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Ep 1 | TRANSCRIPT



00:00:00

NARRATOR

In October of 2011, 4 college students disappeared in the woods near Porter Township Pennsylvania while researching a documentary on children’s author Jakob Stanley. They remain missing to this day. Last month their recordings appeared online.


00:00:15

NARRATOR

In an effort to aid in the investigation, the families of those missing have agreed to release the following sound files. If anyone has information on those missing or the identity of the person or persons who uploaded these files, please use the contact information provided. Anything submitted may be used in future episodes. Certain materials referenced in this podcast, including the published works of Jakob Stanley, are currently protected under U.S. copyright law and may be redacted. For legal reasons, some names have been withheld and voices altered. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the podcasters and participants, and do not represent the official policy or position of the Iphigenia County Police Department of Porter Township Pennsylvania or its associates. This podcast contains adult themes and language. Listener discretion is advised.


00:01:12

PROFESSOR WHITAKER

File labeled: “001 Rough Cut, Episode 1 - Tell Me a Story: The True Life of Jakob Stanley.”


00:01:29

RJ

[Laughs]


A recording plays from the studio as Tolen tries to get the equipment to work.


TOLEN

(from recording)

Now out of print Stanley’s books have become a shared-


[The recording distorts and cuts out.]


SFX: Tolen hits the talk button, as he plays with the board.


00:01:37

TOLEN (CONT’D)

Sorry, RJ, technology is really angry with me today.


RJ

No worries...


TOLEN

(from recording)

Now out of print Stanley’s books have become a shared secret among a community of die hard horror fans.


RJ

Do we have a contact or am I winging it?


TOLEN

Uh, winging it. All we know is that they printed the obit.


RJ

Gotcha.


SFX: Chuck enters.


TOLEN

Hey, Charlie -


SFX: The booth door slides open disrupting the booth’s sound vacuum, which returns as the door slides closed.


00:01:57

CHUCK

It’s Chuck. ... Here. That place is gross.


SFX: Chuck tosses a take-out bag on the table.


RJ

Yassss! The good yogurt!


SFX: Tolen hits the talk button.


TOLEN

(from the studio)

Guys, no eating in the booth.


SFX: Chuck opens laptop and begins madly typing. RJ riffles through the take-out bag.


CHUCK

That place smells like a port-a potty banged a humidifier ...


SFX: RJ takes a spoonful and nothing else exists.


RJ

It’s like eating clouds of cocaine.


CHUCK

And WHY don’t they deliver?!


SFX: Tolen hits the talk button.


TOLEN

(from the studio)

Come on, please.


SFX: Chuck continues to type, RJ continues to eat.


CHUCK

I think they deny delivery to make people smell that smell. Is there a fetish category for that?


SFX: Tolen hits the talk button.


TOLEN

(from the studio)

Uhhhh.


RJ

There could be... only thing comes to mind is eproctophilia-


SFX: Tolen hits the talk button.


TOLEN

(from the studio)

Guys.


RJ

Which is sexual arousal from farts?


CHUCK

Really?


RJ

But I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for.


SFX: Tolen hits the talk button.


TOLEN

(from the studio)

I’m serious.


SFX: Avery enters the studio.


AVERY

(to students waiting)

YEAH I KNOW. Calm down, JESUS.


SFX: Avery closes the door.


00:02:36

AVERY

Uh, the students who booked the studio are here and they’re having a bit of hissy, so we have to move to the - shit, is that the good yogurt?


RJ

Uh-hummm.


AVERY

Can I haz some?


RJ

Mm-hmm.


SFX: Avery enters the booth. The booth door slides open and closed.


SFX: Tolen hits the talk button.


00:02:47

TOLEN

(from the studio)

Avery!?


AVERY

(mouth full)

What I do?


SFX: Tolen hits the talk button.


TOLEN

(from the studio)

Get out of my booth.


SFX: Chuck stops typing.


CHUCK

Well, hello there.


AVERY

What ya got?


SFX: Chuck slides Avery her computer.


00:02:55

AVERY (CONT’D)

Damn.


CHUCK

And you’re welcome.


AVERY

Verbal high-five.


SFX: Tolen enters the booth. The booth door slides open and closed.


TOLEN

What could you have possibly found in the last 2 min that I haven’t been able to find in 2 years... Oh, shiz.


SFX: There are 4 ominous rings.


AUTOMATED VOICE

(over phone line)

You have been forwarded to an automatic voice messaging system. J. Stanley is not available. At the tone please record your message. When you're finished recording...


00:03:26

AVERY/NARRATOR

It is 1982. And, across the United States every grade school child waits with baited breath, for the next release from their new favorite writer.


PODCAST INTRO SEQUENCE


NEWS ANNOUNCER

WN [BEEP REDACTED] TV New York.


MUSIC: [80’s NEWS INTRO THEME]


NEWS ANCHOR ‘83

If your child has been to a school book fair recently, chances are they came home with one of this author’s scary books-


MUSIC: [80’s SUNDAY TALK SHOW THEME]


SUNDAY MORNING TALK SHOW HOST ‘81

Our guest’s first anthology leapt to the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list -


[APPLAUSE]


LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST ‘86

- Thank you. Thank you! Over the past few years, he has become a household name-


MUSIC: [PODCAST THEME]


PUBLIC RADIO HOST ‘92

- Bridging the gap between Alvin Schwartz and Stephen King -


TV PREACHER

- The devil is among us, friends.


CONGREGATION

AMEN!


TV PREACHER

He’s among us, in the form of a writer. -


SUNDAY MORNING TALK SHOW HOST ‘81

- The book might have struggled during it initial release in 1977, but now “Tell Me A Story: Under the Bed That’s Over My Head”, has skyrocketed -


ALSC COMMITTEE REP

- So many parent organizations complained that his work was too sophisticated for children-


TV PREACHER

- He has infiltrated your homes, and your children’s minds-


PUBLIC RADIO HOST ‘92

- His second macabre anthology “Tell Me A Story: Moonless Sky and Other Friends” sold out from bookstores in mere minutes. Becoming a controversial -


NEWS ANCHOR ‘83

- Stanley's books ranked on the American Library Association’s “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books” from 1981-1993 -


TV PREACHER

- Stanley’s books promote disobedience, violence and the occult! Lord have mercy -


PUBLIC RADIO HOST ‘92

- The 3rd volume in his “Tell Me A Story” collection “The Floor That Creaks, the Closet That Speaks and the Tip Toes That You Walk On” was released in 1986 to mass acclaim -


ALSC COMMITTEE REP

- All that fussing, just made his work more popular -


TV PREACHER

- Check your children’s rooms, check their bookshelves, check their back-packs! -


YOUTUBER

- I do think his final book, released in ‘99, “TMAS: The nightmare, The Dream and the Places Between,” was by far his best work.-


PUBLIC RADIO HOST ‘92

- His work has been described as “subversive” and “dark,” I simply describe it as genius.


SUNDAY MORNING TALK SHOW HOST ‘81

- It is my pleasure to introduce -


LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST ‘86

- Please welcome -


PUBLIC RADIO HOST ‘92

- Ladies and gentleman, please welcome -


SUNDAY MORNING TALK SHOW HOST ‘81

- Jakob Stanley.-


LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST ‘86

- Mister Jakob Stanley.


PUBLIC RADIO HOST ‘92

- Author, Jakob Stanley.


[Applause.]


MUSIC: [POD THEME SYNTH]


00:05:17

AVERY/NARRATOR

Little to nothing is known about the life of this elusive author. And since 1999 Jakob Stanley seems to have completely dropped off the face of the earth. Until a short two-line obituary appeared in a small town paper, over a year ago.


TOLEN/NARRATOR

From BOO Labs and Red Cup Media, I'm Tolen Reid -


AVERY/NARRATOR

And I'm Avery Fischer, this is TELL ME A STORY: THE TRUE LIFE OF JAKOB STANLEY.


00:05:47

AVERY/NARRATOR

A little background... My grandmother passed away a month and a half ago, and when I went to Pennsylvania to clear out her room at the home, I stumbled upon her collection of obituaries.


TOLEN

That’s a thing? ... That people do?


AVERY/NARRATOR

I guess? She had one. Grand mom got all the local papers from throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania. And in a recipe card box filed under “S,” I discovered a newspaper clipping that read: "Jakob Stanley, writer, born November 2, 1950, departed this life, August 28, 2009, may your light be reborn."



00:06:25

TOLEN/NARRATOR

Was this the obituary of the famous children's book author Jakob Stanley? Writer, check. Birthdate, check. But, could he have died over a year ago without anyone noticing?


AVERY/NARRATOR

That's when I reached out to Tolen. ... Tolen Reid is a graduate student at [BEEP] University. He has been working on a book about Jakob Stanley for the past few years. ... And, he's also one of my favorite people. Bla-la-la, one more time.


TOLEN

(laughing)

I am so leaving that in.


[Avery laughs.]


00:06:54

TOLEN/NARRATOR

Avery is very much one of my favorite people too. We were both graduate students at [BEEP] University, but she had been on a “break” from school and it was my-


AVERY

Baaaaahh.


TOLEN/NARRATOR

-first time hearing from - What? Shouldn’t -


[The mic cuts out.]


TOLEN/NARRATOR (CONT’D)

We met as undergrads and instantly bonded over our deep love of all things horror and Jakob Stanley.


AVERY/NARRATOR

The obituary came from the Porter Township Gazette in Iphigenia County, Pennsylvania. The publication has little to no online presence, which seems odd, until you try to look up "Porter Township" which also has little to no online presence.


TOLEN/NARRATOR

And, much like The Porter Township Gazette and Porter Township itself, there is practically nothing about the actual life of Jakob Stanley online as well.


AVERY/NARRATOR

Stanley barely did interviews, and the ones he did do, were all pre-internet, so they’re tricky to find.


TOLEN/NARRATOR

But the inter-webs does abhor a vacuum, especially, when a famous person with a “cult” following is involved. So, there are a bunch of rumors that float around on facebook groups and subreddits.


00:07:47

AVERY/NARRATOR

Uhmmm. I don’t know if they fall into the “rumors” category? More like “crackpot conspiratorial Creepy Pastas”... But, I do have a favorite one, and I would kill to find out if it were actually true.


TOLEN

Ah, yes. The white whale. The ark of the covenant.


AVERY/NARRATOR

Here is audio pulled from a youtube link discovered in the bowels of reddit:


YOUTUBER

I’ve been getting A LOT of questions about this recently. But YES Stanley did write a book in 1990 that was so disturbing his publisher never released it. They were afraid it would destroy his career, and it was after THAT, that he became a complete shut in. ... [leaning in] Evidentially, there is a copy of it on the dark web, but you have to join a certain “organization” to view it... totes thought about it.


00:08:35

TOLEN/NARRATOR

Very fun, but completely unsubstantiated... yet.


00:08:44

AVERY/NARRATOR

At this point, I feel that we should say, we didn't set out to make this podcast. We aren't reporters or detectives. Initially, all we were trying to do was find out if our childhood hero had passed away. But, the realization that almost nothing is known about someone who shaped so much of our childhoods and impacted our lives so deeply, left us thunderstruck. Whether he was alive or dead didn't change how little we know about him as a person.


TOLEN/NARRATOR

This is when we decided to start more extensively documenting our research. And, in order to do that properly, we thought it might be beneficial to utilize the university's resources.


00:09:21

PROFESSOR WHITAKER

Stanley's dead? How the hell doesn't anyone know that?


TOLEN/NARRATOR

This is Dr. Sylvia Whitaker, 5 feet 2 inches of denim and nicotine. Whitaker was Avery's advisor when she was a student here and my current one, which is why she’s talking to her and not me.


AVERY

We aren't 100% sure, all we have is that obit.


PROFESSOR WHITAKER

Shit. Always loved Stanley... when his first book came out and found me [she makes an explosion sound.]


[Laughs.]


00:09:55

PROFESSOR WHITAKER (CONT’D)

Mmmm... Okay, I’ll allow it. As long as y’all don't get in the way of any "active" students' projects. I’ll help where I can, but whatever you do, do not use the university's name on anything. We will not be legally responsible for any of your shit. You hear me? ... For the record, she nodded. ... Tolen was too afraid to come talk to me about this wasn't he? [Laughs] For the record, she nodded. ... I know some people at his publishing house, see what I can find out.


AVERY

That, that would be great! Thank you.


PROFESSOR WHITAKER

Don’t thank me yet. The only thing known about the man is that there’s not much known about him... I doubt his publishers will be too much help. Here, two undergrads that might be helpful.


AVERY

Oh, thank you.


PROFESSOR WHITAKER

They won't get college credit for it, but you can pitch it as "real world experience" bullshit. Stanley should be right up their alley.


SFX: “BOO” Intro Sting


00:10:59

RJ

Is there anyone here?


SFX: There is a beat of silence, we only hear the creepy basement and echoes of their breath.


MUSIC: [BOO THEME]


RJ/NARRATOR

We are all comprised of matter and energy.


CHUCK

What was that?!


RJ

I didn’t hear anything?


SFX: A crashing sound comes from the corner of the basement.


CHUCK

Did you freaken’ hear that?!


RJ/NARRATOR

So, if the Law of Conservation of Energy - the basic tenet of thermodynamics - is true, what happens to our energy after we die...


RJ

ORBS!


CHUCK

Oh, hell no.


RJ/NARRATOR

If it cannot simply... disappear?


RJ

Did you see that?


RJ/NARRATOR

We want to know.


CHUCK

Ahhh, nononononono!!!


RJ/NARRATOR

This is Charles Young and I am RJ Álvarez and this is “BOO... Beyond Our Observation.”


CHUCK

Nononononono! AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!


RJ

Chuck, come back.


MUSIC: [POD THEME]


00:12:02

AVERY/NARRATOR

Ruby Jean Alvarez is a super chill person and an absolute delight. Her show BOO might not have many subscribers, but it’s entertaining as hell, mostly because of Chuck’s screams, but also because she can get anyone to talk to her about pretty much anything.


TOLEN/NARRATOR

Charles “Chuck” Young is a bit of a know it all, which can be hard to take because she's right most of the time. And as you can tell, terrified of ghosts, but a big horror fan none-the-less. They have both been in a few of my TA classes and they’re good students, really smart.


SFX: Phone rings


AUTOMATED VOICE

(over phone line)

You have been forwarded to an automatic voice messaging system. J. Stanley is not available. At the tone please...


00:12:41

AVERY/NARRATOR

After leaving a message for “J. Stanley,” we reached out to the Porter Township Gazette. There weren’t any records of who posted the death announcement, but we did find out there is only one funeral home for all of Porter Township.


00:12:58

AVERY/NARRATOR

And THIS is absolutely stunning.


MUSIC: [INTENSE DRAMATIC ORGAN MUSIC]


PALMER FAMILY FUNERAL HOME VM

(over phone line)

Welcome to the Palmer Family Funeral Home and Crematory, overlooking Iphigenia’s Great Cliff’s Peak. Proudly serving the families of Porter Township with compassion and dignity for almost a century. No one is currently available to take your call. If this is an emergency please hang up and dial 911, otherwise stay on the line.


SFX: Loud Beep.


00:13:37

TOLEN

A “J. Stanley” living in the Porter Township borough of Iphigenia County Pennsylvania as of two months ago? Could he be alive!? Did we just leave a message for Jakob “Mother Fraking” Stanley?


AVERY

We used to cut through Porter on the way to my grandparent's house. Town is weird. Like there’s nothing there. Except for cows. Just cows. It’s ... full of cows. Just cows. When I was little, I remember thinking that that was where all of the cows came from. ...Did you know that baby cows will suck your thumb, it is ... adorable-


TOLEN

How long do you think it would take to drive there?


AVERY

A few hours?


00:14:11

TOLEN

Let’s go?


AVERY

What?


TOLEN

Just like on a day trip to check it out.


AVERY

There isn’t much to “check out.”


TOLEN

Come on, leave like super early and drive back after rush hour?


AVERY

If we’re gonna do something like that, we should probably plan it out ahead of time.


TOLEN

Why? We haven’t planned out anything so far?


AVERY

Uh, ok. What if we just like, do a little more background research... for now and-


TOLEN

I’ve been doing background research for years, and have a big fat nothing to show for it. Chuck does “evil google” for 2 seconds and gets a phone number!?


AVERY

You know you can download your own tor browser right?


TOLEN

Avery, come on.


AVERY

Ahhhug. Can we at least wait to hear back from the “J. Stanley” we left a message for?


TOLEN

Seriously? You have any idea how big this is? We are being given the opportunity to get there before any of this drops online. No one even knows the man lived in Pennsylvania, let alone possibly died there? WE would be the main source of information... leaving the hordes in our wake.


00:15:07

AVERY

I don’t know.


TOLEN

What’s your deal?


AVERY

What do you mean?


TOLEN

You should be up for this? This is the most “Avery-like” suggestion I’ve ever made.


AVERY

Uh, I mean -


TOLEN

Do you not wanna do this thing at all?


AVERY

Nonononno, I’m in... I’m just... Aahahha. What if... what if we don’t like what we find? Know what I mean?


TOLEN

Then, we deal with it?


AVERY

[Exhale] What time tomorrow?


TOLEN

Like early. Early-early.


SFX: RJ and Chuck enter the work room, eating pizza.


00:15:41

RJ

“Early-early” what?


AVERY

Tolen wants to go to Porter for the day.


RJ

I’ll go. Chuck?


CHUCK

It’s a little last minute.


AVERY

Yes, exactly, thank you.


CHUCK

But, do you plan on driving there?


TOLEN

Uh, yeah.


CHUCK

Taking your car?


TOLEN

Sure?


CHUCK

Can I drive?


TOLEN

I don’t see why not?


CHUCK

I’m in.


AVERY

What!?


CHUCK

I like driving other people’s cars.


TOLEN

ROAD TRIP!


RJ

Hells’ YA!


SFX: The turning signal clicks on, then off.


00:16:15

TOLEN

(narrating)

It is about 5:30 in the morning. RJ-


RJ

Hiyah!


TOLEN

- And Avery -


AVERY

Bah!


TOLEN

- met at my apartment and we are just about to pick up Chuckles...


AUTOMATED NAV

IN 200 FEET VEER RIGHT.


AVERY

UUUUUuuuuhhhh.


TOLEN

Evidently, Porter is not recognized by the nav, so we are going to use a nearby town and from there... we’ll just wing it, I guess.


AVERY

Can you turn her down?


TOLEN

Wanted to grab some audio of her talking.


AVERY

Have you gotten some?


TOLEN

Yes.


AVERY

Then please turn her down or I swear to God, next time she speaks, I will throw her out the window.


RJ

Someone’s salty in the morning.


AVERY

Bah.


TOLEN

She’s really not that chatty. Aaaaaand... here we are.


SFX: Tolen parks the car. Chuck approaches.


TOLEN (CONT’D)

And here comes Chuck.


AUTOMATED NAV

RECALCULATING...


AVERY

That’s IT.


SFX: A scuffle ensues in the car as Avery lunges from the back seat towards the phone on the dashboard.


00:17:11

TOLEN

DAMMIT WOMAN, it’s off. What the hell is wrong with you?


SFX: Chuck knocks on the driver's side window. Tolen rolls down the window.


TOLEN (CONT’D)

Morning!


CHUCK

Morning.


TOLEN

Oh, I thought I would just get us to the highway...


TOLEN (CONT’D)

...But a deal’s a deal, right?


SFX: Tolen unbuckles his belt and exits the car, crossing to the passenger side. Chuck sits down, shuts the door and readjusts the seat.


RJ

Hey, Chuck.


CHUCK

Morning, ladies.


AVERY

Bah!