Okay, so we got the journalistic podcasts out last week, NOW FOR THE SPOOPY.
Narrative Podcasts (telling serialized stories):
Welcome to Night Vale – Begun in obscurity and promoted mostly by Tumblr users until it became a phenomenon, WTNV is… think “Lake Woebegone meets Lovecraft”. It’s a community radio broadcast in a sleepy desert town known as Night Vale. It features community events, traffic updates, and public notices such as, “Dogs are not allowed in the dog park. People are not allowed in the dog park. If you see hooded figures in the dog park, do not speak to them.” There’s a lot more to this sleepy town than meets the eye, and all of it is creepy and weird and just amazing to listen to.
Alice Isn’t Dead – This is a podcast made by the above WTNV folks, and starts Jasika Nicole (Fringe, WTNV, and others) as the Narrator, a woman who drives a truck across the country searching for her wife. She thought her wife was dead, but then saw her in a crowd shot on the news. She talks over her CB radio about her search for Alice, and the creepy group of Thistle Men that are far too invested in stopping her from finding Alice. This one is SCARY – I listened to it during the drive from Virginia Beach up to Philadelphia and, even in broad daylight, I found myself afraid for the Narrator and her journey. I did love it, though. I like that things can still scare me that way.
The Black Tapes – Remember Serial, from the previous post? This one is “Serial meets The X-Files”. It tells the story of a group of people who produce an existing podcast called Pacific Northwest Stories. They decide to do a spinoff series that focuses on interesting jobs and the people who do them. Their first interesting job is paranormal investigations, and each person they talk to all mention one name: Dr. Richard Strand, a skeptic who came to this job to debunk the fake paranormal events. When speaking with Dr. Strand, he shows her a row of white VHS cassette cases, which contain evidence of paranormal events he and his institute have debunked. But she also spots on the bottom of his shelves a row of black tape cases, which indicate paranormal events that he wasn’t able to disprove yet. Suddenly the podcast takes a sharp turn into these Black Tapes, and the story continues.
This was the first spooky podcast after WTNV that I decided to try. I didn’t know it existed until Rudi mentioned and recommended it to me. One episode in and I was hooked! Fair warning: it’s VERY Canadian, and a lot of the “spontaneous” dialogue sounds rehearsed, but the stories are spooky and the arc is compelling enough that I can forgive the student film quality of it.
Tanis – This is made by the same folks as The Black Tapes, only this one focuses on Nic Silver, Alex’s producer from TBT, who is fascinated by the mystery of Tanis. Tanis seems to be this mystical extradimensional place that holds some kind of enlightenment or terror or something, and Nic is determined to find it. With the help of a deep web hacker and the brother of someone who was also search for Tanis, Nic’s journey takes us from a cult to a corporate scientist to a strange woman who claims to be a “Runner” for those searching for Tanis.
Again, kind of student film level dialogue, but the story is VERY compelling and suspenseful and still keeps me on the edge of my seat during episodes.
Limetown – Wow. What a ride this one was. Limetown is about a disaster that happened at a corporate campus residential community whose residents were employees of the company. The company and its research was very hush-hush, and in the days following the disaster and the apparent deaths of the residents was a mystery that NPR-esque correspondent Lia Haddock is finally investigating after ten years.
This one legit had me scared when I listened to it. It’s only one “season” and it ends on a cliffhanger (AUGH) and it doesn’t look as if season 2 is coming soon, but it’s so worth it for that delicious chill as we find out more and more about what happened to the people of Limetown.
For those sensitive to these things, the episode called “Napoleon” has animal death in it.
And that’s the list so far! I’m taking any and all recommendations if you have any, and would love to know your thoughts if you end up giving any of these a try 🙂