But not every mystery is safe. In fact, some unsolved events seem to hide a certain level of darkness. From a distance they are just as enticing as all the others, but the closer we get to them, the more troublesome they become. And in the process, they cause us to ask ourselves a very honest–a very dangerous–question, one that takes the tale out of mystery and into horror: What if our worst nightmares are real?
The latest episode of Lore concerns mysteries that remain puzzling and refuse to offer clear, satisfying solutions. Such subject matter might lead the listener to expect a survey of various examples, but the podcast devotes much of its run time to one singular tale. Host and narrator Aaron Mahnke transports the audience to the heart of Gothic America: a rural Kentucky farmhouse surrounded by woods, and besieged by strangeness on a memorable night in August 1955. Shortly after a round, metallic-looking object is spotted flying overhead, the people gathered at the Sutton farm are menaced by a group of glowing, goblin-like figures. The story of the Suttons’ desperate attempt to fend off a perceived home invasion by paranormal entities is utterly thrilling, and makes M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs seem like an episode of My Favorite Martian by comparison (at the start of the episode, Mahnke advertises that his media network will soon be branching out into the realm of audio drama, and Lore appears to channel a similar spirit of entertainment here). By narrative’s end, Mahnke’s citing of the Sutton farmhouse incident as “one of the most influential moments in the development of the folklore surrounding UFO’s” hardly sounds hyperbolic.
The moral Mahnke chooses to draw (“we attack the things we don’t understand”) isn’t terribly profound, and grows duller with insistent repetition throughout. But that’s the only quibble I have with this episode, which is worth the listen if only for learning the origin story of a certain alien-describing phrase that has since become part of our pop-culture lexicon. There’s no persistent mystery when it comes to the appeal of this podcast: “Elusive” furnishes indisputable proof of what makes Lore so gripping.