The Monster Professor

In a Monstrous Mood?

It’s almost Halloween, time to embrace everything monstrous. And what better way to do this than with some scary stories? This year, FSW is collaborating with Josh Woods, creator of the podcast The Monster Professor, which explores “monsters in literature, myth, film, games, theater, folklore, culture, and beyond.” In addition to this podcast, Woods writes fiction about witches, monster hunters, dead monkeys, Blackbeard, and even some creepy professors ... cough cough ...

What’s scarier—reality or fantasy? Find out by listening to podcasts by FSW’s own Dr. Joseph van Gaalen, Dr. Amy Trogan, and Dr. Brandi George.


Have you ever worried that a sinkhole might swallow you alive? Caught a glimpse of a giant squid under your boat? Dreamt of a toxic death cloud? Dr. van Gaalen will haunt you with his scientific exploration of the many phantoms that plague the human imagination. Explore real geological and oceanic terrors in Monstrous Earth: The Ocean and Horror with Joe van Gaalen.


Do you worry that charismatic demons will convince you to do bad things? Or that you might be replaced by a changeling (or a changeling who is bad at math!)? Have you ever felt a portal open up as if you might be suddenly whisked into Fairyland? Then check out Fairies and Demons with Dr. Amy Trogan and Dr. Brandi George for their take on demons and fairies in literature and culture, including the relationship between these creatures, why we read and write about them, and the importance of imagination. Learn more about how, as Dr. Trogan says, demons employ “destruction through manipulation,” and gain insight into demonic influences in C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. Investigate why writers and readers need the supernatural with Dr. George’s exploration of writing as possession, exorcism, fairyland, and the collective unconscious.

The Monster Professor will explore all of these subjects and more, all while the FSW community prepares for the day when the veil between the two worlds will be at its thinnest ...


The Monster Professor, Josh Woods, is an author, editor, professor, and podcaster. He loves monsters, myth, storytelling, comedy, combat, and crafts. His debut book of stories, "O Monstrous World!" (Press 53, 2019), won the International Book Awards for Fiction: Short Story. He is also the author of the novel "The Black Palace" (Amazon KDP, 2018) and has edited three anthologies of fiction. He has published genre and literary short stories in numerous journals, magazines, and collections, in addition to having published creative non-fiction and craft essays. His podcast, The Monster Professor, explores the role of monsters in literature, myth, film, folklore, and pop-culture. His other awards include Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member of the Year, Press 53 Open Awards for Genre Fiction, and multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize, among others. He is a full professor of English in Illinois and originally hails from Kentucky.

A 2013 National Association of Geoscience Teachers Outstanding Faculty Awardee, Dr. van Gaalen is the assistant vice president of Institutional Research, Assessment, & Effectiveness here at FSW. Before FSW he was an oceanography professor at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, and has also spent time in the private sector as a hydrogeologist, coastal scientist, and expert witness in geology. He holds a master's degree in geological oceanography and a doctorate in geology from the University of South Florida and has publications and presentations in academic assessment techniques, critical thinking in the sciences, binary raster, LiDAR, time series analysis, hydrology, and coastal systems. Dr. van Gaalen is also an avid reader of science fiction and horror and holds authors Frank Herbert, Mary Shelley, and Shirley Jackson in very high regard.

Dr. Amy Lynn Trogan is a professor of English at Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers, Florida. Her research interests include crafting effective assessment policy for the 21st century, the links between two-year colleges and high school dual enrollment programs, and the ties between faith and literature—from the 19th century to the present. As a long-time admirer of the Inklings, she is excited to have contributed to uncovering more about the intricate relationship between two such remarkable members of the group.

Dr. Brandi George is the author of "Gog" (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) and the play in verse, "Faun" (Plays Inverse, 2019). Her poems have recently appeared in American Poetry Review, Fence, and Orion. She teaches creative writing, composition, and literature at FSW.

Back to The Helm