Episode 120: Dollop: The Mad Gasser

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Dave: A nun began to meow like a cat–

Gareth: O, sweet bastard!


I was searching for a Mad Gasser-era map of that area of Virginia, and typing in “virginia map 1930 troutville cloverdale botentourt”

(which, Dave, you had every right to stumble over–the locals pronounce it Bot-en-tot, no, I don’t know why. I giggle every time I hear it, and replace it every time in my head with “tater tot”)

gave me this glorious gem. I cannot properly credit this image, because it only goes back to French Facebook, which removed it. Claim it if you created it, and I will happily credit you.

120: Mad GasserAnd, if you’re around my age, you know exactly who this looks like. That’s right, folks. Mystery Solved. The Mad Gasser of Mattoon was none other than Daffy Duck as the Scarlet Pumpernickel!daffy

Case closed.

tumblr_mckyoufXCo1rxmivho1_250The theory Dave explained, of using hysteria of a method to communicate an unsaid message…there is a huge amount of truth in that. What came to my mind is a downer, but, if I depress you, just look at Daffy. What immediately came to mind was the amazing job that American Horror Story: Asylum did with homosexuality aversion therapy. There is a claustrophobic scene between the psychiatrist, played by Zachary Quinto, and the patient, Sarah Paulson, as the good doctor shows his patient arousing pictures and pairs them with painful stimuli, upping the pain with the titillation potential. They are sitting so close to each other, and the scene switches back and forth from the fleeting sexual images to his sweating face, to hers…She is earnestly trying to comply, and cannot, of course, and only the doctor knows what he is thinking, and why he is so sweaty and shaky…enough suppression and uncommunicated pain in that room to power the entire building.

My eyes involuntarily teared up watching it, and did so again recalling it listening to the Mad Gasser episode…and did so now.
And so, to further quote Gareth, so as to lift us out of that bummer I created:

That has ‘penis’ written all over it.

Such love for this guy’s sense of humor, I have. Ride or die. You can see why, in one precious quote.

ride or die gif

Reading suggestions, because you know I am all about those books. The case is covered in both of them:

Unexplained!: Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena * Jerome Clark

Mysterious America * Loren Coleman


Bands from this episode:

  • Pump Farts
  • Officer Lemon
  • Ladyshoes Gasser
  • Larry and the Walnuts

More about Virginian place names v. pronunciations:

If I wanted to visit Roanoke or Blacksburg from my home, I can go directly over the twisty-turny mountain pass through Buena Vista. Anyone who knows even a little Spanish knows how to pronounce that, yes? Don’t even do it around here. It’s pronounced Bee-youuuuu-NA Vee-staaah.

Oh, yeah. A lot of Latinos work around here, and I love to imagine them chilling at night, drinking and laughing, goading each other to imitate the white Central Virginians. “Do it, do it one more time, man.” I hope they do.

Cultural references:

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