13 O’Clock Episode 112 – The Harpe Brothers and Belle Gunness

It’s another true crime double feature, but this time it’s American history style! We’ll be discussing two cases of some of the most brutal killers on the American frontier…the infamous Harpe Brothers, who murdered at least forty people in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois in the late 18th century, and the legendary Belle Gunness, a ruthless “lonely hearts” killer who murdered somewhere between fourteen and forty victims at the dawn of the 20th century and buried many of the bodies on her farm. Take a swig of sarsaparilla and slap on your spurs, because episode 112 is going back in time for historical crime.

Watch the YouTube version here or download the audio version here.

Send your Halloween stories (fiction or nonfiction) to gravecake@gmail.com for a chance to get read on our Halloween episode!

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. Also, check out our cool merch at our Zazzle store! And check out Giallo Games!

Go subscribe to us over on our BitChute channel, our Veoh channel, and our Daily Motion channel.

Clip at the beginning taken from Evil Kin: Something Wicked in the Woods.

Song at the end: “The Ballad of Belle Gunness” by TJ McFarland.

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Sean, Jason, Scarlett, Nathalie, Jake, Jen, Victoria, Lana, Duncan, Thomm, Matthew, John, Joseph, Dan, Eric, Brandon, Valtrina, Tara, Sandra, Paul, Weaponsandstuff93, Michael, Ben, Anthony, Denise, Ima Shrew, James, Matt, Mary Ellen, Jamin, Joanie, Arif, Natalia, Samantha, Ashley, Kieron, Sophie, Tara, Jana & Scott, Ed, creepy crepes, Christopher, Elizabeth, Tina, Lars, Ed, Feeky, Veronica, Corinthian, Daniel, Dean, Greg, Lindsey, Richard & Sheena.

13 O’Clock is hosted by Jenny Ashford & Tom Ross. Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.

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13 O’Clock Episode 105 – The Salem Witch Trials, Wandering Wombs, and Clever Corvids

Tom and Jenny return to the American history well on this week’s installment, covering one of the darkest chapters of the colonial era: the Salem witch trials. During a brief, fifteen-month period in the 1690s, numerous people were accused and twenty were executed for witchcraft in and around Salem, Massachusetts. Why did it happen? Was it simply a case of mass hysteria, fueled by jealousy and religious hatred? Or was there some medical cause for the bizarre paroxysm? Listen in as we break down the event, as well as spend entirely too much time yapping about wandering wombs and really smart birds. Heat up the cauldron and ready the eye of newt, because episode 105 is about to cast its spell.

Watch the YouTube version here or download the audio version here.

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. Also, check out our cool merch at our Zazzle store! And check out Giallo Games!

Go subscribe to us over on our BitChute channel, our Veoh channel, and our Daily Motion channel.

Clip at the beginning taken from the 1996 film The Crucible.
Song at the end: “Witch Hunt” by MDFMK.

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Scarlett, Nathalie, Jake, Jen, Victoria, Lana, Duncan, Thomm, Matthew, John, Joseph, Dan, Eric, Brandon, Valtrina, Tara, Sandra, Paul, Weaponsandstuff93, Michael, Ben, Anthony, Ima Shrew, James, Matt, Mary Ellen, Jamin, Joanie, Arif, Natalia, Samantha, Ashley, Kieron, Sophie, Tara, Jana & Scott, Christopher, Elizabeth, Tina, Lars, Veronica, Corinthian, Daniel, Dean, Greg, Lindsey, Richard & Sheena.

13 O’Clock is hosted by Jenny Ashford & Tom Ross. Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.

13 O’Clock Episode 98 – The Lost Colony of Roanoke and More! Independence Day Special

It’s a drunken American Independence Day extravaganza on this episode of 13 O’Clock! To celebrate the 4th of July holiday, Tom and Jenny are delving into America’s oldest unsolved mystery: the fate of the colonists of the infamous Lost Colony of Roanoke. There are also numerous, slightly slurred digressions into a few funny news stories and probably more stuff about butts than is entirely appropriate. So grill up some hot dogs and light up some fireworks for a strange, sloshed, and star-spangled episode 98.

Watch the YouTube version here or download the audio version here.

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Clips at the beginning and throughout taken from In Search of History: Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Song at the end: “Roanoke” by Mr. Betts Class.

13 O’Clock is made possible through support from our patrons and fans: Anthony, Arif, Ashley, Ben, Brandon, Corinthian, Dan, Daniel, Dean, Duncan, Eric, Greg, Ima Shrew, Jake, James, Jamin, Jen, Joanie, John, Joseph, Kieron, Lana, Lars, Lindsey, Matt, Matthew, Michael, Paul, Richard, Samantha, Sandra, Sheena, Sophie, Tara D., Tara M., Tina, Thomm, Valtrina, Veronica & Victoria.

13 O’Clock is hosted by Jenny Ashford & Tom Ross. Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy.

13 O’Clock Episode 66 – The Bloody Benders

Ah, the good old days, when you could pack up your family and lay claim to hundreds of acres of prairie and set about building a life for yourself through hard work and perseverance. Or, if you happened to pass through Kansas in around 1871 on the way to set up your homestead, you could alternately get your head bashed in and your throat slashed by a “family” of twisted serial killers. On this episode of 13 O’Clock, Tom and Jenny explore one of the darkest corridors of 19th century American history, focusing on the infamous Bloody Benders, a faux family of four murderers who are thought to have brutally killed at least twenty travelers, and also seem to have largely gotten away with it. Hop in your covered wagon for the journey into episode 66, and when you see the Benders’ inn on the side of the Osage Trail, best keep moseying on by.

Download the audio version here or watch the YouTube video here.

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Song at the end: “The Bloody Benders” by Macabre.

Ergotism and the Salem Witch Trials

Some scholars assert that the mass hysteria in Massachusetts in the 17th century could have been triggered by a common fungus.

Witchcraft_at_Salem_Village

The events are familiar to most Americans and have been dramatized dozens of times on stage, page and film. The tragic episode was set into motion in 1692 by the strange behavior of two young girls, and snowballed into a panic of almost unbelievable proportions. The Salem Witch Trials, as they came to be known, lacked the staggering body count of many of the European witch hunts; nonetheless the series of events was sufficiently dire to cause many people then and now to question how such a thing could have happened.

An Overview of the Salem Witch Panic

It was February 1692. Nine-year-old Betty Parris and her eleven-year-old cousin Abigail Williams suddenly began displaying bizarre behavior akin to epileptic fits. They screamed and raved, twisted their bodies into strange positions, and complained that an unseen assailant was pinching and pricking them. Doctors were called to examine the girls, but no physical cause could be found for their distress, and what was worse, when word of the girls’ mysterious ailment spread through Salem village, other girls began behaving in a similar fashion.

At this point, authorities had raised suspicions of witchcraft, and Betty and Abigail obligingly pointed accusing fingers at a slave girl named Tituba, who they claimed had taught them spells for seeing into the future. Other accusations followed, and more “victims” came forward, accusing still others. When all was said and done, the hysteria had spread across three counties and resulted in the arrest of more than 150 people, twenty of whom were eventually executed for witchcraft. What possible reason could there have been for such a terrible tragedy to unfold? Many theories have been put forth, but Professor Linda Caporael, in 1976, suggested we need look no further than the Salem villagers’ breadboxes.

Hordeum_vulgare_Claviceps_purpurea_23-7-2009

Ergot a Poisonous Fungus, Catalyst for Accusations

In a 1976 article inScience, Caporael theorized that the initial catalyst for the witch craze — the seemingly “possessed” behavior of Betty, Abigail, and the other girls — could have been caused by a reaction to ergot. There are about fifty known species of the ergot fungus, but the one Caporael implicated in the witch panic was Claviceps pupurea, which grows on rye plants and can cause poisoning when consumed by humans or other mammals. If indeed the girls had eaten bread contaminated with ergot, they could have experienced symptoms that were perceived as possession: Seizures, a sensation of itching or crawling on the skin, muscular contractions, nausea, and even hallucinations, triggered by an alkaloid called ergotamine, which is similar in structure to LSD.

Caporael argued that not only were the symptoms of ergotism consistent with those noted in the victims of the “bewitchment,” but that the area around Salem grew a great deal of rye, and that climatic conditions were favorable to the growth of the ergot fungus. It would not even have been necessary for all of the “victims” to have been afflicted with ergotism; a few cases might have started the ball rolling, and psychological and sociological factors could have accomplished the rest.

Arguments Against the Ergot Theory

Many scholars have disputed the claims that ergotism played a major role in the witch panic. Historians Jack Gottlieb and Nicholas Spanos, for example, contend that had ergotism been responsible for the accusers’ symptoms, we should have expected to see members of entire households afflicted, rather than just a few individuals here and there. They also argue that ergotism has other symptoms that do not correspond with the recorded behavior of the “bewitched” persons. Finally, they and other scholars have pointed out that ergotism had been a recognized malady at least since the Middle Ages; it even had a name, St. Anthony’s Fire. Anthropologist H. Sidley in particular doubted whether authorities in Salem in the 17th century would have mistaken the supposedly familiar symptoms of ergot poisoning with signs of supernatural possession.

Despite the voluminous research on the subject, the exact causes of the Salem witch panic are still murky. It is not controversial to speculate that the episode was probably triggered by an unfortunate cascade of converging factors—social, political, psychological, and perhaps pharmacological.

Additional Source:

Macinnis, Peter (2004). Poisons: A History From Hemlock To Botox. MJF Books. ISBN 1-56731-814-2.