Ep 2 | 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.


00:01:09

PROFESSOR WHITAKER

File labeled: “002 Rough Cut, Episode 2 - Tell Me a Story: The True Life of Jakob Stanley.”


SFX: Tolen, RJ and Chuck are finishing setting up for the interview with Jane Stanley. The old house creaks as the storm outside continues, a few pops coming from a fire in the fireplace crack through the room. A lav is being placed on Jane.


[Jane laughs.]



00:01:35

TOLEN

(faint, not on mic)

Alright, Jane, whenever you’re ready.


00:01:40

JANE

My name is Jane Stanley and I am the only living relative of the world renowned author, Jakob Stanley.


SFX: A violent thunder clap rings out loudly causing the house to creak.


JANE (CONT’D)

Do you want me to take that again?


TOLEN

No, that was great, Jane.


JANE

So. Shall we begin?


00:02:14

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 SYNTH]


00:03:55

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.


00:04:25

AVERY/NARRATOR

Check, check, check, check, check check, check, check. [Slate] Jane Stanley interview intro, Take 1: Jane Stanley has shoulder-length red hair and round red glasses that nestle deep into her cheeks. She’s in her thirties, but comes off a little old-fashioned. Kinda has an Aunt Linda circa 1987 vibe about her... You’ll get what I mean.


RJ

Avery.


AVERY

You don’t think that’s accurate?


RJ

It sounds kinda mean.


AVERY

Okay, fine, but I’m gonna leave it for now. Here’s you.


RJ/NARRATOR

(clears throat)

Jane Stanley was gracious enough to speak with us for several hours-


SFX: A beer can is popped open and slurped.


RJ

Seriously?!


AVERY

Sorry. My bad.


RJ/NARRATOR

Jane Stanley was gracious enough to speak with us for several hours. She even allowed us to leave with a number of boxes filled with journals, and an assortment of recordings... everything from reel-to-reels to super 8s, and the equipment to play them on.


SFX: Click of equipment switching on and off, and a beep.


00:05:29

AVERY

Uh. Production note: Tolen, the sound is really weird? Uh, all the equipment was working fine, when we were there, but when we offloaded it...


RJ

I have a theory.


AVERY

Yeah. RJ has a theory.


RJ

You can dismiss it all you want to, but I’m telling you right now that’s EVP.


AVERY

Or it could be that we need to change out the cable. Possibly use a different mic for interviews?


RJ

Whatever.


AVERY

So, we kinda just tossed the interview together with the cleanest segments, sound-wise. But there is a bunch more material, it's just not very usable.


RJ

And I am digging your music pulls, BeTeeDUBs.


AVERY

Agreed.


SFX: The old house creaks as the storm outside continues, and a few pops coming from a fire in the fireplace crack through the room.


00:06:11

JANE

My mom’s name was Marie, she was Uncle Russys - I call Uncle Jakob Uncle Russys, cuz his first name was Russell and his middle name was Jakob, so... Uncle Russys.-


TOLEN

(Off-mic)

I’m sorry, Jane, can we try to use “Jakob,” instead of “Russell”... just so we don’t confuse people?


JANE

Yes, sir director man, sir!


TOLEN

(Off mic)

Oh, I didn’t-


JANE

- Anyways, so mom was Uncle Russys - sorry, Uncle Jakob’s - younger sister. She’s been passed, oh I guess 5 years now.


RJ

(Off-mic)

I’m so sorry Jane.


JANE

Still miss her everyday. But well... where was I... Uh, so mom was born in 1958, in this very house, right ... over ... there. And about 13 years later, Grandma Stanley died in this very house, right ... over ... there.


00:07:11

TOLEN

(Off mic)

That must have been very hard for your mother and Jakob, their mom dying so young?


JANE

Well, yes. Uncle Jakob had to finish raising my mom himself. He was only 20 at the time. ... But, he got married right around then. So, his wife stepped in and took care of mom.


AVERY

(Off-mic)

Jakob was married!?


JANE

It was only for a few years... they weren’t exactly a “good pairing.” When my mom left home, she took off after that.


RJ

(off mic)

Why weren’t they a “good pairing”?


JANE

Huh? Oh, don’t know. It was such a short time and they were so young. Who can say? I don’t even think I know her name. ... Yeah, no sorry.



00:07:51

TOLEN

(Off mic)

Where was their dad?


JANE

Pop-pop was not in the picture as far as I know. He left when Uncle Jakob was 6.


TOLEN

(Off mic)

You mean 8, right? Sorry. I just did the math-


SFX: Jane slams her hand on her lav.


JANE

Oh, my. Did you guys catch that on the mic? My tummy is making the worst sounds, I must be nervous. Charlie, did you hear that tummy sound?


CHUCK

(Off mic)

Uh, no you’re good. The mic didn’t pick anything up.


RJ

(Off mic)

Don’t worry Jane, you’re doing a great job.


TOLEN

(Off mic)

So-


JANE

-Am I? I hope so. I really want to help you out as much as I can... Well, so mom’s off roaming the world, when in ‘81 she finds herself in the family way. So, she comes back home and Uncle Rus- Uncle Jakob takes her in. Then, ta-da, I’m born... right over there ... I’m kidding, I was born in the hospital.


[The group awkwardly laughs.]


00:08:48

JANE (CONT’D)

He was doing very well for himself by then, so tried to make sure mom had the best of everything. He had already purchased some of the nearby land and was gonna build mom and I our own place, but my mom, well, mom had... she battled addiction.


RJ

(Off-mic)

Oh, I’m so sorry Jane.


TOLEN

(Off mic)

I’m sorry.


JANE

No, it’s okay. I mean it’s not “okay” but it is okay. ... Uncle Russys, a-hem, Uncle Jakob - got mom into a facility and he took care of me while she was gone. Mom was in and out of rehab until I was 8 or so? ... But then, like a bolt of lightning, she just stopped, completely cleaned up her act. ... Which was perfect timing because Uncle Jakob had been living full time in the camper van... to write, ya know.


TOLEN

(off mic)

Wait! THE camper van? There was an actual camper van? He references it so many times in his work, but I never was sure-


AVERY

(off mic)

SO, you were living alone in the house... at 8 years old?


TOLEN

(off mic/under his breath)

Sorry.


JANE

More or less. It did make me very self-sufficient.


SFX: The house creaks and the fire pops in the absence of conversation.


SFX: Tree branches gently tap the sides of the house.


00:09:59

AVERY

(off mic)

Uh, what year was this?


JANE

‘88-89? Somewheres’ in there. That’s when he completely stopped coming to the house. Then in ‘92 mom got a new job a bit aways’ and it didn’t feel right for us to be here anymore, so we left... I didn’t see Uncle Jakob again after that. We wrote each other from time to time, but...


SFX: The wind picks up and a large tree branch slams against the house causing the screen door to unlatch and flap against the door frame.


00:10:27

JANE (CONT’D)

Well, I guess the wind had to share it’s opinion. Excuse me for just a sec.


SFX: Jane gets up to address the screen door. Her mic continues to pick her up, until it mysteriously cuts off.


TOLEN

Avery! There was a camper van!


AVERY

I know, it’s very exciting, but keep it together, she’s talking some serious shit here.


TOLEN

But?!


AVERY

I know, I know... the camper van!


CHUCK

He neglected a small child.


TOLEN

Well, she said it made her self-


RJ

Don’t do that.


JANE

Charlie!


SFX: Jane appears. The group collectively jump.


JANE (CONT’D)

You look so cold over there, some coffee? Warm ya up?


CHUCK

Uh, sure? Thank you?


RJ

I’ll help.


SFX: RJ and Jane exit to the kitchen to get the coffee.


CHUCK

Jesus Christ.


AVERY

We’re gonna need her to review this. I don’t wanna use anything about her childhood she isn’t comfortable with.


TOLEN

Yeah, yeah. Totally.


AVERY

And she is all over the place. Let’s try to keep her focused.


TOLEN

10-4.


00:11:18

AVERY

WATCH OUT! Ha-ha. It’s me. Uh, this is one of the segments I was talking about earlier. It starts out fine, but it goes kinda weird.


SFX: Avery eats some chips.


AVERY (CONT’D)

Uhm, but RJ made me keep it in.


RJ

You can dismiss it all you want-


AVERY

WHHhhhoooooooooo-ahhhhh.


[RJ exhales.]


AVERY (CONT’D)

I don’t know.


SFX: Beep.


SFX: The old house creaks as the storm outside continues, the fire crackles and pops.


00:11:46

JANE

Well... told you a little about the house... The land around it was evidently a steal, on account of its proximity to the Mendenhall Institute... Some claim the woods between here and there are haunted.


RJ

(Off mic)

Oh! Wait! - The Mendenhall. Yeah, I’ve heard about that place.


JANE

Oh, yes. ... They say that in the 1960s, a woman escaped the Mendenhall and hanged herself right in one of those trees on the edge of the old property line. ... Right ... over ... there. ... The story goes, that she broke out of the Institute late one night-


TOLEN

(Off mic)

- Sorry.


JANE

Yes?


TOLEN

(Off mic)

Uh, can we come back to - refocus back on Jakob?


AVERY

(Off mic)

He didn’t do many interviews and when he did, he never talked about his life at all.


SFX: There is a wave of static.


00:12:40

JANE

He was a very private person. Kept to himself. You know... But my mom told me a little.


TOLEN

(Off mic)

Like?


SFX: There is a wave of static.


JANE

Like... Uncle Russys - Uncle Jakob -was really sick as a child, had the scarlet fever.


SFX: There is a wave of static and interference. Her words are hard to discern.


JANE (CONT’D)

- Uh... Grandma raised them mostly on her own. She even home schooled them herself. Yup, she was one hell of a lady. Full-time mom, full-time homeschool teacher, full-time cocktail waitress.


AVERY

(off mic)

Cocktail waitress?


JANE

I know, I know, this doesn’t seem like the kinda town a cocktail waitress could pull enough tips to raise 2 kids on...


SFX: There is a wave of static and interference. Her words are hard to discern.


JANE (CONT’D)

And it isn’t. No, that poor thing had to work one town over. There used to be a train station thataway’, it did a lot of business. She was gone from 4 to 4 every night. Sometimes for days at a time.


AVERY

(off mic)

That’s quite a lot of time for young kids to be on their own.


JANE

Some might think that, yes, but I know I thrived and really became my own person, having a lot of time to myself at an early age.


TOLEN

(off mic)

Made you “self-sufficient.”


JANE

Oh, heaven’s yes... But, I was no troublemaker.


SFX: There is a wave of static and interference. Jane’s words are hard to discern.


TOLEN

(off mic)

So, Jakob, was a bit of a “troublemaker?”


SFX: There is a wave of static and interference. Jane’s words are hard to discern.


JANE

“Boys will be boys” as they say.


AVERY

(off mic)

They don’t really say that anymore.


JANE

Well, it was a different time, you know...


SFX: There is a wave of static and interference. Jane’s words disappear in the sound.


JANE (CONT’D)

-When he wanted.


SFX: The fire pops.


00:14:28

JANE (CONT’D)

Loved a good campfire!


TOLEN

(off mic)

Who doesn’t enjoy a campfire?


SFX: There is a wave of static and interference.


JANE

Now ....


SFX: There is a wave of static and interference. Jane’s words disappear in the sound.


JANE (CONT’D)

... He was very kind, even as a little boy. When my mom was like 6 years old, someone hit a deer with their car and just left it on the side of the road out there. My mom saw it and started crying, so my uncle goes and checks on the poor thing and discovers this little baby fawn cowering next to her. He plucked that baby up and the two of them hand-fed it until it could go off on it's own. There was a deep kindness to him.


SFX: The fire pops loud.


TOLEN

(off mic)

You know what that reminds me of? His story “The Wolf Who Fed the Fawn”


AVERY

(off mic)

Rightrightright. From the second book.


CHUCK

(off mic)

Oh, shit.


RJ

(off mic)

What?


00:15:15

CHUCK

(off mic)

I know that one. Uh, my older brother, he loved this show from the 90’s “Long Ago and Far Away”?


JANE

I remember that show! It was hosted by James Earl Jones.


CHUCK

(off mic)

Well, he taped most of the episodes, and when I was little, we would watch them together and they did that story once.


JANE

Oh Charlie, do you still have them? I’d love to see that.


TOLEN

(off mic)

So would I!


CHUCK

(off mic)

I converted them from VHS, so they’re all on my computer, I can make you a copy.


AVERY

(off mic)

I think I know what we’re doing tonight!


MUSIC: [TRANSITION]


00:15:52

RJ/NARRATOR

Ladies and gentlemen, from the PBS television show “Long Ago and Far Away” the incomparable James Earl Jones, reading “The Wolf Who Fed the Fawn“ by Jakob Stanley, courtesy of Charles Young.


SFX: A few seconds of the intro music is interrupted by a low toned BEEP.


00:16:07

NARRATOR

Unauthorized material redacted.


SFX: Low toned BEEP


SFX: The old house creaks as the storm outside continues, the fire continues to faintly crackle.


00:16:18

JANE (CONT'D)

He was a bit heartbroken, after the final book came out. I think he really thought it would be as well received as his other work and it just wasn’t. In 1999, everything was Harry Potter... and his book was not Harry Potter. ... And with everything he did to make sure it got released.


RJ

(off mic)

How do you mean?


JANE

Well, from what I know, he told his publishers as long as they guaranteed to release that last book, he would sign over the rights to all of it.


TOLEN

(off mic)

When you say “all of it”?


JANE

I mean all of it. They own the copyright and publishing rights to every book he ever wrote... in perpetuity.


AVERY

(off mic)

Holy shit.


JANE

But, my -


SFX: There is a wave of static and interference. Jane’s words disappear in the sound and come back.


JANE (CONT’D)

-So, maybe I’ll be able to get the copyright back? And then get another publishing company to put his work back into print, or online.


TOLEN

(off mic)

That would be amazing. I would love that.


AVERY

(off mic)

But, to give up the copyrights... why would he ever agree to that?


00:17:20

JANE

Trust me, I know, it boggles the mind.


AVERY

(off mic)

Had they ever turned down one of his manuscripts before?


JANE

I don’t know, maybe? He was writing constantly when I lived here, so to not have a book come out until ‘99 seems weird, but who knows.


TOLEN

(off mic)

When was this?


JANE

When was what?


TOLEN

(off mic)

When he was writing constantly? You said before he had moved out to the camper?


JANE

It was right after his 3rd book came out, so like probably 1988? 89?


AVERY

(off mic)

Did he ever say what he was working on?


JANE

No, just that he was writing. I could tell he was really into it though. Even had an assistant for a while.


TOLEN

(off mic)

Really?


AVERY

(off mic)

Do you know who this assistant was?


RJ

(off mic)

That would be a great interview.


JANE

Oh, I never met him, they mostly stayed in the camper.


00:18:11

TOLEN

(off mic)

Was it an assistant or an illustrator?


JANE

Oh don’t know, why?


TOLEN

(off mic)

His first few books were all illustrated by different artists.


AVERY

(off mic)

Each individual drawing was by a different person and they were never credited.


TOLEN

(off mic)

Except for his last book. That book was done by one illustrator: L.L. Randolph. Does that name ring any bells?


JANE

No, sorry, as I said, they stayed in the camper.


CHUCK

(off mic)

This must of been one big camper.


JANE

Charlie, you warm enough over there? Your little hands look frozen.


CHUCK

(off mic)

Uh, I’m fine.


AVERY

(off mic)

You mentioned that after you left Pennsylvania, you never saw him again, but you wrote to each other over the years? Did you hear about his publisher issues from a letter he sent or-


JANE

Oh, no his lawyer Reggie... Lowery - I wanna say? - Called my mom, tried to get her to talk some sense into him when he wanted to sign over the rights, but mom knew it was pointless. But yeah, I practically wrote Uncle Jakob once a week,... he only responded a handful of times. So, I could tell when he was really rattled by something, cuz he would actually take the time to write me. ... I kept them ya know, I kept all his letters.


00:19:30

AVERY/NARRATOR

Jane,


-Bread

-Eggs

-Milk

-Oatmeal

-Horseradish

-Maraschino Cherries


I write to you on this day, November 2nd, in the year of our Lord 2001, with a simple list.


-Bread

-Eggs

-Milk

-Oatmeal

-Horseradish

-Maraschino Cherries


A simple list, that if written by me, a mere 20 years ago...


-Bread

-Eggs

-Milk

-Oatmeal

-Horseradish

-Maraschino Cherries


Could have been published in a book...


-Bread

-Eggs

-Milk

-Oatmeal

-Horseradish

-Maraschino Cherries


And sold millions.


-Bread

-Eggs

-Milk

-Oatmeal

-Horseradish

-Maraschino Cherries


But, now...


-Bread

-Eggs

-Milk

-Oatmeal

-Horseradish

-Maraschino Cherries


Is just a list.


-Bread

-Eggs

-Milk

-Oatmeal

-Horseradish

-Maraschino Cherries


Sincerely,

Russell


PS


-Bread

-Eggs

-Milk

-Oatmeal

-Horseradish

-Maraschino Cherries


MUSIC: [POD THEME]


SFX: The old house creaks as the storm outside continues, the fire is fading but still pops occasionally. The team is packing up their gear and other assorted boxes.


00:20:48

JANE

Are you sure you guys don’t want something else to eat? I can whip-up something quick?


RJ

Oh, that’s so sweet, but it’s really okay.


JANE

What about a snack for the road?


AVERY

We still have a bunch of those sandwiches from earlier, you have spoiled us rotten today.


TOLEN

Thank you again Jane, this was, I don’t even know how to describe it.


AVERY

Yes, thank you.


JANE

Oh, my no, it was my pleasure! I just wish we had more time. I’m sure there are more things I could pull from the old memory banks about Uncle Russ-Uncle Jakob!


[The team laughs politely.]


CHUCK

We will be out of your hair shortly.


JANE

Did you guys grab the boxes from the basement?


RJ

All taken care of.


JANE

Did you get what you needed from the living room?


AVERY

I think so.


00:21:30

JANE

Did you check the attic?


TOLEN

Attic?!


AVERY

We might need to pass up on that, so we can get on the road. I am sure we have everything we need.


TOLEN

Right, yeah. I’m sure. This was just supposed to be a day trip and we have to be getting back.


JANE

That’s too bad. ... I plan on getting rid of that old camper van soon, and I would hate for you to miss giving it the once over.


TOLEN

You still have the camper van?


JANE

Of course.


AVERY

Seriously?


RJ

Whoa.


JANE

It’s right where he left it. ‘Have the junk guy coming to get it in a few days. So, as I said, it’s a shame you can’t spare a little more time. Hell, if it still runs, you could take it with you.


AVERY

Seriously?


RJ

Whoa!


CHUCK

Shit.


TOLEN

Well...


AVERY

I mean...


CHUCK

Oh no.


TOLEN

We could maybe...


CHUCK

Oh, please, no.


00:22:16

AVERY

We would have to talk about it first. We didn’t plan on spending the night?


CHUCK

No, we did not.


RJ

I’m okay with it.


[Chuck groans.]


AVERY

But, we don’t even have a place to stay, and it’s so late-


JANE

Yes, it is so late... too late to start a 5-6 hour drive. And don’t worry about a place to stay.


CHUCK

We couldn’t stay here.


JANE

Oh no, of course not! There’s barely enough room for me to sleep here! But... the Homestead always has room, and Debbie over there owes me a favor sooooo.... What do you say?


TOLEN

Well...


CHUCK

Oh no.


AVERY

I mean...


TOLEN

We could maybe...


CHUCK

No.


00:22:53

RJ

The Homestead?


JANE

It’s a big ole’ converted farm house - has a family style restaurant on the main floor - which has the best food in the world - and then like a B&B on top. 200 years old, really charming and... rustic.


CHUCK

Oh no.


AVERY

We still need to talk about it, figure out the logistics? If it’s even possible.


JANE

Sure, sure, sure. Go ahead, do that. And I’ll just give Deb a ring, let her know that you might be coming by. And tomorrow, if you decide to stay, we can head out from here around 9 in the AM?


CHUCK

Or if we have to, we could just go and check the camper van now?


JANE

What? Go out into those woods, after dark? Ha, no thank ya, ma’am.


RJ

Uh, why?


TOLEN

I imagine there are a lot of ... bears? Or...


AVERY

Other wild animals.


JANE

Oh no, that shit is haunted.


SFX: Chuck drops the bag she was packing.


00:23:44

CHUCK

I’ll be in the car. Jane, lovely to meet you. Guys.


SFX: Chuck starts to exit.


JANE