“I Wear No Mask” and Other Horrors
July 13, 2021 4:06 PM   Subscribe

It’s Summer 2021, and here’s another roundup of weird audio dramas! There is some good stuff coming out of Toronto these days, notably Hi Nay and Parkdale Haunt. They may help you spend time while isolating, doing chores, or waiting for some quarantine or other to lift. As usual, this will focus on paranormal ongoing stories as opposed to Science Fiction or Fantasy dramas or anthologies of short stories, with or without framing elements, for the most part. Feel free to disagree with the decisions.

I identify stories with LGBTQ characters and elements when possible. Podcasts with frequent or severe content warnings are noted as are those which provide transcripts. Lately, audio dramas seem to be experimenting more with “chaotic action” – fights, headlong flight, etc. This often doesn’t work all that well; it is noted when significant. All the podcasts are accessible via most podcast apps and aggregators (although, weirdly, some apps seem to not catch entire seasons of some of the shows). Most of the series have episodes that run ~20-40 minutes; those that vary will be identified.

Barren
Peter Sommers is a radio journalist returning to his grandparent’s farm after their joint suicide. He meets with a great deal of hostility from the locals, and it is revealed that his family history contains horrors known and unknown. As he cleans out the house, he begins finding malformed rats and hearing strange cries at night. Soon, nothing is what he thinks it is. Lots of chaotic action. CW: Stalking and animal harm. Short episodes (~15 minutes)
Tone: rural horror and paranoia
LGBTQ: none significant
Complete story (6 episodes)
Website

Beatrix Greene
In 1892, medium Beatrix Greene is approached by skeptic, scientist, and debunker James Walker with a job offer to conduct a séance in a haunted house. At first she fears he plans to expose her as the fraud she is, but once they get to Ashbury manor, she should have feared making true contact more. Transcripts, but only with a paid subscription. Episodes tend to be a little longer (~30-50 minutes)
Tone: haunted house and Victorian romance
LGBTQ: none significant
Complete story (9 episodes)
Website

Circles
Something is coming. If you want to survive, you must remember this: Stay safe. Stay inside your circle. A small group of friends defeated a demon years ago. Now they are spread across the world, and something is desperately wrong. They must try to deal with the force they summoned all those years ago while remaining isolated within protected circles and communicating only by phone. A unique premise and fairly short listening experience.
Tone: young occult detectives a decade later
LGBTQ: none significant
Complete story (4 episodes + introductory supplements)
Website

Elixir
A podcast that is hard to search for, this is not horror at all, this is the story of a city that is mostly in the Jazz Age, but Prohibition covers magical potions that can provide short-term powers with possibly dangerous costs. Elsie is seeking her wayward sister Lou through all the low-class speakeasies she can find. She finally gets a lead at the Jaded Rose, but she also draws the eye of Vera, the alluring proprietor. What is a society girl to do? Transcripts, but only with a paid subscription.
Tone: phrohibition and adventure
LGBTQ: Lesbian flirtation, promised romance
One season (5 episodes; ongoing – looks like they plan for 11)
Website

Finding Satan
Sarah, a student at NYU, is studying the idea of evil, and she gets a lead that suggests there are physical signs of the existence of Satan in Texas. Despite all the warnings, she heads out to investigate and discovers that the truth is both odder and more personal than she ever expected. Warning: if you can’t suspend your disbelief over their version of academia, you won’t like this. If you can, it is an affecting, low-budget podcast. The story feels complete, but there may be a second season.
Tone: Satanic paranoia
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (14 episodes; ongoing?)
They do not appear to have a dedicated website

Folklore
This frustratingly-named podcast (go and try to search “folklore podcast”) follows local radio DJ Tamsin Wheatley who, as a COVID project, decides to dig through a cache of tapes from her late University Professor as inspiration for a new show. As she tries to follow up his investigations in a UK countryside dealing with the pandemic, she finds herself drawn into a world of ghosts, demons, standing stones, terrifying black dogs, and possibly worse things.
Tone: ghosts, rural horror, and conspiracy
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (6 episodes + supplements; ongoing?)
Website -- weoirdly, the two most recent episodes are missing

Forgotten Road
This is not really an audio drama, but it’s a weird format and kind of interesting. Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse in Yaphank, NY did a car-only haunted house event for COVID. As visitors’ cars rolled through various scenes of horror, the passengers could listen to audio tracks as actors enacted the scenes, telling a more-or less complete story of a gristly horror in a campground and what happens a few decades later. These tracks are generally less than 10 minutes with a few minutes of narration followed by sound effects and atmospheric music.
Tone: slasher massacre
LGBTQ: none significant
Complete story (9 episodes)
Website

The Gloom
Journalist Samantha Williams investigates the infamous unsolved early 1990s of the Filmore Four, a group of teenagers caught up in a ghastly web of murder and destruction, tied to a Queens, New York psychiatric hospital, and quite possibly, their emotionally damaged therapist, Dr. Darlene Harrington. There may be a second season. If you are a journalist, you may have trouble with the way the profession is portrayed. CW: frequent use of mental illness tropes, endangered adolescents, some gore.
Tone: psychiatric facility horror
LGBTQ: none significant
Complete story (8 episodes)
Website

The Heart of Ether
Irene Gray moved to Daughtler to move on from the mysterious disappearance of her high school girlfriend. She hope the isolation of working in forestry will finally let her put it all behind her, but there is something wrong with the town and the forest. The cast and writers are all extremely young, and it shows, but, if you can get past that, the characters are interesting and the story has promise.
Tone: small town horror and monsters
LGBTQ: Lesbian lead, other queer characters
One season (12 episodes + supplements; ongoing)
They don’t have a podcast page, but they have a tumbler, which seems on-brand

Hi Nay
Hi Nay, literally translated to “Hi Mom”, is a supernatural horror fictional podcast about Filipina immigrant Mari Datuin, whose babaylan (shaman) family background accidentally gets her involved in stopping dangerous supernatural events in Toronto when a revenant chases her downstairs neighbor into Mari’s apartment. In between the main story, Mari tells stories about ghosts and creepy happenings back home. Transcripts available.
Tone: Filipina folk magic vs. urban legends and cursed artifacts
LGBTQ: Lesbian and gay characters
One season (13 episodes + supplements; ongoing)
Website

In Another Room
Wendy Morrow, an amateur paranormal investigator, gets trapped inside a notorious haunted house. Each episode sees her explore a different room, discovering the horror and madness that overtook the inhabitants across the lifespan of the house, trying to find clues that might let her escape. A few episodes are marred by depictions of chaotic action, which are almost impossible to follow. On the other hand, this podcast attempts to do something different with the haunted house tropes and mostly succeeds.
Tone: haunted house with a twist
LGBTQ: significant gay and lesbian characters
Complete story (8 episodes)
Website

The Loathsome Lambton Worm
This may be the weirdest podcast on this list. It’s a full-cast audio drama sequel to the The Wicker Man, based on a treatment by Anthony Shaffer, the writer of the original. Enjoy the new adventures of Sergeant Howie as he goes back to Summerisle for a rematch. It's told with gusto and entirely too many jokes about bees.
Runs 100 minutes.
Tone: The Wicker Man, again
LGBTQ: none significant
Complete story (1 episode)
Website

LUCYD
Lucy is a college student in Cork, Ireland, struggling with regular student problems until she begins to wake up with elements of her dreams in the waking world. A sword is bad enough, but a horse? A mass of wheat? Dozens of ravens? As she tries to figure out how to deal with her problems, possibly helpful, possibly malevolent people take an interest in her.
Tone: dream worlds and cults
LGBTQ: a secondary gay character
Two seasons (10 episodes; unfinished)
Website

Out of Place
The narrator is working for a mysterious organization, cataloguing artifacts that… aren’t right. Gradually he realizes that they are remnants from different realities, mostly more terrible than our own. Owes a debt to The Magnus Archives, but with more of a science fiction frame and less immediate doom.
Tone: conspiracy and alternate realities
LGBTQ: none significant
Two seasons (15 episodes; ongoing)
Website

Parkdale Haunt
Claire has inherited a house from a family she never knew, a house is full of cryptic notebooks, ominous graffiti, and a basement that is colder than it should be. On the other hand, it is a big house in Toronto, and it’s paid for. Claire and her best friend Judith decide to fix the house up while making a podcast about it. This does not go to plan as they are regularly derailed by plumbing, bugs, an annoying realtor, Claire’s passive aggressive maybe-ex, disturbing voices appearing on the recordings, violent spirits, and Claire’s increasing sleepwalking and disturbing behavior. Then Claire goes missing.
Tone: haunted house, satanism, found footage
LGBTQ: Lesbian main character
One season (10 episodes + supplements; on going)
Website

The Petrol Station
The Petrol station is a semi horror podcast about the lonely world of working the graveyard shift in the middle of nowhere. Nina Sudbrooke has returned to her nowhere, UK town, and has gotten a job on the nightshift at her local petrol station. One evening she encounters something...strange, and it just keeps getting weirder, both in the present day and the history of the town.
Tone: loneliness and rural horror/unsettlingness
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (5 episodes; ongoing?)
Website

The Piper
When strange music makes a girl vanish, a police detective and her daughter uncover a terrifying force embedded in the history of the town. As they investigate, more children vanish, and the town begins to collapse into chaos as its infrastructure begins to fail.
Tone: urban legend, technothriller
LGBTQ: none significant
Complete story (9 episodes)
Website

Ravenscourt
Dr Kennedy is a guilt-ridden psychiatrist, who is reviewing old recordings of his former patient Alisha in the hopes of solving the mystery of Ravenscourt. At the time he easily dismissed Alisha’s assertion that Ravenscourt was bound to evil. However many years later, his faith in that assertion and even reality itself, is starting to crumble. Inspired by the inspired by the now-derelict St Anne’s Asylum in Cork City. CW: “dramatic” depictions of nonspecific mental illness
Tone: psychiatric facility horror
LGBTQ: none significant
Two seasons/stories (6 episodes; ongoing)
Website

The Sheridan Tapes
In 2018, horror writer Anna Sheridan disappeared, leaving behind only a box of mysterious cassette tapes. Detective Sam Bailey is tasked with piecing together what happened to Anna Sheridan from the seemingly impossible encounters she recorded, but as the scattered pieces of the puzzle come together, Bailey discovers that the picture is even stranger – and more dangerous – than it seemed. The series has occasional issues with chaotic action scenes. Transcripts available, along with some of the most detailed content warnings imaginable.
Tone: X-Files (sans aliens) and Weird Americana
LGBTQ: significant gay, lesbian, and asexual characters. Also, mundane moments of queer relationships.
Two seasons (47 episodes; ongoing)
Website

The Sink: a Sleep Aid
Sort of a radio broadcast, maybe a psychological or physiological treatment. Glimpses into absurd situations that gradually converge towards a single terrible moment. Are you OK? CW: absurd violence and self harm
Tone: surrealism, comedy, horror
LGBTQ: maybe a lesbian relationship?
Complete story (6 episodes)
Website

The Stranger
When comedy podcast bro Julian Black discovers his great-grandfather's tapes, he assumes it's an immersive radio drama. That was his first mistake. Posting the tapes online? Well, now he's asking for it. He'll come face-to-face with supernatural creatures as he's plunged into a centuries-old mystery. And at its heart is a mysterious Stranger in a dark suit. CW: Child abduction/danger
Tone: found footage
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (7 episodes; on hiatus)
Website

Subjective Truth
Secrets exist in the wilderness just outside Taos, New Mexico. A strange land of cryptid encounters, UFO Sightings, enigmatic vibrations, hidden treasures, missing persons, and dark shadows hiding just behind your back... An amateur podcaster disappears while searching for the legendary Forrest Fenn Treasure. A disgraced former sportscaster attempts to uncover the truth only to find that everyone has their own story to tell.
Tone: cryptozoology and menacing whimsey
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (17 episodes; ongoing?)
Website

Tapes from Beyond
This is both a podcast and a YouTube channel. Jac has been receiving mysterious and disturbing cassette tapes in the mail from an unknown sender since she was a child. Her friend Lena talked her into starting a podcast to podcast to listen to and discuss each tape while trying to unravel the story of a man trapped in a strange, abandoned town. As they get further into the tapes, Lena begins to understand the toll that the tapes have had on Jaq and her family. The videos are mostly talking heads and slow pans over still photos, so the formats are fairly similar.
Tone: investigation and isolation
LGBTQ: none significant
One season (11 episodes; ongoing)
No podcast website. Here's the YouTube channel
posted by GenjiandProust (12 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you missed them, here's a list of my various weird/horror FPPs:

Weird Horror Anthologies
The Silt Verses
2021 Spring Round Up
2020 Round Up
2018 Round Up
2017 Round Up
The Stroma Sessions
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:13 PM on July 13 [9 favorites]


Dog bless you.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:18 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I listened to the first episode and a half of Beatrix Greene, and it is excellent, with none of the dreary interludes where the plot grinds on and on without seeming to advance an inch which I've almost come to expect from radio drama.
posted by jamjam at 8:17 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


And the atmosphere of Beatrix Greene reminds me strongly of an MR James ghost story, come to think, so perhaps the name of the second main character, which Beatrix herself chooses to muse upon for a moment, is meant as an homage.
posted by jamjam at 8:34 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I just wanted to say thank you for these lists. Weird audio dramas are exactly my niche, but it can be tough to find the good ones out of the ocean of podcasts, so I'm excited every time I see one of these collections has been posted.
posted by thoughtful_ravioli at 6:37 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


This reminded me to go back to The Silt Verses, which I'd been saving for the right moment. Not only is the production strong, the world building is quite compelling as it progresses.
posted by wotsac at 7:08 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I try to include a variety of podcasts in these posts, including some I like less or find mildly problematic (I won't include things I find actively repulsive; I'm not trying to trick you). However, since FPPs are not supposed to be reviews, I try to keep value judgements out of the body. So, my personal favorites from this list are Circles, Finding Satan, Folklore, Parkdale Haunt, and The Sheridan Tapes. A few seem overlong to me, and I considered dropping Barren (I didn't like the ending), but I want people to have a variety of options. My taste, although perfect, is not universal.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:48 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


This reminded me to go back to The Silt Verses

I probably should have included their earlier podcast I Am in Eskew on this list. It's not as coherent in vision as The Silt Verses, it goes on about 10 episodes too long, and doesn't have the best ending, but there are some great moments along the way.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:50 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I have been looking for a new, excellent podcast to immerse myself in & there is LOTS here that looks intriguing- thanks so much for posting!
posted by Bob Regular at 8:48 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


What, no Jessica's Wednesday?
posted by dannyboybell at 5:52 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I covered Jessica's Wednesday in rthe Spring 2021 Roundup, but it's worth sharing again. It's a little unfair (mostly applying to the PNWS podcasts and imitators), but it's also very funny.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:45 AM on July 15


Thank you GenjiandProust! I'm slow at working through dramas, so don't know when I might get to these, but wanted to actually comment and let you know I really appreciate the these posts.
posted by ainymeek at 8:15 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


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