Ep 10 | Transcript



00:01:52

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.


00:02:09

NARRATOR (CONT’D)

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.


00:03:00

PROFESSOR WHITAKER

Announcement. Upon learning that we received new audio from our podcast tip line, the police have formally requested time to review the new material before we share it with the public. I have informed the Iphigenia county police department that they have until September before I release these newly recovered sound files. If they can't get their shit together by then, they can just listen along with the rest of us. We will return with these new episodes starting September 7th. In the interim, we will be updating this podcast feed with messages received via our tip line and any additional developments. We will still be releasing a special video episode courtesy of the television program “America Unanswered.” Audio will be released via the podcast feed. So stay tuned. And thank you so much for listening.


00:04:01

PROFESSOR WHITAKER (CONT’D)

File labeled: “010 Rough Cut, Episode 10 - Tell Me a Story: The True Life of Jakob Stanley.”


SFX: Avery and RJ’s mics abruptly cut on. Avery is filming and RJ is taking pictures of the neighboring graves and the exterior of Stanley’s mausoleum.


00:04:15

AVERY

Yeah, we’re back up. ... So, we are now outside of Jakob Stanley’s mausoleum and are filming the neighboring graves and taking pictures, like we promised.


RJ

Thank Jeebus for night vision.


AVERY

Why do you think someone broke in there?


RJ

Uhm. Might’ve been random? Trooper [REDACTED] said there were issues with vandalism?


AVERY

Right.


RJ

Or, maybe we’re not the only ones who know that that is the grave of the Jakob Stanley, and they just, I don’t-


SFX: Suddenly, a ringing sound screeches out from the distance causing RJ and Avery to jump.


SFX: The ringing occurs again, and again... it is now obvious that the ringing is in fact the pay phone ringing in the distance.


[The two start to crack up.]


AVERY

Oh my God. We thought that the pay phone ringing was The Bell Tree Lady?!


RJ

I didn’t know what that was!?


AVERY

We’re so stupid.


00:05:19

RJ

Shall we?


AVERY

Right, right.


SFX: They continue to take pictures and film the graves.


RJ

Do you think that was Tolen? Calling to check on us?


AVERY

Maybe? Oh, shit. If that was him, we still have like 20 minutes before they get here.


RJ

I’m okay with that. I love graveyards.


AVERY

Ordinarily I would agree, but I kinda wanna get outta here. My nerves are fried.


RJ

It’s even kinda nice out. Warmer... somehow.


AVERY

It is warm isn’t it.


RJ

Yeah.


AVERY

RJ?


RJ

Yeah.


AVERY

What day is it?


RJ

Uh... I honestly have no idea.


[Avery yawns.]


AVERY

All these days are turning into one.


RJ

It’s a big swirl. A wibbly wobbly, timey wimey swirl.


SFX: They continue to take pictures and film the graves.


AVERY

We really should have done this on the way into the mausoleum.


RJ

I have some pictures from earlier that we can use.


AVERY

I hope so.


RJ

I do, here look.


SFX: RJ pulls up the pictures from earlier and they scroll through them.


00:06:21

AVERY

Perfect. These are way better than... Oh, wait.


RJ

What?


AVERY

Look.


RJ

No way!


AVERY

Yeah.


RJ

Shit, which one is it?


AVERY

Uh, well the gate is here... so... it would be... right over there.


SFX: RJ and Avery walk up to a grave. An owl hoots in the distance.


RJ

Wow, I can’t believe we missed this.


AVERY

I mean I can. Today’s been a bit of a shit show.


SFX: The mic cuts out and back on.


RJ

Uh... okay?


AVERY

Yeah, we’re good.


RJ

(narrating)

Uh... After exiting Stanley’s vandalized mausoleum, we randomly began reviewing photos taken earlier in the evening. And in one of the pictures we discovered, that next to Stanley’s grave, lies the final resting place of his high school bully. The boy who we believe, was the reason Stanley was kicked out of Amherst Prep.


TOLEN

No shit?


RJ & AVERY

BAHH!


RJ

GOD!


00:07:23

TOLEN

Sorry. I was trying to be quiet so I wouldn’t scare you.


AVERY

Well, that DID NOT work.


TOLEN

So, that’s Harrison K. McKechney’s grave?


RJ

Appears to be.


TOLEN

That’s odd, right?


RJ

Kinda.


AVERY

How the hell did you guys even get here so fast? That phone just stopped ringing.


TOLEN

Oh, Chuck didn’t come. She ditched me with Whitaker and happened upon Miss Loretta downstairs. By the time she got back up to the room, she was walking sideways.


RJ

Ah, okay.


TOLEN

Made me put my t-shirt over the deer head, so it couldn’t make eye contact.


AVERY

But, why was she calling?


TOLEN

I don’t know, I didn’t tell her to. - It says McKechney died in 1966?


RJ

So, he was like a teenager?


TOLEN

Huh.


AVERY

Can we get out of here? Please.


TOLEN

Yeah, but did you get enough pictures-


RJ & AVERY

Yes.


TOLEN

Just... checking.


SFX: They start heading to the car.


00:08:07

AVERY

How was Whitaker?


TOLEN

Oh, GURL! Do we need to talk! Have you ever seen "The Third Man"?


AVERY

What? No.


RJ

Orson Wells, Carol Reed directing.


AVERY

What does that have to do with-


TOLEN

It doesn’t... Sorry too excited, my brain is all over the place. Ah... you might wanna be sitting down for this.


SFX: Tolen unlocks and opens the car door for Avery.


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 -


MUSIC: [LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW INTRO 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]


00:10:05

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.


SFX: The mic pops on, it cuts in and out a few times. It is being manhandled as levels are adjusted. There is the occasional flitter of paper in the background.


[Avery yawns]


00:10:38

CHUCK

Waffles.


AVERY

Yes, 2 seconds. ... Uh, it’s 7:20 AM on... shit what day is it?


RJ

Tuesday. Or Thursday?


CHUCK

Always feels like Thursday.


AVERY

(narration)

Ah, fuck it. Uh, it’s today at 7:20 AM. Uhm, right after we left the graveyard, Tolen filled us in on the call with Whitaker and the manuscript. So, when we got back to the room, we just started cataloging all of the stuff from the Stanley home and the bag from the RV. None of us have slept. Trooper Whats-his-shit hasn’t come over with RJ’s bags, so we don’t know what’s in those yet, but we have just finished going through everything here. And so far, no manuscript. Uh. Lotsa weird shit tho. Haven’t gotten to review any of the audio or super 8s in depth, played some in the background while we worked, but it’s a lot. At the very least Chuck has been able to rip everything from the VHS tapes and put them on the drive. Which is good. Uh, Debbie made waffles.


RJ

(dreamy)

Waffles.


SFX: The toilet flushes.


AVERY

So, we are gonna go eat waffles.


CHUCK

Waffle, I love waffle.


AVERY

And figure out the rest of our day.


SFX: Tolen bursts from the bathroom.


TOLEN

How can you even think about food right now? -


AVERY

- OH MY GAAAHHHHD!


SFX: The mic quickly and aggressively cuts out.


SFX: The mic pops on, it cuts in and out a few times. It is being manhandled as levels are adjusted.


SFX: Tolen hits play on a VM message from Whitaker.


00:12:20

AUTOMATED VOICE

(over phone line)

You have 1 new message. First voice message:


PROFESSOR WHITAKER

(over phone line)

Just got Tolen’s message, sorry you didn’t find the manuscript, but good work clearing the decks. Ah, yeah and I agree, it’s a bit odd that his bully is buried next to him. Especially since according to the interwebs the McKechneys have their own million dollar plot at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. So, riddle me that. I would check those school records you got, because if he died in ‘66 he woulda still been a student at the Amherst when he passed. Sorry to say, little bit of a stalemate on Randolph. Can’t find anyone who repp-ed him... and it appears that the only illustration credit he has is Stanley’s last book. But, come hell or high water I’m gonna track down the name of that assistant, got an itch for it now. Okay, so onward and upward.


SFX: Whitaker hangs up the phone. There is a loud beep.


SFX: The mic pops on, it cuts in and out a few times. It is being manhandled as levels are adjusted. The sounds of a busy kitchen buzz in the background.


00:13:13

DEBBIE

I don’t want-


AVERY

Nononono, start again. Here.


SFX: Avery set down the mic.


DEBBIE

Ugh, all right.


RJ

Thank you, thank you.


DEBBIE

Well, wait, what nonsense did my mom tell you about the Bell tree?


RJ

That a patient from the Mendenhall hanged themself there-


AVERY

- She said there was this poem about it.


RJ

- “Don’t go out to the wood dear friends...”


DEBBIE

“The wind doth howl and the branch doth creak, summoning the lady far up at Great Peak.” Yeah, yeah.


RJ

We went out there yesterday and whoa.


AVERY

That’s one creepy bush, gurl.


RJ

Here. Check out these pics.


SFX: RJ shows Debbie pictures from the night before.


DEBBIE

Yeah, its creepiness is not up for debate. But it’s not because a Mendenhall patient hanged themself from that tree.


RJ

Why then?


SFX: Debbie takes a sip of her coffee and clears her throat.


00:13:56

DEBBIE

Back in the day... it was a witch hanging tree.


AVERY

HUH!?


RJ

Say what now?!


AVERY

Okay, but PA is like known for only ever having ONE witch trial. It was like the anti-Salem.


RJ

Holy shit, I didn’t know that.


DEBBIE

Yeah. William Penn was big on religious freedom. Well, religious freedom for “some” and that just so happened to include witchcraft and faith healing, folk magic.


RJ

Seriously?


DEBBIE

Don’t get too excited, because when Penn died the state created laws against witchcraft. And, I guess the people of Porter saw that as a big thumbs up to start hanging women left and right.


AVERY

No shit?


DEBBIE

And did they ever take to it here. They executed more women than the Salem witch trials ever did. - Excuse me, they murdered more women than the Salem witch trials ever did.


RJ

How many? Do you know?


DEBBIE

About 250 or so.


RJ

Shit.


DEBBIE

Other towns even started bringing their “witches” here, to be hanged and buried.


AVERY

What?


RJ

Why?


DEBBIE

Not many places in PA took to the new laws like Porter did. It was a veritable “witch hangers” safe haven. Hell, even kick-started our economy.


RJ

How?


DEBBIE

That big quarry over there.


RJ

Yeah?


DEBBIE

Started as a witch grave blocking business.


AVERY

What?!


RJ

Oh... shit. Yeah that’s a thing. You put a large stone over the buried body of a witch so it couldn’t rise back up.


00:15:15

DEBBIE

That entire industry started because they needed large cuts of stone to cover dead “witches.”


AVERY

That’s some fucked up shit.


SFX: Debbie gets up from her chair.


DEBBIE

So, the Bell Tree isn’t cursed by the ghost of some escaped mental patient... That land carries trauma from long before that.


SFX: The mic pops on. RJ and Trooper [REDACTED] are in the hallway, their voices are muffled.


00:15:36

TOLEN

(narration/whispering)

Okay, so we get back to the room and boom, Trooper [REDACTED] is there knocking on the door. ... RJ is out talking to him now.


SFX: From the hallway RJ’s excited voice cuts into the room.


RJ

(from the hall)

NO WAY!


AVERY

(quietly)

The hell.


TOLEN

(quietly)

What do we think that was about?


CHUCK

(quietly)

It was a good “no way” right?


TOLEN

(quietly)

Do you think... is it, is it the manuscript? In one of the bags?


AVERY

(quietly)

I don’t know? Should we go out there?


CHUCK

(quietly)

I wouldn’t.


AVERY

(quietly)

Right, right.


TOLEN

(quietly)

Can you hear what they’re saying?


SFX: RJ and Trooper 2 are now speaking in hushed tones, so you can hear them faintly, but the words are unintelligible.


CHUCK

(quietly)

Did they start whispering?


AVERY

(quietly)

Why would they do that?


TOLEN

(narration/whispering)

So, RJ and Super Trooper now seem to be having some sort of secret conversation in the hallway.


SFX: The team attempts to listen to their conversation again, but now they can’t hear anything.


AVERY

(quietly)

Are they still even out there?


TOLEN

Shhhh!


SFX: Beat. They again attempt to listen to their conversation and still nothing.


TOLEN (CONT’D)

Wait... I think I hear something.


SFX: The door swings open loudly and RJ enters with the bags.


00:16:23

RJ

Okay, bye! Thanks again!


SFX: RJ closes the door and turns to find the entire team looking at her.


RJ (CONT’D)

What?


TOLEN

You just screamed in the hallway?


AVERY

And then you started whispering.


TOLEN

We thought you might have found the-


RJ

OH! No. The manuscript isn’t in the bags.


TOLEN

Damn it.


RJ

But! I did find out about that Harrison guy! He recognized the name like right away!


TOLEN

Oh.


RJ

Don’t get too excited.


AVERY

No that’s something. What did he say?


SFX: RJ sits down.


RJ

First off, Tolen here are the bags.


SFX: RJ passes Tolen the bags and he immediately starts looking through them.


TOLEN

Thank you.


RJ

Okay, so he starts asking me all sorts of questions about the bags and saying how he did me such a big favor, blah blah blah, so just to change the subject, I mention that we saw Stanley’s grave was vandalized.


CHUCK

What?


AVERY

Why would you tell him that?!


RJ

He was interrogating me about the bags and I didn’t know what to tell him, so I just tried to distract his focus.


AVERY

Shit, RJ.

RJ

Nononono, listen, listen. Okay, so then he says that “oh it’s fine, it’s been like that for awhile,” blah, blah, blah. And before he can start up about the bags again I bring up Harrison McKechney’s grave being nearby and how it’s weird because we found out that he was Stanley’s bully. And his face totally changes.


AVERY

Okay.


RJ

Evidently, all the cops here know about because it was such a big fuck up. Now, he was very stingy with the details, but what I got was that back in 1966 Harrison McKechney’s body was found drowned in the quarry.


AVERY

The witch block quarry?!


CHUCK

The what?


RJ

Yes! The witch block quarry. And here’s the thing - the cops didn’t realize it was a student from the Amherst. They assumed he was some drifter or something... And by the time they discovered it was an Amherst student, they had already dropped the ball and had had his body cremated.


AVERY

WHOA!


CHUCK

Can we circle back to the “witch block quarry” thing?


AVERY

What happened when Harrison’s family found out?


RJ

He said they were really embarrassed about it, and didn’t even come down here. The Amherst, on the other hand, got the entire Porter Township police department fired and have had final approval over law enforcement hires ever since... which cannot be legal.


TOLEN

So, the Amherst owns the police department. Well, that’s friggen great.


AVERY

Why was the family embarrassed? Because their son drowned? That doesn’t make any sense.


RJ

I don’t know? That’s all he told me before he got weird and scuttled off.


TOLEN

Oh. Did they think it was suicide?


AVERY

Oh, shit. It was 1966?


RJ

Yeah, I don’t know how well they processed things like that back in the sixties?


AVERY

Exactly. ... Hum. So... we all up for a field trip to the quarry?


RJ

Oh, girl.


CHUCK

Tell me about the witch block thing and then I will decide my level of involvement.


SFX: The mic pops on, it cuts in and out a few times. It is being manhandled as levels are adjusted.


SFX: The wind howls. The water laps against the stone walls echoing sploshes throughout the vast quarry.


00:19:00

RJ

Microphone check, 1, 2 ,1, 2. And we are good.


AVERY

Wow, this is...


CHUCK

Big.


AVERY

Yeah.


SFX: A sulking Tolen has dragged his feet and approaches behind them.


TOLEN

I’m not sure if this the best use of our ti-


SFX: Tolen reaches the rest of the team.


TOLEN (CONT’D)

Holy shit this is stunning.


RJ

Right?


SFX: All the sounds of nature from the surrounding forest begin echoing through the quarry.


TOLEN

Why does this seem familiar?


AVERY

I don’t know? ... What? You’re making a “I need to poo” face?


TOLEN

Wait... wait...


SFX: Tolen drops to his knees and starts ruffling through his bag.


00:19:36

TOLEN (CONT’D)

I know this place.


RJ

Tolen, are you okay?


SFX: Tolen pulls out the sketchbook from the RV bag and begins flipping through the pages.


CHUCK

You brought stuff from the FMC with you?


TOLEN

Well, you guys were so insistent we come here... and I didn’t want to waste... time...


CHUCK

For the record I was not insistent.


RJ

We catalogued everything from those bags before we left?


AVERY

And really I would prefer if that stuff lived in the room, instead of out in the elements, next to a massive body of water.


TOLEN

Look at this.


RJ

What is it?


TOLEN

The sketchbook from the FMC.


CHUCK

At least he didn’t try to bring that big ass folio out here.


AVERY

Are you ok?


SFX: RJ Avery and Chuck crowd around Tolen to look at the drawing in the sketchbook.


TOLEN

Look here, and there...it's the same- and that side... and the trees... even the thingy... there. This is a drawing of this very spot!


AVERY

Holy crap.


RJ

That is... that is undeniable.


CHUCK

No way.


CHUCK (CONT’D)

No way!


TOLEN

Fuckin’ A right. I knew it seemed familiar. Stanley was here, right here.


CHUCK

Is it signed?


TOLEN

What?


CHUCK

Did he sign it?


00:20:37

TOLEN

No. I mean it’s just a sketchbook? Why would he sign it.


CHUCK

Well, it was in the FMC, but are we sure he drew it? Himself?


TOLEN

Chuck, will you ever stop yucking my yum.


AVERY

Uh, not trying to yuck yums, but, RJ and I went through a lot of his journals... he wasn’t an...ah... artist artist.


RJ

He did more like line drawing caricatures in pencil, not... oil pastel landscapes, Stanley’s drawings were still super crazy interesting, just...


00:21:06

AVERY

They don’t look anything like this. Is that all sketches or - Whoa!-


SFX: Avery tries to grab the sketchbook, but Tolen gets up pulling the sketchbook away from her, knocking into Chuck in the process.


CHUCK

- Hey!


RJ

-Take it easy.


TOLEN

Maybe he changed styles when he worked with different mediums?


CHUCK

Why are you being such a defensive maniac person?!


TOLEN

Oh, fuck you, Charles.


CHUCK

Fuck you Tolen!


TOLEN

No, Fuck YOU, I don’t need-


SFX: Suddenly, there is a huge crash of thunder and it begins to rain. The droplets hit the water in the quarry.


TOLEN (CONT’D)

Shit! These can’t get wet!


CHUCK

WELL, I don’t really feel like getting wet either!


RJ

Uh... over there, that Pavilion thing. It’s closer than the car?


SFX: Another crash of thunder, the rain falls faster. Droplets making pinging sounds against the rocks.


AVERY

I’m all for closer than the car at this point.


SFX: They all take off for the Pavilion, the mics rub against their clothes and their steps slosh in the newly formed puddles.


SFX: The mic pops on, it cuts in and out a few times. The mic has been damaged by the rain.


SFX: They take shelter in a massive pavilion that sits empty and in a state of disrepair.


00:21:51

RJ

- Yeah, they seem ok. Check, check. Yeah-


SFX :The mic quickly cuts out and back on. The recording quality fluctuates throughout the scene because of the water damaged mic.


SFX: Chuck runs into a low hanging chandelier.


CHUCK

Jesus Christ! Every time I think this town can’t get any creepier, I get shoved into a fresh hellscape like this.


SFX: The mic cuts out and back on with a wave of distortion.


RJ

It’s like being inside Marie Antoinette’s corpse.


AVERY

I don’t know how-


SFX: The mics cut out and back on with a wave of distortion.


CHUCK

It’s all the decayed gold leaf and mold.


SFX: The mic cuts out and back on with a wave of distortion.


00:22:18

AVERY

-The chandeliers! That’s the word. ... Well, parts of chandeliers.


RJ

Some still have their crystals attached, huh. Good for them.


SFX: The mic cuts out and back on with a wave of distortion.


[Chuck, Avery and RJ are laughing.]


AVERY

- A flashy wedding cake left in the rain to melt.


CHUCK

Oh, don’t say cake, I am so fucking hungry right now.


SFX: The mic quickly cuts out and after several beats, clicks back on. There has been a time jump, the rain has really kicked into a full blow storm. The sound is distorted.


CHUCK (CONT’D)

-If they were suicides.


SFX: The mic cuts out and back on with a wave of distortion.


00:22:49

RJ

I’m not debating that patient 349 thing, because I 100% believe he saw that shit.


CHUCK

No, I’m not talking about that.