It was so popular last year that we decided to do it again! Join us this holiday season as we introduce you to twelve of our favourite podcasts in the 12 Days of Podmas.
Unexplained is a podcast written, produced and hosted by Richard MacLean… Smith. I probably shouldn’t mock the overly dramatic way he pronounces his name in the introduction of each episode, but you take the comedy wherever you can with this one.
A self-professed lover of shows like The Twilight Zone, The X-Files and Eerie, Indiana, MacLean Smith dedicates each episode to a real-life tale of the unexpected, weird, spooky and occult. Naturally, for anyone with similar tastes, there’s a lot to like here.
Of course there are plenty of podcasts out there dealing with similar themes, so why have I singled out this one? Well, for one, there’s the production: MacLean Smith’s haunting music provides the perfect ambiance, whilst his quiet narration and careful rhythm builds suspense.
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And then there are the stories themselves: all real, often well-known tales, soaked in the adrenaline-fuelled chills of a really good ghost story. MacLean Smith doesn’t lay it on too thick, he leaves room for doubt, for alternative conclusions and for rational explanations, but he does it in a knowingly haunting way that regularly sends shivers down my spine and has me desperately fighting the urge to check under the bed before sleep.
It is a show that benefits from its creator’s growing confidence and experience and generally seems to get better as it goes. The first season dwells a little too much on infamous occultist Aleister Crowley for my liking… it’s probably just me, but I’d take a good old fashioned haunting over repeated tales of his dabblings with black magic and demon-summoning, though the late season 1 episode about Crowley’s old residence at Boleskine House provides some chills.
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The real standout of that first season for me though is the previous episode, ‘Dawn of the Head’. Here we’re told of the Hexham Heads, bizarre artefacts dug up by two boys in their garden in the early 1970s. I can’t say for sure why, but that one just filled me with unease. A more recent highlight would be the three-part ‘Endgame’, from season 4, about the stalking of Cindy James. There’s a bit towards the end of the final part that left me particularly unsettled… but I wouldn’t want to spoil it here.
So, in summary, we have a podcast here that gives me proper chills and for that, I love it. Why? Well, of course, the answer to this remains, as always… unexplained.