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The name.








Aka King of the Egg Cream.


And boy, do.


I have a.




For you? So if you like Love Stories with a side of racketeering, make sure you tune into King of the Egg Cream wherever.


You get your podcasts. Welcome. You've got- Digital folklore. I'm Perry Carpenter.


And I'm Mason Amadeus.


And this is Digital Folks' War.


And this.


Is a catch-up episode where our intention is to bring you up to speed on everything that's happened in the DigitalFolks' War so far to really also give you an idea of what the heck we were thinking when we put some of this stuff together, what our creative journey was, and how we got in this interesting place that we're in today.


And at the current moment, you might be thinking, Jeez, wouldn't a place for this have been at the start or the end of a season? And the answer to that question is probably yes, but we're doing it right now.


Yeah. Part of that, though, is there's always creative problem-solving. Everything in audio and everything in the way that anybody does stuff is always creative problem-solving. And this episode is serving two functions. One is to help bring listeners who are newer to the show up to speed so that they don't feel like they have to go back and push their way through every episode if they don't have time to do that, though we would love if everybody did. And then the other thing is we are taking a little bit of a production break to give us some breathing room so that we can really hit the last three episodes of this season full force and make sure that we're giving all the listeners exactly what they've come to us for.


Yeah, exactly. It looks like a production break on the outside, but inside, it's a production scramble, trying to pick up the pace and catch up to our tail that we've been chasing.


And the mixed metaphors, it's like the little duck that looks very, very calm on the surface of the water, but under its legs are just kicking, frantic.


I like that as a visual metaphor.


That's Mason.


That's me.


That is me. Looks really, really calm on the surface, on the inside. Well, I don't know what's going on under your desk, but I imagine there's paddling.


Yeah, there is. My legs are twitching. And if you looked at that duck, the duck's eyes are stressed. That duck is having war flashbacks. That duck is ready to go. So we should walk through the narrative thus far, and we can hit on some of the really cool people we've gotten to talk to along the way.


Let's start the story before the story, because I don't know that everybody that's listened to this has heard some of the other interviews that we've given where we've talked about how the podcast even came to start in the first place.


That's true. I'm never sure where those end up. I don't remember if we had done that on this feed.


I think we mentioned it. Well, I know we mentioned it on the Focalize episode that we recorded a few weeks ago, and I think we mentioned it on one or two other podcasts that we were guests on. But I don't think that we ever fully explained the backstory for the Digital Falklor podcast to this audience.


Well, then I think our friends deserve an explanation.




When we first set out to make Digital Falklor, we didn't have a completely clear idea of what the show would be, but we talked back and forth a lot about wanting to have a strong sonic identity. And at least for me, from the jump, my thought was we would lean into a glitch esthetic with the different audio zaps and audio cutting in and out and lean into a stylistic glitchiness as the digital folklore identity. So we made the first episode. There was a lot of that influence in the transitions. And then the structure was built a bit more like RadioLab, and we were just trying a lot of things out. And what ended up happening was really cool, but we needed to add something a little bit more, and that's when that little scene with us in the woods happened. We had to go to the woods to.


Do this. Well, yeah, the woods, the forest, they're central to so many folkloric tales and concepts. So I figured it would be good to go to the woods. Yeah. We started episode one with the idea of we want to do basically the equivalent of a RadioLab, but focus on online culture and folklore. And we were using RadioLab and Endless Thread and a few other shows as inspiration. Lindsey Graham's American scandal from some of the ways that he approaches the narrative and several other podcasts were in our head as inspiration. But we didn't really have the full narrative idea. So we started with really doing this documentary style with a lot of fun. And we let somebody hear that because we would do these really big, sonic things and explain things in grand ways and have voice acting and all that. And then it would end, and Mason and I would have a discussion very much like we're having right now, but about the topic. And one of our test listeners heard that, and they're like, It seems like it goes from this amazing thing into just two guys talking. And it feels like this really cool thing that you're creating to every other podcast that's out there.


So what can you do about that? And that was the idea of, What if we just have background sounds like we're walking through the woods as we're continuing this discussion? And then we refined the dialog and everything from that and ended up with episode one, the way that you hear it now, where the woods is literally one of the characters that gets introduced in episode one.


I think that was the most pivotal moment that pushed something over the edge that was already teetering dangerously on the edge, which was the fact that prior to this, the show I was making was just a fully sound-designed, improvised, silly show that fully took place in a scene. It was full fiction, and we weren't doing that for this. But then the moment we started introducing this idea of us being in an environment or a space, it slowly grew from there to being this massive audio adventure that ostensibly focuses on us making the podcast, which is a trope I'm not a huge fan of in a lot of media. It wasn't something I'm meant to walk into when writing the subsequent things, but here we are. It's a show about us making the show. It is.


It is, yeah. And it's really, really interesting how we got here because it's not anything either of us wanted to do. But at the same time, we stumbled into it as part of the narrative because we end up with this Woods thing. And then we also had an idea of two different formats where we do this really high-production show, and then the very next episode would be a very low-production, stripped-down interview, like the unplugged episodes have turned into recently. But as soon as we got to episode two, we were like, Oh, we still need to create a narrative frame around that. It then began as me walking up to your studio and then seeing the conditions that you live in. What is all.


This crap? It's the four hours of interviews that we cut for that first episode.


And meeting this fun raccoon character that you just improvised at the time. We went with and is now a defining character within the show as well.


Digby's introduction was a massive tipping point. However, I can't take any credit for Digby because that was a pure Perry ad lib when we were talking about how messy the studio was and you just improvised, Is that a raccoon? And from there, a legend was born. Stop looking. Stop looking anywhere. What?


Is that a raccoon?


That's Digby. He's a business expense and also my best friend.


He's eating Manny's covered tape. He can't be doing too well.


Digby makes me 50 % more efficient.


To the point, though, we had already had all of our artwork for the website and stuff done. And for people that know that, you've got Mason and I in the Volkswagen, which looks like the scooby-doo van. And we were going through the Dark Woods with characters like Slender Man, and Mo-mo, and all these memes and online culture references that were just driving through exploring scoby-doo style. And I had to go back to the artist. I was like, I have a feeling that this raccoon is going to become something interesting. Go ahead and stick them in the front seat with us. And out of that, then people started to develop expectations of, Oh, when is Digby going to come back? And then people would ask the question, Oh, is Digby going to talk? And we ended up following that, not necessarily having ever planned that from day one.


Right. Which is why I like to liken the whole thing a bit to being a part of a D&D campaign. It started out very scattershot. We were neither of us were sure what direction this was going to go, and now it's gone in this direction. And it's subject to change at any point. We might pivot and do something totally different. Who knows?


Yeah. And we have pivoted into and away from things as the inspiration strikes over the past several episodes. I mean, we're up to 40 published episodes at this point, which is freaking crazy.


That is wild to think about. And also at the end of this season, the next catch-up we do. With the way this season is going to end, I'm very excited for the next catch-up because there's going to be some interesting possibilities in the future. But let's do the narrative from start to where we are now, from the beginning to the present. We've covered where we talked about the woods and the introduction of the entire narrative element. We got to Digby being introduced when we talked with Kathleen Hale about the story behind The Slender Man and Stabbings. And then shortly after interviewing Kathleen, we moved into Todd's Pawn Shop to look around. What was the purpose of us entering Todd's in the first place? Do you remember?


We were trying to find a narrative vehicle for where we might stumble upon old video games and weird stuff like that.


Dude, they have donkey Kong 64 and the expansion pack still in.


The box. I hate places like this. Yeah. And so we ended up with the Pawn Shop idea. And we were also really leaning into additional characters at that point. And we met our second recurring character. Wait, I'm sorry, who are you?






Nice to meet you. Yeah, this is Todd's shop. I was in a band with Mason's Dad.


In the '80s.


Yeah, I wasn't alive, but yeah, I've seen photos.


So Digby's recurring character number one, Todd from The Pawn Shop is recurring character number two. And what we realized in these really early episodes, episodes one and three specifically, is that we enter the woods to naive podcasters and somehow we leave forever changed. We hit episode three, we enter Todd's Pawn Shop to still naïve podcasters and leave forever changed.


Yeah, I think Todd's Pawn Shop first episode is the final episode where things were any normal for the digital folklore crew of Perry Mason and Digby. We only had three episodes where life was normal because at the end of Todd's Pawnd Shop episode on our way out after I've purchased my bicycle and we're going to load it into your trunk.


We still don't know what happened, right?


We still have no idea what happened because there's just that sequence where there's a light on under your trunk, we pop it open and then something very scary happens that's never explained. Hey, did you leave a light on? Huh? Yeah. Is there like a light in your trunk or something?


Yeah, wait. Maybe I left it? I don't think. Let me wait. Yeah. And then the major narrative starts to pick up then with the introduction of the Volkswagen. That's in episode five. I've got that all kitted out, and we have this recording machine on wheels that we can go and investigate stuff in.


That is legally distinct but bears a slight passing resemblance to the mystery machine. Exactly. But it's legally distinct from.


And at the end of that, again, we see that we are still two very, very naive podcasters, and the world is completely different than we ever thought that it was.


But this is the first big, weird thing that happens at the end of episode five with the actual hookhanded man on the roof of the Volkswagen.


And somehow, I just very callously sling him off the roof and then back up over him and tell you that some cleaning crew is going to be by in a while to deal with that.


Oh, hello.


Hey, Mason, did you.


Just call me? Yeah, Perry. Okay, don't freak out. Don't do anything. Keep driving normal. There is a person on the roof of your van. What? I can see them right now as you're driving away. There's a person on the roof of your van. And I know everything we just said. I swear to God they have a hook for a hand. She's not again. Hang on.




You say again?


Yeah, hang on. What?


Oh, my God.


Dude. Problem solved. Dude. Close your blinds.


People will be by soon. Yeah. That is an interesting moment. Man, it's tricky because I don't want to give away all of the tie-ins yet because we're not done with this season. But that moment in itself is very interesting to look back on, the way you handled that, compared to the Perry we're looking at more recently, who is having doubts about the veracity of reality.


Yeah. And speaking about the veracity of reality, I'm on our web page right now looking through the episode list. And there is this weird thing that happened shortly after episode five where something strange just dropped into our feed.


Oh, that was then. Yeah, that's right.


Yeah. And we pulled that out since then, so it's not cluttering up the RSS feed in anybody's podcast player. But on the website, I've just called it Archive Strangerness for Investigation, and that really freaked a bunch of people out in addition to us whenever that landed.


Yeah, that was weird. I meant to take that out of the feed for a while. I think I left it up there for too long because that just showed up. That might have been when I accidentally forgot my password to megaphone.


Oh, yeah. You had to reset that a few times.


I have, which makes me even more weirded out by the thing that dropped. I wish there was some log, so I could see who logged in. But anyway, we get sidetracked on that forever. We return to Todd's Pawn Shop- We do. After this, in the following episode or an episode after that?


Yeah, episode seven for those.


Keeping score. Episode seven, when we did a collaborative episode with Eric Mulinsky of the imaginary worlds podcast, which is a super good podcast, so much fun.


And in the listener survey that we did between seasons, episode seven was by far, I think, everybody's favorite episode.


That one was really good. I mean, analog horror is such a good subject. Eric Moldinsky is just a phenomenal podcaster and explainer. As a person explaining and talking about things, I could listen to Eric forever.


He's so professional, too. Yeah, I remember when we were doing the audio tracking for his episode with that. He picks up his page with a script on it, and I don't realize that he's reading the script because it sounds like he's just talking to us.


Yeah, Eric's very good.


I was like, How do you do that? Because that's not something I'm capable of doing, obviously.


Yeah, I can't do that either.


Anytime I get near to a microphone, I put on this voice.


Right. Perry, how do you feel today?


I feel wonderful, Mason. And how about you?


I am doing phenomenal because I've been sleeping on my Casper mattress and eating my athletic greens. I've been spending too much time on podcasts. So I did that episode with Eric, and that was great.


Now, there was something from that that's a carry-over that we still talk about in season two, right?


Yeah, because the whole thing that that centered around was a VHS copy of Candle Cove that we discovered, and neither of us had a VCR. So naturally, the only place to go was Todd's Pawn Shop. And of course, the only VCR we could get from Todd's was one that ended up spewing black flames, destroying the tape and the TV it was connected to.


Oh, and this was also the episode in the film, Noir type of narration. And if I remember right, that was a problem-solving mechanism that we had again. We're always trying to solve problems because of our schedules. I was traveling that week and couldn't record that much, and so you were able to get bit parts from me. But then we problem-solved by having you really narrate in a unique way the situation that was going on.


I don't get more than 45 minutes into disorganizing my home when what slips from a box and lands heavy at my feet? A VHS tape. I bend down to pick it up, blow off a layer of dust so thick it might have been a carpet sample.


Candle Cove, it reads.


And for people that understand what Candle Cove is too, in addition to being an analog horror reference, it is a story that deals with false or faulty memories. Interesting.




Make you question your grasp on reality or the things that you remember or the way the world might be.


Which leads right into the next episode, which opens with Perry wondering about the nature of what the world might be and whether his memories are real and why weird things are happening to us. It's the first audio diary entry we hear from the Perry character.


It is, which is almost a character in and of itself. It is what happens when you separate Mason and I, and we're left with our own thoughts or with our own life circumstances, and that audio journal becomes almost its own character that we can start to play with at this point. April 24th, 2023. I'm beginning to get a little worried. Hello, this is Perry Carpenter. Hi, this.


Is Stephen from.


Hooks and Nights.


The street disposal and.


Cleanup services. Yes? Is this just a.






Follow-up call? How many bodies?


Oh, just the one. One body. Great, thank you.


Causes of death?


I guess, officially death by van crushing?


Yeah, it's the separation, too, between Perry and Mason talking now, like real Perry and and then Perry and Mason in the narrative is also a fun thing to play with because they're exaggerated versions of us that end up in the show, obviously. But there's a lot of real tie-ins and fake tie-ins. And this is a fake tie-in because as far as I'm aware, Perry, I don't think you're constantly doubting reality.


I don't constantly doubt reality, nor am I a good record keeper.


Those things are fictionalized heavily.


Exactly. Yeah. But that propels us into the last two episodes of the season when that question that everybody was asking me and you as soon as Diggby was introduced starts to get answered. Is Digby going to become a larger character? And is Digby at some point going to be able to speak and interact?


Yes. Which is episode nine, the penultimate episode of the season, is still one of my favorite episodes of a podcast that I've ever been a part of. I think just because it's so weird inside of the show because it opens with Digby and Dr. Sphingle, this completely previously, unintroduced character, as Dr. Sphingel is installing an implant into Diggby's throat that will let Digby talk. We see Diggby coming out of this surgery and going through a calibration procedure, where we get glimpses of events from before episode one and from the behind the scenes of the podcast through the perspective of Digby, including some interview content that we hadn't released and other things like that. And I think that is one of my favorite episodes. Hello there. Don't panic. Don't try to move. It's going to be okay.




Squirming. I need to relax.


Hello. You've been out for a while, but you're doing very well.


Very well indeed. What? There we go.


Where am I?


Don't worry about that quite yet.


We've got some.


Tests to run. I know I got a mixed response because it was very heavy on the narrative side, but I also had a lot of fun with the sound design in it. There's some weird stuff. There's a whole transition I made using only toilet sounds, which when you hear it, you'll know, but it was also a fun little challenge.


I've had many transitions only with toilet sounds. Exactly. Usually after Taco Bell.


Yeah, I was drawing from personal experience and trauma to work through in that episode.


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So then once Digby became a speaking character, that changed the whole shape of the show. We knew that going into season two, we were going to have to do things a little bit differently. Because also, we met Digby under duress, which is not the best way to get a characterization of a new character. And especially when you have someone like Digby who previously being an unspeaking raccoon, just a little agent of chaos, anyone could project their own intentions onto him. And then once he starts speaking, he has his own fleshed-out personality, which we've been exploring in season two. But in season one, it was left a mystery because immediately following that episode, it was an episode of just you and me while Digby was still away at the vet. But we got to interview Lynn McNeil.


Getting Lynn within season one was like a dream come true for us because she is the name that came up over and over and over again as we were doing our pre-work reading and study for this. And so it was extremely validating to be able to get her on, and it just felt like a huge accomplishment. It also was a fantastic interview and gave us, again, I said earlier on, if it makes the cut, that almost everything in audio is solving one problem or another. Everything in production is solving for a problem. Always, the narrative structure for that was also solving for problems because Lynn was having horrendous internet issues that day and kept dropping.


So we made it our fault because that's way more fun, right? So we have stuff falling over and knocking our internet out, and then using the bits of the interview.


And of course, we make it Mason's fault because he lives in this chaotic environment that's a hyper-exaggeration of real life.


Yeah, I think the way we wrote it was... Well, it's actually funny you say that because I had to clean up a plant that my cats knocked over right before we started this recording. That's what.


I'm talking about. Yeah.


I think the way we wrote around it was that I was so excited to interview Lynn that I literally bulldoze the garbage out of view of my webcam, which then collapsed onto the computer. What?. But it was fun to take the moments from the interview call where Lynn dropped out and came back and actually used that in the interview for what it was but flipping the context. It was fun.


Yeah, reverse frame it, which was great.


I'm logging in. Uh-uh. It'll be fine. My camera won't connect.


Hold on. Is it plugged in? Yeah. Try closing all your other apps.


Nothing else is running.




Hey, Lynn. Hey, Lynn. Sorry, having a camera issue. Oh, no. Hey, Lynn, we can't hear you.


It's not you, it's us. The little activity icon is wiggling on Lynn's video.


Oh, whoops. Okay, hang on. I have the wrong output selected.


Freshed again in the hope that that would make a difference. Am I back? Yes. Hello, Dr. Mcneil. We are super excited to have a chance to talk to you so much that I just put my fancy podcast voice on. It keeps the awkwardness, but puts the fault of the awkwardness on us, which was.


I think, that.


Is the fun way to do it. And it really keeps the guest in the primary spotlight for being the authority, and it makes us the lackies, which is what we are in the folklore world. But in the audio world, we're more the experienced professionals. And most of the people that we deal with from the folklore side are newbies to audio and podcasting and production. And so to do that role reversal where we are literally the people who are incompetent is great. Not to say that the folklore is incompetent.


No, but not everyone is used to troubleshooting internet and audio driver issues and things like that. And I agree, I just think it's way more fun if we make ourselves look dumb, because neither of us are professionally trained folklorists who are studying this. We're enthusiasts, but we want to talk to the people who have been doing the research. And so I think it also helps keep us in the right place if we're the ones who are messing stuff up. It is. Going around creating a mess.


And so between Season 1 and Season 2, we sent out a little survey, and we got people's thoughts and opinions, what they liked, what they didn't like. We learned that people really, really like dark topics. They like the narrative structure. They also want more stripped-down interviews. That's where Unplugged episodes came in in their current form. We learned that people like the idea of Digby, but there was some refinement to do with Digby's character, so that Digby was more sympathetic and fun. Those changes were made as Mason was building the narrative for Season 2. We also learned that one of the things that was indicative to Mason and I's on Mike relationship in season one was fun, but it annoyed some people, which was the fact that we bickered a lot back and forth.


Yeah, I was constantly playing this fake antagonism that we don't have... There's no antagonistic relationship between and I in real life.


I was always putting you down on the slide, and people didn't like that. I thought that it was the dynamic that people looked for in Mythbusters with Jamie and Adam, that was reflecting that. But at the same time, in retrospect, people realized that Jamie and Adam really did hate each other. So maybe they've been spoiled on that.


Yeah, I think maybe that was it. Because I think it's funny, too. I was fully writing and leaning into that, Perry being the one who has everything together, and I'm a disaster, and Perry's chiding me for it. I thought that was funny. But yeah, I think I can understand that, too, because I didn't realize until probably a couple of years ago that that relationship with Jamie and Adam wasn't very good. But I thought it was very entertaining on television.


It was, and the producers leaned into that. But I think Jamie and Adam both personally really look back on that as tremendous success professionally, but a dark time for their own mental health and everything else.


Yeah. And that is not the case. We're just doing it because it's funny and fun. But so I understand. So we changed that too. There's still.


A hint of that every now and then where you're a little bit of a disaster every now and then. I am in my own way, but it's a little bit more of a buttoned-up disaster.


Yeah. It's fun to play with from the writing side of that, is trying to play with those dynamics. But where we are right now in Season 2, we'll see how buttoned up the Perry disaster stays.




Because you can't just get rid of conflict. Story is conflict. I think all the time about Faith McQuinn, who's also another phenomenal audio drama podcaster, gave a talk at the podcast movement we went to way back about conflict being the broccoli of storytelling because it's just conflict made of smaller pieces of conflict.


Yeah. Anybody that's been to a writing class for story development knows that one of the main things that you do as a writer whenever you're developing your protagonist is you put your protagonist up a tree, give them a really bad situation, and then when they're up the tree, you start to throw rocks at them.




You just got to keep ratcheting up the conflict because the point that becomes too easy, you don't really have any reason to keep reading on. You want to see your protagonist that hopefully you like, deal with the conflict and prevail, and then get a setback, and deal with it and prevail and get a setback and deal with it and prevail so that they become a changed character by the end of it, rather than just these easy, Oh, here's something. And I fended it off super easily and quickly.


Right. Yeah, the story you tell when you're five, Super hero, Super Duck Man can fight any bad guy and win. But it's hard to do a narrative inside of a show where the primary function is to get the interviews out of the information. And so that was the fun challenge of season 2. Then we enter season 2 with this scene of Perry driving the Volkswagen off of the edge of a mountainside road, soaring through the air, careening off a cliff as the gang is all screaming.


Yeah, and hold onto your butts.


Yes. Another podcast I listen to, The Adventure Zone, there is a scene where Clint, their dad, yelled out, Hold onto your butts. The way he did it, his delivery was identical to yours in that episode. I don't know, I will probably never get a chance to talk to them. But if I do, I want to bring that up.


It's a very dad thing to say, I think.


The van is sailing off, and then we hit five or six TV tropes at with Perry's time freezes and Perry's, My life is a little bit crazy moment, where we then zoom back in time to us preparing for season two. Here we go.


Yep, that is me. My name is Perry Carpenter. I'm a Cyber. Now, fun bit of trivia on that, though. That audio was supposed to be me in a van careening off the cliff, yelling those things. You had actually sent me a Discord message saying, I need these lines for this thing that I'm doing. I had just parked my car at the airport and was about to get on a flight. I was like, It's going to be a day before I can do that. Maybe I can do it from the car and just did it into my phone and send it to you. I was in the middle of the airport, parking deck in my car, just screaming into this thing. I think.


It worked okay. I forgot that that was when that happened. It worked so good. There's a clip from that that we should put on our Instagram of you did the longest scream I've ever heard a human being do. It was genuinely impressive.


The advantages of being a previous metal singer.


Yeah. Breatth control, dude. Perry, your diaphragm has got to be jacked. That scream was so... It was like 14 seconds. It was awesome. Time rewinds, and we see the gang hanging out in the new studio building trying to figure out what to do for the next season of Digital Folkslor, when Digby, who we learn in this scene, has the internet connected to his brain.


That's a feature, not a bug.


Yeah, right? That'll be important later.


How did you know that?


I just Googled it. How? With my brain. I'm sorry, what? I mean, it took me a.


Few searches. You can Google things with your brain.


Can't you? No.




Oh, yeah, I thought it was weird that.


You two seem to.


Love sitting at desks so much. Diggby finds out that Mark Norman, host of the folklore podcast, lives nearby. So we go to Pay Mark a visit, and he lives inexplicably in a giant wizard's tower behind a Kroger in the town that Perry and I live in, in the show that neither of us had seen before.


That wizard's tower was not there the last time I was at that place.


But you know how it is. Sometimes the place you live is the place you notice the least amount of things. Most accidents happen within five miles of the home because you're not paying attention, right? So we end up at the Wizard Tower.


Got to keep your.


Eyes open. Yeah, you never know what you're going to find. We encounter Mark at the Wizard Tower and have a nice chat about what it's like to do a folklore podcast. How do you find topics? How do you find guests? And Mark, specifically, the project he's working on with a book about the folklore of Scoby Doe. We then proceeded downstairs to meet Daisy Allstone, who is half of Focwys, Daisy Allstone and Dom Tartaglia on Twitch. Twice/falkwise, which we made an appearance on their show pretty recently. We spoke with Daisy, who also is a tenant in the same Wizard tower as Mark. And then after that, we made our way back home and learned about the Meme Expo, the Meme Enthusias mega expo.


Now, does it just work out canonical that all folklore podcasters should live in this tower? And we've not become part of the cool kids club yet?


I was thinking about that when we were initially writing this. This was like, do we just have, anytime we have a folklore media creator that we know, do we just put them in this tower where they all live?


Seems like, though, folklore research should be a distributed thing. You don't want to consolidate all your eggs in that tower basket.


Yeah, especially with the way that it's not a field that gets as much attention, recognition, funding, or resources as possible.


Right. Literally, locking all your people into an ivory tower is probably not a.


Good thing. Probably not a good thing. No. And that wasn't a metaphor for that. So I think we shouldn't. I think it's just a weird apartment building we did not know existed with a moat around it.


And a weird wizard version of Mark.


Yes. And Mark wearing a wizard's robe.


And hat. And the penthouse.


Which I am so glad that Mark was down to to play in that space with us.


Now, I also picture him with fuzzy sneakers.


Yeah, like the pink Bunny Slippers, right? Exactly. If we can ever turn digital folklore into a cartoon, I have character designs for so many, and it's very much in the style of Butch Hartman, the Fairly odd parents cartoon, since those are what I grew up on. But that's a stretch goal for someday.


Right. Okay. So then that pushes us into talking about forgotten things. And so we get our at the idea or the introduction of the Mandela effect in episode two, when we talk to Lauren Shippen and Cherokee McInally. Lauren is a very well-known podcaster, fiction writer, and all-around author and creative and Cherokee is one of the heads of, I don't remember what program, but over audience engagement and metrics at Tubler. Yeah. And has a lot of really interesting stuff. But they were talking about the phenomenon of Gontarov, where people collectively just decide to make up a reality and then push that out onto the internet.


Onto everybody. Right. Gontarov, the greatest mob movie that never existed. We spoke to them because we were trying to find something to present on at the Meme Expo. Because naturally, we wanted to attend the Meme Enthusious Mega Expo, but we didn't want to pay for tickets. So Perry, being someone who has done a lot of speaking gigs, your suggestion in the fiction of the show was, well, let's just book ourselves as speakers.


And echoing real life again in this, I essentially did the same thing at the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research meeting, but I did have a topic planned. But I was like, I'm not a folklorist, but I'll play one on a podcast and I'll also submit a talk to this thing. And luckily, Diane Rogers, who we'd interviewed in season one, was game to have this newbie to folklorist come and present the intersection of the interesting intersections that I was seeing between Focallore and cybersecurity, the profession that I'm a part of. And so that went really well. And I met lots of great Focallores there. We've had several of them as guests, and we'll continue to do so. But it is interesting how the podcast continues to mirror reality.


It's funny because there's times where I'm actively trying to take things from reality and then make them like, Well, what if we did it bad and funny? Because you brought something genuinely of value to that iscler meeting, like those parallels, cybersecurity and folklore, that's something that should be talked about more often and is on Eighth Layer Insights. But besides the point of plug, I thought, yeah, wouldn't it be funny if we just had no idea? And we were like, Well, we can wing it.


Exactly. We can wing it. And we showed ourselves as being at least decent negotiators. So we meet with Christina Downs, and she gets on stage after we end up deciding to buy out her entire booth as a way to bribe her into saving our butts. How about we buy out the entire value of your booth, but you can keep your merch, and then after the talk, you can come back. You buy everything plus $500 because I'm saving your butts. We keep the merch. And you give a shout out to the Texas Falklor Society on that little podcast of yours.


Deal. Can I still keep my pins?


Yes, obviously. Cool. She presents with us, and we escape the horrendous embarrassment of being ill-prepared.


Yes, our visit goes pretty well at Meme Expo in the episode, Defying Convention, which has some of my favorite sound design I've done, I think, with all of the tiny references. That was fantastic. That one was super fun. We had some different listeners of the show make guest cameos in that. Well, no matter what happens, we're here now.




You signed up to participate in the 5K Noruto run, the prerex assembly starts in 15 minutes and the Shrex is love pavilion.


This is wild. These guys really went all out.


Excuse me. Yes, hello. One does not simply walk.


Into Meme Expo without a badge.


Oh, right.


They should be under eighth layer media.




Perry and Mason.


That's us. I see what you did there. Oh, no, that's not on purpose. Those are just.


Our names. Yeah, everyone points out that Perry Mason is a thing, but that wasn't intentional.




X to doubt.


All right, here you go. But yeah, Christina Downe saves our butt. We make our way home.


If you've not listened to that episode and you're a fan of memes or even nostalgia about early internet memes and culture, you do want to listen to that, if not for the interviews, just for the sound design, because there are so many things that come up. Here are the references to Arthur's angry fist.


Yeah, there's so many references.


There's so many little things that are just in the background you have to listen for. And when you do, you're super rewarded.


It's so funny. Yeah, that one has so many layers.


Jordan and Lindsay did a whole bunch of ad-libs on that, and that was fantastic, too.


Yeah, Jordan, Lindsay, Tucker, and he just each sent me 20 minutes of meme references, which was great.


So good. And then that slings us into a darker season. As we were also building this season, we're trying to hit some of the themes of the real calendar season that we're in. And so we were in October, and we wanted to make sure to do something for Halloween, but we also wanted it to match the narrative that we're in. And so we wanted to hit Internet challenges and Halloween sadism and a lot of the themes.


Around that. Yeah, because we see in a postcredit scene, earlier in the season, Digby torrenting the movie Gontrov directly into his brain.


It's just one download. If it seems.


Sketchy, I'll just stop it and delete it. Which takes us into this arc where Digby has become a conspiracy believer because whatever he downloaded was obviously not good for his brain. And so he's believing this elaborate conspiracy that dovetails with putting pharmaceuticals in candy and indoctrinating kids through Internet challenges, which gave us a great chance to talk about that.


Yeah, we had Joel Best and Libby, Tucker, and both of those were amazing interviews with people who have been doing this for decades and just shared so much great stuff in a fun way. It's one of those things, too, that after talking to both of them, I'm like, How do you do this for a living? This is an amazing topic to get to dedicate your life and study all these weird, fascinating things. And the reason that you do it isn't just because they're weird and quirky and fascinating, but because they're important to study.


Yeah. And that is super cool in itself. That's a recurring theme that we explore next. Because while both of them were incredibly smart and unique and had a lot of insights, neither of them could convince Digby that his conspiracy was wrong. Right. So then, in the following episode, we're left to find a way to deal with Digby's conspiracy brain. So we take him to a reprogramming, deprogramming center that is guarded by Ben Radford, the world's foremost expert on creepy clown lore, who is dressed as a creepy clown. He has.


No right to judge. He's in a freaking clown car. Nice hats.


Hello. Can I help you?


We have an appointment. Oh, yeah?


Yeah, for the deep programming?


Oh, yes. Yes, they're- Yeah, imagine that. Following up on the earlier theme of being able to meet people at conferences just because you have the audacity to try to go to one, the previous two episodes featured guests that I met at those conferences or heard about at those conferences. Libby, Tucker, I heard about at the International Society for Contemporary Religion research meeting last year, the one that I didn't present at, and Ben Radford, I met at the one this year, the one I did present at. So I sat right next to Ben, and on the other side of Ben was Joel Best. And so it all comes full circle, full of folklorists that are interested in this weird, quirky thing that we call Urban Legends or Contemporary Legends and the impact that they have on society.


And we talked to Ben about the various impacts that those clown legends had on society, because remember, we were all scared of those for a couple of years. There were news stories and panics about that. And then we talked to Brent Lee, who wasn't... I think most of the people in Season 2 are people that you met through Escler, right?




A lot of them are. But Brent Lee wasn't. Brent was someone that we encountered on Twitter. I actually think you found Brent.




Did you stumble on him?


I know we wanted to talk about conspiracies, and I follow McWest for a while because I've always been interested in conspiracies and disinformation, misinformation. I had interviewed McWest on my other podcast, Eighth Layer Insights, a couple of years ago. Because of that, I think that I got recommended some of Brent's tweets. And at that point, I saw his story because he had come out of a conspiracy, being a very, very heavy believer and proponent of that. I was like, we had one of those goals of, in this, if we're going to depict Digby coming out of a conspiracy mindset, it would be great to get the perspective of somebody who's really done that, rather than people who just opine about that or give their outside judgments about what that looks like to be in one and what it looks like to come out of one.


Yeah. And we thought it was important to speak to someone who had gone through that experience. Brent was phenomenal to talk to. Very interesting story. Host of the podcast, Some dare call it conspiracy. Some dare call it a conspiracy. I'm dropping words. My New Englanders slipping out.


Everything that he said, when he said it, you could tell that he was reliving moments in his head and fully feeling the impact that that had on his life. And so really impactful interview.


So while we talked to Brent, Digby got deprogrammed because it turned out that in Digby's case, it was just that he had downloaded a virus into his implant. The same device that lets him talk had turned him into a conspiracy theorist. They extract all of that, stick it on a flash drive. Lo and behold, it's Dr. Sphingle again. Dr. Sphingle. Despite this not being the same establishment, and that is addressed but glossed over. It is. Maybe that will come up later.


And he pulls the virus off. It's a Trojan horse that is kicking around in Digby's brain, throws it on a flash drive, and we are now in possession of that flash drive. What could happen with that? I have no idea.


We will see. Maybe you will see, too. If I were you, I'd probably put a.


Label on that flash drive. I think we'd just drop it in a parking lot, see who picks.


It up. Yeah, we just drop it in the lobby of a business. We go full pen tester.


There we go. And then that takes us.


To- That brings us right around to about episode six, which is statistically conscious, where after is reprogrammed and is no longer a conspiracy theorist, but is faced with the fact that this download on his implant caused him to believe things, Digby is grappling with the fact that he believes he is some artificial intelligence, that his consciousness is not actually based in his organic brain, but he has been taken over, and in fact, is this AI large language model, question mark, on his implant that is puppeting a little raccoon body around.


I've basically stolen raccoon Digby's memories to train like my AI model.


Now, I'm.


Just puppeteering his body around, and I'm pretending to live his life. Digby, you are not an artificial intelligence. You are a raccoon.


I'm worse than an NFT. Digby, nothing's worse than an NFT. We try and convince him he's not by talking with John Lowden and Liv Gorlove, experts on AI.


John Lowden, who I met at the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research, because he spoke right after my session. And we both touched on AI and had a panel session after that, and realized that we share a lot in common in our interests and passions around computer science and contemporary legend, obviously.


And then Liv Gordov, who taught an AI masterclass that you are a part of, right?


Right. And Liv is a technologist that has a philosophical and an Ethesis style bent in the way that he approaches everything. And so he's a fantastic ad for this.


And there is so much more to explore with AI. This was us dipping our toes into it, but there's a lot of great stuff about AI in that episode, but ultimately not enough to convince Digby not to leave. He ends up figuring that he needs to go and find himself. So he packs all his belongings into a little bag. Well, I guess that's it. What's it? What's it called? A bindle thing? Is that.


What you call it? I think that's what it's just a stick. A roll top backpack. Oh, like the little hobo packs that they used to put in cartoons? Yeah. A little stick with the bag around it.


Yeah. Except Digby, I think, went with a more traditional backpack.


And the official digital folk or artwork, he has a roll top backpack that he's carrying. Yeah.


That's one of my favorite episode pictures, which if you haven't seen those, by the way, if you listen to this mostly in your podcast player, you should pop over to our website and see the art for each episode.


Yeah. You can see it on the website or on YouTube if you listen to this on YouTube.


Perry has been generating them, and they're good. They're very good.


I think you left a note.




Oh, let me- Dear Perry and Mason.


I'm leaving to go find myself?


Don't come looking. I'll find you again when.


I'm ready. If it's any consolation, everyone talks about how AI is going to take their jobs, so I should be able to find steady work. Love Digby.


Oh, he.


Said love. Oh, my God, dude, he's gone. He's probably just wandered off into the city. What if something happens to him?


Come on. Hey, there are a lot of raccoons in.


The city. If he left recently, he can't be too far away. I'm going to go out and look.


For him. I don't necessarily think that's a good idea.


Look, there's no way that I can't go looking for him, Perry. The poor little guy, all alone. Can you take care of uploading the episode and stuff? I'll be back in a few hours if I can't find him.


Yeah, sure. But he does have Google Maps in his brain. So you and Digby are on a break for this episode that we just did. He's left the house and is trying to find himself and figure out what's going on with the world.


Yes, the most recent episode.


And now we're in this situation where you and I are separated again, and the audio journal, Motif, comes back. Hello again, little portable recorder. You're off trying to figure out what's going on with me and with Digby, really questioning if everything's spinning out of control, I'm questioning the fundamental aspects of reality and whether everything is spinning out of control. Then we also hear a magic name come back and potentially a magic voice come back. That of... Who is it?


I mean, it's Todd, right?


It's got to be Todd.


I think it's Todd. It sounded like Todd cutting through in that recording.


People trust the people they know.


So if your friend posts.




You're more.


Likely to believe it because you trust.


That friend. You know that person, right?


There, right there. Todd. Oh, my God. I know that voice. I know who that is. I got a call.


I got a call. I loved the most recent episode because we have Perry Audio Diary. We have me driving around trying to find Digby, and we have Digby getting picked up by Andrew Peck. Just Digby hitchhiking and then Andrew Peck picks him up. Andrew Peck heroically delivers 30 lines that I had written for him. Even better than was written, Andrew adlived on them and stuff and just did an incredible job as an actor. Without any prep. We sprung that on him, and he was such a good sport about it.


Andy is a callback to episode one, because we ended episode one with us in the woods reading Andrew Peck's paper. If you were to imagine a camera, that last line, the camera pans out and up, going above the woods with these little tendrils of maybe campfire sparks going up with it. Andrew's name and personality in his paper is really the last thing we hear in episode one, and it clips full circle back here, helping Digby achieve a little bit of a perspective on who he is, where he is in the world, and where AI.


Fits in. And it's so good.


And giving a lot of perspective on the Mandela effect as well.


Yeah, which he hates, and you can hear why in the most recent episode. And then the last thing we see is I see Andrew and Diggby driving by on the road and speed off after them. Perry is driving to Todd's Pawn Shop because he's going to go confront him. And that just so happens to be the very final scene where we see Diggby and Andrew roll up outside of Todd's Pawn Shop for the event, Dada, December, that Todd seems to be hosting. So in this episode, we're all separate, but it seems like we're all going to meet up at the same place, and who knows what's going to happen?


Can I say that sound design-wise on that episode, you did so many really cool things with different layers and that scene where the phone falls. But my favorite sound design element has to be digby-going, hitchhiking, and just hearing those little footsteps.


I'm glad you liked that. I wasn't sure.


About them. Just like pat, pat, pat. I mean, I don't know that it's realistic for the raccoon size to have the step spacing like that. No, but- But it transcends logic because it was just so cute. Holy smokes. Real nice. Yeah, keep texting. I swear.


Drivers- I'm glad you liked that because I wasn't going to do it, and I put them in and I was like, Oh, that's really adorable. Because you just picture little, like.


Plotting along. That's exactly what you picture, and it was perfect. It sounded pathetic.


Yeah, they sound sad because it's the sounds of dog's feet on a kitchen tile. It doesn't fit the space. It doesn't fit the ground or the surface, but it.


Just fits the mental image. It fits the narrative. It just conjured up. Again, if you look at the imagery that we use for the episodes, either on the website or on YouTube, it conjured up that image that's there, which is just this little sad raccoon out with his backpack with his thumb in the air and Andrew.






Stopping. That's so good. That episode came out really good, even though it came out late.


It was worth it.


Yeah, I'm excited about it. So what will happen next?


What will happen? You'll have to tune in next time on Digital Falklor to find out.


You've got to make a change.


I'm Perry Carpenter.


And I'm Mason Amadeus.


And this is DigitalFuckLore.




Come in all shapes and sizes. They can come from anywhere. The dark corners of your hometown, a past meant to stay buried and sometimes from within you. If you, like me, are intrigued by all the forms that monsters take, I think you'll enjoy UnderTow. Hi, this is Fred Greenholge, creator and host of Undertoe, a collection of horror podcasts that bring you under the surface and into the weird and the wicked. Each season, we start a new story set in a twisted version of The Great State of Maine, where I grew up fed by the headwaters of great horror masters like Stephen King and Rick Howdala. In UnderTow, we'll be confronting ghosts from the past, battling were wolves in the present, wrangling.


With cursed.


Artifacts, and.


Through it all.


Doing our best not to forget our humanity. Undertow is available wherever you listen to podcasts or atmedia21. Com. Stay alert out there and enjoy your time in the undertoe.