So I have loved ghost stories since I can remember, although my faith in ghosts themselves have wavered over the years. I decided to listen to Ghost Stories (surprise) and found the back and forth commentary to be very similar to the Radiolab “Detective Stories”. “What happens after you die?” what an opener! This draws in the listeners immediately. How the heck they can go back and forth so fast without hesitation seems like magic to me. In addition, the way Mary Roach’s voice has an echo-y sound effect was cool when she was pretending to be a dead person. Some spooky Ghost Whisperer effects right there. The “gas” turning on was interesting too because it was one of the only hesitations she made, almost to let the listeners hear the “gas” turn on and be able to imagine yourself right there when this is happening. Then there were typewriter clicks as she said New York Times. This is brilliant stuff people. Oh and nothing is worse than “waiting and listening” to a radio silence and just waiting for something creepy than jumping out of your seat over Roach saying the word “but”! I also like the depressing songs between the breaks. Way to keep the mood going.
And again, throughout the whole story there is a back and forth between host and guest or host and a recording that is almost amusing to listen to even if that isn’t the purpose (which is probably just to shove a bunch of interesting info into an hour). I also like how the producers make a bold and weird statement for each story and then they gradually explain how this statement is truth but isn’t as weird as we think. For example: the face of a dead woman for the CPR doll. It isn’t a literal statement (the face is not a corpse) but it is true, the face is structured after a dead woman. Then you can almost feel yourself walking up these “rickety wooden stairs” that are being described as you’re listening to the sound effects of it. Then the sound effects of not only water but the sound of a piano that is almost from a cartoon to help you imagine this woman falling into the river. It is incredible what some imagery and sound can do for a listener.
The third story actually made me cringe with anxiety. A man that sees a face bobbing outside his window? And knocking on his door? Plus the A Haunting sound effects? Creepy. Then I figured out it was a dream and a part of me was relieved and another part was disappointed. I wanted it to be real. How weird.
So I could go on and on about each story but I feel like I am just repeating myself over and over. So here’s a summary: the hosts like their dialogue to be a back and forth dialogue and they like to use sound effects to draw listeners in. Boom! a whole hour worth of producer techniques in one sentence. Another thing, I feel like this audio story is best as that: audio. This is because I don’t think it would have been as creepy on TV because you wouldn’t have the mystery or the suspense or sound effects such as staring as a computer screen and just waiting for something to happen while listening to creepy sound effects. Sure a TV has jump scares, but so can an audio. That’s all a jump scare is anyways: loud music. Then there is the fact that a TV would force an image upon you versus whatever creepy image you can muster from the depths of your mind. Creepy.