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Bellingham
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Tune in for terror

An increased heart rate and the urge to inch closer to the edge of the chair; the feeling of suspense is present.

Bellingham Terror is a radio-drama with the intention to give you that feeling through horrifying historical mysteries from Bellingham itself.

Riley Sweeney produces the show with his wife Bryna Sweeney. The two brought their passion of history and horror while incorporating it into the city they call home.

The show centers episodes around characters David and June. Together they attempt to lead average lives in Bellingham during the 1930s, while experiencing supernatural events and solving mysteries.

The show features completely hand-made sounds and local actors. Karen Powell, an actress on the show, has also been a lifelong radio-show enthusiast.

“It’s neat to listen to the story as it’s unfolding.”
Linda Hoffmeister

Powell used to listen to radio-dramas as a kid and has loved them ever since. The twist with this show is that it deals with witches, ghosts and many more supernatural creatures in the different episodes, she said.

Actor Adam Gaines is another regular on the show. He plays the recurring role of Dascombe, the villainous head of an evil society.

“I’ve always been a fan of old-timey radio shows,” Gaines said. “There’s something about closing your eyes, envisioning the characters and thinking along with the action.”

Research and imagination mixed with creativity was the spark that led Riley and Bryna Sweeney to start the radio-drama series in the first place.

“The places, locations and events are real, but the monsters, to our knowledge, are not. I mean there might have been evil cultists in Bellingham,” Riley Sweeney said.

Bellingham Terror extensively includes the history of the city and aims to bring light to the unknown social lives, political news and devastating events of the city’s past.

Riley and wife Bryna hangout inside their radio studio where they broadcast Bellingham Terror Radio on Wednesday Jan. 12, 2017 // Photo by Harrison Amelang
Riley and wife Bryna hangout inside their radio studio where they broadcast Bellingham Terror Radio on Wednesday Jan. 12, 2017 // Photo by Harrison Amelang

“Reality is often more terrifying than anything supernatural,” Sweeney said. “The most interesting stuff that we found was how much a role various underrepresented communities played in our history and how that’s been covered up.”

While driving to local hot spots like Locust Beach, students may have seen the infamous Roeder home. The old-style house is now surrounded with newer buildings and homes, making it stand out on the drive.

The upcoming second season of Bellingham Terror dives into mysteries surrounding notorious places like the Roeder home. The show also digs into the history of the KKK in Bellingham’s past.

“The Roeder home was built by this eccentric millionaire,” Sweeney said. “It was this mansion on the hill until the rest of the city engulfed it and that has some serious ghosts haunting it.”

Bryna Sweeney’s mother, Linda Hoffmeister, thinks Bellingham Terror is reviving the radio-drama genre.

“It’s neat to listen to the story as it’s unfolding,” Hoffmeister said.

With season two on the way, the station plays repeats of their prominent first season and their December holiday special.

Episodes of the radio show are broadcasted every Tuesday and Saturday on the radio station KRME 102.3 and can be downloaded off of Bellingham Terror’s website.

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