Podcast / The Magnus Archives

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"Statement begins…"

The Magnus Archives is a horror podcast written and performed by Jonathan Sims (of The Mechanisms fame) with occasional guests. It began in 2016.

Jonathan Sims is the newly appointed archivist of the Magnus Institute, an academic organisation in London dedicated to research into the paranormal. Unfortunately his predecessor Gertrude Robinson left the archive in a complete mess. Countless statements from people who have come to the Institute over the years to report alleged supernatural experiences lie in hopeless disorder. It’s up to Jonathan to record them properly, and follow up any interesting ones with the help of his assistants, Tim, Sasha and Martin. As he works through the statements, Jonathan discovers that some of them suggest disturbing connections with each other – and with the Institute itself.

Episodes usually take the form of Jonathan reading and recording a statement from the archive, or occasionally recording someone else giving a new statement. Once the statement is over Jonathan adds some comments of his own, noting any further investigation his assistants have been able to do, how much of the statement he believes and any other implications it may have. At first each episode seems self-contained, but story arcs develop as the series goes on.

The series is produced by Rusty Quill and can be found on their website. It also has a wiki and a reddit.


The Magnus Archives contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: "Skintight" takes place in a Real Life one, the Cambridge Military Hospital, where a team of ghost-hunters go to investigate an alleged haunting (whose rumours are indeed old and well documented in Real Life) but find...something else.
  • Accidental Murder: Self-proclaimed vampire-hunter Trevor Herbert admits to having killed two people he's not sure were vampires and one who he since realised definitely wasn't, but he adds the latter was a violent criminal, so he doesn't lose much sleep over it.
  • The Ageless: A couple of characters reappear after they should have died of ageing or seeming far younger than they should be, though in most cases it could only be a coincidence of names and descriptions, save for narrative principles. Reportedly the fate of those who win a Game of Chess with Death. Also hinted to be the ultimate fate of each head archivist of the Magnus Archive. Unless they are Driven to Suicide by the idea.
  • Agent Scully: Jonathan knows that the supernatural exists but believes very few alleged cases are genuine. He says in the very first episode that most files are likely to end up in the archive's "Discredited" section and is quick to dismiss those who give the statements as deluded, hallucinating, lying or simply mistaken unless there is strong corroboration (though any mention of the name Jurgen Leitner dispels his scepticism). Eventually he reveals that he actually believes far more than he has been letting on, and has been feigning scepticism in his recordings because he believes someone or something is listening in.
  • Ambiguously Human:
    • Sasha, on meeting "Michael", immediately perceives the latter as non-human even though "it" looks human. This impression is reinforced so when they shake hands - its hand is described as heavy, like a wet leather bag full of heavy, sharp stones.
    • The narrator describes the strange hunter in "First Hunt" as looking human except that "everything about him was sharper" and he has a smile with "far too many teeth to it".
    • Episode 53 hints that this is the ultimate fate of the head archivist of Magnus Archive. If they survive longer enough in the position.
  • And I Must Scream: Jane Prentiss who became the host of a sentient colony of demonic worms slowly enough to record her experience in the Magnus Archive
  • Archive Panic: In-universe – the late archivist Gertrude Robinson left the files in an absolute mess, which Jonathan now has to put in order. She held her job for over fifty years. He remarks that it’s going to take him a very long time.invoked
  • Beardness Protection Program: In "Do Not Open" Joshua Gillespie hopes the beard he has grown in the months since meeting "John" will prevent the latter from finding or recognising him. It doesn't.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: The unusual anatomy students attempt to figure out how a human heart is supposed to beat while in the dissection lab. It gets bloody.
  • Bigger on the Inside: In "Growing Dark" the narrator visits a small chapel where he believes a dangerous cult is based. It's empty and dark. When his torch goes out, leaving him in total darkness, he decides to walk until he reaches a wall or barrier. It takes him much, much longer to find one than it should given the size of the place. When he gets another torch working, the place again seems to be its normal, small size.
    • In "Killing Floor" this occurs when the narrator attempts to exit the slaughterhouse during his last day on the killing floor. It might be just him, except all the contractors hired to build expansions quit, with one shakily claiming it's already too big.
  • Bloody Horror:
    • A character attacks a dead tree with a crowbar. The fluid that comes out is not sap.
    • The book The Bone Turner's Tale causes the books around it to bleed.
    • A character struggles to keep a door closed as something on the other side tries to open it. When it finally gives up and he takes his hand away, it's covered in blood, though he has no injuries and the door handle is clean.
  • Body Horror: Occurs in a number of episodes.
    • in "Skintight" Sarah peels the skin off her injured arm, then staples it back on.
    • Jared Hopworth is transformed into something Not Quite Human in "The Boneturner's Tale."
  • Bumbling Sidekick: This is how Jonathan regards Martin, though he becomes slightly more sympathetic after Martin’s encounter with Jane Prentiss.
  • Captain's Log: Jonathan introduces himself and explains his job and the state of the archive at the beginning of the first episode.
  • Cassette Craze: Part of Jonathan’s job is to record audio versions of the statements, and each episode consists of one such recording. He uses an actual tape recorder for the more “bizarre” statements (i.e. all the ones we hear) because for some reason they don’t record properly on computers.
  • Chess with Death: If one narrator is to be believed, Death offers a choice of games, including chess. It's impossible to win if you choose a game of skill. You're better off playing Roulette or another purely luck-based game instead. If you win you will not die, but Be Careful What You Wish For. There are actually multiple Deaths, each of whom was once a mortal who, upon winning a game against a previous Death, was doomed to take over from them. Oh, and it's not just a folk tale - that narrator was one of them.
  • Chronic Evidence Retention Syndrome: For unknown reasons, Not-Sasha kept the tapes containing the real Sasha's voice in her desk, which gives Jonathan the confirmation he needs about Not-Sasha's true nature.
  • Claustrophobia: Martin is a sufferer, and therefore excuses himself from investigating a caving-related case. Later he has to endure being trapped in his flat for two weeks by Jane Prentiss.
    • "Lost John's Cave" occurs in an underwater cave system.
    • "Held In Customs" invokes the feeling, though Vincent denies suffering from it.
  • Coffin Contraband: The narrator of "Do Not Open" finds himself looking after a strange coffin containing… something.
  • Confessional: Father Burroughs hears the confession of a troubled student before attempting an exorcism on her (naturally he will not reveal what she said). Later he himself confesses to a fellow priest, who proceeds to list every sin Burroughs has ever committed in his life, none of which the priest should have any way of knowing. It turns out that this was almost certainly not the real priest.
  • Creepy Basement: Martin's experience in "Colony" starts with him investigating one in the course of following up an earlier statement.
  • Creepy Cemetery: Several: the narrator of "Alone" finds herself in one after getting lost and the narrator of "Growing Dark" passes through one to reach a chapel he believes he needs to investigate. It looks as if we're going to see another one in "A Distortion" when someone asks Sasha to meet them there, but the trope is subverted when it turns out they just chose the cemetery as a convenient landmark close to the actual destination.
  • Creepy Child:
    • Agnes in "Burned Out". She stays that way into adulthood.
    • The students in "Anatomy Class" are actually young adults (undergraduates, so roughly 18-21), but their manner is very much that of the Creepy Child.
  • Creepy Cleanliness: One of the first signs that something strange is going on in "Killing Floor" is when the narrator notices that the slaughterhouse is far cleaner than it should be.
  • Creepy Doll:
    • The first of the strange bin bags in "Thrown Away" is full of detached doll heads.
    • In "Strange Music" Leanne Denikin finds in her dead grandfather's loft a trunk full of antique dolls with mouths like those of a ventriloquist's dummy, all but one of which are missing their lower jaws; the one with its jaw intact is a clown doll with a splash of red paint giving it an ugly smile. It seems to be able to escape from the closed trunk. Later she notices another doll, jaw intact, that resembles her ex-boyfriend - who is then found dead with his lower jaw torn off.
  • Creepy Good: Jonathan remarks that he is more disturbed by having "Michael" as a potential ally than as an enemy.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Numerous statement-makers express regret at not simply leaving well alone or turning away and leaving and thus avoiding their frightening experience (or worse), or tell how other characters made the same mistake.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Unsurprisingly in a series full of horror and fantasy, this occurs a number of times. The most striking example is what "Michael" says to Sasha in "A Distortion".
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The statement giver, Tessa's, interpretation of her experiences (supernatural and mundane) in Binary (Episode 65). "Nothing about humanity is binary."
  • Darker and Edgier: In-universe, The Bone Turner's Tale appears to be a very DarkFic for The Canterbury Tales. In The Tale of a Field Hospital, the titular book is hinted to predate the LighterAndSofter mundane version.
  • Demonic Possession: What Father Burroughs believes has happened to him in "Confession"/"Desecrated Host".
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: The coffin in "Do Not Open" has those three words scratched on its lid. Thankfully, the protagonist isn't Too Dumb to Live and was smart enough not to do so. Though it's not for lack of trying on the part of the coffin.
  • Dramatic Deadpan: The narrator of "Piecemeal" is taken aback when Angela, a perfectly ordinary and harmless-looking old lady, talks calmly and matter-of-factly about having someone killed.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Antonio Blake's statement, addressed directly to Gertrude, tells of the strange dreams he has had of various people's futures, including hers. Specifically, of their deaths.
  • Electromagnetic Ghosts:
    • It is implied that this is why the “bizarre” statements (i.e. all the ones the audience hears) come out distorted when Jonathan tries to record them on a computer, so he has to use an old tape recorder. Some of those making statements seem to have had similar experiences.
    • In "Growing Dark" it is hinted that something supernatural is causing the lights to stop working in the narrator's girlfriend's flat. They replace the bulbs, check the fittings and call in an electrician but can find nothing apparently wrong. Then subverted when it turns out not to be supernatural, merely bizarre - someone (presumably his girlfriend's strange flatmate) keeps unscrewing all the bulbs just enough to break the connections.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In "A Father's Love" Julia Montork tells that her father, although a serial killer (who committed his murders during her childhood), always seemed to love her, and she believes his love was genuine. And unlike everyone else, she doesn't think her mother was one of his victims.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Several statements tell of sinister goings-on being accompanied by a sharp and inexplicable increase in the ambient temperature.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: A recurring theme in "Growing Dark". The lights keep going out in Kathy and Natalie's house (because someone, presumably Natalie, keeps unscrewing the bulbs just enough to break the circuits). Later, when the narrator Mark is driving to the chapel he believes is at the centre of the weirdness, the street lamps and his car headlights seem strangely dim. When he enters the chapel it's pitch dark except for the light of torch, and seems to become Bigger on the Inside when the torch goes out and revert when he lights another.
  • Evil Is Visceral: the episode "Killing Floor" narrates horrifying events in a slaughterhouse.
  • Evil Old Folks: Angela in "Piecemeal". She seems like a harmless little old lady at first, but the narrator, himself a hardened, violent criminal, recognises in her eyes the look of someone extremely nasty.
  • Extremely Dusty Home: The house of Sylvia McDonald, who Trevor Herbert claims was the first vampire he killed, is covered in dust and mould except for a narrow strip along the floor where she walks, as if she has lived there for years but done absolutely nothing except walk through the place.
  • Exact Words: In "Cheating Death" the narrator starts off by telling a story of a soldier who challenged Death to a game in an attempt to save his life. He fails to notice that Death said "if you win you shall not die" - it didn't say "you will live".
  • Eye Motifs: Eye images are described frequently throughout the series. They abound in the places that some (at least two) supernatural groups congregate (the Keays and the Lightless Flame) and one supernaturally aware individual was noted to go to unusual lengths to remove them from her possessions.
  • Faking the Dead: It turns out that Mary Keay, whom a narrator seemingly met, is on public record as having been murdered, allegedly by her son Gerard, though he was acquitted. Whether the murder or the person is fake is not clear.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: When the altar server in the weird mass in "Desecrated Host" opens his mouth, instead of words he makes the sound of a tolling bell. When Father Burroughs tries to speak there, the same thing happens. Later, when his former fellow priests visit him in prison, it's all he can hear when they speak to him.
  • Framing Device: Jonathan is recording the statements for the archive, thus giving the listener a different character’s story in each episode.
  • Freestate Amsterdam: "Do Not Open" starts with the narrator and his friends (all recent graduates) going on holiday to Amsterdam, for exactly the reasons you'd expect (though he also takes time to admire the architecture).
  • Genre Savvy: In "Colony", Martin, following up an earlier statement, is looking around a Creepy Basement and hears a noise, and remarks that he's read enough of the archive's statements to know that following the noise is always a bad idea. He then defies the trope and investigates it anyway, because it's his job.
  • Good Old Ways: Inverted by the ship Tundra in "Boatswain's Call" - the mate's eponymous whistle and the old-fashioned wooden lifeboat with oars belie (or perhaps portend) the evil that is aboard.
  • Gun Nut: Lawrence Mortimer, the narrator of "First Hunt", is keen on guns and shooting but is limited in pursuing his interest by the UK's restrictive gun laws. When he visits America to hunt with his internet-friend Arden Neally he is excited by Arden's gun collection.
  • Healing Factor: The body parts Lee Rentoul loses don't come back, but the wounds they leave behind heal instantly.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • The whistled tune that the narrator of "First Hunt" hears as he and his friend hunt portends something very bad. The tune is "A-hunting we shall go".
    • The sound of the eponymous "Boatswain's Call" when the mate blows it is unnaturally and disturbingly shrill and piercing, yet somehow also sounds far away.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Jonathan suffers one when recording his comments at the end of Jane Prentiss's statement. By this time Prentiss has already put two of his assistants through traumatic danger and appears to be indirectly and slowly attacking the Institute, so his distress is hardly surprising.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Wilfred Owen in "The Piper". The real life British architect Robert Smirke also plays a substantial part in the backstory.
  • Hollywood Exorcism: Averted. Catholic exorcism and the problems that prompt it are presented in "Confession" as being much less dramatic and horrific than the Hollywood version. Most of the time.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: "First Hunt" is a very literal example this.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The mysterious hunter in "First Hunt".
  • I Fell for Hours: Robert Kelly of "Freefall" had something happen to him on a skydive that caused him to fall for what seemed like hours through an endless, cloudless and sunless blue sky.
  • Immortality Inducer: Possibly loneliness, watching really hard, being on fire internally, gambling with an incarnation of death or being head archivist of the Magnus Institute provided you survive.
  • Is This Thing On?: Jonathan utters the common "1-2-3" version at the start of the first episode.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet:
    • The narrator of "Killing Floor" is unnerved by the strange absence of the usual sounds of the slaughterhouse.
    • In "Boatswain's Call" the crew of the ship strenuously avoid talking to each other, until after one of them disappears, seemingly having been chosen to be thrown overboard.
  • Kill It with Fire: Such is Timothy Hodge's horror at the infestation that suddenly appears in his bedroom that he immediately sets the place on fire.
  • Killer Cop: Robert Montork was a policeman and a serial killer.
  • Kung-Shui: The narrator of "Arachnophobia" kicks and smashes his television to kill the spider sitting on the screen.
  • Kudzu Plot: There are no less than ten intertwining plots concerning the various horrors the Institute is documenting, and the achronological nature of the recordings means that following connections across episodes is difficult at best.
  • Living Shadow: the narrator of "A Sturdy Lock" sets up a camera to record whatever is tormenting him at night. He sees nothing in the footage, except for a brief moment from one night when the shadows seem to form a leering face.
  • London Gangster: Lee Rentoul, the narrator of "Piecemeal", seeks revenge on a fellow criminal who double-crossed him.
  • Mad Oracle: This appears to have been a side effect of the infestation of Jane Prentiss - before she lost her mind completely, she gave a mad, rambling, stream-of-consciousness statement (which forms the episode spoiler:"Hive") that included premonitions about the future of Gertrude and the Institute.
  • Magical Flautist:
    • The mysterious titular figure in "The Piper".
    • The mate in "Boatswain's Call" - the title refers to the old-fashioned whistle he carries.
  • Magical Library: Jurgen Leitner's, whose books are of a particularly unpleasant nature.
  • Magic Music: the calliope organ Leanne Denikin finds in her dead grandfather's loft. It somehow works without air being blown in. Leanne enjoys playing it, but when she plays it to her visiting boyfriend it distresses him and he tells her to stop. A few weeks later they break up, and not long after that he is found dead.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: This is very much the attitude of the narrator's American friend Arden Neally in "First Hunt".
  • Man on Fire: In "First Aid" two patients are brought into the hospital completely covered in burns, but with their clothes somehow unharmed.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Jonathan’s comments on the statements sometimes leave this an open question.
  • The Men in Black: Jonathan hints at their existence when he mentions that the Institute has contacts in government and law enforcement who appear to have taken considerable interest in at least one statement.
  • Mortality Phobia: The soldier in the folk story at the beginning of "Cheating Death" had a dread of death that went beyond ordinary fear, which is why he took care to position himself at the rear during battles, and why he desperately challenged Death to a game. It turns out it wasn't just a folk story.
  • Mr. Smith: The students in "Anatomy Class" all have the standard placeholder names of various countries, e.g. one of them is called John Doe. The narrator, their university tutor, doesn't pick up on this, but Jonathan does in his comments. It is hinted that they chose these names as part of an effort to appear as normal as possible - "appear" being the operative word.
  • Mysterious Mist: In "Alone" Naomi Herne gets lost in thick fog that, given the high winds, simply shouldn't be there. Her day doesn't get any less weird.
  • Mysterious Stranger: "Michael", whom Sasha meets in "A Distortion" and who engages her in Cryptic Conversation about her colleagues, whose names it [sic] knows. Later in the episode it appears to become a Mysterious Protector when it removes one of Jane Prentiss's silver worms from Sasha's body which would otherwise have killed her, or worse. Then, in The New Door, it delivers that episode's statement giver to a horrendous fate, which along with its self-description and what has happened to Sasha since, casts a lot of doubt on its protection credentials.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Suggested in Observer Effect. Multiple episodes contain opening or closing remarks about feeling watched in the archives, despite people being left alone to make their statements and there being no cameras.
  • Narrator: Jonathan is one himself; so too, through Jonathan, is the subject of each statement.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Angela in "Piecemeal", a friendly old lady whom even a violent gangster recognises as someone very nasty and who offers to kill someone for him. When he gets angry with her and lunges at her, he loses a hand and can't remember how it happened.
  • No Body Left Behind: The body of the man stabbed by Gerard Keay instantly cremates itself.
  • The Nondescript: The students in "Anatomy Class" all look so normal that the narrator, despite having taught them for most of a term, can't remember what they looked like. And they all wear similar clothes: blue jeans or denim skirt and a white shirt. It is hinted that this is a deliberate effort on their part to seem like normal people, or, rather, like people at all.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The sailor narrating "Boatswain's Call" wonders with dread what she will find inside the container she examines on the ship. It turns out to be completely empty. This does not reassure her.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: In one of the trailers a mysterious voice chants vigilo, audio, opperior. The tape picks it up when Jonathan leaves it running as he momentarily leaves the room.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The narrator of "Strange Music" finds one in her grandfather's loft, unusually a calliope rather than a church-style organ. See Magic Music above.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with the characters of "Michael Crew," and "Michael," both of whom are mentioned in multiple episodes.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Naomi isn't sure her experience in "Alone" wasn't merely in her imagination…except for a carved fragment of stone that she retrieved.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Trevor Herbert describes the vampires he claims to hunt at some length. Among other things they do not talk or make any sound but can make themselves clearly understood by some sort of telepathy that, at the time, doesn't seem strange to those they 'speak' to; sunlight seems to weaken them but does not actually harm them; and (he believes) they were never human and do not create more of their kind when they bite people.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: One unfortunate hunter finds himself encountering one in the United States, albeit he looks like a normal human. A very sharp, drooling human capable of tracking and running through a forest with ease and surviving two rifles' worth of gunshot wounds.
  • Paranormal Investigation: What the Magnus Institute gets up to, at least in part; many of them prefer ivory-tower academia to the legwork of actual investigation, and they like think of themselves as serious scholars rather than silly ghost-hunters. Conversely, other paranormal investigators regard the Institute as a joke.
  • Pest Controller: Jane Prentiss, who emerges as the Big Bad of season 1. She (or the being using her body) commands masses of strange silver worms worms which infest more people and thus kill or enslave them. It is hinted that she may also control be able to control ordinary insects, spiders and other creepy-crawlies.
  • Police Are Useless: the narrator of "A Sturdy Lock" calls the police after something tries to open his bedroom door. Because there's no sign of a break-in and he's an old man living alone, they assume nothing happened and he's just going senile.
  • Posthumous Character: Gertrude Robinson, the previous archivist, whom Jonathan replaced after she died. She was responsible for the chaotic state of the archive, and seemingly for a great deal more. At the end of season 1 we find out that she was shot, and her body is in the archive's basement.
  • Power Tattoo: One of the strange burned patients in "First Aid" has tattoos of eyes on various parts of his body. Those are the only unburned bits of skin below his neck.
  • The Reliable One: Sasha, whom Jonathan considers the most capable of his three assistants.
  • Religion of Evil: The People's Church of the Divine Host and The Cult of the Lightless Flame.
  • Retconjuration: Once the "Not-Them" Kill and Replace their victims, people's memories and photographic records are magically altered showing them instead of their victims. While a few remnants of the prior person, either in records or memories still remain, given their habit of tormenting those who know that they are impostors, they are clearly doing this on purpose. Magnetic tape manages to consistently escape their powers, though
  • The Rival: At the beginning of "Skintight" Jonathan and the statement-maker, who has a Paranormal Investigation internet show called "Ghost Hunt UK", scathingly argue about their respective organisations' methods and credibility.
  • Self-Harm: The narrator of "Killing Floor" finds one of the his colleagues at the slaughterhouse shooting himself with a bolt gun in various parts of his body.
  • Serial Killer: "A Father's Love" is a statement about the actions of one, given by his daughter. Later in "Exceptional Risk" we hear about his time in prison.
  • Slasher Smile: the strange hunter in "First Hunt". His smile seems to have "far too many teeth to it".
  • Smoky Gentlemen's Club: The use of one by an occult society, and later renovation, feature heavily in "Old Passages."
  • Snowed-In: The setup of "Schwarzwald" - Albrecht is obliged by heavy snow (hardly surprising in the Black Forest in the early 19th century) to extend a visit to his nephew.
  • Spiders Are Scary: In "Arachnophobia" Carlos Vittery is plagued by one particular spider. Even though it's not particularly big, there's something horrible about it. He eventually realises that it's somehow the same spider that started his arachnophobia when he was a child.
  • Spider Swarm: more than one character gets spooked by one suddenly emerging from an object.
  • Spiritual Successor: to the The Black Tapes. Acknowledged by the creative team in the season 1 Q & A episode.
  • Spooky Painting: One of the woodcuts in the book Ex Altiora, of a starry sky, is strangely compelling. Dominic spends nearly an hour looking at it without realising it.
  • Spot of Tea: How Joshua tries to calm himself down in "Do Not Open" when the casket starts to disturb him.
  • Switching P.O.V.: In Burned Out (8), Evo Lensik tells of a priest, Father Burroughs, visiting the house during his strange experiences there. Later, in Confession (19), we see the same visit from Burroughs's viewpoint. In Pest Control (55), Jordan visits Jane Prentiss' home from Hive (32) and Ivy Meadows Nursing Home from Taken Ill (36) shortly after the respective statement giver's leave.
  • Sympathetic Magic: Angela in "Piecemeal" can arrange someone's death as long as she has an object taken from the victim – not a gift, it has to have been taken.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: A follow-up shows one narrator in a spider-related story was killed by asphyxiation on unknown organic material in his throat, found encased in spider web. Jonathan doesn't believe it's related.
    • The coroner literally doth protest in "Taken Ill" (36) when dealing with a death caused by an unusual illness in a nursing home. Then there's the fate of the other residents...
  • The Plague: The subject of "Taken Ill" (36) though it's exact nature is unknown.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Jurgen Leitner's books.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Jonathan often indicates that he thinks the statement-maker either wasn’t entirely truthful or was affected by drugs, a mental health condition or similar. In "Lost Johns' Cave" his assistants' research proves that statement is full of inaccuracies. Later we learn that Jonathan himself has been an unreliable narrator in his comments - see Agent Scully above.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: Most statements are left this way, even after attempts at follow-up research.
  • The Virus: The silver worms apparently controlled by Jane Prentiss, which infest people and either kill them or turn them into zombie-like servants (or both).
  • Whispering Ghosts: May be haunting the Institute itself.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: One narrator becomes immortal after beating Death at a game to escape dying - which dooms him to become a new Death until he can pass on the role to someone who beats him in turn. Even then he doesn't fully escape the curse - he cannot die, age, eat, drink or sleep, and constantly craves something unknown.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Carlos Vittery is terrified of spiders, though his phobia is unusual – he has no problem with pictures or videos of spiders or even spider horror films, but seeing an actual spider, or knowing it's there, absolutely terrifies him.
  • Window Watcher: In "Across the Street" Amy Patel confesses that this is her hobby. She does not enjoy being on the receiving end of it from Not-Graham.
  • You Are Not Alone: In "Alone", just as Naomi feels hopelessly lost, she seems to hear the voice of her dead fiancé Evan pointing her way.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Moira Kelly cannot bear to think about what she saw happen to her son Robert, let alone find the words to describe it. The least inadequate description she can manage is "the sky ate him".


"End recording."
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