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Review: Season two of “Spooked” brings on the chills through firsthand story-telling

By: MacKenzie Chase

From WNYC and Snap Judgment, season two of the supernatural podcast Spooked is now streaming, providing listeners with stories that question the truth of our reality.

With stories told firsthand by the individuals who experience them, the format differs from that of other similar podcasts such as Lore, and the sound engineering helps it stand apart from the crowd with ambient noise woven in to each episode and host Glynn Washington setting up each chilling recollection with his soothing voice.

“The Wraith” opens season two of Spooked strongly with Teresa Moorleghen explaining how she grew up seeing ghosts. They were all friendly ghosts, mostly recently deceased family members saying goodbye one last time, until a strange recurring figure of a nondescript woman tells her, “Nobody here loves you, nobody wants you; you need to come with me,” each time it appears. After years of torment, she’s forced to figure out what the ghost needs from her in order to peacefully move on to the next plane of existence.

The stories most likely the send shivers down the listener’s spine are those that aren’t quite mysterious, but have just the right mixture of likelihood and improbability to make anyone reconsider a strange occurrence they may have brushed out of their minds for the sake of sanity. 
Another lost spirit is featured in episode two with Mr. Smith who haunts Randi Skaggs’ home, which is also his former home, in search of his late wife. One night, a swing set begins to mysteriously move, and not just in pushed-by-a-heavy-breeze type of way. The difference between those with spines made of jelly and the aunt of the storyteller in “Restless” is, instead of running away, she asks the unseen presence if it’s Mr. Smith not once, but twice, with the swing coming to an abrupt stop both times.

In “The Iron Gate,” sound effects place the listener in the midst of the story as former soldier Dallas Sanchez talks about hearing constant discordant tones while exploring an abandoned house in Iraq that may have been used for executions. This unique component of all Spooked episodes completes the experience and makes each recollection feel real.

There’s not always a satisfying conclusion to the stories though, such as in “Creepy Crawly,” when taxidermist Tracey Margaret Barrow recounts an experience in which the dead squirrel she was preparing to stuff twitches and clenches its paw. She even discovers small scratches on her hand that look like the proper size and depth to have been caused by tiny squirrel claws. But by the end of the episode and with no repercussions other than a feeling of unease surrounding the situation, listeners are left to wonder if everything was all in Tracey’s mind, but that’s to be expected when these stories are based on real experiences rather than a Hollywood script.

Now the only question is, will Spooked become a year-round podcast to appease fans of goose bump-inducing stories, or will it remain something to look forward to only during the weeks leading up to Halloween?

Don’t listen to Spooked before bed or when you’re home alone. Or do. I’m not your mom. Just don’t try to crawl into my bed when the stories come back to haunt you in your dreams.

MacKenzie Chase is a writer based in Flagstaff, Arizona. As the editor for weekly alternative publication Flagstaff Live!, she talks to a lot of artists and musicians, but not enough ghosts.


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