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TL;DL (Too Long; Didn’t Listen):
Endless Dread continues with two more spooky stories, one about “The Smiling Man” and one about an unsettling recording from a sleep app.
Thanks to u/Theshaggz for this week's artwork. It's called, "Pure Insanity." You can find more of their work on instagram @kingdandy_designs.
This content was originally created for audio. The transcript has been edited from our original script for clarity. Heads up that some elements (i.e. music, sound effects, tone) are harder to translate to text.
Ben Brock Johnson: What's your snack? You and I have very similar snacks today.
Amory Sivertson: They have similar packaging.
Ben: They're similarly difficult to open.
Amory: Yeah, I've got Endless Thread candy from 2018. You have Endless Thread candy from 2019.
Ben: Which I just spilled all over the studio.
Amory: Oh God. So I have the rainbow sour belts as they are generically called.
Ben: And I have the “All Treats, No Tricks, Endless Thread Stories Will Chill Your Bones. Fear Has Never Been So Sweet,” very similar to M&M-like candy. The sugar’s now coursing through my veins, I'm ready to Snacktime.
Amory: Oh, it’s so sour.
Ben: It's Snacktime.
Ben: We're doing scary stories.
Ben: In October. What are we calling it?
Amory: Endless Dread! You going first?
Ben: Who went first last time?
Amory: You did, so I'll go first.
Ben: Get it out there, man. I'm ready to be spooked. Shall I turn the lights out?
Amory: Yeah. Definitely. Okay. Woo woo, woo, woo! Let's see if I can just read what I wrote down.
Ben: In the dark now that I have turned the lights out?
Amory: In the dark. I believe in myself. So this was posted seven years ago on a subreddit called LetsNotMeet. Are you familiar with this one?
Amory: Yeah. So it's what it sounds like. It was posted by a user blue_tidal and the title is “The Smiling Man.” What does that conjure up for you, Ben?
Ben: Just me.
Amory: Yeah it’s true. The non-evil version of the smiling man is Golden Retriever Ben. This person says they were living in a major U.S. city at the time that this happened.
Ben: K, Boston probably.
Amory: Yeah. I like to think of it as Boston. And they liked to go for night walks. They were a night person.
Ben: Mistake number one.
Amory: I know. Exactly. Especially with my last Snacktime story. Why are all you people walking around at night? Just stop it.
Ben: You’re supposed to be Netflix-ing and chilling.
Amory: So this person says, “I always used to joke with my roommate that even the drug dealers in this particular city were polite. But all of that changed in just a few minutes one evening.” So they're walking down a side street. They were near a big park and they cut down this side street to loop back to their apartment. “When I first noticed him,” the person writes. “At the far end of the street on my side was the silhouette of a man dancing. It was a strange dance, similar to a waltz, but he finished each box with an odd forward stride. I guess you could say he was dance-walking, headed straight for me.” I can picture this exactly. So, you know, the like classic one, two, three. One, two, three. Just moving forward.
Ben: Of all the kinds of music, waltzes are the creepiest.
Amory: The creepiest by far!
Ben: Is that 3, whatever, 6-3 3-6 to 3-8 time?
Amory: 3-4. Classically, just 3-4.
Ben: 3-4. OK, fine. 3-4.
Amory: Yep. Creepy enough. So he says, "This man, he was very tall and lanky and wearing an old suit. He danced closer still until I could make out his face. His eyes were open, wide and wild, head tilted back slightly, looking off at the sky. His mouth was formed in a painfully wide cartoon of a smile. Between the eyes and the smile, I decided to cross the street before he danced any closer." So, you know, this kind of goes on for probably what felt like hours, but was really just a couple minutes where he stops dancing and then all of a sudden he starts dancing again or it looks like he's turning around. But then all of a sudden he's headed back towards this guy, or I'm sorry, gal, whoever blue_tidal is. He says, "He took giant, exaggerated tiptoed steps as if he were a cartoon character sneaking up on someone. Except he was moving very, very quickly." And the OP writes, “I finally found my voice. I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. What I meant to ask was, what the F do you want in an angry, commanding tone. What came out was just, what the fu…” And they write, “regardless of whether or not humans can smell fear, they can certainly hear it. I heard it in my own voice, and that only made me more afraid. But he didn't react to it at all. He just stood there smiling. This person continues to get closer and closer. I watched in horror as the distant shape of him grew larger and larger. He was coming back my way and this time he was running.” So this guy runs off the side of the road, the OP, goes back on to like a well-lit road and and he loses the guy. But he keeps looking back behind him to see if the smiling, waltzing, large tiptoeing man is behind him. He says, “I lived in that city for six months after that night. I never went out for another walk.” How do you feel about that?
Ben: Well, it's definitely spooky.
Ben: But maybe the guy just wanted to dance with the OP.
Amory: Possible. A lot of people in the comments said, you know, maybe he was drunk or high. And so this person wrote in a comment...
Ben: Candy corns a hell of a drug, man.
Amory: He says, "he didn't look drunk. He didn't look high. He looked completely and utterly insane. And that's a very, very scary thing to see." And he added in an edit later on, "and to anyone doubting the truth in this story, I assure you it happened. I'm not afraid of ghosts, devils or monsters. It's people that frighten me."
Ben: Yeah. I think that's the perfect transition to my story, which also involves potentially frightening people.
Amory: Oh, good. Well, then let's take the briefest of breaks and then we'll dive right in.
Ben: So, Amory, this story is also an O.G. Reddit post. It comes from five years ago. And interestingly, it's about sleep, which you and I have been talking about recently. Because perhaps we're gonna do a little Endless Thread experiment slash competition involving you and me getting more sleep.
Amory: Oh we're doing it. I've already been training.
Ben: Do you use any sleep apps? Do you do a sleep app thing on your phone? I don't think you have a Fitbit, do you?
Amory: I do have a Fitbit, but I…
Ben: Do you wear it when you sleep?
Amory: Nope. Nope. I don't want my Fitbit telling me how little sleep I get. So I ignore that feature of the Fitbit.
Ben: Well, that would be the major difference between you and the original poster of this story.
Ben: So she, her username is Redwantsblue80. She uses an app or used an app called Sleep as Android. Apparently she's an Android, not an iPhone owner. And she writes one of the features is that it records your nighttime noises. Snoring, sleep, talk, cover ruffles, coughing, etc...
Amory: Oh, no.
Ben: Oh, yes. So she's really never cut anything other than like sounds created by her changing positions or coughing or something like that. Although she has been told several times that she talks in her sleep. But in general, she you know, when she records her sleep sounds with this app, she doesn't get anything on these recordings. So on 12/30 at 2:04 AM, I caught something very weird. On this particular night, the original poster was sleeping in her bed with her 3 year old because her 3 year old was scared of the dark. The following day after this recording happens, which we'll get to, she's kind of going through and deleting her recordings and she sees this particular recording. And in it you can hear some clicks that start to get louder over the course of the recording. And eventually you can hear her saying something and then a deep voice responds.
Amory: Oh no. Do we have this? Did she share the audio?
Ben: Yeah. She has since, like really done a lot of analysis and other Redditors have actually done analysis on this recording, and everyone agrees that this second voice cannot possibly be her or her child. The first thing that happens in this recording is she says, “What are you doing?” And the response is, “Nothing.” And then these click start to get louder and louder and then the deep voice again says something and they're either saying, “that's them,” “I'm Danny,” or “I'm dead.” There's also these these like kind of mysterious clicks that are happening. And it's pretty hard to hear, but let's let's just listen to it.
[The recording of Redwantsblue80 sleeping plays]
Ben: Do you hear that?
Amory: That's them.
Ben: Yeah. And also you're going to hear what are you doing? Nothing. Yeah. Slap, slap, slap, that. That's them. OK, so Redditors immediately, of course, jumped on this and freaked out about it, as did the original poster, and Redditors went through the process of sort of messing with the recording a little bit to try to clean it up a little bit. So let's look at let’s listen to that version.
[The cleaned up recording of Redwantsblue80 sleeping plays]
Amory: Huh. The nothing is hard to make out in both recordings that you just played.
Amory: And I also wouldn't have thought that that couldn't have been her voice or her child's voice. I was expecting something like nothing.
Ben: Right. And like many stories like this, it's like you listen to the recording and when I listen to the recording, I wasn't that creeped out by it. Right? But when you listen back to it and you listen to it over and over, it's clearly a different voice.
Amory: And it's just her and her three year old in the home?
Ben: The only people in the home that night, as far as she knew, was her and her 3 year old. Doesn't feel good, right?
Ben: You're a big fan of being alone in a house, right?
Amory: I hate it.
Ben: And somebody being in the room with you while you're sleeping?
Amory: I hate it.
Ben: Thanks, I hate it. So there are many, many, many, many updates to this story. And edits. And the takeaway is that nothing else has happened since this several years ago occurrence. And a few years ago, she moved away from the house.
Amory: I stand by it being the three year old. Maybe the 3 year old, oooh, maybe the 3 year old is also a sleep talker and they were sleep talking to each other in their dreams?
Ben: That would be my assumption, too. But again, supposedly this Redditor got another Redditor to really look closely and analyze the voices. And the other Redditor wrote, for instance, “The other person in the recording definitely isn't you talking to yourself. Nor is it your son. Your voice’s pitch in the question, 'What are you doing?' is around two hundred and sixty five hertz, c four in musical notes. And the answerer’s voice seems to be around ninety five hertz, f sharp 2. That is a relatively low voice, even for a man.” So the takeaway seems to be this is that third voice.
Amory: And that's it. That's all we know!?
Ben: That's all we know.
Amory: Oh, God. Well, thank you, Ben.
Ben: Lock your doors!
Amory: On behalf of everyone out there, thank you for that.
Ben: You got it. Alright, we'll be back next week with a full episode. And in the meantime, stay safe.
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