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.

Kasagonagá: The Cute, Kind Monster We All Need Right Now

6m 23s

A sky deity falling from the sky sounds bad, right? Not if it’s the Kasogonagá! From the mythology of the Toba peoples of South America, this god of lightning, thunder, and rain appears as a small, hairy anteater-like creature and needs a bit of human intervention to return to the skies.

Episodes

  • Kasagonagá: The Cute, Kind Monster We All Need Right Now: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Kasagonagá: The Cute, Kind Monster We All Need Right Now

    S2 E18 - 6m 23s

    A sky deity falling from the sky sounds bad, right? Not if it’s the Kasogonagá! From the mythology of the Toba peoples of South America, this god of lightning, thunder, and rain appears as a small, hairy anteater-like creature and needs a bit of human intervention to return to the skies.

  • Pontianak: The Vampiric Ghost of Southeast Asia: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Pontianak: The Vampiric Ghost of Southeast Asia

    S2 E17 - 9m 24s

    The pontianak, or kuntilanak, has long been a staple of Malay horror. In addition to serving as an allegory for the tension between traditional and modern cultural and spiritual practices, these monsters gave name to a real city. In this episode, you’ll learn how Islamic trade routes, animism, and the role of women in Southeast Asia contribute to stories of this notorious ghost.

  • Nuckelavee: Scotland’s Skinless Evil Monstrosity: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Nuckelavee: Scotland’s Skinless Evil Monstrosity

    S2 E16 - 7m 55s

    This horse-like horror of Scottish folklore emerges from the sea bringing death and disease. With origins in Orcadian folklore this demonic creature was blamed for plagues, drought, and death in equal measure. This episode explores how the history of the Orkney Islands, the influence of Norse mythology, a real equine disease, and the kelp trade crafted a terrifying, skinless monster.

  • Modern Zombies: The Rebirth of the Undead: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Modern Zombies: The Rebirth of the Undead

    S2 E15 - 16m 58s

    This final episode of our three-part series, brings us to the 21st-century zombie where the monstrous legacy of both the original Haiti zombi and the Romero ghoul play a role in the rebirth of public interest in the zombie. Explore how the effects of new global anxieties like terrorism, bioweapons, global warming and overpopulation have forever solidified the zombie narrative in global society.

  • Why George Romero Changed Zombies Forever: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Why George Romero Changed Zombies Forever

    S2 E14 - 19m 43s

    The second episode of our three-part special series looks at the Romero zombie. Considered the “godfather of zombies,” Romero’s 1968 film The Night of the Living Dead introduced the flesh-eating reanimated corpse to popular culture. Notably, the Romero zombie’s introduction during a time of great political and cultural unrest in America impacted how it was received—and why we still talk about it.

  • The Origins of the Zombie, from Haiti to the U.S.: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Origins of the Zombie, from Haiti to the U.S.

    S2 E13 - 16m 50s

    In the first episode of our three-part special series, we explore the complex history of the zombie—from its origins in the spiritual beliefs of the African diaspora to the development of Vodou in Haiti. Learn how one of the most enduring monsters in popular culture evolved in the midst of slavery, racism and prejudice.

  • How Gargoyles Became Monsters: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Gargoyles Became Monsters

    S2 E12 - 11m 7s

    Before these stoney grotesques became monsters they were just water spouts. We still adorn our buildings with the carvings and sculptures of the frightening, funny, and exaggerated forms—but why? Learn all about the strange history of the gargoyle monster and how the power of imagination turned some odd looking architecture into a legendary creature.

  • The Original Urban Legend: Spring-Heeled Jack: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Original Urban Legend: Spring-Heeled Jack

    S2 E11 - 10m 50s

    19th century London and the hunting ground of Spring-Heeled Jack. The fire-breathing, wall-leaping, claw-wielding devil attacked women in their homes and in the streets, terrorizing England for more than 50 years. Learn how Spring-Heeled Jack manifested the fears of the development of urban spaces and the upheaval of social classes and lifestyle changes city life afforded in the 1800s.

  • Unlocking the Mystery of Loch Ness: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Unlocking the Mystery of Loch Ness

    S2 E10 - 17m 13s

    While reported sightings of a mysterious creature in Loch Ness go back hundreds of years, it received little global recognition until the 1930s. Historical records, newspapers articles, blockbuster films, and advanced scientific technologies all play a role in this story. Watch this episode to find out what theories have been disproven—and what questions are still unanswered.

  • The Fatal Song of the Sirens: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Fatal Song of the Sirens

    S2 E9 - 10m 10s

    This episode explains how sirens appeared in ancient history, from literature to art, and looks at how the half human half bird creatures became more commonly associated with mermaids. From Ancient Greek legends to Medieval bestiaries, and even Egyptian hieroglyphics, the siren’s history is so much more complicated than you think.

  • Bunyip: Australia’s Mysterious Amphibian Monster: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Bunyip: Australia’s Mysterious Amphibian Monster

    S2 E8 - 7m 29s

    Originating in the stories and beliefs of the southeastern Indigenous peoples of Australia, accounts of the bunyip are widely varied. This episode uses Aboriginal stories, historical records, and fossils to explore the bunyip legend, and take a look at how European colonization impacted Australia and its Indigenous peoples.

  • Jorōgumo: The Deadly Spider Woman from Yokai Lore: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Jorōgumo: The Deadly Spider Woman from Yokai Lore

    S2 E7 - 9m 53s

    Although able to appear as a beautiful young woman, the jorōgumo is really a deadly spider monster in disguise. This episode dives into the fascinating world of yōkai and the long history of beautiful women and spiders in Japanese folklore. You’ll learn about the real-world spider that may have inspired this monster, and discover two of the oldest recorded jorōgumo stories in existence.

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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