Behind the Scenes of Ba Dum Tess: Ghosts

I gathered my things: a bottle of purple Gatorade, my computer, microphone, headphones, two different notebooks (one for interviewing and one for emotions that arose), and a small flashlight. I sat down on the floor of my 2×5 closet, closing the doors behind me. Cushioned only by the once-cuddly corpse of a long-dead stuffed animal, I turned on my flashlight and hit record.

The episode? Ghosts.

I went into this episode with a confidence level that, frankly, was unwarranted. It was only the second episode of my podcast, Ba Dum Tess, that we recorded. But, it was quickly clear that this would become the first episode to make it to air. And I was confident–blindly confident–that it would be a hit. As they say, fake it til you make it.

If you don’t know my personality, allow me to give you a mental picture in the form of my favorite cartoons. (Yes, these were likely my favorites because I thought they were hot, but also, hey, ya’ know maybe they were good role models too). I’m like Sheego, Coraline, all of the Adams Family, and every witch ever. (Though now that I’m a Comedy Grown-up, I’m a little more like a combination of Ed, Edd, AND Eddy. I digress.)

For a long time, I’ve associated coolness–or at least my own coolness–with a somewhat macabre aesthetic. What could possibly be cooler or hotter than being able to communicate with evil forces that haunt this world? Thus, doing an episode on ghosts felt very much in my wheelhouse.

I mean, sure, I’m not, like… versed in ghost stories. Maybe I don’t technically follow the ghost news so closely, but like…I have a tattoo of a ghost so…I feel like…I’m valid. And spooky. 

If you’ve been following the series, you’ll know that produciton of the previous episode, Medieval Food, didn’t go so hot. That meant that while we recorded “Ghosts,” it once again felt like the first time. (It felt like the very first time.)

Luckily, we had the incomparable Bonita come on as our first guest. I didn’t know what she’d come in with, so when we got talking about a bad experience with edibles, I was like, “Great, let’s do this. I can do this.” When you have a podcast, you gotta go with the flow. You must improvise. Bonita literally writes horror movies!! She is great for this weird pod. (Something I love about GOLD is that we just have this lil cache of talented and diverse humans who could be theater kids or mechanical engineers and, baby, we want them all on the podcast and everyone in between.)

Plus, to balance out my complete ignorance as to the truth of ghosts, we had a spectacular professional to tell us real history. Cheyenne and I went to high school together. She’s always been the real-life embodiment of the women I looked up to in TV shows. (See list above.) Cheyenne came into our creative writing program like a witchy wonder. On an overnight field trip once, she brought out a Ouija board and genuinely scared the shit out of me. So when we planned “Ghosts,” I immediately thought of her.

In the episode, I only got to scratch the surface of the topic. Why ghosts? What is the human desire to understand the spirits beyond our world?

For me personally, it’s because they’re really cool.

Let me just tell you a little something about my favorite franchise in the universe, Scooby Doo. I love it. I’d do anything for anyone in the cast of the live action movies. But, (and) they always unmask the guy behind the ghost insinuating that the gag is not real. This is sad.

I am from Charleston, SC. In case you didn’t know, it’s one of the most haunted cities in America. The history is incredible and honestly if ever there were a place with “real ghosts,” I think that’d be the spot. Right where my house is, probably. Likely Right under my own bed. Hence my early crush on Coraline.

I just moved houses in Chicago because blah blah blah my last landlord wanted to renovate our old house whatever whatever. Anyway. Now, in our new house, I hear sounds all the time. I think it was built in the 70s, it creaks, it moans, and it’s leaning into the house next to it. It’s the perfect candidate for a haunting. So much so that I may have to create a second episode; “Ghosts 2, dreams come true.” 

You can find the first episode of the pod on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you listen to your ghost stories.