The Cambridge Geek

The White Vault - Artifact

This spin-off to the main White Vault series was originally released as part of their Patreon, but it's now available cash in hand in their shop, so I've jumped in. It was a set of ten minisodes, but it's been handily collated into a full hour and half omnibus for easy listening. As you may recall from my White Vault review, I'm very much a fan of this podcast.

Marion Sutton is a PhD student at Oxford University, with an interest in the First Nations, and so she has been made responsible for a new artifact that has been sent to the university for study. It is a piece of carved bone, and the nature of the item suggests it belongs somewhere in her area of research.

It's a strange thing. It's obviously old, but the carving on it, which contains a red pigment of some form (not blood, honest), appears almost new. It's in incredible condition, with no wear or damage, leaving the horrible thing it depicts in perfect view.

The carving is some form of creature, with cruel tusks, and a disturbing mouth. It is unsettling, and only seems to become more so, the more you look at it. It also has a strange effect on cameras, seeming to be difficult to photograph.

The series follows Marion's investigations into the bone, and the slightly spooky things that come along with it. There's her personal digging through the library, but also assistance from others in terms of analysis and sketching. This is a subtle horror, but it keeps the flesh crawling nicely as more of the creepiness of the item is slowly revealed. The knock on effects to her and the people around her are rather chilling.

It's mostly monologue form, positioned as Marion's notes to herself on her phone. There are occasional full cast bits as she talks to others about the artifact, and these follow the White Vault's format in doing an impressive range of voices. The acting is excellent as always, and the sound scape is decent.

Don't go into it expecting the same as the full series, as this is much simpler, but it's a nice little side piece and is a good way to support the main show.

Score 4

Tagged: Audio fiction Horror Cast Personal recording Thriller Serial