Podcast Review: The “Magnus Archives” a must-listen nail biter this summer

200 episodes of spooky goodness

Fair warning, you just might binge the whole podcast.


Fair warning, you just might binge the whole podcast.

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

“My name is Jonathan Sims. I work for the Magnus Institute, London, an organization dedicated to academic research into the esoteric and the paranormal. The head of the Institute, Mr. Elias Bouchard, has employed me to replace the previous Head Archivist, one Gertrude Robinson, who has recently passed away.”

Whether it is a job, vacation, road trip or just driving around, many have turned to podcasts to fill the time between point A and point B. As one of those people, I need you to listen to the “Magnus Archives” as soon as you can. 

This podcast from company Rusty Quill is 200 episodes of great story, music and characters that you will quickly fall in love with, not to mention the well-written episodes that take between 20 to 30 minutes to finish up. Do note this series talks about the paranormal and spooky, but can also be a great entrance into the horror genre for those who do not like movies or shows.

The story follows Jonathan Sims, who records statements given to the titular Magnus Archives about the strange and supernatural. The voice actor and writer of the series (coincidentally also known as Jonathan Sims) does an expert job of characterization and pacing that keeps you on the edge of your seat. 

I already hear your objections – you do not want to hear one person speak for nearly 6,000 minutes alone. 

While it initially starts with just Sims, the podcast slowly introduces a whole cast of characters that are incredibly well-written; multidimensionality, importance to the story and great voice acting creates a great combination. 

Most importantly, the show has a story that is able to stand on its own. As you go through the episodes, the paranormal statements are paired with excellent story and character moments that help build your understanding of the world. You might hear a name that you recognize, and a great mystery will set you off to find where you heard it before. 

While all these parts are important to a successful and interesting podcast, the horror aspect is the most well-done part. 

For years I was someone who hated horror as a genre. No matter the type of media, it would be nearly impossible to get me to finish watching, or I would have my face buried in my phone the entire time. 

The “Magnus Archives” gets scary at parts, I will not lie about that – but it does it in a way that is both digestible and fascinating. 

The podcast does not have one main monster or even one phobia that it focuses on, but rather takes a multifaceted approach. This might mean one episode is not scary to you at all but the very next one will send goosebumps up your arms while you are driving to work. 

This is an amazing way to introduce people to the horror genre, and I now find myself watching movies and shows that I had never even considered before. 

The best part about the podcast is if something is getting a little too scary, you can just pause it and switch on some music! 

If that was not enough to convince you to start listening, the cast members themselves certainly will. Through additional features such as bloopers, Q&As and other fun asides, it becomes increasingly obvious that the “Magnus Archives” is a passion project that struck gold. 

The plot of the “Magnus Archives” is both expansive and minimalist in nature, giving something for everyone. You will find yourself piecing together the story along with the characters, and when you figure something out before them it is incredibly satisfying. 

If nothing else, the pure aesthetic of the show is something to check out: an amazing display of audio editing to make the show sound like it comes from a cassette tape with still great quality. 

The “Magnus Archives” is the best narrative podcast I have listened to and I am already contemplating listening to it a second time through the summer. My only regret is having to turn off my car before an episode is done. Sometimes I just leave it running to finish off those one or two minutes. 

If you listened to nothing else in this review I beg you to start the “Magnus Archives.” Give it a chance as you are traveling here and there this summer. You will not regret jumping into this great story and it gives me more people to talk to about it!