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"Hello... And welcome to The Black Mass..."

Illustration for article titled Hello... And welcome to The Black Mass...

Radio may be the perfect medium for horror. Free of the tyranny of set images, your mind can create visuals that are far more terrifying than any CGI creation. It hearkens back to the original form of entertainment, oral storytelling. And of course, you can listen in the dark.

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In the mid-60s, Berkeley-based independent radio station KPFA produced a horror drama series called The Black Mass, and now the episodes are available streaming online at http://www.kpfahistory.info/black_mass_hom…

The program was hosted and frequently performed by Erik Bauersfeld, a professor and voice actor. (Two decades later, Bauersfeld provided the voices for Bib Fortuna and Admiral Ackbar in Return Of The Jedi). The material was culled mostly from stories by the usual suspects - Poe, Kafka, Lovecraft, and Ambrose Bierce.

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The dramas are done with minimal sound effects and music, relying on good acting mostly by Bauersfeld, whose high, reedy voice is incredibly effective. Unlike the radio shows of the 30s and 40s, the audio is remarkably well-preserved, so it sounds like it could have been recorded last week rather than fifty years ago.

So cuddle up with a warm blanket with your favorite pet or human, and prepare to enter The Black Mass...

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