Ever find yourself missing the feeling of sitting around a campfire late at night, listening to the snap and crackle of the flames while the wind whistles in the trees just beyond the ring of light? Ever miss being huddled under a blanket with a friend, roasting marshmallows while listening to a camp counselor weave a tale of creatures that tread in the space behind your peripheral vision, ancient horrors not meant to be seen by human eyes or comprehended by human minds, of encroaching on forbidden spaces that never should be disturbed?
Welcome, to the world of Old Gods of Appalachia.
Set in an alternate Appalachia, this podcast is an eldritch horror anthology presented as tales of hidden knowledge, shared during a night hike or around a cozy campfire where the only thing keeping you safe is the light you carry with you. Long before humans inhabited the Appalachian Mountains, ancient things of darkness and madness called them home. Only nature kept them at bay, but centuries pass and the rocks are weathered by wind and rain, the walls separating our world from theirs thinning incrementally more with each passing year. They are restless. They are hungry. They call for those who would hear them. They want to be free.
Listeners seeking immersive, wonderfully written, lovingly narrated stories in the vein of Welcome to Night Vale or The Magnus Archives will find themselves right at home in the misty slopes of Appalachia. Inspired by actual disasters in and around the area, Old Gods of Appalachia melds history with folklore to reshape and retell the reasons why and how such things occurred. Branching away from the standard, in which the human inhabitants of the Appalachians are the monsters, this podcast paints a bigger horror: that people are just people and the real monsters are what lie beneath the land, in collapsed mining tunnels and forgotten caves that branch like veins throughout the hills. In the first season, in which listeners are taken through the fiery destruction of the mining town of Barlo, the town’s fall is equated to both the eldritch monsters awakened by human interference and the real world destructiveness of racism and segregation. The comparisons between the mass graves of the deceased Black miners and the care taken to identify White miners is put front and center, making the consequences even more horrific when the dead rise from their graves indistinguishable from each other. The old gods of Appalachia care not for the human constructs of race and prejudice. Everyone is fair game for the wrath of the ancients.
Created and produced by Steve Shell and Cam Collins in 2018, Old Gods of Appalachia recently launched its second season to great success. It can be streamed on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, and Soundcloud. Come. Join the family.