Rising from the grave: Lore flourishes onto the small screen

Katelin Aanerud

Lore started out as a podcast launched in March of 2015 by Aaron Mahnke. In both 2015 and 2016, it was placed on iTunes’ “Best of” list, and went on to win “Best History Podcast” in 2016 from The Academy of Podcasters. Now, it has morphed into so much more. The book series, The World Of Lore, and the new television show have made the themes and stories so much more accessible and widespread to long time listeners and emerging fans.

The new show, available on Amazon Prime, premiered on Oct. 13 with six full length episodes to chill viewers to the bone. Episodes range from twenty five minutes to almost an hour. Each covers a different story, previously available in the podcast and book, with minor changes.

“I created Lore because I wanted to tell stories. In the process of researching my supernatural thriller novels, I often discover pieces of history and lore that give common scary stories a new level of detail, and a fresh humanity. Vampire tales, for example, aren’t stories of supernatural beings; they are stories about our longing for immortality, the hint of our death that waits around every corner, and a way to rationalize the mysteries of the afterlife. Vampire stories aren’t about vampires, you see. They’re about us,” said Mahnke.

Each episode follows the same format of the previous works; Mahnke starts by telling a short story. These short stories are the main difference between the show and projects of the same name. In some cases, these stories set the overall tale up much better than before. The season finale “Unboxed” explained the Island of Dolls through animation and real clips of the island, instead of the more simple explanation of one girl who was found buried with her toys. The new one is much more eerie and fits the mood more appropriately.

Another change from the source material was the addition of small little breaks between the main story. These breaks often added more information on things like religious standing at the time, women’s rights, and advancements in technology as was the case in the second episode “Echoes.” That episode was probably the best to deal with these new add-ons. It followed the sensation that Walter Freeman brought to the world of medicine: the lobotomy. They added lots of information on mental hospitals, shock therapy, and diagnoses of mental illnesses. It brought a different type of fear to the foreground. It was the best example of Mahnke making it clear that these stories were really about the evil in humans, and not an attempt to prove the existence of paranormal entities.

“We’re blending high-quality dramatic retelling of these true historical stories with unique documentary elements that bring context to the story. And woven through all of that will be narration, in a lot of the same way the podcast has, tying it all together, moving people like a tour guide from station to station,” Mahnke continued.

Like with the podcast, one of my favorite elements is the music. Composed and performed by Chad Lawson, the soundtrack really does pull the entire series back to its roots. It’s creepy, but calming, which mingles perfectly with the narration of each episode.

In most cases, the stories are exactly the same. Some details are tweaked, most likely after more in-depth research. In relation to the source material, these episodes do them justice. With a mix of live action scenes depicting the struggles of the people and families involved in these stories, the real footage of the time period, and the eerie animated sequences, his series will bring a chill to the bone of the most fearless sceptic.

There is no word on a second season as of yet, but in the meantime, viewers can tune in to the podcast version. With over 70 episodes, there are plenty of ghost stories to send a shiver up your spine.