5 episodes

Chilling stories told by Cassandra Harold. Topics include strange and anomalous phenomena, mind benders, head scratchers and mysterious true crime cases.

Unpleasant Dreams Cassandra Harold with Jim Harold Media

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 204 Ratings

Chilling stories told by Cassandra Harold. Topics include strange and anomalous phenomena, mind benders, head scratchers and mysterious true crime cases.

    The Fox Sisters

    The Fox Sisters

    They were the biggest names in spiritualism and they were also frauds. We share the sad history of The Fox Sisters on this episode of Unpleasant Dreams.
    --
    Cassandra Harold is your host.


    EM Hilker is our principal writer and researcher with additional writing by Cassandra Harold. Jim Harold is our Executive Producer.
    Unpleasant Dreams is a production of Jim Harold Media.
    Sources & Further Reading:
    Abbot, Karen. “The Fox Sisters and the Rap on Spiritualism.” Smithsonianmag.com. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-fox-sisters-and-the-rap-on-spiritualism-99663697/
    Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
    Buzzfeed Unsolved. “The Spiritual World of the Fox Sisters.” Youtube. 2 October 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPPgwh4yk2Q
    Lyttelton, George. Dialogues of the Dead. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/17667/17667-h/17667-h.htm Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
    Nickell, Joe. “A Skeleton’s Tale” Skeptical Inquirer vol 32, no 4. https://skepticalinquirer.org/2008/07/a-skeletons-tale-the-origins-of-modern-spiritualism/ Retrieved 15 November 2020.
    O’Connell, Rebecca. “The Rise and Fall of Five Claimed Mediums.” MentalFloss. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/69973/rise-and-fall-5-claimed-mediums Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
    Stuart, Nancy Rubin. “The Fox Sisters: Spiritualism’s Unlikely Founders.” Historynet. https://www.historynet.com/the-fox-sisters-spiritualisms-unlikely-founders.htm Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
    Wehrstein, KM and McLuhan, R. “Fox Sisters.” Psi Encyclopedia. https://psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk/articles/fox-sisters
    Retrieved 14 November 2020.
    You can find EM Hilker’s full article that this podcast was based upon HERE and a transcript of the podcast version below:
    PODCAST TRANSCRIPT
    The Fox Sisters
    The spiritualism movement of the early-to-mid 1800s captured the hearts and minds of a great many people. Spiritualism was the belief that the spirits of the dead are not only able to communicate with us, but are eager to share their wisdom with the living world.  Spiritualism flourished at a time when Mesmerism was a growing interest on the heels of The Second Great Awakening. This was a fifty year period of religious revivalism, and a curious populace were seeking answers amid the confusion of the day. 
    The Spiritualism movement has given us modern-style seances and stage mediumship; it’s what popularized commercial fortune telling. The term “seance” itself (introduced into the language sometime between 1795 and 1805) merely means a “sitting”, though the spiritual concept is older. George, First Baron Lyttleton, famously featured discussion with the deceased in his  1760’s work of fiction, Dialogues of the Dead. Seances have been divided into four categories: religious, stage mediumship, leader-assisted, and informal social seances. Although, all of the proceedings are considered a part of the spiritualism movement.
    The Fox sisters are credited with launching the movement, but its origins stretch back further than that. Emmanuel Swedenborg, who lived more than a century earlier, experienced a divine revelation in which he learned that communication with the spirit world and with God is possible through a certain mental state. He felt that the body was simply a vessel for the soul, and that Hell and Heaven will attempt to influence mortals to do good or evil, though the mortal in question is free to choose their path as they wish. According to Swedenborg’s beliefs, the path to Heaven or Hell is forged by your actions in life. These ideas would eventually lead to the formation of the New Church and the Swedenborgian Church in North America. 
    The other oft-credited influence on the spiritualism movement is Franz Mesmer, the founder of “animal magnetism” or mesmerism (more commonly known as hypnotism in the modern day). The

    • 14 min
    Shadow People

    Shadow People

    Shadow People. What are they? We discuss these mysterious entities on this week’s edition of Unpleasant Dreams!


    Cassandra Harold is your host.


    EM Hilker is our principal writer and researcher with additional writing by Cassandra Harold. Jim Harold is our Executive Producer.
    Unpleasant Dreams is a production of Jim Harold Media.
    Further Reading
    Want to spend some time curled up with a book or your kindle and getting terrified? Here are some great books to start with:
    The Paranormal Researcher’s Guide to Shadow People by Charis Branson
    The Hat Man: The True Story of Evil Encounters by Heidi Hollis
    The Hatman and the Shadow People by Dominic Kelly
    Shadow People: Who are they and where did they come from? By Dr. Terry King
    Is browsing websites more your deal? I recommend the following sites to start with:
    http://www.shadowpeople.org/ 
    https://www.thoughtco.com/shadow-people-2596772
    https://www.ranker.com/list/what-are-shadow-people/brandon-michaels
    Of course, you can find true tales of shadow people and other creatures on Jim Harold’s Campfire podcast
    You can find EM Hilker’s full article that this podcast was based upon HERE and a transcript of the podcast version below:
    PODCAST TRANSCRIPT
    Shadow People: Darker than the night itself, moving silently in the shadows. They skulk furtively in the periphery of your vision, sometimes lurking darkly at the foot of a sleeping person’s bed, sometimes watching almost unnoticed from a corner of the room. They are enigmatic in more ways than simply the obvious. There is little agreement in the paranormal community on who they are, what they want, where they come from, and why they’re here; in fact, there isn’t much in the way of agreement on what constitutes a Shadow Person in the first place.
    There are, of course, agreed upon characteristics. They are nearly always humanoid in form (though there are reports of them in the form of cats, spiders, and other small creatures). They are even blacker than the surrounding darkness, such that they appear to be distinct three dimensional figures even in an unlit room. They almost always appear initially out of the corner of the eye before moving into full view. In some, though not all, cases they may have red eyes, glowing like embers in the dark. 
    Many researchers have attempted to sort through the varying accounts and traits of shadow people by breaking them down into categories: Rosemary Ellen Guiley divided them into seven classifications based on their role or intention (sentinels, lurkers, minding-their-own-business, predators, visitors, omens, and haunters); Dr. Terry King demarcates five categories based on appearance (humanoid, hat man, animals, black smoke, red-eyed), and Heidi Hollis, who was the originator of the term “Shadow People,” famously demonstrates the difference between regular Shadow People and The Hatman in her book of the same name. 
    These classifications are useful for study, to begin to wrap our collective head around what Shadow People are or what they are not. However, classification in and of itself does not and CAN not go very far in solving the mystery. Certainly it highlights the potential for there to be an entire society of shadow people, as diverse as human society or perhaps even as diverse as our own class, mammalia. We need to delve deeper than mere classification, perhaps even back through time itself.
    As difficult as it is to categorize and define what makes an entity a Shadow Person, it’s equally difficult to say when the phenomenon began. The history of shadow people can be told briefly, if only because it came about in modern day in such an explosion of reports. Certainly Shadow People entered the zeitgeist in 2001 after they were discussed on the popular radio talk show Coast to Coast, though individual reports of Shadow People predat

    • 10 min
    The Tragic Tale of Elisa Lam

    The Tragic Tale of Elisa Lam

    Perhaps the most mysterious death of the 21st century is that of Elisa Lam. We share the tragic story of this young woman on this edition of Unpleasant Dreams.
    Cassandra Harold is your host.
    EM Hilker is our principal writer and researcher with additional writing by Cassandra Harold. Jim Harold is our Executive Producer.
    Unpleasant Dreams is a production of Jim Harold Media.
    SOURCES AND FURTHER READING:
    Anderson, Jake. Gone at Midnight: The Mysterious Death of Elisa Lam. Citadel, 2020. 
    Anon. “Questions Remain Three Years After…” LosAngeles.cbslocal.com. https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/10/31/questions-remain-3-years-after-womans-body-was-found-inside-la-hotels-rooftop-water-tank/ Retrieved 16 February 2021. 
    Barrett, Christina. The Mysterious Death of Elisa Lam. CreateSpace, 2016.
    Brown, Jack. “Body Language Analysis No. 2313: Elisa Lam Video in Elevator at Cecil Hotel.” BodyLanguageSuccess.com. https://www.bodylanguagesuccess.com/2013/02/nonverbal-communication-analysis-2313.html Retrieved 16 February 2021. 
    Buzzfeed Unsolved. “The Bizarre Death of Elisa Lam.” Youtube. 18 March 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48jBi86ih5Q
    Moncrieff, JH. “Whatever Happened to Elisa Lam?” JHMoncrieff.com. https://www.jhmoncrieff.com/whatever-happened-elisa-lam/ Retrieved 16 February 2021. 
    Peters, Lucia. Dangerous Games to Play in the Dark. Chronicle Books, 2019.
    Steel, Danielle. How Elisa Lam Got Disappeared. Sifox, 2017.
    Swann, Jennifer. “Elisa Lam Drowned in a Water Tank Three Years Ago, but the Obsession with her Death Lives On.” Vice.com. https://www.vice.com/en/article/3bkmg3/elisa-lam-drowned-in-a-water-tank-two-years-ago-but-the-obsession-with-her-death-lives-on-511. Retrieved 16 February 2021. 
    You can find EM Hilker’s full article that this podcast was based upon HERE and a transcript of the podcast version below:
    PODCAST TRANSCRIPT
    It was early February of 2013 when some of the residents of the Stay on Main (formerly the Cecil Hotel) began to have problems with their tap water. The water pressure was inconsistent, and the water itself tasted peculiar and was oddly discoloured. In response to the residents’ complaints, the hotel sent employee Santiago Lopez to investigate the issue. His investigation took him to the water towers on the roof of the hotel where, upon examination, he found the decomposing body of a solitary young woman, naked, floating in the cistern, her clothing and some personal effects in the water alongside her. 
    No one recognized by authorities knows precisely how Elisa Lam died. The known facts are that Elisa arrived in Los Angeles on January 26th 2013 and checked into the Stay on Main on January 28th. She was reported missing on February 1st, 2013, after she had fallen out of contact with her family; some time prior to that she displayed seemingly erratic behavior in the hotel elevator, which was caught on tape and has been much-analyzed by professionals and amateur sleuths alike. Her body and clothing were found in one of the rooftop water cisterns, which, in theory, should have been inaccessible by the hotel guests. For a period of time, the guests consumed the water that contained her body, which had been discoloured and had an unwholesome taste. Her clothes were in the cistern as well, covered with what appeared to be sand. It was noted that her cell phone and glasses were missing. Autopsy revealed that she had been dead for several days at a minimum, that there was water in neither her lungs nor her stomach, and that aside from a small abrasion on her knee that she could have gotten anywhere, she had no obvious external trauma that wasn’t accounted for by decomposition. 
    Among the things that are unknown: how did Elisa get in that cistern, which was said to have been difficult to access? How did she get onto the r

    • 20 min
    Black Eyed Kids

    Black Eyed Kids

    For our first episode, the subject is that of Black Eyed Kids. BEKs terrify experiencers with their solid black eyeballs and odd behavior. It is a fitting start to our journey into the unknown.
    Credits:
    Cassandra Harold is your host.
    EM Hilker is our principal writer and researcher with additional writing by Cassandra Harold. Jim Harold is our Executive Producer.
    Unpleasant Dreams is a production of Jim Harold Media.
    Sources and further reading:
    Dying for more stories of alleged BEK encounters? Please see the following articles:
    16 Terrifying Encounters with ‘the Black Eyed Kids’ compiled by Chrissie Stockton
    10 Terrifying Stories About the Black-eyed Children compiled by Lyra Radford 
    Witness Reports: My Friend Died After Meeting Black Eyed Children by Greg Newkirk
    Witness Reports: I Let The Black Eyed Children into my Home and Now I’m Slowly Dying by Greg Newkirk
    Dying for more analysis of the phenomenon? We recommend these books as an excellent starting place:
    The Black Eyed Children, 2nd ed. By David Weatherly 
    The Chilling, True Terror of the Black-Eyed Kids: A Monster Compilation – Second Edition By G. Michael Vasey
    And, of course, the following article by the excellent Ryan Sprague:
    Can we Come In? The Lore of the Black Eyed Children by Ryan Sprague
    You can find EM Hilker's full article that this podcast was based upon HERE and a transcript of the podcast version below:
    PODCAST TRANSCRIPT
    Whether it’s throughout the internet or around campfires, whispered furtively from friend to friend behind pints of ale in the darkened corners of a pub, or scribbled into journals late at night, incidents of encounters with Black Eyed Kids (BEKs for short) appear to be increasing in frequency. “Black Eyed Children” were virtually unheard of until the late 1990s, but stories of encounters with these creatures are becoming more and more common as time wears on. In addition to allegedly true accounts submitted to websites and in chat rooms across the internet, Black Eyed Kids and the lore surrounding them have inspired a short, a full-length movie, dozens of books, both fact and fiction, and yes... even a tote bag. But what are these mysterious children, and where did they come from? Are they just tall tales to be told around the campfire, or something far more sinister?
    There is no consensus on what a Black Eyed Kid actually is. Experiences with these entities run from encounters on roadsides to forests to fields to the very front door of the experiencer. Regardless, there’s always a feeling of strangeness and terror in the air. The black eyed child or children always ask to be let in. And always, the experiencer finds themself gazing into a disquieting pair of preternaturally, entirely black eyes.
    The first written modern account of the Black Eyed Kids was penned in 1998 by Texan journalist Brian Bethel.  But Bethel wasn’t just the individual who coined the term “black eyed kids.” Two years prior to his publication, Bethel found himself approached by two boys, roughly between the ages of 10 and 14, as he sat in his car and filled out a check for a nearby drop box.
    Mr. Bethel’s account tells of a sudden and unexplained overwhelming sensation of illness and unease that heralded the arrival of the boys. The lead boy’s increasing urgency to gain permission to enter his car was unsettling, nearly as much as  his own horror at realizing that both boys had pure black eyes -- not merely very dark human eyes but eyes lacking sclera, iris, and pupil. Their disappearance haunted him as he (wisely, it would seem) sped away into the night, shaking and deeply afraid.
    Author and researcher David Weatherly sought to find earlier cases of encounters with Black Eyed Kids, pre-dating both Bethel’s account and the advent of the internet in general. The earliest written first person accoun

    • 12 min
    Welcome To Unpleasant Dreams

    Welcome To Unpleasant Dreams

    Welcome To Unpleasant Dreams. Chilling stories told by Cassandra Harold. Topics include strange phenomena, mind benders, head scratchers and mysterious true crime cases.
    Unpleasant Dreams is a production of Jim Harold Media

    • 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
204 Ratings

204 Ratings

hharisodnf r ,

Awesome show!

I have listened to all of your episodes and I am loving this podcast. Keep up the good work!

cheapazz ,

Delightful creepy stories to unwind to….

….without being creeped out. Well researched, I learned a fact or two on the stories I thought I was familiar with. Cassandra has a soothing voice as she narrates the show. Fast becoming one of my favorite podcasts, subscribed and looking forward to more of them

SpiritualWarrior29 ,

Grateful

I’m grateful for another top notch paranormal podcast! Looking forward to longer shows in the future too

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