31 Days of Halloween: “Lore” Podcast – The Most Terrifying 15 Minutes of Your Life
There’s an old adage that says truth is stranger than fiction, but I’d go an extra step and say that sometimes truth is more horrific than fiction. No matter how terrifying a fictional work is, you can always tell yourself it isn’t real. When it comes to nonfiction, however, you always have to tell yourself that, no matter how terrible the tale, it’s the truth. And it’s the knowledge that a story is actually true that makes for a genuinely frightening story.
Aaron Mahnke’s wildly popular “Lore” podcast – it’s so popular that it’s being adapted as a television series picked up by Amazon studios that will premiere sometime in 2017– delves into the facts behind folklore, legends and some of history’s darker moments. The podcast aims to show that “sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction,” and after listening to just a few episodes, you’ll see how true that statement is.
Written, produced and recorded by Mahnke, “Lore” is a weekly podcast that is perfect for the Halloween season. Each episode is around 15 minutes, so it’s perfect to listen to during your morning commute, during downtime between classes, or during those much-needed breaks from homework that we all need to take every now and then. (Seriously, treat yourself to a little break every now and then and listen to an episode before diving back into your research and papers. You’ve earned it.)
Each episode focuses on one particular story that Mahnke explores in depth, but he also gives more brief accounts of similar stories that share patterns or themes with each episode’s main focus. An engaging storyteller, Mahnke’s ability to draw connections between various stories, sometimes from around the globe and throughout time, adds new layers to whatever story is the main focus of the episode. I often find myself becoming totally engrossed in a story, itching to learn more, only to look at my iPod and realize an episode is nearly over. Additionally, Mahnke often ends each episode with some final thoughts that make you think about some of the larger themes at work in the stories, such as fear, isolation and desperation.
There’s a little something in this podcast for everyone – legends and folklore, true crime and historical tragedy (both explained and unexplained), have all been featured on this show at some point.
Past episodes have explored everything from legends such as The New Jersey Devil (episode 9 “A Devil on the Roof”), a winged creature said to haunt the Pine Barrens in New Jersey to tragic, to historical events such as the Villisca Axe Murders, which have never been solved (episode 16 “Covered Mirrors”). Other episodes explore historical tragedies that seem to have a hint of something supernatural about them, such as the story of the 1959 Dyatlov Pass Incident, in which a group of hikers were brutally murdered at Dyatlov Pass in Russia beyond all explanation (episode 38 “The Mountain”). To this day, no one can fully explain what happened to the hikers, but many believe their deaths were caused by something not human.
Some of my personal favorite episodes include “Episode 2: The Bloody Pit,” which tells of the dangerous construction of the Hoosac Tunnel in Massachusetts; “Episode 23: Rope and Railing,” which tells a tragic story of lighthouse keepers; “Episode 32: Tampered,” in which Mahnke explores folklore that deals with creatures humans have blamed for anything that goes wrong in their lives; and “Episode 37: Passing Notes,” in which a family receives messages from the dead.
As of my writing this, there are 45 episodes, and because they’re brief you can catch up this Halloween season. And if you like the show, you can support it with a monthly donation on patreon.com/lorepodcast and receive exclusive bonus episodes. You can download episodes from the website, lorepodcast.com, or on iTunes.
I highly recommend you give this show a listen, and I also recommend that you listen with the lights on. You may not think it’s possible, but this show will definitely unnerve you, because everything you hear on “Lore” is true.