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Haunted MTL‘s weekly review of the series as a whole.

Welcome back! This week we’re tackling episode 36 of Last Podcast titled “Sandwiches in the Matrix”. This is obviously well before the outline phase of the series. It seems to be before the “discussing topics” phase of the series as well because this one is all over the place like a body dropped from a skyscraper. With that dire warning and mental image, let’s dive in!

A Big Bunch of Nothing

INTRO:

A glitch in the Matrix. Or a Bon Jovi tour bus circa 1988.

We start this episode off with Ben being tormented by Marcus and Henry repeatedly singing Tom Petty’s “Don’t Do Me Like That” to the point of him screaming. Even working with the mentally challenged wasn’t this annoying. Once these shenanigans are over, they explain that Henry had a fascinating topic all week and came downstairs that morning to tell them it was all bullshit. The idea was glitching in the Matrix as popular on Reddit at the time. Henry’s example here is a young man making a sandwich, leaving the room, and coming back to find the meat and bread back in their packaging. In reality, this is thinking you were going to make a sandwich and then NOT making a sandwich.

EPISODE:

While some discussion does happen on these glitches. Henry’s personal experience was finding his Communion ring while cleaning his apartment. He should have had it and decided to call his mother. When she found it had vanished from her file cabinet she said it was a sign from God that he was still there and watching him. Henry’s response? “COME AT ME GOD!!”

Some form of astral projection is discussed before Marcus talks about magic manipulating reality and reveals he has been using masturbation sigils.

This is important for the broader scope of the series because both he and Henry would eventually begin practicing Chaos Magick. Ben, on the other hand, can’t wrap his head around cumming while staring at a piece of paper. 

This is not your partner.

After a massive derailment about Marcus’ sexuality and the acceptance of using a “fuck-burrito,” Henry begins discussing a study that found that our brains process information in chunks and that it buffers that, then catches up to current reality. He theorizes that these gaps in perception could be the entry point for UFO’s, aliens, and the paranormal. Or maybe it’s people from the future pretending to be aliens? I don’t know. You go listen to this rambling madness. I’ll wait. Ben’s fascination with mayo infused coffee at this point is almost a welcome change if it weren’t so gross. 

Do Android Philip K. Dicks dream of Electric Valis?

Here we get to what may be Henry’s favorite subject of the episode. Philip K. Dick. His stories tend to deal with a character learning that reality isn’t what they thought it was. In 1974, Dick answered the door to a dark-haired woman who shot a beam of information into his brain showing him that time is all happening at once and that his books are all real events happening in alternate dimensions. I’m sure it had nothing to do with painkillers, speed, and the blood clot in his brain that killed him. At any rate, this experience terrified him and he spent his life crusading all of these facts. 

Henry had a similar experience in college involving The Dude coming to him on mushrooms to explain reality. That explanation is so bizarre I’m not even going to try and cover it here. It’s stoner logic man. Groovy.

OUTRO:

The boys acknowledge the fractured nature of this episode but think they had a fascinating topic. They all agree to turn the lights out and trip on shrooms until they realize no one has any shrooms and Marcus has to shit anyway. 

THOUGHTS

This episode is the auditory equivalent of being mugged in the subway. It’s loud, confusing, unpleasant for the most part, and blessedly over soon. I see Henry as a fairly intelligent person but he is absolutely all over the place in this one. If you’ve ever tried to seriously find meaning in the film version of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” then you may be prepared for this one. I’m not saying skip this one, but I am saying don’t try to understand it. Like the greatest mysteries in life, it just is and can not be known. 

Listen Here:
Episode 36 on Spotify

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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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