Everyone has a hobby or something they are passionate about, for these Martin teachers, it’s ghost hunting. English teachers Molly Haney and Geneice Mayeaux have a fascination with the paranormal. In their free time, they go on ghost tours, explore haunted sites, and talk about their experiences on a podcast called Normal Paranormal podcast. They agreed to sit down with me and talk about their podcast.
What made you want to create a paranormal podcast?
Haney: “Well, Ms. Mayeaux and I both started here in 2006, and we’ve been friends that whole time as well, and we just kind of slowly, through conversations, realized we both like semi scary things. Not super scary things. And after being here not that long, we started hearing stories about the school.
There is this little app on my phone that you can do EVPs [electronic voice phenomenon] or whatever. So we would just start using that around school. It was just a way to spend our down time.”
Mayeaux: “And I was a student at Martin so I graduated in 2000, and even when I was here as a student I heard things. And you know, as a teenager you kind of just like to push that stuff off and you don’t think about it. Every October, every day, I tell one or two ghost stories during warm up or during our little exit discussions. I only do it by request. I’ll ask, ‘If you want to hear a ghost story, I’ll tell you one.’ I’ve been doing it for years, so I just thought that would be cool to use some of those stories in our podcast.”
How often do you record new sessions?
Mayeaux: “We started doing it weekly at first.”
Haney: “It was in the pandemic, so now production has really slowed down. And my husband, who edits our podcast has a full-time job, and we have full-time jobs so now we are at like once every three or four weeks.”
Do you incorporate your podcasts into your teachings?
Mayeaux: “Not necessarily. My students are not aware of our podcast. October comes and the atmosphere kind of shifts and changes and our curriculum kind of matches up with that. Everything has a spooky vibe anyway, so I try to keep it light but at the same time entertain by telling a ghost story or two in that month. So it kind of works out, but as far as bringing in the supernatural in terms of anything else, no, besides telling my ghost stories. Now the students, after I tell them the story at the end of the class, if they want to share some of their own because they have friends who have experienced something or they heard something and they thought it was weird, I let them share out loud but it’s never like an actual full-on discussion.”
Haney: “Yeah, I don’t either. I’ve taught for 25 years and I’m super paranoid about really anything I say in class, so I’m really careful. I don’t ever want to offend anybody. I’ve never even told my class that we do a podcast. But no I try to keep everything really neutral.”
When did you two start ghost hunting together?
Mayeaux: “I’m thinking maybe we started actively investigating – when I say actively, I mean for fun – probably around 2010. And then it kind of just went from there.”
Would you ever consider hunting at night?
Haney: “Not yet!”
Mayeaux: “Yeah we call ourselves ‘Day Hunters’ so we are going to stick to that for a while. I am just not that confident yet.”
Haney: “I get scared during the day!”
Mayeaux: “I will leave. I can’t imagine investigating at night. If the sun starts setting and we are out anywhere, we are just done.”
How many listeners are students at Martin?
Haney: “I don’t think any. Because we can see the demographics and from 0-17 there are not any. So if there are, they are 18 and over.”
Mayeaux: “Yeah it’s usually the older kids, so 18 and up.”
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of recording these podcasts together and what do you think has been the hardest part?
Mayeaux: “I don’t think there are any least favorite parts.”
Haney: “No, we told each other if we get the least bit of stress from this we weren’t going to do this, because it is a very stressful year. We are always planning little creative things that we like to do. We aren’t doing this as a business. We are just doing it because we like to talk, so we thought we’ll just record ourselves talking and see who else is interested in it. My husband does the hard part, the technology, so that would’ve been hard. It’s pretty easy for us other than getting together in a pandemic.”
Mayeaux: “Everything so far has been our favorite.”
Haney: “I mean it’s so fun! And we get to write, and I love to write. We got to make an outline together and people started telling us their stories. People would start messaging us, ‘I have a story.’ I mean, that’s one of our things – ‘everyone has a story.’”
You both mentioned experiencing paranormal activity in your childhood homes. Have you ever considered going back and using the app on your phone to discover what spirits were actually there?
Haney: “My childhood home burned down, and it’s in Maryland, so that would be a little hard for me.”
Mayeaux: “I’m laughing a little bit because my parents just moved out of my childhood home not too long ago, so now they are in a new house. It was right around the corner from Martin, too. So many stories have happened there. It was a really interesting house. I was telling Mrs. Haney a story the other day, a story that people will hear in an upcoming podcast, about something that happened there that scared me more than anything that’s ever happened in that house. But I’ve never used The EVP at that house.”
Haney: “We don’t use them in our own homes either, for sure.”
Mayeaux: “The new owners are young and have small children, so I don’t think it would be the best idea to go in there saying, ‘Hey guys, do you mind if I turn on my EVP?’ It’s a nice idea, but I don’t think that would work.”
Would you ever be interested in running a ghost tour in Arlington once you two retire?
Haney: “We thought about it. That was our first idea, a podcast wasn’t. I’m a lot older than Mrs. Mayeaux, so I know podcasts are for younger people.”
Mayeaux: “She is not a lot older!”
Haney: “But we liked the podcast because we could do it from home and not have to be out in the pandemic. Arlington is tough because all these other tours I’ve been on, you walk. Everything is within a few blocks of each other. Arlington’s weird because people can’t really walk it. But there are some centralized things over here. We were like, ‘How do we even do that? Who do we even talk to?”
Mayeaux: “Logistically, we were trying to figure out how that could be done in a safe way – especially if students started hearing about it or during October when everyone is interested in doing something fun and entertaining because of the season or whatever. But we need to do it in a safe manner, where no one is going to get hurt or have us walking across busy streets. Arlington is getting so crowded, so we are trying to figure out how that would work.”
Haney: “There is a lot that goes into planning stuff like that. You need permits and make sure you can talk about stuff like that, so we went with something easier.”