18. Moths – What Do You See?

In this episode of the podcast we look at the 2002 film The Mothman Prophecies, directed by Mark Pellington, produced by Lakeshore Entertainment, and starring the one-man blinking machine that is Richard Gere.

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Based on the 1975 book of the same name by parapsychologist  John Keel, this film tells the story of a number of encounters with a large ‘moth-like’ creature in and around the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia, USA. In the film the titular Mothman is a shadowy figure who foretells of a number of impending disasters, tormenting Richard Gere in the process. Incredibly it is allegedly based on true events.

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We talk to Dr Emma Coulthard, lecturer in Ecology at Manchester Metropolitan University, whose research focusses on UK moth ecology, and try to unpick the reality of these ‘true events’, as well as finding out why it is that moths seem to generate so much fear among certain sections of the population. We also talk about the remarkable resilience of these creatures, despite the onset of anthropogenic pollution, including an overview of the extraordinary peppered moth.

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This episode also involves a discussion of cryptids, animals whose existence is suspected but yet to be confirmed by the scientific community; think Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster, and of course the Mothman. And finally, a big shout out to the Annual Mothman Festival, because nothing celebrates the mysterious appearance of a “flying man-like figure” quite like hayride tours and a pancake eating competition.

 

 

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4. Insects – Nature Finds A Way

In this episode of the podcast, we talk to Dr Ed Harris, a Senior Lecturer in Conservation Genetics at Manchester Metropolitan University, and find out why splicing a termite and a praying mantis make the perfect killing machine, in Guillermo Del Toro’s 1997 film ‘Mimic’.

7. Halloween – Zombie Apocolypse or Demonic Posession?

Halloween is observed on October 31st, a holiday dedicated to all things scary, gruesome and gory. Whilst we experience Halloween with pumpkins, trick-or-treating and costume parties, many movie makers have attempted to scare movie goers – join us (and our bad vampire impressions) to find out if our fear is scientifically accurate.