Our host, Alex Reagan, enters the strange world of paranormal investigation and encounters the enigmatic Dr. Richard Strand: a ghost hunter who doesn't believe in ghosts. We follow Alex as she attempts to unlock both the secrets of Strand's collection of mysterious black VHS cases, and the dark and mysterious past of the enigmatic man himself. This is The Black Tapes Podcast.
The episode opens with Alex Reagan having spent the last two months immersed in the world of paranormal research. She offers full disclosure: "I love ghost stories." She surveys a number of people to ask if they believe in ghosts and received mixed answers. Several of the interviewees offer stories of hearing ghosts or feeling strange presences.
Nic Silver is credited with the idea of having a spin-off series from his and Alex's work as segment producers on Pacific Northwest Stories. The original idea was to examine interesting lives, remarkable occupations, and amazing stories. Their first episode planned on looking into the lives of paranormal investigators, and it quickly gets interesting.
Alex interviews paranormal investigators Raymond Savorski, Dirk Abruzzi, and Dr. Emily Dumont. Savorski describes three types of hauntings: residual energy, intelligent haunting, and inhuman haunting. Dumont describes the three types of paranormal phenomenon as orbs or mists, full-body apparitions, and demonic presence. Abruzzi denies being able to classify hauntings so rigidly. All three criticize Dr. Richard Strand and his skepticism, calling Strand "more a writer than scientist".
Alex attempts to secure an interview with Dr. Strand but is initially unable to, and receives two voicemails over the course of the episode from Dr. Strand's assistant, Melissa, confirming that fact. She is in Chicago, hoping to be able to interview him, when Dr. Dumont invites her on a paranormal investigation.
The team for the investigation is Dr. Dumont, Donnie, Tina, Nic, and Alex. The investigation takes place at City Trust. They begin by viewing security tapes provided to them by the property manager, Walter. The tapes show a door opening on its own, from two separate angles. The door does not appear to be automatic and is too heavy to have been blown by a stray gust of wind. Donnie uses an EMF reader and declares that there is definitely paranormal activity here due to the high activity. The team sets up a pair of flashlights, one with a red gel and one with a blue gel, and unscrews the caps just enough for them to stay off. A very slight amount of pressure will cause the lights to turn on, which is how the team plans on communicating with any entities in the building. While they're setting up, Donnie claims to see an apparition of an old man in one of the windows of the building. The experiment goes fairly smoothly, and then the same door that was shown on the video begins to move on its own once more. Before the team has time to investigate, Nic Silver trips on a case that holds some of the investigative equipment, and the investigation is disrupted. Both Dr. Dumont and Donnie claim to have seen an apparition of an old man walking around the room during the experiment.
Next, Alex meets with Dr. Strand's publisher, Jenna Yates. Alex asks her to set up an interview with Strand for her, and because of her connection to Pacific Northwest Stories, Jenna gets it set up for her. Dr. Strand calls Alex to set up an interview in his office.
Alex conducts the interview and notices some black VHS cases tucked away in Dr. Strand's equipment room. When she asks why these tapes are set aside, the interview is promptly ended. Alex later calls Dr. Strand and uses the excuse of taking a new picture of Dr. Strand (which was allegedly lost by her production team, which includes Nic Silver) in order to get a second interview. She also plays audio of Dr. Strand answering questions on a panel, this audio was featured earlier in the episode. The audio consists of Dr. Strand answering some questions in a somewhat aggressive manner, which the audience does not seem to appreciate. Then a man asks him if he ever came across a case that he could not debunk. Dr. Strand denies that he has. Then the man asks about The Sagamore, and the power cuts out. The audio ends shortly after. When Alex asks him about The Sagamore, he claims that he has debunked it. However, he hesitates when he says this to Alex, leading the listener to believe he may not be telling the truth.
During the second interview, Alex relays to Dr. Strand the investigation which she had taken part in. Dr. Strand promptly debunks it, showing her that the man who owns the property City Trust is built on has a history with haunted houses, claiming that Donnie was misusing the EMF reader, and determining that the high concentration of cell phone towers in the area would render any EMF readings unusable in any case. Alex then asks him again about the black VHS tapes , and Dr. Strand allows her to watch one. In this way we are introduced to Black Tape #1.
Recurring Characters Edit
- Robert Torres (Mentioned)
- Some listeners believe the man who asks Dr. Strand about the Sagamore sounds like Brayden Court, (who is otherwise not introduced until Episode 105)