In the days before we had a good understanding of many medical conditions, folklore would generate around them in order to reconcile what was happening and provide explanations. Such is the case with sleep paralysis, often referred to these days even in medical circles as Old Hag Syndrome. The name derives from the hallucinatory aspect where people often report a hag sitting on their chest preventing them from moving. In medieval folklore the demonic Incubus and Succubus were to be blamed for this condition.
This is the first of a two part examination of Old Hag Syndrome and the theme was suggested by one of our listeners to the Folklore Podcast. The second part of this episode will be in two episodes time and will feature some very special guests. This episode features a special guest contribution from Mythos podcast. Visit their site here.
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The witch trials of the 16th and 17th century have many facets within the accusations of the women (and men) involved. One of the most intriguing is the links between accused parties and the fairies. How did these people claim to be convening with the fae? What fairy magic did they profess to use? In this special extended episode of The Folklore Podcast, host Mark Norman is joined by historian and tour guide of London's Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Jon Kaneko-James. Jon works extensively with original documents from the period and discusses a case that he stumbled across about which little is generally known.
Jon writes extensively on the history of the supernatural on his blog and has written an exclusive article which can be used in conjunction with this episode. To access the article free and the rest of Jon's blog, which is an amazing repository of information on early supernatural lore, please click here.
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Before the rise of the Gothic novel, facilitated by the development of cheap printing systems, the Chapbook and Bluebook were common forms of literature, particularly in the United Kingdom. For a penny or half-penny, members of the public of any class with the ability to read suddenly had access to a wealth of information (of varying degrees of accuracy) and stories of adventure and morality through these publications.
Although looked down on by the higher classes of the time, and indeed by scholars of today, the Chapbooks and Bluebooks are a wonderful repository of folklore which can tell us much about the beliefs and traditions of the people of the time. In this edition of The Folklore Podcast, the first of Season 2, creator and host Mark Norman examines some of the folklore presented in the old Chapbooks and how it was used to teach lessons to others.
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