Pacific Northwest Stories is a small group based out of Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC who produce a few interesting podcasts based in strange and sometimes horrific folklore. These online audio shows focus on the bizarre and mysterious and follow an investigatory team as they uncover information about legends, rumors and conspiracies that are somehow connected. Tanis was the first of these podcasts that I listened to and it got me hooked.
The way that Tanis presents itself as a weekly narrative log from the point of view of producer Nic Silver seems to give the listener an inside perspective on the journalistic investigation that he undergoes. This format is made somewhat unique by its dedication to the idea that the events in the story are really happening each week. After the first few episodes the listener probably understands that this podcast is fictional, but the breadth of content and consistency of presentation as a “serialized docudrama” makes you second guess that notion. This can really help with the suspension of disbelief surrounding the plot and backstory. It also helps that much of the information presented in the show is rooted in historical accuracy.
Nic Silver takes us along in his search for the truth about a legend spread across the globe and through the ages. He learns that very little information can be gleaned about the origin of the Tanis story and that this information is often contradictory. Some tales offer whispers of a search for a universal power not unlike the holy grail, complete with healing properties and everlasting life. Still others relate a force which brings death, destruction and madness.
During his search Nic enlists the help of a sarcastic, quick-witted hacker known only as “Meerkatnip”. Her expertise becomes a boon to the investigation into Tanis and even propels the story forward during stagnate moments. Several of the best leads into the whereabouts of Tanis legend followers are discovered solely using her tech-based knowledge and prowess.
Throughout their search for the truth, Nic and Meerkatnip (or MK) are contacted by outside sources of various inclinations. Some are helpful, while others are threatening. The discoveries of several enigmatic groups related to the Tanis legend create yet more levels of conspiracy and secrecy. At several points in the series our protagonists are led to believe Tanis is related to Occult mythology.
This brings up an interesting point. I first heard the term Tanis several years ago when watching a film by Roman Polanski, “Rosemary’s Baby”. In the film, a pregnant Rosemary is made to wear a locket containing a stinky herb called “tannis root”. The discovery that this root was used by Satanic worshipers leads Rosemary to the conclusion that she has somehow been duped by her strange neighbors.
While this fictional herb was created by author Ira Levin for his preceding novel (also titled “Rosemary’s Baby”) and supposedly has no importance other than as a plot device, their are some interesting correlations between the podcast and this film. Satanic rituals and occult organizations become a line of inquiry for Nic and Meerkatnip. They even investigate the history of Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowly and L.Ron Hubbard.
Interesting anecdotes aside, Tanis is a wonderfully produced podcast and I binged on it for a while. If you give this a listen and have a hankering for any kind of supernatural mystery, you will most definitely be hooked.
Find the Tanis Podcast HERE or on your favorite podcast app.
Also visit Pacific Northwest Stories