It’s Halloween season, and you know what that means: you need an audio drama to spook you up good. Right? Of course right.
Limetown, a podcast originally released in the second half of 2015, is here to scratch that itch for you. With a first season of only 6 full episodes, each in the 25-40 minute range, and six mini-episodes, about 1-2 minutes each, it’s a quick listen to get you both in the spooky spirit and caught up before the season 2 premiere on Halloween 2018. But why does Limetown deserve that chunk of your precious time? Let’s look at the facts:
An Engaging Story
Limetown is essentially a true crime podcast, just fictional; a War of the Worlds for today. Reporter Lia Haddock hosts the show for American Public Radio, laying out the details for her fictional audience as we in the real audience are brought into the world of the story. Limetown was a small, private community in Tennessee built to house scientists and their families. Not much is known by the public what the purpose of Limetown was, or what the scientists were researching. Despite this, it was fairly inconspicuous, until one night in February when a woman frantically calls 911, presumably from within Limetown, asking for emergency services to be sent. When they and reporters arrive at the scene, everyone is turned away by security.
When they return a few days later, the security disbands, and the public learns that Limetown is empty. In the middle of town is a burned pyre, with the charred remains of one scientist, identifiable only by dental records, left in the ash. The other 327 citizens are missing, without a trace. This is the case for the ten years until the start of Lia’s investigation.
Though the case is an interesting and unique premise in itself, Limetown also speaks to something simple with us, a question that drives true crime, cop shows, and Sherlock Holmes novels: whodunit? Only, to further pull you in, the Limetown Tragedy, as Lia refers to it, is also a case of what is it? Mass murder? Alien abduction? And where are the victims? And what were they doing before they were victims? It’s these questions that drive you to want to listen to more of Limetown, questions that are delivered in an interesting way. The first episode is essentially all exposition, which is needed to understand where this story is going, but, delivered by Lia as an investigative report, guest sources and all, makes it more tolerable than a plain info-dump. And in case you’re not on board already, Limetown leaves you with a ringer: at the end of the episode, Lia gets a call from on of her sources we heard from earlier. There’s a survivor, and she wants to speak to Lia.
Now it’s time to enter the SPOILER ZONE, where I’ll try not to give away too much, but if you don’t want any more information, well, I’d suggest just going ahead and listening.
Past the first episode, Lia is sent down a path of speaking with one survivor after another, but with more information about the inner workings of Limetown comes even more questions about the motivations of the research there, what truly happened the night of that 911 call (an incident dubbed as “The Panic”), and what happened to those 300-something other citizens. Lia’s investigation also brings a personal danger, with a threat from some unknown party/parties becoming more dangerous and more present as each episode “airs.” The combination of all of Limetown’s mysteries is what keeps you in suspense and leads to its scares.
Limetown is scary. It scares me. Now, in full transparency, I’m what some people may call “a weenie” or “a scaredy cat.” However, I think we can talk about its scares objectively. At the end of the second episode, after her first conversation with a Limetown survivor, Lia gets her first warning about investigating Limetown. A man comes to her door and repeatedly bangs his head against her door. Lia can see blood running down his face, as he shouts her name and that “this is [her] warning.” The beating gets increasingly rapid, almost too fast to be human, before stopping suddenly. There is a final “This is your warning,” then nothing. Like a bad horror movie protagonist but a good investigative reporter, Lia opens the door. Nothing is there. Things only get worse for Lia from there.
There are more scares, but, in a non-Halloween related turn of events, there are also other emotions this podcast can make you feel! The first time I listened, I teared up at a story of a Wizard of Oz-related inside joke between a married couple. It was case of “oh I get the reference, that’s cute” turning out to be “oh no that’s way deeper how sweet.” That’s right, this podcast about potential-mass-murder can ALSO make you have feelings about love! We’ve also got another classic story about a man and his pet. Sure, there’s a new element of scientific experimentation, but, without giving it all away, there’s that classic “I’m sad about a fictional animal” element we’ve seen so much before.
If you really want a scare this Halloween, or, even better, an interesting, unique story to listen to, I’d check out Limetown. It’s an easy and entertaining listen, one you can finish in an afternoon while you wait to pass out candy and for the second season premier to release. At the very least, I need more people to talk about the end with me.
Limetown be found at twoupproductions.com/shows/limetown, or at iTunes and all those other podcast places.