By Alex Kerravala, Staff Writer
Anyone who has been enthralled with ghost and monster stories alike will get everything they want and more out of the podcast Lore, written and produced by Aaron Mahnke.
Currently standing at 80 episodes and counting, Lore is a “bi-weekly podcast about the frightening history of common folklore.” Mahnke tells all true stories about ghosts, haunted dolls, the Jersey Devil, fairies, and every folktale under the sun. If it’s a haunting story you’re curious about, there’s no doubt Mahnke has an episode on it or has one in the works.
Aaron Mahnke lives on the North Shore in Massachusetts, he works on his podcast full time but that isn’t the only thing on his repertoire.
He has several books including 3 Lore books that expand on his podcast for even more creepy tales. Not a fan of podcasts? The Lore TV show is now streaming on Amazon Prime. The visuals, along with Mahnke’s absolutely wonderful narration, make the show a truly great treat for those who love the podcast. Or to those who maybe need more visual stimulation.
Now a folktale podcast may not sound appealing if it’s a topic you’re not interested in. But the way Mahnke writes and tells the true stories of our past – there’s no way you won’t be hooked in an instant. An episode about the early dealing of tuberculosis turns into a twisted tale of the dead feeding life off of the living, and patients who were thought to be dead being buried alive – the coffins leaving behind scratches and bloody fingernails.
As they died a second death. Being buried alive is one of my biggest fears, and it’s no doubt that an episode will tap into your psyche and keep you up just a little bit longer at night. The way Mahnke tells these stories is unmatched, he is eloquent and precise. Giving the listener vivid descriptions of all things interesting in the world of folklore.
The best way to get into this podcast is to start with Episode 1: They Made a Tonic, and binge. But I have some recommendations on what I think is the best of the best. Episode 2: The Bloody Pit is a story set in the construction of the Hoosac Tunnel in Massachusetts. It’s easy enough to guess on why the tunnel got the nickname “the bloody pit,” through countless lives lost in tragedy. But the horror only begins after the lives have been lost. This episode was the first to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. After listening to 80 episodes I can truly say that this is one of my favorites. The story is haunting and will keep you up for nights on end.
Like horrifying dolls? Of course you do. Episode 15: Unboxed is about Robert the doll. A tale similar to the Annabelle doll of the Conjuring movies. Robert was a toy loved by his owner all the way up into adulthood. Robert was found in different parts of the house, residents would hear giggling in the hallways. And he may have even killed. The ending of this episode is quick and horrifying, well worth the listen.
Lastly is a tale of isolation and death in a lighthouse on the ocean. Episode 23: Rope and Railing. This episode is about two men who are in charge of a lighthouse, and through an unfortunately turn of events – one of them dies. And the worst is yet to come. This episode is interesting because it’s fun to put yourself in their shoes to see what you’d do in a ghastly situation. A story about one man’s sanity draining as he is on the end of the earth is harrowing, and a very interesting listen. The ending of the episode also packs a punch.
As Mahnke says “the truth is more frightening than fiction” is what makes this podcast so enthralling. Hearing the true stories that paved the way for modern folklore is interesting and you learn something new each listen. Mahnke’s narration mixed with a wonderful piano score is a treat you wouldn’t ever want to miss.