In Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bone And Sickle
Ghost Trains & Railway Terrors
Here’s the thing about trains: They’ll kill you. A steam locomotive is a hunk of barreling metal with an inferno for a heart ready to grind you under its wheels or drag passengers to the bottom of a frozen lake when it derails. Such industrial monstrosities are perfect fodder for Bone And Sickle, a spooky folklore and history podcast hosted by Al Ridenour and Sarah Chavez. In this episode, Ridenour, who acts as a cross between Mr. Rogers and The Crypt Keeper, introduces listeners to the legends, music, and real-life horrors spawned from railway tragedies. The paranormal side of railroad terrors includes a decapitated ghost in North Carolina and the spirits of dead children who act as guardian angels in San Antonio. Then there’s the retelling, including dramatic readings by Chavez, of the national train tour of Abraham Lincoln’s corpse and the battle to keep the president’s body presentable. But the most interesting subjects by far are the train wreck ballads and ghost train song-sermons. The little snippets of these old-timey tunes played throughout the episode act as a reminder that country music used to be about cool stuff like dismemberment and trains that take your soul to hell. [Anthony D Herrera]
I Am the Poor Fool Who Built All This
There is nothing more spooky this season than The Shining, and Haunted Road provides the history of a resort reminiscent of King’s Overlook Hotel. The podcast format is familiar and comfy: It’s a matter-of-fact ghost story tour, offering a creepy vibe, but nothing too scary. Host Amy Bruni (Ghost Hunters) takes us around The Historic Mount Washington Hotel, a place she swears is the most haunted spot in America and one she visits often. The most famous ghost at the hotel, known as The Princess, appears often, and experts have a lot of theories as to why she is still hanging around. Bruni also provides a cautionary tale of how a massage is never just a massage here, as the spa is another hotspot for hauntings. If you have ever wanted to meet such spirits for yourself, Haunted Road hosts a yearly ghost-hunting trip at the hotel, chills and all. [Morgan McNaught]
How Did This Get Played?
Silent Hill 2 with Mike Drucker
As cohost Nick Wiger points out at the top of the episode, Konami’s 2001 survival horror masterpiece hardly fits into How Did This Get Played?’s purview of “worst” video games, but it certainly exemplifies “weirdest.” Silent Hill 2 marked a huge leap forward for console titles with its narrative complexity, HUD-less Eldritch dread, shadow and flashlight dynamics, and absolutely terrifying monsters—so much so that it still resonates with (and creeps out) players two decades after its release. This week, cohosts Heather Anne Campbell, Matt Apodaca, and Nick Wiger discuss their current and original experiences playing through James Sunderland’s journey to the the foggy otherworld with comedian and author Mike Drucker, whose book on the game debuted earlier this year. In typical HDTGP? fashion, it’s a funny and informative conversation that is both personal (Campbell’s disclosure of a SH2-themed radio static prank she played on her Belgian girlfriend that resulted in a torrent of French cursing) and insightful, including details as minute as Eddie’s reprehensible vomit sound cue. [Dan Jakes]