Haunted Voices is a collection of spooky stories by Scotland’s oral storytellers, in both text and audio format. The stories are short and varied, including some from archival recordings of past storytellers and others that are distinctly modern involving video shops and ghosts watching Love Island. The collection has a wide range of tales, all featuring gothic elements but with varying levels of terror and humour, and often a sense of locality and oral tradition.
Though the anthology has two elements, text and audio, it is difficult not to think of all of the pieces as how they’d be told out loud, even when reading the book. The variety of the collection makes it exciting to see what is coming next, and the short length of the stories means that readers could easily pick and choose which to read or listen to at what point. As someone who doesn’t listen to audiobooks due to an inability to focus on them, I read the collection first, then went back and listened to some of the stories that had stuck with me, but I imagine that for a lot of people, it will be the audio version that is the real selling point, and the text more of a bonus extra. Some of my highlights were ‘Soul Mates’, a goth love story in a graveyard (there are a lot of graveyards in the collection, as you might expect), ‘the possession’, a tale of hungry ghosts and what they really want, and ‘The Cravin’, a comic yet thoughtful reimagining of Poe’s ‘The Raven’.
This collection features a range of stories, storytellers, and Scottish locations, really showcasing the fact that Gothic oral storytelling is alive and haunting. The audio version will definitely appeal to anyone who enjoys spooky podcasts and similar audio storytelling forms, and the text version is great for dipping in and out of due to the short length of the stories.