Podcaster Aaron Mahnke to Share ‘Bizarre Stuff Hidden in the Attic of History’ in WT Lecture


CANYON, Texas—Aaron Mahnke, the critically acclaimed storyteller and host of the “Lore” podcast, will share the importance of folktales and legends in culture and society in the next installment of West Texas A&M University’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Mahnke will speak at 6 p.m. April 13 in Legacy Hall in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center on WT’s Canyon campus.

Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum will host the event as part of the museum’s “Year of Fairytales.” The event is free for WT faculty, staff and students and PPHM members; reservations are recommended via the online ticketing option.

Tickets are $15 for the general public, also available via the online ticketing option.

Mahnke’s “Lore” podcast boasts more than 6 million downloads monthly as well as being named “Best of iTunes” in both 2015 and 2016 and a must-listen podcast by “Entertainment Weekly.” “Lore” introduces dark historical tales in what Mahnke describes as a “modern campfire experience.”

“Story, as we all know, entertains us. Whether it’s a three-panel adventure of ‘Calvin and Hobbes,’ a one-image meme on social media, or a multi-season narrative arc of a popular TV show, we’ve all experienced the entertainment that story can provide,” Mahnke said. “The fact that story can do all those things, sometimes all at once, is what truly excites me about storytelling. It’s my hope that students will see these qualities of storytelling in action, and I hope they move forward in life looking for new ways to harness story to improve the world around them.”

Mahnke’s lecture and Q&A will be followed by a book signing. His books will be available for sale on site.

Stephanie Price, PPHM director of marketing, said that Mahnke’s visit ties in with several recent PPHM exhibits, including “Objects of Enchantment” and the recently closed “Giants, Dragons and Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures,” a touring exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

“We think Aaron will be a great way to close out our year of fairytales and share some interesting facts with us,” Price said.

Mahnke said dipping into the nooks and crannies of human existence continues to fascinate him.

“My passion centers on all the weird, bizarre stuff hidden in the attic of history,” Mahnke said. “So while I do hope that lessons are learned, there’s a good part of me that wants everyone to gasp, laugh, and nod along as they experience the power of story for themselves.”

Fostering an appreciation for the arts is a key component of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $120 million.