But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that whimsical stories are often just a costume wrapped around a darker core. And when it comes to one corner of folklore in particular, that core might be more than just a little frightening. It could very well be true.
Aaron Mahnke heads for the hills (and into the woods) in the latest episode of the Lore podcast, which is devoted to the subject of faerie lore. Countering the popular, innocuous image (think Disney’s Tinkerbell), Mahnke emphasizes the dark nature of faeries. These “creatures of bad behavior” are reportedly responsible for such nasty pranks as abduction of humans to the otherworld and the replacement of babies with changelings. Faerie mischief indeed is a rich topic, so it’s no surprise that Mahnke supplies several arresting tales (he also delves into the intriguing work of “faerie women”–well-versed humans for hire whose machinations counteract uncanny abductions). If lore functions to make the incredible comprehensible and perhaps even plausible, then “Taken” (the punning title references fascination as well as extraction) furnishes a quintessential example. This episode exploring the good folk is bound to leave Lore listeners more than a wee bit enchanted.