The Noir and Bizarre | WYPR

The Noir and Bizarre


Thanks to Chrissy Dreyer for the incredible artwork.

(ARCHIVE) The Noir and Bizarre explores the dark and strange stories we tell ourselves about human existence – mystical history, ghosts, haunted houses, and secret crimes - with a special emphasis on stories that draw on the rich history and culture of Baltimore.  

Additionally, the show philosophically asks big questions about spiritual narratives and rituals surrounding life and death.

Baltimore Museum of Art

There's a new exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art - "Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s". On this episode, Katie goes behind the scenes with co-curator Oliver Shell to explore some key works and ask big questions about absurdity, dreams, nightmares, demons, and monsters. 

Heidi Sheppard

Sixty years ago - on the night of October 26 1958, around midnight, two men were driving by Loch Raven Reservoir in Towson. Suddenly, they saw a huge egg-shaped object appear above a bridge. As they got closer, their car stopped dead.

They watched the object hover for a while and then there was a flash of light – some strange noise – and a burst of heat – it then rose into the sky and disappeared. The event remains unexplained.

Today, this history has been rediscovered and embraced by residents of the Knollwood neighborhood of Towson, Maryland, who are hoping to launch an Alien Invasion festival in the future. What's behind the continued allure of space?

Wiki Commons

Guest host Rachel Baye takes listeners behind the scenes on a ghost hunt at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, one of the most haunted places in Maryland. The hunt took place on September 29, 2018, this year's "National Ghost Hunting Day." There are more than a few spine-tingling moments on this eerie tour! 

Flickr / Avia Venefica

From Ancient Celtic harvest rites warding off ghosts and spirits... to Roman rites honoring the dead... To All Saint's Day masses... On this episode, Katie is exploring the origins and evolution of modern Halloween celebrations. We also feature a reading of T.S. Eliot's haunting poem, "The Hollow Men." Happy Halloween! 

Elizabeth Harper

Elizabeth Harper is an author, photographer, and academic, as well as the creator of the popular online blog: All the Saints You Should Know: Bones, Relics, Lore, and Oddities from the Catholic Church. On this episode, Katie and Elizabeth talk about the confusion over incorruptibility of saints' bodies, the strange allure of ossuaries (bone churches), folk Catholicism and veneration, and how churches can act as memory theaters for forgotten history.

On this episode, Katie takes listeners on an audio tour of the First Annual International Edgar Allan Poe Festival and then meets up with Stephen Demczuk, founder and CEO, of Raven Brewing Company, to learn about the origins of this iconic Poe-inspired beer.

This year's One Maryland One Book pick is "Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA Evidence" by Tim Junkin. At 23 years old, Kirk Bloodsworth found himself wrongfully accused and facing the death penalty for a crime he didn't commit. Behind bars for nearly nine years before DNA proved his innocence, Bloodsworth now dedicates his life to proving the innocence of the wrongfully incarcerated. He was also instrumental in outlawing the death penalty in Maryland. On this episode, Katie interviews both Tim Junkin and Kirk Bloodsworth to hear the full the story.

Two-time National Book Award Finalist Howard Norman writes strange and melancholy novels, most of which are set in remote Canadian provinces. His books deal with murder, love, detectives, and the impossibility of closure. Howard Norman is a creative writing professor at University of Maryland and spends his summers at a farmhouse in Vermont. On this episode, Katie and Howard discuss deep melancholy, existential noir, and 'that other world' which calls to us.  

bibliomania: noun: passionate enthusiasm for collecting and posessing books.

Mery the Mummy

Jul 26, 2018
The Walter's Art Museum

We're heading back in time, to the land of the pharaohs and the valley of the Dead. We don't have to go far. Right here in Baltimore, a 3,000 year old mummy, fondly named Mery ("The Beloved"), has found a home at The Walter's Art Museum

Scientific American

On December 3, 1926, the great mystery writer, Agatha Christie left for a weekend in Yorkshire. Her car was found abandoned nearby. The police couldn't locate her for ten days. Finally, she was found registered at a hotel under a fake name apparently suffering from severe amnesia. On this episode, Katie explains some of the theories behind her bizarre disappearance. Plus, recommendations for your summer reading, and the Doctor Who episode that best explains Christie's disappearance.

It was very common in the 1600's for Christians to keep a human skull on their desk to remind them of their own mortality
Katie Marquette/The Walter's Art Museum

Throughout all of human history, human beings have consistently struggled with how to grapple with their own mortality.  The faces we give to Death, in our dreams and our nightmares, can be extremely revealing when trying to understand our deepest fears.

Daniel Goodrich

On this episode, producers Adam Droneburg and Calvin Perry take listeners deep underground and back in time. They discover the lost history of the catacombs underneath Lexington Market, a place with a confusing and fascinating history involving crime bosses, communists, and secret raids.

The classic Noir films of the 1940s and 50s – black and white mysteries noted for their moral ambiguity, tough-talking detectives, and classic femme fatales – seem to epitomize Old Hollywood glamour. Yet, these films were often operating on very low budgets, relying on the allure of Noir tropes to retain an audience. We’ll talk with film expert Marc Sober about some of the classics of the genre.

The romance and horror of Edgar Allan Poe's life and works continues to enthrall people hundreds of years after he was born...On January 19, 2018, hundreds of people gathered at his memorial in Westminster Burial Ground to celebrate his 209th birthday and catch a glimpse of the mysterious Poe Toaster.