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Wyrd Woman is an audio drama from Broads and Books Productions. The show is written, performed and produced by Amy Lee Lillard.

Music comes from the Ghosts albums by Nine Inch Nails, courtesy of a Creative Commons license.


Get more from Amy Lee Lillard:


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Episode Transcript: Night 4


Intro voiceover:

Wyrd Woman is intended for an adult audience, and discusses mental health, history, and other tough topics. Take care when listening. 



01 Ghosts I, Nine Inch Nails



Record button on Voice Notes


Rain and thunder outside windows



I’ve been just letting this happen. Or waiting for it to happen. Cursing it and longing for it at the same time.


I’ve been passive with this whole communing with past women thing. I mean, it started as dreams, so I guess it had to be passive. I had to just sort of submit to it.


But then it evolved, and became more active. Outside of sleep, outside of just watching.


They’re reaching out.


So what if I reach out? What if I really try taking the reins?


I want to hear from the Mad One. I … want to talk to her.


I think she’ll know the most. She’ll – yeah.


I want to talk to the Mad One.


So… Mad One. Come to me?


That sounds so stupid.


But it’s true.


I’m ready. Are you?



Sound: Record button off.


Sound: Record on.


Soft rain through the windows



I think she’s coming. I feel that sort of pukey, heartburn-y feeling, like something’s coming up. Gah. Ugh. Ah, she’s, she’s here –


Music: Mad One theme (20 Ghosts III, Nine Inch Nails)


Mad One:

I’ve been locked up. Locked away. Locked without a key.


Look at the mad woman, in her cage.


She spoke too much, and spoke too little.


She talked of questions she had, and thoughts she thought, and things she saw.


She hurt, and she ached.


She was a woman, with holes inside her.


That was the heaviest factor, the final evidence, the heart of the issue. The final deciding factor for where I should be sent. Where I should disappear.


If I was not mad before, I am now. Nothing to do but go mad in this place. Nothing to do but scream and weep and bite and growl. Nothing to do but become something other than human, something that must be chained and jacketed and burned with lye and whipped by science.


And now here you are, another bit of dream, of magic, of lunacy. You bid me come to you. And what else will I do?


This is a place to follow the paths, to fall into holes, to accept the fancies I see and hear.


You are a strange one, dressed in so little cloth, covered with such a small amount of hair. The air around you smells different, and the breath you breathe burns.


You are not the mad spirit I would wish. But here in a cage, I will take what I can. 


I am here.


What will you have me do? 



My body – it hurts.


She’s heavy. Not a physical heavy, but that heaviness of – sadness. Doom. Hopelessness. She smells filthy, dirt and sweat in a hospital that doesn’t care about being clean or sterile, doesn’t care if the patients live or die. She’s thirsty, her throat ragged. Her clothes scratchy.


Ok. I’ll ask her questions. Right? I mean, I don’t know if we can do a back-and-forth thing, if we can actually communicate across this, I dunno, magic channel?


Jesus Christ.


Ok. Questions. I have questions for her. 


I have … questions for you.


How do you know that you’ve gone mad?


Music: Mad One theme (20 Ghosts III, Nine Inch Nails)


Mad One:


That is the question. The most important one. But also the least important.


Being mad truly does not matter. I was sent to a place for Mad Women when I felt perfectly sane. I was sent because I was inconvenient, to my husband, to my parents. I was a liability, because I would not smile in silence.


They deemed me Mad. So must I be.



Ugh. Ah. [groans]


My head is killing me. It hurts… uh.



Sound: Record off.


Sound: Record on.


Rain and thunder



I laid down for a little bit. I’ve never had migraines, but I heard people feel better if they close the curtains, silence everything, lay in a dark and quiet bed.


I don’t know if that’s the same advice for people who have headaches due to cross-time conversations with a woman in an asylum, but it did help.


Time doesn’t work the way I think it does.


I don’t know what that means exactly, but that’s the thing I first thought of when the headache receded and I opened my eyes.


Nothing works the way I think it does.


I’ve had depression for years.


Years. A long, long time of feeling this weight, on my shoulders, on my chest. Sometimes it’s felt heavy, so heavy and unmoving. Sometimes its felt like a swirling, a whirlpool, a black hole. And the only option seems to be killing myself to make it end.


Sometimes I can’t move from it. Sometimes I can’t stop moving, adrenalized by panic.


It’s my biology. That’s what our modern science says. But I know it’s also what I’ve lived through – that all powerful word of trauma.


And there have been times, long before these dreams, where I wondered if there was more. If … I saw things other people didn’t. If I heard things others didn’t.


So many words today to explain all of that – bipolar, schizophrenic, dissociative. Autistic.


I never fully fit the profile for these other things, didn’t fill all the boxes.


But I wondered – does crazy spread? Because my depression grew stronger and stronger. My anxiety and panic deeper. My OCD wilder. My sight, and hearing, and all the senses – feeling more.


I wondered – was my path bound for full-on crazy? Was I destined for a place of white walls and sterile smells and mandatory meds and… a slow sort of disconnecting from the world?


We can adapt, right? We fight it, but we can adapt to new realities pretty quick. People adapt to having tyrants as leaders, and to having rights taken away, and to having – I don’t know, breakups, and health problems, and family problems, and all of it.


We can even adapt to having depression, and panic, and anxiety. We can adapt to our brains working differently, and even trying to hurt us.


I can adapt to being crazy.


I can accept that this, all this weirdness, these dreams and conversations with past women, that it’s all happening, and it’s probably not real. Both things can be true.


I can adapt. I can accept that I’m mad, and that this is happening, and just keep going.


What else can I do?



Sound: Record off.


Sound: Record on.




And now you, Mad One, you’re telling me something I … may have already known. Of course I’m bound for an asylum. Of course, because it’s not up to me. It’s never up to me.


Never up to us. 


Music: Mad One theme (20 Ghosts III, Nine Inch Nails)


Mad One:



Woman: And – that’s all of us.


We’re all in an asylum, or headed there. The Old One, the Unnatural One, the Broken One, the Ugly One. You.


Asylum is where we are we sent when we’re different. Weird.


It’s where we go when we can’t play the game of normal. When we can’t –


Music: Mad One theme (20 Ghosts III, Nine Inch Nails)


Mad One:

-cannot pretend to be normal, cannot pretend I don’t feel, I don’t hurt. Cannot pretend I do not see-



-- can’t pretend that normal is – it’s a fucking lie. It’s a lie. Isn’t it?


Music: Mad One theme (20 Ghosts III, Nine Inch Nails)


Mad One:

We shall never know our world fully. We shall never the truths of death or life. We shall never know the truth of madness.


It does not matter. It simply is.



Yeah. And maybe, when you stop trying to be normal…


Or you’re – what – pushed out of normal…


The things you can see – they grow – and grow – richer and realer.


Like you. I see you.


Music: Mad One theme (20 Ghosts III, Nine Inch Nails)


Mad One:

And I you. That is what matters.






I have to rest.  



Sound: Record off.


Sound: Record on.


Birds and woodland creature sounds




I see her, I see you, and it more than matters. It’s everything.


It’s some sort of – something –


Because I see you, but I also see them. The others. And I think I can talk to them.


Five of you, spread through time. And me.




That’s –


Let’s just fucking say it. Just stop dancing around it.


It’s like a sort of magic.




I mean - we medicate depression and modern madness. In the past we’d send them away, send you away. We’d ground them down, sell them, like the Unnatural One. Burn them like the Old One. Re-educate them like the Ugly One.


What if all of that, all the asylums, all the destruction of women that are not normal – what if –


This connection, this ability to talk to all these women. It feels like some sort of cosmic oral history. No, more than that. Some spell. Some magic link.


I’m talking about magic. Being hidden and covered up and medicated.


Magic. Connecting me to you. To all of you.


In normal terms, in normal definitions and diagnoses, I’m talking about magic seriously, and I’m convinced I’m talking to women across time, and that means I’ve crossed over into madness.




Or not. Or not.


I’ve crossed over. But to something else.



Sound: Record off.



Music: Outro theme (12 Ghosts II, Nine Inch Nails)



Wyrd Woman is an audio drama from Broads and Books Productions.


The show is written, performed and produced by Amy Lee Lillard.


Music comes from the Ghosts albums by Nine Inch Nails, courtesy of a Creative Commons license.


Find full episode notes, transcripts, and show details at


If you like what you hear, tell a weird friend.


Thanks for listening.



* All music comes from the Ghosts albums by Nine Inch Nails, courtesy of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.


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