History

Monstrum

The world is full of monsters, myths, and legends and Monstrum isn’t afraid to take a closer look. The show, hosted by Emily Zarka, Ph.D., takes us on a journey to discover a new monster for each new episode. Monstrum looks at humans unique drive to create and shape monster mythology through oral storytelling, literature and film.

The Werewolf’s Modern Metamorphosis

30m 50s

The second installment in Monstrum’s werewolf series looks at the evolution of the werewolf through Gothic fantasy, horror films, literature, and video games, exploring the monster’s evolution into one of popular culture’s most malleable metaphors.

Episodes

  • The Werewolf’s Modern Metamorphosis: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Werewolf’s Modern Metamorphosis

    S3 E14 - 30m 50s

    The second installment in Monstrum’s werewolf series looks at the evolution of the werewolf through Gothic fantasy, horror films, literature, and video games, exploring the monster’s evolution into one of popular culture’s most malleable metaphors.

  • The Killer Origins of the Werewolf: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Killer Origins of the Werewolf

    S3 E13 - 25m 32s

    The first episode in this two-part series tackles the rise of the werewolf in its myriad of forms, looking at what happened when Christianity interceded and turned the werewolf into the embodiment of evil—a change that reached its devastating climax with the persecution and execution of accused werewolves.

  • Fire Cat or Fire Cart? The History of Japan’s Kasha: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Fire Cat or Fire Cart? The History of Japan’s Kasha

    S3 E11 - 12m 48s

    Swooping down from the heavens on a fire ball, the Kasha drags the bodies of the dead to the underworld for a life of damnation. Most frequently depicted as a demonic, flaming cat, the kanji for ‘Kasha’ actually translates to “Fire Cart". This episode explores the religious and artistic history of the Kasha and takes a look at the significant role of cats in Japanese culture.

  • El Silbón: The Deadly Whistler of the Grasslands: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    El Silbón: The Deadly Whistler of the Grasslands

    S3 E10 - 9m 56s

    The “Terror of the Plain,” this emaciated, whistling devil is cursed to wander the South American countryside carrying the bones of his victims. Intimately tied to the cattle ranching history of Latin America, the myth of El Silbón remains an active albeit terrifying part of folklore. Featuring film director Juan Fernández Gebauer, this episode looks at why a murderous ghost became a symbol of Lla

  • The Macabre Origins of the Grim Reaper: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Macabre Origins of the Grim Reaper

    S3 E9 - 10m 2s

    There are fewer images of Death personified than the scythe-wielding skeletal form of the Grim Reaper. But where did it come from? You may have heard that this haunting figure emerged as a result of the Black Plague, but that’s only a fraction of the story. This episode looks at the long history of skeletal Death in religion, literature, art, and pop culture.

  • Don’t Let Them In! The Urban Legends of Black-Eyed Children: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Don’t Let Them In! The Urban Legends of Black-Eyed Children

    S3 E8 - 11m 57s

    An urban legend that exploits our fears of an obstructed gaze and the deeply unsettling idea that the youngest of our species are out to destroy us, the lore of Black-Eyed Children, or Black-Eyed Kids, is a modern construction. But the “evil spawn” child archetype of the horror genre and hundreds of years of social expectations of childhood inform these unsettling monsters.

  • Basilisk or Cockatrice? The Mysterious King of Serpents: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Basilisk or Cockatrice? The Mysterious King of Serpents

    S3 E7 - 10m 31s

    A venomous snake who can kill with its gaze alone, the basilisk has terrified us for thousands of years. But it also has another name—the cockatrice. That’s right, the reptile-chicken hybrid creature and the poisonous snake are actually the same monster. Find out how a real snake likely inspired tales of a mythological serpent in the 1st century CE that over time turned into a mythological beast.

  • Yara-ma-yha-who: Australia’s Regurgitating, Blood-Sucking Mo: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Yara-ma-yha-who: Australia’s Regurgitating, Blood-Sucking Mo

    S3 E6 - 9m 48s

    The Australian wilderness is a dangerous place—in part because it’s the rumored hunting ground of a vampiric creature who uses its fingers and toes to suck your blood. Fall prey to the Yara-ma-yha-who and you risk not only being swallowed whole but becoming a monster yourself. In this episode, you’ll learn about how Aboriginal communities’ deep connection to the land.

  • Will-o’-the-Wisp: Monstrous Flame or Scientific Phenomenon?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Will-o’-the-Wisp: Monstrous Flame or Scientific Phenomenon?

    S3 E5 - 9m 58s

    These elusive blue flames have been reported globally and inspired a wealth of folklore. But what exactly is a Will-o’-the-Wisp? Also commonly called “ignis fatuus” or “corpse-candle” the glowing atmospheric phenomenon has a reputation for causing mischief and even death. But are they really a supernatural phenomenon or something more worldly?

  • Leprechaun: From Gold-Loving Cobbler to Cultural Icon: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Leprechaun: From Gold-Loving Cobbler to Cultural Icon

    S3 E4 - 12m 43s

    Leprechauns are associated with St. Patrick’s Day and Irish culture, but do you know why? The jovial, red-haired little man dressed in green standing next to a pot of gold is a modern invention—the diminutive faerie folk was once more popularly known for their role as tricksters and expert cobblers.

  • Taotie: The Mystery of Chinese Mythology’s Famous Glutton: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Taotie: The Mystery of Chinese Mythology’s Famous Glutton

    S3 E3 - 11m 3s

    This influential ancient monster from Chinese mythology predates the written word. Inspired by ancient bronze and jade iconography detailing the face of a bulging-eyed, gapping-mouthed beast, the Taotie creature is both mysterious and notorious, inspiring fear with its horrible gluttony. The greedy, insatiable appetite of the Taotie, one of the four “legendary monsters” of Chinese Mythology.

  • Werehyena: The Terrifying Shapeshifters of African Lore: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Werehyena: The Terrifying Shapeshifters of African Lore

    S3 E2 - 7m 40s

    African folklore dictates that unlike other werecreatures this monster is an animal that disguises itself in human form. By day it walks the earth nearly indistinguishable from humans, but at night it returns to its true hyena shape. We take a look at Beta Israel, or Ethiopian Jews, who became commonly accused of taking the guise of this monster and why prejudice contributes to monster lore.

Extras + Features

  • Welcome to Monstrum!: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Welcome to Monstrum!

    48s

    The world is full of monsters, myths, and legends and Monstrum isn’t afraid to take a closer look. The show, hosted by Emily Zarka, Ph.D., takes us on a journey to discover a new monster in each new episode. Monstrum looks at humans unique drive to create and shape monster mythology through oral storytelling, literature, and film and digs deep into the history of those mythologies.

  • Exhumed: A History of Zombies Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Exhumed: A History of Zombies Preview

    30s

    In this new one-hour Halloween PBS special, Dr. Emily Zarka will deconstruct some of the most significant moments in zombie popular culture over the last two centuries to reveal what these creatures say about us.

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