Listening to S-Town — the latest hit podcast from the folks behind Serial and This American Life — can be a bit of a surreal experience. Shining among the colorful cast of characters we meet through audio is the show’s chief subject: John B. McLemore, a man who restored antique clocks with ancient techniques and once constructed an “adult swing set.”
The entirety of S-Town can, at times, feel like a work of fiction. This is perhaps because of John B.’s eccentricities, obsessive behavior, odd projects, and idiosyncratic way of speaking — all set in the backdrop of a mythic Southern property that include a potentially unsolvable hedge maze. Can this tale of false murder claims, “titty rings” and tattoos, and hidden gold actually be real? Or is this a work of Gothic Southern fiction scribed by the likes of Flannery O’Connor?
Rest assured that Shit Town, aka Woodstock, Alabama, is very real.
The outlandishness reality of S-Town has sparked curiosity, which is probably why the internet has become obsessed. Whether you’re a non-believer or just extra curious, here are some videos to give you a glimpse of Shit Town IRL.
Drone Footage of the Hedge Maze
YouTube user Coty Batemon claims, “I live fairly close to Woodstock, erm..I mean Shit-town, Alabama.” He decided to do some reconnaissance with his aerial drone to grab footage of the property, focusing on the hedge maze in particular. You can see a little bit of the house and surrounding landscape as well, but more importantly, you can see that the thinning hedge maze has been left abandoned.
Intimate Look at the Custom Sundial John B. Made for His Friend
Tom Moore, an Alabama chemistry professor who spent 25 years teaching at Winthrop University and more recently spent five years as chancellor of USC Upstate in Spartanburg, shared a meticulously crafted sundial that John B. supposedly worked on since the 1980s. The Charlotte Observer profiled Moore several weeks ago with some photos of the gift given by John B., but in the above video from the USC Upstate newspaper, Moore can be seen showing off the amazing device and explaining its various intricacies.
Jimmy Hicks Downs a High-Life
One of S-Town’s main characters and John’s closest friend, Tyler Goodson, captured the above video of his uncle Jimmy Hicks. Listeners will remember that Jimmy caught a bullet to the head that nobody ever bothered to remove. As a result of said bullet, he can be heard in the background of the show every now and then shouting about all sorts of things, including “yes suh!” — which you can hear several times in the above video. The video opens with Uncle Jimmy downing the rest of his Miller High-Life (the champagne of beers) before chattering about spray-painting a piece of scrap on the table.
Listen to all seven episodes of S-Town right now wherever you get your podcasts.