Episode 3.1 The Key

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Episode 3.1 – The Key is now available where ever you listen to podcasts, including iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. First time listening? You can start with Series 1, Episode 1. Subscribe to stay up to date as the mystery unfolds. After listening to Series 3, Episode 1, listeners are encouraged to explore companion materials below.

During this first episode, Ricky Rawls talks about his experience at Ray’s Stream in Barton. Ray’s Stream is an offshoot of the Androscoggin River.

According to the Androscoggin River Watershed Council website, “The Androscoggin flows for nearly 170 miles, beginning at Lake Umbagog on the Maine/New Hampshire border, continuing south through northern New Hampshire, heading east through western Maine, then turning south again before joining with the Kennebec in Merrymeeting Bay and emptying into the Atlantic.  It has a rich geological and human history.  Having once been rated as one of the most polluted rivers in the country, it served as the inspiration for the Clean Water Act and now boasts great fishing, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities.  The Androscoggin River Watershed Council encourages collaboration among industry, conservation groups, landowners, and other interests to ensure that the Androscoggin continues to be a healthy asset to the communities on its banks and the wildlife it supports.”

Also the episode deals with an album called Philosophy of World by The Shaggs. While the album contained turned out to be a mystery, I strongly suggest listening to the original recording. Here are both sides of the album:

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Thanks to Ricky Rawls, Tom Alligost, and my wife Carol for making this episode possible. Thanks also to Prom Queen, Ben Von Wildenhaus, Benjamin Aldridge, and Fo(u)r Hands for providing the music. Thanks also to Ryan Fitton, Jeremy Murphy, and Larry Doyle for the support.

Sincerely,

John Herman

 

Episode 2.6 The Last Call

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(The Runaway, Norman Rockwell 1958)

Episode 2.6 – The Last Call is now available where ever you listen to podcasts, including iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. First time listening? You can start with Series 1, Episode 1. Subscribe to stay up to date as the mystery unfolds. After listening to Series 2, Episode 6, listeners are encouraged to explore companion materials below.

I am not going to write as much as my brother usually does. All I want to say is thank you for the outreach of well wishers as my family deals with my brother’s situation. I found an animated short film of the poem my brother recited at the end of this episode. I can’t say it makes me feel any better, but perhaps it will give people insight into the complexities of life that fascinate him. Click on the image below to view it on Youtube.

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Thank you to the New Hampshire State Police. Thank you also to Joey Costa for allowing me to record his thoughts.

Thank you to Rudy Sims, Prom Queen, and Ben Von Wildenhaus for the music, which I found on my brothers laptop. Thank you also to Laura Scafati and David Chevalier for helping me put this audio statement together.

Sincerely,

Thalia

 

Episode 2.5 – The Owl in the Fountain

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(The Married Priest or the Hesitation Waltz by Rene Magritte)

Episode 2.5 – The Owl in the Fountain is now available where ever you listen to podcasts, including iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. First time listening? You can start with Series 1, Episode 1. Subscribe to stay up to date as the mystery unfolds. After listening to Series 2, Episode 5, listeners are encouraged to explore companion materials below.

For this episode I spent a lot of time at the Barton Public Library. Built in 1892, the Barton Public Library sits in the town square. The library is one of 234 libraries in the state of New Hampshire. In fact, not only does New Hampshire have a library for each of its 234 communities, but it is home to the oldest state library in the country. Check out this report from NHPR, New Hampshire’s NPR local affiliate, on the state library’s 300th birthday.

The library is the setting for a humble stakeout I conduct in order to meet my supposed double, someone locals have been seeing regularly at various locations around town. The appearance of a double, or doppelgänger (German for double walker or goer), is a subject that has been written about or alluded to throughout human history.

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Edgar Allan Poe’s 1839 story “William Wilson” describes a ghostly double. Poe’s birthday (January 19), and much of the story narrator’s description of his boyhood days resembles the author’s own life, right down to the name of the school William Wilson attends as a child. Here is a link to the story in its entirety.

Another story of a ghostly double is the equally famous novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Double, most recently adapted for the cinema by director Richard Ayoade. Click the poster below to view the trailer.

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Thanks to Josh Strickens, Sarah Fillingate, Tammy Moreleck, and the librarian at the Barton Public Library for making this episode possible. I’m afraid I got the librarian’s permission to record her voice, but I did not get her name. Thanks also to Tori Miller of Four Hands, Prom Queen, and Ben Von Wildenhaus for providing the music. Thanks also Shawn Crapo, Angel Smith, Marina Altschiller, and Tara Mcdonough for the support.

Sincerely,

John Herman

Episode 2.4 -Reynolds and Johnson

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Episode 2.4: Reynolds and Johnson is now available where ever you listen to podcasts, including iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. First time listening? You can start with Series 1, Episode 1. Subscribe to stay up to date as the mystery unfolds. After listening to Series 2, Episode 4, listeners are encouraged to explore companion materials below.

This episode references Samuel Johnson, the poet, satirist, critic, and lexicographer  born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, on September 18, 1709. Detail of the painting referred to in the episode can be seen above. The full painting is below.

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And here is a list of the original members of the Club:

  • Dr Samuel Johnson
  • Sir Joshua Reynolds
  • Mr Edmund Burke
  • Dr Christopher Nugent
  • Mr Topham Beauclerk
  • Mr Bennet Langton
  • Dr Oliver Goldsmith
  • Mr Anthony Chamier
  • Sir John Hawkins

If you’ve listened to the episode, then you know that I am especially interested in the second name on that list. Is it our Reynolds? I don’t know, but there is certainly something going on here. Here is a link to a student project on the Club that is very informative. It includes a waxwork relief of the Club’s original members as well as the exact locations of their meetings over the years. And here is a nearly hour long video that cycles through 434 paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Thanks to my sister Thalia, Police Chief Roger Talkens of the Barton Police Department, and Professor Clyde Northworth for making this episode possible. Thanks also to Ross Boyd, Prom Queen, and Ben Von Wildenhaus for providing the music. Thanks also Shawn Crapo, Laura Scafati, Paul Bellfeuie, and Jon Briggs for the support.

Josh Strickens, if you are out there listening, then please consider contacting me. I have some questions.

Sincerely,

John Herman

Episode 2.3 – Kenneth, What is the Frequency?

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Episode 2.3: Kenneth, What is the Frequency? is now available where ever you listen to podcasts, including iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. First time listening? You can start with Series 1, Episode 1. Subscribe to stay up to date as the mystery unfolds. After listening to Series 2, Episode 3, listeners are encouraged to explore companion materials below.

This episode takes place the night of a full moon, which leads to a very bad decision. The full moon has been attributed to many bad decisions throughout history. In fact there are several names for the effect the full moon has on one’s behavior. According to an article in Scientific American entitled “Lunacy and the Full Moon,” “Greek philosopher Aristotle and Roman historian Pliny the Elder suggested that the brain was the ‘moistest’ organ in the body and thereby most susceptible to the pernicious influences of the moon, which triggers the tides. Belief in the ‘lunar lunacy effect,’ or ‘Transylvania effect,’ as it is sometimes called, persisted in Europe through the Middle Ages, when humans were widely reputed to transmogrify into werewolves or vampires during a full moon.”

This episode gets its name from Dan Rather’s experience in 1986 when he was attacked by a stranger who would later be convicted of murder. This same individual later told his psychiatrist that he was a time traveler from a parallel world in the year 2265. The assailant served 25 years in prison, was released in 2010, and currently lives in NY. Mental Floss did a thorough post on these strange events as well as the pop culture fascination with it.

Here is Dan Rather as he looked one month before his attack:

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Thanks to my sister Thalia, Jason Sentry, Kurt Shanes, and Amy Connell for making this episode possible. Thanks also to Ross Boyd, Tori Miller of Four Hands, Prom Queen, and Ben Von Wildenhaus for providing the music. Thanks also Shawn Crapo, Laura Scafati, Chris Klemmer of the podcast New Hampshirecast,  Lindsay Verschueren, and Paul Verschueren for the support.

I conclude the story of my stay in Barton, New Hampshire in two weeks. Let’s talk then.

Sincerely,

John Herman

Episode 2.2 – Barton

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Episode 2.2: Barton is now available where ever you listen to podcasts, including iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. First time listening? You can start with Series 1, Episode 1 or you are welcome to start right from Series 2, Episode 1. It’s up to you. Subscribe to stay up to date as the mystery unfolds. After listening to Series 2, Episode 2, listeners are encouraged to explore companion materials below.

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One of the tracks heard during this episode was composed especially for the program by New Hampshire musician Ross Boyd, a dedicated music educator, engineer, and composer. Ross’s creativity abounds whether in the teaching studio, the recording studio, or working on original musical projects. Check him out by clicking the image for his latest album below:

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This is the first episode to recount the events that happened during my Barton High School 20th class reunion. During my next episode, things will get strange. Like I said in the episode, I am not sure I will ever understand what happened.

Thanks to my sister Thalia, Sarah Fillingate, Alfred P. Daniels, Jason Sentry, and Carol Smith for making this episode possible. Thanks also to Ross Boyd, Prom Queen, and Rudy Sims for providing the music. Thanks also Laura Scafati, Chris Klemmer of New Hampshirecast,  and Angel Smith for the support.

Let’s talk in two weeks.

Sincerely,

John Herman

Episode 2.1 – The Pineapple

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Episode 2.1: The Pineapple is now available where ever you listen to podcasts, including iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. First time listening? You can start with Series 1, Episode 1 or you are welcome to start right from Series 2, Episode 1. It’s up to you. Subscribe to stay up to date as the mystery unfolds. After listening to Series 2, Episode 1, listeners are encouraged to explore companion materials below.

As explained in the episode, this audio project was inspired by a mysterious pineapple that I discovered drawn on the hidden side of the index card that was fastened to a box I inherited from a missing acquaintance. The pineapple is a very common motif. In fact, there are countless images to be found on Pinterest that in some way resemble the pineapple alluded to in Episode 2.1. Click below to scroll through some of the pineapples people have collected.

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One of the music artists featured in this episode is Tory Miller, specifically from his collaborative project Fo(u)r Hands, but Tory is fairly prolific, releasing both solo work and collaborations with other very talented musicians. Check him out at ToryMillerMusic.com

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Check back to this site for more companion materials to the podcast as each episode is released. Future posts will include links and images to support your efforts to help me solve the mystery.

Thanks to my sister Thalia, Police Chief Ronald Talkens, Reggie Rogerstone, and Donhack Furniture for making this episode possible. In addition to Tory Miller, thanks to Rudy Sims, Prom Queen, and Ben Von Wildenhaus for providing the music.

Thanks also Laura Scafati and Matt Gold for the support.

Let’s talk in two weeks.

Sincerely,

John Herman