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Family Ghosts

WALT FM

Society & Culture

4.8 • 4.9K Ratings

Overview

Every house is haunted. In each episode of Family Ghosts, we investigate the true story behind a mysterious figure whose legend has followed a family for generations. Grandmothers who were secretly jewel smugglers, uncles who led double lives, siblings who vanished without a trace, and other ghostly characters who cast shadows over our lives in ways that might not be immediately obvious. We are all formed in part by our familial collections of secrets, intrigues, and myths. By engaging with each others’ legends, perhaps we can see each others’ realities more clearly. Hosted by Moth Grand Slam winner Sam Dingman, whose stories have been featured on Risk!, TBTL, Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything, and The Moth Radio Hour.

77 Episodes

FG Presents: The Burden

Introducing "The Burden," from legendary investigative reporter (and longtime friend of the Ghost Family) Steve Fishman.

Transcribed - Published: 19 March 2024

Good Company

Sam's quest to uncover a family ghost that lives in his radio. If you like what you hear, please check out “Good Company” on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Transcribed - Published: 31 August 2023

Sam's Breadcrumbs

Sam was recently featured on an episode of Breadcrumbs, hosted by his best and oldest friend Allen Brooks. In the course of their conversation, they ended up talking about things they’d never discussed - deepening their connection even further. If you like what you hear, find more episodes of Breadcrumbs here.

Transcribed - Published: 19 April 2023

67. The Midnight Disease

Sam shares an update on why Family Ghosts has been MIA lo these many months - and an exciting preview of a new beginning. If you like what you hear, please check out The Midnight Disease for the thrilling conclusion to episode one, and stay tuned for weekly episodes going forward. Thank you, Ghost Family.

Transcribed - Published: 5 April 2023

66: Bone Hill Reprise

An important update about Family Ghosts, and a reprise of a timely tale.

Transcribed - Published: 1 July 2022

65: An Electric Dissatisfaction

Josh Ritter tells Jayson De Leon about charting a course through the unknown.

Transcribed - Published: 17 June 2022

64: A Mississippi Story

Guy Story finds out his father had a secret. Before long, Guy finds himself on a treacherous journey of discovery about a mysterious desperado, and trying to figure out why everyone seems ashamed to admit they’re related to him. Check out Guy’s band: https://www.storytownband.com/ Read the blog post he wrote to accompany his song: https://www.storytownband.com/the-latest-from-storytown/2021/7/1/skeletons-in-the-closet. And watch the music video here: https://youtu.be/ke_8Uc_09Mg Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits get access to all of our episodes ad-free, and exclusive bonus content. If you have the means, please consider joining them today at http://patreon.com/familyghosts. And if you don’t have the means, no worries. Please consider supporting the show for free by leaving us a review in Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed - Published: 3 June 2022

63: Hard Eights and Husky Boys

Stories about inscrutable older men with vital wisdom to share - if only we could figure out how to talk to them. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits - our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits hear our episodes ad-free, and get access to bonus content that’s not available anywhere else. If you have the means, please consider joining them today at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 21 May 2022

62: Manual Transition

Mark embarks on a rollicking quest to find a Cool Dad. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits - our community of supporters on Patreon. For just five dollars a month, Kindred Spirits hear our episodes ad-free, and they get exclusive bonus content that’s not available anywhere else. If you have the means, please consider joining them today at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 6 May 2022

61: The Pretender & The Godfather

On the occasion of a major life milestone, Sam reflects on two of his wayward role models. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Kindred Spirits - our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits hear our episodes ad-free, and they get exclusive bonus content. If you have the means, please consider joining them today at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 22 April 2022

60: Telling Our Stories To Ourselves

Producer Veralyn Williams explores the power of subjective storytelling in the aftermath of her experience working on a particularly harrowing episode. Find more of Veralyn’s work at https://www.iamveralyn.com/, learn more about Robin Boylorn here, and Tayari Jones here.

Transcribed - Published: 8 April 2022

59: How Will You Spend Your Time? (A Family Ghosts Mixtape)

Seven songs from in (and around) our series that just might make you come unstuck in time. Featuring performances by: D and Chi, Allan, Martha Redbone, Kirya Traber, Jay Starling, and Jocelyn Mackenzie.

Transcribed - Published: 25 March 2022

58: Pioneer Stock, Part 3: Sacred Secrets

Craig learns the truth about the end of his Uncle Larry's life - and finds a new beginning for his own. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits hear our episodes ad-free, and they get access to exclusive bonus content that’s not available anywhere else. If you have the means, please consider joining them today, at http://patreon.com/familyghosts. Find more of Craig’s stories here. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed - Published: 11 March 2022

57: Pioneer Stock, Part 2: A Life Deferred

Craig travels to Utah to unlock the mysteries of his Uncle Brent’s life - literally. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits hear our episodes ad-free, and they get exclusive bonus content that’s not available anywhere else. If you have the means, please consider joining them today at http://patreon.com/FamilyGhosts. And either way, thank you for listening.

Transcribed - Published: 25 February 2022

56: Pioneer Stock - Part 1

Craig grows up in hiding from his uncles' secret lives, fearful that his family will one day discover his own secret. Listen to Craig on the Moth Radio Hour here, and find more of his work here. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. If you have the means, please consider joining them today at https://patreon.com/familyghosts. Thank you for listening!

Transcribed - Published: 12 February 2022

55: Don't Look Directly At It

Malcolm Gladwell shares a parable from the past, and Nick Markovich searches for the meaning of life. Hear more of Malcolm’s work on Revisionist History, and more of Jacob’s work on Deep Cover. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits hear our episodes ad-free, and they get access to exclusive bonus content. If you have the means, please consider joining them today at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 27 January 2022

54: The Fatal Nickel

The wayward son of a manufacturing dynasty tries to sow fresh roots in his family tree. Sources: Jane Mayer Daniel Schulman Brian O’Reilly & Patty De Llosa Katharine Q. Seelye Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits hear our episodes ad-free, and get exclusive bonus content that’s not available anywhere else. If you have the means, please consider joining the Kindred Spirits at http://patreon.com/familyghosts. Thank you for listening!

Transcribed - Published: 14 January 2022

53: Something in the Wind

Sam has a memory he can't explain - which, in turn, explains a lot about Family Ghosts. Thanks to Marcy and Betsy - check out A Funny Feeling here. And find the Neighborhood Watch photo essay here. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. If you have the means, please consider joining them today for just $5 per month: http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 31 December 2021

52: Untitled Dad Project

Janielle Kastner tries to get to know a man she never got to meet. Find and follow “Untitled Dad Project” wherever you’re listening to this. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. For just five dollars per month, Kindred Spirits get ad-free versions of all of our episodes, plus exclusive bonus content. If you have the means, please consider joining them today at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 17 December 2021

51: You Know It's Wrong

Stories about rediscovering home in unexpected ways. Featuring Micaela Blei and Jeff Simmermon.

Transcribed - Published: 3 December 2021

50: They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore

Stories from Bradford Jordan and Ophira Eisenberg about reckoning with the fundamental truth (or, in some cases, lies) about who their mothers are. This episode is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. Please consider joining them for just five dollars per month. You’ll hear our episodes ad-free, get exclusive bonus content, and help keep Family Ghosts on the air!

Transcribed - Published: 19 November 2021

49: City Folk

Sam gets a ghostly answer to a decade-old question.

Transcribed - Published: 5 November 2021

BONUS: The Rumor

A mysterious story has haunted the city of Baltimore for 25 years. Can Sam unravel the truth...before the truth unravels him? Follow The Rumor on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen.

Transcribed - Published: 25 October 2021

48: Superheroes

Stories about unexpected impulses with deep generational roots. Hubby Jenkins tells the story of discovering a deep connection with his banjo, and Dr. Njoki McElroy tells the story of an evil happening in Sherman, Texas. Find more of Hubby's music at https://hubbyjenkins.com/, and read more about Dr. McElroy at http://www.drnjokimcelroy.com/. This episode is made possible by the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits hear our episodes ad-free, and get exclusive access to bonus episodes. If you have the means, please consider joining the Kindred Spirits at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 21 October 2021

47: The Soft War

Thi Bui tells producer Jennifer Lai about the delicate process of asking her parents about their worst experiences - and the even more delicate process of turning those conversations into works of art. Listen to Jennifer’s current project, The Slowdown, here. And find Thi’s memoir, “The Best We Could Do,” here. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Patreon supporters get access to all of our episodes ad-free, as well as exclusive bonus content not available anywhere else. If you have the means, please consider joining the Kindred Spirits at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 7 October 2021

46: A Dime for Mr. Fetterman

This week, we're celebrating family stories that seem simple on the surface, but are actually the keys to understanding our entire personalities. Featuring comedians Pat Regan and Gastor Almonte. Listen to Pat's podcast, Seek Treatment, and watch Hacks, the show he writes for, on HBO Max. Find more of Gastor's stories on PBS and Comedy Central, and check out his album, Immigrant Made.

Transcribed - Published: 24 September 2021

45: A Hollywood Ending

Following the tragic murder of his brother Asher, Mac's family finds disparate ways of re-assembling their shattered lives. Mac’s essay originally appeared in Gawker.

Transcribed - Published: 10 September 2021

44: Forever Is A Long Time

Everyone in Ian's family gets divorced. Now that he's been married for a few years, he wants to know if his relationship is doomed. Listen to the full series of “Forever Is A Long Time” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you’re listening to this. And check out our Patreon page for a longer version of Sam and Ian’s conversation from the end of this episode.

Transcribed - Published: 26 August 2021

43: The Namesake - Part 3

"I feel really lucky that Danny is Danny." The conclusion of our miniseries with Jessie Pascarelli. This episode was made possible in part by the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. If you have the means, please consider joining them today for just $5 per month at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 13 August 2021

42: The Namesake - Part 2

"You can open up a book and choose a sentence at random, and derive meaning from it." This episode is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits - our community of supporters on Patreon. Please consider joining them for just $5 per month: http://patreon.com/FamilyGhosts.

Transcribed - Published: 30 July 2021

BONUS: Snatching Sinatra

For the last few months, Sam's been hard at work with John Stamos (yes, that John Stamos) on a top-secret project. In this special bonus episode, you’ll hear a preview of the wild, true story of Barry Keenan, who kidnapped Frank Sinatra, Jr in 1963. Follow “The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra” wherever you listen to podcasts to hear the full story.

Transcribed - Published: 27 July 2021

42: The Namesake - Part 1

Jessie's name is the continuation of her aunt's story. But no one's ever told Jessie the real story of her aunt. This episode is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Kindred Spirits, our community of Patreon supporters. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits get ad-free versions of all of our episodes, plus exclusive bonus content you won’t find anywhere else. If you have the means, please consider joining them today: http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 16 July 2021

41: Motherland - Part 2

“Saving face would not rescue my mother.” Read more of Jiayang’s writing for The New Yorker here: https://www.newyorker.com/contributors/jiayang-fan. This episode is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits hear our episodes ad-free, and get access to bonus content that’s not available anywhere else. If you have the means, please consider joining them, at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 1 July 2021

40: Motherland - Part 1

“The two of us became the embodiment of the Chinese phrase xiang yi wei ming - mutual reliance for life." Read more of Jiayang's work here, and find her piece on ghost scams here. This episode is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. If you have the means, please consider joining the Kindred Spirits for just $5 per month at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 18 June 2021

39: The Old Block

Jim grabs the baton, and Gastor sees the face behind the mask. You can hear more of Jim's work on "Blindspot: The Road to 9/11" at https://www.npr.org/podcasts/908344999/blindspot-the-road-to-9-11, and more of Gastor's on "The War Report" at https://anchor.fm/warreportpod. This episode is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. If you have the means, please consider joining them at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 4 June 2021

38: The Reality Map (or The Faith Exam, Part 2)

Andrew tells the family ghost story behind a Family Ghosts story. Learn more about Andrew and hear more of his work at http://gildedaudio.org. Our work is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of listeners who commit $5 per month to keeping Family Ghosts in your headphones. If you have the means, please consider joining them at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 20 May 2021

37: The Walls of Jericho

When Erin moves to England, her mother presents her with a life-altering choice. Learn more about Erin at her website, https://www.erinhbarker.com/. Hear more of her work on the Story Collider podcast, and The Moth. This episode is brought to you by the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 a month, Kindred Spirits hear our episodes ad-free, get exclusive bonus episodes you won't hear anywhere else, and provide essential support for the work we do here at Family Ghosts. If you have the means, please consider joining them: http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 7 May 2021

36: Still Close

Sam receives an unexpected message from the past, delivered by a Spiritualist medium in a mysterious town called Lily Dale. Learn more about Tiffany Hopkins at [nobox.us/unseen](nobox.us/unseen), and find Steven Cantor's work at https://www.stickfigureproductions.com/. You can stream "No One Dies in Lily Dale" here. This episode is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. If you have the means, please consider joining them at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 23 April 2021

35: Guests

Mary Terrier tells the story of a woman who seems to hold all the keys. Read more Mary Terrier at http://maryterrier.com. This episode is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. Please consider becoming a member today: http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 8 April 2021

34: Foxes

Kimberly King Parsons tells the story of a mother telling a story about her daughter telling a story. Learn more about Kim and buy "Black Light," her collection of stories, here. Family Ghosts wouldn't be possible without the generosity of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. If you have the means, please consider joining them for just $5 per month at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 25 March 2021

33: Rack & Cue

Bradford and Paul come to terms with the people they wish their parents could be - and the people they actually are. Find more of Bradford's stories at http://www.bradfordjordan.com/stories. Find Paul's work with TestifyATX here, and his classes at Merlinworks here. This episode is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits get early access to our episodes, hear them ad-free, and get bonus content that doesn't appear here in the main feed. If you have the means, please consider joining them at http://patreon.com/FamilyGhosts.

Transcribed - Published: 11 March 2021

32: Unwell - A Midwestern Gothic Mystery

Sam takes you on a trip to a mysterious boarding house in Mt. Absalom, Ohio - a community riddled with secrets and lost memories. Learn more about Unwell at https://www.unwellpodcast.com. Family Ghosts is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community on Patreon. For just $5 a month, Kindred Spirits get early access to all our episodes, hear them ad-free, and get exclusive content that's not available anywhere else. If you have the means, please consider joining them at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 25 February 2021

31: A Crane in the Bay - Part 3

After more than thirty years of following roads to nowhere, Kate carves her own path. This episode is made possible by the generous support of the Kindred Spirits. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits get early access to all of our episodes, hear them ad-free, and get exclusive bonus content that's not available anywhere else. If you have the means, please consider becoming a member at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 11 February 2021

30: A Crane in the Bay - Part 2

Kate flees the haunting silence of Baltimore - but no matter where she goes, Eddy's ghost isn't far behind. After decades of torment, she decides to open her own investigation into her father's disappearance. This episode is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits - our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits get early access to all of our episodes, hear them ad-free, and enjoy bonus content not available anywhere else. On top of all that, Kindred Spirits get the good feeling of knowing they’re making the work we do here at WALT FM possible – because the fact is without them, it simply wouldn't be. So if you have the means, please consider becoming a member today at http://patreon.com/familyghosts. And either way, thank you for listening.

Transcribed - Published: 28 January 2021

29: A Crane in the Bay - Part 1

When an unnatural disaster befalls her family, Kate demands answers. But no one's willing to talk. Read David Simon's 1992 article about Kate and her family here. This episode is made possible by the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. For just $5 per month, Kindred Spirits enjoy early access to all of our episodes, and hear them ad-free, and also get exclusive bonus content that's not available here in the main feed. If you have the means, please consider joining them at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 14 January 2021

28: The Faith Exam

Julian joins a church in Poughkeepsie, and discovers a decades-old secret about her uncle. ~41~ Learn more about Andrew Chugg at https://gildedaudio.org/, and about Christina Roussos at https://www.christinaroussos.com/. This episode was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. In addition to ad-free episodes, Kindred Spirits get early access to all of our work, and hear exclusive bonus episodes that aren't available anywhere else. This week, they're hearing a special behind-the-scenes interview with Andrew Chugg. If you have the means, please consider joining the Kindred Spirits at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 11 March 2020

27: The Mission

Decades after her brother's mysterious disappearance, Toni finally learns the truth about what happened to him. ~41~ This is episode is made possible thanks to the support of the Kindred Spirits, our community of supporters on Patreon. In addition to ad-free episodes, Kindred Spirits get early access to all of our episodes, as well as bonus exclusives you won't hear anywhere else. This week, they're hearing a very special excerpt from our Family Ghosts Live show at the Bell House last summer. If you have the means, please consider joining them by donating $5 per month at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 4 March 2020

26: Spirit World

Mythic masonry, a haunted crucifix, and the Marfa lights. This week: Jim peeks behind the veil of Gothic horror, Susan's mom goes looking for - and finds - evidence of the afterlife, and Melle searches the highways of Louisiana for some missing pages of her family's history. ~41~ This episode is made possible by the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our supporters on Patreon. In addition to early access to episodes, Kindred Spirits hear all our stories ad-free, and get exclusive bonus content. This week, they're hearing audio from last summer's run of Family Ghosts Live shows. If you have the means, please consider supporting our work by donating $5/month at http://patreon.com/familyghosts. 

Transcribed - Published: 19 February 2020

25: The Ambassador

Mac and his mom have a lot to talk about: her relationship with her psychic, his brother's murder, and a life-altering betrayal that happened decades ago. But with her health in rapid decline, Mac's starting to worry it might be too late to get any answers. ~41~ This episode is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kindred Spirits - our supporters on Patreon. In addition to getting early access to all our episodes, and hearing them ad-free, Kindred Spirits get special bonus episodes that aren't available anywhere else. This week, they're hearing Mac read the Gawker essay that inspired this week's story. If you have the means, please consider becoming a Kindred Spirit for just $5 a month at http://patreon.com/familyghosts.

Transcribed - Published: 12 February 2020

24: Little Stonehenges

Following her father's death, a ghost appears in Natalie's childhood home and refuses to leave. Natalie has spent the last few decades attempting to decode the ominous messages it left behind. ~41~ This episode is made possible by the generous support of the Kindred Spirits, our supporters on Patreon. In addition to early access to all of our episodes, Kindred Spirits hear them ad-free, and get bonus episodes that aren't available anywhere else. This week, they're hearing a story from Sam about a supernatural experience of his own. If you have the means, please consider joining the Kindred Spirits for just $5/month at http://patreon.com/familyghosts. And to learn more about "There Is Evil In This House," the play Natalie wrote based on her haunting, click here: https://newplayexchange.org/users/23061/natalie-dressel.

Transcribed - Published: 5 February 2020

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