Podcaster Em Schulz talks about his favorite paranormal places and the new book “A Haunted Road Atlas” [DEAD Time]
Welcome back to Timeout! This month I got spooky with a new book about a haunted road trip and spoke to one of the authors about their experiences with the paranormal. Em Schulz and Christine Schiefer are the hosts of the hugely popular, award-winning true crime/paranormal podcast And that’s why we drink. They release their first book, A haunted road atlas, which is full of travel tips, drink recommendations, haunted places, and more. The guide also includes some of the country’s most notorious crime scenes and paranormal locations.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with co-writer Em Schulz about their experiences with the supernatural, their favorite true crime/paranormal locations, A haunted road atlas, and more. Em is a member of the Ghost Club, Society of Psychical Research, Parapsychological Association, and Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).
Read on for my full interview with Em Schulz!
Disgusting fucking: You and Christine Schiefer have an award-winning podcast called And that’s why we drink and you’re both releasing your first book on May 31, titled A haunted road atlas. How did you become involved in the paranormal and can you talk a bit about your experiences as a paranormal investigator?
Em Schulz: I’ve been interested in ghosts since I was little. When I was seven years old, my grandfather passed away and about a week after he passed away, everyone in the family started having their own weird, unrelated experiences. My cousin had an experience a week after he died where she took a picture of him when he obviously shouldn’t have been there. My mother saw him in her dreams. When I was sleeping in the middle of the night, I woke up to him sitting on the bed, and just stroking my leg and smiling at me. The next day, I said to my mother, “I’m going to grow up and be a ghost hunter”, which, oddly, worked. I think my mother expected this not to happen [laughs]. Growing up, I was really into anything scary; I’ve always wanted to go to haunted houses or buildings, or do ghost tours when we travel.
When I got to college, I ended up becoming a ghost tour guide, which was sort of a pseudo-paranormal investigator early in my career. I worked at a museum across from this building, and I went there to ask if it was haunted. And I guess they thought I was asking for a job. I don’t know how they came to that conclusion because I just wanted to know some general ghost stuff on my lunch break, and I guess they read it when I was looking to start working for them. They did ghost tours and saw that I was interested and told me to come back Friday night and they paid me twenty dollars after the ghost tour. After that, each of my weekends at college was spent doing ghost tours with them, doing some prep with gear beforehand, and doing my own little ghost hunts before our guests arrived. Thanks to this, I entered the real world of ghost hunting, then I made groups of volunteers as I moved. I ended up in Boston for a while and made a volunteer group there where I would investigate. That’s how I broke into the world [laughs].
comics: Through your podcast, you’ve covered hundreds of cases involving everything from hauntings to alien abductions and cryptids. Can you share your most disturbing paranormal experience or scariest case you have investigated?
ES: When I was working as a ghost tour guide, I had some really scary experiences. I remember being alone upstairs in an attic setting everything up before our guests entered. I had already turned on the gear and was doing my own little ghost hunting thing, since I had time to kill. All of a sudden I saw this big mass of solid black; you couldn’t see through. It was like a shadow, and I heard a growl. I really don’t remember anything else. I don’t remember him coming near me or anything, but all of a sudden my hand started hurting and I had a big scratch on my hand for a while. It’s really the only time I was scratched or touched by something.
There was another time I was at a friend’s house, and she always said the place looked haunted, but she had no real proof. I was laying in my bed and I swear I felt something grab my ass [laughs]. It was as if something was cut while I slept. I shared a bed and she was a childhood friend of mine, so I thought she was trying to make a joke or something. So I said, “Haha, very funny,” and when I looked, she wasn’t even in bed yet. There was a print on the cover like someone grabbed me. About two weeks later when she moved in, she moved some of the furniture that was in the building when she moved in, and there was a whole stain of decay. So that was sort of his last proof that someone had died in the building, and it was haunted.
comics: As I mentioned earlier, you and Christine wrote your first book, A haunted road atlas. The book is a guide to some of the country’s most infamous crime scenes and hauntings, and also includes recommendations for bars, restaurants, bizarre museums, travel tips, and more cool stuff! Out of all the places in the book, do you have a favorite haunted place and a favorite crime scene and why?
ES: For a crime scene, it would also be a paranormal location because we’re writing about the Hotel Cecil, which is huge in Los Angeles. I feel like a lot of people in the paranormal are familiar with Hotel Cecil, especially if you live nearby. I would say this is my favorite true crime and paranormal location if I comb it, simply because so many stories have happened there. He’s probably full of energy. But in terms of the paranormal, I’ve never been there before. In fact, I discovered the place while I was writing this book and had never heard of it before.
Near Cincinnati, Ohio, there’s a place called Sedamsville Rectory and I’ve never heard of it, but, wow, it’s a scary place! I don’t know too much about its history, all I know is that even though there were a few priests who lived there, they all seemed to have a checkered past. There was a priest who was notorious for molesting children, so there’s a lot of negative energy there. One of the current owners is regularly owned in the building. They’ve done a bunch of guest spots on TV talking about it and the owners are aware of what’s going on. It’s super scary. Since the last time I checked, I think they were trying to turn it into Airbnb. It works pretty well if you’re into morbid tourism. It’s a place that interests me a lot, but also where I never want to go [laughs].
comics: A haunted road atlas will be released on May 31. Where can people buy it and are you working on anything new involving the paranormal?
ES: There are a few bookstores where we are going to book signings. We’re doing one in Cincinnati, we’re doing one in Boston. You can buy it online and my favorite is that it will be in Boston at the Strand. Boston is Christine and I’s hometown because that’s where we met, so it’s a special city for us. As for working on other projects, we don’t have anything in the works right now in terms of books, but I guess it depends on how many people like this book. We are definitely open to writing more. Maybe in the future it will be a series.
You can pick up your copy from A haunted road atlas right now!