Professor of creative writing at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Marjorie Sandor, talked about her latest work compiling stories from the deeply unsettling to the possibly supernatural and why we love tales that delve into our increasingly unstable sense of self, home, and planet. She theorized that scary stories seem to resonate more than films or television programs because reading is a solitary practice where "your imagination does all the creating." As such, she collected tales dating as far back as 1817's The Sandman by E.T.A. Hoffman and all the way up to modern times, "to see if I could follow this strain or virus that I think of as the uncanny."
As to what compels authors to write scary stories, she suggested that 19th century writers were working through internal anxieties about the speed that was emerging in society due to the Industrial Revolution. Additional contributing factors were cultural changes taking place such as people moving from farms and into cities as well as the rapid growth of the middle class. "These gorgeous ghost stories of that period," she said, "really emerge out of that anxiety." In light of the growing popularity of strange and unusual tales in modern times, Sandor speculated that perhaps a similar unease is settling over the population today as we are enveloped by the digital age and subconsciously feel like "we're not quite as ready as we think for all this perfection and speed."
Over the course of her appearance, Sandor shared a number of stories which can be found in her anthology, including one tale titled "On the River" by Guy de Maupassant. In this story, a fisherman ventures out onto a river one night and gets stranded on the water when his anchor gets stuck on something beneath the surface. As the night goes on, fog surrounds the boat and the sounds of nature begin to play tricks with his mind and frighten him. Morning soon arrives and, with it, another fisherman who helps him pull up the anchor. It is then that the obstruction is revealed to be the body of an old woman, ending the story on that chilling note. The conclusion of the tale exemplifies an overarching theme amongst all of the stories in the book, she said, where uncertainly prevails and it is left up to the reader to determine their own resolution to how the story ultimately unfolds.
Humanity & Evolution
In the first hour, bestselling author Juan Enriquez discussed how man is in a different phase of evolution and the future of life on the planet is now in our hands. He observed that the digital age has allowed for all of the languages on Earth to be reduced to a simple and universal binary 'language,' which breaks down previous barriers that existed between cultures. "This is a language that almost nobody spoke 30 years ago and today it's 99% of all the data transmitted," he marveled. Beyond that, he noted that technological advancements now allow for humans to re-write the genetic material of all species, including ourselves. Enriquez mused that this newfound ability constitutes "the greatest single power that human beings have ever had" and, thus, understanding how to properly yield it becomes our greatest responsibility.
Inter-tribal medicine man and longtime Coast to Coast AM guest, Red Elk, has passed away at the age of 73. He frequently appeared on the program to share Native American lore and wisdom as well as his visions of impending Earth Changes for the planet. As a tribute, we are featuring two free audio clips Calling All Thunderbirds/ Earth Changes & Mel's Hole from his previous appearances on Coast.