Podcast Review: The Black Tapes

The first podcast I listened to was Welcome to Night Vale. Thanks to the conversations of people on Tumblr four years ago, I got curious and downloaded the first ten episodes on iTunes and I was hooked ever since.

Lately, however, I was kind of tuning out and missing about half of an episode. Not to mention that I am behind episodes since it's around 90+ already and I was only in the 70s. I stopped listening for a while. Call it a hiatus.

I was browsing Tumblr again (you know us, just mindlessly scrolling down and reblogging stuff we find funny or controversial) when I came across a post which listed a bunch of podcasts to listen to if you love Welcome to Night Vale.

"The Black Tapes sounds good..." I whispered to myself at that time. So I downloaded the first ten episodes.

I played one episode that time when a friend was visiting. I confess I wasn't listening at the time since I was also conversing with that friend.

Well, three days ago, I gave The Black Tapes another go... and I just played solitaire for hours while sat down on the couch and listened.


The Black Tapes is a bi-weekly podcast from Pacific Northwest Stories and Minnow Beats Whale, and is hosted by Alex Reagan. The Black Tapes is a serialized docudrama about one journalist's search for truth, her enigmatic subject's mysterious past, and the literal and figurative ghosts that haunt them both.

How do you feel about paranormal activity or the Supernatural? Ghosts? Spirits? Demons?

Do you believe?
The Voices

Alex Reagan
A good podcast does not only rest on a new and interesting concept or story; the success of a podcast also largely depends whether the person -or people- in the podcast are engaging and, to be honest, have good voices.

Let me tell you now that the reason I am not into audiobooks is that I'm pretty sure I'll be nodding off not even halfway through it. I haven't tried it (and I know some of you will say don't knock it until you do try it) but I know myself... I was on Facebook during some of my graduate classes instead of listening.

Probably the reason why I'm on Night Vale hiatus: I got bored.

Why then did I give The Black Tapes a chance?
Dr. Richard Strand
The content is fascinating and engrossing - which I would discuss later on - and the other thing? The voices of Alex Reagan earnest, bright-eyed, engaging and, especially, Dr. Richard Strand deep, serious, with a little growl there are captivating.

The Black Tapes

The Black Tapes starts as a new podcast of Pacific Northwest Strories with radio journalist Alex Reagan dubbing the new program as something of a story profile of life, etcetera, etcetera. Their first subject was the paranormal, paranormal investigation especially of that of ghosts. The episode then focused on the paranormal investigator, skeptic, and debunker, Dr. Richard Strand. After leaving eleven messages, Alex finally met the controversial Dr. Strand and found out about his black tapes...

And so it begins.

The two seasons so far had uncovered more than what Alex and Dr. Strand had bargained for, not only about the unsolved paranormal cases and how they seemingly are connected but also about themselves and their personal stories.

Some say that The Black tapes is akin to Serial meets Creepypasta; I wouldn't know since I haven't listened to Serial. But the Creepypasta part? Yes, that part's real. What I liked most about this podcast aside from Dr. Strand's charismatic voice is how it interweaves various lores and urban legends into one cohesive, seamless, why-did-I-not-think-of-it-before narrative that made me want to listen to the next episode and the next, and the next...

If you're into horror, ghosts, secret cults, urban legends, conspiracies... then The Black Tapes is for you.

You can subscribe to The Black Tapes for free on iTunes and other audio platforms, and you can also listen right here on theblacktapespodcast.com.

Ayanami Faerudo

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