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Let’s Get Dark and Twisted, Part 2

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Do you like spooky stories, folklore, and history? Then you NEED to check out Lore!

So what is Lore? It’s an award-winning, critically acclaimed podcast containing non-fiction (meaning real) scary stories, often told through the lens of folklore, written and narrated by Aaron Mahnke. Listeners have compared the experience to listening to campfire tales. If podcasts aren’t your thing, never fear. Lore is being adapted into a TV show, streaming on Amazon and a book series.

Here is the follow up to my first blog post on Lore.


Episode 65: Doing Tricks [listen]

Tricksters abound in mythology and popular culture, from Loki to the Joker. The Nain Rouge, French for “red dwarf,” is a creature of folklore particular to Detroit, Michigan. The creature, described as small, with an animal’s body covered in red or black fur, with an old man’s face and blazing red eyes, was said to have attacked the city’s founder, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.

American Gods book cover

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Days before his scheduled release from prison, Shadow learns that his wife has died. Having nothing and no one to go home to, he takes a job with the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and finds himself caught in the middle of a conflict between Old World gods, like Odin and Loki, and the new gods, like Media and the Technical Boy. Gaiman’s novel was recently adapted into a TV series by Starz.

Anansi Boys book cover

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Yep, another Neil Gaiman novel. Just read them, okay? This one is kind of a spin-off of American Gods, taking a peripheral character from that book, Mr. Nancy, and focusing on his children. Fat Charlie Nancy was always embarrassed by his flamboyant father, and it only gets worse after the old man’s death, when Charlie finds out he has a ne’er-do-well brother named Spider who begins to systematically dismantle Charlie’s life. And oh by the way, their father was really the African trickster god Anansi.


Episode 67: The Red Coats [listen]

Forests—dark, deep, and mysterious—hold a special place in fairytales and folklore. One man lived alone in the forest near Augusta, Maine, for almost thirty years, living off the wilderness and what he could steal from campsites and cabins. Then there’s the Bennington Triangle, an area in southwest Vermont, where a number of people went missing between 1920 and 1950.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon book cover

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

Nine-year-old Trisha gets lost in the woods while hiking a branch of the Appalachian Trail with her mother and brother. She wanders for days, listening to baseball games on her portable radio, and imagining that her hero, Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordon, is with her. But being alone in the woods isn’t Trisha’s biggest problem—something dark may be tracking her.

Into the Wild book cover

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

This true life tale tells the story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who decided to leave the trappings of society behind and venture into the wild to live off the land. McCandless’s story had a tragic end, when his body was discovered by hikers in Alaska, emaciated by starvation. At first it seems a tale of hubris and folly, but in the hands of skilled storyteller Krakauer, it becomes so much more than that. I will admit this book made me sob like a baby.


Episode 68: The Tainted Well [listen]

Leap Castle, built around 1250 CE by the O’Bannon clan, holds a dark and violent past. Brother turned on brother and committed murder for power, allies were betrayed and murdered in their beds, and eventually, it was said that all of that blood and betrayal “poisoned the well,” tainting the family and the castle. Gothic writer Mildred Darby, a later inhabitant of Leap Castle, wrote many novels inspired by it.

The Fall book cover

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

This retelling of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher is written from the perspective of Madeline Usher, the girl who is buried alive in the original story. Madeline, trapped in the decaying house, her only company the sinister doctors who are there to study, not cure, her condition, slowly succumbs to the family illness. This novel perfects the Gothic atmosphere and fills the reader with a sense of impending dread.

And the Trees Crept In book cover

And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

Here’s another YA novel for those who love Gothic tales of eerie mansions and twisted family bonds. Fourteen-year-old Silla and her little sister Nori flee their abusive father to live with their aunt at her country estate, La Baume. Things are great at first, but three years later, Aunt Cath never leaves the attic, food is running out, and Silla believes that the haunted woods will keep them from leaving. This book offers genuine terror and a shocking twist ending.

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