HBM038: Do Crows Mourn Their Dead?

Crows have really strange habits around death. When a bird dies, crows gather, squawking loudly and gathering as many other birds as they can find to come and look at the dead body.

Much of what we know about crow funerals comes from the work of John Marzluff, a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. He and Kaeli Swift (one of his grad students) are trying to get to the bottom of these strange phenomena using taxidermy crows and masks and Cheetos and raw peanuts.

On this episode of Here Be Monsters, We look at and listen to the strange behaviors of crows and how they might be able to teach humanity about the origins of funerals and emotions.

Many thanks to David Kestenbaum of NPR’s Planet Money for his help on a short version of this piece made for radio…keep your ears peeled.

Also, many thanks to Brian Emtman for tipping us off to this story.

Some of the crow sounds in this episode came from Cornell’s Macaullay Library. Citation: macaulaylibrary.org/audio/45291http…org/audio/45291

In this episode there are some amazing recordings of funeral practices from around the world, including Laos (LukeIRL), Bali (RTB45), Colombia (renatofarabeuf), and Ghana (Klankbeeld). via Freesound.

Music from Flower Petal Downpour, Serocell, and The Black Spot.

HBM034: The Grandmother and The Vine Of The Dead

Ayahuasca is one of the most powerful and most illegal hallucinogens in the world. It contains DMT. But, for as long as anyone can remember, it’s been used by people who have wanted to know more about the universe.

These people have traditionally been involved with shamanic tribes of the Amazon Rainforest, but in recent years, more and more people have had access to Ayahuasca through ceremonies lead by shamans in countries near the South American Equator.

Ayahuasca (also called Iowaska, Yagé, Vine of the Dead, La Madrecita, El Abuelo, etc.) is not a party drug. In fact, it can be absolutely terrifying…Ayahuasca has a reputation for spewing up the taker’s darkest fears in front of visuals of multi-dimensional cosmic weirdness and forcing them to confront every dark thought they’ve ever had. But it also has a potential for intense healing.

In this episode, producer Lauren Stelling visits her old boss Cherub, who was facing a lot of grief after her best friend’s daughter, Zippy, was killed in a freak accident of nature.

Cherub was seeking alternatives to the common American treatments for grief, so, she flew away from her home in Washington State, down to a tropical rain forest where shamans guided her on a week-long Ayahuasca journey to find healing from her grief.

The episode was produced by Lauren Stelling. She’s a photographer living and working in Seattle, Washington. Check out her beautiful photographs

If you liked this show, you’ll also love HBM015: Jacob Visits Saturn.  It’s about MDMA therapy and feeling small. 

Big thanks to Choque Chinchay Journeys, who provided the recordings of icaros for this episode.

Serocell ←New!
Monster Rally  ←New!
Half Ghost 

Please rate the show on iTunes and/or tweet it to all your pals.

Rural Washington; May, 2011
Sam, Juliana and Ashley at the Flirt Cruise; Seattle, WA; March, 2014
Cameron at the Flirt Cruise, Seattle, WA; March, 2014
Cameron at the Flirt Cruise; Seattle, WA; March, 2014
Rat babies floating in the Seattle Aquarium; Seattle, WA; February, 2014
Rat babies floating in the Seattle Aquarium; Seattle, WA; February, 2014
Tafik demonstrating martial arts in the back yard; Seattle, WA, February 2014
Salem Art Works; Salem, NY; January, 2014
Gerent at his house; Bellingham, Wa.; December, 2010

Anonymous said: How you make dem pickles?

I make dem with

- 5lbs washed pickling cucumbers (blossom end removed)

- 1 c of pickling salt

- 2 gal filtered water

- 1 Handful of delicious spices

- 1 Food-grade bucket

- 1 Plate to weigh the pickles down

- And 2 weeks to let them ferment

This is the recipe I’ve based my experiment off of.

Anonymous said: how big is your pickle bucket?

Big enough to have a warning label for drowning.  5 gallons of food-safe plastic goodness!

♫ All the ladies want to get their hands in my pickle bucket ♫
Fermented Pickles; Seattle, WA; September, 2013