history

10 Historical Facts About Enochian - the Language of Angels and the Occult

The world has over 6,000 languages, but how often have you heard Enochian? The Enochian language is a researched but still mysterious form of communication allegedly handed down from the angels themselves. Named for the biblical figure Enoch, the Enochian language has become a means of magic for the world of the Occult, although its validity has come into question over the years.

Recently the Enochian language became a hot topic on The Confessionals, as a guest shared their experience discovering the language while on a secret military mission aboard a peculiar, checkerboard-patterned aircraft. (Take a listen to Episode 122: Secret Military Enochian Language to hear his unsettling account.) So how did the Enochian language develop, and does it still have relevance? Here are 10 historical facts that shed light on this alternately angelic and satanic language:

1) Enochian is an occult or angelic language that was recorded in the private journals of John Dee and his colleague Edward Kelley in late 16th-century England. Dee was a man of science-turned-magic seeker, and Kelley was a spirit medium who worked with Dee in his magical investigations. The men claimed that the mystical language was revealed to them by the Enochian angels. It is also referred to as Celestial Speech, Angelical, The First Language of God-Christ, and Adamical, because they believed it was the language first used by Adam and Eve - perhaps even the language God used to speak everything into being.

John Dee performing an experiment before Queen Elizabeth I. Oil painting by Henry Gillard Glindoni. 1913 (Wikimedia Commons)

2) Dr. John Dee, born in 1527, was an occultist, mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I who originally had little interest in the supernatural. Later on in his career, he became disillusioned with science and began experimenting with the occult. He believed he could recover lost spiritual wisdom in books of antiquity, among them the Book of Enoch.

3) The term Enochian comes from the Biblical figure Enoch. According to the Bible, Enoch lived 365 years before being taken up to Heaven - without dying. Genesis 5:24 says that he “walked with God” and Hebrews 11:5 states he “was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death.” He is one of two biblical figures, the other being the prophet Elijah, who left the Earth in this undead manner. John Dee believed Enoch was the last human to have known and used the language of angels.

4) In 1581, John Dee wrote in his personal journal that God had sent “Good Angels” to communicate directly with mankind. By the following year he was collaborating with seer and scryer Edward Kelley to communicate with these angels. They recorded hundreds of spirit conversations in their journals, including what they claimed was an angelic language called Enochian. composed of non-English letters, but bears very similar syntax and grammar to that of the English language.

The Enochian alphabet. Image from Temple Illuminatus.

5) According to Dee and Kelley, The Enochian Alphabet was revealed to them during their “scrying sessions”, when various texts and tables were received from angels.  Scrying is a technique used by seers, psychics, and sorcerers to foretell the future and involves gazing into a reflective surface to supernaturally receive messages from other entities.

6) There are two different versions of the Enochian Alphabet, with one script differing slightly from the other. The first version is found in Dee’s own journals, and the second, which is generally the more accepted version, is in the book Liber Loagaeth, which features Kelley’s original drawings of the Alphabet. Though Enochian is composed of non-English letters, it bears very similar syntax and grammar to that of the English language. The Enochian letters do have English letter equivalents, but some letters are pronounced the same as in English while others are not. Computer analysis has also shown Enochian to have a grammatical relationship to English. Unlike English, however, the Enochian script is written from right to left.

Necromancy: The art of conjuring the dead and communicating with them, image of John Dee and Edward Kelley. From Astrology (1806) by Ebenezer Sibly. ( Wikipedia.org)

7) Due to the loss of parts of John Dee’s original manuscripts over the decades, the meaning, validity, and authenticity behind the Enochian language has been called into question. There at some magicians that believe it to really be the oldest language in the world, predating all other human languages. Some circles consider it among the most powerful strains of magic and methods of contacting intelligences from other dimensions. Disbelievers in either magic or Enochian itself contest that the foundation of Enochian is so close to that of Dee and Kelley’s native English language that is it surely their own, and not a divine, invention. A number of linguists who studied it have noted discrepancies in Enochian that reveal it is not a consistent language.

8) More modern day occultists have also found it difficult to reconstruct the Enochian system, although progress has been made by studying the original manuscripts found in the Sir Hans Sloane collection. From these studies, there have emerged individuals and groups who have created a functional system of magic, including occultists like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, and founder of the church of Satan, Anton LaVey, who have used and popularized the Enochian language to certain extents.

9) In pop culture, the 1994 movie Stargate incorporated Enochian letters as the glyphs used to operate the arc angle. The Stargate film also focuses heavily on interstellar teleportation and ancient Egyptian culture. Interestingly, the movie debuted one year before the United States remote viewing program, known as “Stargate”, became public. 

An Enochian chess board, with symbols, created by The Game Crafter.

10) Another aspect of modern Enochian magic is Enochian chess. Enochian chess is both a game and a divination tool, derived from the original tablets of John Dee. It is a complex system that requires a strong foundation in the study of the Qabalah, Geomancy, Tarot, Alchemy, and Astrology. Chess, a game of ancient origins, has a debatably occult-related subtext as an elaborate and interconnected system of coded messages for those who are trained in its interpretation. To learn more about how the game of Chess relates to the occult, click here to read “Ask a Wizard: What is the Occult Secret of Chess?”

With this knowledge, it is even more interesting for us to note how in Episode 122, the guest describes the outside of the aircraft, in which he discovered the Enochian language in use, to be designed with a black checkerboard pattern. Was the outside of the aircraft itself a form of communication or identification for someone (or something) familiar with the Enochian system? For now the answer remains as mysterious as Enochian itself.

The information above was supplied by Bryan Hill’s article Enoch: The Mysterious Lost Language of Angels and Wikipedia.

NEWS: Scientists Believe DNA Has Finally Identified Jack the Ripper

After over 100 years of mystery and speculation, a team of scientists in the U.K. believes they have DNA proof that definitively identifies the legendary serial killer Jack the Ripper - and it appears he was a real-life Sweeney Todd, Demon Barber of Fleet Street.The breaking story originally from Fox News on March 18, 2019 continues below:

‘Forensic analysis by scientists in the U.K. may have unmasked Jack the Ripper more than a century after the murderer's brutal killing spree sent shockwaves through Victorian London.

Research by Dr. Jari Louhelainen, senior lecturer in molecular biology at Liverpool John Moores University and Dr. David Miller, reader in molecular andrology at the University of Leeds, claims to shed new light on the notorious serial killer. In an abstract of their research published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, Louhelainen and Miller explained they used what is, to their knowledge, the only remaining physical evidence linked to the murders, recovered from one of the Ripper's famous victims at the scene of her death.

Jack the Ripper is thought to have claimed the lives of at least five women in the Whitechapel area of London between August and November 1888. However, the identity of the notorious murderer remains shrouded in mystery.

Science Magazine reports that the scientists analyzed a blood-stained shawl from Catherine Eddowes, the fourth of the so-called "canonical five" Jack the Ripper victims. Eddowes was killed on Sept. 30, 1888, and her badly mutilated body was found on Whitechapel's Mitre Square.

Aaron Kosminski (or Jack the Ripper?)

The scientists' genetic testing linked Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old Polish barber living in London, to the crimes, according to Science Magazine. Although identified as a Jack the Ripper suspect, police are said to have lacked sufficient evidence to charge Kosminski for the murders.

"We applied novel, minimally destructive techniques for sample recovery from forensically relevant stains on the evidence and separated single cells linked to the suspect, followed by phenotypic analysis," say the scientists, in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. "The mtDNA [mitochondrial DNA] profiles of both the victim and the suspect matched the corresponding reference samples, fortifying the link of the evidence to the crime scene."

Mitochondrial DNA is often described as the "powerhouse of the cell."

Kosminski had been identified by a witness to one of the Jack the Ripper killings, although the witness refused to testify against him, experts say.

However, the latest research claims to back up the witness who pointed the finger at Kosminski.

"Genomic DNA from single cells recovered from the evidence was amplified, and the phenotypic information acquired matched the only witness statement regarded as reliable," said Louhelainen and Miller, in the abstract. "To our knowledge, this is the most advanced study to date regarding this case."

Science Magazine reports that, while Kosminski has been linked to the horrific crimes before, this is the first time that the DNA evidence has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More extensive information on the research will be released later this year. "The full story that the paper, and new revealing graphic evidence relating to the case, will be published in September," explained Liverpool John Moores University, in a statement emailed to Fox News.’

Is Aaron Kosminski truly the Demon Barber of Whitechapel? It has long been speculated that Jack the Ripper possessed some kind of medical knowledge due to the way he cut apart his victims. But it is also possible that a barber, responsible for precisely cutting hair and shaving faces (and necks), would have similar handy skills when wielding sharp implements like scissors or a blade. For centuries there were even so-called “barber surgeons,” who were exactly what they sounded like - barbers with limited medical knowledge who performed surgical procedures, from tooth-pulling to bloodletting to limb amputation. Though the practice of barber surgeons was largely ended in the early 19th century, could Aaron Kosminski have studied their methods, and applied them to carrying out gruesome serial killings?

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Another interesting detail is the timing of the killings, which is still up for debate. Though the canonical number of murders committed by Jack the Ripper is five, all in 1888, Whitechapel actually saw 11 brutal and unexplained murders which finally ended in 1891. Also in 1891, suspect Kosminski was admitted to an insane asylum. He would remain in asylums until his death in 1919, reportedly suffering from auditory hallucinations, a paranoid fear of being fed by other people, and a refusal to bathe. Could he be responsible for any, or all, of the Whitechapel murders?

With so many years elapsed between Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror and the modern day investigations into his identity, it may be that not even DNA can conclusively solve his mystery. But it certainly does not stop us from continuing to speculate, theorize, and find ourselves morbidly fascinated by this unknown killer of legendary proportions. Was Jack the Ripper really Aaron Kosminski, or is the identity of the true murderer still at large? Share your own theories with us in the comments!

Opera Ghosts: Echoes of the Rhoads Opera House Fire

On the corner of South Washington Street and East Philadelphia Avenue in Boyertown, Pennsylvania is a red brick building. Three stories tall and largely unadorned, it doesn’t stand out from its neighbors, blending in to blocks of similarly-styled buildings without a second glance. Small shops rotate through the ground floor, while apartment dwellers come and go through its top two tiers. Except for a commemorative plaque hung on the front of the building, one would never know that on this particular site, 171 people died in a single night. 

The Rhoads Opera House in ruins.

Although the history of deadly disasters in the United States seems to widely overlook this small-town horror, Boyertown itself has never forgotten the shocking tragedy that was the Rhoads Opera House Fire

The Rhoads Opera House Fire

On the evening of January 13, 1908, over 300 theatergoers and 50 actors gathered at the Rhoads Opera House for the opening night of a production called “The Scottish Reformation.” The term “opera house” was a bit of a misnomer, as the theater only comprised the second floor of the commercial Rhoads building in which it was located. Though the venue was in fact small compared to its grand name, the play was eagerly attended by the hundreds, and featured the latest slide projection technology and dramatic staging effects. Through an unintended tragedy of errors, it was this new technology that served as the catalyst for the catastrophe to come.

The Rhoads commercial building before the fire.

While the rapt audience waited for the play’s third act to begin, an inexperienced projectionist with only two days of training mistakenly turned a wrong valve on the projector, which then hissed and startled a few theatergoers seated nearby. Hearing commotion in the audience, several actors raised the curtain to see what was the matter. When they did, they tipped over a kerosene lamp that had been set on the stage for extra lighting. The overturned lamp immediately started a small fire, but theater personnel quickly responded to tamp down the flames. With the fire nearly extinguished, some of the men in the front row decided to move another kerosene tank, kept under the stage, that fueled the theater’s footlights… as a safety precaution.  The decision proved deadly when the tank’s framework broke, dumping the tank of kerosene across the stage and igniting the small fire into an inferno.

In seconds, the stage became a virtual tinderbox. Its curtains burst into flames, quickly followed by the wainscoting of the 12-foot ceiling, until the entire auditorium was engulfed in “waves” of fire.  Frantic audience members scrambled towards the main exit, only to find themselves trapped inside when the panicked crush of people tried pushing against doors that opened inward. Although the second floor contained two window fire escapes, they were unmarked and located three feet off the ground, nearly unidentifiable amidst the chaos. Chairs, debris, and bodies made the auditorium a maze of obstacles that blocked exits and cost precious time getting to safety. When one of the main exit doors was finally broken open, some victims were trampled to death as the crowd stampeded forward, while others fell to their deaths down the building’s staircase. Still others jumped from windows to the ground below, and not everyone survived the attempt. But most of all, trapped theatergoers burned alive. While many people did manage to escape outside, nearly 200 men, women, and children perished while the fire raged. 

After the fire.

Smoking rubble after the fire.

Hours later, when the very literal smoke finally cleared, the full scale of the fiery tragedy was revealed. With a death toll of 171 people - 170 who attended the play and one firefighter - the little community of Boyertown had shockingly lost one-tenth of its population. In a few cases, entire families - husbands, wives, children - had died in the opera house blaze. Two-thirds of the dead victims were women and children, leading some to surmise that the men in attendance had abandoned them to fend for safety by themselves. When rescue workers entered the burned-out building, they discovered bodies piled six feet deep at the top of the stairway, where the surging crowd had bottlenecked and trapped themselves inside. Because of the overwhelming number of bodies, three makeshift morgues had to be set up in surrounding buildings, while the remaining town worked to identify the victims and cope with the sudden, shocking loss of life.

“Main entrance of Opera House after fire Boyertown, PA, Jan. 08”

Another angle of the fire’s aftermath.

A line of residents looking for loved ones among the bodies of the fire victims.

In the days that followed the disaster, 15,000 people converged on Boyertown to attend dozens upon dozens of funerals. The renowned Boyertown Burial Casket Company, which was to become one of the largest casket manufacturers in the world, was hard pressed to meet the sudden demand for its products and its gravediggers, and had also lost a few of its own workers who had attended that doomed performance of “The Scottish Reformation.” In an unfunny twist of fate, those workers had unknowingly crafted the coffins they would be buried in. Over 100 new graves were dug in Boyertown’s already large Fairview Cemetery, including a common grave for 25 victims whose remains were so badly charred they could not be individually identified. While the town mourned in earnest, the theater fire made headlines across the country, and spurred new legislation for fire safety laws in Pennsylvania. There seemed to be no one in the town who had not been in some way affected by the Rhoads Opera House Fire.

”Interior of Opera House after fire Boyertown PA Jan 08”

An enhanced version of the photo above: “Victims of Opera House fire Boyertown PA Jan, 08”.

Thousands gather in Boyertown after the fire to identify loved ones and attend funerals.

“Preparing for the burial Opera House fire victims Boyertown PA Jan. 13, 08.” More and more graves being added to Fairview Cemetery.

OPERA GHOSTS

Even after 111 years, traces of the tragedy have always remained. To many in the local area, Boyertown is considered one of the most haunted small towns in America. Between its historic buildings dating back to the 1700s, the looming specter of the Boyertown Burial Casket Company (which operated until 1988), and the imposing Fairview Cemetery with its approximately 7,000 graves, there is little doubt that the town is home to all kinds of paranormal activity. There is also no doubt that a significant amount of that paranormal activity has been attributed to the horrific theater tragedy that claimed so many lives. From nearly the very night of the deathly fire, the Rhoads Opera House ghost stories began. 

”Ruins of the Opera House Boyertown PA Jan, 08”.

”Digging the grave for the unidentified after Opera House Fire, Boyertown, PA Jan 13, 08”.

Following the fire, while the ruins of the building still smoked, police were called to the scene to remove an elderly man from the wreckage. He told the responding officers that his dead wife’s ghost had called him to that specific spot on the site, to talk to her a final time.  

Workers attempt to remove and identify bodies after the Boyertown theater fire.

Officers were further called out to the ruins on multiple occasions, for weeks following the event, because residents and passersby claimed they could hear screams and cries coming from inside the building’s hull. A woman who lived nearby also claimed that spirits of the dead victims had taken over her house, though details of her paranormal experiences have not emerged. 

The Boyertown theater fire making headlines.

”Scene at the temporary morgue after Opera House fire Boyertown PA Jan 08”.

The sound of on-site screaming has continued to recur, for years, along with investigations of moaning and strange noises coming from inside Fairview Cemetery. Although the remnants of the Rhoads Opera House building were torn down and rebuilt a few years after the fire, the haunting experiences live on. A present-day resident who lived across the street from the old Opera House shared, “I’ve lived here my entire life and have heard so many ghost stories about the building. One old resident of the apartments there swore that every year around the same time a woman dressed in fine clothes would walk through the apartment, proclaiming to be late for the play.” Still another resident reported that, when the new building housed a dance studio sometime after the fire, the younger girls refused to use one of the dance rooms because it was “full of ghosts.” Even the area surrounding the fire site bears invisible traces of tragedy, with some believing that the victims who were placed in the makeshift morgues never truly left. 

A covered body is removed from a second story window.

“After Opera House Fire Jan 13, 08. Boyertown PA” - a devastating look at the victims laid out in temporary morgues.

Thousands attend funerals for the Rhoads Opera House Victims in Fairview Cemetery.

An artist captures the scene as victims of the Rhoads Opera House fire are taken to Fairview Cemetery for burial.

The Mansion House Hotel in the early 1900s.

Present-day Durango’s Saloon.

The most notoriously haunted of these morgues is probably Durango’s Saloon, a present-day bar located one block from the fire site, in what was formerly the Mansion House Hotel. It was in the basement of the Mansion House Hotel where rescue workers laid out corpses pulled from the Opera House rubble. Today, Durango’s Saloon still seems to be rife with paranormal activity, from shadowy figures glimpsed out the corners of eyes, to items being moved or pushed over, to strange mists appearing in photographs. The bar’s owner once even found himself locked in his walk-in freezer when its large, heavy door inexplicably slammed closed behind him. When local paranormal investigator Scott Wiley conducted his own investigation in Durango’s Saloon, he reportedly captured some compelling EVPs during his three nights in the bar. During one session Wiley asked aloud, “Who’s there?” and says he caught the whispery but distinct reply of “Binder.” Research of the area uncovered that a Henry Binder was in fact the proprietor of the old Mansion House Hotel in the early 1900s - until he was killed in the Rhoads Opera House fire. Binder’s body was buried up the street in Fairview Cemetery, but his spirit, it seems, lingered behind.

With the horror of the Opera House fire impacting so many people, for so many years, there is probably no shortage of those who can share a ghostly story about the theater fire, or about haunted Boyertown itself. I have a few stories of my own.

My haunted Boyertown house

Part of Fairview Cemetery today.

Listeners of The Confessionals may recall the very early Episode 3: “Hatman and Ghostly Interactions”, where I shared with Tony a number of spooky and paranormal occurrences that I experienced while living in several different homes. The home where I had the majority of my eerie experiences was an old Victorian, built in 1900, located on the same road as the Opera House fire site (0.4 miles away to be exact). In even closer proximity was the huge, somber Fairview Cemetery, barely 400 feet away and visible from the house. My elementary school bus stop was actually directly in front of the cemetery entrance... not exactly the most inviting of places to hang around when you are 5-to-10-years old! I remember walking through the cemetery on some occasions and being confounded by the sight of old, ornate gravestones marking the burial places of children who were my own age and even younger - how could they have lost their lives so early?

My elementary school bus stop.

Though I was too little at the time to be familiar with Boyertown’s history, the ghostly impression that Victorian house left on me has drawn me to learn more about the home, hoping to uncover a possible reason behind what, to me, was its pervading sense of spookiness, punctuated by unexplained events and fearful feelings. One experience in particular, which gives Episode 3 its name, was the very brief but distinct sighting of a hatted shadow figure watching me from a doorway. Though the glimpse was quick, the figure was clear: a featureless shadow man, bearing the silhouette of a tail coat, higher collar, and top hat. He never appeared again, but I have always wondered about what I saw. That wonder has led to my amateur research uncovering a tenuous but tangible connection between my old home and the Rhoads Opera House Fire. 

The doorway (left) in my old home where I glimpsed a shadow figure in a tail coat and top hat. At that time the doorway did not have any attached doors; these were added by a later owner.

Through archived newspaper articles, I recently discovered that a man named Leon E. Mayer lived in the same house that I did, in at least the late 1930s and early 1940s. Further records revealed that at around 15 years of age, Mr. Mayer lost both his father and his sister in the 1908 disaster. Dr. Charles Eugene Mayer and his 18-year-old daughter Gwendolyn were in attendance at “The Scottish Reformation” when the fire broke out. According to a Reading Eagle article published on the 100th anniversary of the fire, “Mayer fought off smoke and flames to reach his wife and carry her to safety outside the building. Then, he went back in to rescue his daughter. It’s not known whether Mayer found his daughter amid the smoke and flames, but neither made it out.” After their deaths, Dr. Mayer and Gwendolyn were buried in Fairview Cemetery. 

Dr. Charles Mayer. March 18, 1863 - January 13, 1908.

Gwendolyn Mayer. September 30, 1889 - January 13, 1908.

As of yet, I haven’t found the key detail that I’d like to know - who lived in my creepy old house at the time of fire? - but this little revelation about the Mayer family is still intriguing. Leon Mayer and his family, like so many families in Boyertown in 1908, suffered a tragic loss that would forever be attached to those left behind with their grief. Did Leon Mayer carry a piece of his grief with him while he resided in the home where I used to live? Did it manifest in the strange activity that I experienced? Was it his likeness that appeared in shadow form in my living room doorway? Or does the figure date back even further - was it is an echo of Dr. Charles Mayer, lost to the Opera House fire just down the road? I can’t say with any certainty whether Leon Mayer moved in to my former home well after the fire, or if it was his family home where he had once also lived with his father and sister; I can only speculate and theorize while I continue to dig into small-town history. But even if my paranormal experiences in the Boyertown house are not at all related to the the former Mayer family residents, there is still the fact that the town lost a tenth of its inhabitants in the Rhoads Opera House Fire, and touched nearly every family with its devastation. There is a strong possibility that whoever did live in my home in 1908 bore their own personal connection to the fire, and, perhaps, left a residual force behind them.

Again - this is pure speculation based on a few thinly related facts. But one other thing that stands out to me now is the appearance of that shadow figure in the doorway. Reports from the night of January 13, 1908 recorded that Boyertown’s theatergoers were “dressed in their Sunday best.” “Sunday best,” for a man in the early 1900s, was unquestionably a tail coat, collar, and top hat… a uncanny match for the shadow man who appeared in my circa 1900 home, only blocks away from the Rhoads Opera House.

With only the few historical facts I’ve found so far and my own experiences to consider, I can’t help but wonder…

THE LEGACY OF THE RHOADS OPERA HOUSE FIRE

While looking into my previous home’s history, I found one other story that caught my attention, not only because it further involves the Mayer family, but because it also reveals how quickly after the Boyertown fire its ghostly legacy seems to have begun. The story comes from Dr. Charles Mayer’s own grandson - not from Leon Mayer, but the child of his younger son - and was published on his blog in 2012. In it he recounts how his father woke on the night of the fire to the sound of the hall clock. Strangely, he says, the clock chimed not 12, but 13 times. The next morning, he was confronted with the terrible truth that his father, Dr. Mayer, and sister Gwendolyn would not be coming home again.

A current view of the site of the Rhoads Opera House fire.

Although details in the full story differ from other records (something to be expected as more and more years separate us from the original inciting event), it is clear that the tragedy of 1908 is still leaving its mark. Generations later, families are still affected by who was lost, and a town is forever different because of what transpired. Today the site of the Rhoads Opera House fire is occupied by offices, apartments, and a cozy secondhand bookshop. The fire and the death it brought are over one hundred years in the past. But for anyone who has heard the echoes of the screams from the Boyertown building on the corner of Philadelphia Avenue and Washington Street, the dead may not be altogether gone.

The plaque on the former site of the Rhoads Opera House - “Dedicated to the 171 people who perished within these walls in the tragic fire of January 13, 1908”.

“To the Memory of The Unidentified in the Boyertown Catastrophe Jan. 13, 1908.”

“Rhoads Opera House Fire: A disastrous fire destroyed the theater that stood at Philadelphia Ave. & Washington St. on Jan. 13, 1908. It claimed 170 victims, many buried here, due to overcrowding, poorly designed and unmarked exits, and inadequate fire escapes. The tragedy prompted the Pa. General Assembly to enact fire safety laws and improve construction and inspection standards, making public buildings safer and influencing similar legislation in other states.”

For more information about Boyertown and its haunted history, contact the Boyertown Area Historical Society. To hear my own haunted experiences of Boyertown and other homes in Pennsylvania, listen to The Confessionals Podcast Episode 3: Hatman and Ghostly Interactions on your favorite podcatcher.