We’re back with another special interview episode. This time, however, we’re breaking away from cults and turning back to a topic we discussed in episode 127: that uneasy ground that lies between comedy and horror.

Matthew McLean is the writer, producer and one of the stars of A Scottish Podcast. While the name may not suggest it, A Scottish Podcast is steeped in Lovecraftian horror. It’s also pretty damn funny.

The basic premise is that Lee, a failed disc jockey, has decided to reboot his career by starting a paranormal investigation podcast. He ropes his long-suffering friend Doug into producing it and the two of them travel across Scotland, investigating weird cases they are increasingly forced to take seriously.

What stops A Scottish Podcast from being just another paranormal drama is its cast of wildly eccentric supporting characters. The stories swing wildly between comedy and horror, usually keeping the two elements discrete but sometimes mixing them to great effect (such as in the recent special, “Fish Supper Over Innsmouth”).

Be warned that A Scottish Podcast is even more sweary than the Good Friends and that the humour is very Scottish. As Matthew mentions in the interview, however, this has not proved a barrier to international listeners.

In our discussion, Matthew and I talk about the relationship between comedy and horror, where the humour lies in Lovecraft, and how he goes about writing and creating the podcast. This last part turned into a general discussion about producing audio drama which should prove informative to anyone thinking about doing so.

A Scottish Podcast

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We’re back with the conclusion of our special interview with Robert Howells about secret societies, building on our recent episodes about cults. The first part of our discussion focused on how secret societies differ from cults and magical orders. This time, Robert offers some items from his research that he thinks may be of particular interest to Call of Cthulhu players.

Robert Howells is an author and researcher into secret societies. He has written books about the Priory of Sion and the Illuminati, and worked on a number of related television programmes.

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We’re back with a special interview episode about secret societies and how they might relate to Call of Cthulhu.

In our recent episodes about cults, we briefly touched on how the representation of cults in Call of Cthulhu sometimes more resembled secret societies or magical orders. We thought it might be interesting to dig into what the differences are between these types of organisations. If nothing else, this may offer some inspiration for how we portray them in our games.

Once again, we have called upon expert help. Robert Howells is an author and researcher into secret societies. He has written books about the Priory of Sion and the Illuminati, and worked on a number of related television programmes.

This is a long and discursive discussion, drifting into many esoteric and occult areas, so we have split it into two episodes. Join us in a fortnight for the conclusion, when Rob and Scott tie all of this further into cults and Call of Cthulhu.

Inside the Priory of Sion: Revelations from the World's most secret society by Robert Howells

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Cutting the Stone by Hieronymus Bosch
Conspiracy theories and cults special part 2

This is the second part of our discussion with our good friend Bence Szlamka about the murky grey area between cults and conspiracy theories. Those of you on our Discord server will know Bence as TRNSHMN, one of our moderators. While Bence is clear that he is not a scholar, he has spent a great deal of time studying conspiracy theories.

Our last episode largely focused on QAnon, which dominates the modern conspiracy landscape. In this instalment, Scott talks to Bence about some of the weirder aspects of modern conspiracies, including, mole children, flat Earth adherents, and the role of Jesus in network security.

While we try to keep the tone relatively light, some of these conspiracy theories involve unpleasant ideas. QAnon, especially, embraces various beliefs about the abuse, trafficking and sacrifice of children. We avoid going into too much detail, but be warned that we at least touch upon these subjects. In the end, however, this is an RPG podcast, and our focus is to find inspiration for our games.

We will be back next week with a regular episode: the second part of our journey into the weird west.

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Special Episode: Conspiracy Theories and Cults with Bence Szlamka (part 1)

In our recent episodes about cults, we mentioned how social media has blurred the line between cults and conspiracy theories. Phenomena like QAnon display many cult-like attributes but lack formal leadership. We thought it would be interesting to dig into this a little more.

As none of us knows much about modern conspiracy theories, we turned to our good friend Bence Szlamka for help. Those of you on our Discord server will know Bence as TRNSHMN, one of the moderators there. While Bence is clear that he is not a scholar, he has spent a great deal of time studying conspiracy theories. Scott talked to Bence for a couple of hours, delving into the darker corners of QAnon, the anti-vaccination movement, flat-Earthers, and other cult-like conspiracy theories.

While we tried to keep the tone relatively light, some of these conspiracy theories revolve around unpleasant ideas. QAnon, especially, embraces various beliefs about the abuse, trafficking and sacrifice of children. We avoid going into too much detail, but be warned that we at least touch upon these subjects. In the end, however, this is an RPG podcast, and our focus is to find inspiration for our games.

This turned into quite a long discussion, so we have split it into two episodes. Join us in a fortnight for the conclusion, when Bence and Scott talk about some even stranger contemporary conspiracy theories.

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QAnon logo