Pick your poison medium: Lore by Aaron Mahnke

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Lore by Aaron Mahnke began as a podcast in March 2015. With booming success of the audio version, this year Lore has expanded to the visual medium as an Amazon mini-series and written medium as two books. Considering just how much research goes into each story, it is certainly wonderful that Mahnke is expanding Lore to these other mediums. There are also live shows, if you are lucky enough to live in or near a city on the tour. If you have never heard of Lore, you are now able to pick your poison medium and enjoy it however you prefer.

Lore is a combination of folklore, ghost stories, murder, and of course uncertainty. Mahnke, along with his researcher, relies on history as the basis for the tales that he tells. Some have more evidence and hard facts, while others are only supported by hearsay and speculation. All of the stories are told with as many details as possible with the atmosphere of a scary story.

As a podcast, each episode of Lore has a theme with a main story and a couple of related ones, made all the more spooky with music and sound effects. Plus, Mahnke’s voice and pacing adds another level of creepiness, making it all the more enjoyable. It’s the type of podcast that makes the listener lean in, captivated by each word especially because of such a great storyteller.

The first of the book series, which currently seems to be just two books, The world of Lore: monstrous creatures was published on October 10th, 2017. Borrowing a copy of the library, I couldn’t wait to dig into more Lore. What I didn’t realize beforehand, though it makes sense now, is that the podcast has largely contributed to the book. For most people, this won’t be an issue but having listened to every single episode of the podcast, the stories in the book were all to familiar to me. Although there is “additional content”, it’s not specified what that is and after skimming through the book, I didn’t feel like reading it. However, the few illustrations that are included are certainly gorgeous. Set to come out on May 29th, 2018, the second book in the series is titled The world of Lore: wicked mortals. It’s an interesting division of the stories: vampires, ghosts, and Robert the Doll, etc., in one volume and the murderous, fiendish humans in the second. If I wasn’t such an avid listener and lover of the podcast, these would be great reads.

If neither the podcast nor the books suit your fancy, you can get your feet wet with the Lore mini-series that began streaming on Amazon on Friday October 13th, 2017. They couldn’t have picked a better release date! Once again, many popular tales from the podcast were reused for the tv show but the visuals they use are stunning and creative. It’s a mixture of hand-drawn, stylized animation, historical documents and photos, and of course live-action acting. At first, I wasn’t sure about it, again still loving the podcast best, but each episode is very well-done and truly brought to life as a tv show. Granted, I skipped the one about the history of lobotomy because that was eerily enough as a podcast episode, I enjoyed the rest of them. My favorite of the six is the “Passing notes” episode about the Spiritualist movement, although “Black stockings” about Irish changelings is a close second. While the podcasts for these stories are good, something about the acting and additional visuals makes them even more chilling. Plus, Mahnke still does the narration so it contains his atmospheric nature too. I am sure that he will get a season 2 with Amazon–let’s just hope it’s sooner than later!

Recommended?: Yes! For history lovers, scary story fans, and anyone who enjoys great storytelling. Some tales might give you a fright and question the creaks in your home but for the most part they shouldn’t keep you from missing too much sleep. A handful are a bit gruesome, detailing murders or medical procedures, but there aren’t too many of those. For the most part, they feel like campfire tales, or the inspiration for the original Grimm fairytales, macabre in nature more than anything else. Despite October being over, do yourself a favor and pick your poison medium for Lore and enjoy–just maybe not alone in the dark.

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