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Ep 4 | Transcript


00:00:04

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.


00:00:20

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: “004 Rough Cut, Episode 4 - Tell Me a Story: The True Life of Jakob Stanley.”


SFX: The mic pops on. It is being manhandled as levels are adjusted.


SFX: An ear-piercing phone ring screams out from a landline.


00:01:34

CHUCK

(off mic)

The ear plugs, they do nothing!


TOLEN

Check, check.


AVERY

(off mic)

Are you actually messing with the H4N right now!


TOLEN

I just wanna make sure-


SFX: Another ear-piercing phone ring screams out from the room’s landline.


AVERY

(off mic)

ANSWER THE DAMN PHONE!


TOLEN

I’m gonna, just give me-


SFX: Another ear-piercing phone ring screams out from the room’s landline. RJ answers the phone.


RJ

(off mic)

Hello.


TOLEN

Wait, wait, wait, here.


RJ

Hello? ... There’s no one there. Hello?


SFX: Avery grabs the phone from RJ.


AVERY

WHO THE HELL IS THIS?


CHUCK

(off mic)

DO THEY KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS!


AVERY

DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?! ... WHY DO YOU KEEP CALLING? ... HELLO?


CHUCK

(off mic)

I'm never gonna get back to sleep now.


AVERY

We should just keep it off the hook.


SFX: From the phone line we hear the faintest of possible whimpers.


AVERY (CONT’D)

Hello?


TOLEN

Who is it?


AVERY

Shhhhhhh! ... Hello? .... If someone’s there, hit one of the buttons. ... Hello? ... Hello? ... They hung up.


SFX: Avery hangs up the receiver.


TOLEN

Who do you think it was?


00:02:23

AVERY

Uhm, I don’t know.


TOLEN

Maybe we should-


SFX: BOOM! Suddenly, the Homestead’s main entrance massive double doors slam open downstairs. A shuffling wave of heavy boots rolls into the downstairs.


CHUCK

What the hell?


SFX: Tables and chairs start being moved around the downstairs, faint voices are barking orders.


SFX: RJ crosses to the window and looks below.


RJ

The entire parking lot’s filling up.


TOLEN

‘Wonder what’s going on?


SFX: Sirens cry out in the distance and continue through the end of the scene.


SFX: Avery starts getting dressed.


AVERY

All right.


CHUCK

What are you doing?


AVERY

I’m gonna go down there.


SFX: RJ starts getting dressed as well.


RJ

I’ll go with you.


SFX: Tolen starts getting dressed as well.


TOLEN

We’ll all go.


CHUCK

Uggggghhhhhhhh.


SFX: The sirens get closer.


00:02:54

[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]


00:04:35

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 clicks on.


SFX: The entire downstairs is bursting with people. It feels loud and chaotic, but people are barely talking and when they do, it is in hushed tones.


00:05:14

TOLEN

(narrates the scene)

Uh, well it looks like people are setting up some kind of emergency command post? Uhm. We’re not sure exactly what’s going on.


DEBBIE

Coming through!


TOLEN

We’re trying to stay out of their way, but as you can tell it’s a little difficult. Uh... uhm.


RJ

They set up an area with food and coffee, there are probably like 15-20 people in here, 20 more outside, a handful of cops, volunteer fire department members, 4 of which are women, so hell yeah.


CHUCK

Some extras from "Night of the Living Dead."


AVERY

Shhh.


RJ

The owner of the Homestead, Deb, is running this set up like she could do it in her sleep. Everyone is behaving like they could do this in their sleep, no one has to talk, they just... move.


TOLEN

It’s a little terrifying that they’re that good at this...


SFX: Avery approaches Debbie.


TOLEN (CONT’D)

Avery?!


AVERY

What do you need help with?


DEBBIE

Uh... Fill up those with coffee, and put them by the front door.


AVERY

On it.


DEBBIE

Hey. Are they gonna help too, or just hold up my wall? Cause I got nails for that.


RJ

What can I do?


DEBBIE

Grab the cases of water from the back and stack them by the door. You two-


TOLEN

Uh-


DEBBIE

Grab the MRE boxes next to the water, and stack them by the door.


TOLEN & CHUCK

Yes, ma’am.


SFX: Their mics cut off abruptly.


SFX: The sound of a recorder clicks on.


SFX: The loud chaos of the emergency command center is only slightly muffled by the bathroom door.


00:06:25

AVERY

Uhm. Uh... okay. Quick update: It’s all a bit wild here right now, Uh... evidently late last night a forest fire started in the woods near the Mendenhall Institute and it’s doubled in size since this morning... You can see the smoke for miles.


DEBBIE

(through bathroom door)

Jesus Christ!


SFX: A toilet flushes.


AVERY

Sorry the sound quality sucks, I just ducked into the bathroom quick.


DEBBIE

(through bathroom door)

Doc, move it!


AVERY

RJ and I stayed to help out at the Homestead, and Tolen and Chuck drove supplies to the firefighter mobile operation center -


DEBBIE

(through bathroom door)

MORE COMING IN!


AVERY

Uh, alright, break time is over. [heavy exhale]


SFX: Her mic cuts off.


SFX: The sound of a recorder clicks on.


SFX: From the interior of Tolen’s car we hear the madness of the firefighters camp in the distance. Tolen is switching on the mic.


00:07:06

TOLEN

Check. Check... I couldn’t find out anything. Check. Check.


CHUCK

Overheard someone say that the last fire this bad in Porter happened about 50 years ago. Some silo caught fire or was set on fire, something.


TOLEN

Huh.


CHUCK

But nothing about what’s going on now.


TOLEN

I don’t understand how a forest fire starts after it’s been raining. It doesn’t make any sense - Hey, is that Wallace?


CHUCK

Where? ... Oh yeah. Hi. ... Maybe he can tell us what’s going on.


SFX: Wallace approaches the car and knocks on the hood.


WALLACE

(from outside car)

Permission to come aboard?


CHUCK

(through the windshield to Wallace)

Come on in, man!


TOLEN

It’s so weird to see you being nice to someone.


CHUCK

Shut up.


SFX: Wallace gets into the back seat of the car and closes the door behind him.


00:07:41

CHUCK (CONT’D)

Hey Wallace, how you doing?


WALLACE

Better than that lot over there. So, how in the hell y’all get pulled into this mess?


TOLEN

Well, we’re at the Homestead.


WALLACE

Right, right... Hotbed Homestead, Headquarters for all emergencies both foreign and domestic. Hope y’all got sleep last night, cuz that place gonna be madness til this clears up.


CHUCK

Shit, really?


WALLACE

Shit yes.


TOLEN

So, what’s going on? A fire just started in the middle of the woods?


WALLACE

That’s the basic gist - they don’t know how it started yet - but what’s got everybody in such a tizzy, are the old coal mines.


TOLEN

There were coal mines here?


WALLACE

Yeah, yeah. A mess of abandoned ones. But the thing is, they’re not exactly sure where all of them are. They just keep getting found all over the place.


TOLEN

So, wait. Like... they’re worried a forest fire hit an abandoned coal mine and that’s why it's so big or did a coal mine just catch fire on its own?


CHUCK

Can that even happen?


TOLEN

Damn, I miss having the ability to look things up on my phone.


WALLACE

They just don’t want another Centralia.


TOLEN

See, if I could search that I would know what you were talking about.


WALLACE

Centralia, PA’s abandoned coal mines caught fire in 1962, and been burning ever since.


CHUCK

Shit, seriously?


WALLACE

Town’s uninhabitable, just left to burn.


CHUCK

Damn.


00:08:54

WALLACE

But either way, this might be a mine, might not be a mine, but this much fire... just sprouting up - after a rain - don’t make much sense any which-a-way.


SFX: The loud ticking of a massive grandfather clock welcomes us back to the Homestead. The clock strikes 12. The room feels empty and still except for a few pops coming from a fire in the fireplace.


SFX: A loud chair slides across the wooden floor, it is being pulled up to a table in the corner by Homestead owner, Deb. She falls into it, exhausted.


RJ

(whispering)

We should just go over there?


AVERY

(whispering)

See if she’ll talk to us? Yeah.


RJ

(whispering)

Yeah.


AVERY

(whispering)

Yeah.


DEBBIE

Mind if I smoke?


RJ

Uh-


AVERY

No, we don’t mind.


RJ

Actually...


SFX: Debbie pulls out a baggie of weed and dusts off a rolled joint.


RJ (CONT’D)

Oh.


AVERY

(under her breath)

Did not see that coming.


RJ

Oh yeah, no worries.


DEBBIE

Come on over, take a load off.


AVERY

Uh, yes. Thanks.


SFX: Avery and RJ walk over to Debbie and take a seat, as Deb lights the joint and takes a hit.


00:09:40

DEBBIE

(as she exhales)

Bet you wished ya left yesterday?


AVERY

A little.


RJ

But, we’re glad that we could help out.


DEBBIE

What you doing here anyway? Jane said something about a documentary? Here.


SFX: Deb passes the joint to RJ.


RJ

Oh, thank you.


AVERY

We’re doing a podcast-


DEBBIE

A what?


RJ

A podcast, it’s like a... radio show?


DEBBIE

Huh, learn something new everyday. Here.


SFX: RJ takes a hit and passes it to Avery.


AVERY

And, thank you.


SFX: Avery takes a hit.


DEBBIE

What’s your names again?


AVERY

(as she exhales)

I’m Avery and this is RJ.


SFX: RJ finally exhales and begins to cough. Debbie laughs lightly.


RJ

Whoo, that’s no joke.


DEBBIE

Grow it for Miss Loretta.


RJ

Miss Loretta?


DEBBIE

My mom, she’s got glaucoma.


RJ

Oh, I’m sorry about that.


DEBBIE

Don’t be, she’s not. Gives that woman an excuse to be high as a kite all day.


SFX: The front desk clerk shuffles into the room.


DOC GRUB

Knock, knock. Yins’ girls, need anything? Going to the store awhile.


DEBBIE

No Doc, go on.


DOC GRUB

Yins’, suuurrreee?


DEBBIE

Doc, I said no.


DOC GRUB

All right, don’t says I didn’t ask.


DEBBIE

Thanks, Doc.


DOC GRUB

Buh-bye-bye, now.


SFX: Doc Grub slowly slinks away.


00:10:45

RJ

He’s a doctor?


DEBBIE

No.


AVERY

Oh-kay.


DEBBIE

So, a documentary... on Russell?


AVERY

Well, he wrote under the name Jakob Stanley. Did the “Tell Me a Story” book series.


RJ

You didn’t know him by any chance?


DEBBIE

Not really... but Russell went to elementary school with my brother, though.


AVERY

Really?


RJ

We were told he was homeschooled?


DEBBIE

That was high school, after he got kicked outta Amherst.


AVERY

Wait, Stanley went to Amherst!?


DEBBIE

To keep the peace they used to occasionally give scholarships to locals.


RJ

But, he got kicked out?


DEBBIE

Yeah, was bullied by some rich kid and shit happened. At least that’s what I heard.


AVERY

Did your brother go to Amherst?


DEBBIE

Oh no, that boy’s dumb as hell.


[The women laugh.]


AVERY

Did you know the family at all?


DEBBIE

Not really... But you could talk to David Rockland? Family has a dairy farm off Willoughby, they’ve been here for ages.


SFX: Doc Grub shuffles into the room.


DOC GRUB

Knock, knock.


DEBBIE

That was fast?


DOC GRUB

Thought yins’ ladies would like to know... the fire seems to be under control.

At least what’s they can see above ground.


AVERY

Above ground?


DEBBIE

Rita hear it on the scanner?


DOC GRUB

Yes, ma’am, she had it going in the store full blast.


DEBBIE

Well, that’s a bit of good news. So, no coal mine?


RJ

Coal mine?


SFX: The Homestead’s main desk phone begins to ring.


DOC GRUB

Not sure, but the scare was enough to get the state involved. Probably be another survey. Still on a little “alert.”


DEBBIE

Thanks, Doc.


SFX: Doc Grub slowly slinks away to answer the phone.


DOC GRUB

Buh-bye-bye, now.


RJ

So... “coal mine”?


SFX: From the interior of Tolen’s car we hear the madness of the firefighters camp in the distance.


00:12:31

CHUCK

The fire didn’t get anywhere near your place, did it?


WALLACE

Oh, hell yeah it did. Woke up to my whole G. D. house full of smoke.


TOLEN

Is your home all right?


WALLACE

Think so, I got that fire road there and luckily everything is on the other side of that, but if this is a coal mine fire, that road ain’t gonna mean shit.


TOLEN

Right, the fire road...


TOLEN (CONT’D)

Oh no.


CHUCK

The FMC!


TOLEN

AND the two bags you left, uugh! You didn’t by any chance notice-


WALLACE

- If your FMC was okay? No, Tolen, no, I did not. Because my house was full of smoke and I had to evacuate.


00:13:07

TOLEN

Sorry, I didn’t... I’m sorry.


CHUCK

Yeah, man, sorry.


WALLACE

Naw’ y’all, it’s okay. Speaking of the FMC... you guys talked to your friend Jane today? The area hit most was between her place and the fire road.


TOLEN

We thought the fire was mostly on the grounds of the Mendenhall?


WALLACE

Her house is on the grounds of the Mendenhall.


TOLEN

What?