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Duluth-based supernatural folklore podcast also focuses on real-world climate issues

The Supernatural Park podcast is about to start its second season.

Amy Sturz Supernatural Park
Duluth-based Amy Sturz writes a podcast called "Supernatural Park" about folklore creatures living in a magical park where she works as a park ranger.
Teri Cadeau / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — Amy Sturz wants to give each listener of her podcast a magical experience. The Duluth-based writer and poet came up with the idea of a magical space where people come come visit and see mythical creatures from around the world. Based partially on her real-life experience formerly working for the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, Sturz serves as Park Ranger Amy, your guide to the "Supernatural Park."

"I grew up watching shows like 'The Magic School Bus' and 'Doctor Who,' where people have these devices that take you all over the place so you can experience new cultures and learn science," Sturz said. "I came up with the idea of a sentient park, that's this living being that's able to swap out different ecosystems from around the world. Then I'm able to give people more information on both the folklore behind the creature as well as relevant climate topics happening in that area."

Supernatural Park Podcast logo features a purple color scheme with a woodland next to a lake with a lake monster sticking out.
Duluth-based writer Amy Sturz is set to start the second season of her "Supernatural Park" podcast.
Contributed / Amy Sturz

This family-friendly 15- to 20-minute podcast borders the line between fantastical and reality. While the creatures aren't real, the climate topics Sturz covers are based in truth. For example, in the season-one finale, Sturz covered the bunyip, a man-eating monster from aboriginal mythology in southeastern Australia. While talking about this creature, she also brings up the giant bush fires that happened throughout the region in 2019-2020.

Each episode also features a "lunch break" where Sturz features a piece of writing submitted to the show by a listener and/or fellow artist. This was inspired by podcasts that Sturz enjoys such as The Adventure Zone and Welcome to Night Vale where fan-submitted poetry, artwork and music is featured.

"The idea here is that the park is a sentient being that loves to be fed stories," Sturz said. "It's kind of like the Adventure Zone voidfish which is 'fed' poems, songs and artwork."

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Sturz reads out the pieces herself and shares links to the artists' websites. Submissions include everything from a piece of flash fiction to a short story about an oak tree to a poem about fire.

"When I started this podcast, it was partially to market my poetry but also to market other people's work too," Sturz said. "I wanted to give other artists a soundboard to get their work out there."

Brittany Lind and Kala Moria host the weekly paranormal podcast "Left of Skeptic" in order to discuss all things ghost, alien, and all-together spooky.

Sturz also created a couple of episodes that heavily featured other artists and their scary stories called "Campfire Stories" for October.

After the Campfire Stories section, Sturz took a break so she could focus on her day job doing social media work for the Great Lakes Aquarium, but she's set to start her second season in the beginning of February. Her first episode back will revisit her very first episode on Pressie, the monster of Lake Superior .

Timberlake Lodge has become the site of an annual pilgrimage for Minnesotans who are on the trail of Sasquatch. Numbering in the hundreds, Minnesota Bigfoot Conference attendees are convinced that giant bipeds are afoot in the Northland, just out of sight.

"I'm excited to get back to it and start exploring the folklore from this area," Sturz said. "Though thanks to the magic of the park, we can go just about anywhere in the world. I sometimes ask the listeners to vote on where they want to hear tales from."

So far the reception of the podcast has been good, Sturz said. She has listeners from across the U.S. and as far as Ireland, New South Wales and Germany.

Still toeing the line between the mythical and the reality, Sturz ends every podcast with the same message "Please don't feed the wildlife."

"That's something that's true whether we're talking about cryptids but also in real life," Sturz said. "It's a danger to the humans and to the animals. It's encouraging people to just let wildlife be wild."

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Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
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