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Podcast / The White Vault

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In the winter months, snowstorms and rainfall in the Patagonian ice fields can drastically affect the landscape. Worsened by heavy winds, such storms can reduce visibility and lead to glacial calving, ice collapses, and avalanches. During these conditions, travel is not advised.
—from the documentarian's Opening Narration in every episode of Seasons 3 and 4

The White Vault is a horror podcast by Fool and Scholar Productions. The podcast consists of audio recordings, notes, diary entries, reports, and radio transmissions, gathered by an anonymous documentarian voiced by Hem Cleveland.

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Seasons 1 and 2 revolve around the uneasy tale of a repair team of five hired by the Sidja Group, an independent mining contractor operating in northern Europe, as compiled by the documentarian and her team. The repair team was sent to Outpost Fristed in Svalbard to investigate an apparent equipment malfunction. The team is composed as follows:

  • Dr. Karina Schumacher-Weiß: A German geologist, hoping to use the repair mission to secure a job with the Sidja Group. Voiced by Kessi Riliniki.
  • Walter Heath: An English IT specialist and recent divorcee. Voiced by David Ault.
  • Jónas Þórirsson: An Icelandic father of two, and a representative of the Sidja Group. Voiced by Eyþór Viðarsson.
  • Dr. Rosa de la Torre: A Mexican physician sent with the group in case of any medical emergencies. Voiced by Lani Minella.
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  • Graham Casner: A Russian-Canadian hunter and travel escort, whose job it is to ensure the team's safety. Voiced by Peter Lewis.

The equipment issue is fixed quickly, but the team becomes trapped by a storm. As they wait for the weather to clear up enough for them to make their way back to civilization, they find something ancient and inexplicable in the caves below the ice, and soon realize they are not quite alone here at the end of the earth...

Season 3 follows the documentarian's efforts to compile information from a group of archeologists sent to Base Camp Piedra, in the Patagonian Andes. Though seemingly unrelated on the surface, events eerily similar to the Outpost Fristed incident rear their heads—especially with the information that the narrator has recieved in the first two seasons directing her attention there. The team in this season is composed as follows:

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  • Dr. Carito Ureta: An Argentinian professor from the university of La Plata and the first to notice the presence of something spooky happening. Voiced by Alli Smalley.
  • Lucas Criado: A field guide for a tourist association who discovered the petroglyphs the team was sent to investigate. Voiced by Danilo Battistini.
  • Eva Olivia Moreno: A doctoral candidate working under Dr. Ureta. Voiced by Diane Casanova.
  • Dr. Josefa Guerrero: Voiced by Carla García.
  • Simon Hall: A graduate student working under Dr. Guerrero. Voiced by Eric Nelson.
  • Dr. Zhou Liu: A guest epigrapher from Beijing who investigated similar glyphs found in Beijing, and is most likely the epigrapher the Fristed glyphs were shown to. Voiced by Sophie Yang.

Season 4 follows immediately after Season 3, featuring a rescue team sent by the Documentarian to retrieve the survivors from the archeological team: Simon Hall, Dr. Guerrero, and Dr. Liu.

  • Eva Olivia Moreno: The only member of the Season 3 team to successfully escape the mountain, though she may be affected by the anomaly more than she lets on. Voiced by Diane Casanova.
  • Graham Casner: A Russian-Canadian hunter and travel escort, and the sole survivor of the Fristed incident. Voiced by Peter Lewis.
  • Raimy Armstead: Simon's partner, who managed to get roped into the mission by pure chance. Voiced by L. Jeffrey Moore.
  • Dragana Vuković;: A field guide brought onto the mission by Graham. Voiced by Tanja Milojevic.
  • Maheer Issa: An associate of the documentarian and a veteran of such missions. Voiced by Haytham Alwan.

The White Vault can be listened to on its website. Three seasons have been released, with a fourth currently being released with nine episodes available. It also has multiple mini-serieses set in the same universe: Artifact, Imperial, and Iluka.


The White Vault contains examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The Season 2 finale reveals the bulk of the events regarding the repair team took place in 2010, seven years before the series was first released.
  • Ancient Tomb: The town under the ice contains a mausoleum containing bizarre animal skeletons and stairs floored with human teeth.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: With the fates of the Fristed repair team ostensibly tied up, Season 3 switches to another missing group that dealt with eerily similar circumstances: a group of archaeologists in the Patagonian Andes.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The whole series is one for the repair team.
  • Arc Words: "When you see it, it sees you, too."
    • The monster has "So warm"...
  • Bilingual Bonus: Most of the non-English dialogue is translated for the audience's benefit, but some spats of it — particularly bits of throwaway dialogue when the team is distressed or panicking — are left untranslated.
  • Broken Record:
    • Walter makes the same distress call multiple times, hoping this time, someone will hear it and respond.
    • Karina starts fearfully babbling in German, eventually repeating, "When you see it, it sees you."
  • Cassandra Truth: Karina actually sees the monster early on, but partly because she got injured at that moment, everyone assumes her concussion is confusing her memory. She eventually gives up on trying to convince them. Later on, Graham acknowledges they're all partially to blame for their current situation, saying they should've believed Karina from the first.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the first episode, Graham mentions polar bears being a possible threat. In “Familiar”, while trying to walk to Ny-Ålesund, the team is attacked by a polar bear.
  • Connected All Along: The Season 2 finale reveals that the documentarian is investigating the disappearances of the team because she received a mysterious package—among its contents was a message revealing she had a half-sister who died at Outpost Fristed. The package points to both Fristed and another location (the setting for Season 3).
  • Creepy Long Fingers: The creature has very long fingers, one of the few physical details confirmed by the team.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: ALL OF THEM. Whether you have your heart removed while you're still conscious, or slowly turn into one of the creatures terrorizing the team, absolutely none of the deaths in this story are a fun way to go.
  • Dead Man Writing: As the situation worsens, several members of the team write last letters to their loved ones: Rosa to her parents, Jonas to his daughters, Karina to her boyfriend. They also later find a journal of a World War II-era Finnish soldier, who met a similar fate as them.
  • Defiant to the End: Heath's last words to the monster before it fatally disheartens him are, "Kill me then, you cunt! Do it!"
  • Despair Event Horizon: Jónas hurdles over it after Rosa is taken and he is left alone, accepting that he will either starve or freeze to death in the caves, or be found and killed by the creature. His actual fate is much worse than that.
  • Distress Call: The team makes several increasingly desperate calls for aid, mostly by Heath.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: When the black stone statues appear before the Season 1 finale, Jónas makes physical contact with it, cutting his hand through the glove material. The resulting would starts to spreadt across Jónas' arm, turning it into a limb similar to the monster's.
  • Driving Question: What did happen to the repair team sent to Outpost Fristed?
  • Dwindling Party: Members of the team are picked off by the creature one by one.
  • Eerie Arctic Research Station: The podcast takes place in and around Outpost Fristed, a geological research station in the far north.
  • Flare Gun: One is repeatedly used as an improvised weapon.
  • Foil:
    • Jónas and Walter. Jónas is Happily Married with two kids, while Walter is a recent divorcee. Casner is in the latter camp, but has a daughter that he's willing to give his inheritance to in case he dies.
  • For the Evulz: Graham eventually comes to the conclusion that the monster isn't torturing and killing them for food—it just likes this.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The team doesn't escape Outpost Fristed. The records of their trip have been compiled by an outside party, who acts as the narrator - clearly implying that they themselves are not here to tell the tale. Even the one who is wants nothing to do with it anymore, and his team's story has been concluded previously.
  • Found Footage: Much of the narrative is made up of video and audio recordings of the team that the documentarian received. With The White Vault bring an audio podcast, we only get the audio part.
  • From Bad to Worse: In general, any time you catch yourself thinking things can't get any worse for the team, brace yourself—it's about to get worse, quickly.
  • Going in Circles: This happens twice. It’s left ambiguous whether it’s just human error due to poor visibility or an unfamiliar environment, or if it’s part of the supernatural strangeness.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The responses that Jónas and Walter get from the receiver, from the monster.
    • Hell, any sound that the monster manages to utter.
  • Human Disguise: The monster can mimic humans, a tool it uses to get close to prey.
  • I Lied: In Season 2, Casner lied about intending to go only so far into the caves to find Karina and her killer. Then he reveals that he lied about the snowmobiles being a viable means to escape when he and Jónas checked in Season 1, if only to not rob the others of hope.
  • I Shall Taunt You: The monster clear gets a kick out of tormenting and taunting its prey, from destroying their food supply to mimicking Walter's screams for help.
  • It Can Think: While the team is down in the village, the creature takes the opportunity to destroy all the stored food in the bunker. It also disables all of the snowmobiles in exactly the same way, ensuring that they can't be repaired by swapping parts.
  • Kill 'Em All: As implied by the documentarian, the entire repair team is doomed. The horror lies in how each one meets their demise.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Defied. Once it becomes clear that they're dealing with more than bad weather, the group quickly adopts a policy that no one be left alone. It doesn't save them.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: The monster hunting the team is a tall, spindly humanoid, with wicked claws and extremely long fingers.
  • Multinational Team: Each member of the cast is of a different nationality; Rosa is Mexican, Walter is English, Jónas is Icelandic, Karina is German, and Graham is Russian-Canadian. Everyone except Walter is bilingual.
  • Mysterious Benefactor: The documentarian serves as one in the overarching narrative. The audience is given almost no personal information about her, but it's clear that she has the funds, resources and connections necessary to conduct this investigation and later put together the Piedra rescue effort, suggesting that she is in a very wealthy or at least powerful position. The little we do know about her—such as her learning of her late half-sister, who died at Outpost Fristed—is only divulged for context regarding the investigation. Some people, like Graham Casner, have met her in person, so there's a chance they know who she is, but the audience is left in the dark.
  • Never Found the Body: The fate of most of the repair team. A box with a freshly-removed heart, most likely Karina's, is discovered by the team in their pursuit. Later, Walter's death is confirmed via his camcorder.
    • Eventually subverted in Season 3: First, Graham Casner is alive. He was dragged into the cavern waters, yes, but he freed himself and resurfaced, separated from Rosa and Jónas. Tired and afraid, he eventually got out of the caves and onto the Svalbard shore, where a Russian ship discovered him and picked him up. The Season 3 finale reveals that the documentarian's teams had discovered Dr. Rosa de la Torre's body—and that...whatever had happened to her finally convinced a reluctant Casner to lead the Piedra rescue efforts.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Everyone, especially Walter, very understandably has this reaction when they get the box open, and find a human heart and several teeth inside. Walter even named the audio file of this event "FUCK THAT BOX."
  • No Name Given:
    • The humanoid monster that stalks the cast is never given a proper name or label.
    • The narrator keeps her personal information out for the duration of the series. What little she does reveal is done so only for their relevance to her investigation.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several from the team, as things go increasingly pear-shaped. Many of these are a Mass "Oh, Crap!", as well.
    • The first big one is when Graham realizes their power was cut deliberately.
    • The collective reaction when Karina is taken... and later, when the team comes back to find their food destroyed.
    • Graham's reaction when he realizes they've gone in circles chasing the monster, which had taken Heath.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Two cases for Karina:
    • First, Karina is very keen and enthusiastic on studying the geological makeup of Svalbard, especially in the under-ice village. But her encounter with the monster shakes her so badly that she insists that the team leave Fristed as soon as possible. In fact, her behavior following her escape from the monster is clouded by fear and anxiety. By the time the team realizes that she really had encountered a monster, as her behavior post-jump points to, it's too late for her.
    • Second, the team sees someone outside of the bunker. It appears to be Karina in the snow, and Rosa's first thought is to let her in...but Casner and Heath realize that it's not Karina at all—the monster has taken her form, and taunts them to let it inside. "It's so cold...and you're so warm..."
  • Perpetual Storm: Shortly after the repair team’s arrival, a snowstorm rolls in and refuses to pass, keeping them trapped at Outpost Fristed. By the end of the first season, everyone's pretty well convinced the storm is supernatural in nature, Jónas pointing out that even the worst winter storms don't last this long.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Jónas, after Rosa is taken, begs, "Please don't leave me alone!"
  • Radio Voice: When the creature speaks, they all hear it in a different language.
  • Raised Catholic: Rosa was, in her own words, "raised very Catholic," which is quite common in her native Mexico.
  • Sacrificial Lion: At the end of the first season, Karina is taken. Season 2 Episode 2 ends with a quick confirmation of Karina's death. Just in case you had any doubt that this monster is playing for keeps.
  • Sanity Slippage: Karina, after her first encounter with the monster, which the others at first chalk up to a concussion and stress. Walter, too, becomes irate and erratic, especially as he becomes increasingly stir-crazy.
  • Scrapbook Story: The aural version of this. Much of the narrative is put together from emails, reports, diary entries, and notes written by the team. For our listening pleasure, we hear them fully voice-acted by the cast. Presumably, in-universe, the documentarian is simply reading them herself on her records.
  • Ship Tease: It's pretty clear early on that Rosa and Graham are attracted to one another. Not that they get much chance to do anything about it, given the circumstances.
  • Shout-Out: Heath's movie collection on his laptop include Shaun of the Dead, The Village, and Lord of the Rings ("The Return of the King, to be specific").
  • Sinister Geometry: The box that Jónas retrieves from the village is impossibly smooth save for a seam that implies that it can be opened. But when they do get it open, they find several human teeth and a shriveled human heart.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: None of them are particularly shy about swearing, especially as the situation gets worse, but Walter in particular is prone to dropping F-bombs when he's scared or frustrated (i.e., half the show).
  • Sound-Only Death: Walter manages to hang onto his camcorder as he's abducted by the creature. When the camera is found by the rest of the team, they see Walter's perspective and hear his terrified screams as he's dragged through the caves, followed by the sounds of his evisceration as the creature removes his heart. While he's still alive. Due to the nature of the podcast, we only hear the video's audio track.
  • Suicidal Sadistic Choice: Would you rather stay in an isolated bunker to starve to death, knowing an intelligent, malicious monster knows you're there and how to cut your power? Or would you take your chances out there with the damned thing, trying to make it to civilization through a horrific storm in subzero temperatures?
  • Tagline: Travel Not Advised
  • Tempting Fate: In the first episode, Walter comments that he won't return to Reading after the job at Outpost Fristed is completed, as there's nothing left for him there. Of course, the series' setup makes it clear he won't return at all.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Rosa was Raised Catholic, and is still devout enough to pray for guidance and protection, as well as the souls of the deceased, to Jónas' surprise.
  • Tragic Dream: Karina will never marry Rolf. Rosa will never be an oncologist. Jónas will never see his daughters again.
  • Uncertain Doom: Technically, we never hear any of the team's deaths besides Walter's, and the team members don't actually see any of their companions die—they see them get dragged off, and sometimes find evidence later on. However, there is basically no reason to believe any of them survived.
    • Season 3 reveals that of the five members of the Fristed team, one survived, is now with the documentarian and is not happy about being dragged back into it: Graham Casner.
  • Unnaturally Blue Lighting: The underground village is lit by blue light. Given that the events take place in the middle of the polar night, it is not clear where the light is coming from.
  • Wham Episode: Season 3, episode 5 reveals that the documentarian has brought a guest when he interrupts her outroduction: Graham Casner. He is still alive after he disappeared into the cavern waters, and he is clearly not happy to be dragged back into the mystery of what happened to his team and the team of Season 3.
  • Wham Line:
    • Season 2, Episode 9. "Yes. ... Yes." "Rosa! Rosa, that's not me!"
    • A line in the Season 2 finale, which reveals that the recordings covered in Seasons 1 and 2 all date from 2010. Another line shortly thereafter reveals that a rescue team was sent after the main characters, but never seen again.
    • From the same episode: "Sister dead." The documentarian's sister—half-sister, to be precise.
    • And again from the same episode: "We found one of them." This may be referring to the sole survivor of Seasons 1 and 2.
    • The Season 3 finale shows that not only was Casner finally convinced to lead the Piedra rescue effort, but that the thing that convinced him to do it was a picture of Karina's dead body, sent by the narrator.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: The team members are flawed to varying degrees, but they're all good people who definitely did not deserve what ultimately happens to them. The narrator is the grayest of the characters, sparing no expense to get to the bottom of this mystery, and to convince the sole Svalbard survivor to return and help.

This is Walter Heath at Outpost Fristed, approximately thirty-three kilometers northeast of Ny-Ålesund, south of the border to the national park. There are five people here, stuck due to the storm. Looking for assistance. Please respond...

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