We’re back with the second part of our discussion with parapsychologist, RPG author and raconteur, Christian Jensen Romer.

In the first part, CJ told us how he became involved with ghost hunting. In this episode, he delves more into the various studies of ghost phenomena and some possible explanations for ghost sightings.

In the process, CJ clarifies and corrects a number of points we made in our recent episodes about ghosts. We really should have talked to him before recording those!

Update: Some people have requested links to the various things we discuss in this episode. We’ve added some at the end of this post.

We’re back with something of an impromptu special. Scott recently joined our good friend Joe Trier of How We Roll for a chat about playing RPGs online. This seemed timely, with almost everyone we know going into self-quarantine due to COVID-19.

Our discussion covers tools and techniques, with an emphasis on how to get into online gaming for people who have never done so. While our main focus is on D&D and Call of Cthulhu, we do mention a few other suitable games.

If the format of this episode sounds different, this is because we recorded it for How We Roll. Joe has kindly agreed to let us release it on our feed. We have simply added our usual intro and outro to stop you getting too disorientated!

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Episode 178: A Warning to the Curious

We’re back and we’re heading off to the seaside. People might tell you that Suffolk can be bleak at this time of year, but what do they know? There’s plenty to enjoy here. The hotel is pleasant enough, although we’re not sure why they gave us a private sitting room. Our shoes have never looked so shiny thanks to the boots and all his elbow grease. That nice old man at the curiosity shop keeps showing us wonderful things that belonged to dead people. And while the sand is too fine for making sandcastles, it’s nice and soft for digging. Everything here is rather idyllic. If it weren’t for the hideous ghost following us and the sense of impending doom, this would be the best holiday ever. Four stars on TripAdvisor.

Main Topic: A Warning to the Curious

While we’ve wrapped up our discussion of ghosts, we haven’t quite left the spectral world behind yet. Or maybe it refuses to leave us alone. Once these spectres set their sights on you, they can prove vexingly dogged. We’re going to keep away from any Martello towers, just to be safe.

Almost as frightening to us as they were to Napoleon.

This episode explores M R James’ classic English ghost story, “A Warning to the Curious”. England has an enduring love for ghost stories, and James is the towering figure in the field. We spend some time talking about the man himself and how his work has retained its appeal. Then we go digging for treasure in one of his best-known tales, looking for inspiration for our Call of Cthulhu games. We’re sure everything will be fine.

See? The locals are even keeping a lookout for us.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

The man himself

News

Ain’t Slayed Nobody

Paul recommends Ain’t Slayed Nobody, a relatively new Call of Cthulhu actual play podcast focusing on Down Darker Trails. They are up to three episodes now and may branch out into other Cthulhu settings in subsequent shows.

One Cut of the Dead on Tear Them Apart

Our good friends Evan Dorkin and Paul Yellovich at the Tear Them Apart podcast recently released an episode about the marvellous Japanese horror film, One Cut of the Dead. You should seek this out even if you have no interest in found-footage or zombie films (especially if you don’t). It is full of surprises and pure joy. You should also go into it with as foreknowledge as possible of what you are about to see. And then you should listen to the Tear Them Apart episode about it.

Voluminous: The Letters of H P Lovecraft

And we have yet another newish podcast to recommend: Voluminous. Our good friends at the H P Lovecraft Historical Society are discussing Lovecraft’s copious correspondence, with each episode focusing on a single letter. And, as Paul mentions, who could be a better choice to present such a podcast?

Following our recent discussion of ghosts in Call of Cthulhu, we thought it might be useful to get an expert opinion. Luckily, our good friend Christian Jensen Romer (CJ to his friends) is a qualified parapsychologist. He is also a member of the Society for Psychical Research and a familiar face to viewers of TV shows like Most Haunted.

As if that weren’t enough, CJ has also written for Call of Cthulhu and other RPGs. In particular, listeners may know him as the author of The Parapsychologist’s Handbook. This was one of the first monographs that Chaosium published, back in 2008. Basically, he’s much better qualified to talk about this stuff than any of us.

Scott spent some time talking to CJ about his experiences and how parapsychology treats the subject of ghosts. In fact, we spent so long talking that we are going to have to split the discussion in two. This first part largely covers CJ’s personal experiences with ghosts. Part 2, scheduled for release on the 24th of March 2020, focuses more on general parapsychology.

We’re back and we’re being haunted by all the material we couldn’t fit into the last episode. Happily, we have managed to lay it to rest by discussing it in this second instalment. At least we hope we have. Spectral podcasts are as difficult to exorcise as earworms. We know of only one way of getting such things out of our heads.

A good trepanning can sort out most of life’s problems, not to mention the problem of life itself.

Main Topic: Ghosts in Call of Cthulhu part 2

This is the second of two episodes looking at ghosts and how they tie into Call of Cthulhu. The first focused on ghost stories and folklore. This time, we discuss how (and if) ghosts might fit into Call of Cthulhu and the wider Cthulhu Mythos.

While Lovecraft wrote a handful of tales which might be considered ghost stories, these were usually unrelated to his Mythos fiction. We debate whether it is reasonable to draw all of Lovecraft’s work into our own interpretations of the Mythos, regardless of Lovecraft’s intent. Building on that, we discuss which canon elements of the Mythos might serve as substitutes for ghosts in a more purist game. Mostly, however, we just argue about stuff. You know the drill.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

When is a ghost not a ghost?
Pepper’s ghost terrifying a theatre audience in Victorian London

News

Concrete Cow 20

Concrete Cow 20 will take place on Saturday the 14th of March. This is Milton Keynes’ own one-day RPG convention, held in the Old Bath House in Wolverton. Tickets are £5 on the door. We will be there and we would love to see you!

Concrete Cow logo

Scott on the RPG Heroes Podcast

Scott recently appeared as a guest on the relatively new podcast, RPG Heroes. As the name implies, the main subject is who the guest’s heroes are in the world of RPGs. Klaas also talked to Scott about building atmosphere in horror games and whether Call of Cthulhu scenarios need to be investigations.

Paul on The Grognard Files Podcast

Paul has also been guesting on other podcasts. The recent interview he recorded with Dirk the Dice at Grogmeet 2019 for The Grognard Files is now available for your ears to enjoy.