First up, an apology for suddenly and utterly disappearing out of the blue. Summer be crazy yo (I promise I’ll never say that again). Some good films were seen, some great vacations enjoyed, and more than one winery was visited.
Anyways, back to it then! I don’t listen to many Podcasts, but the ones I do tend to be about the supernatural. My favorite Podcast is Welcome to Nightvale, which is a mix of xfiles, community radio and something like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. But, sometimes you feel like learning things, not just laughing- so my friend recently recommended Lore by Aaron Mahnke.
What is it?
Lore is a well researched, ~20 minutes a piece podcast about all things spooky. Released bi-weekly these tales cover everything from the serial killer H.H.Holmes to Icelandic elves and our innate fear of the dark woods. There are 65 free episodes out so far so there is plenty of backlog to comb through.
What I liked about it:
– The Soundtrack: First off, it is well crafted. There is a subtle, eerie soundtrack running through each episode. It is clear that Mahnke has put thought and effort into setting the spooky tone of his episodes. This helps pull you into the mood and suspend rationale while listening to his supernatural tales. Episode 46 (about Van Helsing) even has a special soundtrack made just for the episode, which is pretty cool. All the episodes have a link to the soundtracks used, so besides a podcast you can go fill up on eerie piano ballads if you want.
– Narration: Additionally his voice is just right for a scary story. Its reserved and calm, sometimes sounding like he’s raising a question while relaying unbelievable tales. Sometimes he waxes poetic about the meaning behind these stories, but he doesn’t sound pretentious. He’s offering up a story and letting you decide what you think about it yourself. There’s a lot of podcasts I’ve taken a pass on because I don’t like the narration, but his is pretty decent. In fact if you’re looking for ASMR stuff his podcast is probably something you’d enjoy.
– Variety: Besides being well crafting, his podcast has a lot of variety in it. Sometimes the stories are 100% fact- tales about famous serial killers or the origins of the lobotomy. There are monsters in humanity, and he sheds a light upon them. Other times, though, the tales are folk lore and old wives tales, or even written fiction. He looks at common tropes, such as the dark forest, the fear of strangers, or the unknown ocean. He also looks at oddly specific things, like lore about Maine’s harsh winters. He examines a little bit of why we might fear these things and provides context, which I enjoy. The episode variety keeps things interesting and they scratch that learning itch, as no matter your interest he’ll likely cover a topic you haven’t looked into before.
– And good research: So far I have only listened to 6 stories, but each one has been informative and interesting. It is clear he has done a lot of work digging up facts and creating a coherent tale. For example, one of the earlier episodes ‘Echoes‘ talks about the history of Danver’s State Hospital, the asylum thought to have inspired Arkham Asylum. I am not sure who thought it would be a great idea, but apparently the hospital was built on the hill where John Hathorne once lived- the judge in the Salem Witch Trials. His son, Nathan Hawthorne would go on to write The Scarlet Letter and other famous works. Yea, talk about some crazy history there before you even include all the messed up things that went on inside the hospital itself.
I’d recommend it to:
- Fans of Welcome to Nightvale that want to branch out from pure fiction.
- Folks who love a good scary story or urban legend.
- If you were an anthropology, sociology or student of any cultural studies majors in college. This podcast is at its heart about our shared fears and beliefs.
Overall I’d give Lore an 8/10.