Artist and podcast creator Carmen Park.

Idyllwild local Carmen Park has called our Hill her home for four years. Originally from Georgia, Park grew up in a family that glorified ghost stories and mysteries.

“Growing up in Georgia, I always wanted to be Nancy Drew,” Park said. “The very first stories I read were mysteries and ghost stories. So from a very young age, I was fascinated by them.”

Park, being the inquisitive person that she is, never quite fit the societal mold. Park wasn’t the ideal student growing up, especially in math, but she held a deep sense of curiosity and excelled at reading. By the time she was in second grade, Park was reading at a college level.

She also excelled at writing. In eighth grade, Park won an award for an essay she wrote, scoring not only the highest in her school, but one of the highest scores in the state of Georgia.

She’s always been an avid lover of research, spending hours upon hours sifting through archives, newspapers, and the vast world of the web for accurate information.

After years of dreaming, Park finally created her own podcast “Past Dark.” This has allowed her to put her research, knowledge and opinions into an audio form, and share it with the masses.

“There’s a lot of things that I find really interesting and fascinating that doesn’t fall into the category of true crime, mystery or the paranormal,” Park said. She explained what types of topics she will cover, “basically, anything that I have an interest in that I feel others would have an interest in also, even about disasters, political regimes or architecture.”

Park launched “Past Dark” on Halloween. Without any marketing, Park doubles her listeners every day. Friends and family from all over the world tune in to hear what Park has created.

“My goal is to release one episode a week,” Park said. “I want them to really capture people’s interests. They’re going to be deep and the subjects will be vastly varied.“

So far, Park has talked about Shirley Ardell Mason, also known as “Sybil”, who allegedly had 16 different personalities. She’s also done an episode on Tonton Macoutes and the phenomenon about those who believe in phantom history.

Outside of writing the podcasts, Park is also doing all of the music and sounds and produces everything herself.

“I want to submerge people in a time period as much as I can,” Park said. “I want to do episodes about justifiably interesting people that people don’t know about. The really interesting underserved ones. People are fascinating and I love learning about their stories.”

Park has always had an interest in true crime and mystery. She attended college through the Los Angeles Community College District. She is a certified fingerprint analyst in the state of California and certified in crime scene investigation.

Park has always followed her own path, and while maybe a bit lonesome, it has led her to amazing experiences.

Park commented on the feedback from her new podcast.

“The response that I’ve gotten is way beyond what I expected,” Park said. “It already feels like such an adventure and I’m just getting started.”

Park also offered a bit of advice to those forging their own path.

“If you are passionate about something, keep going,” she said. “You’ll find your path. There is somebody who is interested in what you have to say. Find those people and hang on to your dreams.

“Past Dark” can be found on any major podcasting platform and is free to all listeners. Join Park as she explores the less-known people, places and things that peak her interest, and may just peak yours, too.