Thursday, March 1, 2018

HGB Ep. 247 - Western Carolina University

Moment in Oddity - The Mellified Man

Li Shizhen was a Chinese pharmacologist living in 16th century China. He wrote a book titled "Compendium of Materia Medica," which was a medical tome about traditional Chinese medicine. In this book he wrote various accounts about something known today as Mellified Man. This was a mysterious practice in which a person of an older age would volunteer to be mummified in honey. The practice originated in Arabia and entailed saturating and embalming this volunteer with honey for the purpose of creating a mysterious all-healing confection. This process began while the person was still alive and continued in death. The volunteer would cease to eat regular food and subsist strictly on honey, even bathing in honey. It would take about a month for the person's urine, feces and sweat to be mostly made up of honey and eventually they would die. The corpse would be put inside of a special stone coffin that had been filled to the brim with honey. The stone was marked with the date of death and buried for 100 years. This would allow the corpse to become completely saturated and infused with honey. The body would be dug up and the concoction found inside the coffin would be sold on the streets as a medicinal cure-all. Steeping a human cadaver in honey to make a healing substance, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - King Kong Premieres in New York City

In the month of March, on the 2nd, in 1933, the original King Kong movie premieres in New York City. King Kong was directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack based on an idea that Cooper developed with Edgar Wallace. The screenplay was written by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose and starred Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot and Robert Armstrong. The premiere was a huge success and the film received rave reviews. Spoilers here, and if you haven't seen the film you need to rectify that, the story is set on Skull Island where a filmmaker has brought a crew to make a movie. They soon find out about King Kong, a giant ape. A group of natives on the island kidnap the lead actress, Ann Darrow, a give her to Kong as a sacrifice. Lots of harrowing adventure ensues culminating in King Kong being captured and brought to New York City to be put on display. He eventually escapes, scales the Empire State Building and falls to his death. When the director who captured him sees his body on the ground, he remarks, "It was Beauty who killed the Beast." The action parts in the film that featured King Kong were achieved with a revolutionary technique called stop-motion animation, which was pioneered by Willis O'Brien. The score for the film was orchestrated by Max Steiner and was considered groundbreaking. Although considered a monster movie, the Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally, historically and aesthetically significant" in 1991 and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Western Carolina University (Suggested by listener Sarah Hollingsworth)

Western Carolina University is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina. The small town is named for a legendary Cherokee warrior and the area has a strong connection to this tribe. The university is the fifth oldest in the UNC system and was established in 1889. What started off as a high school, grew to become a teaching school and then the university that it is today. As is the case with so many universities, it has seen its measure of death, some from tragic circumstances. This has left a spiritual residue in several of the buildings on campus. Our listener Sarah Hollingsworth is a former alum and tour guide for the school and she joins us to share the history and haunting experiences, including some of her own, at Western Carolina University. She also shares several of the legends from the area.

These legends are all very interesting and similar to ones told around the country. The hauntings at the university have been experienced by enough people that it does seem that some unexplained things are happening here. Is Western Carolina University haunted? That is for you to decide!

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