My secret indulgence? Late night AM talk radio. The indulgence of insomniacs. I love scanning the dial to pick up obscure little stations from far away. Listening to the weather in Pittsburgh. Traffic reports from New York City. French speaking stations from across the border in Quebec. But mostly, what I love are the call in shows. The talk radio psychologists offering advice to the broken hearted and confused. The right wing talk show wackos, the left wing talk show wackos. I love it all. I even used to listen to a show for truckers – the format was just the host chatting with truckers who called in from runs across the country to discuss all aspects of the job, the benefits, the hassles and tell their tales. They told where they were, what the weather and traffic were like, how long they’d been on the road and what they were hauling. Doesn’t sound very exciting, but it was great stuff (or seemed that way to my sleep deprived brain).
But what I love most, are the tales of the strange. The shows, like the wonderful, Coast to Coast that discuss UFO abduction, demonic possession, and ghosts. There is nothing at all like listening to a show on EVPs (electronic voice phenomena – recordings made in graveyards and haunted houses that pick up the supposed voices of ghosts) at three in the morning when the house is still and it feels like me and the terrifying ghost voices are the only ones up in the world. The recordings I find the most upsetting are the ones of little children. (As the author of Promise Not to Tell, you know I’ve got a thing for little girl ghosts!) Whether you believe they are truly voices from beyond or not, it’s downright creepy stuff. I dare you to listen to a few and not get chills.
Some other wonderful topics I’ve heard discussed on late night radio: the difficulties of living as a vampire in this day and age, famous people who’ve made pacts with the devil, astral travel, and how the earth was once populated by a race of giants who had three sets of teeth and spoke in shrieks (this last one gave me nightmares for weeks!).
Peppered between the host and guests and callers are the wonderful commercials for herbal supplements (Lose weight! Increase stamina and sexual vitality! Cure psoriasis!), short wave radios, ionic air purifiers and the occasional get rich quick scam.
The only trouble with this little indulgence of mine is that sometimes I never do get back to sleep. Even if I turn the radio off, my mind is racing. I close my eyes and those giants with threes sets of teeth are chasing me; the voices of child ghosts are calling, and I’m wondering if maybe I should dial that herbal supplement number after all and ask what they’ve got for sleep aids.
Eventually, I give up and turn the radio back on to hear what the ghosts are up to.