Journalist Tristan Redman didn't believe in ghosts. Then a faceless woman visited his bedroom.

This is not the sort of ghost story you probably swapped at a childhood sleepover. 

Journalist Tristan Redman has managed to weave a tapestry of spooky stuff into the podcast Ghost Story, a seven-part investigation that involves a faceless woman, supernatural phenomena, a murder, a dark family secret, and a Hollywood actor.

The actor is Hugh Dancy, and the journalist suspects he was haunted by Dancy's great-grandmother while living in his childhood home. 

Umm, what! 

Okay. How on earth did we get here? 

The origin of the Ghost Story podcast.

Ghost Story is another cracking podcast series from Wondery that's a wild ride from beginning to end. It begins with host and journalist Tristan Redman admitting he was haunted as a child. While living in an old Victorian house in London as a 16-year-old, he recalled odd things happening in his bedroom on the top floor. 

"I'd wake up and objects would have moved around the room. Particularly this one vase, I'd go to bed and it would be on the mantlepiece but then in the morning, it would be on the desk... the next morning I'd find it somewhere else" he said. 

Tristan also remembered lights flashing on and off on their own and a "cold feeling" when he was home alone. Tristan didn't think much of it at the time, instead suspecting his sister was playing tricks on him. 

This is because Tristan Redman does not believe in ghosts. 

Tristan had all but forgotten what happened to him as a teenage boy until one day he received an email from his dad. In the message, his father said he had spoken to an old neighbour who encountered a former resident of their London home who claimed the house was haunted. 


"Do you still have that ghost in the top bedroom?" the neighbour recalled being asked by the man. They went on to say that the family's daughter had several brushes with something supernatural. 

"The daughter had always been convinced there was a ghost in her bedroom, which would manifest itself and sit on her bed," the story continued. 

He said that "the ghost of a faceless woman" would routinely sit on her bed. 

This was the same bedroom where Redman had experienced objects moving in the night. "I wrote back immediately," Tristan recalled. "And said, 'I know exactly what he’s talking about.'"

Then things got extra weird. 

Redman discovered that his wife Kate’s family used to live in the house next door. In this house, Kate’s great-grandmother Naomi was murdered. By who? 

Her brother Maurice was convicted of the murder, who was also found dead in the house, but suspicion loomed over Naomi’s husband and the Dancy family's great-grandfather, known as Feyther, who managed to escape.

This dark history was uncovered when Feyther's son visited Tristan's home when he had just begun dating Kate. "My grandad walked into the house. And before he said anything else, he said, 'My mother was murdered in the house next door.'"

The unexpected Hugh Dancy cameo.

Before we jump into this story further, let's quickly discuss the elephant (aka the Hugh Dancy) in the room. Tristan is married to Kate, who is a member of the prestigious Dancy family.

Hugh Dancy with wife Claire Danes. Image: Getty. 


Her brother is Hugh, a Hollywood actor known for roles in TV show Hannibal, movies like Confessions of a Shopaholic, and most recently in the Downton Abbey: A New Era movie sequel. 

Hugh lends his voice in the podcast, reading out one of Feyther’s victim statements aloud in one episode. 

In her own right, Kate has worked in communications for Save The Children and UNESCO.

Kate and Hugh's father is Johnathan Dancy, an Oxford professor and famous British philosopher. Johnathan's father is also named John Dancy, who served as headmaster at several prolific colleges in the UK, including one where the Princess of Wales Kate, Middleton, was later a boarder.


So yes, I rather impressive family indeed. But perhaps, a family with secrets worth hiding. 

The ghost story's connection to the murder. 

After hearing about the murder, Tristan couldn't help but wonder if the faceless woman spotted in his childhood bedroom could be Naomi. 

This story got extra twisted when the journalist learned that Kate’s great-grandmother Naomi had been shot through both eyes, which could explain the ghost's lack of face. In the news, it was reported that Maurice had lost an eye in the war and grown jealous of his sister’s beautiful eyes.

According to Feyther, after murdering his sister in her bed, he tried to shoot Feyther, and then locked himself in the upstairs bathroom and slit his throat with a razor blade. 

The crime was deemed as a murder-suicide. 

However, there were parts of the investigation that were questionable. 

No one questioned why Feyther washed blood off Maurice’s hand and replaced a razor he was holding.  

And there had been two anonymous letters sent to the police at the time suggesting that Feyther was the real murderer, claiming he had killed both his wife and his brother-in-law.

This series of revelations brought Tristan to ponder to Kate: "Did your great-grandfather get away with murder? Is your great-grandmother the faceless woman haunting my teenage bedroom? And while we’re at it, did we end up married because this ghost wants me to solve a murder that everyone’s been getting wrong for a century?"

Why the Dancy family didn't want this podcast made. 

Tristan admitted in the series that his podcast put him at risk of Kate's family "disowning" him, given how beloved Feyther was in the Dancy dynasty. 


In one episode, a relative told the host, "If you come out with a piece that says he [John Dancy] is a murderer, I’ll be sorry we ever said we would contribute to it.”

Kate added that the family were "more traumatised by this podcast than we were the murder". 

But Tristan felt the urge to push on with his investigation, despite the uncomfortable dynamic it created with his in-laws. “When you have a feeling there may be an injustice that has been committed in some way, you want to get to the bottom of what actually might have happened," he said. 

Hugh Dancy was one family member who saw the merits of such an investigation. He said that his great-grandfather was always labelled as a "fabulist" among the family. "I looked it up immediately in the dictionary. It’s just another word for liar," the actor said. 

Hugh also saw Tristan's investigation as a chance for Naomi's life to be shared. "It’s really awful, you know, not just the fact of her murder, but the loss of a female figure, in the root of family life within living history, with such incredible qualities, to be lost, in every sense of that metaphor, lost because she lost her life and lost to our memory, to our understanding of our family story," he said.

"I think the best thing that Tris[tan] has done with the podcast is... to bring Naomi back into that story."

This might be just the start of Redman's investigation, which the journalist admits "might make for some faintly awkward Christmases,” to come. 

Feature image: The Sun. 

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