"Digital Folklore" Podcast: Where Scary Meets Smart
Do Not listen in the dark!
Podcasting is a safe space for all varieties of monsters. There are more than 175 podcasts about zombies, 47 about werewolves, at least 200 about witches, and 34 about vampires. In two of those podcasts, the co-hosts believe themselves to be vampires. I don't recommend attending their live shows.
The new Digital Folklore podcast has an entirely new and unique take on monsters. This new immersive podcast shines its light on digital monsters. The first episode, which debuted this week, takes on the internet myths of Slender Man and Momo. As the show notes reveal, "this episode introduces us to two monsters who were birthed on the internet but couldn't be contained there."
With topics ranging from the absurd to the unsettling, the Digital Folklore podcast is an accessible and entertaining way to learn about folkloric concepts and societal truths.
Immersive podcast is a term thrown around carelessly these days, like woke and cancel culture. But Digital Folklore delivers even more than expected. The first episode was like a rich symphony of sounds and sonic texture.
The sound design and production here is pure ear candy. There are sonic layers that are incredibly intricate to pull off. This sound team doesn't need video to saturate listeners in its lurid world.
The background music is appropriately ominous, drifting into the creepy. The two co-hosts are superb at enhancing the macabre mood, and the storytelling makes the listeners feel as if they're at a campfire listening to scary stories. Then the narrative introduces listeners to a series of experts who offer a lesson in ostension, monster theory, and moral panic.
If you think, this is the podcast version of a cheesy horror movie like M3gan, you're wrong. Listen to co-host Perry Carpenter during the first episode: "There's a concept in Folklore. It's called 'ostension' and it describes something very much like this. How the stories we tell push into the real world. It's like the idea of manifestation. It is a building of a bridge between our imaginations and the physical world. But what about when manifestation actually happens? What about when we bring things into existence that we never really wanted to exist? When something horrible manages to cross the bridge"
Speaking of the co-hosts, there are insanely good.
Perry Carpenter is the founder of 8th Layer Media, which produces the show. He's the author of two books and has published way too many research papers and online articles. Perry is also the creator and host of the "8th Layer Insights" podcast, which explores the human side of cybersecurity. His day job is that of Chief Evangelist and Strategy Officer for cybersecurity training company, KnowBe4.
Mason Amadeus is 8th Layer Media's creative director, lead audio engineer, and other co-host of the Digital Folklore podcast.
Mason's background in audio began as a hobby before he transitioned into an eight-year, multifarious career in terrestrial radio. Amadeus is also a freelance podcast producer, voice actor, sound designer for live theater productions, and collector of tedious hobbies.
Carpenter and Amadeus (doesn't his name sound like a character from a Dan Brown novel?) gel nicely together, plunging listeners into the universe of internet monsters with a mixture of intellectual curiosity and spooky theorizing.
Unless you believe the show is all about scaring listeners and eliciting that dopamine blast of anticipation, be forewarned.
The show hews closely to mundane facts. In the first episode, for example, the hosts mention a murder in Wisconsin of a young girl by two young girls who believed the victim was Slender Man. But the hosts ground that internet meme when they interview an author who explains that one of the perpetrators was an undiagnosed schizophrenic whose visions included that of Slender Man. Rather than a case of supernatural intrigue, it's tragically another case of the failure of our mental health care system.
The production studio that created Digital Folklore is called 8th Layer Media. The company is just entering the podcasting space with one other podcast called 8th Layer Insights, which takes listeners on a multidisciplinary exploration into how the complexities of human nature affect security and risk. Topics include cybersecurity, psychology, behavior science, communication, leadership, and more - delivered in a focused, easy-to-digest, and creatively lighthearted fashion. Its next podcast to be released is My Podcast Journey, where Carpenter and Amadeus offer to give is a full peek behind the curtain, ‘open sourcing’ their entire process, as well as interview and learn from other prominent creators. Covering everything from tools and workflows to business and logistics, this show aims to give a pragmatic, useful, and deeply-detailed look into every aspect of creative work.
Carpenter and Amadeus call themselves "analytical weirdos" and the term fits snugly on them. Consider how they came up with the name of their media company, 8th Layer Media. "In the field of information technology, there is a concept called the 'OSI Model'. It describes seven abstract 'layers' which computers use to communicate across networks. From the physical/electrical (layer 1) to the visual/interactive (layer 7), it is a useful tool for considering the technical aspects of a network - but when thinking in terms of security, the OSI model neglects the most crucial factor: People. The 8th Layer."
Aren't these the perfect two people to create and host the Digital Folklore podcast about internet monsters?
I am a South Jersey-based author who published a nonfiction book on Amazon called The COVID Hotel about the pandemic. After nearly 40 years in the Corporate world, I manage a publication --Make A Connection -- about how to manage more effectively through improved communication. I am also the lead writer for the Ear Worthy podcast blog on Substack and Podcast Reports on blogger.