Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.201: The Black Tapes Podcast

I was an early adopter of the podcast format (more on this in a later post), and I think it is reasonable to say that listening to podcasts has now become my prefered form of mediatised entertainment/infotainment. My taste in podcasts, whilst varied, does veer in the direction of those addressing aspecs of contemporary geekdom, cult tv, and the occult/conspiracies/and the paranormal more generally. Unsurprisingly, podcasts tackling Lovecraft and the Lovecaftian milieu are at the top of my list of preferences. Taking a break from the material artefacts which predictably constitute the bread and butter of the Lovecraftian Thing a Day, for the next week or so, I want to point interested readers in the direction of some of my current favourites when it comes to Lovecraftian-themed or inflected podcasts.

First up is The Black Tapes Podcast, a serialized docudrama involving an investigation of the work of skeptical psychologist Richard Strand - the eponymous 'Black Tapes' being a collection of videos documenting Strand's research into paranormal phenomena. Whilst The Black Tapes deals with tropes fairly typical of 'mainstream' horror and supernatural fiction - demonic possession and Satanic cults loom large in this respect - the overarching narrative involves a strange and apocalyptic conspiracy concerning sacred geometry/mathematics, quantum physics, interdimensional portals for calling forth ancient demons, as well as a recurrent 'unsound' first heard by a team of researchers in the Antarctic - all of who died within a year of hearing it. Along with direct references to Lovecaft, Hastur gets namechecked a few times, and the most recent episode has intimations of something akin to Machen's 'Little People' mythology. Whilst, admittedly, elements of genuine cosmic horror are rare, there is definitely a Lovecraftian vibe here - one which is perhaps even more evident in The Black Tapes' sister podcast, to which I will return tomorrow.

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