Welcome to Intangible Alberta. Here at the Royal Alberta Museum, we tell stories through objects. But what about those stories that have no objects? Those experiences that go beyond the material, beyond the tangible? On this podcast, we'll share stories outside the display case, bringing the museum to you.
Sasquatches and Sow Bugs
What do Sasquatch and sow bugs have in common? What would it take for a Sasquatch sighting to be considered a scientific discovery? How do curators identify creatures from a blurry photo?
Find out on the newest episode of Intangible Alberta, the podcast where we explore Alberta’s stories that can’t be told from within a display case.
In this episode, Mat chats with RAM Live Animals Supervisor (and unofficial Sasquatch expert), Pete Heule about unexpected isopods discovered in Rat’s Nest Cave, and what they can tell us about cryptozoological efforts to prove the existence of Bigfoot.
And what better day to dive into this lore than on the anniversary of the famous Patterson-Gimlin Sasquatch footage? (October 20, 1967)
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Intangible Alberta is produced in partnership between the Royal Alberta Museum and Strathcona County Museum & Archives.
Patterson-Gimlin Sasquatch image by Patterson–Gimlin film, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=434396
CORRECTION: At 15:40 Pete mentions Loren Coleman and Paranthropus robustus being another large fossil ape. Paranthropus robustus was not a giant ape found in Southeast Asia, but a rather short South African human relative that was usually less than 45 kg. Because there are only giant molars and a lower jaw fragment fossils for Gigantopithecus blacki, Loren Coleman once told Pete that Paranthropus robustus was a better Sasquatch candidate as we have much more extensive skeletal evidence for them. How these apes could have made it from the Cradle of Humankind in Africa to the woods of North America is open to debate, while the 3 metre tall, 300 kg forest-dwelling Gigantopithecus blacki in China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia could arguably have crossed from Asia into North America through existing forested corridors on the Bering Land Bridge. Southeast Asia was indeed home to a diversity of human relatives, including the Hobbit Homo floresiensis, Homo erectus and others.
It came from summer camp: Goatman, Alberta’s folk monster
Growing up, I attended a summer youth camp at Hills of Peace, a campground nestled into a prairie hollow halfway between Czar and Consort. My earliest memories of the camp include rolling hills, the cool lake, quaint cabins, and the monster that terrorized it all: Goatman.
We never saw him, but we heard his tale every night after the glowing campfire had been doused. A maniacal ex-logger with a makeshift goat leg, as scary as he was, he was beloved. He was our monstrous mascot, covertly celebrated and rarely acknowledged by the adults in the light of day.
As an adult, I wondered how and why the Goatman haunted those hills? After years of investigation, I’ve discovered that Goatman’s territory stretches far beyond Hills of Peace.
In this episode, we track Goatman across the province, find out why campers tell his tale, and reflect on the importance of summer camp folklore.
Thank you to Angie Jenkins, Kirk Boote, and Shaina Humble.
Intangible Alberta is produced in partnership between the Royal Alberta Museum and Strathcona County Museum and Archives.
Blue Dot Sessions - Campfire Interlude; Bedroll
Lobo Loco - Evening Campfire; Place on my Bonfire
Purple Planet Music - Space Journey
Hatti's Harlem Chicken Inn
A half-century ago, if you stood on the doorstep of the Royal Alberta Museum, you would have looked down what was then 98th street to Hatti’s Harlem Chicken Inn. From the outside, it may have appeared to be an unassuming restaurant. But for Edmonton’s Black community, Hatti’s was more than just a chicken joint — it was a meeting place, where culture and community flourished.
The story of Hatti’s Harlem Chicken Inn is all around us: in local community history books, online articles, in personal testimonies, in photos and newspaper articles, in the memories of those who knew Hatti and her restaurant. Threads stretching out in space and time, and precious ones at that. In this episode of Intangible Alberta, Mat interviews Hatti’s family, community members, and local historians to try to gather these threads, to weave visible what might otherwise be subtle and hard to see.
Listen below, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.
The magic vintage toys of Christmas morning
Do you remember your favourite childhood toy? If you close your eyes and imagine, you may be able to remember how it felt in your hands, what it smelled like, or the excitement you felt on the day you got it. For a moment, you might even feel like you’re transported back to your younger years, a time when your world was as big as your imagination, and a toy wasn’t just a toy, but something more… something magic.
In this holiday episode of Intangible Alberta, Mat chats with vintage toy collectors Shane Turgeon and Trevor Schneider, and Mat’s parents, Susan and Ryan, to explore the nostalgia around vintage toys, collecting, and keeping the magic of Christmas morning alive.
Ghosts in the vault - a Halloween special
With a collection of 2.5 million objects going back millions of years, we’re bound to have a few ghosts in our cabinets, right? In today’s Halloween episode, we share three spooky stories from the RAM collections – a stairway from a haunted hotel, an exorcism-proof doll, and a military mystery that led to a freaky fire station.
Thank you to Lucie Heins, Julia Petrov, and Anthony Worman for sharing these historically eerie stories.
Our intro music was Dark Halloween by Max Tune, from Taketones.com
Other music was Children of the Night, Space Journey, Gothic Horror, Sardonicus, and Possession by Purple Planet Music (copyright purple-planet.com)
Be kind, please remind... me about video rental stores!
The video rental store as an institution spanned a 40 year period, between 1977 to 2017. There was a time when nearly every neighbourhood had its local store, whether it was a mom-and-pop or national franchise. These were not only places to find the newest title for a Friday night or rediscover some old favourite for a cozy Sunday afternoon. Video rental stores were meeting places where you could shoot the breeze while you browsed the shelves. They were hubs for dialogue about cinema, society, and any topic sparked by a movie in hand. Ironically, many have fond memories of their time spent not watching a rented film but looking for one. Now, the video rental store is all but gone. Instead, we have the convenience of streaming thousands of titles straight into our living rooms with nothing more than the click or two of a button. Even still, what have we lost? In this episode we talk with the owners of two remaining stores - Kevin Martin of The Lobby and Shawn Davis of Movieworld - about the history, meaning, and future of the video rental store in Alberta.