You have all heard of El Chupacabra, but have you ever heard of their Cajun cousin, The Grunch Road Monster? This vampire hybrid of canine and reptilian has one large spiked tooth at the center of it's top jaw to puncture and slurp down blood from whatever unsuspecting pray it happens upon. The Grunch is also believed to be more advanced and sophisticated than the typical Chupacabra. Oral stories of The Grunch Road Monster began in the 18th century within a community of free persons of color. It was here where the monster got its name, as it was said to prowl the wooded edges of Grunch Road.
The Vampire of Farbourgh Marigny is a similar, if not synonymous form of Chupacabra and was a foe of none of other than the "Voodoo Queen" Madam Marie Laveau. Building on our prior episode, the Devil-Man of Algiers was said to have spawned a "Baby-Devil." Marie Laveau was said to have located the Baby-Devil and castrated it to prevent any future hellspawn from wreaking havoc in New Orleans. Unfortunately, this had the exact opposite effect, as one of the baby-devil's fallen testicles spawned a male Grunch and the other a female Grunch. Really grunched that one up, didn't ya, Madam Laveau?
Grunch Road today is a nearly forgotten, unpaved stretch that dead-ends near Little Woods in eastern NOLA. Despite it's rural location, people still venture with hopes of snapping a picture of The Grunch Road Monster. The Grunch has been featured in cryptid books and is the titular figure in The Grunch: a Children's Musical-- although the musical is more a parody of How The Grinch Stole Christmas than a true homage to the Grunch Road Monster. And, for the record, The Grunch was not the Dr. Seuss's inspiration for The Grinch.
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See you later, Talegaters!
“Cheese Head” & “Paul Morphy” played by Aaron Sherry
“Florida Man” & “Bernard de Bore” played by Harrison Foreman
“Gary Grunch" played by Harrison Foreman
"High quality, royalty free, elevator music" by Defphonix
"Talegate Theme" by Mat Jones
Written & Edited by Harrison Foreman
THE BEAST OF GRUNCH ROAD
FLORIDA MAN: Howdy folks, and welcome to The Talegate!
CHEESEHEAD: For those of you just joining us, we’re on a roadtrip across America to uncover the mysteries behind tall tales, fairy tales, folktales, fishtales, & urban legends, one interview at a time.
FM: We inherited a truck from our late Granny May and discovered that the crystal hanging off the rearview mirror was more than decorative. It’s a Dowsing Pendulum leading us to the good folks behind the tales we all grew up with.
CH: We accidentally stole a canopic jar belonging to the mummy of Pharaoh Ay, who placed a death curse on us. But fret not, Talegaters, because all we have to do was return the jar to the rest of the set by the next blood moon to break the Mummy’s Curse.
FM: We’ll ship it back to the museum soon and avoid having our souls forfeited to Anubis. Ain’t no thang. With that, I’m Harrison, the Florida Man.
CH: And I’m Aaron the Cheesehead. And tonight we are in the bayous of Little Woods, New Orleans. Where the gumbo is hot, and the women--I mean humidity is even hotter. We’re parked road-ride. Grunch road-side, to me precise.
FM: That’s right. We’re on Grunch Road in Louisiana. Well, at least the approximation of what used to be Grunch road, LA. And we seeking out a cryptid far less widely known than it’s more mainstream cousin, el Chupacabra. But before we ponerse a trabajar, what we drinking today, Cheesehead?
CH: A been we’ve been saving in our growlers for a while now. Brewed all the back in Jacksonville Florida…
FM: -Home of AEW Dynamite-
CH: Ugh… we got us here some Imperial Grunch IPA from Veteran’s Brewery! I’m about to crack this puppy open all quick like and… [chugging]... Uh, Florida Man?
FM: [Burp] Uh, yea, Cheesehead?
CH: Did you just down your entire growler?
FM: Yea, just missin’ that taste of Florida.
CH: That was 9.2 ABV!!!
FM: And I’d give it a 9.2 out of 10. Damn good Double.
CH: Well, I think it would have been awfully kind of you to wait for your ol’ cousin here to catch up. [Continued chugging] Hey! Did you just chug MY entire growler??
FM: Listen man, I’m homesick, cursed by a mummy, and thirsty as all get out. Plus, you don’t even like IPA muchless Doubles
CH: You got me there, I do think IPA tastes like butt. Don’t ask how I have that frame of reference. [thick bubbling sounds]
FM: What’s this paper stapled to the phone pole? Cauldron Con? What even is that? Like a convention for ironware enthusiasts?
CH: That’s a good question. And who is that lady on the poster? She looks like some sort of ghoul. Emma Fatal?
FM: Eh, I’m sure it means nothing and will in no shape or form affect the rest of our journey.
CH: That’s... optimistic. Wait, what’s that emerging from the gurgling bayou?
FM: Swamp Thing?
FM: Wait.. is that a briefcase?
GARY: Of course it’s a briefcase! What, you think I’m carrying luggage to visit my nan? Don’t be a stooge. Name’s Gary Grunch, and I’m here with a brand new product, gonna change your life!
CH: Whoa, it’s the Grunch!
GARY: Uh, Gary Grunch to you, Pal. And yea, who else would it be?
CH: Well, the pictures and descriptions we saw of you looked, I don’t know how to say this… more...formidable?
GARY: Ay, what youse trying’ to say to ol Gary Grunch ova here? You disrespecting me, son? Because if youse disrespecting me… think I outta...
CH: Ah, no, nope, definitely not. I take back everything I just said, because you are every bit as formidable as the records state.
FM: Yea, only more in a mobster kinda way and less in blood-sucking swamp monster kinda way.
GARY: Ah, I used to terrorize the swamps out here, but I’ve turned a new leaf. Moved to New York some decades back to start a new life for myself, know what I mean? An honest life for an honest Grunch, selling products gonna change yas lives!
FM: So I hear. Them products what you got in that briefcase?
CH: Yah, whatcha got in der?
GARY: Why, I’m very glad you asked. [unlock briefcase] Are you rolling in your grave? Has sleeping in your coffin become a real pain in the neck? Hi, it's Gary Crunch here to introduce you to the all new "Vamillow," it's gonna change your afterlife. The Vampillow used our patented “Chill Containment technology” so youse never have to flip your pillow again. Rest in peace knowing you've got the Vampillow. But Gary, how can I afford such an amazing product? Well, my blood sucking friend...
CH: Oh, I’m not a vampire. I’m just pale as fuck because, yanno...Wisconsin.
GARY: I don’t know what’s the greater con, you trying to convince me your pale ass ain’t a vampire, or other pillows out there tryin ta rob you blind! Let me tell you that similar products may drive a stake in your wallet, but not Vampillow--cause the Vampillow ain’t $50. Ain’t $45. But just $39.99. BUT WAIT! Order today and we'll even throw in a second Vampillow absolutely free! Never miss good days sleep again. To order your Vampillow have your cryptid-card ready and call 1-999-7929 today!
CH: Wait, did you just drop an infomercial in the middle of our podcast?
FM: How did you change your voice like that at the end?
CH: Usually sponsors yanno… pay for ads.
GARY: You asked what was in my briefcase. I simply told you, my friend. Plus, ain’t my interview here payment enough? I mean, you do pay the talent on your show, right?
CH: Uh…. Next topic!
PART 2: History of the Grunch:
FM: Prolly a good idea. That pillow is pretty nice though, ain’t gonna lie. So, Gary, my research indicates, though you may be one of the more obscure cryptids out there, your history is actually rather deep.
GARY: What, you think the good folk out here in the bayou is cultureless swine, that what youse saying?
FM: No, not at all! We’ve actually spent more time in New Oreleans than any one place on our trip so far.
GARY: What, you want a medal or somethin’? Get outta here. So yea, sometimes Ol’ Grunch here is mistakened for my other, dumber cousin, El Chupacabra---don’t ‘em I said that. Might make the family reunion more awkward than it already is.
CH: What’s so awkward about it?
GARY: For one, you’re surrounded by more petting zoo animals than New Zealand. But, yanno, gotta eat. Real talk though, you may have noticed Gary Grunch here is an articulate fellow, if I do say so myself. Chupacabras? Eh, not so much.
CH: Are they basically just rabid beasts then?
GARY: Hey! You talk about my family like that again and I’ll slurp the blood outta you faster than a kindergartener on a capri sun!
CH: Ah geez, I was just going off of what you were telling us.
GARY: I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Youse right. I just, yanno. I can talk smack about my family, but the second someone else does it’s like, claws out, know what I mean?
CH: Oh, I’m defensive as Willie Wood when it comes to my family, so I feel yah. Only I don’t go killing folks over it.
GARY: To answer your question, they ain’t so mindless as an animal, but yanno...maybe a few screws loose, if you catch my drift. Light upstairs is flickerin’, you know what I mean? Visit an aquarium, ain’t many fish so much, if youse--
FM: I think we get the point. Still, i’m kinda excited to interview El Chupacabra some day soon. Sounds like they know how to party.
GARY: Oh sure, they’re big drinkers. Of blood. So we just gonna talk about my simpleton cousins or youse wanna hear the true history behind yours truly: the Beast of Grunch Road?
CH: Ah shoot, sorry. We would love to hear your rich and fascinating history!
GARY: And you will! Right after this message from our sponsor: Is your giant feet causing you Paul Bunyans? Is your heel too caliced to leave cryptically discernable footprints for humans to find? Hi, Gary Grunch here to tell you about a brand new product, gonna change your life. It's called the Yeti Pedi and itll get your feet the smoothest they've ever been, I'll tell you that. The Yeti Pedi uses ancient Tamahagane grating technology with it's sturdy steal folded 1000. Turn your big ass feet from Abominable to indomitable with the Yeti Pedi! Now other pedi products fall apart or will set you back a lot of money. Don't you gotta feed all your little foots? And tradition sandpaper? Forget about it. Sasquatch, yeti, skunk ape, doesn't matter. For just two easy payments of 19.99, your too can can put the Sass back in Sasquatch with the Pedi Yeti. Tree bark? What are you, a monster?? Call now! Have your crypto card ready and dial 1-999-7997. Order today!
CH: Wow. Um, sure sounds like a great product and all, but I think mostly humans listen to our
podcast. Sasquatch isn’t really our demographic, as far as I know.
GARY: Shows how little you know then. They broadcast your podcast to the Outworld on SQX Monster Radio every week.
CH: Sex Monster what??
GARY: Forget about it. New Orleans has been and will forever be one of the most important cities in the U.S. It is THE port town where the Mississippi meets the Gulf. Essential for importing and exporting goods, feel me? Equally as important, New Orleans stood as one of the greatest lucrative hubs for freed slaves. And it’s within this community wheres my legend was born.
FM: Damn, ain’t know all that.
GARY: You’re a Florida Man, probably don’t his own momma from a used syringe.
GARY: Back then, around the turn of the 19th century, people started noticing me and more specifically, my uh… my particular habits. Yousee, oral passage of my legend came more and more regular til yours truly got branded, The Vampire of Farbourgh Marigny.
CH: Sounds pretty snazzy. We bumped into Saint Germain the other night. Seems like New Orleans just can’t get enough of vampires.
GARY: Well this is where the tale gets weird. Youse heard of the legendary Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, yea?
FM: Sure. Ain’t she who Disney based Mama Odie on in Princess and the Frog?
CH: Oh yah, I think you’re right, der, Florida Man.
GARY: C’mon, don’t bring me that DIsney shit, what’s wrong with you? SO you know Mama Odie. But youse ever heard of the Baby Devil?
CH: You betcha! In fact the Devil of Aligers almost ran us down last night after trying to bum a
ride with us! And, for you at home, I’m referring to # Dashboard Chat on the Devil of Algiers. From what I read, the legend ends with the birth of a, well… a baby devil.
GARY: Yea well, apparently you didn’t read what came after. Story goes that Mama Odie didn’t exactly take kind to the devilish little squirt, so she found the Baby Devil and castrated him; ensuring he could no longer reproduce and bring about more devils onto New Orleans.
FM: Damn, she cut it balls off? I know he’s a devil but still sounds harsh as hell.
GARY: It was the Baby Devil who had the last laugh, for, both his tiny balls dropped to the ground, cracking open like a couple of eggs, releasing a Mr. Grunch out of one of ‘em tiny testies, and a Misses Grunch out the other.
CH: Wowzers! Did Mama Odie kill them on the spot?
GARY: Look at me, knuckle head. Wouldn’t be standin’ here if she did? No, the new Grunches jumped the old Voodoo Queen and she was lucky to escape with blood in veins, I can tell you that.
CH: I had no idea you had past ties with Voodoo legends. That’s pretty incredible. It’s got me wondering, besides that addition, what else sets you apart from your typical, ordinary Chupacabra?
FM: I like how, in our line of work, chupacabra is considered just typical and ordinary.
CH: Ah, you know what I mean.
GARY: For one, they ain’t so articulate as me. They’s more, how do I put this… “In the Moment.” Yanno, “slaughter and slobber” sorta folk. Secondly, is our looks. Theys a bit uglier than me. “Less dignified,” one might say.
FM: Yea, “articulate” and “dignified” is uh...definitely how I’d describe you, Mr. Grunch.
GARY: Call me Gary!
CH: And while we’re on that, hows about we describe The Grunch for our audience?
FM: Good plan.
CH: On all fours, The Grunch appears stands about 4 foot even, but upright, as he is right now, The Grunch is actually closer to 5 foot. He has the head of a goat but a body more akin to a large wolf, only with leathery, spiney green skin.
FM: Yanno, you ain’t look a whole lot different from a previous guest of ours from way up river: The Hodag of Rhinelander.
CH: Your right! He looks like a stumpier, less intimidatingly-framed Hodag Lite.
FM: Shit, take it back, Cheesehead, take it back!
CH: Ah geez, I mean, a thunderously powerful beast, the likes of which this show has never seen!
GRUNCH: Now that’s more like it.
CH: I know you are obviously a force to be reckoned with, even if you have gone legit. But I got to ask yah, why stalk Grunch Road? Does it have some sort of sentimental value to you?
GRUNCH: Nah, I ain’t the sentimental type. But this particular spot is close to the woods and it’s a hot spot for ghosts. Whole shitton of ‘em here. Not to mention me, the occasional chupacabra, and the far more occasional wild animal.
Part 3: Evidence
FM: Alright, man. Let’s build on that momentum. Whole lot of folk mistake common animals for the more elusive cryptids, and why not? The eye ain’t so reliable as the imagination.
GRUNCH: What youse gettin’ at?
CH: I think he’s getting to a little game we play here on the Talegate. A little game called, Is This You?
GARY: Right this moment, I wish it wasn’t.
FM: We’re gonna show you pictures of an alleged Grunch and you tell us Iiiif It’s you.
GARY: Sure sure, how hard can it be?
CH: Perfect! And for those of you listening at home, work, or on-the-go, you can find these images and more by following our instagram @TheTaleGatePodcast.
FM: So photos of you ain’t so bountiful as the man with the big feet, but you still got a few good ones floatin’ ‘round. Here’s a normal photo taken at Grunch Road.
GARY: Yea yea, Typical Grunch. Gravel floor. Tall grass. Tetanus.
FM: Now here’s another photo. Same road, only now there’s what some believe to be the hunched back of the Grunch prowling the tall grass. Gary Grunch, Isssss This You?
GARY: How the fuck am I supposed to know? There’s something’s fuckin’ around in that tall grass for sure. Maybe? But look, brotha, I gots a spiny back, see?
GARY: That mound in the picture there look spiney to you?
GARY: And there you have it. Maybe. Prolly not.
CH: Okay, Mr. Negativity. Here’s a third photo from Grunch Road with what may or may not be something edging out of the foliage in the back. Mr. Grunch, Isssss This You??
GARY: Hows the fuck am I supposed to know with that fuzzy ass picture? Imagine your year book comes out and there’s a wide, blurry action shot of a the entire school a pep rally. I point to what may or may not be a tiny blurry scalp in the back row and ask, Issss This Youse?
CH: I only had like 50 people in my entire class, so I could probably answer your, but I get what you’re trying to say.
FM: And last but not least, we got another image for your ocular spheres, here it is: Gary Grunch, ISSSS THIS YOUUUU??
GARY: What the fuck even is this? A theater? Youse guys think I’m some sorta dandy prancing around a stage or something?
CH: Hey now, Mr. Grunch, don’t be insensitive.
GARY: You didn’t let me finish, you nincompoop, because I was fixin’ to say, I am indeed patron of the arts. This photo here is from the children’s musical called The Grunch: A New Children’s Musical. Too bad it’s based on The other green monsta, Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch, and not yours truly.
FM: I mean, How the Grinch Stole Christmas only published ‘round 1957. Your green, grumpy, curmudgeon self has been around long since them times. Reckon Suess’s The Grinch were inspired by New Orlean’s own, The Grunch? In other words...ISSSSS THIS YOU?
CH: Now that you point it out, I can certainly see the similarities.
GARY: Flatterin’ as that is, as I am big fan of the Grinch and likewise hate Christmas, nah, that ain’t me. Despite exhibitions like “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” at The Striped Hat Gallery over in the French Quarter, Suess is a Massachusetts Man. He ain’t ever stepped foot in New Orleans, far as I know. The fake Doctor probably never heard of me.
CH: Ouch, but Biography.com supports this. In fact, Dr. Suess claims he was his inspiration for the Grinch. In a 1957 interview with Redbook, Theodor Seuss Geise, aka, Dr. Suess, said, "Something had gone wrong with Christmas, I realized, or more likely with me. So I wrote the story about my sour friend, the Grinch, to see if I could rediscover something about Christmas that obviously I'd lost."
FM: Hard to to imagine such a whimsical sonabitch being so sour on the holidays. You sure it were himself inspired the Grinch?
CH: Sure is a curd is cheese--which it is. Further evidence is in the Grinch’s line, "Why, for 53 years I've put up with it now,” referring to himself having dealt with Christmas for 53 years. In fact, Dr. Suess was 53 when he wrote The Grinch, further cementing him as his best worst character.
GARY: And a persona hero of mine. Green as fuck. Grumpy as shit.
PART 4: Farwell
CH: Well, Mr Gary Grunch, first, I’d like to thank you for not puncturing a hole in my body and slurping me dry. I’d also like to thank you for being our special guest today.
GARY: Oh yea, speaking of holes. Another distinguishing feature of me from my sloppyass cousins, el chupacabra, is they leave a mess. And I mean mess. They rip open livestock and just go to town, hoping they don’t get caught. Us Grunch? Nah.
CH: Well what are your feeding tactics then?
GARY: Picture youse driving near Grunch Road here. See a cute little goat but, uh oh, little goat’s gotta limp. Being the samaritan you are, you leave the car to help the little goat. That’s when I strike, pouncing from the grass onto your sorry ass faster than you can say, “I’m walkin’ here!”
CH: And you what, chew my face off?
GARY: More refined than that, c’mon! I gots a fused tooth centered at the bottom here, see? Use that puppy to punch a hole right into your jugular. Plus, when I’m done eating you, I still gots the little goat for dessert.
FM: Yikes. You eat people them?
GARY: Eh, I used to. See, people back in my day were lean. Fit. That’s good eatin. Over time youse humans really let yourselves go. Veins started getting to thick and gunked up, I moved to New York and changed my diet.
FM: So less human blood and more NY style pizza and bagles?
GARY: Best in the world. It’s the water, that makes it, know what I mean?
CH: Well, Gary, thank you again for enlightening us on the history of New Orlean’s own, Monster of Grunch Road.
GARY: Pleasure, pleasure.
FM: And for you folks at home, please free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you got any evidence, corrections, or stories of your own, and follow us on Instagram @TheTalegatePodcast for photos, cast info, updates and more!
CH: Be sure to return next Tuesday for more of our weekly content. And please rate and subscribe on itunes and Apple Podcast. It would really help us out.
GARY: But before you go:
CH: It’s another commercial isn’t it?
GARY: Are you sick and tired of plopping juicy batches of red meat on the BBQ just to have a vampire swoop in and suck your shit dry? Have you slaved away grilling only to have some lycanthrope steal it all when youse ain’t lookin? Hi. Gary Grunch here with another outstanding product, the Kill Grill! It's gonna change your life while ending theirs. Werewolves won't know why hit then when they try to steal from the Kill Grill. The Kill Grill is infused with silver anti-scatch technology sure to burn the mangy mits of any werewolf trying to Wolf down...your food. Lycanthrope? Lycan-nope! Cause you're grilling with the Kill Grill. Vampire? Time to retire. With the Kill Grill!
FM: See ya later, Talegaters!