30 Oct / 2018

Of Monsters & Men: Halloween Special


One of the children of Petrus Gonsalvus

What makes a man a man? Join all three of Horrific History’s co-hosts for this new special Halloween episode as we go back in history to look at one of the times scholars and religious leaders asked this very question! When unexpected visitors come knocking and ask for a fright, Curtis regales us with his cryptid and folklore knowledge with historical impact from the middle ages. A creature from legend, reported to fight knights, bears, wolves and dragons captured the imagination of scholars who asked themselves, “What does it mean to be human?” Going through the centuries, a recurring theme shows up in artwork and literature- even in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight! Emulating this creature caused disaster for French royalty and nobles at a very special masquerade, called the Ball of Savages, when their celebration went up in flames and at least one guest was barbequed. The woodwose stay safely confined to legend until the late 16th Century, when in 1547 a boy with congenital hypertrichosis is given as a gift for King Henry II’s coronation; his name was Petrus Gonsalvus.


From Europe to the Americas, how are the ideas of woodwoses and Sasquatch related, if at all? How do our myths and legends, or even our moral questions and quandaries, have to change and adapt once confronted with reality? What’s more scary, truth or fiction? So sit back and enjoy this episode through one of your favorite podcast services (iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and more) while traveling to your next Halloween costume party; just remember, no squeam allowed. Join us again in two weeks when we release our next episode, trick or treat!


Some of our favorite resources:


Slideshow Photo Credit: This file has been provided by the British Library from its digital collections. It is also made available on a British Library website.
Catalogue entry: Harley 4380 This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less. PD-Art|PD-old

Blog Photo Credit: Portrait d’Antonietta par Lavinia Fontana, Portrait de Tonetta, v. 1583. Musée de Blois. (Antoinetta Gonsalvus, Wikimedia Commons)

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