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Paranormal Pajama Party

Paranormal Pajama Party

Author: Steph Summar

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Isn't it weird how often the horrors in our favourite scary stories tend to look a lot like, uh… ladies? Join me as I dig up the social and cultural contexts behind classic ghost stories and legends to challenge the often one-dimensional portrayal of women in horror. 

25 Episodes
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Send me a text message!This episode is the long-promised part two of our exploration of “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was doing his thing In 19th-century America, at a time middle- and upper-class white women were being encouraged to join the "Cult of True Womanhood", which idealised women as pious, pure, submissive, and domestic, confining them to the private sphere while men dominated public life. It’s all very tradwife.Tonight on the podcast, we’ll examine h...
Send me a text message!Paranormal Pajama Party is pro-self-care. I mean, come on. Pajamas are right there in the name.To be kind to myself this week, I'm not releasing a new episode. Instead, I'm sharing an episode I wrote and produced for the other podcast I make – the one people actually pay me for.This is Monash University's What Happens Next?, episode 79: "Are Reproductive Rights Human Rights?". You'll never guess what the answer is. (You will, they are, please vote this November if you'r...
Send me a text message!When you think horror, you think of Edgar Allan Poe. His stories go hard on the eerie atmosphere, intricate plots, and unhinged characters.But it’s important to note that most of those characters are men. And among Poe’s female characters, two recurring traits stand out prominently: they’re usually beautiful, and they’re usually dead.This episode explores Poe's fixation with beautiful dead women, tracing it back to his tumultuous life and personal losses, including thos...
Send me a text message!The dark history of witch hunts has some unsettling parallels with modern misogynistic violence. Tonight’s episode continues our discussion on Heinrich Kramer’s witch-hunting manual, the “Malleus Maleficarum”, with a critical look at its legacy, especially as it relates to incel culture and the manosphere.We’ll examine the parallels between Kramer's misogynistic beliefs and the 2014 Isla Vista killings by Elliot Rodger, exploring the roots of violent ideologies in both ...
Send me a text message!Tonight we’re burning books! Well. Just one book. And it started it.We’re opening the pages of the “Malleus Maleficarum”, or Hammer of Witches, a 15th-century treatise on identifying, trying, and punishing witches. We get into the origins of the book and its misogynistic zealot of an author, Heinrich Kramer.I’m not saying Kramer's obsession with women's sexuality and his book's endorsement of torture and execution led directly to the deaths of tens of thousands of women...
Send me a text message!Last week on Paranormal Pajama Party, we met the monster girls of Greek mythology. This week, in part two of our monster girls series, we’re considering the representation of monstrous women in horror video games.Monster girls are female-coded creatures that blend human and monstrous elements, often portrayed as both alluring and terrifying. This duality reflects male anxieties about female sexuality and autonomy.We’ll explore the origins of monster girls in various myt...
Send me a text message!This week on “Paranormal Pajama Party”, we’re kicking off a two-part series on the fascinating and often unsettling “monster girl” trope. These characters are more than just staples of horror media and anime; they are complex symbols that reveal deep-seated societal fears and fantasies about women.Monster girls have long embodied dual roles as both objects of desire and figures of dread, reflecting and reinforcing patriarchal views about femininity and power.In today’s ...
Send me a text message!Tonight’s special guest is the ciguapa, a legendary creature from Dominican Republic folklore.At first glance, the ciguapa may seem like just another fantastical being, with her backward-facing feet, golden or blue skin, and mesmerising black eyes. But a closer examination reveals layers of meaning deeply intertwined with the history of the Dominican Republic and its diverse people.This episode of Paranormal Pajama Party traces the backwards footsteps of the ciguapa thr...
Send me a text message!Get ready to uncover the chilling mysteries surrounding the infamous Island of the Dolls.In this episode, we delve into the eerie tale of Don Julián Santana Barrera and his encounter with the spirit of a drowned young girl in the canals of Mexico City’s Xochimilco district.But why are dolls so inherently creepy? It's more than their lifelike appearance; it's the uncanny feeling they evoke, that unsettling mix of familiar and unfamiliar. And beneath the surface, there's ...
Send me a text message!Welcome back to Season 2 of “Paranormal Pajama Party”! I hope you’re as excited to dive back into these stories as I am.Set against the backdrop of Regency-era England (think “Bridgerton” and Jane Austen), this episode unravels the tragic story of Sarah Whitehead, a woman consumed by grief and desperation after the execution of her brother for forgery.We’ll explore the complexities of life for working-class and middle-class women during the Regency period – it’s not as ...
Send me a text message!Paranormal Pajama Party Season 2 trailerHey, boo. (Get it? Because ghosts?)It's me, Steph, and I'm delighted to announce that Paranormal Pajama Party is back for a second season, launching next week! Pull on your favourite pyjamas, grab a midnight snack or a warm drink, and join me for another round of spine-tingling stories and spirited discussions.Throughout this season, we'll explore topics and tales featuring female phantoms, villains and monsters from around the wo...
Send me a text message!The Tower of London, Part 2: Ghost of Anne Boleyn | 13Welcome back, as we continue our ghost tour of the Tower of London, focusing on the notorious female phantoms and femme fatales who have left an indelible mark on its history.In our previous episode, we met the Countess of Salisbury Margaret Pole, Lady Arbella Stuart, and England's nine-day queen, Lady Jane Grey. But tonight, we turn our attention to one of history's most enigmatic figures and one of the most famous ...
Send me a text message!Tonight, we’re throwing our pajama party in the iconic Tower of London, a historic fortress that has long captured the public imagination. Renowned for its rich and often dark history, the Tower of London symbolises power, intrigue, and mystery. It’s also supposed to be one of the most haunted sites in the world – and its most famous ghosts are female.In this episode, you’ll meet some of the ghostly apparitions said to roam its ancient corridors – Margaret Pole, Countes...
Send me a text message!Beatrice Cenci | 11The life of Beatrice Cenci, born into the noble Cenci family in 1577, is a tragic tale of abuse, desperation, and defiance. Subjected to unspeakable violence and cruelty at the hands of her father, Count Francesco Cenci, Beatrice orchestrated his murder alongside her family as a means of escape. Their plot, though successful, led to their arrest, torture, and eventual public execution in Rome.Beatrice's story has been immortalised in art and literatur...
Send me a text message!“Coraline” (Part 2) | 10Welcome back to part two of our discussion on the children's horror movie "Coraline". Tonight, we’re drawing on the works of Judith Butler, Barbara Creed, and Sigmund Freud to explore its themes of gender, power, and the uncanny. In this episode, we’ll talk about how the introduction of a male character in "Coraline". raises questions about the need for a male presence in female-driven stories.We’ll also take a look at the way gender is portrayed...
Send me a text message!Tonight on the podcast, we’re unravelling the chilling tale of Coraline Jones and her mother. No, not her mother. Her Other Mother. The one with the button eyes.Coraline – both the children’s movie and the novella – is the story of a girl battling for independence and identity. This battle is symbolic, sure, but it’s also literal – Coraline has to destroy the Other Mother from the mirror world hidden behind a tiny door.Tonight, we’re talking about Freudian psychology an...
Send me a text message!Felines, Females, and Fear | 8The relationship between women, cats, and darkness is as ancient as human civilisation itself – and that’s not just the toxoplasmosis parasites in my brain talking. Tonight, we’re diving deep into the connections between cats, women, and evil… or at least, male fear.The episode begins with a whirlwind meet-and-greet of cat goddesses of the ancient world, from Lilith to Bastet to Hecate, then shifts to early Christianity, where cats were ass...
Send me a text message!The Pontianak | 7The Pontianak is the Malay Peninsula’s fiercest – and most fearsome – phantom. She’s a vampire ghost known for her terrifying appearance and insatiable hunger for revenge.This powerful entity represents a fascinating tension between traditional mystical beliefs, contemporary Islamic culture, and Western scientific viewpoints in the region.Of course, her story also reflects the patriarchal societies she haunts. The legend of the Pontianak highlights the ...
Send me a text message!26.2.24Paranormal Pajama PartyThe Headless Mule | 6Tonight’s episode tells the story of Brazil’s headless mule, or mula sem cabeça, Argentina’s almamula, and their older sister, the muladona of Catalan mythology. Hold on – we’re in for a wild ride with this one.Imagine being cursed for eternity because you dared to defy societal norms. These aren't your run-of-the-mill monster stories – they're cautionary tales straight out of the patriarchy's playbook.Cautionary tales ...
Send me a text message!19.2.24Paranormal Pajama Party“The Boarded Window” | 5⚠️ This episode contains spoilers ahead for “The Boarded Window”, which I read at the beginning. You can read it here (for free!) first if you’d prefer. ⚠️In Ambrose Bierce’s popular short story, “The Boarded Window”, the mysterious former pioneer Murlock lives out his solitary existence in a one-room cabin, the standout feature of which is a single boarded-up window.But tonight’s episode isn’t about Murlock. It’s no...
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