Walls might protect, or divide, or even just serve as a reminder. But at the end of the day they’re a simple design meant to do one thing: to contain us. The trouble is, whenever you bring people into the picture, you get more than you bargained for. Because humans have an almost supernatural ability to leave a trail of pain and suffering behind them. Yes, walls can hold cities, or kingdoms, or objects we want to protect, but they can also hold something darker: the shadows of the past.
The latest installment of the Lore podcast goes heavy on historical (the Norman incursion into Ireland) and architectural (castles and tower-houses) detail, which weighs down the first half of the episode. “Contained” doesn’t really hit its stride until host Aaron Mahnke leads listeners on a tour of Loftus Hall in Ireland, a house with enough strange and unnerving incidents to stock a Gothic novel. Mahnke shares gripping tales involving a satanic visitor, madness and seclusion, a hidden skeleton, a female specter, and even a growling, invisible monster.
There is such a great body of lore that has built up around Loftus Hall that one wishes that the episode had focused in its entirety on this famously haunted residence (instead of spending fifteen tedious minutes establishing context). The “walls” conceit structuring the episode seemed a bit facile (every haunted house inevitably has them!), and a large blockage to the narrative’s progression. Unfortunately, “Contained” enabled me to do just that with my excitement.