43 episodes

At the crossroads of true crime, interior design, and the paranormal, Dark House explores beautiful homes that can’t seem to escape their dark histories. Hosts and House Beautiful editors Hadley Mendelsohn and Alyssa Fiorentino dig into the twisted backstories of four infamous homes, and uncover the strange stories suggesting some inhabitants never left—and that perhaps history isn't the only thing haunting them. Featuring guest interviews with authors, set designers, psychic mediums, and paranormal investigators, Dark House uncovers why these residences, and the stories they tell us, are so important.

Dark House House Beautiful

    • True Crime
    • 4.6 • 675 Ratings

At the crossroads of true crime, interior design, and the paranormal, Dark House explores beautiful homes that can’t seem to escape their dark histories. Hosts and House Beautiful editors Hadley Mendelsohn and Alyssa Fiorentino dig into the twisted backstories of four infamous homes, and uncover the strange stories suggesting some inhabitants never left—and that perhaps history isn't the only thing haunting them. Featuring guest interviews with authors, set designers, psychic mediums, and paranormal investigators, Dark House uncovers why these residences, and the stories they tell us, are so important.

    Waco Siege Part 2: Feat. Cult Scholar Daniella Mestyanek Young

    Waco Siege Part 2: Feat. Cult Scholar Daniella Mestyanek Young

    Following their investigation into New Mount Carmel Center, Hadley and Alyssa resume their discussion of the infamous 1993 Waco siege. Hoping to better understand the actions of those embroiled in the conflict, they’re joined by author and cult scholar Daniella Mestyanek Young, who, as a cult survivor and Army veteran with a Masters in Organizational Psychology, provides valuable insight into the perspectives of each side. Speaking to her own experiences, Daniella talks about growing up in the Children of God cult as well as her time serving in the Army, and the parallels she’s noticed between those two chapters in her life. The hosts also pick her brain on all things coercive control, including how cult leaders utilize isolated locations and strict living conditions to control their followers. Wrapping up the episode, Alyssa and Hadley reflect on the stories they shared this season. 

    SWEEPSTAKES

    *IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: Following @Darkhousepodcast and liking Darkhouse’s ‘Uncultured’ Memoir sweepstakes post is required to enter Darkhouse’s ‘Uncultured’ Memoir Sweepstakes and does not necessarily signify an endorsement of the brand or post.* NO PURCH. NEC. TO ENTER OR WIN. Darkhouse ‘Uncultured’ Memoir Sweepstakes. Sponsored by Hearst Magazine Media, Inc. From 11/15/23 at 12:01 AM (ET) - 11/22/23, at 11:59 PM (ET), follow @Darkhousepodcast on Instagram and like Darkhouse’s ‘Uncultured’ Memoir sweepstakes post. Open to US, DC, & Canada (excluding Quebec) residents from age of majority. Void in Puerto Rico. Subj. to rules at https://www.housebeautiful.com/promotions/sweeps/a45701029/darkhouse-uncultured-memoir-sweepstakes-2023/.

    CREDITS
    Alyssa Fiorentino - Co-host & Producer
    Hadley Mendelsohn - Co-host & Producer
    Jessy Caron - Producer & Audio Editor
    To advertise on the show: https://www.advertisecast.com/DarkHouse or email us at sales@advertisecast.com. 

    RELATED LINKS
    ‘Uncultured: A Memoir’ by Daniella Mestyanek Young: https://amzn.to/497qeIQ 
    ‘Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism’ by Amanda Montell: https://amzn.to/406FPnQ 
    “Joaquin Phoenix and Rose McGowan Spent Their Early Years in a Religious Cult. Then it Became Infamous.” Esquire (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/3Q7gTb9 
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    Waco Siege Part 1: New Mount Carmel Center (Waco, TX)

    Waco Siege Part 1: New Mount Carmel Center (Waco, TX)

    Alyssa and Hadley turn their attention to New Mount Carmel Center, an isolated ranch just outside of Waco, Texas where a 51-day standoff between the FBI and the Branch Davidians—a religious cult led by self-proclaimed prophet David Koresh—came to a disastrous end on April 19, 1993, when the group’s massive compound burned to the ground with 76 Branch Davidians still inside. Setting out to understand what led to the government’s siege of Mount Carmel, the hosts go back to the beginning, reviewing the tumultuous history of the cult and their property. They also examine the harsh living conditions that Koresh’s followers were subjected to while living there, and how the compound's rudimentary design and construction played a significant role throughout the conflict. Finally, Alyssa and Hadley uncover what happened to Mount Carmel after the fire, how the remains of the compound became a macabre tourist attraction, and the chilling sounds that visitors and caretakers have reported hearing on the grounds since. 

    CREDITS
    Alyssa Fiorentino - Co-host & Producer
    Hadley Mendelsohn - Co-host & Producer
    Jessy Caron - Producer & Audio Editor
    To advertise on the show: https://www.advertisecast.com/DarkHouse or email us at sales@advertisecast.com. 

    RELATED LINKS

    ‘Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and A Legacy of Rage’ by Jeff Guinn: https://amzn.to/3FtvqZL 
    “The Bizarre History of the Branch Davidian Headquarters in Waco, Texas” House Beautiful (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/40o8CVb 
    “The Ghosts of Mount Carmel” (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/3M9U4m3 
    “Branch Davidian Compound, Mount Carmel Center” (VIDEO): https://bit.ly/3Q7gBRB 
    “David Koresh SERMON” (VIDEO): https://bit.ly/45IZL15 
    “The Sinful Messiah: Read the series” Waco Tribune-Herald (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/3Mf4lNT 
    “The hounds of Waco” Salon (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/497qMyo 
    “End Of Days” BBC Radio 5 Live (PODCAST): https://bit.ly/409UKNP
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    • 1 hr 26 min
    Ammons House (Gary, IN) Feat. Psychology Professor Karl Rosengren

    Ammons House (Gary, IN) Feat. Psychology Professor Karl Rosengren

    Hadley and Alyssa investigate the Ammons House, a modest, single-story home in Gary, Indiana where, in the spring of 2011, Latoya Ammons and her three young children were reportedly possessed by demons. After unpacking the history of the region, the hosts dig into the Ammons family’s case, from the first signs of paranormal activity to the extreme behavior that eventually led Latoya to flee the home and seek medical attention for her children. They also review reports made by healthcare professionals, law enforcement officers, and government workers whose eyewitness accounts point to two chilling possibilities: either the Ammons family suffered a psychological phenomenon, or the house really was infested by something evil and otherworldly. Hadley and Alyssa also discuss what happened to the house after Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans bought it in 2014. Later, they’re joined by Karl Rosengren, a professor in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Psychology departments at the University of Rochester, to discuss how belief in the paranormal and magic affect early childhood development, the psychology behind superstition, and more. 

    CREDITS
    Alyssa Fiorentino - Co-host & Producer
    Hadley Mendelsohn - Co-host & Producer
    Jessy Caron - Producer & Audio Editor
    To advertise on the show: https://www.advertisecast.com/DarkHouse or email us at sales@advertisecast.com. 

    RELATED LINKS
    “Paranormal activity: Do Catholics believe in ghosts?” U.S. Catholic (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/3QDiqak
    “White flight followed factory jobs out of Gary, Indiana. Black people didn't have a choice” The Guardian (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/3FyLSry 
    “Resilient Midtown Tour to explore Gary’s historic district on foot” Indiana University Northwest (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/3s74nQX 
    “The exorcisms of Latoya Ammons” Indianapolis Star (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/406svzQ 
    Demon House (MOVIE): https://bit.ly/3s2BHse 
    “We almost lost our lives': Woman possessed by demons in 'portal to hell' house that terrified even the police chief reveals new details of her family's terrifying ordeal” Daily Mail (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/3s2qzf8 
    “Childhood trauma and the development of paranormal beliefs” PubMed (STUDY): https://bit.ly/3Q0Ge6o 
    “Exorcism is something we can’t quite quit” Los Angeles Times (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/3tSUKpm 
    Silhouette in the Ammons House window (PHOTO): https://bit.ly/3QsAYtJ
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    • 1 hr 37 min
    The Amityville Horror House (Amityville, NY)

    The Amityville Horror House (Amityville, NY)

    Tackling the story most requested by Dark House listeners, Alyssa and Hadley come face to face with 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York, the Dutch-Colonial house that inspired The Amityville Horror. The best-selling-book-turned-hit-movie tells the dramatic tale of George and Kathy Lutz, a young newlywed couple who purchased 112 Ocean Avenue in December of 1975, just a year after previous owners Ron and Louise DeFeo and four of their children were brutally murdered in the home. Having fled from the house only 28 days after moving in, the Lutzes told friends and neighbors that "unseen forces" drove them out. Looking to understand why today—despite the fact that the movie remains a classic—the Lutz's story is widely regarded as a hoax, the hosts dig for nuggets of truth buried under a mountain of lies and internet theories. They take a closer look at the DeFeo case and what could’ve possibly motivated Butch DeFeo, Ron and Louise’s eldest son, to commit such a heinous crime, as well as what exactly the Lutzes said happened to them in those 28 days living at the house, and how their credibility has been called into question since. Plus, they discover why the next family to move in after the Lutzes was also forced to abandon the home.

    CREDITS
    Alyssa Fiorentino - Co-host & Producer
    Hadley Mendelsohn - Co-host & Producer
    Jessy Caron - Producer & Audio Editor
    To advertise on the show: https://www.advertisecast.com/DarkHouse or email us at sales@advertisecast.com. 

    RELATED LINKS

    Amityville Horror (MOVIE): https://amzn.to/3EyXTgi 
    ‘The Amityville Horror’ by Jay Anson: https://amzn.to/3ZbAqLP 
    ‘The Golden Avenue: The History and People of Ocean Avenue, Amityville, NY: The History and People of Ocean Avenue, Amityville, NY’ by Doug Robinson: https://amzn.to/3RjQ9GC 
    ‘My Amityville: Memories of a Golden Time’ by Doug Robinson: https://amzn.to/44JnJc8 
    ‘High Hopes: The Amityville Murders’ by Gerard Sullivan and Harvey Aronson: https://amzn.to/489vefp 
    “Why Do We Have To Rely On The Federal Government To Protect Us?” United For Justice In Policing Long Island (BLOG POST): bit.ly/3PfN9ID
    “The Confession Takers” Newsday (ARTICLE PDF): bit.ly/45NfaOV
    “'Amityville' Prisoner Says Movie Money Tainted Defense” The New York Times (ARTICLE): bit.ly/3RjBrzA
    “BEHIND THE BEST SELLERS” The New York Times (ARTICLE): bit.ly/3PiVQlk
    The Amityville House of Horror (VIDEO): bit.ly/3EUTC7j
    “Ex-resident of house debunks much of Amityville ‘horror’” The Seattle Times (ARTICLE): bit.ly/3PBeLJC
    My Amityville Horror (MOVIE): https://amzn.to/45PCz22 
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 25 min
    Victoria’s Black Swan Inn (San Antonio, TX)

    Victoria’s Black Swan Inn (San Antonio, TX)

    Hadley and Alyssa venture to Victoria’s Black Swan Inn, a lush, 35-acre home and wedding venue cloaked by 100-year-old oak trees in San Antonio, Texas. Built in the mid to late 1800s on a plot of land where, 50 years earlier, 60 Mexican soldiers were killed in the Battle of Salado, the Greek Revival manor has had a plethora of owners—including many who died there. Operating today as a residence and special events venue, many guests have reported strange experiences while visiting the property. To get to the bottom of the hauntings, Hadley and Alyssa run through the history of the home, diving into the lives of all of its former occupants and their (alleged) lingering spirits. Working their way through the home’s history up to the present day, the hosts share some of current owner Jo Ann Rivera’s paranormal encounters, including one of the most sinister spectral presences they’ve ever heard of.

    CREDITS
    Alyssa Fiorentino - Co-host & Producer
    Hadley Mendelsohn - Co-host & Producer
    Jessy Caron - Producer & Audio Editor
    Jacob Stone - Sound Editor & Mixer
    To advertise on the show: https://www.advertisecast.com/DarkHouse or email us at sales@advertisecast.com. 

    RELATED LINKS
    Victoria’s Black Swan Inn (HOMEPAGE): https://bit.ly/46hu00n
    “Victoria's Black Swan Inn—Historical Dossier LSF/It Feels Evil” by Celina Sommers (BLOG POST): https://bit.ly/3tarZUT 
    “Owner of San Antonio's Historic Black Swan Inn Unveils Her Paranormal Experiences” My San Antonio (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/467NFjb  
    “Ungesund: Yellow Fever, the Antebellum Gulf South, and German Immigration” Southern Spaces (ARTICLE): https://bit.ly/3PI5dvd
    ‘The Trail Drivers of Texas: Interesting Sketches of Early Cowboys’ by J. Marvin Hunter (excerpt from Christoph Wilhelm Ackermann): https://amzn.to/48CEgSp 
    “Salado Creek, Battle Of” Texas State Historical Association: https://bit.ly/46eL07b 
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 27 min
    Listen Now: MrBallen’s Medical Mysteries

    Listen Now: MrBallen’s Medical Mysteries

    Follow MrBallen’s Medical Mysteries wherever you get your podcasts. You can binge the first 8 episodes, early and ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today.
     
    The human body is a miracle. But when it’s not working, it can be the stuff of nightmares. On this new series from master storyteller MrBallen, we’re sharing medical horror stories and diagnostic mysteries that are surgically calibrated to make your blood run cold.
     
    From bizarre, unheard-of diseases and miraculous recoveries to strange medical mishaps and unexplainable deaths — you’ll never hear the phrase “heart-stopping” in the same way again. MrBallen’s Medical Mysteries is a first of its kind collaboration between MrBallen and Wondery, the award-winning company behind Dr. Death. Listen Now: Wondery.fm/MBMM_DAH
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 7 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
675 Ratings

675 Ratings

mhmlady ,

Love the Ladies and the Show

A new favorite of mine. Love the intersection of history, home design, and spooky tales. Am impressed by the research that must go into each episode, and wonder how they’d have time for this, in addition to full time jobs at House Beautiful. I’m really sorry to read so much harsh criticism of these young women, and I don’t think it’s respectful or deserved. They are intelligent, articulate, and earnest. I love the rapport between them. They are a pleasure to listen to. If they don’t make a season 4, I won’t blame them! (But I hope they do.) Much respect!

BrandyKru ,

Addicted! So good.

I love history, crime (even majored in it), and spirits. This is a great podcast. I am hooked. Alyssa and Hadley, my daughter is also a Cancer born in 1993 on July 1st!! (I think same as Alyssa’s bday) Keep the episodes coming! Love it!

szhcat ,

Good find

I feel lucky to have found a podcast on a subject I adore. The only problem I am having with this podcast is that the narrators, obviously lovely, competent people who have done their research, have an annoying , currently popular, voice inflection. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t like that which is described as vocal fry. So many young people emulate vocal fry nowadays. I hear it all the time. On the radio from the newscaster, in the grocery store, at the dentist from the receptionist. Please stop. It’s not cool. It makes you sound like a fourteen year old. I hate it. It used to be associated with a bored, bratty teen or entitled Valley Girl. Anyway, I digress. The podcast subject matter is fascinating but I have to acclimate myself to the vocal fry if I continue with the subscription.

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