What would you put up with for free frozen yogurt or a great apartment? If the answer is “ghosts”, we’ve got the episode for you! It’s another round of your urban legends, including all of the haunted house stories we could squeeze in.
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Amanda: Welcome to Spirits Podcast, a boozy dive into mythology, legends, and folklore. Every week, we pour a drink a learn about a new story from around the world. I'm Amanda-
Julia: And I'm Julia.
Amanda: ... and this is Episode 106, Your Urban Legends, Part 16.
Julia: That's so many. So many.
Amanda: And yet so fun, so fresh, so many new goofs every time.
Julia: Every time. It's like the Bag of Tricks from Dungeons and Dragons but better because it's full of spooky stories instead of weird animals.
Amanda: That actually reminds me opening our email inbox every morning to see the names of our new patrons. Welcome to Scotty, May, and Cory. Our supporting producer-level patrons are those emails that we have pinned to the top of the inbox, just because we love looking at them so often: Phillip, Julie, Christina, Eeyore, Sammy, Marie, Josie, Amara, Meal, Jessica, Bill Fresh, and Debra.
Julia: Then our starred in a special folder that we can look upon fondly is our legend-level patrons.
Amanda: Yeah. We use the hidden red start that you can use in Gmail for Stina, Jordan, Jess, Sara, Zoe, Sandra, Audra, Mercedes, Jac-Marie, and Leanne.
Julia: Amanda, because it's a hometown urban legends episode, I picked the beer like I usually do. I know how much you love a good dark beer, right?
Amanda: I sure do.
Julia: You're a porter and stout fan. I am not. I do not like a dark beer, but I found a real good in-the-middle for us, which is the Milk and Honey Beer from Mustache Brewery here on Long Island. It is creamy. It is toasty. It is a brown ale, so it's a little dark but not too dark for me. It is super delicious. I will basically order anything with the word honey in it. It's very, very good.
Amanda: Jules, this week I have been listening to a few non-fiction podcasts. I know that we both love to get into the fictional world, but I've had to do a bunch of errands, so I like to have just kind of like chitchat podcasts in my ear.
Julia: Sure, sure.
Amanda: The best version of that that I found recently is the show called Good Company. It's put out by a magazine that is off of a blog called Design*Sponge that I really love. The founder, Grace Bonney, is super into elevating other underrepresented creators, so Good Company is a podcast all about making a living as an artist and a creative person. There are only, I think, five or six episodes so far, so it's easy to get caught up. I just wanted to recommend it to everybody out there because, I don't know, this time a year I like to kind of reflect and think about what's next. Hearing other people talk about their careers, the choices they've made, and the systems that work for them really helps me out.
Julia: First off, the word Design*Sponge is amazing.
Amanda: Yes, it's a great blog.
Julia: Secondly, that seems so relevant to our interests. I really appreciate you sharing that with me, Amanda.
Amanda: Whoa. Of course.
Julia: Also, super relevant to our interests are sponsors for this week. We're sponsored this week by Calm. You can go to Calm.com/Spirits to get 25% off a Calm premium subscription. We are also sponsored by HoneyBook. You can go to HoneyBook.com and use the promo code "spirits" to get 50% off your first year.
Amanda: Finally, we know that you're eager to get into the urban legends, but we are very excited to tell you ... Oh my gosh, I'm so excited. We are having two live shows — not one, but two live shows — in Seattle in January, the same week as PodCon 2. You can go to Bit.ly/MultitudeInSeattle. It's going to be all your Multitude hosts. It's going to be live Spirits and a couple of other live Multitude shows, and also some one-night-only segments that should be their own podcast but aren't yet. There are going to be special guests. There is late night ramen on the menu at our venue. I could not be more excited.
Julia: Yeah. Here's the thing. If you're coming for Spirits, I will say you might want to come to both nights because, you know, we're going to do different episodes each night. It's going to be amazing.
Amanda: Yeah. It's a small-ish venue, so it's going to be really awesome and intimate. About 90 minutes each show because 90-minute shows with no intermission are the best shows of all time. It's right near PodCon, so if you live in the Pacific Northwest or if you're coming into town for PodCon, grab your tickets now, and yeah. Join us. It's going to be great.
Julia: Yeah, absolutely. We're excited to see you there and see your faces in the crowd-
Amanda: Heck yeah.
Julia: ... through the spotlights and whatnot.
Amanda: All right. Well, that was the news that we had to share with you this week. As always, let us know on Twitter which parts of this episode you like the most. I'm always so curious what goofs stand out to people because the ones that make Eric and I laugh, reference Toyota tree, aren't always the ones that everybody else enjoys.
Julia: Fucking Toyota tree. Really?
Amanda: Enjoy Spirits Podcast, Episode 106: Your Urban Legends, Part 16.
Eric: Now, Julia, I learned this trick from Amanda where what I do when I count down is I take off my headphones. It's genius.
Amanda: Eric was like, "Yeah, I think I'm going to have to record myself saying the numbers and then play that audio somehow with the program instead of" ... I was like, "Eric, take your headphones off when you start counting."
Eric: Because the issue is I hear you guys and I get all freaked out and I mess it all up.
Julia: Just take them off. We'll count.
Eric: All right. Here we go. Five, four, three-
Eric: ... two-
Julia: ... two-
Amanda: ... two-
Eric: ... one.
Julia: ... one.
Amanda: ... one.
Amanda: Was that our cold-open?
Eric: It probably was the cold-open. It was probably the cold-open.
Julia: Oh, boy.
Amanda: My favorite part of cold-opens are when at the end of them, the characters turn to the camera and say, "Was that the cold-open?"
Eric: In case that wasn't the cold-open, our cold-open will be discussing what we discussed last time, which was our genius plan to have the dog deal with daylight savings. It turns out Amanda was right and that we would lose an hour, which means he would start waking up early-
Amanda: I'm sorry, buddy.
Eric: ... which is what has happened, but we've come up with a new strategy-
Amanda: Let's hear it.
Eric: ... which because I work from home, we're feeding the dog three times a day instead of twice a day. We've made his meals smaller, but throughout the day, which has helped. Doesn't really change much in the morning, but definitely helps that witching hour in the evening, because if he eats at like 4:30 ... We just kind of give him the first meal whenever he starts whining, and then we kind of do the second one-
Julia: I love how Molly Weasley-style there is an hour on your clock that is just "witching hour."
Eric: Yeah. The problem is now his poop schedule is all over the place.
Julia: Oh, no.
Eric: You never know when this guy's going to poop.
Julia: Not the poop schedule!
Amanda: Oh, no.
Eric: But it's worked out much ... much better.
Amanda: It's just like living with IBS.
Eric: Except for you have to go out in the snow every time.
Amanda: That's true. That's true.
Eric: That's more of the issue we're dealing with.
Julia: Do you have snow by you right now?
Eric: It's not snowing yet, but-
Julia: Oh, it's just-
Eric: It's not snowing, but it's going to be. It's going to be, and that's going to be the un-fun part.
Amanda: Well, I have a story to do, not with bathrooms, but with rooms and hidden ones. Want to hear it?
Eric: Of course.
Amanda: This email comes to us from Charlene. It is titled, "Marble Cemetery and slightly related scary story."
Amanda: In October, we did a live show in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Horror Festival about local New York urban legends. It was very fun. One of the stories that we told was an email about Marble Cemetery. Charlene was there at the live show — thanks, Charlene — and wrote to us with a follow-up from the story that we told there.
Amanda: "Marble Cemetery is on 2nd Street in Manhattan between 1st and 2nd Avenue. I know this because I used to live across the street in a building that was a hospital through the 1920s. Both bedrooms in my apartment are in the basement, which used to be the morgue."
Julia: Nope. Just nope already. Noping real hard.
Amanda: "My then-roommate was like, 'This can't be haunted. Why would a ghost haunt a place that only his or her dead body has been?'"
Amanda: What do we think of that?
Julia: I ask that question, and then I say, have you watched Hill House yet?
Amanda: I certainly have not, but I have watched iZombie, which takes place in a lovely and cheery morgue.
Julia: Not a lot of ghost, though, in iZombie, Amanda.
Amanda: I know, but I wouldn't haunt the place that my dead body was briefly. The ghost is already out by then. The ghost is out and about. Why would they be tied to the body? Unless they have to thaw and just come out of the body slowly. By the time they come out, they're in the morgue.
Eric: I like this mythology where a ghost needs a bit of chrysalis/cocoon time in order to finally be released.
Amanda: It's like the turkey where you're like, "I'm so smart. I'm going to put the frozen turkey in the fridge three days before Thanksgiving." Thanksgiving morning, open it up. Oh, no. It's still frozen.
Julia: It's a big turkey.
Eric: 24 hours per five pounds, I learned recently.
Amanda: Okay. All right. All right.
Eric: Not helpful because Thanksgiving just happened.
Amanda: Some people do turkeys with Christmas, I guess.
Amanda: All right. Back to the haunting.
Amanda: "I moved in after my roommate had been in that apartment for a year or so. During that time, she found a hidden room. A hidden room in Manhattan!"
Julia: Nope. Nope.
Amanda: "The real estate value that was hidden is shocking. Anyway, it was actually a friend of hers who found it. He noticed that the wall sounded weird if you knocked on it, and the building owner tore down the wall to find a large room, which became my roommate's bedroom."
Julia: Just what are you doing?
Amanda: On one hand, that's the dream. On the other hand, no.
Julia: No. Not at all.
Amanda: Also, what kind of management company would voluntarily do any work to an apartment? That's amazing that they convinced them to do that.
Amanda: "A few months after moving in, things started being weird. It started with things that could be explained away, like a book falling off a shelf even though it wasn't close to the edge, lost things turning up in very unlikely places; but there were other things like very vivid, violent dreams and frequent sleep paralysis. Still things that can be explained away, but upsetting.
Amanda: "Then there was a man. I'd wake up at night with sleep paralysis and see him in my room. He would have conversations with other voices. I couldn't make out what was being said, but I could hear the voices clearly. My roommate, though, was getting it worse. She heard the voices too, but she would also see the man walking toward her."
Julia: I'm just ... I ... God.
Amanda: Sleep paralysis-
Eric: That's not good.
Amanda: ... is scary.
Eric: It's not good.
Amanda: Oh, God.
Julia: Mm-hmm (negative).
Amanda: "Well, here's the thing. It was a rent-stabilized, two bed, two bath, two-story apartment with outdoor space in the East Village."
Julia: Okay, I get it. I get it.
Amanda: This is the point in the email where I was like, "I'm reading this email. This is so relatable."
Amanda: "We were not going to let it go, ghost be damned. We did everything we could, like going to the local botanica where one buys supplies for Santeria, and buying protection spells and candles, spreading salt in the doorways, anything we could think of. Then one night, my roommate woke up to the man at the foot of her bed, and he reached out and wiggled her toe. She felt it and saw the blanket over her feet move."
Julia: I feel like that's the least innocuous thing that a ghost could do. It's like, booboobododoo.
Amanda: I mean, physical contact is escalation, though. Like, damn.
Eric: Yeah. I think a ghost just being in a room is the least innocuous thing it could do. Once a ghost has physically touched you and moved your body parts without your say so, that is escalation fully.
Julia: I would say from the physical aspect, if a ghost is going to touch me, I would rather it wiggle my toe than anything else.
Amanda: I don't know, I'd rather it pick lint off my shirt or something.
Julia: But that's-
Eric: I'd rather it pull my finger.
Julia: ... that's barely physically touching you. Yeah.
Amanda: Or smooth down a stray eyebrow hair. That would be convenient.
Julia: There you go.
Eric: No. You wouldn't like that.
Amanda: You wouldn't like that?
Julia: No, if it did.
Eric: You say you would like that, but you think about gentle caress of a ghost on your face, just, "Hey. You have an eyebrow there, or an eyelash there."
Julia: "There's an eyelash. Make a wish."
Eric: No, that's not true. You would hate that. You'd hate that 100%.
Amanda: Oh, man. I would enjoy a ghost cat giving me a friendly lick on the ankle, though. That would okay.
Eric: Well, of course you would. I mean, that's ... of course. That's true to character.
Julia: Not a lick. What? No. A purr and a rub, but not a lick.
Julia: Okay. I'm sorry. We're distracting from the amazing rent-stabilized apartment.
Eric: A purr and a rub, not a lick: Spirits Podcast.
Amanda: Oh, y'all. We haven't even reached the wildest part of this email.
Eric: It was in Midtown?
Amanda: No, the East Village. Even better.
Eric: Oh, okay.
Amanda: Right by my library branch.
Eric: Yeah. This is good.
Amanda: Oh, yeah.
Amanda: "All of this could have been vivid dreams, of course, but since we were both experiencing it, we were both pretty scared. We tried to tell ourselves that it must have been bad air circulation in the basement or something else. I'd nonetheless deliberately fall asleep upstairs, above ground-level, on the couch where things were okay."
Amanda: "I moved out as soon as I could afford to to a much shittier apartment while my roommate stayed another year. The weird things continued for her, but less intensely. Oddly, it didn't affect her new roommate. Maybe the two of us are more sensitive to thinks unseen and goaded whatever was there. I have, knock on wood, now lived in an apartment in which the only odd things that happen are related to people outside my first-floor apartment being drunk."
Amanda: "The things we do for real estate in this town.
Amanda: "Anyway, back to the Marble Cemetery. I don't have any spooky stories about it exactly, but about a decade ago when I was living in the apartment, a large block of C4, which is an explosive, was found in the cemetery. Law enforcement determined that the C4 had been there for years, like someone stashed it and never came back, so that was weird too."
Julia: Sounds like some mob shit. I'm into it.
Amanda: But talk about all the dangers in that apartment, like potential explosive outside, drunk people walking around on the ground-level, ghosts.
Amanda: That's it from Charlene. Thank you so much for writing to us and telling us the story of your too-good-to-be-true apartment.
Eric: I also have a haunted house story if we want to stick in that theme for right now.
Amanda: I would.
Eric: This email comes to us from Simon. They write, "I live in Poland and have a haunted house. Me and my girlfriend have bought a house over a year ago and are still working on it, but we already live in it and are just slowly fixing it up. Living and working on a house gives us great insight into the state of the house. There are no cold spots, pipe noises, or flying pictures that we couldn't trace back to mechanical issues and fix, but there are some things we simply can't find answers to."
Eric: Now, not to try to convince you further to watch Hill House, Amanda, but this is literally the plot of Hill House.
Amanda: Okay. I know. I love renovation and I love lesbians, but I also don't like to be scared.
Julia: Yeah. It's not that scary. Okay, but also I would like to point out that in our most recent business meeting, I suggested that as our next patron goal on Patreon, that we buy a probably haunted house and then try to renovate it.
Amanda: Yeah, like find the most haunted house that's in our price range and then buy it and live there/work there/make it into a podcaster retreat. I think that would be dope as hell-
Amanda: ... but I don't know. I feel like if it's my house, I'll be like, "Oh, house." If I'm watching it and getting scared before I sleep, that's a little bit different. I realize this is in full contradiction to everything I have yelled at any person in a story we've ever talked about-
Amanda: ... but I just want to ... I just want more than two rooms that are mine.
Julia: It's okay. We'll buy that haunted house.
Eric: One day you'll have three rooms.
Amanda: I just want a washing machine.
Julia: We're going to buy the haunted house. It's all going to be great.
Eric: "As background information, I have to tell you that the previous owner went insane and tried to murder his own brother with a wood-chopping ax."
Amanda: "Tried to" is kind of the key one there.
Eric: So, we're off to a good start.
Julia: That was relevant.
Eric: "First thing we noticed after buying the house is that the lights were flickering. Nothing unusual about that in an old house, and the house is about 50 years old." That seems young for a house. Young? Is that the right-
Amanda: Yes. It's very young for a house.
Eric: It's a nice, youthful house.
Julia: At that point, you could have stuff like the walls ... a rotting problem or the electrical needs to be updated.
Eric: That's true.
Julia: It makes sense to me.
Eric: "But the interesting thing is that all you needed to yell is, 'Stop it!' and the lights would come back to normal."
Eric: "Just yell it loud enough so you could be heard outside." An outside ghost.
Julia: I like how polite this ghost is, where it's like, "Stop it!" "Okay."
Amanda: Yeah. I also like the idea that their neighbors were like, "I guess that couple fights, but they're very polite about it," or "They only have to yell one time and then I guess it's over," or "They have a very disobedient dog."
Eric: "We have lots and lot of instances of shades and sparks not matching light sources. Lately, those have developed wisps. That includes sightings from our hardcore skeptic friend that adamantly refuses to believe absolutely anything supernatural. We have had a couple instances of misplaced or moved tools, but I still believe it's someone else using or moving them without telling. Ghosts don't usually need tools, right? On top of our skeptical friend, we also have some true believers and say that this home is indeed haunted. We've burned some sage and used other stuff to clean the house, but it definitely never helped. Also, we have a dog whose name is Bat because he's black and he likes to chew on charcoal, and one other dog because you can't have just one dog if your whole day is work. He has eyes that reflect the light in flaming orange."
Julia: Oh, not good. Usually it's green.
Eric: "If you want, we can send you a picture of them."
Eric: Of course.
Julia: Of course.
Eric: Of course. Please send us pictures of your dog. SpiritsPodcast@gmail.com.
Eric: "Even if all of the above can be explained scientifically and in a totally non-creepy way, there's still more. The whole neighborhood seems to have a peculiar aura to it. By aura, I mean weather patterns. Apparently there's about a two kilometer radius around our house that tends to have totally different weather than the general area." I mean, this is literally Hill House. This is literally the plot of Hill House.
Julia: Oh my God. This is great. I love this.
Eric: "We often have situations where everywhere around us thunderstorms rages, but we have clear skies, just perfect for gardening or stargazing."
Eric: "Also, last winter in spite of everywhere being snowy and all around wintry, our one home and garden around it had just a dusting of snow and temperatures hovering around five degrees higher than even our neighbors across the road."
Amanda: Consider: This is a spirit that wants to make life really good for these two doggos. Snow, but not too much snow. Pretty moderate temperatures. A little rain, but not too much rain. Cute light sparks that can reflect adorably in the doggos' eyes.
Julia: My assumption: Hellmouth.
Amanda: Tell me more.
Julia: Temperature is higher because it's a gate to Hell. We know that heck puppers are well-beloved.
Amanda: It's true.
Julia: I don't know. Just nicer weather because, again, mouth to Hell.
Eric: I've got a third option.
Eric: The dogs are performing some ritual. This is kind of building off of both of your theories.
Julia: Okay, okay.
Eric: I came up with it during Amanda's theory, but it builds into your theory as well, Julia, in which the dogs are summoning a demon or Hellmouth of some sort which is blessing them with good weather and whatnot. Eventually, a day of reckoning will come for these dogs, and they're going to have to sell their souls or not be a good boy or something. Who knows? It could go any way, really.
Julia: So, your argument is that these dogs are warlocks from D&D-
Julia: ... and they've made some sort of pact.
Eric: I'm arguing that we're dealing with warlocks.
Amanda: What if these are regular doggos who just want a third playmate, and so they're trying to summon a heck pupper friend?
Amanda: Maybe get a third dog. Send us many pictures. Then they'll be good.
Eric: I think what you should do, Simon, is take a picture ... Now we're on Car Talk — Dog Talk — where we tell you what to do in the episode. I think you should get the dogs together, take a nice picture of them, and then really look if there's some kind of spirit lingering behind them or like a heck pupper or something like that. I think that's obviously the solution.
Eric: They do end their email with saying, "Yeah, so we own a haunted house. We live in it and plan to open an agrotourism site. You're all invited when we do."
Julia: Keep us posted.
Eric: We will be there.
Julia: Thanks, Simon.
Eric: We'll be there, probably.
Julia: All right, I also have a house story, a haunted house story-
Amanda: Look at this!
Julia: ... but it's a haunted sorority house.
Eric: This would be a great movie in the '80s. It'd be a great movie today.
Julia: Interestingly, this is from Katelyn. Katelyn says, "I just binge-listened to every urban legends episode. This binge made me remember a story my mom told me right before I applied to college. She went to school in Potsdam, New York, which one of the fraternity houses was the main house in Nightmare on Elm Street."
Julia: There we go.
Eric: Wait, the house was the one they filmed it at?
Julia: Yes. One of the fraternity houses in Potsdam was the main house from A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Eric: No thanks.
Julia: "For starters, all the houses were originally built as part of an insane asylum. Anyway, her particular house had a rocking chair"-
Amanda: How did this get worse from Nightmare on Elm Street? That's amazing.
Julia: I know. It's pretty impressive.
Julia: "Anyway, her particular house had a rocking chair in the attic. It was the rocking chair of a spirit named Matthew. I know how much you guys love creepy kid stories." We do. "Not only was Matthew's spirit in the attic, but his caretakers were as well," like the spirits of the caretakers. "No one can mess with Matthew without the wrath of his caretaker. Anywho, one woman joined the sorority and absolutely refused to believe in ghosts. This girl waltzes upstairs into the attic and starts taunting Matthew's spirit, sitting in his chair and saying she wasn't afraid of him. I shit you not — there are so many witnesses to this — the caretaker's spirit threw a table at this woman. She never doubted the story again.
Julia: "There's also a creepy picture that my mom has that is a man standing behind her friend at the time that there was no men in the house. I will happily send it to y'all if you are interested. Thanks."
Julia: Yeah. Always good. Always good haunted house story.
Amanda: I kind of like that, though. I don't like an idea of a lonely ghost, right?
Amanda: Don't like the idea of a lonely kid ghost. Having someone who can take care of him, make sure all of his-
Eric: You want like a mentor ghost. You want a Boo ... Boo Brothers and Sisters.
Amanda: Oh, Eric. Yes, that's what I want.
Eric: That wasn't good. That wasn't a good joke. I'm not proud of it.
Julia: I'm trying to think of a good sorority/fraternity pun that we can make. A frighternity.
Amanda: That's pretty good.
Julia: It's not bad.
Amanda: That's pretty good. Ectoplasm University.
Eric: That's just two words, but I'll take it.
Amanda: Leave me alone.
Eric: I do want to say real quickly before we run over and grab ourselves a refill, if you have pictures, we want you to send them.
Eric: If you can't send them through the form on the website, just send an email to SpiritsPodcast@gmail.com with the same title and be like, "but pictures included," and we will ... We'll take them. We'll post them. We've got the Instagram to post them on. Please, send us pictures, especially if you got a dog that's doing some spooky stuff.
Julia: We want to see it.
Eric: Send us a message.
Amanda: Or just a dog, and you can be like, "Here is my story about when I was 22 and teaching in South Korea. Also, here's my dog." Like, yes.
Julia: That's all we want.
Eric: You guys take care of the emails a lot more than I do, but ... so if you just want an inbox flooded with dog pictures, that's perfectly fine.
Amanda: Yeah, Eric.
Amanda: All right, let's go get a refill.
Amanda: Julia, we're sponsored this week by HoneyBook, which does the best thing that anyone could say to me: "Can I please take an annoying task that you don't want to do and do it instead?" It's just great.
Julia: That sounds amazing. Please tell me more.
Amanda: Music to my ears, and for small business owners like me, HoneyBook can help you spend less time handling the administration and invoicing and business management stuff that you just don't want to deal with because you want to be doing your thing. They help you streamline the process. They have calendar management. They have branded templates to send proposals or contracts to clients, all that BS like using documents and PDFs that you don't want to have to deal with. You can get e-signatures. You can do invoices. You can get paid faster, all within one online dashboard. It's amazing.
Julia: That sounds super easy and also super fancy.
Amanda: Yeah. It is really, really useful. Y'all should go to HoneyBook.com and use the code "spirits" to get 50% off your first year of HoneyBook with that promo code "spirits". They are really helpful. They're really simple. They're really professional. Trust me, you will save so much time and headache using HoneyBook, so HoneyBook.com. Use the promo code "spirits" and that gets you 50% off your first year.
Julia: So you're saving time and money.
Amanda: It's true. it's all with HoneyBook. HoneyBook.com.
Julia: You know what, Amanda? That calmed me quite a bit.
Amanda: Did it?
Julia: It brings us to our next sponsor.
Julia: We're sponsored this week as well by Calm. You feel stressed and anxious sometimes, right? You're a small business owner.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah, I do. Yup.
Julia: What are your coping tools?
Amanda: Genuinely, I try to schedule time to worry. I try when I have worries throughout the day to be like, "Hey, I'm going to worry at eight o'clock tonight. Until then, brain, don't really worry about it." Genuinely, I use the Calm app, which has these beautiful soundscapes of thunderstorms or trains going by or city noises. I put one on, I sit down on my bed, and I worry until I'm bored, which being bored of worrying is like a revelation. I'd never get that bored of worrying before.
Julia: That is why we are so excited to partner with Calm. They are the number one app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation. Calm gives you the tools you need to live a happier, healthier, and more mindful life. Just five minutes of Calm can change your whole day. Maybe you'll end up getting bored about worrying like Amanda does.
Amanda: Amazing, truly. Isn't it Calm.com/Spirits where people can get 25% off a Calm premium subscription?
Julia: It is. A premium subscription is stuff like guided meditations on issues like anxiety, stress, focus, and relationships. It also includes a new meditation every day called the Daily Calm, which is much better than the daily news podcasts that I listen to sometimes that stress me out even more.
Amanda: It's kind of the opposite as those, yeah.
Julia: It is, in fact, the opposite of that.
Julia: They also have sleep stories. Amanda and I have talked about that in the past before, but they're like bedtime stories for grown-ups, and they are wonderful.
Amanda: They actually do have bedtime stories for kids, which is awesome.
Julia: Oh, yes. Well, if you're in the mood for more kiddie kind of dream lands- totally check those.
Amanda: Or have a kid-
Julia: ... totally check those.
Amanda: ... who might need some help falling asleep.
Julia: That is true. You might also have a child. I shouldn't doubt that.
Julia: So, for a limited time, Spirits listeners can get 25% off a Calm premium subscription at Calm.com/Spirits. This includes unlimited access to all of Calm's amazing content. Get started today at Calm.com/Spirits.
Amanda: Thanks, Calm. Thanks, HoneyBook. Now, let's get back to the show.
Julia: All right. If you guys had to pick, would you prefer human meat buns and fairy corpses or-
Eric: Yeah. That one. That one.
Amanda: That one. That one.
Julia: ... or nightmares and babysitting?
Eric: Yeah, the first one.
Amanda: The first one.
Julia: Okay. Cool, cool, cool.
Eric: I don't even know what that first thing means. I love it, though.
Amanda: I want it.
Julia: This is-
Eric: What was it? Nightmare and meat buns?
Julia: Human meat buns-
Eric: Human meat buns.
Julia: ... and fairy corpses, and then the second one was nightmares and babysitting.
Amanda: That one sounds good too. Thank you, person, for sending it to us-
Amanda: ... but I super want to know about meat buns.
Julia: We'll get to the other one in another episode.
Eric: We're a cold ... back from the mid-roll right now.
Amanda: Oh, yeah.
Eric: This is it. We are-
Amanda: We're in it.
Eric: We want them to know that that's coming in a future episode, but how could you not do that first one, everybody?
Julia: This is from Nicole. Nicole says, "Hi, Spirits Podcast. I've been meaning to send you guys my urban legend for a few weeks and didn't get my thoughts together until now. It's a Chinese-American urban legend, so I think you'll enjoy this a lot.
Julia: "As the youngest child in my family, I was on the receiving end of a lot of frightening stories, especially from my older sister, who is seven years older than me. The neighborhood I grew up in was changing from the influx of new Chinese immigrants and Chinese bakeries and restaurants that were opening up in a once-Italian neighborhood. Every morning, my granny and I would walk to the Chinese bakery, buy char su boa which is a roast pork bun," and I probably butchered that pronunciation, "and eat it on my walk to school. Everyone in my family knew I loved to eat these roast pork buns. It's a sweet and savory bun filled with pork with red barbecue sauce." I have had these at Dim Sum.
Amanda: Oh, yeah.
Julia: They are one of my favorite things.
Amanda: So good.
Julia: "It was all good until one evening we heard that apparently restaurants were using human flesh to make their roast pork buns. In turn, they were no longer roast pork buns, but human meat buns," and then there is a translation into Chinese that I can't read because I don't know the characters, "but you just add the words 'human meat' in front of 'roast pork meat bun.'"
Amanda: Oh, wow.
Julia: "I didn't believe this at first, especially not since it came from my sister's mouth, but then she mentioned the gristle that you find sometimes in a roast pork bun, and the red sauce was obviously made from blood. I was convinced all the new restaurants and bakeries were opening up because they had to get rid of some bodies. The easiest way to get rid of them? Sell them in your pork buns. If you didn't listen to your parents or older siblings, the restaurant owners will get you, kill you, and serve you in a pork bun."
Eric: I really like that this is a Chinese-American immigrant version of Sweeney Todd-
Amanda: Oh, definitely.
Eric: ... essentially.
Amanda: Because pork buns are so much better than meat pies.
Eric: Oh, for sure.
Julia: Okay. Continuing on. "This spread through my school pretty fast, and while I don't remember what effect it had on my classmates, I remember I stopped eating roast pork buns for a few years and switched over to a tuna bao.
Julia: "Recently, I asked my sister if she remembered this story, and she did. She said she heard about this from an old movie. I did some research. If you just google 'human meat bun,' it comes up. It turns out"-
Eric: That's probably not the only thing that comes up.
Amanda: Probably not.
Eric: That's 100% not the only thing that comes up.
Julia: Oh, boy.
Eric: Don't google that.
Julia: "It turns out that this was based on some true facts. The movie she's talking about is called The Untold Story, a Hong Kong crime-thriller. The movie is based off of real events of a 10-person massacre known as Eight Immortals Restaurant murders in Macau."
Amanda: I am just making gigantic :D face emoji at the camera because I love this so much.
Julia: "There was no cannibalism in the real murders, but there was in the movie.
Julia: "The other story my sister fed me when I was a child involved the subway station, specifically the Brooklyn N-line. Before it got renovated a few years ago, trees used to hang over the stations between 18th Avenue and 8th Avenue. Six-year-old me had a poor sense of depth perception and was told that the seed pods from the trees were human corpses wrapped up and hung there by gang members. It frightened me a lot until I was older and I told her that they were too small to be corpses, so then she told me they were fairy corpses and touching them would curse me."
Julia: I'm really glad that I'm an old child when I read stories like these.
Eric: That's some dark shit.
Amanda: That is very dark.
Eric: I understand the first half, how that became a spooky thing to tell your sibling. The second thing is just some dark shit. That's just some dark shit to tell somebody.
Julia: "Needless to say, these stories affected me because now I make a podcast about a young woman who tried to live in a studio apartment that became a waiting room for denizens of the underworld trying to get into her closet."
Julia: "Customs Out of The Closet, if you're interested.
Julia: "I do what my sister does now and I freak out my little cousins with the stories of the Tooth Giant and the haunted air conditioner in the basement. I love listening to your podcast, so keep it up."
Amanda: That's very good.
Julia: That's very good.
Amanda: Yeah. Wow. I'm just now thinking about how terrifying it would be to think that the seed pods that you see in the spring are fairy corpses.
Julia: Yeah. It's very good.
Eric: I've got two short stories from Texas.
Julia: Texas? Tell us.
Amanda: Now, are they big stories? Because everything's bigger in Texas. I am watching Top Chef, season 11.
Eric: I actually said they were short stories. There's a lot packed in. There's a lot of characters in them, though.
Amanda: Good. All right.
Eric: Lot of, like, letters. Not people.
Eric: This comes to us from Drew. They write, "I have two musical ghost stories. I am a student at Texas Women's University. Our music building is one of the oldest in Texas. All of us music majors, at least when I used to live on campus, liked to practice in the wee hours of the morning, so you'd be in a practice room across campus by yourself at 3 AM. Shenanigans would ensure." I spent a lot of time my freshman year in the music building, and this is completely accurate. People are in and out of that place all hours.
Eric: "Our building ghost doesn't have a name, at least I don't think, but you would always hear footsteps when you know no one is in the building with you. The practice room doors all have windows in them, and I was practicing with my side to one of them so that it was in my peripheral vision. I swear something black and huge came and stood in the window, stared at me, and ran away when I looked at it. I probably went back to my dorm to clean the shit out of my pants."
Amanda: I, too, would probably have shit my pants after that.
Julia: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Eric: It was probably just a guy with a tuba, but you never know.
Eric: You never know.
Eric: "The second one is more mysterious. I was wandering with a couple of friends around campus after we left a party, and we saw a guy playing guitar. He was Hispanic, singing in Spanish, and dressed in all white. He looked like he was busking, even though he was in front of our building at 3 AM."
Amanda: Mm-mm (negative).
Eric: "We listened to his hauntingly beautiful song for a while, but he never spoke to us or opened his eyes, just played and sang."
Amanda: Don't listen to the fairy music.
Julia: That is fairy music.
Eric: "Then he walked away. I glanced at my friend, and I looked back where I thought he was. He was gone. I did some research, but never learned of any ghosts of this nature on the TWU campus. I might have discovered some new ones."
Julia: That's not good.
Julia: Don't be the first person to discover a ghost ever.
Eric: Yeah. That's for sure.
Amanda: There are better things to discover, like new things to do with Nutella and a great, binge-able thing on Netflix.
Eric: What's the newest thing you've learned to use Nutella for, Amanda? You seem like you have a Nutella recipe recently discovered.
Julia: While Amanda thinks about that, she did send me via Instagram the other day a picture of a Nutella restaurant that is coming to New York. I was like, "Oh, no. Oh, no."
Amanda: Yeah. It's just south of Union Square. Get on it. But I recently dissolved some Nutella in some Irish coffee, AKA coffee with booze in it, and it was delicious. Also, I bought Reddi-Wip, just whipped cream in a can, for the first time as an adult.
Amanda: Actually, I ate it as a kid, but I never bought it for my fridge.
Amanda: I no longer live in a house where things are in the fridge that I didn't choose for myself. I just hadn't bought it.
Amanda: I bought it and then I'm like, "Oh my God, whipped cream is so good."
Eric: I don't think I've ever bought it either.
Amanda: Whipped cream is so good. I put it in my iced coffee some mornings, I'm not going to lie to you.
Julia: I'm just flabbergasted by the idea that you guys don't-
Eric: Julia apparently always has Reddi-Wip at the ready.
Julia: I do.
Amanda: At the Reddi.
Julia: I always have whipped cream ready.
Amanda: With an 'I', at the Reddi.
Amanda: All right. Well, whipped cream aside, I also have a musical school haunting story, but this one is from a high school. This comes from Nicole, she/her, and the subject is "friendly ghost applause and the time choir practice was interrupted by a ghost."
Julia: Oh, no.
Amanda: "I grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota, a small, struggling mining town famous for two things: Bob Dylan and its historic high school."
Amanda: "Finished in 1922, it boasted an indoor pool, the first high school in the country to have such a luxury, and an auditorium that included crystal chandeliers and could seat 1,800 people."
Eric: Wait, where is this again?
Amanda: This is in Minnesota. Hibbing, Minnesota.
Amanda: I don't know, but for reference, Nicole tells us that the town's population is 16,000, so it could fit upward of 10% of the school ... of the town's population in the high school auditorium.
Julia: That's wild. Why do you ... Why? Why do you need that?
Amanda: Just to be extra? I don't know.
Julia: I guess.
Eric: Got to build for growth. Build for growth. If you build it, they will come.
Amanda: If your economy is predicated on a limited natural resource, a nonrenewable thing you dig out of the ground, definitely invest as if you are only going to keep growing.
Eric: Yeah. That thing is auditorium seats.
Amanda: "As with most theaters, there are a number of rumors about hauntings, some more believable than others.
Amanda: "Now, for my story. My mom is a pianist for the high school choirs and helps to run a concert association in town, meaning she is very familiar with the auditorium." Also, how nice to have such a nice auditorium if you're a pianist. "She's also never really been one to believe in ghosts, at least not that I'd noticed. Anyway, before a concert, she was accompanying one of the junior high choirs as they practiced in the auditorium. House lights were off. Kids were singing. Everything seemed normal, then a few kids started to stare at the back of the auditorium, looking back and forth, back and forth. Then a few more kids did. Slowly, the singing died away and the entire choir, around 90 kids, was just starting at something. My mom" ... Julia is so scared. Oh my God. Oh, no.
Julia: That's just the worst thing that ... You've just described the worst thing that could possibly happen ever.
Amanda: Oh, no. Okay. Well, "My mom and the director slowly turned around and saw a white figure running in the back of the auditorium from one side to another. After a minute or two"-
Eric: Wait. Hold on, hold on.
Amanda: ... "they disappeared."
Eric: Wait. Back and forth?
Eric: No. No.
Eric: I hate it. I don't like that one bit.
Amanda: Yeah. I guess it's more purposeful to think of a ghost just running in one direction, but if they're running back and forth, they are just causing chaos or being haunted by another ghost that you can't see.
Julia: This whole story, I'm just going to keep yelling, "Why?" at you. Why? Why? Why?
Amanda: Just the image of a high school choir that's about to be doing a performance, or a junior school choir, stopping singing is wild. Those rehearsals are few and far between, and they are so important. To stop singing because you're distracted is a high bar.
Amanda: So, Nicole continues, "Rehearsal was cut short and they practiced the rest of the class period in the usual choir room." So, they evacuated. Good.
Amanda: "Even ignoring the figure, there is no possibility that 90 12/13-year-olds managed to pull that sort of prank. My mom is still not sure what to think.
Amanda: "Another maybe less exciting story from that auditorium happened to me. In my last few years of high school, I was having a panic attack nearly once a week. When those would happen, I would leave class and go find a piano since playing always helps calm me down. Normally I would head to one of the music rooms, but during a particularly bad panic attack, those rooms were occupied. Desperate, I went to the only other place that had a piano: the auditorium.
Amanda: "Normally it was locked, but luckily there was a door ajar that I snuck in through. All the lights were off, and it was spacious and empty. I don't know if it was just because I finally found somewhere to hide or if it was something else, but I felt really safe and comfortable there, even though I'm normally terrified of the dark. I found the piano, sat, and played a few songs until I had my breathing and thoughts under control, and then I got ready to return to class.
Amanda: "But as I got up, I froze. I swear I heard clapping coming from the seats off to my right. There was no one there and nothing to hide behind in the region the noise was coming from. A bit spooked but otherwise fine, I went back to class, feeling a lot better than before. At least someone had enjoyed the music."
Julia: I mean, my argument for the latter story is probably like, hey, you know, kids used to sneak into the auditorium when no one was in there to either smoke or make out or whatever, so maybe that was it.
Amanda: Or study for the SATs like I did.
Julia: You fucking weirdo.
Amanda: We're very different people. Okay, yes. But, yeah, right. Kids could be there, but it sounds like Nicole looked at the seats and there was no way to obstruct yourself.
Julia: But it was very dark.
Amanda: I don't know. It's terrifying to think of you doing a thing that you think is private and then suddenly someone starts clapping. It's like a villain is going to walk out of the shadows and be like, "Well played, Mr. Bond, but in fact you did not win."
Julia: I hope it was a slow clap.
Amanda: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Amanda: Well, Nicole also includes pictures of the auditorium and an article about Bob Dylan, so we will put that link in our show notes.
Julia: Cool. Oh, yeah. I can look at the auditorium right here. That's a big theater. It looks like a genuine Broadway theater. There's two tiers. It's very nice. It's very fancy-looking.
Eric: This school must ... They must've had some money in this town because that's a big auditorium.
Julia: A mining town.
Eric: They had an indoor swimming pool, and also they had a bunch of practice rooms with pianos in them, which my school also had a really nice auditorium and a pool, but we were also the largest suburb in the nation for a while-
Amanda: That'll do it.
Eric: ... so I understand how that ended up happening, but this ... that was a town of like 150,000 people when that all was going down. This was a town of 60,000. That's just some crazy stuff going on there.
Amanda: But yeah, this has like two boxes. It has a plaster or painted mural on the ceiling, four chandeliers. This is serious business.
Julia: It's fancy. Fancy feast.
Amanda: It looks like Abraham Lincoln would've debated in this theater.
Amanda: Oh, and just as a bonus, I do have one more email to share today because it says "for Amanda" in the subject line, and so I was like, hellO.
Amanda: This is from Joshua. Subject line: "Haunted froyo shop (this one's for Amanda)."
Amanda: "Hey, guys. Huge fan of the show. A while back during one of the urban legends episodes, Amanda mentioned that she wanted to hear about a haunted frozen yogurt shop, and I knew I had to reach out." Thank you.
Julia: It's amazing that we can just ask for things and people give them to us.
Amanda: Thank you, Joshua.
Amanda: "I grew up in a small town north of Charlotte, North Carolina. Not long after I graduated from high school, I started working at a new store for a chain of self-serve froyo shops as a supervisor." Oh, fancy. "In addition to the normal kind of duties, I would be in the story very early and very late doing additional stuff, like accepting deliveries or counting the money from the day."
Julia: That's why I would never want to be a supervisor. I don't want to be alone somewhere.
Amanda: Well, Julia, brace yourself. "Normally there would always be at least two people working, but unlike other froyo shops that would close up for the colder months, we would stay open and I would end up working by myself. As you can"-
Eric: That's good. I think sometimes it's important to have froyo in the middle of winter.
Julia: Sometimes you got to.
Amanda: I always want vegan froyo. Always.
Amanda: "As you can imagine, things get a little scary when you're working all by yourself late at night. My first haunted experience at the store happened on such a night. To give you a quick idea of the layout of the place, in the front of the shop we had a dining room, a log wall where all the froyo machines stood, and the counter where the topping bar and the cash registers are. Behind the counter is a free-swinging kitchen-style door leading to the backroom with storage, fridges, freezers, sinks, and a small table used as a desk. It isn't a huge place, so you could always hear someone walking in, even if you were in the back.
Amanda: "When I first started noticing the strange goings-on, we'd only been open for a few months. It was some time around the beginning of December when the nights start to get long and the cold weather finally starts to grip the Carolinas. With our customer base being nonexistent, I would often spend hours alone in the shop with nothing to do. This usually meant hiding in the back, watching YouTube videos on my phone until I hear the chime on the front door ring.
Amanda: "One night, I was doing just that. I was sitting at the office table, watching something on my phone, when I realized I could hear the distant murmur of people talking in the dining room. I remember thinking, 'Oh, crap. I must've missed the chime of the front door,' so I quickly put my phone away and made my way to the front of the store. I swung open the kitchen door and was prepared to give my typical overzealous greeting, only to find the dining room empty."
Julia: Oh, no.
Amanda: "At first, I was a bit stunned. I walked out from behind the counter and took a quick look around the dining room. There really was no one there. I checked and double-checked, even waiting to see if anyone came out of the restroom, but I was completely alone in the shop. Knowing I had to finish out the rest of the night by myself, I just kind of brushed it off. Luckily, the rest of the night went off without anymore weird activity and I made it home safely.
Amanda: "But a few days later, I came in early to receive and unpack a shipment while another supervisor took care of opening the store. We were chatting while we worked and I made an offhand comment about what had happened that night. To my surprise, she responded with, 'Oh, you've heard that too?'"
Amanda: "Apparently, she had experienced the same type of activity while opening the store, before the doors were even unlocked. I was relieved to know I wasn't losing it, but a little concerned that it certainly wouldn't be the last time I had to close down the store by myself.
Amanda: "Things were quiet for a few days after that, but then it happened again. For the next month or so, I began experiencing the distant voices at least one a week, sometimes more. I kind of started to get used to it, going through the same motion whenever I heard the whispers start. I'd walk to the front, make sure it wasn't a real customer, head back to my table to wait it out and just kind of be stable for a while.
Amanda: "It was around the end of January when my next major experience occurred. It was just like other nights. I was sitting in the backroom, passing the time until I could go home, but it didn't stay that way for long. Seated at my usual spot in the office table, I heard the door between front and back rooms swing open. During the day, the owners of the store were known to swing by and check in on things. Despite it being later in the evening, I assumed that that's what was happening. I put my phone away and acted like I was busy working on something rather than goofing off." Mood. "But no one came. I snuck a glance, then a full look toward the door. It was gently swinging from the residual motion of being pushed open, but there was no source to the movement."
Julia: Oh, boy.
Amanda: "I hesitantly walked toward the door, pushed it open, and, as usual, found an empty dining room. Once again, I realized I hadn't heard the door chime.
Amanda: "Winter continued with no major incidents, maybe occasional whispers, but seemingly less than before. As the weather warmed back up, business picked up and I didn't have to close by myself. I was pretty thankful for that after the stunt with the door.
Amanda: "In the beginning of May, it was very busy and I was working constantly with someone else. One night, like any other, we were closing up shop. I had left a spray bottle of cleaner in the dining room while I went to finish something else, and my coworker was working on cleaning up the dishes from the day. Not 30 seconds after I walked to the back of the store, we heard a smack come from the dining room. I shot my coworker a puzzled look and quickly headed to the front of the store. There on the floor, about three feet away from the table, laid the spray bottle. We finished very quickly and got out there.
Amanda: "My final experience came over the summer. I was coming in early to help clean the froyo machines. This was a pretty involved process and took a few hours, so I'd be in the store several hours by myself before opening. By this time, I was used to the little whispers that might happen while I was by myself." Side note, if you getting used to the little whispers, you got to get out.
Julia: Don't. Just don't.
Amanda: It's time to go. No, no, no.
Julia: It's not worth whatever they're paying you at the froyo place.
Amanda: But still, Josh says, "I wasn't ready for what happened next. During the course of cleaning the machines one morning, I walked back and forth between the front and back of the store, carrying different supplies for the cleaning process. I'd walked back to empty some water into one of the sinks, and right around when I finished dumping it out, the kitchen door swung wide open. Unlike before, the door was right in my line of sight and I could see it swing open on its own. It startled me, as you might imagine, but not nearly as much as what happened next. Not two seconds after the door swung open, I heard a loud whisper say, 'Hey, Josh.'"
Julia: Nope. No.
Amanda: "I dropped the container I had been carrying"-
Eric: No. No, no, no.
Amanda: ... "and froze. After about 30 seconds frozen, I walked out of the store, locked the door, and sat in my car until my coworker arrived to help me open. I was not going to go back in by myself."
Julia: Deer in the headlights is not the way to react to ghosts. You should've left there immediately.
Amanda: I mean, 30 seconds is pretty immediate. I think that's pretty good.
Julia: That 30-second pause, though, is what gets you killed.
Amanda: A lot could happen in that time.
Amanda: So, Josh says that that's the last experience because not long after it, they started working another job.
Amanda: Well done, Josh. That's still way too much paranormal for me. I would've quit for sure. We're glad that you're okay.
Julia: Oh, boy. Yeah. Nope. No one can pay me enough to work at a store like that and open by myself in the store like that. Nope. Just no.
Amanda: Not even free froyo?
Julia: No. God, no. I don't like froyo that much.
Amanda: Ghosts that know your name? That's another level.
Julia: Mm-mm (negative). Mm-mm (negative). Real bad.
Amanda: Well, Eric, Julia, thanks for joining me. I don't know why I finished that way. Thanks for hanging out with me.
Eric: You're welcome.
Amanda: Thanks for telling some stories.
Julia: You're welcome.
Eric: It was a pleasure to be here with you.
Amanda: Thanks for doing the podcast you've been doing for three years.
Julia: Of course. Of course.
Amanda: It's good to thank your friends.
Julia: It is. It is very important. It's also good to remember to stay creepy.
Amanda: Whatever you do, especially if you're working at a frozen yogurt shop, stay cool.