Чего́ вы бои́тесь? (What are you afraid of?) And I don’t necessarily mean the grown up kind of fears like not getting along with your in-laws, identity theft or small talk. I mean the deep childhood fears of the mysterious, unknown, and overall spooky. Мо́нстры под крова́тью? Леге́нды? Вампи́ры? И́ли мо́жет да́же привиде́ния? (Monsters under the bed? Urban legends? Vampires? Or maybe even ghosts?) Remember to leave a comment about your childhood fear under this blog – we love to hear your insights on the topic or comments about what topics you would like to see here!
A few nights ago, I had a very humbling experience with the spooky when staying alone at my grandparents’ old apartment (кварти́ра). Their hallway has a sensor-activated light, which is what they always wanted for their entryway (прихожка и́ли прихо́жая). Those lights caused me a great deal of terror when they turned on out of nowhere after I had long gone to bed in another room. Предста́вьте как мне было стра́шно когда́ свет включи́лся сам по себе́! (Imagine how terrified I was when the light went on all on its own!) I don’t know what caused those lights to go on, though I choose to think it was a simple glitch.
I’m not big on horror books, stories, or movies, let alone Russian horror, (the last Russian horror book was Вий back in 6th or 7th grade) but I have gotten into podcasts. Yandex Music has Дневни́к Лоры Палны which I started listening to but only got through 3 episodes. That isn’t enough to form on opinion but I like that they have covered true-crime Russian cases I have never heard of. I also appreciate that they include direct quotes and even audios from trials of the murderers.
What has originally gotten me into spooky podcast is the Canadian podcast That’s Spooky. Although though I don’t have the time to follow it religiously, I especially enjoy when the hosts cover Russian spooky stories. The two that caught my attention were the Granny Ripper, Tamara Samsonova (Episode 25 “X-Ray Diva”) and the Khamar-Deman case (episode 129 “Stone Angel”). The first one is one of those real life creepy and violent stories and to say that the second case is bone chilling is to say nothing. Their most recent episode also covers the murder of Valentina Grigorieva which focused on the violence associated with trash-streaming. (Episode 172 “Elementary School Singers”).
Now, I would like to try something new with you, my dear readers: I will list a few spooky podcasts that I would like to listen to over the next few month and I invite you to listen to them along with me. As the months go by, I will do little reviews of each podcast and assessing how good each podcast when it comes to learning Russian and about Russian culture. So far, I have listened to only the first episode from each one. Here are my first impressions.
- Вышка 5G (5G Tower) – two funny and very energetic hosts, Саша и Таня, cover all sorts of conspiracy theories, from Russia and the rest of the world. It is silly, non-committal and very entertaining to listen to the two speculate about everything from the Mandela effect to Disney princesses. Мрачные Сказки (Gloomy fairytales) – a very cool podcast about сказки народов России. First, the soundbites of this podcast are absolutely mesmerizing folk-inspired instrumentals. Also, once I started listening to the first episode, I realized I’ve heard this Нанайская сказка (fairytale of the Nanai people) in a Soviet animation Сердце Храбреца (The heart of a Braveman). Жуть (Dismay or Dread) – quite similar to Мрачные сказки but it doesn’t cover the fairy tales themselves and only explains the myths and legends as they are. This podcast is perfect for getting to know the Russian urban legends and scary folk tales. Дневник Лоры Палны (The Diary of Laura Palni) – тру-крайм подкаст о самых жутких преступлениях России, as mentioned earlier. If you would like to know why the podcast is called the way it is, read this interview with the hosts. Социология Стрёма – this one is slightly different from the four above because it goes more into the psychology and sociology of fears, how they originate, spread, and influence our collective psyche.
Give those podcast a try on the podcast platform of your choice, most of them are available on Yandex Music and Apple Podcasts.