“Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.”
The tagline of Lore encapsulates the task this podcast hopes to accomplish: researching practically every superstition, old wives’ tale, and folklore out there. Lore achieves this act by exploring the historical roots of each subject.
Named the “Best History Podcast 2016” by Podcast Academy, Lore is a high-quality show that works to reveal the history behind humanity’s superstitious fears. The podcast delves into real-life horror stories and exposes the truth behind them.
The host, Aaron Mahnke, is a novelist with several horror thrillers under his belt, including Grave Suspicion and Consumed. His writing background gives his storytelling on Lore a breath of life.
Each episode begins with a short anecdote meant to ease listeners into the story. In the episode “Off the Path,” Mahnke lightheartedly speaks of the curses that supposedly plague his hometown’s baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. By presenting the topic of curses in a relatable manner, Mahnke creates a link between our current beliefs in the supernatural and the folklores from which they blossomed.
Although I’ve only listened to 15 episodes, my favourite one is “Under Construction.” This episode depicts tales of the “little people,” who live in a world that is both parallel and hidden from our view. This episode best highlights Mahnke’s ability to find folklores from various cultures across the globe. Lore captures an all-encompassing story of the history behind the belief in “little people,” including the legends of Native American tribes, the superstitions of Iceland, and the tales of a misleading Indonesian cave.
But rather than simply presenting the folklore behind superstitions, Mahnke delves into the reasons people started believing in them. Folklores often provided a way for people to cope. They arose at times when medicine was less advanced, when loved ones died of unknown illnesses, or when someone was plunged into a state of sudden sadness.
Although Mahnke is critical of the reasoning behind most folklores and superstitions, he is not dismissive of their validity. He analyzes their histories, but leaves just enough room for wonder. Not to say that changelings, vampires, or any other mythical topic of discussion might be real; rather, Mahnke poses the idea that not everything is what it seems.
Lore contains 52 episodes to date. They’re free for listening on the podcast’s website. Overall, Lore will captivate your imagination and lead you to question the deeper meanings behind the tales you hold to be true.