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Welcome to...

Three Ravens Bestiary

In this Bonus Series, Martin discusses the history behind and evidence for mythical creatures and curious cryptids...


Episode 1: Unicorns

Martin and Eleanor talk about the surprising history and folklore of Unicorns.

They discuss the historical evidence of unicorns from Ancient Babylon, Persepolis and the Indus Valley before digging into the ways unicorns have been differently depicted over time.


Not least in Ancient Greek writings, the Bible, Medieval tapestries, Scottish nationalism, and the modern-day LGBTQIA+ movement...

Episode 2: Banshees

Martin and Eleanor discuss the uncanny history and folklore of Banshees.

They start off leafing through historical sources, including the 12th century Triumph of Turlough and The Book of the Dun Cow, before chatting about the links between banshees and Irish national folk traditions, including keening, the banshee's links to the Morrigan, accounts of her tortured wail, and offer advice to avoid getting a cursed comb chucked through your window...


Episode 3: The Phoenix

Martin and Eleanor discuss the immortal fire-bird of legend, the phoenix!

They start by unpacking the earliest known references to the phoenix via Hesiod, Herodotus and Pliny The Elder, then draw connections between those early works and the Phoenicians, Christian writing, Victorian fantasy fiction, and similar creatures from other cultures including the Ancient Egyptian god Bennu, the Chinese Fenghuang, and the Konrul of Mongol myth.

Episode 4: Demons

Martin and Eleanor explore the arcane history of demons.

They move through Ancient Greek and Roman concepts of the demonic, discussing primal forces such as Nemesis, Eros and Phobos, then reach back further, to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and demons such as Ammit, The Devourer of Corpses, Memy, a flint-knife wielding giraffe, and Pazazu, King of the South Wind.


Then they leap ahead into the wild world of post-Abrahamic demons, from Lucifer and Satan to Asmodeus, the Dybbuk, the Mazzikin, Se'irim, and more...


Episode 5: Krampus

Martin and Eleanor discuss Krampus, the demonic man-goat of Alpine legend.

They start by offering an overview of the Krampus' place in central European Yuletide traditions, then dig into ideas including the influence of Christianity on folk customs, some other surviving Alpine traditions and festivals, and connections between Norse myth and the Krampus.


And chat through the many curious features of this shadowy, yet mostly helpful, festive figure...

Episode 6: Selkies

Martin and Eleanor dive into the murky history of Selkies, starting with the modern view of these mystical half-human, half-seal sea creatures - one of kidnap, stolen seal skins, and forced marriage.


Then they wheel back to the origins of selkies, as found in Norse sagas, the Celtic 'Lore of Places' and elsewhere, too.


After a brief chat about the history of seal hunting, seal-skin products like Sporrans, and the Inuit goddess Sedna, they then explore the hidden depths behind selkie symbolism, from webbed feet and the number 7 to ideas of liminality, and the surprising connections between selkies and swans in folklore...


Episode 7: Bigfoot

Martin and Eleanor follow the trail in search of Bigfoot, uncovering a whole world of mythical wild men!

They begin by chatting about the origins of Bigfoot, including some notable 20th century hoaxes, arriving at root of these legends: the Native American Sasquatch.


Through this, they hop across to Europe, discussing cave art, the history of the Woodwose, and its even older cousins like the Silvestre, the Schrat, and the Shretelekh.


Next they look east and discuss the Yeti and Australian Yowie, all before trying to draw together what we can learn about so-called "wild men" from around the world and, through them, what we can learn about ourselves...

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