Interview

Episode 196 – Haunted Walks and Talks with Jim Dean

Mark interviews Jim Dean, Creative Director of Haunted Walks, Inc.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, a personal update, and a word from this episode’s sponsor . . .

This episode is sponsored by Findaway Voices.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at starkreflections.ca/Findaway.

In their conversation, Jim and Mark talk about:

  • How Glen Shackleton came to found the company via the first haunted walks in Kingston, Ontario in 1995
  • The early days of the haunted walks and how people reacted to the idea
  • Expanding out into Ottawa and Toronto as well as other nearby locations
  • How ghost stories are a great way to share local history and the local experience in an entertaining format
  • “We create and share extraordinary experiences”
  • How in “normal” or “pre-pandemic” times, tens of thousands of students would come to Ottawa and go on the ghost walks
  • The level of improv that is often required of the tour guides who have to incorporate the scripts into real-life interactive experiences
  • Dealing with the pandemic after just coming off their most successful year and the most trying day of having to lay off almost all of the company’s one hundred staff members
  • The “home and bored” haunted packs that they started selling early in the pandemic
  • Asking the question of what Halloween was going to look like in the fall of 2020
  • The “Save Halloween” Kickstarter Project they launched, which didn’t succeed, but led to some other ideas that worked for them, such as the virtual haunted campfires
  • The virtual DIY audio experience that is “The Haunting at Home”
  • How virtual events have opened Haunted Walks, Inc. up to an international audience and customer base
  • Hosting the Haunted Walks Podcast and the types of stories that Jim covers on it
  • Jim’s memories of how, in school, when the old movie projector got rolled out and the lights went down and the film came on, the room became an entirely different place
  • How the stories are crafted for the tours and how they evolve over time
  • The special “Fact or Fiction” tours that they sometimes do
  • A couple of unexplainable things that happened on a few of the tours and that Jim experienced
  • And more…

After the interview, Mark reflects on his appreciate for Haunted Walks, Inc. and the ways they have helped him personally and as a writer. He then talks about the important of multiple product lines and revenue streams derived from a single source of passion.

Links of Interest:

For 18 years, Jim Dean has been the Creative Director of Haunted Walks, Inc, which runs ghost tours and other paranormal adventures in Kingston, Ottawa, and Toronto, Ontario. He is also the host of the company’s popular Haunted Talks podcast which explores dark history and ghost stories from around the world.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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