Haunted dolls, witches and lobotomies are the stuff of nightmares.
But their roots in real-life stories are even more terrifying, as writer Aaron Mahnke has proved with his popular podcast “Lore.”
Mahnke is taking those frightening legends to the small screen with a new show on Amazon that uses actors, archival footage and even animation.
And it has a strong pedigree. One of the executive producers is Gale Anne Hurd, producer of “The Walking Dead.”
“I have this incredible passion for historical material, for nonfiction,” Hurd said during a New York Comic Con panel for “Lore.”
Episodes of the smart, creepy show will be available for streaming starting — appropriately — on Friday, Oct. 13.
Some of the actors are familiar faces: Robert Patrick of “Scorpion” and “The X-Files,” Holland Roden from “Teen Wolf,” and Kristin Bauer van Straten from “True Blood.”
“I had never played 19th century and I was very excited by the idea of a corset,” joked Roden. She was cast as Bridget Cleary, an Irish woman whose husband was convinced she had been abducted by fairies and replaced. Cleary was murdered — possibly burned alive.
Bauer van Straten appears in an episode about Robert, an eerie doll which some say inspired the murderous Chucky doll of horror-film fame. Robert was owned by a young boy in Key West, Florida, during the turn of the century who insisted the doll spoke to him and was responsible for mischief around the house.
Mahnke, however, remains a dominant figure in the television series, lending his voice as narrator and guide to these twisted tales.
“We found a way to do it without talking heads and went back to using the creator’s voice,” said executive producer Brett-Patrick Jenkins. “I love his voice. It’s so different. Aaron doesn’t have the movie trailer voice.”
Mahnke said he is able to keep a clinical distance with some of the subject matter.
“There’s not a lot that frightens me,” Mahnke said. “The stuff that really gets to me is how monstrous humans have been throughout history . . . But I also see a lot of hope in some of the stories, too.”