We kick things off with Jason talking about the themes and goals behind his new book What Lurks Beyond, which profiles paranormal events that can be found within 100 miles of his house. He talks about how he got the idea for the book and how he collected and researched the stories found therein. Jason talks about doing the on-site investigation on the various stories found in the book and how people who spend more time in haunted locations (such as hotel employees, tour guides, and the like) end up having some of the best weird stories.

Diving in to some of the stories found in What Lurks Beyond, we talk about the haunted building found on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University, where Jason teaches. We ponder the preponderance of ghost stories on college campuses and why that seems to be the case. Jason shares some of the ghost stories profiles in the "Haunted Campus" chapter of the book.

The next tale we discuss is the infamous "Mad Man" Markham, who was an alleged time traveler and, during his adventures, lived about a half hour away from Jason's house. Jason details Markham's bizarre story, how he became so well known, ended up getting arrested, and then slipped into obscurity. Jason shares some intriguing new details, based on his research, about what Markham was up to during his "quiet period" of recent years.

Jason shares the story of the "Axe Murder House" in Iowa, which was the site of a horrific unsolved axe murder attack on seven people in 1912. Jason recounts the visit, with his Paranormal Journalism class, from last year, which saw some weird, but hilarious, ghostly activity at the Axe Murder House. We talk about some of the weirder elements of the Axe Murder House, such as the alleged communication with the ghosts there and how some believe that the murderer is also haunting the location. This leads to some discussion on why the paranormal seems so selective and seems to avoid those who would "appreciate" it most: paranormal enthusiasts.

We then delve into the Black Eyed Kids phenomenon, starting with the BEK story told in What Lurks Beyond. Jason talks about some of the recurring elements of many BEK stories that he's heard. We speculate on what happens when one allows a Black Eyed Kid into their home, what the BEKs might actually be, and where the phenomenon originated. Jason also talks about interviewing a man who claimed to be a Black Eyed Kid and shared his origins with Jason. He also talks about some of the medical reasons or hoax methods that are attributed to BEKs and why he doesn't think they account for the phenomenon. Jason also reveals why he's keeping a Black Eyed Kid book on the backburner because of a freaky story he heard from a family friend.

Touching on some of the smaller details found in the book, we find out if there is a connection between Jason Offutt and Offutt Air Force Base, which is referenced numerous times in the book. We also hear about how a case surrounding the Ouija Board ended up going to the Supreme Court, which issued a ruling that the device was only a game. This leads to some talk about the claims of some authors who said that they "talked" to Mark Twain on the Ouija and he dictated stories to them.

Examining the final story found in the book, we have Jason tell us about Jim the Wonder Dog, an alleged psychic dog from the 1930's. Jason details some of Jim's amazing exploits which earned him fame for bizarre abilities of potential psychic prowess. Jason also recounts an interview he did with a woman who witnessed some of Jim's psychic tricks.

Wrapping up our look at a selection of stories from What Lurks Beyond, Jason talks about "The Possession of Travis White," which details the creepy story of a man possessed by some kind of demon and Jason relates how he actually knew Travis White before he knew about his demonic possession. Jason details the whole story of Travis' possession, how he managed to escape the demon via an exorcism, and what Travis is like today.

From there, we talk about ghost hunting, in general, and hear some of Jason's observations on the phenomenon of ghost hunting, such as the emergence of technology and how it has skewed ghost research. He also shares the best things that people can do if they are going on a ghost hunt.

Getting an update on a project that Jason was about to start when we talked to him last season, we find out about his Paranormal Journalism course that took place in the Fall of 2009. He talks about how the course came about, how the students took to it, and what the curriculum for the course was like. We also find out about the kids that took the course, such as were they skeptical of the paranormal and what sort of genres most interested them. This segues into Jason talking about the grant his colleagues got to study Steven Gibbs' infamous Time Machine.

Heading towards the close, we get an update from Jason on his research into Shadow People and he shares a recent creepy tale that he's heard about this enigmatic phenomenon. This segues into some lighthearted discussion on Ouija Boards. Closing out the interview, we find out what's next for Jason Offutt, including a new book due out later in the Summer, and how to get a copy of What Lurks Beyond.

Jason Offutt is a writer and college journalism instructor. At various times in his career, he has also been a newspaper editor, general assignment reporter, photographer, newspaper consultant, bartender, farm hand, and the mayor of a small Midwestern town. His books include Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State's Most Spirited Spots, and a collection of parenting humor entitled On Being Dad. He has been named humor writer of the year multiple times by the Missouri Press Association. He lives with his wife and children in Maryville, Missouri. His website is from-the-shadows.blogspot.com

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2 Hr 7 Min
Jason Offutt