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Name That Trauma :: Reader Shane H. on a Babysitter in the Furnace

November 1st, 2009 by aunt john · 4 Comments

When I was a kid, in the 1970s, the radio station WBAL in Baltimore would broadcast a series of scary Halloween stories every October. I’ve forgotten all of them but one, but this particular story scared the bejeezus out of me. It was about a babysitter caring for an infant while the parents were away. She kept hearing noises down in the basement. When she went down to investigate, she discovered that the noises seemed to be coming from the furnace. Turns out, something lived inside the furnace. Oops!

Cut to the parents returning home. They were baffled as to why the babysitter was nowhere to be found. But later, they began to smell an odd, awful smell throughout the house. It was the babysitter, the narrator said. Inside the furnace.

We had an old unfinished basement with a big oil furnace, and this story totally freaked me out for years. You have no idea how scared I was of that giant, belching furnace that easily could have hidden a gruesome creature and a dead baby sitter inside it.

I’d love to find a recording of this story again. The narrator was extremely creepy, and–at least from what I remember–the sound effects were equally horrifying. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Professor Von WhiskersenNo Gravatar // Nov 1, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I love to hear that as well.  Have you tried calling/emailing the radio station to see if they still have the old tapes?

  • 2 DunbarNo Gravatar // Nov 1, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Sounds like an episode of CBS Mystery Theatre. perhaps narrated by E.G. Marshall.  Could have been the episode called “Trial by Fire” That originally aired on October 31, 1977. Here’s the address for a complete list of episodes: http://www.old-time.com/otrlogs2/cbsrmt_dj.log.txt TD

  • 3 TaylorNo Gravatar // Nov 1, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Here are a bunch of episodes of CBS Radio Mystery Theater for free online.  I don’t see “Trial By Fire” among them, but my scanning through them was very quick…You might take a look.

  • 4 gauch0No Gravatar // Nov 2, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Great suggestions! I’ve listened to a few of the CBS radio theater recordings, and they don’t sound quite right, although I can’t be sure. (It was, after all, 30 years ago.) I found a plot description for the “Ordeal by Fire” episode, and that definitely is not it. –Shane H.

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