Paranormal Podcast

When professors Edwin Taylor and Evan Hart aren’t busy filling their roles at Missouri Western, they enjoy delving into the world of the paranormal. The PhDs have always shared an interest in all things spooky, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2019 that they expanded upon the hobby. After watching an episode of Travel Channel’s "Ghost Adventures," Taylor found the inspiration to share this knowledge with others. 

Ghost Adventures" had taken a class with them on a ghost hunt,” Taylor said. “I spoke with Dr. Hart, and told her that it’d be really cool if we taught a course on this. So, we worked together and created an honors 195 colloquium on science and the supernatural.”

The abstract nature of supernatural events makes teaching a class about the concept quite difficult to tackle. Hart recalls the approach they took when establishing the course. 

“The idea behind the class was to try and figure out how to study things that we don’t know how to study,” Hart said. “How would you ever prove the existence of ghosts or the paranormal?”

One of the most valuable takeaways from this course was the hands-on experience gathered from haunted field trips. 

“We went to Atchison and took students to the Sallie House which is allegedly one of the most haunted houses in the area,” Hart said. “We also took a few students to the Glory Psychiatric Museum and went on a late night exploration.”

After observing these paranormal locations first hand, the PhDs both decided that their knowledge about the topic would translate well into podcast form. 

“We took these experiences which were driven from our interactions with students here, and we’re like, 'Let’s do this thing,” Taylor said. “That’s when we sat down and mapped out our first episode.”

The podcast name they ultimately decided on was "PhDParanormal," and the first episode premiered on Oct. 10, 2020. Since its debut, Taylor and Hart have been consistently uploading episodes running about one hour on average. Looking towards the future, they hope to incorporate student involvement into the show. 

“Our next step is turning part of the podcast into an opportunity for students to get applied learning experience,” Taylor said. “They’re working on some theme music for us and might take on some of the editing responsibilities.”

The "PhDParanormal" podcast is more than just a place for Taylor and Hart to discuss ghosts. It’s also providing a safe space for listeners to share their supernatural stories and experiences. 

“A lot of people feel like they’ve had experiences, but don’t want people to know,” Hart said. “They think they’re going to be judged or that people won’t believe them. They’re more comfortable sharing their stories anonymously, and we’re happy to do that for them. What we’re trying to do is talk about those things, explore them and see if we can understand them in some fashion.” 

If you’re faint of heart or get easily spooked, don’t worry. The podcast isn’t intended to be scary. 

“The goal is not to creep you out. If you’re curious but don’t want to be scared to death, check us out,” Taylor said. “The greatest strength that we bring to the podcast is not our expertise in ghost hunting, but our expertise as researchers to find and gather information.”

The strong researching ability of both professors translated seamlessly into the content of their podcast. 

“A lot of our podcast has to do with the history of the places that we talk about,” Hart said. “We try to remember that the people who lived and died in these places are real people. We talk about tragedies that have happened at these locations. Sometimes, in ghost tourism, people take advantage of other’s stories. We try to be empathetic and kind.” Taylor said. 

If you or anyone you know has a story they would like the professors to share on the podcast, feel free to contact them directly through either their Facebook page, PhDParanormal or email phdparanormal@gmail.com

“Anyone who sends us a story can let us know how they want it to be handled,” Taylor said. “Do they want us to identify them? Do they want us to keep them anonymous? It’s completely up to them.” 

For those interested in learning more, the "PhDParanormal" podcast is on all streaming services including both Apple Music and Spotify. The latest episode was uploaded on March 6 and covers haunted locations around Portland, Ore. 

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