An Earful: 'Limetown' creates suspense and mystery
After the announcement of season 2, we look back at the podcast's first season
Lia Haddock disappeared two years ago. Like the untold story she was uncovering as an American Public Radio host, it seemed she was lost along with her story. With so much time gone by since her last address to her listeners, the sixth episode of fictional podcast “Limetown” was believed to be the finale, the final words of Haddock.
Haddock has become a part of the Limetown myth, another element lost in what she calls “a ghost story you can barely remember.”
However, completely out of the blue, after radio silence from the “Limetown” podcast channel since December 2015, a nearly two-minute-long clip was released this Halloween. The title and only description: “Limetown Season 2 coming 2018.”
The short clip didn’t reveal any information regarding Haddock’s whereabouts or how the story of “Limetown” has developed over the long period of silence. Instead, it did what the podcast does best: intrigued the listeners with its unique brand of mystery, horror and science fiction.
No specific date has been set for the release of season two. So in the interim, it seems time to refresh on the story so far and look back at what we know, and don’t know, about the harrowing tragedy of Limetown and the relentless journalist who started asking questions about it.
As explained in episode one, Limetown began as a town built around a research facility. The miniature city was a world all its own, housing 300 residents who all worked, lived and attended school within the isolated community. Despite the secrecy surrounding what research was being conducted within the town’s facilities, everything seemed fine to those looking in.
Then the panic began.
Chaos ensued within the town. No one knows what happened on the inside, but for three days, security forces wouldn’t let anyone in or out. By the end of the three days the gates were opened, and not a soul, living or dead, remained.
For 10 years, nothing was known of the residents of Limetown. All of them were still listed as missing in an ongoing search for answers. Haddock, a journalist, was tired of waiting for answers though, so she started looking for them herself.
Listeners joined Haddock on her search, meeting investigators, police, family members and more alongside her, attempting to figure out the mystery and unravel all the moving parts. She is professional. Her journalistic background is clear in her eloquent speech and interviewing ability, but she never fails to feel like a close friend during her more vulnerable moments.
The story of Limetown starts off chilling, and Haddock’s search becomes even more so with each episode and revelation. It’s one of those stories that sneaks up on you, and surprises you with how frightening an audio-only medium can be.
There are some moments that capitalize on the surprise factor to induce fear, but what really makes “Limetown” such a uniquely intriguing and terrifying mystery is the suspense. It makes you think. The morality of Limetown’s original purpose, the similarities between Haddock’s world and our own and the wonder and horror of the human mind are all questions the listener is confronted with.
They’re the kind of questions that don’t have clear answers, ones that stay with a listener long after the season one finale and can creep up when least expected.
But it’s just a podcast built of fiction and mystery to captivate a headphone-clad audience. Haddock is not real, nor is Limetown. There was no strange disappearance of an entire small town, so why does it feel so real?
It could be Haddock’s relatability that keeps listeners so engrossed. The narrator is chasing a mystery the world has been trying to solve for over a decade, putting herself in harm’s way for the truth. She’s that wonderful combination of compassionate and tenacious that makes up some of the best protagonists in fiction.
Maybe it’s the podcast’s aesthetic itself. The show features wonderful sound design, a stellar voice cast and hauntingly beautiful music that build the atmosphere of “Limetown.”
Or maybe it’s that little voice in the back of a listener’s head that begins to wander, to question the fictionality of the story. Of course it is made up; it could never happen in our world. We’re much too smart, too moral to fall as Limetown did.
Season two of "Limetown" will be out in 2018.
Genre: Mystery Horror
Episodes: 6 (with several mini episodes of 1-3 minutes each)
Average Episode Length: 30-40 minutes
Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.