Tag Archives: Ireland

187 – Luck O’ The Irish: St. Patrick’s Day Traditions, Myths, and Legends

I don’t know when St. Patrick’s Day turned from a sweet celebration of a wonderful culture into an excuse for binge drinking  (a Guinness holiday instead of a Hallmark one?) , but I think it was at some point in my lifetime. Before it used to be just about wearing green, running in the almost Spring grass looking for four-leaf clovers, eating Lucky Charms, drinking Shamrock Shakes, and of course, watching wonderful family films like Leprechaun.

But seriously, St. Patrick’s Day is flush with weird legends and myths of the patron saint of Ireland. The story of St. Patrick is that he drove the snakes out of Ireland (metaphor for Pagans), Christianized the country, and he used the Shamrock to help explain the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Irish culture has plenty of fun superstitions, but luck of the Irish, pinching people on St. Patrick’s Day, and turning their rivers green aren’t any of them. Join us for a conversation on where all our silly St. Patrick’s Day traditions come from and some of the real history of St. Patrick’s Day as well as legends and myths about the Emerald Isle’s patron saint himself.

Our show on March 17th, 2007 at Bikini’s in Austin, TX. Still a, ahem,  personal favorite!

One of the strange stories we talk about in the show is this weird shadow that’s cast by Saint Patrick at this New Jersey church. Sure, it’s just a coincidence… OR IS IT?!

st. patrick's day
From St. Joseph’s Church in Keyport, NJ

It’s a good time as any to bring out one of our favorite Irish songs done by an amazing Irish band. Thin Lizzy wasn’t in love with getting famous through an Irish folk song, but their version of “Whiskey In The Jar” made it a Top 40 hit all over the world. We do an acoustic guitar and violin version of it that you can request at the next Sunspot Acoustic Duo show or See You On The Other Side live event!

As I was goin’ over
The Cork and Kerry Mountains
I saw Captain Farrell
And his money, he was countin’
I first produced my pistol
And then produced my rapier
I said, “Stand and deliver or the devil he may take ya”

Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o
There’s whiskey in the jar-o

I took all of his money
And it was a pretty penny
I took all of his money,
Yeah, and I brought it home to Molly
She swore that she loved me,
No, never would she leave me
But the devil take that woman,
Yeah, for you know she tricked me easy

Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o
There’s whiskey in the jar

Being drunk and weary
I went to Molly’s chamber
Takin’ Molly with me
But I never knew the danger
For about six or maybe seven,
Yeah, in walked Captain Farrell
I jumped up, fired my pistols
And I shot him with both barrels

Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o
There’s whiskey in the jar

Now some men like a fishin’
But some men like the fowlin’
Some men like to hear,
To hear the cannonball roarin’
Me, I like sleepin’,
‘Specially in my Molly’s chamber
But here I am in prison,
Here I am with a ball and chain, yeah

Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o
There’s whiskey in the jar-o

175 – Elves: More Than Just Santa’s Little Helpers

When most people think about elves in the modern day, they either think about Legolas in The Lord of the Rings or they think about the short little fairy like creatures with Mr. Spock ears that make toys for Santa Claus.

elves
I’m a sexy elf.
elves
I am not a sexy elf.

Now, Santa’s Workshop and the elves that build his toys is a creation of mid-Nineteenth Century magazines, but the history of elves goes a lot deeper than just working overtime at the North Pole.

In this episode, we talk about where Santa’s helpers came from historically, but we also explore the millennia-old legends of elves, how Christian missionaries turned them into Satan’s little helpers (not a typo!) and how these nature spirits might still just be running around Iceland. In fact, in Iceland there’s The Elf School which teaches their history on the island and an Elf Whisperer who will have you over for tea with leaves grown by her little friends!

And here’s an interview Allison got with Magnus from The Elf School!

elves
These Icelandic elves are ready to haunt your dreams

For this week’s song, we took a poem that was written anonymously in 1857 for Harper’s Weekly and put some music to it. There just aren’t enough Christmas songs that talk about Santa’s elves. Since this poem was one of the first documents of St. Nick’s sweatshop, we are excited to be the first ones to immortalize it in song! Here is Sunspot with “The Wonders of Santa Claus”.

Beyond the ocean many a mile,
And many a year ago,
There lived a queer old man
In a wonderful house of snow;
And every little boy and girl,
As Christmas Eves arrive,
No doubt are overjoyed to hear,
The old man’s still alive.

In his house upon a hill,
And almost out of sight,
He keeps his many elves at work,
working with all their might,
To make a million pretty things,
Cakes, sugar-plums, and toys,
To fill the stockings, hung up
By the little girls and boys.

It would be capital for sure,
to glimpse his wondrous shop;
But when he hears a stranger he
Orders the elves to stop;
And the house, and work, and workmen all
just take a little twist,
just when you think they that are there,
They’re off in a frosty mist.

In his house upon a hill,
And almost out of sight,
He keeps his many elves at work,
working with all their might,
To make a million pretty things,
Cakes, sugar-plums, and toys,
To fill the stockings, hung up
By the little girls and boys.

It were an endless task to tell,
The length his list extends,
Of curious gifts the queer old man
Prepares for Christmas friends.
You might be guessing who he is,
And the country whence he came.
Why, he was born in Turkey,
And St. Nicholas is his name.

In his house upon a hill,
And almost out of sight,
He keeps his many elves at work,
working with all their might,
To make a million pretty things,
Cakes, sugar-plums, and toys,
To fill the stockings, hung up
By the little girls and boys.

135 – Demonology 101: Dennis W. Carroll Vs Evil

Dennis W. Carroll, the co-founder the Carolina Society for Paranormal Research and Investigation had his first encounter with demonology as a teenager in church. The preacher had brought up a troubled man and the whole congregation prayed for him. While everyone’s eyes were closed and the were praying furiously for the man’s soul, Dennis saw three balls of what he describes as “dirty light” flee from the man’s body and disappear into the sky.

From that moment on, Dennis was a believer and has spent much of his life learning more about the invisible world of the supernatural and demonology. In addition to co-founding the CSPRI, he has also authored two books on investigation, Beyond The Shadows: A Field Guide to The Paranormal and The Road Unseen: A Paranormal Journey Into High Strangeness, as well as two collections of poetry influenced by his investigations, In Sunshine and In Shadow.

dennis w carroll demonologist
Dennis W. Carroll compelling some evil entity with the Power of Christ

Dennis has been on hundreds of investigations over the years and he shares what he’s learned as not only a “location exorcist” (i.e., a guy that blesses houses and buildings to drive out any negative energy) but a demonologist who has fought powers that are conspiring to bring down the human race in what Carroll claims is a highly organized ring of evil.

Dennis W Carroll Demonology Demonologist
Demonologist At Your Service

Also in this episode, we feature a quick preview of the latest feature from our friends at The Singular Fortean blog. It’s St, Patrick’s season so they’re featuring legends and folklore of The Emerald Isle all this month.

One of the ways that Dennis talks about opening yourself to demonic possession is by focusing too much on your negative emotions and very few things make people as negative as a bad breakup. This week’s song is all about indulging in those negative emotions and allowing yourself to fully hate your ex. Which might be good for singing songs, but not so much for defending against infernal influences, it’s called “Eat Out My Heart”.

I’ve been waiting so long for you to call,
but now you’re finally here and I’m a wreck.
Worked out a little, even did my hair,
but I’m not the man I used to be back there.

I hope you have an ugly boyfriend,
I hope you’re working at a carwash,
I hope your life went down the drain and everything is not okay,
I hope your best years passed you up.

I dodged a bullet,
One or two since then,
You’re not the only one who still calls me up.
I’m still the jerk who listens to your problems,
I never told you all the times,
I’d wished you died in a car crash.

I hope you have an ugly boyfriend,
I hope you’re working at a carwash,
I hope your life went down the drain and everything is not okay,
I hope your best years passed you up.

I’m eating out my heart.
I’m eating out my heart.

And I’m not happy for you,
That you’re a better person without me.
I’m so glad you decided to apologize,
When I’m too numb to care,
I’m just too numb to care.

I hope you have an ugly boyfriend,
I hope you’re working at a carwash,
I hope your life went down the drain and everything is not okay,
I hope your best years passed you up.

36 – Paranormal Lit 101: Victorian Horror with Brian J. Showers

Joining Mike and Wendy today is Swan River Press publisher and author, Brian J. Showers. Brian is a college friend of both of them and left to live Dublin, Ireland in 2001.  Since leaving, Brian has written several books and become a publisher of all kinds of Gothic ghost stories as well as an expert in Victorian Horror.

They begin the conversation by discussing Brian’s interest in weird stuff, which began with Haunted Wisconsinwhich showed him that you could have legends and haunted history right in your backyard and it didn’t have to be in a Transylvanian castle. The conversation turns to other great Wisconsin connections to the weird like Arkham House in Sauk City, Wisconsin which published Lovecraft, to The Ridgeway Phantom.

When Brian moved to Ireland and found out that influential Victorian Horror writer, J. Sheridan Le Fanu was buried right up the street, he was influenced to learn more about his neighborhood, the Rathmines, in Dublin. In addition to writing a book on a walking tour of his new city,  he edited a book of short stories inspired by Le Fanu, and then wrote a collection of ghost stories inspired by the Rathmines – becoming more connected to Dublin by creating more weird and the wonderful tales of the Irish capital.

Dreams of Shadow and Smoke: Stories for J.S. Le Fanu

 

The conversation then turns into more of how the Victorian Horror story has influenced so much of modern culture and how in that era, Spiritualism (with mediums, séances, and the like) became a gigantic cultural phenomena, and its fiercest proponent was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. We talk about the friendship between Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini (another Wisconsin connection, he was raised in Appleton and lived in Milwaukee for three years), who was a great Spiritualist debunker.

That brings us to Wendy’s story of getting a private tour of Swiss home as a foreign exchange student and Mike brings up his favorite episode of the show, Voyagers!

Victorian Horror and Paranormal Literature Links

Swan River Press

The Bleeding Horse and Other Ghost Stories

More details on the friendship between Conan Doyle and Houdini

Announcement for new Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini TV Show 

 Featured Song: Carmilla by Sunspot

Proper little misses sharing,
little bloody kisses,
and every fire starts from just a spark.
Our secret experiments,
on your angel innocence,
don’t matter what you look like in the dark.Just you wait until the sun goes down, down, down.
when she whispers you’re hers forever now.Carmilla,
desire comes at you sideways,
Carmilla,
Would you dare to speak her name?

Pretty porcelain cheeks,
tender sweet little tweaks,
I’m getting sick of always pretending.
Just a few more sleepless nights,
I know you’ll hold our secrets tight,
I’ll miss our visits more than anything.

Just you wait until the sun goes down, down, down.
when she whispers you’re hers forever now.

Carmilla,
desire comes at you sideways,
Carmilla,
Would you dare to speak her name?