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Episode 101 - A Tale of Two Tapes Part I

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station description The Black Tapes is a serialized docudrama about one journalist's search for truth, ... read more
The Black Tapes
Duration: 40:29
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
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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.
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bring me my devil just behind the door, she said. and one of 11 calls from somebody named Alex Reed Richards recording. I'm going to do the intro. I think just a little bit too much. She's standing over his bed disappeared, adding another layer of for the last two months I've been immersed in the fascinating world of paranormal investigation. Full disclosure. I love ghost stories. Even if you don't really believe in ghosts, it's fun to suspend disbelief. You didn't the lights set the mood and tell the scariest story you can think of. And it's fun because we know it's probably not real ghost don't actually exist. Do they? Do you believe in ghosts? Depends on what, on what you're asking me is there goes behind me. Excuse me. Yes. Do you believe in ghosts? Um I do actually really, Have you seen 1? I haven't seen one, but I heard one when I was younger. You heard one? Yeah. I came home from school one day and I swore I heard my mother in the kitchen and I went in there and there was nobody there. And I called my mom and she was still at work. So really scared. Yeah. Yeah. Do you believe in ghosts? No. No. I think that people are just either looking for attention or schizophrenic. So it's all a hoax. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Except there was this one time I was in the Tower of London ones and I could feel and Berlin her ghost or her spirit, whatever it was, I could feel it all around me. How do you know it was in Berlin because I was in the Tower of London. Oh, okay. It's time for a bit of background rather than just diving into our first story. I think I need to explain what happened, how things changed the reality. Is this podcast started as one thing but very quickly became something else. At a certain point, my producers and I had to make a decision Do we stick with our original vision or do we follow the interesting, confusing and occasionally McCobb story that had started spilling out around the edges as most of our listeners probably know. I've been working as a segment producer and occasional guest host on pacific Northwest Stories for three years. A few months ago, Nick one of my producers suggested a spinoff series. We would examine interesting lives, remarkable occupations and amazing stories. Our first episode was a good one. We would dive into the crazy world of paranormal researchers or ghost hunters. As our podcast began to change, we went back and forth on how to proceed. After numerous lengthy discussions, we decided that we would let things play out exactly as they happen to us. You will experience the events just as we experience them. I'll step in every once in a while to help guide you through it. But other than those interruptions, we're going to let things play out exactly as they happened. It's the black tapes podcast. I'm Alex reading Stay with us. Mm. The first thing you need to know about paranormal research is that none of it is normal. That's Raymond Sabarsky. He's written five books on paranormal phenomena and is considered by his ghost hunting peers, a pioneering paranormal investigative techniques. He's tall and thin, but a healthy willowy thin. He's a man who cares about his appearance and his food. He sent a solid back twice during our lunch meeting because his arugula was too bitter. We'll speak more with Mr Sabarsky in a moment. According to a government poll from 2013, of Americans believe in ghosts, 64% believe in life after death, and 43% believe that ghosts are capable of interacting with and sometimes even harming people. That's a staggering number of North Americans who believe that death is not the end of life. Ghost hunting has become a multimillion dollar industry walmart sells a ghost hunting kit for both beginner and intermediate level would be ghost hunters. We decided I would interview three well known paranormal researchers. So no matter who you ask it Basically boils down to three types of hauntings, residual energy, intelligent haunting and inhuman haunting. When it comes to what people generally witnesses paranormal phenomena. We usually get three types or pessimist, full body apparitions and demonic presence. That's dr Emily DeMont, she's another paranormal researcher and author of a bestselling book on the subject of location hauntings. I've seen all types of paranormal apparitions. Whoever Tells you there are three categories of hauntings is foolish, that's dark. Abruzzi, the host of the popular reality tv show. Demon hunters were human. The things we chase are not. So how do you respond to critics who say that this field is not a science but rather a pseudoscience pseudoscience? Yeah I've Heard that one. Well I would ask them to accompany me on investigation to see the rigor with which we conduct our experiments. We we have actual experiments. I'd like to point out that even the university of pennsylvania, an ivy League school has a ghost research unit. Really there are critics within your industry who say that with demon hunters you're not engaging in science but rather in lowbrow entertainment. They're jealous. They didn't think of it before. We did. Well to be honest I've been hearing this from several people you're talking about Strand right? Don't waste your time. Of course I wasn't talking about Strand. Not yet. I wasn't talking about anyone in particular but I started to notice that name. Strand kept coming up. Does the criticism ever get personal? There's no avoiding that type of character assassination. The ones that tend to sting more of their fellow academics like Vogel or Strand. It's like they got a vendetta against the whole field of paranormal research. But you know, strange reputation, more of a writer than anything else. Dr Strand is well known in our circles, but probably not the way he'd like. How do you say this politely? He puts a lot of passion and to work that would benefit from more clinical objectivity. Dr Richard Strand, what's his doctorate in being a Dr Strand is a paranormal investigator. What makes him such a lightning rod for criticism is that he doesn't believe in the paranormal. He's a ghost hunter who doesn't believe in ghosts. In fact, not only does he not believe in paranormal phenomena for the past decade, he has been on a mission to debunk all claims of the supernatural, and Strand is putting his money where his mouth is. Since 1998. The Strand Institute has been offering a million dollar reward for any proof of the supernatural. As you can imagine. He hasn't made a lot of friends in the ghost hunting community. Here he is at a gathering of the Institute of Paranormal Research in ST Louis four years ago. The Wilson case is not an experiment disproving nor proving the validity of this phenomenon. All you have is a number of witnesses and their claims. That's not good science. A few more questions before we let Dr Strand go, yes, in the blue shirt, let's assume that what you say is true. Let's say, everyone on the panel next to you is engaging in bad science. You haven't brought anything to the table that disproves anything. I am not making extraordinary claims against the laws of nature. Already established by the larger scientific community. I don't have to prove that gravity exists. That sells died that life ends. We know these things. The burden is on my colleagues to prove that life doesn't end in death. And they haven't provided anything other than we conjecture. Okay. You in the black and gold in the back. Why don't let people who take comfort And fairy cells hold on to their illusions. It's similar to drug addiction. The attic needs escape. Have you ever come across a case where you couldn't find a scientific or rational explanation? No. What about the SAg more? Okay. And that's when the power went out. Perfect timing for a ghost convention. Dr Strand is a controversial figure in the world of paranormal research. So why does he do it? Why devote his life to something he doesn't believe in? Hello, This is a message for Alex Regan. It's Melissa calling on behalf of Dr Strand, I'm afraid it's able to meet with you at this time. He wanted to thank you for your interest in his work. Those are most of the books I've written on the subject. That's dr Emily DeMont, whom you heard earlier. My producer and I flew to Chicago hoping to meet with Dr Strand, but we haven't been able to set up a meeting. So I asked Dr Dupont if she had time to give me a tour of her office. She teaches religious studies at the University of Illinois in urbana. Emily German is what you might call stout with short bangs and a Ramones t shirt. Her huge brown eyes are filled with the sparkle of energy of a much younger woman. Her office is fairly big, but hard to move around. In hundreds of scrapbooks and photo albums are packed onto wall to wall bookshelves in the corner. An ancient popcorn maker from a movie theater appears to be in working order Field guide to the paranormal. Ghost hunting for dummies, monsters and magic. Guide to ethereal beings past lives in your wedding. How many books have you written? 17, wow. Another four is co author and some fiction. Do you find that your work and paranormal investigation fuels your work as a fiction writer? Not at all. Why would you say that? I just kind of seems like some of the my fiction is more personal, More 50 shades of grey, but darker and far more literary. I spent about an hour or so with MS DeMont in her office. I think she was a little offended that I mentioned fiction in the same breath as paranormal investigation. It's something I've been noticing across the board to a person. All the paranormal researchers I spoke with were a bit touchy about the public and scientific perception of their work. It felt like they were worried they wouldn't be taken seriously. Fair enough. Miss DeMont came back around pretty quickly just as I was about to thank her for her time, she made me an offer. I couldn't refuse. What are those photo albums featuring local events? Each one is a case. I've investigated all of them. Yeah. What kind of cases? Mainly apparitions, serial hauntings. This section is demonic sumerian babylonian. Love crafty and And these are mainly Christian and more traditional demonic six. I was going to mention the fact that H. P. Lovecraft was a fiction writer but after her reaction the last time I brought up the subject of fiction I decided to let it go back in her office. Du Mont describes the contents of one of her many bookshelves. These ones are poltergeists, water spirits, these are shadows and shades. The rest are complex and simple possession cases along with a few collections of contrail evidence. Wow I'd love to take a closer look at some of this stuff. We're going to a psychiatric hospital this evening to explore three separate claims of residual poltergeist activity. You're welcome to come along if you like but you'll have to sign a release. It could be quite dangerous spiritually. Hey Alex, we received your last couple of messages, thank you for your interest in speaking with Dr Strand. He's very busy this week. Unfortunately, we're unable to schedule any kind of sit down interview if you call back next week because we can set something up over the phone or Skype. Thank you again for your interest in DR Strand. Goodbye. If you had told me three weeks ago when my producers and I were outlining this show that I'd be walking through an abandoned mental hospital looking for evidence of residual poltergeist activity. I probably have politely suggested you be committed, but that's exactly where I ended up. And so will you if you stay with us after the break? Hey, Emily, sorry, we got a little lost. Did you turn on Lakeview? I think so. It used to go right through, but now there's a divider. So you need to go around 9th Avenue past that little coffee boat drive through. Oh, hey, I'm Donny, I'm sorry. This is Dani, he'll be running most of our equipment and this is Tina or clairvoyance. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you too. Uh Emily on your website, it mentions that you're clairvoyant as well. I'm a medium by profession, but I experienced some like clairvoyance. Uh huh. Okay. How far is the hospital from here? We're here. Where there? Thanks. City Trust is a small credit union that sat near the shore of Lake Martino since 1987. It is about an hour south of Chicago. It doesn't look haunted. In fact, it's basically the corner of a strip mall, but its location has a more notorious history. Okay, disclosure time du Mont alluded to us creeping around an abandoned mental hospital, not a small town credit union. This spot is where, what became known as the Monte. No madness happened. It was 19 39. Almost 400 of the patients came down with typhoid fever. It was awful, At least 100 patients ended Up dying. Apparently. The credit unions at the top land that was once occupied by a psychiatric hospital. From the 1930s, it housed nearly 6000 patients and a staff of 760 1939. Something happened here. That would become national news and eventually leave the national radio podcaster and a professional ghost hunting team standing outside a strip mall. Do want probably believes that she told me it was a credit union and not the infamous meant in a mental hospital. She did not. The hospital closed in 1985 over on the north campus as a veteran's home, which is very nice. There's a college just back there. This parcel of land was leased to a variety of businesses. The building's manager walter was waiting for us inside. The credit union had closed permanently a week earlier and the space was currently available for lease. The security system was still operational. So this is the security Tape from two weeks ago. The place was still open. Then, as you can see by the time standards, just after midnight, there's no one in the building, not even a janitor or a security guard. Not at midnight. And this is when it happens. Yeah. Yeah. Cute it up. That's what I'm talking about, interesting. Okay. I'm going to describe what I saw on that tape. It was typical security camera footage camera angle down from a high corner facing the lobby. There was nothing just a set of doors. Then one of the doors opened slowly by itself. That's not an automatic door. No man here, take a look at the other angle, that's the rear lobby. Same doors, different angle. It's empty. Yes, ma'am walter showed us the footage from the camera facing the rear lobby, basically the reverse angle of the other tape. We're seeing both sides simultaneously and the door just opens slowly by itself. Even now, as I'm describing what I saw, I'm getting goose bumps. We went to examine the door for ourselves. It wasn't automatic walter. Had to leave. So he left us to lock up And excited. Dumont's spoke with Donny and Tina in hushed tones while I stood there going over every scary thing I've heard about or imagined about mental health, living conditions in the early 20th century. What do you think is going on? Clearly, something is present here clearly. Well, the store is too heavy to be moved by wind or another force. Do you think it might be supernatural? Definitely. I? M F readings were off the charts. Do you think it might be the ghost of one of the typhoid victims? Well, I don't want to jump to conclusions. Of course not. It could be a spirit what you refer to as a ghost. Maybe a patient, but it could also be a nurse or a doctor, or it might be a lesser entity of vortex portal spirit. Is there any way to find out? There is how we asked them and ask them? We did. After the break. The five of us stood in the main room near the door, on his way back from the car with equipment. Donny claimed to see an apparition. An old man in the Credit Union window. More about this. Later Donnie set two flashlights on the floor, one with a red gel, one blue. Apparently this is a common ghost hunting or clairvoyant thing. They were going to talk to the spirit through the lights, Donny turned on the flashlights and unscrew the tops just enough to turn them off. The idea being if the spirit wants to talk it can touch or push the top of the light and that will turn the light back on. We were standing in the middle of a dark room where a scary old mental hospital once stood. I was getting suitably freaked out. If I can get everybody to stand around the lights in a circle. Thank you. It won't take the spirits much energy to turn the flash lights on and off. Yeah, so we're all standing there waiting. There was a small amount of moonlight shining through the window enough to see the flashlights on the floor and the outlines of everyone. It was quite a mood. My name is Emily Du Mont. I'd like to be able to speak with you. Could you turn one of the lights on and the red light switches on? We were looking right at it. There was clearly nobody touching it. Crazy. Thank you. Please turn it off. And then after a moment it was off. Now I'd like the blue light and then she told the Spirit that she wanted the blue light for yes. And the red light for no blue for yes. Red for no. The blue light flashed on just for a moment. I have to admit it was kind of terrifying. We went over every inch of that place in advance for light switches for remote and we watched Danny and Tina very closely. They didn't move at all. That's my producer nick. He was just as freaked out as I was. There had to be some explanation. I mean we had to be over a flight path or could it be maybe like rumble from an underground pipe? I don't think an underground pipe would explain what happened next. Mm. Oh my God was at the door. Oh okay. You want to tell them what happened nick? Okay, so the batteries died on the zoom recorder so I went back to get my phone so I could use that to record instead I tripped over the case for some ghost hunting equipment and I fell over. It scared us all a little bit. I don't know what they're doing but those flashlights, they came off and on and that door opening on its own was that was pretty convincing and just like that I was officially ghost hunting. Both Dupont and Donny said that they saw the apparition of an old man walking around the room. Could there be someone or something haunting that credit union? There's still one more twist in the story, I'm Alex Regan. This is the black tapes podcast. Stay with you. Great, good, good. Do you mind if we record this? What's it for? Oh sorry, I'm Alex Regan. I was a producer on pacific Northwest Stories for a few years. I still do a bit of work there, but I'm focused on a new project now. It's a podcast about interesting people with interesting jobs. I love pacific Northwest stories. My friend was interviewed for that one that they ended up making it to that karate movie. Cool. I left a few messages for Jenna. Is she here, have a seat? I'll check. Thank you, Jenna Yates is Richard strands. Publisher, I sat down with her to talk about Strand. How can I help? A half hour sit down interview with Richard Strand for the Radio. It's a new podcast, your producer on pacific Northwest Stories. Yes, well, I was I still help them out every once in a while. We listen. My husband and I every week. Yeah. So is DR Strand available I'm afraid he's not doing interviews currently. Is there any way you could call him and plead my case? No promises, but I'll see what I can do. Thank you. Hello. I'm returning one of 11 calls from somebody named Alex Regan. That's Richard Strand. Okay, goodbye. And so after dozens of calls, emails and countless messages, I was finally in a room with Dr Richard Stratton, is this okay? Yeah, anywhere works. What kind of article is this? It's for the radio. People still listen to the radio. It's digital on demand. Yeah. People do still listen actually. Okay, what do you want to know? Dr Richard Strand is a tall man, good looking confident, with the perpetual wry smile and cool blue eyes that betray a sharp intelligence. He's a man who doesn't like to waste time or words and he just looks like he knows something that the rest of us can't quite understand. He has degrees in religion and mythology and psychology from Yale. He formally opened the Strand Institute in 1998. Well you have degrees in religion and psychology. Did you study the paranormal parapsychologist? They don't offer degrees in those subjects. Why not? As soon as you apply scientific method to the paranormal, it vanishes. Mm. Can you tell me about the Strand Institute? The talking point everyone seems most interested in is the reward of $1 million and nobody's even come close? Really? There hasn't been one actual case of anything magical, supernatural or paranormal ever happening on this planet. Okay, so you're saying unequivocally that there's no such thing as ghosts. Isn't there enough wonder and beauty in the world without having to invent magical mythical creatures and spirits to enhance it? I understand humanity's need to assuage our fear of mortality, but if we spent half the money we spent on religion, on science, we have a colony on mars and we probably would have cured death and aging by now. Yeah. Mhm. What are these dr strand has a bookcase filled with hundreds of white VHS cases for our younger listeners. These are hard plastic case is big enough to hold a VHS tape roughly eight inches by five inches. Each one of strands, tape cases is labeled with the name interesting names like the poltergeist dinner, The haunting of Mr and Mr smith and the Witch of walmart five. What's in the VHS boxes? Those are salt cases. That's quite a bit since 1990 eight. This is just the last two years, wow, that's a lot. That's pretty standard for us by solve. Do you mean debunked? That's correct, man, go ahead. Inside the VHS case was a USB stick, a DVD a bunch of index cards and some photographs. The VHS case worked perfectly as compact storage for everything inside this particular case appeared to involve some kind of UFO or ghost sighting. So you use all of this technology, the scopes, meters and recorders. The way the ghost hunters do. Sometimes it's a matter of someone simply telling a story making it up in those cases, the equipment as much help. In other situations, we do use technology, but not quite the way those people you refer to as ghost hunters using. And what's this stuff. These are spectrometers over here, we have electro Magnetics. What are these? Nothing at this point? Dr Strand shut down our interview nicely. He was polite and generously offered a follow up call if I had any additional questions. I did have additional questions questions based on something I saw in dr strands equipment room. More on that. After the break, I called DR Strand a few days later for the follow up. He promised thanks so much for taking the time. You're welcome. I want to play something on my computer over the fall if that's okay part. Have you ever come across a case where you couldn't find a scientific or rational explanation? No. What about the Second War? What happened in that auditorium? There was a low rumbling sound and then the lights went out right after somebody mentioned something called The Sagamore. That's right. You claim that it was a coincidence. It was What's the Sagamore? The hotel resort in new york state. And did something happen there? There have been numerous claims of hauntings, including lights flickering and deep rumbling sounds. Were you able to debunk them? Yes. Well, I think we've got everything, but I do have to ask one small favor. Go ahead. My assistant's equipment was stolen and we lost your photo. The one we took for our website. It will only take a few minutes. I'll be in and out. You'll barely notice them there. Right? I wasn't being completely honest with Strand. We did need another photo for the website, but my producers told me we were fine using his standard publicity picture. What I really wanted to do was get another look at something I saw in his equipment room, a row of numbered black VHS cases. It was when I asked around about those tapes that he shut down our interview. I wanted to know more. Thanks again for taking the time. No problem at all. I have something I'd like you to look at. If you have a moment, it's a ghost. Really. It's pretty convincing. People are easily convinced. I don't know about that. Sounds pretty good. My ambush worked. Doctor strain agreed to take a look at the footage from the credit union. What's the event site? Manteno Illinois? The Manteno State Hospital. You know your hunting's, let's say alleged hauntings. It's actually a building located on part of the old hospital site. I showed strand the footage of the door mysteriously moving on its own. Along with some footage my producer nick took using his phone, nick, focused his camera on Dupont and her team's use of their highly advanced ghost hunting equipment, the flashlight stuff. The whole deal. What do you think it's an automatic door trick switch somewhere? The manager assured us that it wasn't. Okay. What about Miss DeMont and her team? They claim significant indicators of paranormal motion. I'm sure they did. Let's function on their level for a moment. Okay, then, purely scientific terms, which is something Emily Du Mont knows very little about. The readings are completely invalid. Why that guy holding the EMF meter, Donny Sure, Donny, He's moving. He's waving the meter around like a lunatic. So, so an electromagnetic field meter needs to be set in one place and left alone Dr Demon is getting lazy. What is this cell tower locations in the area and there are significant why EMF readings are compromised by a high volume of cell phone traffic. Is this a high traffic area? This area is one of the busiest cell tower across paying zones in the state. You can't trust EMF readings here. What about the door? The most important part of a paranormal investigation is history. The history of people and places. Let's start with places. What are you looking for? George? Cruikshank owns the land that used to house the mental hospital. If you say so, Strand was like the girl with the dragon tattoo on that laptop. He was clearly somebody who spent a lot of time researching this kind of stuff. He dug up an article about Mr Cruickshank trying to skirt heritage laws. He wanted to tear down an old house when they wouldn't let him, he rebelled and turn the place into a haunted house attraction. That house became the haunted mansion of Beale Street every Halloween, The place was packed, The neighbors gave in and let him tear it down. I guess they didn't like a good ghost story. What if Cruikshank was trying to do something similar with the old strip mall that feels like a bit of a stretch maybe. But I found that article along with the EMF readings in 15 minutes. What about the flashlights? I knew I had him on this one. I was there. There's no way they could have been messing with those lights. They were plain old $3 flashlights. No high tech chicanery there. It's simple physics, heat expansion and contraction. People like Emily Du Mont and those reality television ghost hunters use this trick all the time. It's very common when you turn a flashlight on, The bulb gets very hot. Then you unscrew the lid just a little until it turns off. Inside. That really hot flashlight is a little bit of plastic that expanded when it was hot. Now that the light is off, that plastic cools and contracts and pushes to little bits of metal together to form a circuit the light goes on and when it heats up enough again off the ghost hunter set us up maybe. But in my experience, it's usually just a patina, apple femia. They really just want to believe, and to that end, they forced supernatural meaning into meaningless events and patterns. Wow! I couldn't help feeling a bit let down at such a simple logical explanation. With very little effort. Strand cast a great deal of doubt on our haunted Credit Union, and he wasn't finished. They told you they saw an apparition, an old man, show them an old photo of somebody's great grandfather. Tell him that he was a patient who died in that room. I'll bet you they tell you they recognize him. I was surprised. I didn't want it to be true. But in the interest of getting to the truth, I took his suggestion. So we dug out the photo of a man who died in the east wing of the hospital, right about where you and Donnie saw. The apparition lets him. That's the man I saw. Are you sure positive I'd recognize him anywhere. Dr Strand was right. I did have more questions about the mysterious Credit Union door, but I wanted to steer the conversation in a different direction. The mysterious block tape cases in that back room. So if people in places are the key to most of these things, what's with all the high tech ghost hunting equipment? That stuff can't be cheap. It's definitely not cheap. We need to keep up to date with the latest technology so we know how everything works and how the data can be manipulated. What's the difference between these white tape cases and the single row of black tapes in your equipment room? Those are cases we don't have the resources or technology to disprove yet. Yet being the operative word. Exactly. Can I take a look? This was it the point of no return. I felt like Jack Lemmon's Shelly the Machine. Levene from glengarry glen ross holding out his pen for the Norberg's to sign. It felt like we sat in that office in silence forever. And then Strand finally broke the spell. I'm Alex Regan, you're listening to the black tips podcast. Stay with black tips podcast is brought to you by audible dot com. Get a free audiobook download at www dot audible trial dot com slash the black tapes. This week, we recommend Don Delillo's National Book Award winning novel Underworld visit www dot audible trial dot com slash the black tapes. To download Underworld or anyone of audible dot com is more than 180,000 titles. I'm looking at old super eight footage of a boy's birthday party. There's nothing outstanding about it. Pretty standard stuff, no bouncy castles or magicians and certainly no scary clowns. But I should back up a bit dr. Strand eventually agreed to let me take a look at one of the unsolved, he would say unsolved yet cases from that mysterious row of plastic black VHS containers that I'm going to refer to as the black tapes from this point forward. And yes, this is how we came up with the name of our podcast. It looks like they were around a dozen or so VHS cases on that shelf. This birthday party is from what we're calling tape number one. So what are we looking at here? It's coming up. There's, what is that? What do you see? It's a man more specifically the shadow of a man, sort of it's a dark shadow in the background. It's standing right next to an old shed by a wire fence. It looks like a tall man wearing a hat. But its proportions are all wrong. It's impossibly thin. It could almost be mistaken for the shadow of a tree if it didn't look like it had arms and legs, but it's hard to tell. It's pretty grainy. Okay. It's a shadow of maybe a man or a really weird looking tree. This man and woman. What am I looking for now? You'll see. No, I just escaped natural. I do. And do you promise that you will left here comfort him? Honor Championship. Okay. It's the same videotape but a completely different seen a different people altogether. It looks fairly contemporary. Like it could have been shot in the last few years. The wife goes there to God by death. Richard. I Okay. So I'm supposed to see something. Right. Do you see it? It's like, where's Waldo? Is it in the foreground background in the pews? Where am I looking by the organist? By the organist. Okay. Uh oh my God. Okay. That shadowy figure I just described in that kid's birthday party. It was there by the stage, in the church, behind the organist. It had the tall, skinny outline, the hat and I swear this time I could see something like fingers, but maybe not. They were as long as my forearms. I don't know. But whatever it was, it looked creepy as hell. So what people send you tapes of these shadow things? Not quite, This is the wedding of robert Torres. He lives in san Francisco where they got married three years ago. As you just saw that boy in the first section lived in Gettysburg pennsylvania. That tape was from his fifth birthday party, that was about 40 years ago. Okay, the boy's name is babi, so babi Torrez, bobby is robert Torres. Yes, so those shadow thing Is, whatever it is, it was there when Robert was five and it appears to be there again when Roberts 42. It's following him. I'm not comfortable speculating my producer nick and I discussed it and we're sure we have at least another episode worth of material with Richard Strand. So in lieu of our original second episode, which is going to feature me digging into the fascinating and occasionally dangerous world of geo cashing, we're going to finish up our story on Richard Strand and his mysterious black tapes. I'm starting to believe there are a lot of things in this world that I just don't understand. Why would somebody spend so much time and effort and probably a lot of money to create a sophisticated, fake child's birthday party film and then repeat the feat decades later at his wedding. Is it Torrez himself? If so?
I've seen all types of paranormal apparitions. Whoever tells you there are three categories of hauntings is foolish. That's dark. Abruzzi, the host of the popular reality TV show Demon Hunters were human. The things we chase are not. So how do you respond to critics who say that this field is not a science, but rather a pseudo science pseudoscience? Yeah, I've heard that one. Uh, well, I would ask them to accompany me on investigation to see the rigor with which we conduct our experiments. We we have actual experiments. I'd like to point out that even the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school has a ghost research unit. Really? There are critics within your industry who say that with demon hunters, you're not engaging in science, but rather in lowbrow entertainment. They're jealous. They didn't think of it before. We did. Well, to be honest, I've been hearing this from several people you're talking about. Strand, right? Don't waste your time. Of course, I wasn't talking about Strand. Not yet. I wasn't talking about anyone in particular, but I started to notice that name Strand kept coming up. Does the criticism ever get personal? There's no avoiding that type of character assassination, the ones that tend to sting more of their fellow academics like Vogel or Strand. It's like they got a vendetta against the whole field of paranormal research. But, you know, strange reputation, more of a writer than anything else. Dr. Strand is well known in our circles, but probably not the way he'd like. How do you say this politely? He puts a lot of passion and to work that would benefit from more clinical objectivity. Dr. Richard Strand, What's his doctorate in being a Dr Strand, is a paranormal investigator. What makes him such a lightning rod for criticism is that he doesn't believe in the paranormal. He's a ghost hunter who doesn't believe in ghosts. In fact, not only does he not believe in paranormal phenomena. For the past decade he has been on a mission to debunk all claims of the supernatural, and Strand is putting his money where his mouth is. Since 1998 the Strand Institute has been offering a million dollar reward for any proof of the supernatural. As you can imagine, he hasn't made a lot of friends in the ghost hunting community here. He is at a gathering of the Institute of Paranormal Research in ST Louis four years ago. The Wilson case is not an experiment disproving nor proving the validity of this phenomenon. All you have is a number of witnesses and their claims. That's not good science. A few more questions before we let Dr Strand go Yes, in the blue shirt, let's assume that what you say is true. Let's say everyone on the panel next to you is engaging in bad science. You haven't brought anything to the table that disproves anything. I am not making extraordinary claims against the laws of nature already established by the larger scientific community. I don't have to prove that gravity exists, that cells die that life ends. We know these things. The burden is on my colleagues to prove that life doesn't end in death, and they haven't provided anything other than we Conjecture. Okay, you in the black and gold in the back. Why don't let people who take comfort and fairy shells hold onto their illusions? It's similar to drug addiction. The addict needs escape. Have you ever come across a case where you couldn't find a scientific or rational explanation? No. What about the Sagamore? Okay. Yeah, And that's when the power went out. Perfect timing for a ghost convention. Dr. Strand is a controversial figure in the world of paranormal research. So why does he do it? Why devote his life to something he doesn't believe in?
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