KJ (owlmoose) wrote,

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Anyone else listening to The Black Tapes?

Thanks to recommendations from [personal profile] renay and others (oddly enough, it was an interview with Joseph Fink of Welcome to Night Vale that finally tipped me over), I spend the last few days listening to the entirety of The Black Tapes, a fiction podcast that everyone describes as "Serial meets The X-Files". The Serial comparison is particularly apt -- I've noticed many ways in which Black Tapes is directly parodying, satirizing, and out-right copying the juggernaut documentary podcast (especially its first season).

Although there are plenty of criticisms I could make, clearly I found it compelling enough to binge on the whole thing in a short time, and I'm eagerly awaiting what's coming next. There's also a couple of things I want to talk about. Anyone want to indulge me?

The first question, and the one I really wanted to research as I was listening but didn't because I was afraid of spoilers, is how much of this is for real? Okay, not REAL real -- I realize this story is fictional, and I don't believe in demons or anything like that. But do the Black Tapes cases involve phenomena that real-world people talk about or believe in? I did a little searching around, and I couldn't find anything on the Un-sound, or sacred geometry as a way of summoning demons. But maybe it's out there, and I just missed it. I know that exorcisms are a thing, and that certain fundamentalist Christian sects still believe in demonic possession and the casting out of demons. I've also heard Richard's scientific explanation for the flashlight trick used by ghost hunters and mediums before. Ouija boards, of course (this article on the history of the ouija board is pretty interesting), but demon boards? The various demons named in the show, and "historical figures" like the Russian composer and the supposed creator of the demon board? I have a suspicion that a lot of it is either invented for the show, or real-world occult stuff tweaked to make it more fictional, but I wonder. I feel like documentary fiction works better when it's grounded in the real world, and I'd like to believe that these folks did their research. But it's hard to tell.

I'm also wondering if and when the disappearance of Coralee Strand is going to tie into the various threads around the Black Tapes mysteries. Whatever Richard says, it's grown increasingly obvious that the unsolved mysteries in the Black Tapes share a number of connections, especially as Alex continues to investigate them. But even two episodes into the second season, there's no evidence at all that Coralee's disappearance involved anything at all supernatural, much less something connected to the Black Tapes. I suppose, to the dedicated, that any mysterious disappearance could be considered potentially supernatural, but no one in-universe even hints at believing in a paranormal explanation. The closest we get is Thomas Warren, and his involvement in funding Richard's research, but we don't know much about that yet. I suppose this is one where we just have to keep listening. Could Richard's secret be the connection we're looking for?

Those are just a couple of things that come to mind; I'm sure we could talk about much more. Comment threads are open! Expect spoilers.

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Tags: podcasts, the black tapes
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