoming trapped for 127 hours.  We then explore the scientific hypotheses as to why this surprisingly not-so-rare phenomenon occurs.  As researchers and authors Peter Suedfeld and John Geiger stated, theories can range from the mystical to the psychodynamic to the situational and the neurological.  Listeners will also recognize that some proposed causes overlap with past show concepts such as infrasound, the “God Helmet,” and Shadow People.  Whatever the explanation is for an ethereal savior appearing in a desperate moment of need, and like so many paranormal happenings, to the beholder, what matters is that it was real enough.  And the Third Man was real enough to save their lives.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.
    24 March 2024, 1:22 am
  • 2 hours 26 minutes
    The Third Man Syndrome Part 1
    A strange occurrence often happens to people engaged in an adventurous activity or who fall victim to an unfortunate circumstance.  They find themselves with a companion whose presence would typically be impossible.  Usually, the person is at a critical moment in a life-or-death situation in an extreme and unusual environment.  When they are weakened and dying from exposure, suffering privation of sustenance, lost and alone, when they are about to lose all hope and accept their demise, that’s when this otherworldly friend suddenly appears to render aid and encouragement, giving them a superhuman will or strength to survive.  Psychologists label this a “sensed presence experience” but are at a loss for a simple explanation.  These presences may be seen, heard, and sometimes even touched.  They appear in dire situations to people from all walks of life.  They may materialize as a known friend, a deceased relative, a religious figure, or an indeterminate benefactor.  Still, whatever their form, there is no doubt to the one in danger that this being is real and there with them.  Although this sensed presence appears most often to mountain climbers, sailors, divers, and polar explorers, it can also happen to astronauts, prisoners of war, and disaster survivors.  One of the most intriguing aspects of the sensed presence experience is that the ethereal saviors aren’t just there to provide comforting words; they actually help with knowledgable advice or guidance or can even seemingly take over the actions of the afflicted – whatever is necessary to increase the odds of survival.  Join us as we explore a phenomenon more common than you might think, a syndrome also known as the “Third Man.”

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.
    10 March 2024, 4:01 am
  • 1 hour 52 minutes
    The Lost City of Akakor with Kinga Philipps Part 2
    Kinga Philipps is back with us for part two of our investigation into the legend of the lost city of Akakor.  In this episode, we look closer at the facts in this case, attempting to separate them from the fiction.  Kinga has a specific and knowledgeable insight into Tatunca Nara’s point of view as she and J.J. Kelley interviewed him at his home in Barcelos, Amazonas, in 2019 for their Travel Channel show, Lost in the Wild.  In the 1980s, at least three people hired Tatunca as a guide to find Akakor.  Two were never seen again, and one was found with a bullet hole in the back of their skull.  Did they insist on venturing into the jungle alone, as Tatunca claimed?  What became of the journalist Karl Brugger, whose book The Chronicle of Akakor could be considered the catalyst to this series of events?  Is this mystery more natural, supernatural, or criminal at its core?  Whatever the truth at the heart of this darkness, the fact is that an incredible account, a fantastic fable, mere words can spark quests and tragedy.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.
    25 February 2024, 4:42 pm
  • 1 hour 45 minutes
    The Lost City of Akakor with Kinga Philipps Part 1
    Typically, when the concept of a Lost City captures the public’s imagination, it’s because archaeologists have discovered evidence of its ancient existence or rumors have passed down generations and inspired expeditions.  But what happens when a single, modern man’s story, documented in a book, encourages a few adventurous souls to seek an elusive utopia in a treacherous locale?  This is the case with the legend of the lost city of Akakor.  In the early 1970s, journalist Karl Brugger met with a man who called himself Tatunca Nara, a self-proclaimed tribal chieftain and prince of the Ugha Mongulala tribe.  Tatunca told Brugger an incredible tale of Akakor, a Shangri-la-like city mostly underground and hidden in caves in the Amazon jungle.  Akakor was home to a magnificent and enlightened society, rich and resplendent with treasures and ancient wisdom thousands of years old.  Not only did Tatunca know the location of the secretive city, but he was also one of its royalty.  Although initially incredulous, Brugger became intoxicated with Nara’s story and decided to document it and publish a book about it in 1976 titled The Chronicle of Akakor. Exhilarated by the fantastic descriptions, amateur adventurers came from all over the world to try and find Akakor and see it for themselves, often hiring Tatunca to guide them there… but at least 3 of them would never make it back home.  Some believe they fell victim to the dangers of the environment, while others believe they were silenced to keep Akakor hidden from the world.  However, we can safely navigate this legend because we have the great fortune of being joined by Kinga Philipps, journalist, adventurer, Shark Week host, and fellow at the prestigious 120-year-old Explorer’s Club.  Kinga and her Explorer’s Club colleague JJ Kelley co-hosted a series called Lost in the Wild on the Travel Channel.  The show was dedicated to examining cases of missing persons that have taken place in exotic locations.  In one episode, the duo traveled to Brazil to investigate the story of Akakor and Tatunca Nara, and tonight, Kinga Philipps will share what they uncovered on that harrowing quest.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.
    11 February 2024, 2:47 am
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