What is it about Bigfoot, aliens, or the Loch Ness Monster that keeps us captivating and asking questions? If you’re anything like me, you’re endlessly fascinated but skeptic of mythological legends and monsters. Not Alone is a new podcast that thoroughly researches and takes a logical approach to exploring some of these far out topics.
Hosts Sam and Jason both take opposite angles in discussing the likelihood of some of these topics. Sam, the idealist, chooses to believe whereas Jason is a little more skeptical.
I got a chance to meet and speak with Sam about how the podcast got started and some of his more unorthodox beliefs. See below for our full Q&A.
Discover Pods: How did your podcast get started?
Sam: This podcast got started quite quickly. My wife has decided she was going to do a blog and I was joking around that I would do a podcast. I’ve wanted to podcast for the last 5 years pretty much, and recently have been listening to so many shows that really inspired me. My wife knew this and encouraged me strongly to just go ahead and try it, as I had a lot of free-time, working only part-time in my job and taking a break from school. From there, again as a joke, I asked my now co-host, Jason, to join me in the endeavor. Surprisingly, he agreed with complete sincerity and before we knew it, we were up and running. Our first episode came out in February, the 18th I believe. We had really seriously decided to do it just two weeks previous, and from there we’ve done our best to get an episode out every week, so long as we have the time.
DP: Did your wife follow through with her side of the deal to start a blog?
Sam: My wife did follow through on her side of the deal. She just this week posted her first real blog post on her website, aspoonfulofgrace.com. She focuses on our family journey as we don’t have a lot of spare money right now, but still try to live a full and abundant life. She started with a recipe for some of her famous Garden Spaghetti, and will be posting more of her original recipes, as well as tips and tricks for saving money and making the most of your life. I’m so proud of her and can’t wait to see as her blog grows.
DP: Why did you choose to podcast rather than some other platform?
Sam: I chose a podcast because I wanted to tell stories. I’ve always thought of myself as an adept writer with a fairly good mastery of the English language, but I realized the stories I want to tell, ones of monsters and aliens and devils, lacked a certain quality on the printed page. You need to be passionate when talking about these things, so that even if people think you’re a kook, they know you’re a sincere one. Podcasting gave us the perfect opportunity to tell our stories, and the pairing of my partner and I, Jason being more skeptical and myself being a true believer in the majority of paranormal subjects, also gave us the chance to present both points of view and allow our listeners to make their own, well-informed decision.
DP: As a relatively new podcaster, what have you learned in the last few months you wish you knew prior?
Sam: I’ve learned a whole lot in the last five and a half months. Prior to starting the podcast I had no experience with audio engineering, serious research, or public speaking, so these have all been things that I’ve had to learn as I go. I have a joke with my friends that with every new episode, I teach myself one new thing about audio engineering, and in a few months we might have a decent episode finally. The one thing I didn’t realize is how important social media and self-promotion is. During our launch week, I literally told people not to listen to the show because I was so embarrassed of my own voice and how they would think of me, until finally I realized that if I truly thought that way, I shouldn’t be doing the podcast. Ever since then, I’ve been training myself to be more vocal whenever I can, without being annoying, to promote myself and the show. I also had absolutely no idea how important social media really was in the professional world. I’ve noticed such a difference in our downloads and listener engagement ever since I started utilizing our twitter page on a daily basis it blows my mind. It’s a lot of fun as well, I really enjoy interacting with our listeners and getting feedback through that channel, as well as just making new podcasting friends there. As a personal in general I almost never post to social media, and when I do it’s something about my wife, my dog, or my job. So I would have loved a little more time to research how to really do it properly, but we’re doing just fine for now.
DP: What makes your podcast unique?
Sam: Our podcast is unique in a few ways. The first I already mentioned. The pairing of myself and Jason makes for an entertaining and informative reading, because we both count ourselves reliable researchers and logical, sane people, but we see things in two vastly different ways. People listening can identify with myself, buying into the UFO phenomena and the like whole-heartedly, or they can identify with Jason, a cool voice of more empirical reason. Our other distinctive feature is our research. I didn’t want to do this show if it was nothing but hearsay and conjecture, and if every week we were just asking listeners to believe us without any evidence what so ever. While we have done a few interviews, and hope to do a good amount more, the majority of episodes are and will be historical accounts of the strange and unexplained. This means spending hours finding first-hand accounts, corroborating stories and records, and bringing everything together to allow the listener enough information to make their own, well-informed opinion. I truly believe listeners continue to come back, and at this point bring others with them, week after week because when they listen to our program, they end it feeling smarter than they did before. They know more and are better able to speak to these events than they were an hour earlier.
DP: Can we rapid fire some paranormal creatures and you say if you believe or not? Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Leprechauns, Unicorns, Vampires, Werewolves, Aliens/Roswell, Chupacabra, 50-foot shark
Sam: Bigfoot? Most definitely, however I ascribe to the newer belief that he is not an undiscovered species native to earth but rather something inter-dimensional, popping in and out of our worldly plane. Loch Ness Monster? I’m going to say yes, but begrudgingly. Leprechauns? No, maybe nature spirits, but not little fellows in green get ups. Unicorns? Not in the least. Vampires? Not the blood sucking kind, but maybe something more of an energy vampire. However even that’s a stretch for me. Werewolves? I believe in anthropomorphic wolf men who exist, either as an undiscovered species or an inter dimensional visitor, but not a man turning into a wolf. Except when it comes to skin walkers Aliens & Roswell? 110 percent. I’m waiting. Abduct me please. Chupacabra? No. For more information, listen to the episode that is coming out either 4/5 or 4/6! It’s just a dog with mange folks. 50-foot shark? The megaladon is a real and documented creature. It just lived a really long time ago. However, its not uncommon that we find things we thought had been dead or millennia down there in the deep. I’d say its a possibility.
DP: What do you think it is about the paranormal or mythological creatures that fascinates so many people regardless if they believe in them or not?
Sam: For me, the draw of the supernatural is something that I refer to on the podcast as ‘that last 5 percent’. With so many of the things we cover, the vast majority of it can be explainable away by science, reason, and conventional means. However, we do our best to cover topics that have that last 5 percent that is simply inexplicable. I think of the Beast of Gévaudan, a duo of massive wolves that ravaged the French countryside back in the 1700’s. The methods of death, the carnage and horror and bloodshed can all be attributed to hungry wolves, or particularly aggressive ones. It’s not uncommon, especially in those times in heavily forested and wild areas, for wolves to attack humans when their food supplies were low or they felt threatened. However, wolves are not known to delicately remove their victims clothes and fold them neatly next to the dismembered corpse they left behind, as was the case with multiple victims of the beast. It’s that kind of stuff that keeps you coming back for more. We, as humans, love not knowing. We love mysteries and thrillers that leave us on the edge of our seats. How much better is it then when the mystery involves the nature of our reality and things beyond our current comprehension? Even if you’re skeptical, people want to be amazed and mystified.
DP: What’s next?
Sam: As far as what’s next, who is to know? We’re not anywhere near stopping, that’s for sure. The cool thing about the last few months has been seeing how the show has evolved, not only in quality but in content. We’re finally at a point where I don’t have to spend hours obsessing over what we’re going to cover. We both are gaining a gut feeling, a 6th sense sort of deal, as to what topics will fit well and be enjoyed. We’ve gone from covering only the most well documented cases to saying ‘as long as it’s not completely crazy and there’s a shred of plausible evidence, let’s do it’. At first I was worried about that, because I thought people would start leaving in droves if we covered topics with less than 5 primary sources. But people just love the stories and it’s getting to the point where they love us. That’s a really cool feeling. In the immediate future we have a few heavy-hitters coming up: Skinwalker Ranch and Mothman for sure in the next 3 months, as well as some collaborations with some really great show. This week’s episode, the one that will be released on August 2nd, is our first collaboration, we’ll be covering the Hollow Earth theory with the help of our friends from the Mad Scientist Podcast. On a more personal note, I have been bitten by the podcasting bug and have a few ideas for other shows kicking around in my head. One is an audio-drama, which is my dream to do. The other is a biographical series, covering people who have been forgotten by the passage of time. I’ll need something to change before I can seriously pursue either one though, as I already have no time and am starting school in the fall for my degree in history. Jason has big plans on the horizon as well, hoping to return to school for graphic design and eventually start his own company. We both look forward to the day that we can make the show our full-time job, to be sure, even though it know it is still a long ways out, but we have always believed that if we perform quality work to produce a quality product, we will obtain a quality result.
DP: What are some of your favorite podcasts or podcasts you aspire to be?
Sam: As established in our very first episode, Jason doesn’t really listen to podcasts, beyond the episodes I send him of quality productions that we strive to emulate. He and I both share an affinity for Astonishing Legends however, it being the primary inspiration for me to stop dreaming and start podcasting. Beyond that, my first love of podcasting will always be Welcome to Night Vale, which was my introduction to podcasts back in 2012, and got me hooked on the medium to start. I also have a deep love for Mysterious Universe, one of the best shows out there in my opinion. I’ve been a paid subscriber of theirs for 3 years now and still listen to every episode almost as soon as it comes out, even when they’re 2 and a half hours long. As an aspiring historian, I’d also be remiss not to mention Hardcore History, by Dan Carlin. As far as my last of five, I just can’t choose only one more, so I hope it’s alright I give you two. The first is Last Podcast on the Left, which is quickly becoming one of the most successful non-political/pop culture podcasts out there if they aren’t already, and finally Let’s Not Panic, which covers the adventure of two amazing people, Adam and Maggie, who quit their jobs in San Diego and decide to drive to the tip of South America, ending up in Patagonia. It’s the kind of thing that makes you dream again, and want to go out and do a big adventure yourself.
DP: Where can listeners find you?
Sam: You can find us on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/