Tales and Treats: 13 Podcasts to Delight and Terrify this Halloween Season
Posted on October 15, 2018
by Jules H
Do you remember your younger days, when schoolmates would regale each other with spooky tales and urban legends in preparation of the most magical night of the year? Maybe you felt that these stories were silly, only a means to enhance the spectacle of Halloween night. Or maybe, you thought there was some truth to them…
Imagine being able to recapture that feeling of mystery and wonder, not only during the month of October but all year long!
Creators and listeners of podcasts are determined to keep the tradition of storytelling alive and in my opinion, there is no other time of year when this sentiment rings most true. After all, the magic of telling spooky stories lies not only in the speculation of the unknown but in the act of storytelling itself.
Here are 13 horror podcasts to get you spooked this Halloween. I have rated each on a 5-ghost scale, 5 being the absolute best. No matter what the rating, these podcasts are sure to keep you up all night this Halloween – that is, if the sugar buzz doesn’t do that already. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: The horror genre tends to be graphic in nature and therefore may not be appropriate for all audiences.
Haunting horror tales to get you in the mood for Halloween
From the creators of “Welcome to Night Vale” comes a road trip across the pacific Northwest rife with strange encounters from unfriendly gas station attendants to supernatural menaces. An unnamed truck driver travels across the U.S. in search for her missing wife, Alice. What she finds instead are a handful of dangerous enemies trying to cover up a secret bigger than she or Alice could ever have imagined.
Reporter Alex Reagan didn’t know what she was in for when she began her involvement with paranormal investigator Dr. Richard Strand. She didn’t count on discovering the Black Tapes, audio files of all of Dr. Strand’s unsolved paranormal cases. And she certainly didn’t expect that these Black Tapes would unearth a mystery hundreds of years in the making. This podcast blends suspenseful storytelling with real-world events, which makes the stories of the Black Tapes even more disturbing.
This is my absolute FAVORITE horror podcast and one of my favorite podcasts in general. Here is a collection of strange and downright frightening occurrences told from the perspective of their witnesses. Unlike the other podcasts on this list, Knifepoint Horror is a one-man operation. Aaron Innser (or Soren Narnia on social media) writes and produces this show himself, and the writing and narration is always first-rate. I sometimes wish that episodes were produced more regularly– there are typically only three or so new episodes a year. But, I am willing to sacrifice quantity for quality here.
This is the mystery of Limetown: the disappearance of over three hundred residents near a neuroscience research facility in Tennessee. Told from the perspectives of reporters, scientists, and conspiracy theorists whose accounts may be confusing and contradictory but may add a piece to the puzzle. Currently there is only one complete season (6 episodes) to this podcast but Season 2 is in the works, so now is the perfect opportunity to get listening.
Hosted by Aaron Mahnke, Lore is an exploration of the supernatural and bizarre throughout history. Since time immemorial mankind has used folklore to explain everything from epidemics to natural disasters. Vampires, witches, and the Moth Man are just a few examples of the folklore explored by Mahnke every week. This podcast is a rare treat for me because it allows me to be terrified and educated at the same time!
The stories of the Magnus Archives are presented as a series of audio recordings held as evidence in the archives of the Magnus Institute. Head archivist Jonathan Sims records statements from various people regarding supernatural encounters, often dismissing them as lies or coincidence. But when these seemingly random stories become entangled with events in Jonathan’s own life, his work at the archives becomes a matter of life and death.
Nightmare Magazine started its own self-named podcast in 2012. Similar to Pseudopod, this podcast is comprised of scary short stories from a huge array of authors ranging from well-known to obscure. This is a great place to start if you’re looking to familiarize yourself with the horror literary genre, though I will say that the quality of stories here isn’t always consistent.
This was one of the first podcasts I discovered in search for my horror fix. Hosted by the incomparable David Cummings, the No Sleep podcast offers a huge array of short and scary tales. Be forewarned: the quality of content and voice acting varies drastically from episode to episode. I’ve heard some pretty good stories on No Sleep. But, I have also listened to some pretty bad ones.
Pseudopod is a weekly podcast which delivers short story horror from myriad authors, from horror heavyweights like Jeff Vandermeer and Jon Padgett to those lesser known. The great thing about Pseudopod is that they take their work seriously. While Pseudopod accepts story submissions regularly, their quality standards are extremely high. Whenever you listen, you are sure to get the best writing and voice acting that podcasts have to offer.
For those of you looking for scary stories with a hint of nostalgia. This podcast presents stories that are reminiscent of radio shows of the 40s and 50s. If you enjoyed classic shows like Escape, Inner Sanctum and Lights Out!, you’ll love this podcast.
Tanis is a bi-weekly podcast which, much like its sister podcast the Black Tapes, blends real life people and events into its fiction. The question that plagues host Nic Silver is: What Is Tanis? Evidence of its existence can be found across cultures and throughout human history. Accounts describe Tanis as a place, as a person, as a god, as a plague. Discovering the truth behind Tanis may be the last great mystery of the internet age.
“Welcome to Night Vale” is the daily opening to this podcast, styled as a radio broadcast which discusses strange happenings in a small western town of the same name. Radio host Cecil Palmer brings to life the colorful townsfolk of Night Vale and keeps us up-to-date on Children’s Fun Facts, Traffic, and of course, the Weather. If you are looking for humor with hints of supernatural horror, this is the perfect podcast for you.
I just had to include the Wicked Library, for obvious reasons. This is a weekly podcast hosted by ‘the librarian,’ your stereotypical horror host– ghoulish laughter and all. Similar to the No Sleep podcast, the stories here are pretty hit and miss for me. But what can I say, I’m picky.
Still Can’t Get Enough Horror?
Check out these audiobooks available through Hoopla and Overdrive!
A brilliant and truly unsettling tour de force of the supernatural, “Mister B. Gone” escorts the reader on an intimate and revelatory journey to uncover the shocking truth of the battle between Good and Evil.
Nanashi was born into a life of violence. Delivered from the mean streets by the Heron Clan, he mastered the way of the gun and knife and swiftly ascended through yakuza ranks to become a dreaded enforcer. His latest task? He and an entourage of expert killers are commanded to kidnap Muzaki, a retired world-renowned wrestler under protection of the rival Dragon Syndicate. It should be business as bloody usual for Nanashi and his ruthless brothers in arms, except for the detail that Muzaki possesses a terrifying secret. A secret that will spawn a no-holds-barred gang war and send Nanashi on a personal odyssey into immortal darkness.
Ruby is the most violently disturbed patient ever admitted to Drummersgate Asylum, high on the bleak moors of northern England. With no improvement after two years, Dr. Jack McGowan finally decides to take a risk and hypnotizes her-with terrifying consequences. A horrific dark force is now unleashed on the entire medical team, as each in turn attempts to unlock Ruby’s shocking and sinister past. Who is this girl? And how did she manage to survive such unimaginable evil?
Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos.
This new collection of nine substantial stories includes such masterworks as Technicolor, an ingenious riff on Poe’s Masque of the Red Death; How the Day Runs Down, a gripping tale of the undead; and The Shallows, a powerful tale of the Cthulhu Mythos. The capstone to the collection is a previously unpublished novella of supernatural terror, Mother of Stone.
In “Her Body and Other Parties,” Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.