A few weeks ago I met up with Saara Untracht-Oakner and Glenn Van Dyke of BOYTOY to talk about the band’s brand new record Grackle, which is out NOW (and which I listened to three times in a row the other day because it is very, very good!) // over the course of our conversation (which you can read in full HERE) we covered a lot of ground, including BURIAL ground // I asked Saara and Glenn if they had any good ghost stories (because #OCTOBER), so they proceeded to tell me two truths and a Freddie-Prinze-Jr.-laced lie in that regard. We also talked about Ouija Boards, superstitions and the art of not tempting fate, so read up on all of that RIGHT NOW, and then be sure to grab a copy of the record. HERE WE GO:
So your record is out on October 2nd, and every October I do this potentially off-putting thing where I ask nearly everyone I interview if 1. they believe in ghosts, and/or 2. they have a ghost story to tell. So this is me doing that to you right now.
Saara: I have a ghost story. So growing up, my friend (Lauren, who I met in second grade in the principal’s office, and then we became best friends) lived in a really old house. By this time we were in ninth grade or something, but growing up she’d hear footsteps in the hallway, she’d woken up one night and seen a small girl standing in her doorway and kind of put the covers over her head…things like that. So we were at her house, and her older brother was there and said, “Alright, I’m going out, I’ll see you later.” So we were left, and I’d been teasing her about the ghost, and she was just like, “Stop it. Seriously. Stop bringing it up.” And then we heard something slam downstairs, and we were like, “Billy?” And nobody was home. So we went downstairs, and all the cabinets in the kitchen were open, and we were like, “Oh my god, what the hell.” And so we went back upstairs and were like, “We gotta get out of here. We need to GO.” So we went back down, and the keys that she’d left on the table had been moved and kind of put under a pile of some stuff, like clothing or something, but they had been right there a few minutes before. So we were like, “What are we gonna do?!” So we called our friend’s older sister to come pick us up, and while we were waiting, her house phone was ringing. She has an answering machine, but the answering machine wasn’t picking up, so the phone just kept ringing and ringing. We were bugging out, and we ended up climbing out the window, leaving her house through the window, and then just running away. [Laughs]
That’s terrifying. But at least you didn’t have to live there…like, sucks to be your friend and be stuck with that as your house!
Glenn: I have a good one.
Glenn: It was summer. Last year. And my friends and I were driving in a car in a fisherman town, and we hit this guy with our car.
Glenn: And he…he was DEAD, and we didn’t know what to do with him, and THEN he comes back and starts killing…
Saara: “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER!” And Freddie Prinze Jr. was there!
PS I like, actually believed this story for a minute. (#GULLIBLE)
Saara: I actually have another one. Or, it’s not mine, it’s my parents’ from their honeymoon. Actually, we might be able to pass through this town when we’re in California, but on their honeymoon they were out in gold country, old cowboy towns that were really popular in the 1800s, and they were staying at this little inn. They were going to sleep, and there was this old-fashioned phone on the wall that wasn’t plugged in, and they were in bed and heard a noise like someone taking a pencil over a radiator going back and forth. And they were kind of not saying anything to each other, and the phone starts ringing, but kind of just like someone was hitting the bell. My dad got up and was like, “Hello? Hello?” and obviously it’s not even plugged into anything, so they kind of start bugging out. My mom feels something touch her face, and it wasn’t my dad, so they didn’t sleep at all. The next morning they go down to the concierge and said, “There was some weird stuff happening last night; I don’t know if you guys know anything about this, but we think it might be haunted.” And they’re like, “Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s definitely haunted! In the inn across the street they see apparitions…it’s a ghost town.”
That’s terrifying. Like, this is all stuff that I find fascinating, but also like, from a distance, you know?
Saara: Are you very superstitious?
I mean, I am, but to a non-debilitating extent.
Glenn: I’m the same.
Like, I’m super interested in supernatural stuff, and I think that it’s cool, but I’m not the kind of person who wants to really dabble in any of it, you know?
Saara: Yeah, we were just in Baltimore and we went to a graveyard where the guy who invented the Ouija Board is buried. Elijah Bond.
Glenn: She laid on his grave.
Saara: Someone got a tombstone made with the Ouija Board for him.
Glenn: Well, Ouija Boards do kind of scare me a little bit. But it’s also like, I’m not gonna walk under a ladder…
Saara: Because it’s DANGEROUS to walk under a ladder! [Laughs]
I mean, true, but it’s also like…if I have an opportunity NOT to tempt fate, then like, I’m going to take that opportunity not to tempt fate. Better safe than sorry or whatever.
Glenn: Exactly. There we go.
Saara: I have a Ouija Board story, too, actually, that happened with that same friend, Lauren, with the haunted house. So this time we were at MY house, and we were in fifth grade. My parents had friends over, and we’d been playing with the Ouija Board earlier. Later we lit candles and were playing with it again, and we asked it a question, and really fast it spelled out “GO TO BED.” And we were both like, “Whoa.” We blew out the candles, and I got a bunch of wax sprayed up into my face, and I think that was the last time we played Ouija Board. And Lauren wasn’t allowed to play it at her house, because when her mom was younger she was playing it and like, a chandelier fell or something. But I still have the Ouija Board here at my house up the street. (You guys wanna play?) [Laughs] I live in an old house that’s behind all the other buildings, too. It was built in 1904, probably before everything else around it was made, so it has the original foundation and everything. So I feel like if we did the Ouija Board there…
You would for sure be opening some doors.
Saara: Yeah, there might be some portals that could potentially be opened.
Glenn: And again, we’re not trying to tempt fate.