Episode 114: The Gateway

Most locations have an isolated history that is unique to them and only them. But some places have served as the entry point for a bigger idea and a larger impact on history as a whole. Sadly, that sort of significance always seems to come at a price, and it’s a cost that’s difficult to forget.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Carl Nellis, and music by Chad Lawson.


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Episode 113: Word of Mouth

Throughout history, cultures around the world have explored the world of medicine in search of tools that can heal our bodies. We’ve used plants and minerals, of course, but the most powerful tool might also be the most taboo—and it’s been right in front of us the entire time.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Sam Alberty, and music by Chad Lawson.


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Episode 112: Facets

Of all the parts of life that we can depend on, one of the darkest parts is loss. That’s the trouble with being surrounded by mortal, fragile human beings; at some point, the people we love won’t be here anymore. Which is why the mourning process is the playground for all sorts of powerful bits of folklore.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Marcet Crockett, and music by Chad Lawson.


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Episode 111: Inside Job

The deepest mysteries come from the places we haven’t fully explored, or where we lack the control that makes us feel safe. And yet one of the most universally mysterious places of all is closer than you might believe. It’s the best kept secret everyone has been sleeping through.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Sam Alberty and music by Chad Lawson.

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Episode 110: Crooked

Not everything can be perfect. Even when there’s a clean slate and we’re given the resources and tools to make something great, humans have a way of building their flaws into it. And while there are many examples of locations built on a crooked foundation, few have the haunting historical tales to back it up.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Robin Miniter, and music by Chad Lawson.


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Episode 109: Assumption

There’s a lot in life we can count on. Death, taxes, the sunrise, and political turmoil—these are all guaranteed, safe bets. But outside that, everything else is an assumption. And sometimes we get it tragically, horribly wrong.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Taylor Hagerdorn, and music by Chad Lawson.


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Episode 108: Debris

Our oceans are some of the most remote regions on the planet. Because of that, people have filled that darkness and space with stories that reflect our common fears and deepest suspicious. Unfortunately, the pages of history offer less reason than we might hope for, leaving us to wonder exactly what might be out there, lurking beneath the waves.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Marcet Crockett, and music by Chad Lawson.


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The Great Courses Plus: Hundreds of topics taught by professors and experts, all in one enormous video library. Listen or watch on your computer or mobile device. Visit TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/lore today to start your special FREE MONTH of unlimited access to their full lecture library—and don't miss my newest recommendation: The Ottoman Empire.

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Episode 107: Sight Unseen

We like to think we’ll see it coming. That we can plan ahead and prepare—even defend ourselves. But death comes in all shapes and sizes, sometimes so small and featureless that it slips through our carefully constructed defenses without us even knowing. And history shows us that all of us should be worried about that.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Carl Nellis, and music by Chad Lawson.

Episode 106: The Collection

Humans have a tendency to collect things. From baseball cards to Twitter followers, we enjoy bringing everything into one place. But when that collection represents the very worst of humanity—both in how it’s managed and where it comes from—the act of collecting comes with dire consequences.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Sam Alberty, and music by Chad Lawson.

Episode 103: Disappointment

Humanity is fueled by hope. We hope for improvement, and dream of a day when things get better than they are right now. And for a very long time, there have been certain people who have taken advantage of that hope. What they deliver instead is an unexpected dose of darkness.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Taylor Hagerdorn, and music by Chad Lawson.

Episode 102: Devil in the Details

Most of us live incredibly busy lives, and because of all that distraction, we tend to miss the little things. Whether it’s a forgotten birthday, or the small puddle of water beneath your water heater in the basement, not noticing things can have consequences. And sometimes, those details can be a matter of life and death.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Sam Alberty and music by Chad Lawson.

Episode 101: Worn Away

Like a well-loved pair of shoes, or those jeans you bought in college and never gave up on, some things become worn out over time. But when that thing is a physical location, eroded away by thousands of years of human activity and deep, rich folklore, what sort of nightmares might we expect to pour in through the hole? There’s only one way to find out.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Sam Alberty and music by Chad Lawson.

Episode 100: Home Sweet Home

Every movement has a seed, that spark that sets the fire ablaze. But this spark is more than just a murder mystery, or a treasure hunt, or even a haunting unlike any other. This one is all three. Which may explain why a century and a half later, the world is still reeling from its impact.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Sam Alberty and music by Chad Lawson.

Episode 99: Out For Blood

Each of us holds inside ourselves a precious cargo. It is the key to life, and a worthy sacrifice when important things are on the line. And yet it also sits at the center of some of our greatest fears. After all, if something’s precious, there’s always someone who wants to steal it.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Marcet Crockett and music by Chad Lawson.

Episode 97: Misplaced

For thousands of years, humans have built rules and procedures for handling the various curveballs that life throws our way—and we place a lot of trust in those systems. Most of the time, it all works properly, but there are moments when human nature and our belief in the unusual throw a wrench in the gears. 

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Marcet Crockett and music by Chad Lawson.

Episode 96: The Long Good-Bye

Life is full of challenges. From learning new skills to climbing the social ladder, most people struggle with the hurdles we’re forced to overcome. But when it’s all said and done, few things are as difficult as something all of us will have to face some day: saying good-bye.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Marcet Crockett and music by Chad Lawson.

Episode 95: Out of Sight

Few things disappoint us more than when our expectations aren’t met. We expect to be loved, or to be rewarded for our hard work. And above all, we expect the people in our lives to always be there. Which is why it’s so frightening to hear stories of those who don’t—of people who were right there, where they should be, only to disappear without explanation.

Written and produced by Aaron Mahnke, with research assistance from Marcet Crockett and music by Chad Lawson.