Fiction, Long Trail

Jack Tales: A Sneak Preview

What happens when you combine listening to too much true crime and a fondness for cryptozoology? Our next novel, for one. Jack Boone, podcaster of the paranormal, for two. In the Appalachian town of Clear Holler, armed only with a microphone, an EMF detector, and a dangerously open mind, Jack is on the hunt for high strangeness – and a murderer. Even if the only person available to help her solve the mystery is the ghost of the victim herself.

Jack’s story is still in process, but her tracklist is available for snooping.

Jack Tales Episode 21 – Burning Man

A man stumbling from the woods, horribly burned, his hair and clothes still smoldering, to beg a passing hiker for help is the opening to a campfire story that’s been told and retold up and down the Appalachian trail for a decade. In this episode, I’m going to tell it again but with a twist; I know who ‘The Scorched Man’ really was. 

Jack Tales Episode 22 – When the Moon Hits Your Eye

Cherokee tradition says that they weren’t the first inhabitants of Appalachia. Those would be ‘the moon-eyed people’, a mysterious group who saw poorly in daylight and may have been pale-skinned. But who, or what, were they? Another Native American culture? Welshmen? Or something else entirely? This episode includes interviews with my great-grandmother, a registered member of Cherokee Nation, as well as with Patton Brinks, a senior UFOnaut. 

Jack Tales Episode 23 – Village of the Damned

Rotten foundations and empty tater holes are all that remains of Dudleytown. Well, that and the ghosts. But why did Dudleytown fail? Was it simply a lack of quality farmland and clean water? Or can we trace the town’s history of madness and failed harvests to a legacy of treason and a curse that followed the Dudley family all the way across the Atlantic?

Jack Tales Episode 24 – Black Cat

This week on Jack Tales, we’re hunting for traces of Felis nigra, the black cougar of Appalachia. Although there has never been a confirmed sighting, black cougars feature prominently in Choctaw folklore. What lies behind the myth? Featuring an interview with Dr. Zadie Shue, a wildlife biologist from Marshall University. 

Jack Tales Episode 25 – Brownsville Goblins Part 1

In which I receive an email from someone claiming to have a unique pest problem: Strange, large eyed creatures in their backyard, leaving three-toed footprints, killing chickens, and scaring the children. Stranger still is what happens when I try to locate the sender of this email.

Jack Tales Episode 26 – Brownsville Goblins Part 2

With the first stage of my quest to find the Brownville goblins ending in dead ends and an abandoned house, I turn to legends of the ‘little men’ that have dogged this area for generations. Could these be related to the infamous Hopkinsville Goblins? Is there a connection to the orbs locals sometimes see glowing above the trees? And what about the warren of caves that runs beneath Brownsville and Hopkinsville both?

Jack Tales Episode 27 – Brownsville Goblins Part 3

In which I voyage to the heart of Brown Mountain in search of answers, and find something far more terrifying – and unexpected – than any goblin. BONUS interview with Fern Derenberger, occultist, who performed the EVP experiment with me in Episode 26 and may be the closest we come to hearing the voice of the goblins. 

Jack Tales Episode 28 – A Ghost of a Chance

After our trip to Brownsville, we’re sticking local with a Clear Holler classic; the ballad of Barclay Down. Barclay was a drunk and a gambler who always said that when the devil came to claim him, he wouldn’t make it easy. Facts are he was found dead drunk and regular dead too with an empty revolver. Legend is that he challenged Lucifer himself to a game of Russian Roulette. Rumor is, if you go to his old shack at the dark of the moon, he’ll challenge you too. 

Middletown Valley Register, February 1909.
Middletown Valley Register, February 1909

Jack Tales Episode 29 – Smell You After, Snallygaster

What floats like a butterfly and screams like a locomotive? Throw in feathers, scales, a razor-sharp beak and tentacles, and you have the snallygaster, a creature which has sucked the blood of German immigrants, terrorized fleeing slaves, taken jabs at a US Senator and drawn the ire of President Roosovelt. Let’s see if we can achieve what Teddy never did and run this monster to ground. 

Jack Tales Episode 30 – Chasing Cars

After centuries stalking the backwoods, frightening folk off their horses, the black dog known as the Snarly Yow has adapted to the 21st century better than most cryptids and my grandma too. Now he spends his nights chasing motorists down the US 40. After failing to find a black cougar, will this hunt go better? 


 

(Stay tuned for deep dives into our favorite episodes! Follow the Long Trail Fiction tag for more to come.)

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