American Shadows:A Dark Twist on U.S. History

Reece Houser, Staff Writer

In all honesty, history can be boring, even though these events shaped our nation. Somehow, these stories become lost in translation. When being taught history they take the story out and put bland information into bullet points of fact. This is necessary for education but dull on the mind. American Shadows, a podcast created by iHeartRadio and Aaron Mahnke’s Grim and Mild, hopes to change this. Though the stories are portrayed in a more gruesome and conspiratorial format, this podcast just might help spike your interest in our country’s history once again, or even for the first time. 

The hostess of this acclaimed podcast is Lauren Vogelbaum. When you are an avid listener of podcasts, you come to know how a voice can make or break the experience. Lauren Vogelbaum adds a sort of eeriness that engages listeners, making your brain plunge deep into the mystical stories of the past. Oftentimes, we turn on a podcast when music just isn’t enough, but we can’t give any other content the visual attention that it needs. American Shadows will make you rethink this process. The stories being told are information that you will want to dissect, remember, and maybe even ponder on later. 

This podcast channel does not fall short on worthwhile episodes. Although, one of their best episodes would be Body of Truth; this is one of their most dated episodes, airing October 8th, 2020. With that being said, they hit the ground running. This episode deep dives into the conspiracy of  Abraham Lincoln’s after death. Without giving away too much, our host gives detailed accounts describing how Lincoln’s body went through many escapades and robberies. However, that is not all; another keen characteristic of this storytelling is how when you think the history couldn’t get odder, it does, and in just 34mins. Lauren Vogelbaum gives us all the facts of the events without turning the stories into lectures. 

 If you are looking for a more updated review, I highly recommend a recent episode titled The Wild, Wild West. This episode tells of how those in the Wild West lived and their mysterious legacies. One of my favorite features of this podcast is how the creators don’t just stop at the main character’s death. We actually get to hear how their stories continued from beyond the grave, or if they were even the ones who died at all? Even with multiple character introductions throughout the episode, the plot is easy to follow. This is a very hard technique to master, but when listening to American Shadows it is an expectation. In the end, every storyline will be neatly wrapped together in a pretty bow. 

One recommendation I would make to anyone listening to this podcast for the first time is never to assume the story is over. If you listen to the entire episode, you will be pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns embedded. You can find this podcast almost anywhere you get your podcasts. With that being said, the only negative aspect of this podcast is the wait you must endure for the next episode. All in all, this is not just a monotone voice explaining ancient history to you for half an hour. The whole team at American Shadows works to build an enjoyable experience for its listeners that creates an excellent balance of engagement and trustfully sourced data.