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the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio

Rat Grimes

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A series of weird horror podcasts set in the midwest. The Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio is a horror-comedy fiction podcast set within one of the last remaining Dead Letter Offices in the country. Join Conway, Wren, and the rest as they archive strange, spooky, surreal pieces of lost mail. A solo project by a nonbinary creator inspired by Kentucky Route Zero, Twin Peaks, Edgar Allen Poe, and more. Each episode features 2 short stories connected in some way, either narratively or thematically. What begins as an anthology evolves into...something else. Content warnings are posted in the show notes, along with transcripts. Written, performed, and scored by Rat Grimes (they/he) Art by Nerdvolkurisu

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BONUS: Nine to Midnight

the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio


10/29/21 • 95 min

On the eve of Halloween, nine storytellers make their way to an abandoned asylum to share their terrifying truths about the darkness that exists around them. As the tales unfold, each more visceral than the last, the nine may just discover that it is not the waking world to fear, but the horrors that lay within.

Nine to Midnight is a collaborative storytelling event between nine podcasts:

Malevolent (


Wake of Corrosion (

The Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio (

The Cellar Letters (

The Storage Papers (

The Town Whispers (

Nowhere, On Air (

Hell Gate City Companion (


CW: General horror, swearing throughout

Produced by Harlan Guthrie

Master edit by Harlan Guthrie

'Nine to Midnight' written by Harlan Guthrie.

Performed by Harlan Guthrie, Dylan Griggs, Shaun Pellington, Rat Grimes, Jamie Petronis, Jeremy Enfinger, Nathan Lunsford, Cole Weavers, Jess Syratt, and Kevin Berrey.

8:05 | 'Rare Book' written, performed, edited, and mixed by Harlan Guthrie of Malevolent.

16:50 | 'The Knocking' written, performed, edited, mixed, and music composed & performed by Dylan Griggs of WOE.BEGONE.

27:05 | 'The Broken Man' written, performed, edited, and mixed by Shaun Pellington of Wake of Corrosion.

CW: Violence, injury

35:30 | 'The Pool' written, performed, edited, mixed, and music composed & performed by Rat Grimes of The Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio.

CW: Death, drowning

44:42 | 'The 1 to 5 Minute Man' written, performed, edited, and mixed by Jamie Petronis of The Cellar Letters.

52:24 | 'Ridgefield Manor' written, edited, and mixed by Nathan Lunsford.

Performed by Jeremy Enfinger and Nathan Lunsford of The Storage Papers.

Additional sounds from Zapsplat (

CW: Discussion of murder and suicide

1:02:45 | 'Public Access' written, performed, edited, and mixed by Cole Weavers of The Town Whispers.

1:12:34 | 'The Shortcut' written, performed, edited, and mixed by Jess Syratt of Nowhere, On Air.

1:22:14 | 'Peepers Creepers' written, produced, performed, edited, and mixed by Kevin Berrey, Screaming Panda LLC of Hell Gate City Companion.

Music composed by Cheska Navarro (

Sounds from Zapsplat (

Additional sounds and effects licensed under CC BY 3.0: by Garuda1982 by cbakos by trip_sound by Omar Alvarado by SLCBagpiper by GM180259

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the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio


03/01/22 • 36 min

Forward and backward are not stable concepts. The curtains close, a mask is shattered, but we're still here. Wren helps a lost soul and meets some familiar ones.

Thank you all so much for listening, and special thanks to guests Jess Syratt of Nowhere, On Air and Shannon Strucci of Critical Bits and more.

(CWs, spoilers: bullying, derealization, implied dysphoria, brief fire and engine sounds, alcohol, smoking)

*audience shuffling and chatting, dies down*

LOST FISHERMAN: “Good evening, dear audience. Tonight we present to you the final act in a series of strange events. The detective this evening will be played by Wren once more, with the receiving clerk reprising the role of the vanished. I will be your chorus. When you see me again, it will all be over. When I return, you will not be ready, but it must end as all things do. Until then, please enjoy the show.

“A crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me”


The vault wasn’t so much an actual vault, but–as you’ve no doubt surmised–a cave. Like the cave I had encountered before, where Lucy served me breakfast. Where I cried over eggs and toast. Maybe just a different part of the same cave, even. All around me, stacked and scattered throughout the yawning caverns was dead mail: letters, packages, objects covered in grime and dust. The light from my phone only revealed a harsh circle in front of me, leaving much of the vault in total darkness. I felt things stirring in that darkness whenever I turned away. They gathered behind me, at my sides, spiraled gaseous tendrils around my ears. But they dissipated any time I faced them.

I flipped through folders and sifted through cabinets and baskets full of decomposing paper. I found many strange stories among the mundane cruft. Some stories I had heard before, some I had not. These pieces had little in common: from different parts of the country, different times, different people. Many followed a similar thread, though.

Something under the office’s purview, my purview, appeared in each: a moth here, an alien worm there. Just little hints of the ineffable, the sublime radioactive backdrop that most people tune out. This damp hall was where my furry friend would have ended up, had I not saved them from that fate. I panned the pulp silt for gold, trying to find any clue I could sink my teeth into.

I went further and farther back, in time and in space. The older files were kept ever deeper in the cave. I was in the middle of reading a peculiar letter regarding an ill-tempered neighbor when my boot struck a vein. Masonry. Not the deep brown rock surrounding me, but a gray slab shaped by human hands. Around the base of the stone was a shallow puddle. I looked up and there I saw an angel.

An angel in gray, its features blurred and worn by time, its form smudged with black. Had the angel been there the whole time, or had it just appeared a moment ago? I leaned closer and inspected its surface.

All across this sculpture–from the top of its head to the base–were dark fingerprints. I gently slid the letter I was carrying through one of the tacky prints. The black substance followed, sticking to the paper. Simply looking was going to get me nowhere. What use is a detective that only uses one sense, anyway? I held the tacky substance close to my nose and inhaled.

Fire, smoke, machinery. This thing was covered in scorched oil. The angel’s hands were clasped to its chest, and I could tell there was something within. I recalled a story I had heard about a sculpture of similar kind. About a disappearance and a hanging thread.

I had to know what was held in its hands.

As if already planting its roots in my mind, the angel’s stone fingers unfolded, and there it proffered an egg, no bigger than a chicken’s. I dared not touch the angel, this seraph bathed in the blood of the ancient earth. I took a step back and shuddered. At this rejection, many fish fell around the angel, all dead and frozen, slapping hard against the cave floor.

Then, from the deepest recesses of my consciousness, there came a sound: steel wire hanging high above a field of corn. The lines shivered in the breeze and sang like clockwork sparrows. Metallic spring sprung forth in a curl of light and noise. An electrical pylon, its arms spread wide, so wide it held the whole state to its chest. Transmissions from everywhere and nowhere collected in the still air inside its ribs. It blew a whispered kiss through the heavy bent stalks, through iced cities and rolling foothills. It blew a kiss as loud as the trumpets of revelation, and spoke in a hundred tongues of electric rapture:

“The next time you see me, you will be dead. And when I come, you will not be ready...”

All of my training, all of my will and wit was for naught in the face of it. And in my mind were two diverging paths, two images in a...

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the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio


01/04/21 • 14 min

Conway archives two more odd letters this week. A struggling chef encounters a new customer with unusual tastes. A secret admirer reveals his game.

Don't forget to subscribe if you like the show!

(CWs: blood, food, stalking, implied death)


CONWAY: This is Conway, receiving clerk for the Dead Letter Office of ***** Ohio, processing the national dead mail backlog. The following audio recording will serve as an internal memo strictly for archival purposes and should be considered confidential. Need I remind anyone: public release of this or any confidential material from the DLO is a felony. Some names and places have been censored for the protection of the public.

Dead letter 12603 was found in a vacant building before demolition on July 22nd, 2011. It was addressed to the ****** Police Department, but was not postmarked or sent. There was no return address. It was forwarded to our office for verification and processing. The letter has been subsequently opened and read per the state’s revised code. The letter reads as follows:

NARRATOR: I’m not sure if what I’ve done--and what I’m about to do--is technically a crime. A sin, sure, one of the gravest, depending on your outlook. But you don’t deal with sinners, do you. This is a confession, regardless; I’ll leave it to you whether it’s religious or criminal. Let me start at the beginning.

I’ve been in this neighborhood for over three decades. I built this place, and I’ve stuck it out through fires and floods and all kinds of hardships. I’ve seen this place rise and fall and get back up again. But things are different now. I used to know a lot of the people coming in. I could ask them about their kids or job or whatever. Even if the place wasn’t packed, it could stand on its own. But the old faces just don’t come here much anymore, and the new ones are not the same. It’s all young people in their jumpers and track pants and fancy watches with no numbers. They spend more, but their tips leave a little something to be desired.

The old businesses have vanished along with the old faces. The Fledermouse is gone, now it’s just a store for lampshades. Not lamps, mind you, just the shades. And across the street they’re done building some fancy studio apartments. Used to be a real workin man’s neighborhood, lotta immigrants, real good folk. Now it’s a sanctioned “arts district,” and with that comes “arts district” rent. This city’s too chickenshit for any kind of rent control, so I’m looking at shuttering my business and moving out within the year if things don’t pick up.

Well one night we’re unexpectedly swamped, and I hear some chatter about a food writer for some internet website being here. Always looking for new experiences and all that. So I’m in the back sweating up a storm, trying to get these orders out to the good people. I’m dicing up chives for the garnish and I slip a little. No time for errors if I want to keep this place alive. I keep my head down, toss on the chives, and slide the bowl down the line to be taken out to the table. I take a breath, lean back against the counter, and wipe the sweat off my forehead with my greasy apron. Then I can feel my finger pulsing when I press it against my face.

And that’s when I see it. The fresh, dark red on the apron, dripping from my finger. When I was chopping, I must have nicked it. I go to pick up a dry towel next to the cutting board, when I see it again. Those same red globs on the chives, on the knife. Holding the towel over my finger, I rush to the kitchen door and crane my neck, straining to see out the window. The guy’s lifting the spoon to his mouth and sipping it just as I peer out.

Well, that’s it for me, I figure. I had a good run, time to pack it in and close shop. I take a seat and bandage my finger, thinking about the old times here.

I’m stirred from my thoughts by one of the servers, she says the food guy called her “garcon” and says he wants to meet whoever was responsible for the soup. Well, time to face the music, folks. I slip my damp hat off, run a hand through my thinning hair, and amble to his table. I don’t hear much of what he’s saying, I’m looking past him and thinking about the fat fine the city’s gonna stick me with. That is until he holds out his hand for a shake. He says something about a genius reinvention or deconstruction or whatever. Says it was unlike any soup he’s ever had. I’m speechless for a minute, half-tempted to fess up right then and there. Instead, my self-preservation instinct kicks and I zip my fat lip and shake his hand. He says he feels reinvigorated and will be back next week for the same dish.

So next week rolls around and here he is, Mr. Food Blog himself, asking for the soup, exactly as before. I put in the same ingredients, prepared the same way (minus the finger incident of course) and send it out. Not two minutes later, he sends i...

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the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio


12/23/20 • 14 min

Conway archives two strange letters this week: one involves a bad neighbor, and the other relates a short story about a fad toy from the '90s.

Don't forget to subscribe if you like the show!


CONWAY: This is Conway, receiving clerk for the Dead Letter Office of ***** Ohio, processing the national dead mail backlog. We here at the DLO are no strangers to odd parcels and unusual letters, and these two here are certainly unusual. The following audio recording will serve as an internal memo strictly for archival purposes and should be considered confidential. Need I remind anyone: public release of this or any confidential material from the DLO is a felony. Some names and places have been censored for the protection of the public.

Dead letter 11501, postmarked October 19, 2009, was flagged by a carrier and sent to the Dead Letter Office for verification and processing. The letter has been subsequently opened and read per the state’s revised code. The letter reads as follows:


Dear Terry at ***** realty,

We’re a small college town, so there will be parties. I grew up here, I get it, I’ve lived it myself. Sometimes the people living above you are loud, and obnoxious. Not much to be done about that. But for the tenant above me, it seems that every night is a blowout. Most lights on our block go dim a few hours after sunset, of course other than the orange halos of the street lights and blue streams of tvs filtering through blinds. One night I’m watching reruns of Frasier or Jeopardy or whatever, the windows open to let the cool fall air in. But I can’t hear a damn thing over the commotion upstairs.

Pounding music seeps through the ceiling like a burst pipe. I’d almost rather have a water leak, because maybe you’d do something about it for once. I try earplugs, I try the pillow over the head, I try it all. Eventually sunlight starts to creep through the window. And when the sun does come up, the music just stops. And then I have to go to work exhausted and frustrated.

One brisk evening, as splashes of red sunset coat our building, I slip a small note under his door. Something like “Please keep it down after 10 p.m. Some of us do work early!” Problem solved, I hope. But as the last rays of daylight fade and my grilled cheese is fully melted, the damn music starts again. Some kind of dance music, uncomfortably loud, constantly thrumming like a wicked heartbeat.

That night, I’m looking up at the ceiling, just seething over this guy. It’s past 12, and the music still bleats, a single voice interwoven throughout. So I get up, march out to the hallway, and stomp up the narrow stairs. I knock heavily on his door in three quick successions. The door opens just a crack, as bright multicolored light and hammering drums buzz through the frame.

“Hey, my dude, what is the deal?” is all he has to say for himself. I’m squinting against the harsh lighting now as my eyes struggle to adjust. He looks like he’s in his late-thirties, a bit haggard. Wearing neon shutter shades and a few days of stubble.

“Did you get my note?”

“What?” he leans in to hear me over the commotion.

I clear my throat and ask again, louder this time, about the note. I don’t want a fight, I just want to sleep.

“Note? No, my dude, there are no notes here,” he laughs to himself, but his voice is shaky. Eventually my eyes get used to the tacky backlight, and I can see a bit between the slats of his glasses. His eyes are huge, bloodshot, always moving. My gaze trails to the wrinkles creasing around the corners of his mouth and eyes. Scruffy, uneven hair held in place by a faded headband, slick with sweat and grease. The tip of a worn vape pen sticks out of the pocket of his baby blue polo shirt. And the man doesn’t blink. He doesn’t blink the entire conversation.

“Well, could you keep it down at night? At least weeknights? I have to work and--

“No can do, my dude. ‘Party all day to keep the darkness away,’ know what I mean? Keep it from clawing its way inside,” I can’t tell if he’s joking or sick, but his red, staring eyes keep darting behind me to the shadowed stairwell.

“Okay, well you can do whatever makes you happy during the day, that’s not the problem. It’s the nights that I take issue with.” I look past him and into his apartment, trying to make out any shapes in the room. I see a lot of lights, but no other people. If this was a party, it was a pretty bleak one.

“This ain’t just for me bruh, gotta keep rockin’ all night to keep the dark--” he starts, or something to that effect, as he wipes moisture from his upper lip and chin. It’s chilly in the building, but he’s still glistening with beads of prickling sweat. I tell him I don’t have time for this, and that if he doesn’t knock it off, I’m calling the landlord.

He says something about he's been here a while an...

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the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio


06/07/21 • 32 min


Receiving Clerk Conway was asked to look into an angel statue and a missing mail carrier named Kenji on behalf of the Dead Letter Office. During the investigation, Conway encountered a strange lost fisherman and some odd postcards with unsettling connections to his past. After finding Kenji's body holding a phone, Conway called the phone number on one of the postcard and received some disturbing information: he couldn't recall his own last name, and realized he was being set up. And what did the lost fisherman mean when he said Conway isn't real? At least not yet?

Now, a new face has arrived at the DLO to sort through the mess Conway left behind: claims adjuster Wren is on the case. On their first day at the office, karaoke night at a dive bar turns weird and Conway finds himself somewhere he shouldn't be.

Some lyrics from Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads

"Fool" originally by Frankie Cosmos

(CWs--mild spoilers: birds, bugs, brief blood, alcohol, smoking, brief harassment, very mild body horror, some strong language, romance?)


CONWAY ON TAPE:...gonna pick up the phone and dial this number.

WREN: Now you’ve heard everything I have. Conway’s vanished, leaving only a trail of disconnected audio memos for me to follow. His last known location was here, at the Dead Letter Office of ******* Ohio. He was supposedly asked to investigate a large package in some other post office, but the DLO has no record of this request, and no idea where he went.

Hello, I’m--wait, am I supposed to introduce myself, or is this more of a formal...Okay.

Then let’s start at the beginning, where I come in. I want to be as thorough as possible. No loose ends.

I had just hung up a bird feeder on the front porch. I like watching all the little birds stop by. The robins, the jays, the sparrows, their colorful plumage and vibrant songs. They take turns plucking seeds out of the holes in the cylinder and sing their small hearts out.

It was an afternoon, still a little chilly. Summer hadn’t quite hit full swing. A couple of Carolina Finches were pecking at the small bugs and shells left by their brethren on the concrete. The birds weren’t aware of the hawk landing in the tree behind them. They’re not aware of the movements of empires, the fluctuations of markets that destroy their homes. They only see what’s in front of them: the sky to the ground, the egg to the dirt, is now. A moment later and the raptor descended on the surprised prey in a flurry of chirps and flaps. The small birds scattered in a panic, one slammed into the window then took off and the other found itself tangled in the freshly torn mesh on my screen door. Having missed its chance, the hawk turned, soaring far out over the houses down the block. None of these birds would be lunch that day.

This was a relief. I didn’t want to see my visitors get eaten. I mean, I eat chicken already, it’s not all that different, but I still feel bad for the little birds. I figure if I were an animal, I’d be like them, picking at seeds and singing my little song. Noteworthy to those paying attention, but a background detail--a bit player in the grand scene--to others. Realistically, though, I could just as easily be a hawk. Hungry, waiting patiently on the sidelines for my chance, disliked by most. Reaching out and missing. Chronic bad luck.

I heard my phone buzz on the coffee table, but I had to get this finch out of my screen first. I opened the heavy door and found the thing flapping and screeching, its foot caught in the screen. I gently unwrapped the fabric from its leg, despite its vociferous protestations, and it burst free, tearing through the air to join its friends on the telephone wire.

I went back in and answered the call. It was the DLO. I was being transferred to some nowhere post in Ohio. Supposedly a temporary assignment, though I guess they all are in the long run. There was a case there that needed an expert’s opinion. They always manage to have the worst timing.

Yes, if I were an animal, I’d probably be the scrappy songbird. Or maybe the hawk. Or maybe I’m just the beetle lodged in the finch’s beak, surrounded by a vast unknowable world, an ocean of interconnected things and events totally beyond my comprehension, then summarily devoured without a second thought.

*Intro music*

WREN: Hello, I’m Wren, claims adjuster for the Dead Letter Office. I’m here to determine if Conway disappeared on the job, and to judge if the DLO is required to make an insurance payout to his next of kin. I’ll be examining his audio memos and the dead mail backlog in his inbox for any clues as to his whereabouts.

The following audio recording will serve as evidence for his case. Public release of this or any other evid...

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the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio


04/19/21 • 38 min

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A freighter on Lake Erie experiences heavy storms. A salvage goes wrong. Conway reminisces about his past, and has a revelation about his present.

(CWs: death, dead animal, brief gore, blood, body horror, insects, alcohol, derealization, deep water)

Lyrics to "Farewell Song" originally published by Dick Burnett


CONWAY ON THE PHONE: Omens always come in threes. The dead rat on the porch should have been number one with a bullet. I put some water on the range for a pot of coffee yesterday morning. I was looking out the back window at the leftover frost glittering in the pink ribbons of early sunlight. I saw it lying there on the cement and couldn’t let it just decay. I went out the back door and looked over the scene. Pretty big thing. Probably lived a nice long life eating from my garbage, all things said and done. It had a serious bite on its leg and its stomach was uh...well you know how sometimes your imagination is worse than anything you actually see? This wasn’t one of those times. The kettle bubbled in the kitchen, letting off a trail of steam, and a fly buzzed around overhead.

I fixed to move the poor deceased critter. Scooping it up with a shovel seemed awful undignified, though. I rummaged through the kitchen drawers and cabinets. I waffled between a paper bag and a shoe box. The kettle screeched and plumed on the stove behind me. I couldn’t just dump the little guy in the trash, so I grabbed my garden trowel and made a small hole in the backyard. I laid the box in the grave, then covered its fur in soft earth. In time, it’ll be earth itself once more, and plants will grow from its back that new rats eat. Needless to say, I’m out a pair of tongs and a shoebox now.

Yeah, omens always come in threes, but not because of any natural or supernatural law. Humans are real good at pattern seeking, sometimes to our own detriment. It’s just that it takes three strokes of bad luck for us to really pay attention; one bad thing--well, it is what it is. Two bad things? That’s a coincidence. But three, and now you’ve a pattern. A chain of events. A story.

By then, Kenji’d been missing two weeks, and the angel was still in storage. It'd been a hell of a month. A missing person, an small town, mysterious letters and unexplained occurrences. It all felt a little...familiar. Almost cliche. But I’d been doing this gig for 6 years now and I wasn’t about to give up my healthcare over that. Besides they pay me to read, not to think. And so I did read, one last time, for the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio.

*New introduction music*

CONWAY: This is Conway, receiving clerk for the Dead Letter Office of ******* Ohio, processing the national dead mail backlog. The following audio recording will serve as an internal memo strictly for archival purposes and should be considered confidential. Need I remind anyone: public release of this or any confidential material from the DLO is a felony. Some names and places have been censored for the protection of the public.

Dead Letter 315, a weathered diary sent to the wife of a ship’s engineer. It details the fate of a lost cargo ship called the Oneiros, slated to make a quick trip across Lake Erie in 1913. The entries that contain no pertinent information will be excised from the record. The remaining relevant passages read as follows.

NARRATOR: Morning November 6, 1913. Embarking on a short voyage across the Erie, carrying a heavy load of cargo. Some twenty of us boarded the steamer Oneiros, a handsome ship, one of the finest freighters I’ve seen on the Great Lakes. Most aboard are able-bodied seamen, seasoned hands for the weather ‘sides one of the young cargo loaders, a Patrick, or Phillipe I think. USDA weather bureau noted a brisk easterly front, spots of rain for the upper lakes, calmer waters south. Crew seems in fine spirits despite the chill, the 3000 some gross tonnes of cargo, presumably coal and timber, secured below deck. I’m to look after the engine and its various components.

Captain Ludic’s a little daffy, assertively old-fashioned. Barking orders like he’s a pirate king and we’re his swabbies. Could have stepped right from the pages of Treasure Island, beard and all but for his soot black buttoned coat and hat. Seems no quack, though, and certainly knows his way round the ship. He’s very particular about his cargo, and ordered that none of us enter the cargo hold unless he gives us his explicit permission. Should be no longer than a day’s trip, then two days more before I see you again. It’s lonely out here, I can only imagine how dire it is stuck at home alone. I pray that upon my safe return, this log of my activities and thoughts of you more than makes for the time apart. And perhaps then we shall marry. I will be thinking of you fervently.

Evening the 6th of November, 1913. I’ve settled into my berth for the night after ...

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the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio


04/05/21 • 17 min

Conway sorts through some old--and possibly haunted--video games. The office receives a letter from someone with a peculiar ghost problem.

Happy (late) April Fools! I certainly hope no major video game publishers listen to this show!

(CWs: alcohol, brief blood, implied death)


CONWAY: This is Conway, receiving clerk for the Dead Letter Office of ***** Ohio, processing the national dead mail backlog. The following audio recording will serve as an internal memo strictly for archival purposes and should be considered confidential. Need I remind anyone: public release of this or any confidential material from the DLO is a felony. Some names and places have been censored for the protection of the public.

Dead Object 2513, a box of old video game cartridges. Let’s see what we’ve got. The label appears to have been weathered off on this first one, and someone’s written a name on the front in permanent marker. The games arrived with some other belongings, the leftovers from an estate sale that just couldn’t find a buyer. I’ve got an old system set up, paid for out of pocket of course, just on a lark. The interior of this cartridge looks pretty corroded, so I guess we'll see if it even plays.

All right, looks like the logo’s coming up. There's the title. Select a file. We’ve got one file with a person’s name, probably the old owner, and another file. Let’s choose that second one.

Okay, on the screen we’ve got the main character, all in green, lying all twisted up in some kind of dark atmosphere. I can’t move him, and can't really do much else on this screen. There’s an eerie looking gentleman with a large backpack nearby smiling at me. Seems he’s got some masks on his bag. Oh, we’ve got some text coming up at the bottom now. It reads as follows: “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?”

Nah, I’ve seen this one before. Not interested.

Let’s try this one.

OLD-FASHIONED NARRATOR: You are about to travel to another place, a place not only of truth but of allegory. Beyond this title screen, you will see a nightmare, a reflection, a fiction more real than any photograph.

You’re looking at a nondescript bar in the middle of a town in the heart of America. The exact location of this town is not important, for it’s not the place you must consider, but its people. A people in dire need of change to stave off collapse. Unfortunately for the people of this place, there will be no drastic change from those at the top, only distraction, diversion, entertainment.

STORYTELLER: Condensation covers the windows as heat from the patrons inside cools on the chilly glass. A tall man in a green hat sits by himself at the bar, looking forlorn over his thick mustache into his nearly-empty glass. The noises of the night--murmurs, clinking glasses, cars passing outside--melt into a gauzy hum behind him. He drains the remainder and wipes his mouth with a white-gloved hand. He fishes into his pocket for his wallet and gives a sharp sniff to stop his bulbous nose from running. He’s out of cash. He puts the glass down in front of him, wobbles in his stool for a moment, and then wraps his knuckles on the counter for another drink. The bartender turns to face him.

The man behind the bar tips back his green hat and tugs on his suspenders as he looks the patron over. The bartender shakes his head and twists his mouth up under his full twirled mustache. The man at the bar doesn’t like this answer. His eyebrows furrow and his mustache twitches. He slams his hand on the counter. This catches the attention of the rest of the patrons sitting at tables around the bar. They all turn toward him. Everyone’s on edge tonight. Despite the chilly weather, the patrons are similarly dressed in blue overalls with brass buttons, green shirts, green lettered caps, and white gloves. All tall, all mustaches. A football game plays on the television in the background, lines of mustaches in shoulder pads facing off. The angry patron at the bar, feeling the eyes of the others, hangs his head. He shrugs and makes a remorseful gesture with his hands. He slides his hat off his head and holds it to his chest as he slinks out of the bar’s side door.

Outside, gentle snowflakes drift and fall onto the chartreuse hats of two figures kissing in the alley beside the bar. A cart darts by in the road, a blur of emerald as its roar cuts the still winter air. The drunk man from the bar stumbles through the side door into the alley, and the two lovebirds freeze and look anxiously his way. After he passes them by, they embrace again, giggling. One shushes the other playfully with a gloved white finger to his lips through visible breath.

Then another noise disrupts the alley pair, this time deeper in the freezing darkness ahead. Something is rustling in the dumpster. They nervously peer ahead, with shorte...

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the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio


03/22/21 • 18 min

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The office receives a grisly letter from the early 20th century about an experimental composer. Conway muses about his past and present.

(CWs: blood, body horror, knuckles cracking, death)


Purcell - Rondeau From Abdelazer

Vivaldi - Concerto for Two Violins in A Minor

Saint-Saëns - Danse macabre, Op. 40


CONWAY: This is Conway, receiving clerk for the Dead Letter Office of ***** Ohio, processing the national dead mail backlog. The following audio recording will serve as an internal memo strictly for archival purposes and should be considered confidential. Need I remind anyone: public release of this or any confidential material from the DLO is a felony. Some names and places have been censored for the protection of the public.

Now this is an old one. I feel like if I’m not careful opening this, the whole thing’s gonna tear. Dead Letter 312. A letter addressed to a Mr. Markos. I’m not entirely sure how it made it into our backlog, given it’s about 100 years old, but there appears to be no address for this Mr. Markos. The letter reads as follows.

EDGAR, NARRATOR: "Malicious. Obscene. Substandard. Most disagreeable and indigestible. The proverbial Dickensian crumb of cheese splattered on the stage by an ill-tempered mind, one assuredly perverted by rhythm and reason hitherto unknown to polite society. A complete aesthetic and moral failure for Monsieur Edgar, and a black spot on all contemporary English works. Perhaps Edgar should have retained his study of internal medicine, whereby he could make messes of the human form as he sees fit, sans audience."

These “kind words” and more you levied at my first premiere in Paris one year ago, Monsieur Markos. Certainly your confidant Madame Stein has long ago heard the tale of my ballet’s misfortune and ensured all the other aesthetes gathered in her gilded salon from Apollinaire to Matisse know my shame.

I can imagine you poring over this text now, after my second premiere, in a frenzied allegro--perhaps accompanied by the horns of bobbies--seeking any news of your daughter’s health, any drop of comfort for your troubled heart. Though my frame shudders with mirth at the mere thought, that revelation must come in due course, monsieur. First I should like to give you a thorough recounting of the creation of my latest, and final, piece.

One evening the 25th of October, 1915. Deep in the trench of a gas-laden graveyard, a medic stood just outside the range of an artillery shell detonation. Three other medics within the radius were torn apart and died instantly, along with several soldiers a touch more slowly, leaving just this lone medic as the frantically bandaging witness. It was in these trenches that the medic saw the true barbarity of our race, the needless suffering we undergo and inflict for the benefit of our supposed betters. We, merely the chess pieces of our modern gods callously tossed off the board for a coin. He saw the very threshold of what man’s body can endure, and what Herr Freud might call the collective psyche of a nation can withstand--or bury. You, Monsieur, championed this war in your paper of record and seem determined to bury its atrocities.

At the time of my release from service, a friend apprised me of the goings-on at a salon in Zurich, of Mr. Hugo Ball and his associates at the Cabaret Voltaire. I was divinely inspired by their destruction and reconfiguration of the old modes into new ones, of the unseen grotesque discovered. The absurdity of our modern condition, in the twisted forms in a Braque, or a Duchamp, were not so dissimilar to the horrors of the Great War, to the bodies out of joint and out of space strewn across Europe. I spent the majority of my cached income to bring these radical new movements to the orchestra, to replicate the impossible bodies in dance, and to never let us forget what they have done to us, and what you and yours encouraged; the grinding of our bodies into dust in the gears of imperial war and industry.

As for Stein and all: I hadn’t the slightest interest in their approval in any case. However, since my premiere, your words had rattled around my mind like a sharp stone in my shoe. I thought I’d be rid of it only to be sorely reminded of its presence by a prick in the heel. I did not seek your approval, yet your critique soured me on my own work. I was driven to rework the piece entirely, to transmogrify it into a ballet that would test the very limits of the form itself. The fruits of this labor you were witness to this very night.

I began the process many months ago. I would spend hours in my parlor with my mandolin, plucking out atonal melodies and discordant passages derived from sources both holy and profane. Dominant sevenths with no tonic, tritones without resolution. I found these enlightening, but not fully to my taste. There was a rhythmic certainty ...

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the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio


06/28/21 • 32 min

A letter writer reminisces about his strange childhood pet. Conway explores the guts of an abandoned mall and finds someone he wasn't looking for. Wren gets chewed out for something they can't control.

(CWs: body horror, brief mention of violence and death, alcohol, dead animal, whispering, some strong language)


Hello, this is Wren, claims adjuster for the Dead Letter Office of *******, Ohio. The following audio recording will serve as evidence for Conway’s case. Public release of this or any other evidence is strictly prohibited. Some names and facts have been censored for the protection of the office.

As we’ve previously established, forward and backward are not necessarily stable concepts. So let’s begin today by looking at the next letter in Conway’s backlog, which may give me insight into what happened to him.

Dead letter 14417, a long note written on several folded pieces of printer paper, sent by a Stephen ***** to his mother in late 2016. The letter reads as follows.


Did I ever have a pet growing up? I know dad never wanted one and then Dave was allergic. It’s getting harder to remember if this actually happened or if it’s a vivid dream that’s stuck with me through the years.

Before high school hit me like a semi truck, you’d let me bike up to the arcade at the Deerland Mall on the weekends.

LOUDSPEAKER: “WELCOME TO THE DEERLAND MALL, YOU’LL GO BUCK WILD FOR THESE DEALS! Our store hours are: 9am to 7pm” *slowly fades out*

NARRATOR: I remember the huge globe of stale gumballs loitering in the foyer. I’d chew on them even though I knew they were rock hard and would probably cut my gums up. Sorry about the quarters missing from your purse. Then I’d stop by the candy store and get a big bag of sweaty gummies that had been sitting in the foggy display case for god knows how long and a tall cherry coke from the concession stand.

The light gun shooters and fighting game cabinets there were cool enough, but my favorite was the racing game. It had a whole mock driver’s seat that moved side to side as you steered. It was also more expensive to play than the others, so I’m sorry about the missing dollar bills. Whatever change I had leftover after a few laps of hairpin turns went into the vending machine full of capsule toys. Since I couldn’t get a dog, I was desperate for one of those new Tamagotchi toys. But where was I gonna get a whole twenty dollars? Coincidentally, the top prize advertised on the machine was a bright blue Tamagotchi. I was old enough to know there was probably only one in there, if any at all. I knew I’d probably end up spending more than twenty dollars trying to get it, yet here I was pouring money down the slot anyway instead of saving it up to buy one.

On a particular lazy afternoon, the arcade was empty: not too uncommon for a summer weekday. I put two quarters in the slot on the capsule machine, twisted the tough old crank, and out dropped a peculiar toy. The capsule itself was identical to the others: a translucent plastic casing, a bubble with a colorful top that popped off. Almost like an acorn fallen from a petroleum tree. But what was inside the case gave me pause then, and still makes me uneasy today.

I cracked it open under the flickering lights of the arcade. Inside wasn’t a Tamagotchi, but rather an egg: bigger than a robin’s egg but about the same color with a few white spots, and surprisingly heavy for a toy its size. What’s a thirteen-year-old boy want with a plastic egg? Waste of 50 cents, I thought. I put it in its case and set it on top of the claw machine so I could go play a game about shooting aliens in area 51. I was winding down a blocky corridor when I heard something behind me. I had thought I was the only one in there. I froze, and a bead of prickly sweat rolled down my neck. I turned my head to the entrance of the arcade. Nobody there. I scanned the stained carpet for anything out of place. Spilled on the ground near the rusty change machine was the capsule I’d just won, split up as a cracked egg. The toy that was inside sat upright among the wreckage. I took a step closer, still gripping the orange gun tethered to the cabinet. The egg on the ground shook. A tiny wobble. I shut my eyes hard for a few seconds, inducing those familiar mental fireworks, then looked again. Another teeter.

I pointed the light gun at it and fired. Kid logic would state that if this toy came to life, it could similarly be brought down by a toy gun. By then my connection to kid logic was hanging on by a single synapse, constantly threatening to disappear from my thought patterns forever, on the precipice of the bigger, darker realizations that the adult world foists upon the unsuspecting teen.

Well, sometimes kid logic doesn’t hold up to real world testing anyway. But now this blue egg had my interest: it...

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the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio


08/09/21 • 22 min

A man finds strangely familiar movies outside his door, someone pushes a rock up a hill, a dog chases its tail, and Wren takes things into their own hands.

(CWs, minor spoilers: blood, death, brief mention of sex, some language, vomit, birds, dogs, derealization)


WREN: The crowd at the Song Bird had vanished. The edges of the room faded into a misty gray. The woman I’d been talking to was gone. All that remained was the stage, awash in nightclub luminance. There was something standing on the stage. A kind of shapeless being. Its body was waving like a dead flag stirred by a subtle breeze. Harsh noise blared through the ashen bar. It seemed to be facing my direction despite its lack of features. I turned to run for the exit, but the door was no longer there: the back half of the dive bar now extended into an endless void. The jittering form reached out, and from its hand erupted streams of black ribbon. They curled around my feet with some force and bound my movement. I kicked and tore at them, but it was no use. They continued snaking up my legs.

The shape on the stage bellowed again, a horn from the lighthouse of the damned, and the ribbons tugged hard at my feet, knocking me down and pulling me toward the thing. The strands were halfway up my torso, and quickly began restricting my arms as I clawed at the checkered linoleum floor. I was pulled halfway up the stage, wrapped nearly to my throat in tight black bands. The closer I got to the umbral figure, the harder it became to breathe. My chest tightened, and each breath felt like I was gulping down burning air. I felt a hot jolt run through my body. I wriggled furiously and knocked over the microphone stand. Feedback screeched through the ethereal room.

Just as the ribbon was about to encroach on my lips and stifle my cries, something emerged from the gloom beyond the walls. It flew between the projector and lyrics splashed on the screen and for just an instant, it cast an avian silhouette against the wall: a huge feathered beast, wings flared and talons outstretched to strike. It slammed into the shadow on stage and tore through the strands confining me. No longer connected to my would-be abductor, they lost their mystic pull. I broke my arms free and tore through at the constraints around my feet. It wasn’t until later--hunched over my stained coffee table with a mug of green tea, draped in a blanket and shaking--that I realized what had been wrapping me: magnetic ribbon, the kind used in video tapes.

The giant raven stood on stage with its back to me, its foot on the slowly vanishing shadow monster. It struck me as odd that the thing had any form at all on which to step. But now was no time for wandering thoughts.

I tried to call out, but my voice was hoarse and dry. The bird didn’t move.

WREN: “You saved me from...whatever that was. Can I repay your kind favor somehow?”

The hulking corvid turned its head back to me. It had no beak, nor feathers on its face. Instead I saw pale skin, dark eyes, lips; upsettingly human.

AVERY: “You already have,”

WREN: it replied in a voice that sounded uncannily like my own.

And then the bar was back, and I was standing alone and disheveled in the middle of a vibrant dance floor. No bird, no shadow, no ribbon. Just me, alone among the crowd.

I fled the bar and didn’t look back. Though looking back now, I think I forgot to pay my tab. I should probably return soon and hope for a better experience.

Now, let’s take a look at the penultimate letter in Conway’s backlog. It is addressed to a John Johnson at 123 Cool Street, Real City, Ohio. Right...seems like the only indication of where it came from is the stationary, labeled “Welcome to the Deerland Mall.” I don’t think I’ve heard of a Deerland, Ohio, nor its mall. Let’s see what this letter has to offer.

CONWAY: Let me tell you a story. An aspiring screenwriter and college dropout was working at an indie movie theater. Let’s call him John. He worked the late shift, usually slow now that the old college town was starting to lose most of its college students. He used his free time in the projection room to work on his scripts. He had a friend, we’ll say David, who said he was “in the biz,” whatever that means. About once a week, David sent over some weird reel he’d gotten a hold of. Once the manager was off for the day and the crowds had all but gone home, John would set up the projector and screen whatever wild stuff David had found. Exploitation flicks, experimental genre stuff, early short films by famous directors. It wasn’t always that exciting, though. Sometimes it was boring b-roll footage, or badly transferred home movies. Regardless, John would screen them and then he and David would talk about it the next day.

One evening, deep ...

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How many episodes does the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio have?

the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio currently has 27 episodes available.

What topics does the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio cover?

The podcast is about Weird, Fiction, Drama, Ohio, Comedy, Podcasts, Science Fiction and Horror.

What is the most popular episode on the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio?

The episode title 'BONUS: Nine to Midnight' is the most popular.

What is the average episode length on the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio?

The average episode length on the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio is 28 minutes.

How often are episodes of the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio released?

Episodes of the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio are typically released every 20 days, 20 hours.

When was the first episode of the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio?

The first episode of the Dead Letter Office of Somewhere, Ohio was released on Dec 23, 2020.

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out of 5

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2 Ratings

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