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I found Internet Urban Legends when one of the co-hosts, Loey Lane, appeared on an episode of Buzzfeed Unsolved. I love urban legends, and I love the internet. Put them together, and it feels like a win/win.

I’ve been listening to this podcast off and on for about a year now. I only listen to it off and on, because I only listen to it when I haven’t got any other podcasts to listen to. 

Let’s discuss.

Internet Urban Legends started on Spotify in April of 2021. It’s hosted by the aforementioned Loey, and her skeptic friend Eleanor. Together they call themselves the Gruesome Twosome.

If you’re wondering, yes this little nickname is one of my issues. Honestly, I cringe every time I hear them say it. 

In each episode, the Gruesome Twosome discuss some fantastic story online. Sometimes, it’s a classic story like Robert the Doll. Sometimes it’s something I’ve never heard of before, like the Dead Internet theory. 

Sometimes it’s stupid shit, like if cats are aliens. 

I do love the premise of the show. As I said, urban legends are one of my favorite forms of horror, and the internet is the new frontier for urban legends. The blend of spooky stories, weird social media posts and bonkers conspiracy theories is what brings me back to this podcast over and over.

Ah, but of course, there’s a reason it’s not among my favorite podcasts. It’s not one that I wait for with bated breath.

There are two reasons why I don’t love this podcast, and the reasons unfortunately Laney and Eleanore themselves. 

I can barely tell them apart, for one thing. If it wasn’t clearly explained in the description of the show, I’d have no idea that Laney was the believer and Eleanore was the skeptic. 

Internet Urban Legends Podcast

And even if I could tell, I wouldn’t care.

Look, I listen to a lot of spooky stories, and most of them I’ve heard before. And if I haven’t heard of a story, I will hear about it elsewhere. So what will bring me back to a podcast over and over is the host. Are they funny, or charming? Do I love listening to them tell a story? 

What I’m looking for is someone like Aaron Manke, who created Lore. He can tell you a story about mass murder and make you feel warm and comforted. And the Gruesome Twosome just doesn’t have that. Not only can I not tell them apart from each other, but I also can’t tell them apart from hundreds of other urban legends and true crime podcast hosts.

It’s an interesting podcast to listen to, but until Laney and Eleanore work on their personas, it’s never going to be top-shelf. 

That being said, if you’re looking for a new podcast you could do worse. At the very least, it’s fun to listen to while walking the dog. Here’s a link to the podcast on Spotify so you can check it out for yourself. 

2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

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Dr. Death Season One

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If you’re having surgery anytime soon, you might want to give this episode a pass. It might make you rethink that decision.

Hosted by Laura Beil, the voice of True Crime, Dr. Death tells the tale of neurosurgeon Chris Duntsch. And it’s a bloody tale to tell.

This is the true story of a man so infatuated with himself that he murdered and maimed almost every patient unfortunate enough to come under his shaky scalpel. A doctor so terrible at surgery that a fellow doctor thought he was an imposter.

Dr. Chris Duntsch

We begin with a description of two surgeries at a Dallas hospital. Surgeries that, to put it mildly, didn’t go to plan. As a warning, there are vivid descriptions of horrific medical mess-ups, right from the start. Duntsch manages to lose a screw in a patient’s muscle. He severs the nerves of another patient, putting them in a wheelchair for the rest of their life.

The descriptions of the botched surgeries are horrifying. As are the descriptions of Duntsch himself. His drug addictions and lack of self-control are horrifying to imagine in a person whose job it is to open people up and work on them. But what’s even more terrifying is the response of the medical community around him. Because most of the hospitals and higher-ups in Texas just didn’t want to get involved.

As Duntsch crippled or killed person after person, no one who should have stepped in did. It wasn’t until a fellow doctor, Dr. Henderson, was called in to clean up one of his messes that anyone acted. Dr. Henderson is the hero of Dr. Death. He was the first to report Duntsch to the Texas Medical Board. And when they didn’t act fast enough to get Duntsch out of operating rooms, Henderson got the police involved.

(Want to hear about another psychotic killer podcast? Check out my review of Transmissions from Jonestown.)

It’s horrifying to hear about a man who had so little regard for other people that he would ignore his own ineptitude and keep right on hurting them. It’s worse to realize how little protection people have against doctors who just don’t care who they hurt. And this season of Dr. Death makes this clear.

I was terrified by this podcast. Beil interviewed survivors, family members, nurses, and doctors who worked alongside Duntsch. She dug into this situation and told the bloody story with such passion that I was left shaking. And I can’t recommend it enough.

Unless, of course, you have any upcoming doctor appointments. Then, it might be a bit much.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Transmissions From Jonestown

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Haunted houses, vampires and the paranormal are all well and good. But you know what’s really scary? Listening to actual people argue whether or not they should commit mass suicide. 

That’s the kind of chilling thing you can expect when listening to the podcast Transmissions from Jonestown.

Created by Shannon Howard and premiering in November of 2017, Transmissions from Jonestown starts by telling us the detailed story of The People’s Temple and its well-known tragic ending. 

Photo of Jim Jones.

We hear actual recordings of conversations from the lead-up to the day of the mass suicide. These include unhinged rants from Jones himself, singing from the congregation, and testimonials from those about to die.

I’m going to warn you now that some of these tapes include children screaming and crying. Given the timing, these are children who were just forced to drink poison. This is the sound of these children dying.

Before this, I had no idea that was on tape. Now, I have no Godly idea why it’s on tape. Honestly, that was a little much for even me.

Hearing the tale in this way, intermingled with conversations from those who did not live through it, was scary enough. But as I said, that’s only part of the story.

What gets ignored when we talk about Jonestown is the lasting impact it had. Not just on the loved ones of those lost. Not just on the survivors. But on our society at large. 

The second half of Transmissions from Jonestown dives into those impacts. But it also talks about some of the theories people have about Jonestown. Some of these theories are just bonkers. Everyone from the CIA to Russia is to blame for the deaths. It was all an experiment that led to the aids epidemic. Jim Jones got away, it was a body double that was found dead at Jonestown.

(Want to hear check out another podcast review? Check it out here.)

I’m happy to say that any theory that isn’t based on verifiable facts is presented as such. So the listener gets to hear these theories for what they are. Shannon is clear that she wants us to think for ourselves and make our own judgments.

I loved this podcast. Every episode was chilling and riveting. If you’re a fan of cult theories and historical horrors, this is a podcast you shouldn’t pass up. Though it does lose a whole Cthulhu for including the sounds of little kids dying. That wasn’t necessary.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Old Gods of Appalachia Podcast

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Old Gods of Appalachia is a podcast you need to be listening to right now. It’s a recent find for me, though it’s been around since Halloween, 2019. The latest episode came out on September 8th, so it’s still going strong.

The first thing that drew me into this podcast was the actor’s voice. This would be Mr. Steve Shell. It’s like butter, laced with sweet poison. Some people consider an Appalachian accent to be a mark of ignorance. As someone who has a bit of the accent myself, that can’t be further from the truth. Hearing these tales, poetic and horrific, told with this deep accent is a delight. 

Though, that does bring me to the tales. And they are so, so creepy.

The Appalachian region contains a mixture of superstition, poverty, political aggression, and environmental worry that sprouts scary stories like mushrooms in damp leaves. And those are the kinds of stories you’re getting here. Stories of people lost in mines who come back to seek revenge. Stories of towns swallowed up by the green forest. Stories that make you wonder whether Earth is keen on us living here.

Old Gods of Appalachia cover

I listened to the first few episodes that told the tale of Barlo, Kentucky. In it, a young girl flees for her life when her uncle comes back from the mine. Or, at least something wearing her uncle’s skin comes back. Then, throughout the tale, something much bigger comes back to claim the whole town.

Old Gods of Appalachia refers to itself as an eldritch horror fiction, set in an alternate Appalachia. But some of these tales sure feel like they might have been waiting for me to stumble into them outside my grandma’s backyard. 

Those of us from the area, or adjacent, will feel at home in these stories. We’ll see magic and monsters that feel familiar. But not in a warm, comforting way. It’s the familiar way your hair raises on your arm when you walk past certain places in the forest. The way you feel when that one neighbor is on the same path as you on your nightly walk. It’s a dark, foreboding kind of familiar. 

Those of you who aren’t part of that sort of community will be introduced to a chilling world that you’ll almost believe is real. 

You’ll almost be right. 

(Want to check out another chilling podcast I reviewed? Click here.)

I cannot suggest this podcast enough. It’s easily the best new podcast I’ve listened to this year. Just don’t plan to sleep after you do, without leaving an offering. 

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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