I’ve mentioned the above Podcast in several posts lately, and figured I should do a longer review because I love it so much. Real Life Ghost Stories is a podcast hosted by Emma and Dan, a couple who seem to both love and fear the paranormal. Each week, they do a movie review followed either by stories gathered from historical accounts, folklore, and various other research tidbits, or user-submitted personal paranormal stories. The podcast is a mix of very creepy tales and lots of humor, giving it the right tone that never goes too far off to one side or the other. I’ve found myself looking over my shoulder and laughing out loud during the same episode. Emma is the perfect storyteller (with, it has to be said, a gorgeous Irish accent). You know how sometimes you listen to an audiobook and the narrator is just awful, and sometimes they’re brilliant and bring the story to life? Emma falls into the brilliant category, and the banter between her and Dan is priceless.
Now, to get a bit into why I, personally, love this podcast, I have to give a little background. Two things are important here.
First, I’ve never, ever in my life been able to enjoy a podcast. I’ve tried so many. I tried nonfiction podcasts on subjects I enjoy (food history, the biology of stress, fitness, writing). I’ve tried fiction-based podcasts like Night Vale. I’ve tried to listen to podcasts that are actually college lectures. I’ve even tried listening to the podcast that my favorite author co-hosts, because I love his stories and I love hearing what he has to say about writing and fiction and all the rest. But nope. I’ve never been able to continue past a few episodes. I don’t like the podcast format, the succinctness of them, the weird mix of conversation and teaching that so many use, etc. I chalked this up as being the same as my dislike of magazines. I don’t read or like the article format and my brain just blanks out after a while when I get bored. So honestly, when I heard about this podcast from Andi at Estella’s Revenge, I doubted I’d enjoy it or listen to more than an episode or two.
So why bother at all, right? Well, this comes down to my second point: I’ve been interested in the paranormal my entire life, partially due to early childhood book selections, partially due to personal experiences. I’ll save said experiences for another post, because otherwise this would go on WAY too long. But Andi’s description of the podcast seemed so ME that I decided to download the first few episodes and give them a try, even if I was pretty sure it wouldn’t work out longterm.
It was Emma’s storytelling that hooked me from the beginning. Y’all know that I’m a HUGE audiobook fan but also very picky about my narrators. Emma is an amazing storyteller. She reads both her own and others’ stories out with perfect timing, pitch, and emphasis, so it’s more like performing the story rather than just reading them aloud. So few people realize how tough that is, and how the best audio narrators are the ones trained in vocal acting. I don’t have a clue what training, if any, Emma has, but she has the talent in this regard.
More than that, though, the podcast has this perfect mixture of story and banter. It’s like listening to a new mini-audiobook with each episode, followed by the sort of discussion that you could see happening at an in-real-life book club or at a fireside sleepover. Dan is the perfect counterpoint in the podcast, bringing in reactions and moving the podcast from story to discussion seamlessly. The banter between the two never feels staged or scripted. It’s awesome.
Jason tells me that I’m obsessed and he’s probably right. Over the last few weeks, I’ve nearly caught up with all 70+ episodes, and now I’m wondering what I’m going to do in a few days when I’ve finished them all. I keep telling him little stories I’ve heard or things I’ve learned, or things I’ve seen on their instagram/facebook, and he laughs at me each time. He can just keep laughing, though. This podcast is carrying me through all this COVID lockdown and book slump, and it’s giving me reasons to smile, which is a lot to say given the current environment. I’m so happy to have found it. Many thanks to Andi!!