Jeff Emtman is Host of Here Be Monsters, KCRW ​'s podcast about everything Jeff fears. He's an artist creating true stories about belief and fear.
Like so many others, Amanda Petrus got a bit lost after college. She had a chemistry degree and not a lot of direction.  But she was able to find work at a juice factory in the vineyards of western New York.  Her job was quality control, which meant overnight shifts at the factory, tasting endless cups of fruit punch and comparing them to the ever-evolving set of juice standards that they kept in the “juice library.” She calls herself and “odd creature”, especially for the time and place: she was a woman working in a factory dominated by men, she was openly lesbian (and yet still rebuffing advances from her coworkers), and she was a lover of Richard Wagner’s—sometimes dressing up as a valkyrie.Unfortunately, much of her time at the factory was characterized by the antics of her juice tasting colleague, Tim, who, in some ways, mirrored the traits of her favorite composer.  He was incredibly gifted at understanding the flavor profile of fruit punch, able to predict the exact ratios of passion fruit, high fructose corn syrup, and red 40 needed to please the factory’s  clients.  But he also shared Wagner’s xenophobia and misogyny, with his own brand of paranoia, too.  Often, Amanda was a target of his outburstsThis came to a head when Amanda was suddenly fired and escorted from the factory after Tim levelled an incredible accusation of conspiracy against her. After this incident, Amanda got into grad school, and started her path towards teaching.  She is now a professor of chemistry at the Community College of Rhode Island.  She also runs the website Mail From A Cat where you can order mail...from a cat. Producer: Jeff EmtmanMusic: The Black Spot, Serocell, Ride of the Valkyries (performed by The United States Marine Band),Overture from The Flying Dutchman (performed by University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Prelude from Parsifal (recording from the European Archive). Sponsor: Esoteric Bumper StickersEsoteric Bumper Stickers sells waterproof vinyl stickers can fit any feeling.  Not just for cars, Esoteric Bumper Stickers can show the world your knowledge of the briny deep, your passion for flora, your love of claws in the dark, etc. 
HBM Host Jeff Emtman has always been afraid of losing his memories. Places he cares about keep getting torn down.In this episode, Jeff bikes around Seattle recording the sounds of a popping balloon to capture the sound of places he likes: Padelford Hall’s Parking Garage, The Wayne Tunnel in Bothell, his old house in Roosevelt, The Greenlake Aqua Theater, and his front porch on a snowy day.  The sound of a popping balloon can be used to re-create a space digitally.  These popping sounds are loud ‘impulses’, and the space ‘responds’ accordingly.  These impulse responses can then be fed to an audio effect called a “convolution reverb” which interprets the impulse response and applies it to any incoming sound.  Rick and Kathy Emtman are heard on this episode.  Forrest Perrine helped with some of the recordings.  Support Here Be Monsters on Patreon! Producer: Jeff EmtmanMusic: The Black Spot, August Friis, Serocell, Phantom FaunaSponsor: Walk in the Woods ZineWalk in the Woods is a free mini zine that you can get in the mail! Zine-maker Flissy Saucier writes and draws about her experiences walking in the woods in this monthly+ publication. You can donate to keep the project going and get additional benefits.
Animals sometimes make noises that would be impossible to place without context.  In this episode: three types of animal vocalizations—described by the people who recorded them. Ashley Ahearn: Journalist and producer of Grouse, from Birdnote and Boise State Public RadioJoel Balsam: Journalist and producer of the upcoming podcast Parallel Lives.  Joel co-created a photo essay for ESPN about the “pororoca”, an Amazonian wave chased each year by surfers. Kevin Coffey, Ph.D.: Co-creator of DeepSqueak and researcher at VA Puget Sound and the University of Washington.  Kevin co-authored the paper DeepSqueak: a deep learning-based system for detection and analysis of ultrasonic vocalizations in Nature’s Neuropsychopharmacology journal. Also heard: calls of the Indies Short Tailed Cricket (Anurogryllus celerinictus), which may be the perpetrator of the so-called “sonic attacks” recently reported in Cuba.  Sound sent in by HBM listener Isaul in Puerto Rico.  Producer: Jeff EmtmanMusic: The Black SpotSponsor: Chas CoChas Co takes care of cats and dogs in Brooklyn (especially in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Bed Stuy and surrounding neighborhoods). Chas Co welcomes pets with special behavioral and medical needs, including those that other services have turned away.  They offer dog walking, cat visiting, and custom care arrangements too. Visit to book an appointment. Thank you Chas Co for sponsoring Here Be Monsters. Please consider becoming a patron of Here Be Monsters at
1,420,405,751* hertz is a very important frequency.  It’s the frequency that hydrogen radiates at, creating radio waves that can be detected far away.  And astronomers can learn a lot about the history and shape of the universe by observing this “hydrogen line” frequency with radio telescopesExtraterrestrial research astronomers also take a lot of interest in the hydrogen line...and it’s for the same exact reason, though the context is different.  It’s thought that if an alien species is capable of communicating with us, wouldn’t they also have figured out the importance of the hydrogen line?  And is it possible that just maybe, they’d use it (or frequencies near it) to communicate with us?  The theory being that the hydrogen line could be used as a kind of universal hailing channel for intelligent species—a representation of a shared understanding of physics. Talk of the hydrogen line was front and center in 1977, when an American astronomer named Jerry R Ehman found a very strong signal on the printout from a radio telescope dubbed “The Big Ear” at the Ohio State University.  The signal he found was close to the hydrogen line.  He noted the abnormality of the strong the signal by writing “Wow!” in red ink on the margins of the printout.  The so-called “Wow! Signal” has long been cited as potential evidence for alien communication. But Dr. Seth Shostak (senior astronomer at The SETI Institute and co-host of Big Picture Science) isn’t convinced.  His organization searches for extra terrestrial intelligence across the universe with a high degree of skepticism.  And he’s experienced a false positive or two over the years.  Seth thinks the Wow! Signal (and other related anomalous signals) are almost always tied back to human interference. In 1979 (not long after the Wow! Signal), frequencies near the hydrogen line became protected when a group called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) created a 1000+ page document that included a worldwide recommendation to keep these channels clear for astronomy and SETI purposes, citing the “special importance to mankind to determine the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations.” (see page 920 of the Finals Acts of the World Administrative Radio Conference, Geneva, 1979)  Despite this protection, Seth Shostak says there’s still interference on the hydrogen line from human sources.  That interference draws the ire of radio astronomers everywhere. Seth says, “It’s like turning on a bright light in a movie theater—you don’t ingratiate yourself with the [theater’s] patrons.”*give or take some fractional hertzProducer: Jeff EmtmanMusic: The Black SpotSponsorHBM’s Patreon SupportersHere Be Monsters’ supporters on Patreon send a small monthly (or yearly) donation to help cover Jeff’s living expenses, help pay contractors, and help pay fees/taxes associated with running the show.Listener Andrew Conkling says he signed up for the Patreon because Here Be Monsters is one of his favorite podcasts: “I wanted to be part of the journey seeing it continue.”Please note that HBM is free and there are currently no plans to change that.  However, patrons do receive some modest perks for their support. And that support means a lot. Thank you so much, HBM Patrons. 👽Want to become a patron?
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Creator Details

Providence, RI, USA
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
8 hours, 3 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 584864