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Cabin in the Woods

The Tanis Podcast


This podcast is brought to us by the Public Radio Alliance and Minnow Beats Whale, the creators of Rabbits. As the podcast begins, the narrator, Nic Silver, is looking for some mysterious entity called Tanis. As the hunt progresses, Nic folds together into the backstory of Tanis such diverse sources as the deep web, mysterious modern-day enigmas like Aleister Crowly, Jack Parsons, and L. Ron Hubbard, and ancient legends of the Free Masons, the Templars, the Illuminati, Atlantis, and a city in 20th dynasty Egypt. Nick also gleans clues from diverse sources, such as decades old newspaper classified adds, dreams, a lost poem by William Blake, Russian "number stations", and a science fiction short story from the '50's. Coming across at times like the delusion of someone suffering from schizophrenia, the Tanis podcast is a combination of mystery and the occult with a pinch of horror thrown in.

The exact nature of the mysterious fictional legend of Tanis is unknown. But it appears to be, among other things, a region that for millennia has relocated itself periodically to different points on the earth. For perhaps the past two hundred years or so, it has been located somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Tanis appears to have a horrifying effect on many who come in close contact with it. It turns them into homicidal maniacs. As Nic hunts for Tanis, he gradually becomes aware that he is not the only one. From time to time, he bumps into other mysterious and perhaps dangerous individuals and groups.

My favorite character is a kind of super consultant. Her alias is Mere Catnip. She is an expert in "illicit underground internet commerce" and a no-nonsense, metaphorical "hired gun". Working for Nic, she acts mostly as an internet researcher who gives him the hard data he needs to make progress in his investigation. In that capacity, she manages to capture important messages posted on the internet for mere seconds, as well as decrypt the occasional esoteric literary reference. Her first clue is a Craig's list add composed of only four words, "Seeking Tanis, runner available." And, off the two go, chasing after Tanis for four seasons of the podcast spanning from 2015 through 2018.

I enjoyed this podcast so much that I listened to it twice, once by myself, and a second time with Batgirl (my girlfriend who would like to remain anonymous--so I've given her an alias). I loved it both times. Batgirl was intrigued by Tanis but commented that it takes concentration to keep straight the clues and events. Nic often refers to clues from previous seasons. Sometimes he reviews the clues, and sometimes he just mentions them in passing. Regardless, if you enjoy conspiracy theories, mysteries, and fiction podcasts in general, you should like Tanis. It managed to keep me pleasantly entertained for many hours.



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