How To Create A Scary Story During A Terrifying Time

By A. Emily Ralph | October 29, 2020

  • Spooky Radio (Photo by Matt Clark)

(Photo by Matt Clark)

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How do you create a scary radio story during an already eerie time? Between the pandemic, social unrest, and the looming election, reality is unsettling enough for many people. Wisconsin Life’s Senior Spooky Correspondent Aubrey Ralph struggled with producing their annual horror story, yet brings us this tale.


As cold creeps in, the leaves drift down in swirls. Their dry brittle bodies scurry, the skeletons of summer, dancing their last hurrah.

We gather here together, in the dark, around small fires, or living rooms, sitting cross-legged on the floor. Take a sip of hot chocolate, or brandy, and pull your blanket tight, as I tell you the story of —

What, like getting a f—ing haircut?!?!  What am I gonna make this piece about?

We’re in a global pandemic and I’m in the at-risk group. Scary movies are only fun, cause like — when you leave the theater — no one is actually chasing you with a chainsaw.

That Midsommer festival was canceled, the haunted orphanage up north, well, they’re not letting me in, and I shouldn’t travel anyway. What am I going to do?

We had to replace a bunch of windows this year. That was terrifying. Maybe I could…

(Phone rings)
Aubrey: “Oh great. Hi Maureen! How are y-”
Maureen: “Aubrey, how’s your story coming along? Where are you on this?”
Aubrey: “It’s, it’s going great, I’m almost…”
Maureen: “I need this story before the end of the week. As my Senior Spooky Correspondent, I’m really counting on you.””
Aubrey: “Ok, I pro-”
(Phone clicks)

Aubrey Ralph recording in the woods. (Photo by Ginger Williamson)

Aubrey Ralph recording in the woods. (Photo by Ginger Williamson)

I guess I could do this about the dumb mirror thing? I just need to dig around for a candle, a lighter.

Ok, Light is off, candle it lit, face the mirror, and just say the name three times:

Bloody Mary.
Ugh — this is ridiculous. I have to get some air.

My plan WAS to do this piece about all those teens who vanished 100 years ago tonight. It’s like a block from my house, but like, of course, there’s no one here. Social media was going crazy about the anniversary back in February. They got halfway building the structure, or alter, or whatever it is. Some of the dolls are up…  but after March… And supposedly you need 12 to form the circle, do the summoning, but there is no. one. here. At least they’re being socially responsible…

Ok, back in the bathroom. I guess I may as well do this for real.

In the age-old tradition, I stand here in a room lit only by candlelight. I stand and face the mirror, and say the name, three times.

Bloody Mary.
Bloody Mary.
Bloody Mary.

Well that was uneventful- Wait, what!?!

Mary: “Who dares to summon me?”
Aubrey: “No…I, I, have to finish, the radio, piece…”
Mary: “It’s finished. It’s finished. IT’S FINISHED!”

Bloody Mary, aka Ginger Williamson, finishing the radio piece. (Photo by Aubrey Ralph)

Bloody Mary, aka Ginger Williamson, finishing the radio piece. (Photo by Aubrey Ralph)


SONG: “The Magic Number” by De La Soul

A. Emily Ralph

A. Emily Ralph

A. Emily Ralph is Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Duchess of Operations,” and the Senior Spooky Correspondent for “Wisconsin Life.” When not handling radio automation or investigating haunted orphanages, Emily enjoys making music, long walks with her sweetie, and chillin’ with cats. 
2020-10-29T18:55:38-05:00Tags: , , , , , |

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