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PseudoPod 851: Flash on the Borderlands LXIV: Purification

Show Notes

Candlemas: “February 2, 2023 is Candlemas.  I’ve always had a thing for microfiction -tiny, jewel-like figures, acting out their passion play to the chiming of a pocket watch. Repetition seems to polish such tales, not wear them down, till they shine like fairy stories, eternally recommencing in some corner of the mind.”


That so the superstitious find

No one least branch there left behind:

For look, how many leaves there be

Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)

So many goblins you shall see.


Candlemas

by Don Mark Baldridge


In silent, black and white; handcranked, 16 frames per second: A large piece of driftwood washes up on this cold and miserable island. The devout recognize something in it. Believe they can trace, in its gnarled whirls, the figure of the Virgin.

These simple people build a small chapel of rough fieldstone and enshrine it there -an upright, kneeling shape.

A hundred years later, the chapel has fallen into ruin. Crossfade to expired Fuji 16mm color stock, pushed slightly, grainy and handheld: The former fishing village all but abandoned, the sun closing in on the sea.

Two girls, foreign backpackers -long legged in bright shorts: orange, yellow- hike across the island. They barely share a language, communicating, instead, by helpful gestures.

A man in a low cap, driving an unmarked lorry, brakes for them, offering a ride. They climb eagerly into the cab.

But he attempts to take them beyond their turning, up into the hills, the coming darkness. He won’t stop to let them out -hardly looks at them- but accelerates up the incline. (Continue Reading…)

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January 2023 Metacast


Presenters: Marguerite Kenner and Alasdair Stuart

Hey folks, welcome to an Escape Artists metacast. I’m Marguerite Kenner. And I’m Alasdair Stuart.

For those of you who have never heard a metacast before, think of this like a mini State of the Union address, a way for us to update you about what’s been happening at EA. The big thing is our news that EA now stands for the Escape Artists Foundation — we’ve become a nonprofit. We want to share with you how we got there, answer some questions, and explain what it means for you. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 850: A Short Trip Home


A Short Trip Home

By F. Scott Fitzgerald


I was near her, for I had lingered behind in order to get the short walk with her from the living room to the front door. That was a lot, for she had flowered suddenly and I, being a man and only a year older, hadn’t flowered at all, had scarcely dared to come near her in the week we’d been home. Nor was I going to say anything in that walk of ten feet, or touch her; but I had a vague hope she’d do something, give a gay little performance of some sort, personal only in so far as we were alone together.

She had bewitchment suddenly in the twinkle of short hairs on her neck, in the sure, clear confidence that at about eighteen begins to deepen and sing in attractive American girls. The lamp light shopped in the yellow strands of her hair.

Already she was sliding into another world — the world of Joe Jelke and Jim Cathcart waiting for us now in the car. In another year she would pass beyond me forever. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 849: Two Black Bottles


Two Black Bottles

by Wilfred B. Talman & H.P. Lovecraft


Not all of the few remaining inhabitants of Daalbergen, that dismal little village in the Ramapo Mountains, believe that my uncle, old Dominie Vanderhoof, is really dead. Some of them believe he is suspended somewhere between heaven and hell because of the old sexton’s curse. If it had not been for that old magician, he might still be preaching in the little damp church across the moor. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 848: Browdean Farm

Show Notes

Check out ll the amazing things W.J. Walton is working on at AWKWARD LABS (http://www.awkward-labs.com) ?


Browdean Farm

by A.M. Burrage


Most people with limited vocabularies such as mine would describe the house loosely and comprehensively as picturesque. But it was more than beautiful in its venerable age. It had certain subtle qualities which are called Atmosphere. It invited you, as you approached it along the rough and narrow road which is ignored by those maps which are sold for the use of motorists.

In the language of very old houses it said plainly, ‘Come in. Come in.’

It said ‘Come in’ to Rudge Jefferson and me. In one of the front windows there was a notice, inscribed in an illiterate hand, to the effect that the house was to be let, and that the keys were to be obtained at the first cottage down the road. We went and got them. The woman who handed them over to us remarked that plenty of people looked over the house but nobody ever took it. It had been empty for years.

‘Damp and falling to pieces, I suppose,’ said Rudge as we returned.

‘There’s always a snag about these old places.’ (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 847: On the Isle of Blue Men

Show Notes

This story was later republished in the anthology LIGHTHOUSE HORRORS in 1993, edited by Charles Waugh, in which it was noted that Waugh found the original ending unsatisfying and felt it was originally bowdlerized by the editors of “Ghost Stories Magazine,” and so [quote] ”In this anthology, therefore, we have restored what we believe to have been the author’s original ending.” Well, we at PSEUDOPOD just can’t leave well enough alone and with extra special thanks to the tireless efforts of EA staffer Joshua Tuttle, we were able to obtain a scan of the original for a comparison. Oddly, what we’ve presented here is essentially a third edit (composed by co-editor Shawn Garrett) excising much if not all of the Waugh additions and fixing the small language changes back to their original form, while also stripping out the frame story that encased the original. We hope you enjoyed this previously overlooked tale of fishmen and lighthouse keepers. 



On The Isle of Blue Men

by Robert William Sneddon


Sometimes I sit for hours weighing myself in the balance of reason. Have I dreamed all this? Am I what I am, a castaway? Have I always been the creature, scarce human, whom the fishermen regard with pity and compassion, thinking me mad? Or have I really been John Scott of New York, the painter of pictures which hang in the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Corcoran Art Gallery of Washington, the Philadelphia Art Gallery, the Luxemburg of Paris? Surely knowing these names indicate my knowledge of art, yet were canvas and palette set before me I would hesitate to touch them. I shall never paint again.

I shrink from the task I have set myself. Can I bear to re-live those days of horror? And yet there is some power stronger than my puny will that prompts me to write, to assure myself I am still capable of sane and ordered thought I have begged pen, ink, and paper from the schoolmaster. He gave them to me as though to a child, and I felt his little eyes follow me with a strange surmise.

And when I have written, what then? What shall I have proved? I do not know— (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 846: Ye Goode Olde Ghoste Storie


Ye Goode Olde Ghoste Storie

by Anthony Boucher


‘‘But there ain’t no sech thing!” said Jed Hoskins’ old man forcefully.

‘‘No such thing as what?” queried the stranger with the black bag, who had justed seated himself near the group.

“Ha’nts,” Jed hastened to explain. ‘‘Grandad Miller there, he says the old Lawrence home’s ha’nt-ed, and my dad, he says it can’t be, ’cause there ain’t no ha’nts.”

“Aren’t there, though?” said the stranger, half to himself. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 845: 15 Eulogies Scribbled Inside a Hello Kitty Notebook


15 Eulogies Scribbled Inside a Hello Kitty Notebook

By Carlie St. George


February—Liam

I didn’t know him well. Nobody did, really: he was the new kid. But he was funny, and he was cute, and I probably would’ve said yes when he asked me out, except that’s when the gullet-eaters attacked, and he didn’t know not to scream. Stuff like gullet-eaters and werewolves and carnivorous pixies didn’t happen at his old school, I guess. Anyway, they ripped his throat out in seconds. Pulled out his esophagus. Chewed. His body twitched for a long time, arterial spray everywhere. It was a Tuesday, probably.

I think about Liam often, or at least whenever I study physics. The library couldn’t replace my blood-spattered textbook. Budget cuts, you know. (Continue Reading…)