The Black Tapes Podcast: Season 2 CliffsNotes

WARNING – This blog post is me at my geekiest, and contains lots of theories and spoilers about The Black Tapes podcast. If you want to read Season 1 CliffsNotes, check out my post here

Confession time: I have a little black notebook where I keep all my work and blog notes, as well as my nutso scribblings about The Black Tapes Podcast. And I doodle a lot. 


Because my CliffsNotes from season 1 were helpful to others, I decided to publish the notes I took for season 2 as well. Because the episodes are so interconnected and the story is very intricate, the notes are a bit longer than Season 1.  So without further ado, here you go. Feel free to leave corrections/suggestions in the comments.

Episode 1 – Sleepless in Seattle

  • Season 1 recap — Coralee Strand is probably alive. Keith Dabic (obsessed with The Unsound, of the band Hastur Rising) and Amalia (Alex’s Russian journalist friend looking for Keith) are still missing.
  • Thomas Warren (aka “Sexy James Bond”)  is the CEO of an energy conglomerate, Deva Corp. (Is he “The Advocate” following Strand?)
  • Alex is suffering from insomnia.
  • Strand goes on leave — he wants Alex to stop prying into his personal story.
  • Rebecca Yi, a listener, seeks Alex’s help for her daughter, Katie. Rebecca reports strange occurrences – furniture moving on its own, Katie talking to herself, and sacred geometry scratched under Katie’s bed.
  • Elizabeth Sawyer, Katie’s nanny, refutes all of Rebecca’s claims and says she is crazy.
  • Alex discovers that Strand is obsessed with finding Coralee, and Strand asks for her help.

Episode 2 – Speak No Evil, Think No Evil

  • Strand shares something with Alex “off the record.”
  • Alex gets a tip that includes 2 videos related to a case of a hunter who was living in a cave with a strange book, and later committed suicide. One video shows the hunter scratching in the dirt, and the other shows a 2-legged creature with deer’s legs.
  • Alex takes the book to a rare book dealer, Gloria Cohen. Cohen claims it’s a book of spells devoted to bringing demons into our world. Cohen is creepy and seems intent on getting Alex to say the demon’s names.
  • Alex starts seeing Dr. Burnett, who encourages her to keep a sleep journal.
  • Amalia turns up in Seattle.

Episode 3 – Hush Little Baby

  • Alex’s lack of sleep is affecting her quality of life — she is seeing and hearing things during her waking hours.
  • Alex is contacted by Wendy Hochman, a listener. There are strange sounds coming from her infant son’s room and a pentagram drawn under his crib (same symbol as that found in: Simon Reese’s room, the cabin where Sebastian Torres was found, and Rebecca Yi’s daughter’s room).
  • Strand shows up in the studio acting erratically. He tells Alex that Thomas Warren sponsored an archaeological dig in Iraq for the goddess Tiamet. Strand’s father wrote an unpublished paper about this.
  • Although she had previously claimed not to know anything, Nic and Alex hear the Hochmans’ housekeeper chanting on the baby monitor tape.  The Hochmans are MIA, so Alex and Nic seek out the housekeeper (Maddie Franks), who they find dead, in a ransacked apartment covered in blood.

Episode 4 – Voices Carry

  • Brenda Miller, a grimoire specialist, takes a look at the book from Ep. 2. She claims it is a satanic hymnal to usher in demons (related to evil composers Scriabin/Percival Black?).
  • Alex discovers an extra 5 minute interval in one of her sleep notes, which upon further examination is her chanting “Azazeel.”
  • Strand is losing weight, not leaving his office, and asks to meet with Amalia. When he meets with her, he asks her about a blond woman at an auction. Alex eavesdrops and airs the discussion.
  • Nic finds an online countdown clock timed for 1 year after The Black Tapes aired The Unsound.
  • Alex discovers another anomaly in a sleep note — the sound of knocking (1 for yes, 2 for no, ala Simon Reese when he was selectively mute). The knocking indicates that Strand is in trouble.
  • Alex reaches out to Tanis Braun (the renowned psychic from season 1). Tanis tells her to ask Strand about the “Cheryl” tape and says Strand is at the center of the mystery.

Note: After this episode, Alex goes on hiatus to a secluded cabin to try to get some sleep.  

Episode 5 – Cheryl

  • Strand is living in Seattle in his father’s house.
  • Alex and Nic receive a recorded message for Strand with a digitized voice. Strand links the message to the Empress Hotel in Canada where he honeymooned with Coralee.
  • Keith Dabic sends 3 messages:
    • A sound file that may be the cure for The Unsound.
    • A sound file with “infrasound,” which can be harmful to the listener — causing nausea and/or visions.
    • A selfie taken at Glushka, the monastery in Russia  (Season 1, Ep. 10). Recall: Glushka is home to the Order of the Cenophus.
  • The blood on the wall at Maddie Franks’s (the dead Hochman nanny) was not her blood and there were symbols painted under the blood.
  • Strand lets Alex watch the Cheryl tape. It’s him (as a young boy) with a girl. The girl, Cheryl, claims to see figures outside the house, and then they both claim to see a figure in the room. It’s a Black Tape because Strand doubts what he saw that night.

Episode 6 – All In the Family

  • Cheryl is Strand’s sister. She tells Alex to ask about “the boy by the river.” Alex goes to see Strand, and asks to share the off-record info from Ep. 2 (which she secretly recorded, and Nic makes her delete).
  • Strand believes he is being stalked by a group after his father’s work.
  • Alex and Nic receive another tape with the computerized voice — it’s a warning for Strand. Alex sets off and intercepts him in Canada.
  • They find a strange painting in the room where he stayed with Coralee — a man with deer legs, dogs tearing an animal apart. Their cars are burglarized.
  • Simon calls Alex and warns her about Amalia. Simon also tells her that he killed his parents because, like Maddie Franks (the dead housekeeper), they were trying to bring him into the “cause.” (Is Simon actually a good guy?)
  • Alex asks Amalia about her whereabouts. Amalia reveals that she received The Unsound from Alex’s personal email.

Episode 7 – Personal Possessions

  • Nic finds a deep Web forum that claims The Advocate is recruiting, and Strand’s name is on a list. Someone claims to have a photo of The Advocate, but you must leave a note in a mailbox in Maine to get it.
  • The painting from The Empress hotel has a cipher on the back based on the book “9 Stories.”
  • Alex interviews Jessica Wheldon (the possessed 12-year-old girl from Season 1, Ep. 5). She is now 35, and she believes she was brainwashed, not possessed. Her parents committed suicide. She puts Alex in touch with “John.”
  • “John” was also possessed, and had an exorcism performed. The tape of his exorcism reveals it to be a fraud — it is not performed by priests, and the walls of the room contain sacred geometry and the upside down face.
  • Cheryl reveals that their father was absentee until he took a special interest in Strand. She stopped talking to Strand after Coralee disappeared.

Episode 8 – Riverview

  • The book cipher is a warning from Coralee: “Leave me. Find Advocate. Simon Reese.”
  • Nic and Alex go to Canada to meet Thomas Warren at a conference and are intercepted by Sammie, the woman who claimed to have a photo of the Advocate, who is also looking for Warren.
  • Alex and Nic get box of records from Riverview Mental Hospital marked “E. Hausdorff, ’71-’75”. Hausdorff was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, made reference to “Mr. Splitfoot” and may have had the ability to bi-locate (like Simon Reese).  An exorcism was performed on him (sacred geometry and drawings similar to those in the caves were in the room). Nic theorizes that the men performing the “exorcisms” on Hausdorff, “John” and Jessica Wheldon are all connected. Strand says that the numbers and symbols on the walls point to “pelori” AKA “watchers,” who are guardians of children offered for ritual sacrifice.
  • The boy by the river is Bobby Maines, whose body was found in Red Bank Creek in 1976.
  • Simon Reese goes missing from the mental hospital.

Episode 9 – Brothers of the Mount

  •  Bobby Maines was abducted by a gas station attendant and murdered, the attendant died by lethal injection. Wesley Coates found the body.
  • Strand reveals that Pelori are similar to legend of Rumpelstiltskin, except that they get their power from a symbol, the sign of the Cult of Tiamet (on Coralee’s ring, in the cave paintings, subject of his father’s work that Thomas Warren is interested in).
  •  Sammi (woman from Maine) goes MIA after making a warning call to Alex and Nic.
  • Deva Corp. has been funding paranormal research.
  • Edward Lewis (Simon Torres’ kidnapper) is found dead in his cell. At the same time, 8 other men (Brothers of the Mount) killed themselves. Ritualistic suicide pact? Symbol from Simon Reese’s room is present at both crime scenes — did Simon bi-locate and murder the monks?
  •  Simon reaches out to Alex and said that Brothers of the Mount were trying to raise a chorus of children’s voices. He asks Alex to look into Thomas Warren’s machine.
  • Amalia contacts Alex with a picture of what looks to be something awful related to Keith Dabic.
  • A user in Bulgaria named “Hastur” (Keith Dabic?) sends Nic and Alex a sound file.
  • Hausdorff was admitted to a mental hospital at age 12 for killing his parents (just like Simon Reese).

Episode 10: Welcome to the Machine

  • Nic is researching the machine used in “John’s” exorcism — connects it to a robotics lab that makes rare machines, and specializes in pachinko. Thomas Warren recently took possession of a batch of machines — except they weren’t really pachinko games, according to the delivery man, who witnessed an “exorcism” at drop-off.
  •  In researching stories related to ghost hunting equipment, Nic comes across the symbol on Coralee’s ring on a machine.
  • Alex looks at Strand’s father’s research and stumbles upon letters hidden behind a photo. the letters reference preparing Richard for the “mantle of the dragon” and a 14-digit number (possibly the location of the highest peak in Turkey, aka the Axis Mundi, a place to play Scriabin’s Mysterium symphony to usher in the demon apocalypse).
  • Referencing the Sagamore Hotel Black Tape from Season 1, Ep. 1, Alex’s intern believes Strand is hiding something. It turns out Percival Black stayed at The Sagamore the same year he joined the Order of the Cenophus and composed The Unsound. Black is working to finish the Mysterium.
  • Wesley Coates says that his childhood friend, Richard Strand, led him to the body of Bobby Maines.

Episode 11: About a Boy

  • Wesley Coates said Richard Strand had a dream about about the location of Bobby Maines’ body. Was/is Strand a psychic? Strand gets mad at Alex when she asks him this.
  • Nic and Alex get a second sound file from “Hastur” and a code that contains map coordinates to the Chattahoochee National Forest.
  • Amalia tells Alex that the photo mentioned in Ep. 9 is “not exactly” Keith Dabic — rather, it’s an unidentified man with Dabic’s face sewn on his own.
  • Tiamet is part of The Gnostic Gospels, which reference the 5 seals to usher in the apocalypse.
  • Thomas Warren requests a meeting, but when Alex and Strand arrive at Deva Corp. they are intercepted by Coralee in a van.

Episode 12: The Axis Mundi

  • Coralee takes Strand and Alex to a house, speaks with Strand briefly, and leaves. Strand and Alex drive home and talk all night (Editors note: this really had me feeling the feels!)
  • Coralee was a “watcher,” an agent for the Advocate assigned to look after Strand. The marriage was a set-up but she ended up falling in love with Strand and went on the run from her handlers. Thomas Warren was her liaison. The Advocate believes Strand holds a genetic key.
  • Strand tried to rekindle his psychic ability when Coralee left, and was unable to do so. He no longer believes it was psychic ability that led him to Bobby Maines. He doesn’t know if The Black Tapes are connected, but there are more than 100 of them.
  • Alex calls her Urraca Mesa cave guide (from Season 1, Ep. 12) and it turns out that the last 2 Anasazi totems guarding the gateway are now gone.
  • Strand, Nic and Alex finally meet Thomas Warren, who offers to finance the Strand Institute (which is broke) if Strand will join Deva Corp.
  • The 14 digit code is not a GPS coordinate to peak in Turkey — it’s the IP address of The Black Tapes studio.
  • Unbeknownst to them at the time, Alex and Nic have played all 5 movements of the Mysterium, in order, on the podcast. They are: The Unsound (Season 1, Ep. 3), the sound file from Russia (Season 1, Ep. 9), the Unsound “cure” (Season 2, Ep. 5), the first sound file from “Hastur” (Season 2, Ep. 5) and the second sound file from “Hastur” (Season 2, Ep. 11), Simon Reese warns of coming chaos and death, and a curse on all who have heard the 5 movements.

5 thoughts on “The Black Tapes Podcast: Season 2 CliffsNotes

    1. I’d like to put together a thoughtful post that sort of sums everything up. But here are some random observations:
      – I think that Strand has special abilities that he is not fully aware of, and like some of the other “special” kids (Simon Reese, for example) he was being groomed by his father to take part in the demon apocalypse.
      – I’m pretty excited to hear more of the Black Tapes cases — I was surprised that there are 100 of them.
      – I would love it if they really leaned into the next season with the supernatural element. Now that they have played all the movements of the Mysterium, I think it would be epic to start having contact with Grigori/Tall Paul, or other demons.
      – I’m a big-time Alex and Dr. Strand shipper. I was pretty happy that they talked all night and seem to be developing a deeper bond. I’m not sure if Coralee would ever be a part of his life again, but I feel like he can start to move on now that she revealed the nature of her involvement with The Advocate.


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