Dec 1, 2017
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The fiendish Canadians, Darren and Graham have lured the gang into a strange subterranean den, which they allege to be Royal Canadian Mounted Police Headquarters.
Suspicions become aroused upon the meeting of the supposed "head mountie", one Mr. Scratch. He seems very keen on making a deal with Napoleon that doesn't seem to be on the level.
Will they be caught up in a tangled web of Canadian deceit, or will they save the day and Sugar the lady Sasquatch along with it?
Written and edited by Napoleon Doom
Cover Art by Napoleon Doom
I also write comicbooks and make art: http://lostbreadcomic.com/
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Text version of This episode's Historical Harangue:
Music: Opening/Closing Theme:
The Runaways by Arcade High
Special Thanks to:
Bill Lobe of https://bratpackbags.com/
Felix Umberto, Jestin Sallas, and Todd Marco, who just bought my comic
and The Grimerica Show, http://www.grimerica.ca/ and Nickie Benefield, who became Patreons!
Jestin Sallas, the voice of Jestin, and Alexsey
Adam Loyal, the voice of Adam
Katya & Napoleon voices are actually what it sounds like when doves cry.
Weirdsley as the voice of Mr. Scratch.
Special Guests: Darren Grimes and Graham Dunlop of http://www.grimerica.ca/
Opening and closing theme: The Runaways, by Arcade High
Download full episodes on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/unaffiliateds-podcast/
Creeping Wave is hosted by: http://unaffiliated.ca/
Full Text Transcript of "Historical Harangue" with sources:
Hello, this is Napoleon Doom with a Historical Harangue whether you want it or not. In this episode, we met a character named Mr. Scratch. Mr. Scratch or Old Scratch as he is sometimes called, is a classical figure in the folklore. From American authors such as Mark Twain, Stephen Vincent Benét and Washington Irving to British writers like Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling, Old Scratch has been the personification of all things evil, the devil if you will. I realize that this may be a sensitive subject for listeners of certain creeds. However, before we get too deep into this analysis, I’d like to clarify that this will be an examination of the historical and political forces that have lead up to man’s representation of this entity. I mean it neither as a sympathetic stance towards this being, nor as a rebuking of those who believe in its existence. If there is a metaphysical world, the human mind can only hope interpret it through images and symbols. This will be a discussion of how those emblems came to be. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Scratch
The name Old Scratch may stem back as far as Old Norse mythologies of skratti, preserved in middle English as simply, the Skrat. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Scratch
Far from being an evil force, the Skrats are mischevious tricksters, more akin to leprachauns. This fabled creature’s story oft begins with the Skrat being is in possession of gold or wealth of some kind. Cunning humans predictably conspire to trick the Skrat out of its riches, with the Skrat frequently getting the last laugh, as the human’s ill gotten plunder disappears before their very eyes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skrat
Over time, lines would be blurred and this impish creature would become associated with the Old Testament being of “The Satan” or The Accuser. This Satan however, has no power of his own. Far from being cast out of God’s Heavenly court, he serves God, and not as a henchman or anything wicked, but as one of many attendants… we’ll get to that. https://youtu.be/yNiEABRgXVo
The story of “The Satan’s” fall from grace, and one of the names erroneously ascribed to him, actually comes from a misinterpretation of the Hebrew scripture in Isaiah 14:12-14, which is often read:
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13: For you have said in your heart:
'I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.'”
This seems the familiar story of a belligerent Satan challenging God and being cast into Hell. However, this passage refers to the fall of a Babylonian King, who tyrannized the Israelites. There is no mention of Satan or even Lucifer at all in the original text, but rather to the celestial body we now recognize as the planet Venus. What was then perceived as a star had significance in that it makes its appearance in the sky, shining brightly just before dawn, even preceding the rise of he sun. The metaphor being that this bright star will inevitably be outshone and lost by the rise of the sun, or the rise of a new power. The name ascribed to this Babylonian king in Hebrew was Helal, son of Shahar. The translation of this would be “Daystar, son of the dawn” No Hebrew speaking person, contemporary to the time of this scriptures writings would have confused Helal with “The Satan”, nor would they have used the word Lucifer, so why do we do so now?
This error occurred during the translation of the bible into English by King James I, or rather the scholars in his employ. These scholars did not translate from the original Hebrew texts, as you might suppose they would. Instead, they relied upon fourth century Latin translations by St. Jerome. Jerome, who is actually the patron saint of libraries, and thus the subjects of an obscure joke in the original Ghostbusters, mistranslated “daystar, son of the dawn” into the Latin “Lucifer.” He wasn’t really incorrect in doing so, as the star referenced by both phrases is the same celestial body.
St. Jerome however was in no way referencing Satan. The idea of Lucifer as Satan would come from later Christians, who sought to prove that the Jews of the Old Testament believed in Satan, and thus he was an ever-present force. Lacking the historical knowledge to understand the reference, they misinterpreted Lucifer, and his fall from grace as referring to not just the great evil posed by a tyrant, but the greatest of evils, Satan. http://jdstone.org/cr/files/luciferaproblemforchristianity.html
So what was the Old Testament Satan really like? Well, the book of Job offers a good example. Here, Satan is on speaking terms with God, so much so that he even makes a friendly wager regarding poor Job. Satan proposes that Job is only reverent of God because he has a fulfilling life. Satan hypothesises that if Job were to lose all the things in life that gave him comfort, his family, his health, his fortune, he wouldn’t be nearly so devout. Rather than Satan being the bringer of evil, it is God in this story who agrees to the wager, giving Satan full authority to “test” Job’s piety and bring suffering upon him. Satan is not God’s enemy, but his co-conspirator. In the end, Job proves to be just as faithful to God as he ever was, despite the sanctioned murder of his livestock and servants by The Sabeans, a fire from heaven, and The Chaldeans (Kaldeans) respectively, a great wind falling his house and killing his children along with it, and the affliction of “loathsome sores from head to toe.” https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/jobs-afflictions/
Some might argue that Job was simply afraid of retribution in Hell. We’ll talk a bit later about whether or not Job would have grasped this, but the early Israelites really wouldn’t have understood that concept. For the Israelites of the Old Testament, there was no such thing as Hell. The dead, both the wicked and the righteous, were sent to a realm called Sheol. There was no Satan in Sheol, no punishment, it was simply a dark place where those no longer among the living were kept, and Satan was nowhere to be found. https://youtu.be/yNiEABRgXVo
The dichotomy of good vs. evil wouldn’t emerge until after Zoroaster, an Iranian-speaking prophet. Though his exact origins are unknown, his teachings would eventually come to dominate the Persian Empire. Chief among these was the filtration of Old Iranian pantheon of Gods into a form of monotheism, where good and evil were at odds with one another for control of the universe. Zoroaster proposed that there was a single God, Mazda, later called Ahura Mazda, who created and maintained a beautiful and well-ordered universe without the assistance of angels or lesser Gods and Goddesses. He also introduced the idea of Anghra Mainyu, as the opposing cosmic force to Mazda, who sought only to throw this universe into disarray through lies and chaos. http://www.zoroastrian.org/other/faq.htm
This new religion, Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna introduced a rudimentary idea of heaven and hell. This was accompanied by the introduction of the concept we now call free will, believing that good and evil originate in the human mind and are rendered tangible by the resulting actions of individuals.
With the ascension of the Persian emperor, and the reign of Darius The Great, Zoroaster’s teachings became the paradigm for all people under Persian rule. This included Israel, and thus the religious texts of the Israelites began to absorb these new ideas into their theology. Scriptures of this period now portray “The Satan” as God’s adversary, and a force of corruption and evil. https://youtu.be/yNiEABRgXVo
The Satan would again undergo a transformation following the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great. Alexander, a Greek, rejuvenated the religion with a whole new pantheon of deities. Most influential in the evolution of The Satan, was the God of the underworld, Hades. https://youtu.be/yNiEABRgXVo
Hades, while perhaps unpopular among the other Gods, was not evil. In fact, his realm, also called Hades, bears a striking similarity to the early Israelite concept of Sheol. Few mortals are exempt from Hades after death. Heroes such as Heracles (more often called Hercules) were notable exceptions, but the average person would have understood Hades to be their inevitable fate. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hades#Realm_of_Hades
This concept of the underworld is divided into various realms. Among these would have been Elysium, described by Homer in The Odyssey as a place where “life is easiest for men. No snow is there, nor heavy storm, nor ever rain, but ever does Ocean send up blasts of the shrill-blowing West Wind that they may give cooling to men.
— Homer, Odyssey (4.560–565) This has echoes of what would become the Christian concept of Heaven.
Conversely, there was the realm of Tartarus. One notable inhabitant of this realm is King Sisyphus, who was punished for murdering guests to his castle and seducing his niece. More importantly, however, was the fact that he ratted out Zeus to the river God, Asopus. Zeus had stolen the river God’s daughter, the nymph Aegina, to serve as one of his many sexual conquests. Sisyphus showed himself to be overly proud, in daring to tattle on Zeus. His actions, rather than being seen as honest, were seen as pompous. He dared to think he was on the same level as a God, and had any right to make report of Zeus’s misdeeds. As punishment for this trespass, Sisyphus was forced to eternally roll a large boulder up a mountainside, only to have it roll away from him once he’d almost reached the top. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartarus
Hades is even mentioned in the biblical scriptures, though this could again be just the handiwork of King James and his mistranslators. Remember how I said, we really couldn’t be sure if Job understood the idea of a Hell or not? Well, it is possible that he may have been acquainted with the idea of Hades. In the now apocryphal Septuagint of Job, a line reads "He deems the sea as a vase of ointment, and the Tartarus of the abyss like a prisoner." http://www.sacred-texts.com/atl/rag/rag26.htm
The Greek religion had by this time come to embrace the idea that the dead would be rewarded or condemned for their deeds in life, much the way souls are sorted between heaven and Hell. It is also at this point that the classical image of Satan begins to form based on not so much the attributes, but rather the physical descriptive of Hades.
Hades is often described as having either a black face or black beard. He sits upon a dark throne of ebony, wielding an immense two-pronged bi-dent. This wasn’t for pitching the bodies of sinner into the lake of fire, as Satan is often depicted as doing. This instrument was imbued with magical properties, and used to blast apart anything that came into its path.
Hades was also a God of wealth and prosperity. Like the treasure tending Skrat, legends such as this may explain how the devil eventually became associated with the acquisition of wealth.
One of the most interesting parallels that can be traced to this time of Greek rule is the idea of Satan as the dragon. In Greek mythology, Zeus, the most powerful among the Greek Gods, battles not Hades, but the winged serpent Typhon. He triumphantly casts the beast into the depths of Tartarus. It seems that this story, like that of Lucifer before it, may have, over time, evolved into one of the chronicles depicting Satan’s expulsion from heaven. https://youtu.be/yNiEABRgXVo
In Revelation 12:3- we read of “an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.”
If you’ve ever heard someone retell the story of Satan’s expulsion from Heaven, with a third of the angels falling from grace along with him, they are likely offering one of the many interpretations of this quote. A quote, which may owe its imagery to Zeus and Typhon’s epic battle.
This idea may also lend to the interpretation that the famed serpent, who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, was the embodiment of Satan. It should be specified however, that this is never directly stated in the text.
There is one significant difference between the realms of Hades and the classic depiction of Hell. No part of Hades, not even the dire shores of Tartarus, is ever described as being an eternally fiery domain. This depiction very likely comes from a factual place that people in the era of Christ would have been well familiar with. Indeed, Jesus himself warns of the fiery pits to be found in a place called Gehanna. https://youtu.be/yNiEABRgXVo
Gehanna is described in scripture as so terrible a fate “that if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'” – Mark 9:48
Gehenna was in actuality a valley, which had been used as a landfill. It had a dubious association from the start, known as a stinking, disgusting wasteland. It was regularly set ablaze, to try and dispose of the ever mounting rubbish, and the fires, it is said, would last for weeks. There, the authoritian powers of Jerusalem regularly burned the bodies of executed criminals. https://youtu.be/yNiEABRgXVo
It was also known by the name, the valley of Ben-hinnom during the Kingdom of Judah. During that time, it was used by Canaanites, who made offerings to their God Moloch through the “sacrifice [of] their sons and daughters by fire.” – Jeremiah 7:31
Gehenna was a place renowned for its unpleasantness. Over time, supernatural attributes were ascribed to it, and Gehenna became the embodiment of Hell.
The name Hell however likely comes from Norse mythology. Here it refers to the mistress of a realm called Helheim, sometimes eponymously called Hel. This Hel, unlike that of the Abrahamic religions, is a place of bitter cold, reserved for the unlucky the dead who were wicked in life, or simply died from sickness or old age. http://www.pantheon.org/articles/h/hel.html Hel, the entity, is the shepardess of those who fail to die in combat, and are therefore not admit entry into Valhalla (the hall of the slain) described as the most desirable afterlife in the 13th century Poetic Edda by Snorri Sturlson. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valhalla
The differences between these two afterlives can be attributed to the environments in which their worshippers lived. The concept of freezing cold would not have been comprehensible to the people of the Abrahamic tradition, which sprung up in the Middle East. Fire and heat however were very real threats that were immediately understood by all. Likewise, to the Norse, fire would have been seen as a tool, and a luxury. Harsh and frigid weather would have been a far more prevalent danger in their lives, and thus, it became the essence of their Hell.
As we’ve seen before, the biblical afterlife and its keeper evolves with each new cultural introduction. This would again be the case as, power would shift in the Holy Land to the rule of The Roman Empire. During this time Jews and Christians would be persecuted, and Satan would become associated with the tyrannical rule of Rome. The scriptures now evolve to depict stories of Roman oppression and cruelty. Satan too evolves, as exemplified by Revelations 13:18 “This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”
The number 666 (and in some translations 616) is a form of what’s called gematria, a practice common during these times, in which each letter of a name was ascribed a numerical value, and a sum was reached. The name of the Roman emperor, “Nero Caesar” translated into Hebrew, will produce the sum 666. It is likely that Nero would have been dead when The Book of Revelation was written (which could fall anywhere between 65 to 95 AD.) Nero died in 68 AD by suicide, carried out on his order, by a slave.) However, the memory of his viciousness seems to have been forever commemorated in scripture. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/brandondsmith/2017/05/number-666-mean/
In the fourth century, tides would radically shift for Christians with the conversion of Emperor Constantine. The once maligned religion of Christianity now would become the prevailing faith of the mighty Roman Empire, the dominant superpower of its day. Unfortunately, the memory of the Christian oppression didn’t appear to draw sympathy or understanding from these new Roman converts.
Under this new regime, Constantine would prohibit the assembly of non-Christians or “heretics.” Their failure to accept his new faith was seen as justification to strip them of their property, with the rationale that their possessions could go towards funding the church. http://www.heretication.info/_heretics.html
The oppression would continue under the reign of Theodosius I in 380 AD, who offered a straightforward justification for organized persecution:
“We command that those persons who follow this rule shall embrace the name of Catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom we adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas, their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retribution of our own initiative, which we shall assume in accordance with divine judgement.” http://www.heretication.info/_heretics.html
They saw their oppression, or “divine vengeance” as smothering out Satan’s presence among them. Any means by which they saw fit to do this were sanctified.
As the dominant culture continued to evolve, so did the concept of The Satan. The old pantheons of ancient Gods still existed in the minds of many, and were still worshipped in secret. Under the reign of the Holy Catholic Empire, one God emerged as the most dangerous to the control of the church. This was the Arcadian God Pan. https://youtu.be/yNiEABRgXVo
Pan, in most cases, was not worshipped in a temple nor a church, but in the natural environments that were his domain. Pan was erotic, celebrating sexuality. He delighted in music, and pleasure, flying in the face of the churches austere edicts. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_(god)
Pan was also quite remarkable in appearance. He was often depicted as having the horns, legs and cloven hooves of a goat, with the body and face of a man. He is frequently shown as having a long beard. In demonizing Pan, The Satan began to be ascribed these same physical characteristics.
The church would wield Satan as the ultimate threat. He was the ever-present evil that must be subdued at any cost. This was the rationalization that was used to justify the capture, torture and execution of heretics for many centuries to come. Anyone who did not aligned with the views of the church, was a heretic and thus in league with Satan. https://youtu.be/yNiEABRgXVo
Fast forward to the Age of Enlightenment- sometimes called the long 18th century as it begin 1685 and ended in 1815- and we find that the church’s tyrannical hold on society has withered some. Before this era, nature was seen as a terrifying and unknowable force, with fealty to the church being the one and only way to decipher God’s will on Earth. This new age of reason found people questioning if the church was serving the devoted or itself. It brought with it the dawn of the scientific method, and the belief that you could gain understanding of the natural world through collecting evidence, experimentation and producing replicatable results. This does not mean that the people of this era abandoned faith, more that they questioned the absolute dictates of the church, which like all mortal things, was corruptible. http://www.history.com/topics/enlightenment
During the Enlightenment, The Satan has not vanished, but has become more a figure of fun. Folktales of the time portray Satan not as an insurmountable evil, but a fallible being who can be cajoled and tricked by mere human ingenuity. It was a celebration of free will and rational thought. People began to see themselves as the keeper of their own souls, and culpable in their own destiny. https://youtu.be/yNiEABRgXVo
The reimagined story of St. Dunston, a tenth century blacksmith, illustrates this new attitude towards the devil. Written as a lyric poem, entitled The Horse Shoe: The True Legend of St Dunstan and the Devil by Edward G. Flight, with illustrations by George Cruikshank – this reimagining tells of the day a “tramping vagrant” came a calling on poor Dunston. This vagrant, as luck would have it, was none other than the Devil himself. Dunston however, is unafraid.
St Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pull’d the devil by the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more.
In other variants of this tale, the devil takes a play out of Bug’s Bunny’s handbook, and comes to Dunston, disguised as a woman. Dunston is not fooled by the Devil’s fiendish trickery, as he spies a pair of cloven hooves beneath Satan’s skirts.
In yet another-somewhat more malicious version, the devil looks on as Dunston shoes a lame horse. Miraculously, the shoe restores the horse to its old self. Dunston having noticed the devil was limping, offers to make him a shoe as well. The devil agrees, only to have a shoe, still blazing hot from the blacksmith’s fire, nailed too tightly to his hoof. The Devil, who in this story-is not an instigator of any kind mind you-screams in agony, and begs Dunston to take it off. The old smith refuses until the Devil agrees to never enter a building protected by the sign of the horseshoe. https://hoofcare.blogspot.com/2014/05/st-dunstan-devil-horseshoe-hang-over-door.html
Bet you never new the oddly sadistic origin of that little tradition.
The idea carried throughout all these stories was that man could best the Devil. No longer did people see themselves as the pawns of fate, or oppressed by the constant threat of evil all around them. Intelligence and reason were now the preferred weapon against the beast. The Devil could be beaten after all.
In more recent history we have songs such as “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band. In this modern legend, written in 1979, The Devil, behind quota on his souls for the day comes across a fiddle player named Johnny. He places a wager, betting a fiddle of gold against Johnny’s soul that he can best him in a musical showdown. The devil, as it turns out, plays a mean fiddle himself. Not mean enough unfortunately, as Johnny puts the Lord of Darkness to shame, boasting rather arrogantly:
"Devil, just come on back
if you ever want to try again,
I done told you once, you son of a bitch
I'm the best there's ever been.”
My own podcast, Creeping Wave, is based in part on a dream I had when I fell asleep listening to Tom Waits album, The Black Rider. Dreams tend to take on a mind of their own, but The Black Rider was originally a “musical fable” written for stage, with compositions by Tom Waits and the darling of the beat generation, William S. Burroughs as its writer. This musical tells the story of yet another deal with the devil, but I feel like this work deserves a video devoted in entirety to the project. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Rider
Hope you enjoyed this little journey into Hell.
Special thanks to our guest stars Darren Grimes and Graham Dunlop of Grimerica fame.
Weirdsley, who provided the voice of Mr. Scratch
Adam Loyal, who auspiciously voiced the character of Adam
Jestin Sallas, who lent his voice talents to the character of Jestin and Alexsey
Napoleon and Katya’s voices are actually what it sounds like when dove’s cry. We apologise to any doves we may have caused psychological harm to for the fulfilment of this episode.
A special thanks to Patrons The Grimerica Show and Nickie Benefield for their support.
T’is a labour of love for us here at Creeping Wave, so your donations through Patron help keep us going! I’d like to eventually do longer, more involved episodes, bring in all new guest stars and even start making animations and comics based off of these episodes, so if you like the show, consider becoming a Patron yourself. Or, just tell a friend.
If you hate the show and want to pay for my submission through silence, you might also consider becoming a Patron. I will definitely be able to tell the difference between money given in support and money given in spite. Just imagine how delicious my shame will be! I’ll be sure to include your name at the end of each show as a Hateron, while hanging my head in disgrace.
This is Napoleon Doom, reminding you to keep it Creepy.