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Lexington couple builds global audience with paranormal podcast

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 2:50 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As we approach Halloween this weekend, many of you may getting into the spirit by telling some ghost stories.

A Lexington couple has a thing for the spooky, and not just in October, it’s a year-round affair. They have built a global audience around all things paranormal with their a podcast.

Like a lot of couples Jerry and Tracy Paulley share similar interests. Theirs just happens to be centered around things that might keep some of us up at night.

“It’s obviously pretty much paranormal or unexplained creepy, however you want to term it,” said Jerry Paulley.

Paulley has been intrigued with ghosts since childhood and growing up in Louisville in what he says was anything, but a normal house.

“I grew up in a haunted house for about five years, I say grew up, but it was probably from the age of 13-18 we were in a haunted with a lot of activity,” said Paulley.

In a bedroom of their two-story home is where the spooky really lives. It’s a place where, weekly, the two dive into some of the most bizarre, weird, and sometimes just plain scary stories.

“Now this place has quite the history, and by history, I mean tragedy,” said Paulley.

Since 2016, the two have been hosting the popular paranormal podcast “Hillbilly Horror Stories.”

“We are believers obviously, but we don’t believe every story that is told. We do put a little bit of skepticism towards it, but some things just know matter how hard you look at it can’t be explained,” said Paulley.

Tracy, who wasn’t a ghost enthusiast ended up on the show by accident, but quickly became a staple.

“I’ve never heard the story at all, so I’m just like hearing it for the first time like everybody else, so I just kind of chime in with my thoughts,” said Tracy Paulley.

The two put out six episodes a week and have hit 11 million downloads and grown a global audience, all from their Kentucky home.

“I think a lot of people can just relate to it, I think everybody has a story, everybody has got an experience that they have had in their life for the most part,” said Paulley.

Fans of the show like Sam Ferrell in Virginia are drawn to the Paulley’s most.

“The husband and wife, they have kind of a comic thing going on and it just it adds a whole other level to the entertainment,” said Sam Ferrell.

While the podcast might focus on paranormal activity and all things eerie, it has also developed a following for being a lifeline to some listening.

“I’ll be honest with you; well Jerry partially saved my life. I had actually gotten very close to committing suicide and Jerry was one of the people that kind of helped talk me through it and get me through that rough patch in my life and show me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. So, without Jerry I probably would not be here today,” said Ferrell.

Mental health awareness has become a common thread on the Hillbilly Horror Stories podcast.

“It’s tough mentally right now for people struggling,” said Paulley.

After an episode on suicide, Jerry felt he needed to open up about his own struggles and a conversation started.

“We are constantly promoting mental health awareness and we have several people that send us stories every week on how we have helped them in life somehow, someway that has nothing to do with the podcast,” said Paulley.

“That’s why we love our group because there are people all over the world. So anytime, day or night you know they can contact somebody. We have even given out of our phone number for people to call us,” said Tracy Paulley.

While the stories heard on the podcast may give us all chills and leave us wondering what is really out there, the podcast, at its root, is about the here and now of its listeners.

“We are just an ear, we are just asking people that if they need to talk, we are there, we are asking people if they need to seek help how they can get help” said Paulley.

The Paulley’s say they are not experts, so they are careful about not giving advice only advocating for people to seek help.

Jerry Paulley has written a book, “Demons Depression and Redemption.” The book details his own struggles, but also how we can overcome them.

If you would like to learn more about Hillbilly Horror Stories and its community, click here.

You can also find the podcast on most major platforms.

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