"What Is His Doctorate In? Being an **bleep**?"
August 27, 2015 3:35 PM   Subscribe

The Black Tapes Podcast started when Alex Reagan of Pacific Northwest Stories profiled Dr. Richard Strand of the Strand Institute about his rigorous career debunking claims of the paranormal. During the interview, she discovered that he had files on cases that he had not yet debunked.

The podcast episodes follow the two as they check up on details of the cases, usually reaching frustrating and obscure dead ends, where tantalizing hints fade into confusing incomplete stories and lack of hard evidence. Along the way, questions about Strand's past begin to appear.

Produced by Paul Bae of You Suck, Sir covered previously.
posted by GenjiandProust (26 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
The episodes begin at #101, and there are 8 episodes out so far, not counting teasers and bonus material. So far there have been ghosts, sounds that kill, exorcisms, mysterious presences, and a Seattle band with "Hastur" in their name.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:39 PM on August 27, 2015


Sounds that kill? You mean like, "Is that all you got?"
posted by Oyéah at 3:41 PM on August 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


What are sounds that kill? I would listen, but it might scare the bejeezus out of me.

When I was a kid going through a fear of death thing (well, I'm still scared of death, but I thought about it more when I was 9 or 10), I fixated for a while on the idea that maybe there was a sound you heard just before you die, but that nobody would know because all the people who have ever heard it are dead. I don't know where I came up with this idea. But now you're telling me it's real? Or at least not disproved? *shudder*
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 3:48 PM on August 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


The sounds that kill are an audio file that, if you listen to it, you die within a year. Or that's the rumor, at any rate. It's episode 103, "The Unsound," if you would like to avoid it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:50 PM on August 27, 2015


> sounds that kill

My name is a killing word.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:53 PM on August 27, 2015 [5 favorites]




So far there have been ghosts, sounds that kill, exorcisms, mysterious presences, and a Seattle band with "Hastur" in their name.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:39 PM on August 27 [+] [!]


Related: Lore by Aaron Mahnke touches on similar subjects. It is fantastic and worth subscribing to, I've been running to this podcast for several weeks now.
Lore is a bi-weekly podcast about true life scary stories. The people, places, and things of our darkest nightmares all have real facts at their core. Each episode of Lore looks into a uniquely scary tale and uncovers the truth behind it. Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.
posted by Fizz at 3:54 PM on August 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


I wish they'd put a little more effort into both backstory and the fictional Twitter feed / Institute site. This feels like it was slapped together in an evening over drinks.
posted by ryanshepard at 3:56 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've really been enjoying Lore. I'm downloading the first episode of this now.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:56 PM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sounds that kill, you say? Experiment IV - Kate Bush
posted by hippybear at 3:57 PM on August 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


Oh and with regard to Lore, start with Episode 8 The Castle. I actually stopped in the middle of my run because I needed a moment to just sit and listen, it was that engrossing.
posted by Fizz at 4:01 PM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


The sounds that kill are an audio file that, if you listen to it, you die within a year.

If not a year, precisely, well... eventually!
posted by Wolfdog at 4:04 PM on August 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


sounds that kill

I seem to recall a joke that kills.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:12 PM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]



Sounds that kill, you say? Experiment IV - Kate Bush


Video starring a very young looking set of Dawn French, Hugh Laurie, Gary Oldman, Richard Vernon (Slartibartfast!), Peter Vaughan (Aemon Targaryen!) and Del Palmer!!!
posted by lalochezia at 4:14 PM on August 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


And a cthulhuloid nightmare that sets out to decimate humanity.

THIS IS THE DANGER YOU ARE EXPERIMENTING WITH PEOPLE! YOU THINK FUKUSHIMA WAS BAD... T H I S W I L L B E W O R S E ! ! !

And we haven't even addressed that Seattle band yet...
posted by hippybear at 4:19 PM on August 27, 2015


My friend Kate just turned me onto Lore last week! I like that each episode doesn't go longer than 20 minutes. I don't listen to as much music or as many podcasts as I would like because I have a finite amount of time (and cannot listen to stuff at work).
posted by Kitteh at 4:38 PM on August 27, 2015


OK - I've gone for my walk and given both Black Tapes and Lore a bit of a go. Lore is pretty good - it wants to be the memory palace and it isn't, but the episodes I've heard have been really solid.

The Black Tapes on the other hand suffers from pretty shoddy voice acting in the secondary roles. Public Radio people play Public Radio people to a T, and do a very Public Radio production. But the minute somebody else starts talking, my belief unsuspends and crashes. They don't quite want to own the fact that they're doing a radio drama, and they're not quite down for playing it straight either. So, if you are neither hot nor cold then I will spit you out (to quote my own portentous passage from the bible).
posted by wotsac at 6:21 PM on August 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Video starring a very young looking set of Dawn French, Hugh Laurie, Gary Oldman, Richard Vernon (Slartibartfast!), Peter Vaughan (Aemon Targaryen!) and Del Palmer!!!

That's not Gary Oldman, that's Del Palmer. The lunatic in the corner is Paddy Bush though!
posted by lefty lucky cat at 6:46 PM on August 27, 2015




That's exactly what they want you to believe.
posted by tommasz at 6:01 AM on August 28, 2015


[spoiler alert]
The world needs more radio that (intentionally) blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction and uses the medium as part of the story telling. The Black Tapes seems like a fun idea, and I'm on board to listen to a season or two.

But, as wotsac says, the radio-play segments in the first episodes are really jarring and hard to buy. It's a struggle not to get hung up on them and disconnect from the story. Before I realized it was fiction, I thought we were hearing actors reading recorded transcripts for some undisclosed legal reason. That's probably not the effect they were going for. If they switched to far less tightly scripted dialogue, backed off on the aggressive stereo mix, and recorded in spaces vaguely similar to their scenes, this would kill.
posted by eotvos at 7:51 AM on August 28, 2015


But, as wotsac says, the radio-play segments in the first episodes are really jarring and hard to buy.

I dunno, I think this may be a "your mileage may vary" sort of thing. I'm not totally in love with the voices (I think Dr. Strand is kind of wooden in some of the episodes), but I definitely like the "radio verite" quality and that most of the investigations turn up new information but very little resolution (although I assume the season will resolve at least some things). Spelling out too much is the death of weird fiction. I've had some real chills from some episodes.

Based on this thread, I listened to Lore -- I like the idea, some of the topics, and Mahnke's voice, but in some of the episodes his cadences are really really off-putting. If I was in a creepy podcast (as opposed to listening to one), I would have him pegged as a servant of Elder Forces right off.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:23 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Looks like I spoke too soon. I found the first episode almost unlistenable, but by episode 5 I'm no longer bothered at all, and completely engaged with the content.

I'm not sure if the production has improved or I've just gotten used to it. If I had to guess, I'd say the acting and content editing has genuinely improved and the audio mix hasn't changed, but I'm now listening to it in radio play mode rather than weekend NPR narrative non-fiction mode

Whatever the cause, I'm now a fan. If you're just starting out, stick with it. (Or, perhaps, start half way through it and stick with it.)
posted by eotvos at 7:52 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm on the 5th episode and I'm pretty much fine with it now. I yelled at it a lot in the first episode and most of the second, but then the story kind of sucked me in AND they all got better at acting and now I'm totally sucked in and have made my peace with the fact that they live in a world where nobody ever says "yeah".

Also, the little touches that make fun of (among other shows) Serial are pretty funny.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:56 PM on August 29, 2015


I just followed the advice up thread and started with Castle (ep 4 iirc).
posted by wotsac at 6:26 AM on August 30, 2015


Castle is an episode of Lore, and a perfectly good starting place since each episode is self-contained.

You really can't start The Black Tapes except at the beginning or the story won't make much sense.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:16 AM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


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