235 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. With the power of the well-vetted Astonishing Research Corps, they have access to information that most folks couldn’t find. Over 75 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
    • 4.8 • 53 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. With the power of the well-vetted Astonishing Research Corps, they have access to information that most folks couldn’t find. Over 75 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!

    The Watseka Wonder - Part 2

    The Watseka Wonder - Part 2

    Now that we've covered the story essentials of the strange case of Mary Lurancy Vennum, known as "The Watseka Wonder," it's time to take a look at the possible causes and mechanics of this apparent miracle. Suppose Lurancy's possession was merely the imaginative prank of an attention-seeking impressionable teenager. How then did she know intimate, inscrutable details of her possessor Mary Roff and that of her family, when Mary had died over ten years before she was born and the Roff family were vague acquaintances? It's perhaps possible that this naive fourteen-year-old had mastered the manipulation techniques employed by experienced Mentalists and charlatan psychic mediums to fool desperate parents, but how likely is that? In Part Two of our series, we consider the investigation of a noted psychical researcher at the time, Dr. Richard Hodgson, who interviewed witnesses and studied case notes about thirteen years after the significant events in light of contemporary hypotheses. In a historical line between 1877 and 1908, we then look at the analysis of a psychology journalist, H. Addington Bruce, through the lens of his evolved understanding of that field 30 years later. In the greater context surrounding this case are the history of psychical research and a brief overview of some of the prominent figures involved in the Spiritist movement. We then round out the series with a more modern-day interpretation and our own conclusions. Even saddled with an antiquated title like The Watseka Wonder and recognizing the significant advancements in the field of abnormal psychology, this case remains wonderous indeed.

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

    • 3 hrs 29 min
    Suspect Trailer

    Suspect Trailer

    An apartment complex hosts a big Halloween party with themed rooms and costumed partygoers. By the end of the night, one of the party’s hosts is murdered. And the partygoers are the main suspects in the eyes of the police: was it the guy in the devil mask, the guy dressed as Jesus, the bank robber, the construction worker? As a complex investigation winds its way through forensic evidence, witness testimony, DNA, and even a psychic, the police zero in on one suspect in particular -- but why? From Campside Media and Wondery, the makers of Chameleon and the Shrink Next Door, comes SUSPECT. Matthew Shaer and Eric Benson (Over My Dead Body) return to the scene of the crime to uncover what happened, and speak with everyone about a party that still haunts them a decade later. It’s a series about cutting-edge science and mislaid justice, race and policing, and the kinds of weighty choices that cops and prosecutors make every day. Choices that, once made, are difficult to reverse.

    Suspect

    • 7 min
    The Watseka Wonder Part 1

    The Watseka Wonder Part 1

    We often wonder when was the first time a now well-known phenomenon first occurred or was recorded. In the instance of spiritual possession, at least in the United States, we may have an answer in the case known as “The Watseka Wonder.” Indeed, if such a condition exists, it’s likely people have been claiming or appearing to be possessed by a supernatural force since human beings existed. However, many cite the Watseka story as the first well-documented example of a person appearing to have been taken over by a deceased human spirit. This historical incident also benefits from the thorough documentation from a credible source. At the time, a physician and Spiritist, Dr. E. Winchester Stevens, treated his patient experiencing the possession and wrote about the bizarre events soon after they occurred in a book he titled, The Watseka Wonder. Stevens’ report details the story of Mary Lurancy Vennum, who began to suffer from cataleptic-like seizures at the age between thirteen and fourteen years old. On July 11, 1877, the first attack happened where Lurancy passed out on the floor and remained unconscious for five hours. The “fit,” as it was called back then, happened the next day as well, except that this time while in something of a trance, she spoke of being in heaven and in the company of various spirits. She described some of these spirits as angels and claimed to talk to a departed sister and a brother who died when Lurancy was just 3. Her episodes occurred in greater frequency by January of the following year, some lasting from an hour to eight hours and as many as twelve times per day. Her religiously orthodox parents and the numerous doctors that examined her feared she had become insane, and the only option left was to have her committed to an asylum. However, a respected, casual acquaintance of the Vennum family, Asa B. Roff, became intrigued by Lurancy’s condition and instead convinced her parents to let Dr. E. W. Stevens treat the girl using Spiritist methods. To everyone’s astonishment, Lurancy then started to behave like she was inhabited by the soul of Roff’s daughter Mary. Mary Roff had passed away more than a decade before Lurancy was born. Join us tonight for Part 1 of our series, where we cover the circumstances of perhaps America’s first acknowledged case of “spirit infestation,” known as “The Watseka Wonder.”

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

    • 1 hr 58 min
    Disclosure with Jeremy Corbell

    Disclosure with Jeremy Corbell

    One question we often receive is, do we think the US Government will ever disclose the existence of UFOs? We believe the answer is, they've already begun. Since the groundbreaking, front-page article appeared in the December 17, 2017 edition of the New York Times with a title exclaiming "Real UFOs," the world has seen drips and drops of Pentagon-authenticated video clips and statements publically disseminated and officially validated. Add to this the testimonies of some of the most credible sources willing to come forward, such as Luis "Lue" Elizondo, former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program or AATIP at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in the Pentagon, Christopher Mellon, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and retired veteran US Navy fighter pilot Commander David Fravor. The claims become hard to dismiss as goofball flights of fancy. On June 25, 2021, the release of a report titled Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena by the Office of the Director Of National Intelligence was considered anemic by many who wanted FULL disclosure of what the government knows. However, it was another official admission that these encounters are certified and remain a mystery to our military. At least on the surface. And what is known currently by the general public above this surface owes a great deal to the efforts of our guest tonight, a field researcher and documentarian Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell. Jeremy's pursuit and publication of unclassified video from Naval electronic warfare targeting systems like the now-famous "Tic Tac" clip have stirred public imagination and debate. They may have even spurred congressional inquiry resulting in that preliminary report and future disclosures. But we owe our access to Jeremy to the facilitation from a long-time listener and now friend Adam. Adam and Jeremy became friends while investigating a cattle mutilation near Adam's storage property in the Texas panhandle region. Tonight, we'll discuss Jeremy's journey to becoming a clearinghouse for genuine UFO footage, his documentary work on the subjects of Bob Lazar and Skinwalker Ranch, and he and Adam's findings from their cattle mutilation case, and all the implications thereof. One curious and ironic conclusion when trying to connect all the dots is that the specific governmental disclosure on alien life, their motivations, abductions, and cattle mutilations seem like it could be another matter altogether.

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

    • 1 hr 58 min
    The Mad Doctor of Spokane

    The Mad Doctor of Spokane

    Here's a question: What makes a haunted house spooky if you've never been there?  How scary can a haunted house be if no one has repeatedly investigated it?  In other words, what is more frightening, the honest anecdotes about experienced paranormal activity in a haunted location or the unverified legends and lore of a place that send the frights of our imagination into overdrive?  And what makes a house haunted?  Is it the house or land itself, the activities and energy of its inhabitants, or a reciprocal combination of both?  These are questions that would be apropos for tonight's subject, a house known as the Wilbur-Hahn manor in Spokane, Washington.  The craftsman-style mansion came to life in September of 1916, when the heiress to the Hecla Silver Mine fortune, Sarah Smith, married playboy Ralston T. "Jack" Wilbur.  Jack Wilbur had used Sarah's money to hire an eminent architect to build a three-story, seventeen-room house in Spokane's historied and tony South Hill neighborhood.  For the princely sum of $75,000, the estate, sitting on nearly four acres of land, flaunted imported marble, gold-leaf carvings, and mahogany paneling inlaid with mother of pearl brought from China.  However, the newly minted Mrs. Wilbur didn't fancy the home, and with this and other tumults in the marriage, Smith, and Wilbur divorced in 1918.  The following notorious couple to occupy the house was Rudolph A. Hahn and his second wife Sylvia, thirty-two years his junior.  Hahn purchased the manor in 1924 and spent $50,000 on additions, like a swimming pool and lavish gardens with fountains and statues, along with rumored secret panels and tunnels.  Obtaining a doctor's license through a correspondence course, Hahn made a fortune performing electroshock therapy and illegal medical procedures for Spokane's well-heeled.  The money, which some believe Hahn had stashed on the property, fueled his love of wild parties, fast cars, boats, and racehorses, much to the neighbors' dismay.  But the excess and extravagant lifestyle of this real-life "Great Gatsby" would eventually lead to his bizarre murder in a seedy hotel downtown known as The New Madison Hotel.  Perhaps it was the raucous, illicit activities and extreme emotions witnessed by the estate that imprinted somehow.  Reports of arguing phantom voices or boisterous laughter, vanishing bloodstains, shadow figures, the apparition of a woman at the top of the stairs, and even screams and mysterious noises heard by passersby are forever bound to the house.  The lesson of such an infamous place as the Wilbur-Hahn manor is that no matter how private any owners are, they cannot curb the spirits or the legend of a haunted mansion, and spooky is as spooky does.

    Visit our website for a whole lot more information on this website, and seriously, we're talking a LOT more.

    • 2 hrs 39 min
    Sasquatch - The Search for Manlike Monsters in History

    Sasquatch - The Search for Manlike Monsters in History

    It's much more comfortable for most of us to think of paranormal subjects as having their origins beginning only in recent history – an amusing byproduct of mid-twentieth century foolishness or the internet age.  Much easier to dismiss then.  Many people, persuaded by an uninformed media, believe UFOs only started appearing to the public after pilot Kenneth Arnold's famous sighting while flying near Mt. Rainier on June 24, 1947, or the incident in Roswell, NM, just fourteen days later.  Similarly, many people believe the Bigfoot or Sasquatch phenomenon only began in 1958 in Bluff Creek, California, after the family of Ray Wallace claimed he started it all by leaving large, fake footprints made with wooden carvings as a prank.  It's uncomfortable to consider that these unnerving intrusions into our comfortable reality had occurred for maybe hundreds, if not thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of years before our sophisticated logic matured.  However, researchers who study paranormal phenomena know that reports of these things, especially Bigfoot, go back far beyond written history.  Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, there seems to be an air of ethnocentrism and hubris when it comes to western scientists giving credence to the indigenous oral traditions of encounters with these massive, hairy ape-like beasts.  Yet, it stands to reason that if any of these beings truly existed, their origins likely go back further than the birth of Rock and Roll.  So, how far back do the sightings of Bigfoot and Sasquatch go?  Here's a hint: it's a lot more ancient and global than you probably imagined.  To help us explore this enigma, we're fortunate to have our dear friend, researcher, science enthusiast, author, and fellow podcaster Micah Hanks join us for a roundtable discussion.  We'll hear about his latest research into the earliest known writings and oral histories of the cryptic cousin creature we've come to know and love.



    Visit our website for a whole lot more information on this website, and seriously, we're talking a LOT more.

    • 2 hrs 47 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
53 Ratings

53 Ratings

No fishing today ,

Astonishing legends of the world

The repartee between Scott & Forrest is awesome. A well researched, interesting hypothesises, makes for a interesting listen hard to put down, backed up with a great website. Get into it!

Kizkee ,

Hooked!

Well I just stumbled on Astonishing Legends a few short weeks ago and I’m totally hooked. Love the format, the humour, and the conversational style. Best podcast ever! Am totally a skeptic but am fascinated by the tales. Thanks AL team!

Jasmindarnell ,

Immediately one of my favourite podcasts

This is exactly what I was looking for without realising it. The hosts dive into mysterious topics at great length with an even sharing of scrutiny, wonder, humour and willingness to learn. They are both extremely listenable speakers, intelligent, entertaining and great at keeping the conversation flowing which is not to be taken for granted these days when everyone and their aunt has a podcast. They take topics that usually get cut too short if they come up at all on other shows and discuss them in depth for hours, covering a multitude of angles and theories without agenda. Absolutely love it, can’t stop listening!

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