Distress Frequency
Distress Frequency

Tony Goins: Like I said before, when we conceived of this series, we got a lot of submissions involving a child in peril … or a child as a cause of peril. This is my contribution to that genre.

Our second child was born with a serious case of jaundice, culminating in an awful New Year’s in Columbus’ Children’s Hospital. Jaundice is pretty surreal: All the doctors thought he’d be fine, but there was a small chance he’d have permanent brain damage.

Around the same time, I heard an old-time radio story (I can’t remember which one) about a fellow facing a family curse. The two ideas came together neatly.

” At night, she made little cries, and we’d pray for her to go to sleep. Then she’d be still, and we’d be sure she was dead.” – That’s real.

Cast Notes

Jenny Key is heart-wrenching as the scared mother Allison. I put the piece in her hands, and she carries it. But my single favorite moment is Aaron Sinclair’s breakdown. To really sell the horror, the character’s masculinity has to break. Aaron does not hesitate.

Micah Jenkins continues to steal shows as Jerry, the kindly old Wiccan bookstore owner, and what else can I say about Alycia Yates? She has handled everything I’ve thrown at her. I love to *hear* her take something offbeat and knock it out of the park.

Jerod Brennen does some behind-the-scenes work directing, and elevates the whole thing. He did a couple of impromptu discussion sessions between takes, working with the actors to find their characters. That’s a weak suit of mine, and very illuminating to watch.


This piece has a clear antecedent in a 1930s series called “The Witch’s Tale,” a series of nasty tales narrated by “Old Nancy, the Witch of Salem, and her wise old black cat, Satan.” She’s like the Old Witch from the EC Comics, but right in your ear-hole. My usual source is Relic Radio, available wherever fine podcasts are sold.

Sound Acknowledgments

The following sounds are from Freesound.Org, and are acknowledged here with my deep gratitude.

  • Buddhist Prayer Bell.wav by surly
  • baby singing talking by Yuval
  • Cat Angry Meow.WAV by softcoresoft
  • Crying newborn baby child 3.WAV by the_yura

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