I’m not ready for October to be over. I’m the type of person who loves embracing the creepiness of this month. Horror movies, creepy books, you name it — I love getting a little bit spooked as the weather gets colder and leaves start falling. If you also enjoy a little scariness alongside the pumpkins and Halloween candy, I have the perfect way to enhance your October experience — and keep it going after the month is over. I’ve got a podcast for you! It’s called The Magnus Archives.
I love The Magnus Archives. To give you an idea of what it’s like, it’s a horror anthology podcast, which basically means that with each episode, you get a 20-minute creepy short story. If you’re looking for a low investment, just check out the first half of season one: those episodes are largely self-contained. They aren’t that connected to each other, and you can just enjoy a nice scary story while you’re doing chores or going grocery shopping. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something a little more involved, stick around for the rest of the episodes. There are five seasons in total, with exactly 200 episodes (not counting bonus content, behind-the-scenes cast interviews, and occasional games). As the episodes progress past the halfway point of season one, an overarching meta-plot begins to develop. You get more voice actors and characters introduced, who all start experiencing their own supernatural encounters.
Okay, okay, here’s the basic premise of The Magnus Archives. Our narrator is Jonathan Sims, the head archivist at the Magnus Institute — an organization that takes statements from people who have had supernatural encounters, then researches and files them. At least, that’s what they’re supposed to do. Jon has just taken over for the previous head archivist (who has definitely not died under suspicious circumstances) and she’s left the place in quite a mess. That’s where Jon begins his mission: to record people’s statements and begin organizing this mess of an archive. There to help him are three researchers — Tim, Sasha, and Martin — who we get introduced to as the story continues.
“Anglerfish,” the first episode, holds a special place in my heart. It’s here that Jon introduces himself, grumbles aggressively about the state of the archives, asserts that most of the supernatural statements they receive are ridiculous and definitely made up, and gives us our first glimpse of the research team:
“I’ve managed to secure the services of two researchers to assist me — well, technically three, but I don’t count Martin as he’s unlikely to contribute anything but delays.”
Typing that quote makes me crack up because there has been a lot of character development since that statement, and it’s pretty clear that Jon doesn’t know the first thing about his team at this point. He’s grumpy, excessively skeptical, and absolutely devoted to attributing most of the weird supernatural stories they receive to drugs, drinking, head trauma, or paranoid delusion. This makes it all the more entertaining when it turns out, later on, that he may have been utterly and stunningly wrong.
The spooky side of the first few episodes entertains me too. I won’t spoil anything, but many of the early episodes follow encounters that could almost be dismissed as the mind playing tricks on you, but something is always a little bit off. And if you’ve ever wondered whether you’d be the type of person to obey or ignore the “Do Not Open” signs in a horror movie, this podcast is a great way to explore that question.
This is basically one massive fan pitch for the podcast because I love it, and my Halloween season this year wouldn’t be complete without settling in for a cozy cup of tea and a couple of episodes. The Magnus Archives is available on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and plenty of other podcast services. Good luck, my friends — I hope your Halloween season is full of delicious food, fun costumes, and all the scares you want!