Episode 90 – The Dreams in the Witch House – Part 1

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Turn down the lights and nuzzle up to your speakers – we’re sharing some Dreams in the Witch House with guest Kenneth Hite and reader Dave Stinton!

Wanna grab some awesome books & gear in the UK? Check out Travelling Man!

Or, you can pick up Ken’s great mini-mythos books by clicking on these fabulous titles: Where the Deep Ones Are, The Antarctic Express, and of course, Cliffourd the Big Red God!

Just don’t – DON’T – look at this dog with a human face!

Instead, check out this ant on a string.

Don’t forget, we’re still taking donations for our full reading of The Call of Cthulhu, featuring Andrew Leman and Reber Clark!

SPECIAL THANKS to Chicago’s George Eckart for recording all the sweet, sweet Stintones on these Witch House shows.

Dreams in the Witch House
Chris Lackey’s Brown Jenkin

Post Comment 33 comments on “Episode 90 – The Dreams in the Witch House – Part 1

  • Grandpa Theobald on


    This is one of My faves! The way it describes “Magic” as merely an exploitation of Physical Laws We aren’t aware of yet is excuisite.

  • Grandpa Theobald on

    Brown Jenkin…….


    By the way, did either of You pic up on the fact that Nyarlathotep’s Avatar that shows up later on has Cloven Hooves in place of feet?

  • Grandpa Theobald on

    Brown Jenkin…..


    By the way, did either of You pick up on the fact that Nyarlathotep’s Avatar in this story has Cloven Hooves in place of feet?

  • Grandpa Theobald on

    Oops, sorry about that! ^_^’ My PC wasn’t showing any of My comments, so I thought they weren’t going through. But now that I’ve restarted it, it seems they were.

    (*Mutters* Damnitall…..)

    While I’m posting yet ANOTHER comment, I would like to point out that the Vallely/Crevasse that shows up later is just down the Road from the Farmhouse where Herbert West did His first experiments.

  • Keith McCaffety on

    Listening to this episode made me remember an incident I hadn’t thought about in years. In 1990 or 91, I visited a summer camp for gymnasts in the mountains of Arizona (I was there to take pictures). They gave me space on a couch in the kitchen of one of the cabins, and they warned me there was a mouse living in the couch. Sure enough, the damn thing kept me awake at night with its incessant chewing sounds. My last night there, as I was drifting off to sleep, there was a sudden feeling of WHISKERS ON MY NECK, and then I felt it run across my chest. It happened too fast for me to wake up and jump off the couch. I didn’t really sleep the rest of the night, and I missed a morning bike ride I’d been invited to because I slept half the day. I had to tell people, NO, I was NOT dreaming.

    Sandy Woolsey was there, and she may remember me telling story. She should definitely remember the infested couch.

    One other thing: I remember reading this story a long time ago in a much shorter version, with no Old Ones and more emphasis on the 4-dimensional travel. I think it was better, actually.

  • Odilius Vlak on

    Wow… What a feast will be this coverage to the imagination of the humans; but, above all, to the stomach of Brown jenkin.

  • agent1815 on

    Much like the hat-wearing human/fish/frog hybrid in The Shadow Over Innsmouth, the fact that the demonic rat critter in this story has a human name (which never gets explained) makes it so much creepier!

  • Grahm on

    Love this story. The magic/science connection is super-cool.
    Also “Strident Pandemonium” is the name of my Tom Waits cover band.

  • Up The Ying Yang on

    Brown Jenkin = Salacious B. Crumb?


  • Eric Crabtree on

    There’s an episode of Masters of Horror done off this story. It’s kinda modernised but it’s still pretty sweet.

  • helios1014 on

    Not the Rachel Lacky voice I envisoned but my bones are shaking.

  • Steve on

    Brown Jenkin looks like that ginger seal they found in russia:


  • Marcus Good on


    The etymology of the name, implying it was given to sons named John if their father had the same name. I like how the list of “notable Jenkins” includes our little friend here.

  • Scott on

    If you look at that old woodcut from the witch trials you see familiars with names like Grizzled Greedygut, Sack and Sugar, and Vinegar Tom. So Brown Jenkin seems like a classic familiar name.

  • Lisa on

    Completely agree about the dog with the human face from “Invasion with Body Snatchers.” That scared me to death! I had to sleep with the light on for quite sometime because of that image!

  • dedguy on

    I’m not even sure if this was intentional in the film, but the Forest God in Princess Mononoke always really really creeped me out. It has a very human-like face and the way it smiled and moved was terrifying. The little faceless black and white tree spirits where also creepy but that’s a bit off topic.

    There’s of course also a few scenes in Carpenter’s The Thing in which the titular alien appears as a mix of a human face and other unidentifiable semi-insectoid or deep-sea things.

  • dedguy on

    Oh, and I almost forgot. The “human hands” on Brown Jenkin reminded me a lot Whitley Striber’s Wolfen.

  • dedguy on

    Oh, and I almost forgot. The “human hands” on Brown Jenkin reminded me a lot Whitley Striber’s Wolfen.

  • Chris Floyd on

    Ken made a funny joke about “it’s not a surprise that he’s failing psychology.” In my college experience, though, the most unhinged or most insecure people majored in psychology, so he might just have this backwards!

    Looking forward to the next installment. I’m sad that the end of the literary works is coming so soon!

  • Peter Tupper on

    I loved the name “Brown Jenkin” when I read this story. It suggested some old Anglo-Saxon folk legend, a name that, in itself, sounds innocuous but refers to something deeply unwholesome. That there is no explanation for the name, or how the creature came to be, just adds to the creepiness.

  • Genus Unknown on

    Great episode on a great story, but man, there’s just no excusing Walter Gilman’s actions (or lack thereof). For a student of non-Euclidean calculus and quantum physics, he sure is a dummy.

    I mean at one point he talks himself out of fleeing the house because those marks on his wrist were probably just made by a rat. “It’s fine, I’m just being bitten by rats in my sleep.”

    Not a bright lad.

  • Genus Unknown on

    By the way, Brown Jenkin apparently had a, er, “real-life” counterpart named Gef the talking mongoose. No, seriously.


    Basically this family had some weird things going on around the farm, and then they started hearing voices in the barn claiming to be an “extra extra clever mongoose” with hands and feet that introduced himself as Gef.

  • Genus Unknown on

    Huh. My other comment isn’t showing up.

    Anyway, long story short, Wikipedia “Gef the talking mongoose.” Brown Jenkin lives, people. Brown Jenkin lives.

  • Marcus Good on

    Genus – most recent studies on Gef pretty much rule out all the quasi-supranormal aspects, and attribute it to the daughter. Not even poltergeists manifesting around pubescent girls as per most tales, it pretty much comes down to “lonely girl makes up story and puts on voices for attention”. Which is a little sad, since Gef as we imagine him to be is way more awesome. Now, were he a honey badger, I’d believe it.

  • Genus Unknown on

    Marcus: Well yeah, that’s pretty much all poltergeist phenomena. That’s why I put “real-life” in quotes. The relevant part here is that a talking rodent-like creature with human hands was reported in a non-Lovecraftian setting.

  • Sean Liddle on

    Honey badger don’t put up with little girls faking the paranormal !!!

  • Genus Unknown on

    Honey badger never would have bothered with the poltergeist crap anyway. It just would have eaten the little girl, burned the barn down, and taken a nap in the ashes.

  • Tim Scurr on

    Think the honey badger would also sic Farmer Joe’s nut pouch before making his getaway. There is a horror author named Graham Masterton, and he basically borrowed a whole bunch of Lovecraft’s ideas and replaced the rampant racism and Anglophilia with rampant sex and violence. One might argue a fair trade. Anyhow, there is a novel called ‘Prey’ he wrote which is basically an unofficial sequal to ‘Dreams in the Witch House’. Not great, but with gratuitous violence and sex. Plenty of opportunity for honey badger to sink his claws into a nut or two, ’cause honey badger don’t care!

  • Brian O'Connell on

    A very interesting podcast. In the comments, it seems everybody is talking about Brown Jenkin.

    Weirdish rat men aside, this is very interesting.

  • BrreLandwalker on

    The description and habits of Brown Jenkin do remind me a lot of the old descriptions of witches’ familiars, as you said. One of the bits of “evidence” brought against many witches was inspection for a “witches’ teat,” which was basically any large or suspicious-looking mole, on which the witch was supposed to be nursing her hellish little critter-servant. So the idea of Keziah nursing Brown Jenkin on her blood definitely fits, and the idea of the man-faced rat is not too terribly far off of the imagery attached to some of the nastier forms of familiar that have been described, particularly if the creature is pulled from some sort of Fae ancestry (more reference to The Great God Pan?).

    The inexplained name might come from the trial transcripts, as Mr Hite postulates. There is precedent for this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyewacket_(familiar_spirit).

  • […] in the Witch-House w/ special guest Ken Hite (Parts 1, 2, & […]

  • HJA on

    Hiya, Chris — nah, not just you — after seeing that Body Snatchers movie I was awake and terrified all night til daylight, and that dog/man hybrid was especially repulsive and horrifying. I wonder if the special effect holds up? Hard to believe it does, but just to be safe I will NOT do an image search to check.

  • HJA on

    Oh, just a reminder, in case you read my previous comment, posted years after the podcast: you had said something like “maybe it’s just me, but that dog-man really freaked me out”

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