7 Podcasts to Overcome Stranger Things Withdrawal

In case you’ve been living under a rock all summer, you’ve probably heard about a little Netflix series called “Stranger Things.” The show is set in small-town Indiana in 1983 where a young boy named Will goes missing. What happens from there is a series of events and mysteries that mix mystery, murder, science and the supernatural. It’s amazing.

However, if you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve already seen “Stranger Things” and are desperately seeking something to fill that Eggo-shaped hole in your heart. So here you are. Seven delightful podcasts filled with mystery, suspense, ghosts, ghouls, aliens and what have you. You’re welcome.

 

1. Limetown

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Limetown is a fictional podcast mimicking the style of investigative radio journalists. It’s hosted by “American Public Radio reporter Lia Haddock” as she strives to uncover the truth of what happened a decade ago in rural Tennessee’s Limetown where over 300 people vanished.

The seven-part series follows Haddock as she investigates the former research facility’s eery hidden past. It’s part developing mystery, part “Holy crap, Limetown is actually Hawkin’s Laboratory. Someone save Eleven.” (I haven’t finished yet though, so don’t spoil it for me.)

eggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffle /5 EGGOS

 

2. Serial

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While I’ve only listened to the first season of Serial, I can attest that the mystery of 17-year-old Adnan Syed’s murder trial is one that is just a little too…strange. The real-life case begins when high schooler Hae Min Lee, Syed’s ex-girlfriend, goes missing one day after school in Baltimore (sounds like Will, right???) in 1999. A month later, her body is uncovered in a city park and fingers are pointed at Syed.

The podcast is hosted by journalist Sarah Koenig as she attempts to uncover the truth of Lee’s untimely death. While a part of Koenig doubts Syed’s innocence, she refuses to give up on him, uncovering twists and turns of the complicated trial not seen by the public. While it may lack the fear factor some Stranger Things fans crave, it definitely provides listeners an in-depth, investigative piece of prime journalism to enjoy.

eggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffle_half /5 EGGOS

 

3. Lore

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I could probably talk about Lore for five days straight, but I’ll save you the time. Aaron Mahnke released the first of his award-winning podcast in March of 2015 and produces a new episode every two weeks. As the name suggests, Lore is a collection of folklore, scary stories, and myths. However, unlike other tale-telling podcasts, Mahnke provides backstory to the legends we’ve heard for centuries.

Thrillers, ghosts and ghouls, vampires, murders, mysteries, witchcraft, etc. You name it, Mahnke provides. The series is so popular that Lore is even being turned into a television show. If Demogorgons and tragedy are your cup of tea, take a listen. Just maybe not before bed.

eggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffle/5 EGGOS

 

4. Welcome to Night Vale

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If you’re looking for something a little different and off the wall, fictional podcast Welcome to Night Vale could be the one. Presented as a daily radio show based in Southwestern United States desert town, the host Cecil Gershwin Palmer delivers the bizarre “news, announcements and advertisements” of Night Vale.

While it doesn’t tell a direct tale, it provides listeners hints and clues to the outlandish events of the town. It’s a podcast that could be any everyday newscast, unless your paying attention. Glowing clouds, UFOs, fugitives dragons, and more. While it’s not exactly a Stranger Things-esque story, it’s definitely strange.

eggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffle/5 EGGOS

 

5. The NoSleep Podcast

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What first appeared as Reddit.com forum “Nosleep,” a place for community users to share original scary stories, quickly took the podcast world by storm. A group of Reddit users proposed the idea of narrating the top stories audiobook style. The first episode was released in June 2011, so you have a bit of catching up to do.

While host and producer David Cummings’s voice may remind you of Will Ferrell’s Zoolander character Jacobim Mugatu, the variety of eery stories told send will chill you to the bone. So if you’re a fan of mystery, terror and jump scares similar to that of Christmas light communication, The NoSleep Podcast just might become your pre-bedtime ritual.

eggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffle_half  /5 EGGOS

 

6. Criminal

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Though Criminal lacks the paranormal draw that Stranger Things fans yearn for, it’s certainly not lacking in mystery. Each episode of Criminal follows a single topic, telling stories of complex crimes. If Serial and Lore were to have a baby, Criminal would be that podcast. With it’s high quality production, stellar storytelling and real-life crime, Criminal sucks listeners in for each 20 minute episode.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that the stories told are real or that most of the stories revolve around average people that get caught in the middle of a mess, but the podcast is mesmerizing.

eggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffle_half /5 EGGOS

 

7. The Black Tapes

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I’ll be honest. I hadn’t listened to much of The Black Tapes before this, but after two episodes, I was hooked. This paranormal docudrama seems to has rave reviews and I can attest that it sucks you in. With two seasons of 12 episodes each, journalist and host Alex Reagan seeks the truth of whether or not the supernatural ghosts and ghouls that haunt us are real while also battling the figurative ghosts of a debunking Dr. Strand.

It’s an amazing production. Eery, creepy, and mysterious to infinity and beyond. If you’re the type that seeks supernatural, loves ghosts stories and are desperately searching for a Stranger Things surrogate, listen to The Black Tapes. Start with number one and work your way through. You won’t regret it.

eggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffleeggo-waffle_half /5 EGGOS

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After “A Rape on Campus”

I’m disgusted.

I’m disgusted with what allegedly happened to “Jackie” in the Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus.”

I’m disgusted with what’s happened to the other countless victims of sexual assault at UVa and the world.

Currently, I’m most disgusted with the responses to this story.

Regardless of whether or not the account was true, the backlash it has received is unreal. Numerous people resorted to victim blaming, which is the most ignorant, idiotic response to something this sensitive I’ve ever seen. If someone claims that they have been sexually assaulted, you take it seriously. Doubt and victim blaming are what keep victims from reporting their assaults. It’s a crime. It needs to be investigated of course, but very few reported cases of sexual assault are the result of a boy/girl who cried wolf.

Nevertheless, it does happen. In the light of new information, Rolling Stone has issued a note to readers stating that they have reason to believe “Jackie” was not as honest about the events at the UVa fraternity two years ago and that they regret not speaking with the assailants.

This also disgusts me. If this “Jackie” created this tale for attention, I feel bad for her. She obviously has something in her life going on that makes her feel the need to act out in such a way. But the fact that someone would lie about a sexual assault makes me almost as nauseous as the act itself.

The damage of a false account at this magnitude is unmeasurable. That being said, I don’t think RS has shared enough information with readers to back this calamity just yet. I understand the purpose of issuing this correction, but was it necessary to do so without sufficient evidence? It makes “Jackie” look like an awful person and creates a very hurtful scenario for those involved and other victims. Who’s to say that the people contradicting her claims are the ones creating false statements? It’s doubtful that a criminal would openly admit to their crimes, so it’s unsurprising that there would be a response from the assailants (and/or their lawyers, I’m sure) stating that the incident never occurred. It would ruin their lives (which, if this is a true event, should be the case in my opinion).

I’m saddened that this is even something that society has to be concerned with. As an independent female attending a large university, I find it mind-boggling that women should fear walking home in the dark alone. I grew up in a small town. I’ve never feared for my life. I’ve never used pepper spray. I carry a pocket knife not for safety, but to cut duct tape and open packages. Why the hell should I have put limitations on my life because other people choose to be monsters? Why should I change the way I dress because it could make a guy believe I “was asking for it?”

I’m not ignorant or oblivious. I may not take the same precautions of my female peers, but I understand that, regardless of my belief that the world is a wonderful place, there is danger. I tend to press my luck (something my family and friends are less than thrilled to know). I’m trusting. And why should I not be? Why is it that I have to be on the defensive every day?

I saw a great analogy on Twitter a few weeks ago that stopped me in my tracks. The truth to it was painful. This is what it said:

“You say not all men are monsters? Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. 10% are poisoned. Go ahead. Eat a handful. Not all M&Ms are poison.” 

Another part of the tweet said this:

“Because we’re taught ‘Don’t leave your drink alone’ instead of ‘Don’t drug someone.'”

Why is this reality? Why do we live in a society that thinks this way? I don’t know how to fix it. As a twenty-something with dreams of world travel, adventure and independence, how am I supposed to live? If I’m trained to hold tight to my purse, hold my keys between my knuckles in defense, and not talk to strangers, how am I expected to meet new people, open up and experience the good of the world?

In exactly one month from tomorrow, I’ll be traveling over 4,000 miles to London, England for a semester abroad. At our orientation, at least one-third of the discussion was focused on safety. They want us to go out and experience the city, but don’t go alone. Experience the nightlife, but don’t stay out too late. Try the bars, but watch your drinks and don’t get too drunk. Meet new people, but don’t talk to strangers. Of the 28 or so going on our trip, all but two are women. The safety talk was very obviously directed at us. (Pepper spray was not mentioned as something to bring with us because it’s illegal in the UK.)

I know that I live in a bubble of optimism. But I know that horrible things happen all the time. MU itself has numerous rape/assault reports every month or two. The Rolling Stone story cited that one in five females are sexually assaulted in college, a number that is one in five too high. I’m achingly aware that this statistic is alarmingly high. I avoid alleyways and talking to sketchy men on the street. I don’t take drinks from strangers. I stay in lit areas. But I don’t let fear hold me back.

It may be my blissful ignorance of the evils of the world or a rebellion against being told to be safe, but I just don’t understand. I don’t understand assailants. I don’t understand how people can be so obtuse and believe that women “ask for it” by wearing leggings or a too-short skirt. I don’t understand why it should be necessary to invent a nail polish that changes color when drinks are “roofied” because I don’t understand what person would drug someone else’s drink. I just don’t understand why we live in a society with so much good, love and joy, but have to suffer terror, pain and sadness.

Regardless of whether or not the RS story told a fabricated tale or a traumatizing true story, “A Rape on Campus” has added a renewed dialogue about rape in our culture.

So that’s my rant for today.

First-Gen

What began as a simple, “Hey, there’s a new organization,” quickly turned into an in-depth look at first-generation college students.

A month and a half ago, my editor came to me with little more than a club name, meeting time and vague idea of what to focus on.

So I, as the keen and amazing reporter that I am (lol), pursued the story.

Four MU upperclassmen were unhappy with the fact that there were no campus organizations that provided support for first-eneration college students. The four founders were first-gem students themselves, so rather than wait around for someone to create a support group, they took it into their own hands.

Though the organization is still in its beginning stages, it has already reached several students. I attended the clubs first official meeting and there were about 20 people in attendance.

The leaders introduced themselves and rattled off an impressive list of successes and involvements at MU.

The purpose of the organization is to help other first-gen students get involved, provide emotional and academic support, as well as form a network.

For the whole story, head over to The Columbia Missourian.

This story, though short, took me far too long to report. My main problem was that NO ONE WOULD GET BACK TO ME.

However, after a little research, I discovered a great association aiming to help first-gen high school and college students adjust. It also turns out that they neither group knew of the other, so I was able to be a connecting link between the two.

Overall, a fairly enjoyable experience.

WHAT I’VE DONEEEE (sung to Linkin Park’s 2007 hit)

Over the past week, I’ve spent two days at The Missourian on general assignment. I managed to snag four stories over the two days, hang out with great people in the newsroom, and pick up a nasty cold that makes me feel like death.

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What I’ve done this week:

ENJOY

The Dreaded GA

On Monday, I endured my fifth GA shift. It was alright. Nothing too exciting. But I did manage to write two interesting stories.

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The first was a quick write-up about a man that had allegedly set six fires in downtown Columbia. The story wasn’t too time consuming, but as I wrote it, I wondered how important it was to share. I have several issues with ethics because I’m literally the most indecisive person. Ever. I never know the right answer. (But do any of us really?) The man was homeless. He was likely mentally unstable. So was it necessary to report on? I felt invasive, but wrote it anyway. Then, as karma often does, I was chewed out by a police officer for allegedly telling one of her coworkers that I’d been waiting “all day” to hear back from her. It was 1.) inaccurate. I’d only been waiting and hour and half. 2.) extremely rude and something I would never say, especially in a manner that could be taken as offensive, and 3.) I was doing what the editor told me. So that sucked.

The second article I wrote for GA was a much happier experience. I reported on a Dunkin’ Donuts that will be coming to town in 2015. The only problems I had with this story was hearing back from the owners. They didn’t contact me until the next day, which was annoying, but I understand that people have lives and they don’t revolve around a daily newspaper. The second issue I had was figuring out where the restaurant was going to be. The Tribune and Dunkin’ HQ reported a slightly different location from where the owner said it would be and we needed an exact location for a beautiful map featuring a doughnut. That led to five or six evening emails and two (and one dropped) phone calls to the copy editor. I really enjoyed putting the story together, but I’m a little disappointed in what was printed. I tried to incorporate three or four good doughnut puns and not a single one made it through.

An Interview I Enjoyed

Last week, I was assigned a fun and simple story about two award-winning authors that wrote a children’s book titled “Sam & Dave Dig A Hole” together. The pair, Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett, are to stop at the Columbia Barnes & Noble on Oct. 18 as part of their national book tour, so I was to write a quick feature. What I didn’t realize is that this would be the most entertaining and wonderful interview I’ve done to date.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what information I wanted to get. I had a list of questions, but as soon as I had the duo on a conference call, the conversation began to take a number of hilarious twists and turns.

I found myself asking if they ever made mudpies, why the kids didn’t dig all the way to China, and why Jon’s cat is named Pigeon, rather than the typical dry interview questions. (Of course I asked those too…but those only received short, factual answers which are no fun.)

We talked about making mud potions, the boundaries of a book, and how Jon’s cat has a weird face and odd personality. But we also discussed the purpose of a children’s book, the simplicity of a good story without a moral lesson, and how children are unrated. It was one of the most thought-provoking conversations I’ve had. Both Mac and Jon had wonderful insight into their world of books.

Framing [ ] <–That's supposed to be a frame

In my News Reporting lecture last week, one of the professors/editors brought to light the importance of framing and how it can affect a story. He gave two opposing examples on the same subject matter: oil.

The two articles, one written from the perspective that oil is a grand treasure that provides economic benefits, while the other shares the non-monetary cost of fracking, but the health concerns caused by the emitted gases.

The first article I read, entitled “Y’all Smell That? That’s the Smell of Money,” was published in Texas Monthly. The frame of this story was obviously written to show the benefits of oil drilling in Texas, specifically its positive impact on the economy. The photos within this story are all beautiful blue skies or majestic sunsets illuminating the machinery used to remove the natural oil. All the photos made of people are framed to give the view the idea that they are doing well, making money, looking important, etc. Aside from the photographs, the story if filled with advertisements specifically catering to an audience that either makes money from the oil industry or are a part of that field. (The Bank of Texas ad literally has a photo of men drilling and uses the quote “When Others Lost The Energy To Loan, We Kept On Producing,” making a direct reference to the economic benefits of the industry.

The opposing article, “Big Oil, Bad Air,” takes a completely different approach. This article shares how harmful fracking in Texas is. One statistic said that three facilities are allowed to release 142 tons of nitrogen oxides, 95 tons of carbon monoxide, 19 tons of sulfur dioxide, 8 tons of particulate matter and 0.31 tons of hydrogen sulfide PER YEAR. As a reader, that is the opposite of what I want to know. The photographs in this article also highlight the fact that this is not a good thing. Lynn Buehring wears an oxygen mask to breathe in her home town, flames show gas escaping into the atmosphere, and landscapes don’t demonstrate the same healthy glow from the previous article. The framing of this piece is entirely different.

Both articles address fracking, but where one encourages it, the other attacks it.