February 14, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

The golden days of radio saw many innovations in response to the broadcast medium. One show in particular, the Inner Sanctum Mystery was aired from January 7, 1941 to October 5, 1952. It featured what are now considered norms of the horror or mystery genre; a creaking door opening and closing Inner_Sanctum_Mystery_Ad.jpgthe show, and an omnipotent narrator who makes forced humor commenting on the action. I can remember my father describing the chills he and his brother felt as children when they heard the creaking door at the start of the broadcast.

 The name “Inner Sanctum” continues to be associated with the mystery genre, and is also used as an homage to the old radio show and the pulp fiction books with the same mystery themes. It is curious, then, to connect the origin of the term “Inner Sanctum,” which comes with religious roots.

 Inner Sanctum, or Holy of Holies, refers to places in many faiths where special rites or rituals take place or where the most sacred or consecrated elements are kept. This location was particularly important to the early Jewish Temple and is described in detail in the Old Testament.  A place of mystery, yes, but hardly a place of threat or menace.  It is worth noting that this is a good example of how popular culture can change or add nuance to the meaning of certain words.  

Holy Place