Bone and Sickle
By Al Ridenour
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“Bone and Sickle” celebrates horror and folklore — their fertile intertwining and the strange fruit of their embrace – the genus sometimes known as “folk horror.” Every episode offers a bounty of frightful tales, fantastic legends, and macabre histories harvested by eccentric artist, collector, and rogue folklorist Al Ridenour (author of The Krampus and The Old, Dark Christmas). “Bone and Sickle” is a labor of love, albeit, a hyper-focused, manic love with no time for the usual podcast chit-chat. Beginning with a folkloric topic (say, “the cuckoo bird” “May Eve,” or “lost heads”), Ridenour takes us on a wildly discursive tour of the subject, using authentic sourcebooks pulled from the imaginary shelves of an imaginary manor house library. He is attended in his imaginary study by the impeccable Wilkinson (Rick Galiher), mononymous manservant and unflinching participant in their deeply passive-aggressive relationship. Ridenour’s feverish narrative bounces between the scholarly-antiquarian and the campy world of cult films and horror fandom. Folk tales spill into grisly murder ballads, crossing paths with ecclesiastic treatises on witchcraft, strange bits of Victoriana, and superstitions from the European hinterlands. The whole unfolds within an immersive ever-shifting audio landscape of original music, brooding tones, intricately layered effects, sound bites, and film clips. Episodes are generally 30 minutes long and released every 2 weeks on Mondays. The show premieres on Walpurgis Night (May Eve), April 30, 2018.
||Clean#20 The Undead Come Courting||Vampire mythology first appears in the West in works as early Romantic authors meld themes from folk ballads of resurrected lovers with Balkan folklore of the undead. Valentine’s Day seemed a fitting occasion for this show’s look at the vampire’s||2/12/2019||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#19 Worm Songs and Beastly Sucklers||This episode examines the Lambton Worm, a dragon legend that inspired works by Bram Stoker and Ken Russel as well as well as the curious role of milk plays that story and in superstitions surrounding witchcraft.||1/27/2019||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#18 Wild Men, Furry Saints, and Burning Dancers||This time round we look at the medieval myth of the Wild Man, its connection to seasonal folk traditions, peculiar influence on Church teachings, and a macabre historical incident featuring dancers costumed as Wild Men.||1/14/2019||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#17 Christmas Ghosts||Traditionally Christmas was a time for ghost stories, and tonight we’re doing our part to bring back the custom. A bit of history on supernatural stories of the season and then something a bit different for the holiday — a bit of storytelling for||12/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#16 The Haunted Season||Historically, Christmastime in Central Europe was a season haunted by otherworldly spirits, werewolves, ghostly huntsmen, and wandering hordes of lost souls. This is particularly the case in the Krampus’ homeland of German-speaking Central Europe.||12/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#15 Saint, Devil, Sugar-Bread, & Whip: KRAMPUS AND NICHOLAS||The Krampus and St. Nicholas represent a folkloric duality embodying a mode of childrearing the Germans call “sugar-bread and whip” — in English, “carrot and stick.” In this episode, the first of three exploring the darker folklore of the se||11/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#14 Singing Bones & Scrumptious Children||This episode looks at some particularly gruesome fairy tales and folk ballads telling of murderers convicted of their crime through magical intervention of the bones or blood of their victims. We begin with a look at the story of Sweeney Todd the Demon.||11/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#13: Ancient Necromancy||Finishing up with our October theme of “talking to the dead,” we examine necromancy in the ancient world in this episode. While the word has been generalized in its present use to mean cover any form of magic of a sinister bent,||10/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#12: Seances & Scandals||Hope you enjoy part two of our exploration of Spiritualism and seances. This one is particularly full of shocking, sad, and amusing tales you won’t hear anywhere else. First we wrap up last week’s story of the Fox sisters,||10/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 11: The Dead Speak||The 19th-century Spiritualist movement was rife with fraud and misplaced hopes, but what made people so eager to believe in the possibility of talking to the dead? This episode looks at some early mediumistic pioneers,||10/7/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 10: Victorian Mummies||This time round we explore the way in which the death-obsessed Victorians fetishized the equally death-obsessed Egyptians, creating a number of gothic mummy tales, which often veer into storylines that are almost necrophilic.||8/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 9: Cave Witches||In this episode of Bone and Sickle, we’re looking at the folklore and history of witches associated with caves. We begin with the Bell Witch, of Adams Tennessee and a quick audio montage saluting the creature,||8/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 8: Dreadful Ships||On this episode of Bone and Sickle, we look at the folklore of ghost ships, undead sailors, some nautical elements in gothic literature, a song about a ship piloted by the Devil, and other horror stories of the sea.||7/22/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode Seven: It is One Hundred Years Since Our Children Left||In this episode, we explore the story of the Pied Piper, a folk tale uniquely anchored in grim historical realities. We begin with evidence of an actual historical mystery, including text inscribed on a gable of one of Hamelin’s medieval buildings as||7/1/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode Six: Lost Heads||As June 24, the feast of St. John the Baptist approaches, the folklore of decapitation suggested itself as an appropriate theme for this episode. We begin by way of an old English children’s rhyme and game,||6/17/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 5: The Great God Pan||We follow our previous episode on the god Pan with a second this week, delving even deeper into the creative and bizarre ways the figure has been embraced after his much publicized “death.” Our first several minutes are devoted to literary explorati||6/3/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 4: Crowley in Neverland||The devilish appearance of the Greek god Pan has fascinated artists, occultists, and others straying from the path for centuries. This episode begins with some tales of Pan in his natural habitat of Arcadia, how the Greeks, and later Romans, saw him,||5/20/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 3: Loudly Sing Cuckoo!||After two episodes meandering about in the nocturnal folklore of Walpurgisnacht witches sabbaths, we’re inviting our Bone and Sickle friends out in the daylight for a celebrate the arrival of Spring. Not to worry,||4/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 2: Walpurgisnacht, Pt 2||Become a Patron! In our second episode on the grim folklore of Walpurgisnacht — that is May Eve or April 30, St. Walburga’s day — we meet Walburga, the saint whose name was attached to what was likely a pre-existing pagan holiday.||4/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 1: Walpurgisnacht, Pt 1||Become a Patron! Episode One of BONE & SICKLE is the first half of a two-parter about May Eve, Beltane, or as the Germans call it, Walpurgisnacht (“Walpurgis night“) the night of St. Walburga, that and oh so much more! It’s also about St.||4/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
Pour yourself a brandy & enjoy
A fun podcast for those of us who enjoy creepy folklore and classic horror
For fans of Lore,THIS is your new obsession..
As a connoisseur of all things dark and grisly relating to folklore or history, I was naturally thrilled to hear about a new podcast addressing such topics. For two years now I have been relying on Lore to fulfill all my morbid curiousity needs. Now here comes Bone & Sickle, ready to raise the bar on all folkhorror podcasts! You can tell Al Ridenour really immerses himself in his topic and does some amazing research; connecting topics I never knew had a connection and finding the true origins of many stories, rhymes and games we can forgranted. And he does so in the style of an old fashioned horror host (which I love!) along with fun sound bites and beautifully written origin music. It's like Lore is is the beginning of the journey but Bone & Sickles is where you want to end up. Lore is undergrad; it's time to get your masters.
I am smitten by this podcast. Completely worth the listen for those of us who love a bit of scholarly research in their macbre folklore and history. Actually, worth a second listen and sometimes third to catch all the details and references. And really, how can you go wrong when Dr. Paul Koudounaris shows up looking for a mummified feline or when Mark Norman chastises certain individuals about the incompatability of a barghest as a family pet? Love it!