Halloween Episodes

Bela Lugosi, Part 1

While he's mostly associated with the role of Dracula, Bela Lugosi's early life was significantly affected by WWI, the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the transition from silent film to talkies. Read the show notes here.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident

In 1959, nine students ventured into the Ural mountains for a ski hiking trip, and never returned. While much speculation has swirled for more than half a century, no one knows for certain what caused them to abandon their camp to die in the cold.

Encephalitis Lethargica

From 1916 to about 1927, a strange epidemic spread around the world. It caused unusual symptoms, from drastic behavior changes to a deep, prolonged sleep that could last for months. Between 20 and 40 percent of people who caught the disease died.

Building Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Pt. 2

The second installment in the story of the Haunted Mansion going from concept to fully-realized theme park attraction covers the reboot the team went through after the World's Fair and the loss of their leader.

Building Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Pt. 1

One of the most iconic Disney park attractions -- the Haunted Mansion -- had a development process that was anything but smooth. Budget and scheduling issues and creative differences dogged the project for almost two decades.

Elsa Lanchester: Becoming the Bride Pt. 2

After her unconventional upbringing, Elsa's career as a performer began to take off in the late 1920s, around the same time she met her husband. But the role that would define her image came in 1935.

You may not know her name, but her image is famous. As the love interest for Dr. Frankenstein's monster in "The Bride of Frankenstein," Elsa Lanchester became a film icon, but her life story is as interesting as any cinema fiction.

Was there a real Sweeney Todd?

Sweeney Todd is a well-known fictional character, a murderous barber who colludes with a cook to bake his victims into pies. There are many instances of the demon barber story being touted as a tale based in real-life events, but how true is that?

New England Vampire Panic

Starting in the late 1700s and running for a century, small rural communities in New England were sometimes stricken with a panicked fear that the dead were somehow feeding off the living, and many graves were exhumed in the hopes of ending the attacks.

In the winter of 1873, Alferd Packer led gold prospectors into the Rockies, but harsh conditions soon set them off course. Packer was the only survivor, and he looked oddly well-fed. He claimed he'd killed in self-defense. But was he guilty of murder?