Welcome back to DEAD Time! This month, I got spooky with a new book about taking a haunted road trip and talked to one of the authors about their experiences with the paranormal. Em Schulz and Christine Schiefer are the hosts of the wildly popular, award-winning, true crime/paranormal podcast And That’s Why We Drink. They are releasing their first book, A Haunted Road Atlas, which is filled with travel tips, beverage recommendations, haunted locations, and more. The guide also includes some of the country’s most notorious crime scenes and paranormal locations.
I was excited to have the opportunity to speak with co-author 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, the Society of Psychical Research, the Parapsychological Association, and the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).
Read on for my full interview with Em Schulz!
Bloody Disgusting: You and Christine Schiefer have an award-winning podcast called And That’s Why We Drink and the two of you are releasing your first book on May 31st, called A Haunted Road Atlas. How did you become involved with the paranormal and can you talk a little bit about your experiences as a paranormal investigator?
Em Schulz: I’ve been interested in ghosts since I was a little kid. When I was seven, my grandfather passed and about a week after he passed, everyone in the family started having their own weird, independent experiences. My cousin had an experience a week after he died where she got a picture of him when he obviously shouldn’t have been there. My mom was seeing him in her dreams. When I was asleep in the middle of the night, I woke up to him sitting on the bed, and just kind of petting leg and smiling at me. The next day, I told my mom, “I’m going to grow up and be a ghost hunter,“ which weirdly, worked out. I think my mom was expecting that to not happen [laughs]. Growing up, I was really interested in anything spooky; I always wanted to go to haunted houses, or buildings, or do ghost tours when we were traveling.
When I got to college, I ended up becoming a ghost tour guide, which kind of was a pseudo-paranormal investigator start to my career. I was working in a museum across the street from this one building, and I went in 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 as 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 bucks after the ghost tour. After that, each of my weekends during college was spent doing ghost tours with them, doing some set up with equipment beforehand, and doing my own little ghost hunts before our guests got there. Through that I got into the real ghost hunting world and then I did some volunteer groups as I moved around. I ended up in Boston for a while and did a volunteer group there, where I would investigate. That’s kind of how I broke into the world [laughs].
BD: Through your podcast, you have covered hundreds of cases involving everything from hauntings to alien abductions, and cryptids. Can you share your most unnerving paranormal experience or the scariest case you have investigated?
ES: When I was working as a ghost tour guide, I had some really scary experiences. I remember being upstairs by myself in an attic setting everything up before we had our guests come in. I had already turned the equipment on, and I was doing my own little ghost hunting stuff, since I had some time to kill. All of the sudden, I saw this big mass of solid black; you couldn’t see through it. It was like a shadow, and I heard a growl. I don’t really remember anything else. I don’t remember it coming near me or anything, but all of the sudden my hand started hurting and I had a big scratch on my hand for a while. That was really the only time I’ve been scratched by something or touched by something.
There was another time I was staying at a friend’s house, and she always said that the place seemed haunted, but she didn’t have any real proof. I was lying in bed, and I swear I felt something grab my butt [laughs]. It was like something cupped by butt while I was sleeping. I was sharing a bed and she was one of my childhood friends, so I thought she was trying to make a joke or something. So, I said, “Haha, very funny,” and when I looked over, she hadn’t even gotten in bed yet. There was an imprint on the blanket like someone had grabbed me. About two weeks later when she was moving out, she moved some of the furniture that had been in the building when she moved in, and there was a whole decomposition stain. So, it was kind of her final proof that someone had died in the building, and it was haunted.
BD: As I mentioned earlier, you and Christine have written 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, oddity museums, travel tips, and a lot more cool stuff! Out of all the locations in the book, do you have a favorite haunted location and a favorite crime scene and why?
ES: For a crime scene, it would also be a paranormal location because we write about the Cecil Hotel, which is huge in Los Angeles. I feel like a lot of people in the paranormal are aware of the Cecil Hotel, especially if you live near it. I would say it’s my favorite true crime and paranormal spot if I’m combing them, just because so much history happened there. It’s probably riddled with energy. But in terms of just paranormal, I actually haven’t been before. I actually discovered the location while I was writing this book and had never heard of it before.
Near Cincinnati, Ohio, there is a place called the Sedamsville Rectory and I’d never heard of it, but, wow, that is a scary place! I don’t know too much about its history, all I know is that while there were a few priests living there, they all seemed to have checkered pasts. There was one priest who was known for assaulting children, so there is a lot of negative energy there. One of the current owners is regularly getting possessed in the building. They’ve done a bunch of guest spots on television to talk about it and the owners are aware of what’s going on. It’s super spooky. As of the last time I checked, I think they were trying to turn it into an Airbnb. It works out pretty well if you’re into morbid tourism. That is a place I’m very interested in, but also never want to go to [laughs].
BD: A Haunted Road Atlas will be out on May 31st. Where can people buy it and are you working on anything new involving the paranormal?
ES: There are a few bookstores we’re going to do some book signings. We’re doing one in Cincinnati, we’re doing one in Boston. You can buy it online and my personal favorite is that it will be in Boston at The Strand. Boston is me and Christine’s combined hometown because that is where we met, so it’s a special city to us. As far as working on other projects, we don’t have anything in works right now in terms of books, but I guess it depends on how much people like this book. We’re definitely open to writing more. Maybe in the future this will be a series.
You can pick up your copy of A Haunted Road Atlas right now!