242 episodes

The world is more mysterious than most people are comfortable imagining. We cross paths with the mystical from time to time and may not even notice it. If we do, we quickly return to our usually mundane daily existence. But what if we not only acknowledged the unknown, we investigated it and spoke with those in the know? That’s what co-hosts Scott & Forrest, and their producer Tess Pfeifle do at Astonishing Legends. Over 85 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of listeners have shown that exploring and embracing the wonders of our world can be not only enlightening but exciting.  Welcome to Astonishing Legends!

Astonishing Legends Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 331 Ratings

The world is more mysterious than most people are comfortable imagining. We cross paths with the mystical from time to time and may not even notice it. If we do, we quickly return to our usually mundane daily existence. But what if we not only acknowledged the unknown, we investigated it and spoke with those in the know? That’s what co-hosts Scott & Forrest, and their producer Tess Pfeifle do at Astonishing Legends. Over 85 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of listeners have shown that exploring and embracing the wonders of our world can be not only enlightening but exciting.  Welcome to Astonishing Legends!

    Devil's Den: The Reckoning Part 1

    Devil's Den: The Reckoning Part 1

    We're proud and pleased to bring back one of our most intriguing guests, Terry Lovelace, Esq., to talk about his new book, Devil's Den: The Reckoning.  Our first interview with Terry, episode 155: "Abduction at Devil's Den," which aired on October 13, 2019, is one of our most popular and one of the most talked-about. Surprisingly, not because of its controversial nature, but because Terry's unassailable character has imbued chilling credibility to his claims, leaving the listener to ponder the terrifying implications. Terry's first book chronicled his life-long encounters with extraterrestrial beings, culminating in a partially-suppressed, horrific abduction while camping with his best friend at Devil's Den State Park in Arkansas. At the time, Terry and his friend Toby served in the USAF as EMTs stationed at Whiteman AFB in June of 1977. While the ordeal would sadly ruin Toby's life, Terry would go on to a successful career in law, eventually becoming Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Territory of American Samoa and a State's Attorney for Vermont's Board of Medical Practice. Currently working as a certified healthcare risk manager, the first half of Terry's follow-up book expands on his lifetime of experiences, including mind-blowing details he initially left out, thinking they would be too outrageous and incredible for the reader to believe. The second half of Terry's new book, which we'll cover in part two of our conversation, features stories sent to him by his readers who have had their own bizarre and impossible experiences. Join us tonight for some answers to a reckoning for an incident at Devil's Den.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode!

    • 2 hrs 13 min
    The True Story Behind the Exorcist Part 3

    The True Story Behind the Exorcist Part 3

    Now that we've heard the shocking details of Ronnie Hunkeler's exorcism, we're once again left to wonder at what point does a logical, scientific explanation become inadequate in accounting for all the extreme events that occurred?  Looking objectively at Ronnie's behavior before, during, and after the exorcisms, those who favor a psychiatric or medical diagnosis could explain them as the result of an ailment like Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Dissociative identity disorder, or perhaps Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis along with comorbidities.  For those who believe in supernatural possibilities, then a spiritual force of possession could explain the incredible actions, or maybe one in conjunction with a medical condition; for them, the two are not mutually exclusive.  Yet mental illness or a brain abnormality only goes so far in explaining Ronnie's lifetime of conduct.  While he may have had a difficult childhood with an overbearing mother and grandmother, there are no indications that he suffered any ongoing abuse severe enough to bring about PTSD that is often the gateway to the mental illnesses mentioned above.  After Ronnie's time with the priests and the rites, it seems he went on to lead a disorder-free life with a successful career.  Our current understanding of psychology states that these conditions don't go away on their own and are only manageable by the patient through ongoing behavioral therapy and medication.  And if the eye-witness testimony is correct, then psychological diagnoses can't begin to account for the poltergeist activity experienced leading up to and during the exorcisms.  In the end, whatever horrors that terrorized Ronnie and those around him in 1949 seemed to leave him once and for all, but they may not have left every place he experienced them.  In our final chapter on this series, we'll hear from our friend, popular St. Louis radio talk show host Dave Glover.  In 2008, Dave and his crew staged a contest for one of their Halloween Specials.  Three listeners won the chance to see if they could sit alone for an hour in the bedroom where Ronnie's exorcism began, in the former home of Ronnie's aunt and uncle, Doris and Leonard Hunkeler, on Roanoke Drive in Bel Nor, Missouri.  None of them made it past a few minutes.  Whether from overactive imaginations or a lingering presence of evil, either explanation for the primal fear and torment one feels matters as little to the person at that moment as it does to the Devil himself.  Neither he nor your senses care what you believe.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

    • 3 hrs 25 min
    The True Story Behind the Exorcist Part 2 (Reposted for Apple Podcasts)

    The True Story Behind the Exorcist Part 2 (Reposted for Apple Podcasts)

    We've probably all seen exorcisms performed in movies and TV, but how accurate are those portrayals? Are they really as ferociously terrifying as these shows would have us believe? Where did the writers get their ideas and details about what actually takes place during an exorcism? The Roman Catholic Church has only one sanctioned procedure, and it's in the 23 pages of "The Great Exorcism Rite" contained within the Rituale Romanum.  Compiled in 1614 at the request of Pope Paul V, with minor updates added in 1952 and 1999, it is still the only rite used to this day. With this sacrament guiding the Jesuit's efforts recorded in the "Exorcist's Diary" documenting the exorcism of Ronnie Hunkeler, it can be argued that this account is the inspiration for most everything portrayed in entertainment media. And therefore mostly informing what the general public has seen and knows about an authentic exorcism. Tonight in Part Two of our series, you'll hear about some of the actual occurrences that took place, and it is not for the faint of heart. While the priests can orchestrate the ritual, they cannot engineer the actions of the seemingly possessed, and the events are often intensely unsettling, no matter what one believes. For the skeptic and faithful alike, witnessing an exorcism in person would chill anyone to the core of their soul.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

    • 1 hr 16 min
    The True Story Behind the Exorcist Part 2

    The True Story Behind the Exorcist Part 2

    We've probably all seen exorcisms performed in movies and TV, but how accurate are those portrayals? Are they really as ferociously terrifying as these shows would have us believe? Where did the writers get their ideas and details about what actually takes place during an exorcism? The Roman Catholic Church has only one sanctioned procedure, and it's in the 23 pages of "The Great Exorcism Rite" contained within the Rituale Romanum.  Compiled in 1614 at the request of Pope Paul V, with minor updates added in 1952 and 1999, it is still the only rite used to this day. With this sacrament guiding the Jesuit's efforts recorded in the "Exorcist's Diary" documenting the exorcism of Ronnie Hunkeler, it can be argued that this account is the inspiration for most everything portrayed in entertainment media. And therefore mostly informing what the general public has seen and knows about an authentic exorcism. Tonight in Part Two of our series, you'll hear about some of the actual occurrences that took place, and it is not for the faint of heart. While the priests can orchestrate the ritual, they cannot engineer the actions of the seemingly possessed, and the events are often intensely unsettling, no matter what one believes. For the skeptic and faithful alike, witnessing an exorcism in person would chill anyone to the core of their soul.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

    • 1 hr 16 min
    The True Story Behind the Exorcist Part 1

    The True Story Behind the Exorcist Part 1

    What every horror film loves to boast, if possible, is the claim of "Based on a True Story." Because if the story is not just from some writer's imagination, if there is a thread to an actual event with real people, no matter how thin, then the fear becomes more real. William Friedkin's 1973 motion picture The Exorcist is considered one of, if not the scariest horror film of all time. At that time, no audience had seen a case of demonic possession dramatized so deftly and explicitly, and the resulting shock left a lasting mark on popular culture and our collective psyche. Not as widely known is that William Peter Blatty adapted his Oscar-winning screenplay for the movie from his novel of the same name. And perhaps even lesser-known to most is that Blatty based his book on a real-life case, what is more commonly known as the "1949 Exorcism," or "The Exorcism of Roland Doe," or of "Robbie Mannheim." The Jesuits of the Catholic Church who examined the 13-year-old boy exhibiting either severe mental and emotional disturbances or authentic spiritual possession referred to him at the time only as "R" in their journal about the investigation. This report, known informally as the "Exorcist's Diary," is the only complete documented account of the events, and it kept the boy's identity anonymous out of respect. Guiding our examination of the story is the exhaustive work of our friend and guest for the Villisca Axe Murder series, investigative author Troy Taylor. Troy's updated version of his book, The Devil Came to St. Louis – UNCENSORED," is the culmination of over 20 years of research and interviews with surviving witnesses to the incredible occurrences. Troy had kept a promise not to reveal "R's" real name and sensitive details until after his death. Now that "Roland Doe" had passed away in May of 2020, Troy was free to publish the 4th edition of his book in 2021, revealing previously unpublicized information, including his name. Troy's book and our presentation aim at getting to the facts behind an actual, largely forgotten case that haunted the mindset of a generation. But don't think that separating the myths from the facts will make this tale any less frightening. For if even the slightest supernatural happening in this record is accurate, and there is plenty of testimony to support that it is, it's enough to unsettle your beliefs. If the wildest and worst accounts are true, and you're unsure what to believe, then most disturbing may be the adage that not believing in the Devil won't protect you from him.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

    • 2 hrs 2 min
    The Vertical Plane Part 2

    The Vertical Plane Part 2

    As we continue with Part Two of our discussion with Richard Hatem of Ken Webster's book, The Vertical Plane, we find that "The Mystery of the Dodleston Messages" has become even more fantastical and bizarre.  As unimaginable as it would be to ostensibly communicate with a living person from hundreds of years ago, Ken and his friends now find themselves on something of a "Party Line" via their computer with beings or perhaps some form of intelligence from a distant future or existence.  Identifying itself as "2109," this individual or agency soon warns that Ken's meddling with the construct of space-time by continuing to communicate with Lukas, now known as "Tomas," could irreparably damage the fabric of our reality.  However, this 2109 and company don't appear to be very professional in conducting their lording over timelines.  Often petulant and annoyingly cryptic, 2109 teases to provide advanced knowledge yet lacks the wisdom or adroitness in controlling its faculties.  It also appears another agent of 2109 was working to confound their authority by providing Tomas the means to communicate into the future in the first place.  Who are the ghosts, the living, and the beings residing in the margins between the two?  If 2109 is telling the truth and a form of time travel is possible, this raises many interesting, often asked questions and even more concerns.  For instance, are there numerous, perhaps an infinite number of parallel timelines where versions of yourself exist, and what would happen if you were to interact with one negatively?  As unlikely as this may seem, even more disturbing is the thought that there may be semi-omniscient entities who might be fumbling with the levers of control over them.  Whether you believe The Vertical Plane to be factual or merely an entertaining new genre of "Science Non-fiction," the age-old adage holds fast – it's usually good practice not to talk to strangers.

    Visit our website for a lot more information on this episode.

    • 3 hrs 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
331 Ratings

331 Ratings

jimmyjangles74 ,

Jamie Price

Without a doubt my favourite podcast. I love depth the guys go into with each subject they cover leaving no stone unturned to bring the listener the most information possible. May you guys never run out of stories to cover.

Dynamo Dianna ,

Sallie house part 2

Looking forward to listening to part 3, this series has been among your most disturbing and enthralling thus far.
Fantastic amount of work equaled by your engaging discussion and presentation. Not forgetting your top team of researchers.
Lol, Melbourne, Australia.

the maintence man ,

Well put together show

Really enjoy this podcast as the boys give an in-depth show on interesting subjects.

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