The hit podcast Hillbilly Horror Stories is the subject of this week’s Paranormal Podcast. Jerry and Tracy Paulley join me to chat about their thoughts on everything spooky and their very cool podcasting journey.
You can find Hillbilly Horror Stories wherever you get your podcasts and at their website HERE.
Thanks Jerry & Tracy!
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We’re talking Hillbilly Horror Stories with the hosts of that great podcast, Jerry and Tracy Paulley – up next on the Paranormal Podcast.
This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.
JIM HAROLD: Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I am Jim Harold, and so glad to be with you once again. We have a great show for you today. We’re going to talk about that great podcast, Hillbilly Horror Stories with Jerry and Tracy Paulley. They will be our guests, and we’re going to have a great time.
And welcome to the Halloween season. I call it the Halloween season. Here in the U.S., we have finished up Labor Day. Summer is unofficially over, sad to say. But happy to say that fall is unofficially here, and for me, it’s official: it’s Halloween season. It’s spooky season. So as you’re going about and along on your spooky season, do me a couple of favors, if you would.
First of all, make sure that you have followed this program in your app of choice. If you have not gone and done that, if you’re in a place you can right now, just pause the podcast, go to the page for the podcast, and follow it. That way you never miss an episode. Of course, if it’s a safe place; don’t do this if you’re driving. Wait till you get parked at a safe place.
Then secondly, please do share the show with your friends. This is key recruiting time. This is time when we could pick up a lot of people who are interested in the spooky but don’t think about it yearlong, but now their minds are in spooky mode. That’s a chance for us to pick up a lot more community members and a lot more listeners. So please, just hit “Share” on that app and send it to a friend who loves the spooky, or at least loves the spooky this time of the year.
And speaking of spooky, now we’re going to talk Hillbilly Horror Stories.
We have two great guests today. We’ve been doing these interviews recently with “paranormal power couples,” and we enjoy talking with other podcasters, folks who have come together – partners, husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, whatever it might be – who come together and produce great content in the paranormal world. And certainly amongst the top of those paranormal power couples are my guests today, Jerry and Tracy Paulley.
They are the hosts of Hillbilly Horror Stories, and we can’t wait to talk to them about their show, their story with the show, and maybe even get into some spooky stories as well. Jerry and Tracy, thank you for joining me today on the show.
TRACY: Thank you for having us, Jim. It’s quite an honor.
JERRY: Yes, it absolutely is, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: It’s an honor to have you. I think you guys have done such a great job. One thing that I love about what we do with podcasting, and particularly paranormal podcasting, is that we can all coexist, we can help promote each other, and we all have just a little bit different way of doing things. I think that’s great because it’s not an either/or kind of situation. It’s an “and” situation, where people can say, “Hey, I like to listen to the Paranormal Podcast or the Campfire, I like to hear Jim’s take, but then Jerry and Tracy bring something fresh to it, and I like their take too. So I’ll just listen to all the shows.” I love that.
And you guys certainly have built a great community over there and are doing a great show. You just celebrated an anniversary, right?
JERRY: Yep, six years. It was this past Saturday was our six-year anniversary of Hillbilly Horror Stories.
JIM HAROLD: That’s fantastic. How many episodes are you up to yet?
JERRY: I don’t know, somewhere close to 800 right now.
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
JERRY: We put out a lot of content, and for the longest time it was just a weekly show and we did Sunday episodes. That’s still our main show, Sunday, but we put out some stuff during the week now that’s a little different content and some bonus stuff. But our main show, we just did Episode 318 for the Sunday night episode. But overall, if you logged on, you’d have about 800 episodes you could go back and listen to.
JIM HAROLD: That’s amazing, in six years to do 800 episodes. Hats off to you. I thought that I did a lot; I think you guys do more than I do.
In terms of the show, it’s about stories. How did this all start for you? Jerry, I know you came from a stand-up comedian background. How did you get started with this? Lay out the vision that you guys had coming up with the show.
JERRY: It’s funny you say that because the vision that I had turned into something completely different relatively quick. As you know, things don’t always go as you planned, and you make adjustments on the fly.
Like you said, I grew up in a haunted house back from the time I was about 13 to 18 years old. That kicked off my fascination with the paranormal. Then you fast forward to the time where I was doing stand-up comedy – and anybody who tells you that they’re in the entertainment business for anything other than the attention that you get from it and the crowd reaction and all that, they’re just lying. That’s why you do it.
JIM HAROLD: It’s true. Anybody that does anything on a stage or in front of a mic or in front of a camera, there’s definitely a component of “Look at me.”
JERRY: Absolutely. After several years of doing stand-up comedy – it’s a tough racket. People never see the behind-the-scenes stuff. I’d have people say, “That’s pretty good; you go out there and spend 30 minutes onstage, that’s great.” Yeah, but there’s hours and hours of preparation that go into that.
Your average comedians that you see at the club, whatever your local comedy club is, they had to set those things up. They had to call club after club after club and set up their time. Most of them don’t have managers. The big guys do, the Dave Chappelles and Chris Rocks. But the average guy coming to your comedy club had to call and set those up. And in most cases, they had to travel sometimes several hours away by car and do a free gig or several free gigs as an audition just to even get a start.
So there’s a lot that goes into it, and I got tired of that part. I loved the time onstage, got tired of the rest of it. I kept trying to get out of the business. Then within a couple of months, I’d miss being onstage and I’d get back into it.
Eventually, I started listening to podcasts, and I found Real Ghost Stories Online with Tony and Jenny Brueski. They were a husband and wife team, they added some funny to it. I thought, you know what? After listening to your podcasts and Lore and that one, I thought, “This is something I think I could do. And literally within two weeks I had bought all the equipment. It was all the wrong equipment because I had no clue what I was doing.
I had a partner that I worked with, a guy named Ricky Graninger. We used to talk about the paranormal all the time, and I thought, “Man, if people could hear this, I think they would tune in and like it.” And after hearing podcasts, I thought, “This is who I need to team up with.”
I initially told Tracy the idea, and she wanted to be a part of it, but Tracy didn’t have that fascination with the paranormal that I had or that Ricky had, so I thought it might not be the vision, as you call it, of what I thought the show would be. And I had come from a background of comedy that was more on the adult side – blue comedy, if you will. That’s what I envisioned the show being. I thought it’d be two guys basically shooting the crap and talking about paranormal, and it would be some cursing and some fun and laughter and comedy, and that’s the way we started out.
But that changed after the eighth episode because Ricky couldn’t make it one night; Tracy had to fill in, and I told her, “Hey, you wanted to be a part of it. Tonight’s your shot. Ricky can’t be there.” She said, “I have no idea what the story’s going to be about.” We were literally recording in three hours, and she had no clue. I said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll tell the story. You just react and we’ll go from there.”
Literally, it worked so good that Ricky came to me after listening to it and said, “She should be your co-host.” I said, “No, you’re my co-host. She was a great fill-in, and it’s good to have that in our back pocket if we need it.” Ricky and I did two more episodes together, and he said, “You know what, I’ve got a real busy schedule; you’ve got a great combination between the two of you. The chemistry’s perfect. That’s what you should do.”
From Episode 12 on, it’s been Tracy, and that’s literally been the secret of our success. I don’t think we would have ever been anywhere near what we’re doing as being able to do a full-time show and making a living off podcasting if Tracy didn’t become part of the show.
JIM HAROLD: I’ve got to agree with you, because the interaction and the chemistry you both have is so obvious and apparent and such a part of the show. If you took that out, you would eviscerate the show. It wouldn’t work, I don’t think. No offense, Jerry, but I think the combination is fantastic.
Now, Tracy, Jerry said something interesting there: that maybe the paranormal wasn’t exactly your thing. Has that evolved a little bit over the years? Have you changed your stance or thoughts about the paranormal? What are your thoughts about the paranormal today, and how has that changed – or has it changed – over the years?
TRACY: It definitely has changed over the years. What Jerry’s really not telling you is that he didn’t want me to come on the show at the beginning because I’m a lot more funnier than he is.
JIM HAROLD: Oh, I see. I’ve got it.
TRACY: So he didn’t want me to up – no, I’m just kidding. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: He didn’t want to be upstaged.
TRACY: I’m just kidding. As the years have gone by, I have been more fascinated by this, and I told Jerry that I’ve gone back in time and thought about memories of stuff that’s happened and I can put it together now. I wouldn’t even have thought of anything like that before. So yeah, I had no idea about the paranormal really at all, but I love it now. I’m fascinated by it.
I’ll tell you, some of the things that we talk about on the show are so heart-wrenching, it just tears at your soul. It does. I don’t know, it’s just the weirdest thing. Something happened at a friend’s house when I was real little, and back then I was little, and when you think about it, I’m like, “What the heck was that?” But I went on outside and played. I didn’t even think about it. But now that I think about it today, I’m like, oh my gosh. That had to be something paranormal. There’s no other way to explain it.
So yeah, I’ve really come to enjoy it. It’s been a lot of fun for me and Jerry. Everybody has been very accepting of me, which I’m very humbled by.
JIM HAROLD: I think the audience absolutely loves you. That comes across when you see the community interaction.
TRACY: Thank you.
JIM HAROLD: I do want to talk about the community, because I think that’s so key to what you guys do, and you do it so well. But first, I want to talk about the dynamic working together as a couple on this. What’s that been like personally, professionally? I’m not going to let either one of you get off the hook. You can both tell me about that. But how’s that been?
TRACY: Go ahead, Jerry. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Better make it good, Jerry.
JERRY: I absolutely love it. It has enriched our marriage. At one point in time, for the majority, the first 12-13 years of our marriage, I literally spent 70 hours a week on my day job, and we didn’t see each other a lot. We made the most of the time we did have together, but since we started doing this, we were able to take that limited time we had and make more of it because we were spending so much time doing the show together.
I think now that we do it full-time, we’re able to spend a lot more quality time with each other. I think that builds the dynamic, but it also gives us an added dimension to our relationship because not only are we best friends, but we’re also business partners of a business that does really well. So you get pride in knowing that you both are a big part of that accomplishment.
JIM HAROLD: Tracy?
TRACY: I agree with him. Jerry was never home; I never saw him. He worked his butt off, literally. I also had a job, but by the time he got home at night, it was time to go to bed half the time. I feel like we have grown a lot closer with this.
Honestly, I was to a point where – I don’t know how to say it. I just felt incomplete, a little bit, and almost like I had no purpose for a while. Once we got into the podcast – thankfully it has grown and we’ve met all these wonderful people, and Jerry keeps me on my toes. He keeps me going. I can never thank him enough for that because at the beginning of this, I probably just would’ve been like “Oh well, I have a boring life.” But now I don’t. I thank him every day for that because it really has kept me going.
And all the people that are listeners to the podcast are all amazing. We have met so many amazing people. I just feel so blessed that this fell in our laps. We’re just going to ride it out till the last minute. But it’s been a wonderful thing for us. It definitely has brought us a lot closer.
JIM HAROLD: The only thing I would say and maybe correct you on, and I only mean that in the best way, is it didn’t fall into your laps. You guys have worked very hard for it.
TRACY: Thank you.
JIM HAROLD: We’re having a great time with Jerry and Tracy Paulley talking all about Hillbilly Horror Stories, and we’ll be back right after this.
The Paranormal Podcast is brought to you by the Ancient Mysteries Cruise and Holidaymaker Travel. I’m so excited to be going on the Ancient Mysteries Cruise #6, New York to Bermuda, coming up March 28th to April 2nd, 2023. I’ll be there; Nick Pope, UFO expert extraordinaire; Nick Redfern, author extraordinaire; Peter Robbins, also extraordinaire UFO expert and author; Micah Hanks, good buddy who is extraordinaire in his own way; and then the extraordinaire Dar Harold, and she’s with us right now.
DAR HAROLD: Oh, no, no. Thank you so much. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: But you’re going to be there.
DAR HAROLD: I am. I’m so excited to go.
JIM HAROLD: Not only, Dar, are we going to get to interface with all these great minds – and on these cruises, you really do get to meet the speakers and things. It’s a little bit different than what you would expect. You really are having dinner with them and really interfacing with them.
DAR HAROLD: Right. I was going to say, it’s quite interactive. You get to have dinner, you get to go on excursions with you guys. The best one is a night cruise to the Bermuda Triangle. Come on, people, that’s going to be fantastic. I can’t wait.
JIM HAROLD: It’s going to be fantastic. The other thing that I understand – and you know I love a good meal – you were telling me about the meal halls.
DAR HAROLD: Oh my goodness. This ship is quite different because it’s not just like you have your traditional dining or you have your buffet. You have something they’re calling the Indulge Food Hall, and it’s very much almost like a food court, but they have little screens and you can order different entrees, different kinds of food from each little place. They have Indian and they have Italian and they have healthy salads and desserts.
JIM HAROLD: I’ll be sure to stay away from those.
DAR HAROLD: Yeah, you probably will. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: There are special offers galore, including drinks, specialty dining, group shore excursion, $50 onboard credit, $50 shore excursion credit, Wi-Fi, free airfare for second person – really, the folks over at Holidaymaker Travel, Mike and Wendy, have gone out of their way to make this extremely enticing. We hope that we are enticing you, Dar.
DAR HAROLD: Yes.
JIM HAROLD: We would love to have you on the cruise with us, and we’ll have a good time.
DAR HAROLD: Yeah, it would be so much fun.
JIM HAROLD: On this brand-new ship. I was blown away. I’ve seen a lot of ships and I was watching the videos on YouTube and I’m like, okay, now there’s cruise ships and then there’s a cruise ship, and this is definitely a cruise ship. This is something else.
DAR HAROLD: Right, a three-level go-kart racing course.
JIM HAROLD: Dry slides that you can race on. Maybe we’ll race.
DAR HAROLD: Yes!
JIM HAROLD: Maybe. I’m not promising.
DAR HAROLD: No, you’re not promising? Because you know I’ll win, that’s why.
JIM HAROLD: That could be. But I’m promising you, you’ll have a great time if you go on Ancient Mysteries Cruise #6, New York to Bermuda, March 28th to April 2nd, 2023. Dar, we hope to see them on board.
DAR HAROLD: Absolutely. Hope to see you guys there.
JIM HAROLD: Thanks, Holidaymaker Travel.
If you love the Paranormal Podcast, be sure to check out Jim Harold’s Campfire, where ordinary people share their extraordinary stories of ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, and terrifying encounters. Find it for free wherever you listen to this podcast. Tune in to Jim Harold’s Campfire today. Now, we return to the Paranormal Podcast.
JIM HAROLD: We’re back on the Paranormal Podcast. Our guests are Jerry and Tracy Paulley of Hillbilly Horror Stories.
One thing that I really admire – and I think you do as good a job as anybody, maybe better – is community. I’m a member of your group, and I just see how much people care for you personally, how much they relate to you. You can both talk about why that’s been so important to you and how you do it. You just see the true care in both directions in your group, and I think you guys have done, again, a masterful job of that.
TRACY: Thank you. For me, I’ve always been that person that cares about everything. I worry about everything. I have a son that I can’t control. But when you have people that you don’t even know coming to you – because we give our phone number out. We say, “Call us. We’re here. Just need to listen, we’ll do what we can.” I feel like if that helps anybody, then my life has been rewarded, honestly.
I’m most proud of that group because everybody’s there for you any time, day or night. It just means the world to me because I don’t want anybody to hurt. I want somebody to always have somebody to talk to. For me, like I said, that’s the best part of the group. That’s the whole thing that’s the most proud I am of anything.
JIM HAROLD: And Jerry?
JERRY: I agree with that. If nothing else through the podcast, I think that group is the most important thing to come from it. Listens are nice and making money is nice, but to know that you make a difference in people’s lives – I think some people say that and they half-mean it, but with us, I think that truly is the one thing to be most proud of that this podcast has been able to accomplish, that group.
Natasha Reilly is responsible for a big part of that. She’s a big listener of your show, by the way, and she came to us and said, “Hey, why don’t you guys have a group?” We had a Facebook page, and that’s where we posted all the stuff on the show. At the time – this was about four years ago – I really didn’t understand the difference between a Group and a Page. I was like, “If people want to write us, they can write us on the page. I don’t understand how the group is going to be that much different.” I didn’t understand the interactiveness that you have in a Group.
So she talked us into starting it. I told her, “Look, I’ll be honest with you” – this is the ironic thing – “I don’t really want to be that involved with it. But if you want to start it and you want to run it, I’ll contribute when we can.” She said, “Okay, fine, that’s what we’ll do.” If she hadn’t pretty much pushed us to start that group, we wouldn’t have what I feel like is our greatest accomplishment today. I owe her every bit of that. And I know she’ll be listening to this, and we’ve told her that on several different occasions.
When we first started the group, it literally was just a podcast group. People would talk about the recent story and what they liked about it and the craziness of the situation, whatever it was. But then we decided about three years ago to completely turn it into a support group.
It’s a private group to begin with; there’s about 5,500-5,600 members right now. In order to even get into the group, you have to acknowledge that it is a support group. People are going to be posting in there about trauma or ordeals that they’re going through right now, and you have to be completely supportive. And if you can’t be supportive, you can’t be part of the group. It’s important to us. We don’t allow any type of bullying. It’s a zero tolerance group.
We have nine moderators from all over the country of different ethnicities to make sure that we have a complete understanding of our listeners. Like I said, they’re all over the world, so it doesn’t matter – if somebody says something that’s derogatory on a post at three o’clock in the morning, there’s somebody to catch it and complain to if you see it. And we encourage all of our group members to report anything they see like that. We want to make sure that it is a very fun and friendly and safe place for all of our listeners.
JIM HAROLD: I think that’s absolutely great. Another thing I know that you do a lot – and I do want to talk a little bit about the spooky stuff, but one thing I know that you do is you really talk a lot about suicide prevention. I’m looking right now at your website, and you have the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Again, folks, if you’re feeling in distress, we’ll take this opportunity to say that: Call 988. That’s a great new thing that’s available, that Suicide Hotline. We highly recommend you check into it if you need assistance.
But you’ve made that a big thing for you, suicide prevention. Hats off to you for that.
JERRY: Yeah. It’s something that’s near and dear to our heart. Back in our earlier episodes – I think it was Episode 20, 21, so it was really early back – we did a story on the “suicide forest” in Japan. I’ll butcher the name; it’s Aokigahara. I’ll butcher it, so I’ll just say the “suicide forest,” Japan. Most people know what I’m talking about.
But I felt the need to share my story. I had a failed suicide attempt back in 2001 after dealing with depression for several years after a divorce. That prompted me to share the story. People seemed to be really touched by it, so we made it a point for basically every episode of our regular episodes on Sunday night to mention the Suicide Hotline and to give out our own personal numbers if anyone needed to reach out.
Like I said, that all ties in with what we did with the group, but yeah, we want our listeners to know that we’re not just two people sitting behind a microphone that really don’t care about them. We want them to know that hey, if you listen to this and you’re in need, we will talk to you. We’re not too good to pick up the phone or to talk with you on a chat, messenger, or whatever the case will be.
We get calls and texts on a regular basis. I would say each of us get four to five every single week, and we just talk to people. Sometimes that’s all they want to do, is just talk. It’s not always super traumatic. It’s just sometimes, “Hey, I’ve got some stuff going on and I don’t have any feeling that I feel like I can talk to, or they don’t take it serious when I talk to them.” They know that we will.
So yeah, it’s important to us. We know that people give up hope every single day and they lose their lives, and we don’t want any of that to happen to any of our listeners. And unfortunately it has. We’ve had some people that we’ve talked to in the past that unfortunately are no longer with us for that reason. It’s devastating when that happens because you always feel like there’s more that you could’ve done.
But yeah, that’s a big part of our show and that’s the way we start off every show: thanking all of our military and civil service members and mentioning the Suicide Hotline.
JIM HAROLD: Now I want to turn it over to a little bit of the spooky stuff, a little bit of the horror stories, and I want to start with Tracy: what’s your favorite topic of a story? Which ones really get you?
TRACY: For me, starting out it was the rock and roll ones. I would sing these songs, I know every word, but I apparently never listened to the words. [laughs] Like “Hotel California” and all that stuff. My mind was blown. I didn’t really think about what they were saying in these songs. It made me more in tune, no pun intended, about what the songs were about. I always like those.
I do not like the true crime stories at all because I usually will break down and start crying like a little kid. Like I told you before, it’s just heart-wrenching. But I feel like the paranormal is actually really cool to know that the spirits of your loved ones can come to you or whatever and all these little things. I like it all, pretty much. I just don’t like the true crime. And Jerry knows it.
JIM HAROLD: I did a true crime show for quite a while. It was part of my Plus Club. Then, when it was too late, I made it open to everybody by the time that that category was totally flooded. But I started one way, way back.
But I’ve got to be honest with you: even though on one hand I enjoyed doing it, it bothered me because you knew that – if somebody sees a ghost, they’re not being hurt. They might be scared, but they’re not being hurt. But with true crime, it is true, real people are being hurt. Not that I wouldn’t listen to true crime or I wouldn’t watch Dateline with Keith Morrison. I’m sure Jerry has a whole comedy routine about Keith Morrison. [laughs] “Found Bill in the trunk. Was he all right?” That Bill Hader thing.
Anyway, the point being that yeah, true crime, I could see that. I could see why it could be disturbing. I also think there’s a good side to true crime, though, because I always look at it as a cautionary tale. Maybe if somebody makes sure their doors are locked, or maybe if they don’t walk in a bad area, or they make sure they have a friend with them – when you tell a true crime story, you literally don’t know if that could’ve saved somebody’s life, just as directly as the suicide message.
TRACY: Exactly. You’re exactly right about that. I don’t know if it was just maybe the stories that Jerry picked that really bothered me. I don’t know. I watch true crime all the time. It might’ve just been one weird situation of the story that he would tell. I just can’t imagine people are so evil to do the things they do.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, it is sad.
TRACY: Exactly. It’s very, very sad. But I don’t know why – I mean, I watch TV. I watch it all the time. [laughs] It just might’ve been the story that Jerry was telling.
JIM HAROLD: Might’ve been that specific story, yeah.
TRACY: I think so, because I literally lost it right when we were recording. I was like, “Oh crap. I don’t think you’re supposed to do that.”
JERRY: I think you were going to sleep with my masterful storytelling. I think that’s more what it was.
JIM HAROLD: There you go. He put so much life into the story, you just – better than Keith Morrison, I might add. So Jerry, what are your favorite kinds of stories that you do on the show?
JERRY: Oh man. A lot like her – it’s a copout, but I do like all of them. But I love the stories that tend to have the most reliable witnesses. I like stories like the San Pedro Poltergeist that had a lot of police and firemen and stuff like that. Those types of stories I think are hard to turn a blind eye to. But I also really love the reincarnation stories.
TRACY: Oh, I love those.
JIM HAROLD: Those are interesting.
JERRY: The stories of the boy who is four years old and he takes somebody to a town he’s never been to and is able to point where somebody’s body was buried and exactly what happened – those stories are amazing to me.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, that’s one that always got me. I grew up in the Christian faith and I still consider myself the Christian faith, but boy, I’ll tell you, that reincarnation thing – I’ve heard it said, and I don’t know if this is accurate, but at one time that was part of the teachings way, way, way, way, way, way back. But yeah, you get these young kids who have these memories.
We had one on the Campfire where it was in the UK, in Britain, and a little boy, maybe about the same age, four years old or something, hears a plane and he starts saying – must’ve had a pretty good vocabulary, but basically he says, “That sounds like the plane that killed me,” and he tells this story about how he had another mom and they were listening to the radio, and it was during the war, apparently, and this plane killed him. It was an old-time World War I or World War II plane. They had some kind of airshow going on.
I mean, where does that come from? If there isn’t something to it, where does that come from? I guess there’s also the alternate theory that it’s not a sign of a life relived, but it’s a sign of somebody tapping into a broader consciousness and maybe another soul who had that experience. I don’t know. I just know they really, really make you think, those reincarnation stories.
TRACY: Yeah, they’re fascinating, for sure. Now that y’all brought that up, I actually would say that would be my number one thing that I do like. Those and the time lapse. I think those are pretty cool. Sometimes I feel like I’ve done that, like, “Dang, how did I get here?” I don’t even remember driving there or something like that. It’s so fascinating.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, that’s true. The time warp things are always fascinating. All of it leads me to believe that the world is much stranger than we realize, it’s much weirder, and reality is far different than maybe we think it is, and we only can see a little tiny glimpse.
The example I’ve used is if you think about one of those big old-time mansions and you go in and they have a library with all these leather-bound volumes, but they have the door locked, and they have a little keyhole like a skeleton key would go in. You can kind of get a peek and you know that it’s a library and you know that they’re books; you don’t know what’s in the books, what’s written on the pages, how many pages they are, the subject. I think that’s us on the other side of the door looking in. We can get a little glimpse, but there’s so much more that we don’t understand.
TRACY: That’s true. It’s like we’re more like Men in Black than we think we are. [laughs] These people that are walking down the street beside us, you never know what they are.
JIM HAROLD: I gave you a general; I’m going to give you maybe a specific now. Is there one story – and it could be the same story or it could be two different stories – over the time that you’ve done the podcast – I know I’ve got one for Campfire. Is there a story that, if somebody says your favorite all-time story, is there one that comes to mind?
TRACY: Go ahead, Jer.
JERRY: My favorite all-time paranormal story is the Bell Witch. I don’t necessarily know that it’s my favorite episode that we’ve covered, but it’s my favorite ghost story of all time. When we did it, I did take a lot of pride in trying to be as thorough and research as much of it as possible.
But we’ve done so many stories that it just seems like one minute it’s, “Hey, this is the best story we’ve ever done!” and then two weeks later it’s like, “I think this one’s even better!” I go out of my way to try to find unique stories that not everybody knows. Initially we did all the big name stories, but there’s only so many big name stories out there. So I try to find some, and it’s amazing how many awesome stories you can find that nobody’s heard of, or very few people if they don’t live in that area have heard of.
I think maybe my favorite episode might be – let me pull up the address here – 966 Lindley Street. It was one of the Warren cases. I believe it was up in Connecticut. It was a young girl poltergeist case. It’s like a 700-square-foot house, very little. It’s another one of those where you have firemen, policemen that all witnessed a refrigerator that weighed a ton back in – I think this was the ’70s. You know how much refrigerators weighed back then.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, those were heavy refrigerators.
JERRY: But this thing lifted up off the ground and actually moved, and firemen, police, they all saw it. There was even a cat that they said was singing “Jingle Bells” that many people witnessed. I mean, it was just a crazy story. But there were so many incredible witnesses, it makes it hard to deny.
That’s one that we covered at three or four of our live events, I thought it was so good, and we waited to record it until we got through those live events doing it. I think the 966 Lindley Street was probably my favorite episode.
JIM HAROLD: Tracy, do you have one?
TRACY: The Zack and Addie episode that we did, and I think that one is because we actually went to the place where it happened. You just could feel it more, to me, I think. It was just such a sad thing. That story is my favorite – not because of what happened, of course. And like I said before, I like the rock and roll occult stuff just because I love music and I’m interested in finding out the stories behind why they wrote these songs and things like that. And I did like the Japanese forest one as well. That one was hard to take.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, it’s a fascinating thing that goes on there, but it’s very, very sad.
JERRY: The Zack and Addie episode that she’s referring to, for people that might not know it by that name, obviously –
TRACY: Oh sorry, yeah, I guess I should’ve said that.
JERRY: Zack and Addie were a couple post-Hurricane Katrina that stayed around in New Orleans. When the city was basically shut down, they stayed along with a handful of others, and they kind of became local celebrities. They were on the news and all that. Zack had been ex-military; he’d been overseas in the Middle East. They both were bartenders at one point. They met.
Years later, it became a crime scene situation where there was a voodoo shop, and over top of the voodoo shop there were a couple of apartments, and they lived in one of them. Zack actually at some point killed Addie, dismembered her, and actually cooked some of her and put other parts of her in the refrigerator.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my.
JERRY: Then he went to the Omni Hotel, had a suicide note in his pocket; after about two days of drinking and spending money and having fun, he left a suicide note saying where her body was and all that, and he jumped off the Omni to his death. And that’s how her body was discovered.
Bloody Mary, a voodoo priestess down in New Orleans, actually now owns the location, and her museum is that whole place. So when you visit the Bloody Mary Museum – I think it’s on Rampart Street down there in New Orleans – you can actually go into this house and go up in the apartment, and they’ve still got the stove and the refrigerator up there.
JIM HAROLD: Yikes. That’s frightening. That’s just a horrific story, for sure. That makes me think of one other question I have for you both: What do you think ghosts are? Do you think they’re simply replays in places that have high energy? Do you think they’re people who have passed, who are sentient? Do you think there’s other entities other than human-oriented entities, like demons and things like that? When we talk about ghosts and spirits, what are both of your opinions on what they are and what they’re not?
JERRY: Tracy, you can go first.
TRACY: I feel like they are people that have passed on. That’s what I want to think, I guess I should say. I think they’re spirits that came back maybe to watch over you. I don’t want to think that they’re evil because that would make me not want to believe at all. I just think they’re spirits. I think they’re spirits of people that have passed on, and maybe they have unfinished business or maybe they feel like they have to stay behind here and watch over you or whatever, or there’s something that’s keeping them here and not letting them pass, and until they figure that out, then they can go on. That’s basically what I think they are.
JIM HAROLD: Jerry, your opinion?
JERRY: I think they’re a little bit of everything that you mentioned. I think there’s no one set thing. Albert Einstein showed that energy goes on, so when we die, I think our energy goes somewhere. I think in some cases, it stays earthbound for whatever reason. You’ll have people that lived in a house for 40 years, it was their happy place, and they stayed. Or maybe they were an actor at a theater that they loved and that’s where they choose to spend their time afterwards.
But at the same time, I think sometimes people will see, on a Civil War battlefield, the North and the South going at it. I don’t think those are ghosts. I think those are residual energies that just stuck around and replay. So I do think there are times where you can see something that’s not an actual spirit or a ghost.
I also believe there are good and bad entities that are out. I don’t necessarily know that I would term them demons, but for lack of a better term, I don’t think they were earthbound at one point. I think they’re just something extra. And I also believe they could be interdimensional, like you said a while ago with taking a peek through the keyhole into a library. I think sometimes you can see that.
I know in the famous Conjuring scene and the real-life story that Andrea Perron tells about her mother walking in and looking in the dining room and the people look back at her, and they were definitely from a different time period, but they both seemed to notice each other – I don’t think that was a ghost situation. I think that was literally two different dimensions having an encounter. So I think there’s some of everything out there.
JIM HAROLD: I would agree. So what is exciting coming up on the podcast and everything you do? Because I know you’ll do live events and you have a book and so forth. What’s hot right now for Hillbilly Horror Stories?
JERRY: Well, we just finished our last live event, which was the sixth anniversary show at the Old Hospital on College Hill in Williamson, West Virginia. That was really cool. It was fun to be able to do a tour.
We’re going to do something similar on October 16th. That is at Bobby Mackey’s music hall. I guess it’s actually not a music hall, but it’s Bobby Mackey’s up in northern Kentucky, one of the most haunted places in the United States. We’re doing a live event there. It’s on a Sunday. Bobby Mackey’s came down last year and actually did some singing and talked to the crowd. It was really cool.
So we will be doing that, and then the following week, we’ll be at Scare Fest up in Lexington, Kentucky. It’s a huge convention. Robert Englund will be there this time. Bunch of big names.
JIM HAROLD: Oh, cool. Freddy Krueger
JERRY: Yeah, so that’s going to be fun. But the biggest thing is in about three weeks – I don’t know when this will air, but on September 19th, we are actually doing the Hillbilly Horror Stories first cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. Originally we had over 200 people signed up for that.
JIM HAROLD: Oh wow. That is awesome. We’ll make sure we air this in plenty of time to get the word out about the various and sundry things going on.
Guys, I really appreciate it and I applaud what you’ve done. It’s great to have you as part of the paranormal community of paranormal podcasters, and I think you do a fantastic job. Plus you’re great people to boot.
TRACY: Aww, thank you, Jim. We appreciate you so much, honey.
JERRY: Yeah, we definitely appreciate it. I’ve said it every time I’ve ever been on your show – a big part of where we are today is because of your support, and we greatly appreciate it.
JIM HAROLD: Glad to do it. So, in case there may be a few people out there who just got into podcasts, maybe they’ve not had a chance to tune in to Hillbilly Horror Stories, please tell them how to do that and how to find your website.
JERRY: Styrofoam cup and a string will work. It’s a little harder to hear that way. Anywhere that you’re listening to this show. We’re on every major platform. It’s easy enough; you can google “Hillbilly Horror Stories,” you’ll find three or four pages’ worth of stuff. Our website will be there, where you can order t-shirts and stuff like that. We put all of our episodes up on our website if you want to listen that way. iHeart Media, Spotify, iTunes, Google. We’re on every one of the major platforms.
JIM HAROLD: Tracy and Jerry Paulley, Hillbilly Horror Stories. Guys, thanks so much for joining us today. It’s been great.
TRACY: Thank you, Jim. Thank you for having us. It’s really an honor to be on your show.
JERRY: Yes, it is. Thank you.
JIM HAROLD: Now that was a lot of fun. Just great people, and I love what they do. Certainly, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out, do tune in to Hillbilly Horror Stories. It is the perfect time of the year; it is the spooky season, so while you’re listening to them, also don’t forget to make sure that you follow us for the Paranormal Podcast and Jim Harold’s Campfire.
And please tell your friends. Again, this is the time of year when people tune in to the spooky, and it’s a great time to capture new listeners and keep them, and bring them over to our spooky side for the whole year with the shows. So make sure that you’ve followed, but after you do that, please hit “Share” on your favorite app and share an episode, share one of your favorite episodes of this or the Campfire with your friends. They’ll figure out what we’ve been talking about all these years.
We thank you so much. We’ll talk to you next time. Have a great week, stay safe, have a fun time with all the spookiness that is about ready to ensure – oh my goodness! – and stay spooky. Bye-bye.