31 Days Of Dreadtober: The Oral History Of Horror

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Day 21

Fear is in our DNA. We are built afraid.

In our earliest days, mankind gathered around the heat of a communal fire and shared our fears. We laid our darkest and strangest worries bare before our fellow tribesmen’s feet and found comfort in the knowledge that we are not alone in our despairs. Our worries were theirs. These fears were critical in forming our thoughts, our habits, and our laws. The elders gathered those not blessed with the wisdom of experience, our children, ensuring their fears would become the youth’s.

This process is still being repeated to this day, although the mode and method for delivering the message has changed. Campfire ghost stories remain our oldest form of storytelling, but with the advancement of technology, it is now possible to reach a tribe of millions.

Radio broadcasts took the experience of the campfire story to a whole other level. They became a theatric production on a scale never seen before. When Orson Welles’ broadcast of the H.G. Welles novel The War Of The Worlds hit airwaves in 1938, it struck terror into the heart of listeners, even fooling some into believing the Earth was really being assaulted by Martians.

Audiobooks and podcasts are our current mode for campfire stories. They take the production of a radio drama to an even higher level as they provide a curated experience. They are also available to us on many different platforms across a multitude of devices. They are always there when we want them, accessible at the press of a button. As technology continuously develops, it will be interesting to see how the future of orated horror will evolve.

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