By Eva Barrows
Not sure what they were in for, a handful of couples cozied up to a stage prop campfire glowing with orange light in the middle of the darkened Midpen Media studio. Strange and disturbing sounds surrounded them, facilitating an immersive journey into their imaginations. The Poltergeist Podcasts & Plays, A Haunted Halloween Showcase, hosted at Midpen Media on Halloween night attracted first-time studio visitors who experienced the power of soundscape in the telling of scary stories.
After researching which scary podcasts most freaked people out, event hostess Emily Parent, Production, Research and Marketing Assistant at Midpen Media featured audio stories told by “The No Sleep Podcast” and “Knifepoint Horror” at the event. “Fictional radio play style stories are the most effective at being scary,” Emily says.
Participants took comfort in the familiar campfire setting created in the studio as they sat on pillows in a communal circle, under the overhead lights casting down cool moonlight, hunkering down to hear scary stories. As eerie and troubling sounds crawled towards them from different areas of the room, their imaginations went to work, driving participants to seek solace from one another. “It was interesting to watch their facial expressions,” Emily says. They visibly scrunched up closer together preferring to take the scary journey as a group.
Once the unsettling aural experience was over, the group hung out to learn what else Midpen Media has to offer. Emily was happy with the intimate turn out, the community outreach she made as she advertised the experimental Halloween podcast festival, and the interest generated in upcoming podcasting classes.