The Black Tapes – a quick podcast review

I’m almost done with reading the Hex Hall series, but I figured I would talk about the podcast I’ve been listening to all week. I guess first I should start by confessing…

I seriously love podcasts almost as much as I love movies. 

I can binge listen to podcasts almost as hardcore as a Netflix marathon. I’ve posted a list of my favorites at the bottom if you want to check them out (which I totally recommend). I don’t stick to one genre or type really even, and they make work days go by so much quicker.

My current love is The Black Tapes Podcast. A friend of mine recommended it to me after he listened to the Nerdist episode with a recommendation. Since he has accepted my recommendations for podcasts in the past, I couldn’t say no. Plus, I am an absolute sucker for for anything supernatural related. I was instantly sucked in.

The Black Tapes is a bi-weekly podcast from Pacific Northwest Stories and Minnow Beats Whale, two companies that I’m not 100% sure are real. It is a serialized docudrama hosted by Alex Reagan as she searches for the truth about the supernatural, as well as looking into a mysterious past of her (for lack of better word) co-host Dr. Richard Strand of the fictional Strand Institute. Alex goes through Dr. Strand’s black VHS tapes, a collection of supernatural situations that Dr. Strand has yet to officially disprove.

Rated: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 4/5 Moose

My first impression:

I must confess (so many confessions in this review…) that I didn’t realize this was a fictional work. I have a hard time not believing in the supernatural, so I took the podcast to be a serialization of a woman trying to find the truth and prove that the supernatural exists. Plus, I knew a there was an organization offering $1 million to anyone who can prove that the supernatural exists. I just….didn’t realize it wasn’t the Strand Institute at first. It took me 3 episodes to realize that this was a work of fiction. I listen to the 7 episodes that were already out in one day, and they haven’t been deleted off my playlist yet.

The podcast is set up similar to Serial Podcast, which I was shocked to find out I loved when I first listened to it. Each episode consists of Alex Reagan reviewing one of the VHS tapes, conducting interviews and discussing the cases with Dr. Strand. They look at cases involving ghosts that haunt a man from childhood, jumping to his child at some point; the “unsound,” which led to the death of a lead singer of a Seattle grunge band; a case involving a demon board and even a case involving an exorcism. On top of each case, there  is the overall mystery of Dr. Strand himself – who is he and what happened with his wife??

Things I liked:

I love the setting and pace of the podcast. The VHS tapes are super creepy, sometimes leading me to double check the shadows in my apartment and the monsters under my bed. I also frequently wonder whether or not Alex and Dr. Strand are flirting in an odd way (but this may be due to the “opposites attract” love stories I’ve read recently). On top of the great plot lines, the theme song cracks me up every time I hear it.

Things I didn’t love:

At times the podcast’s dialogue seems a little forced and unnatural. I also occasionally spend way too much time trying to figure out why the heck I find Dr. Strand’s voice so familiar. It’ll come to me at some point. I fear that similar to Serial, there may not be resolution in the podcast, which won’t lead me to dislike it of course, but will make me want to kick something.


I recommend it. It would be one of the first ones I would recommend. It’s definitely not my upmost favorite, but that spot is reserved for two other podcasts that won’t be dethroned anytime soon. This podcast will be on my re-listen list, especially around the Halloween season. And next time there is a Kickstart, I’ll definitely pitch in.

3 Other Podcasts Worth A Listen:


  • We’re Alive: A Zombie Story This is my all time favorite podcast ever. I’ve listened to this podcast so many times, even before it officially ended last year. I cry at the ending of every season, every time. In fact, I’m probably due for a re-listening. If you love Walking Dead or World War Z, or ANY zombie story, give this one a shot. It has such a unique twist that satisfies all the way to the end.
  • Serial Podcast This podcast is only 12 episodes, focusing on the murder case of Have Min Lee and her boyfriend Adnan Syed who was accused and found guilty of her murder. The twist: the murder case happened back in 1999, and the listener does not get the resolution they crave at the end of it. But the intriguing case and doubt created definitely make the podcast hard to turn off.
  • Nerdist Podcast This is my second favorite podcast ever. Chris Hardwick interviews actors, comedians, and musicians, but I think the “Hostful” episodes with Jonah Ray and Matt Mira tend to be my favorites, or with Wil Wheaton. I have fallen further in love with actors I sort of liked before, and have found myself crying at laughing so hard at the comedians on the podcast. And he interviewed Jimmy Carr at one point.


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