Podcasts are a perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit. They take everything that’s great about swapping ghost stories with friends but add a degree of professionalism and production value that can really make them scary. Last year, we looked at three of our favorites, and this year we have three more. So, if you’re ready for some spine-tingling pods, check these out!
Haunted Places is a podcast that’s part documentary, part radio drama. Hosted by Greg Polcyn and part of the Parcast Network, the best way to describe Haunted Places is that it’s slick. Everything they do is polished and professional. From the first episode to the newest, there was no learning curve, no awkward learning phase. Polcyn is hitting his stride the moment they hit record for the first time. If you’re looking for a podcast that’ll leave you sitting shivering with the lights on, Haunted Places is it.
Everything Haunted Places does is polished, professional, and terrifying.
Each Thursday, Haunted Places profiles a real location that’s reputed to be haunted. Over the course of roughly 45 minutes, Polcyn introduces listeners to the location and its history before exploring the famous ghost stories that landed the location on a podcast called Haunted Places. This informative, documentarian style is spiced up with a bit of dramatics. Punctuating each new section is a reenactment — sometimes true, other times fiction — of an encounter with the ghost Polcyn was just describing. Complete with sound effects, haunting music, and Polcyn’s skilled reading, Haunted Places completes a terrifying package.
This is Haunted Places’ greatest strength — the polished production that delivers an informative and enjoyable product. It never feels like a stuffy history lesson, but there’s a ton of information to flesh out the spooky tales. You always have context and a backstory to why the place is haunted. In some cases, the history is scarier than the ghosts! If you were a fan of Unsolved Mysteries, you’ll love Haunted Places.
OK, so if you liked last year’s suggestion of Lore with Aaron Mahnke, and you want more, check out Unexplained. The similarities are eerie. That’s not a complaint or accusation, either. In many ways, Unexplained is a UK-version of Lore. Hosted by Richard MacLean Smith, Unexplained is a bi-weekly podcast that explores the inexplicable. Twice a week, MacLean Smith delves into such diverse topics as Jack the Ripper to Aleister Crowley. Each subject is well researched and thorough, often stretching into multiple episodes to give a particularly interesting subject the attention it deserves. Of course, the listener is the benefactor of this, as it means more episodes and more details that leave you absorbed.
As MacLean Smith discusses the true story behind the Exorcist or what happened in Dyatlov Pass, he never loses his quiet, calming, authoritative tone. These events did happen, they happened like this. There is no sarcasm or irony. This only furthers the gripping nature of Unexplained, leaving you convinced in the truth of the matter. That’s not to say there’s always an explanation. Instead, the question of what really happened is left up to the listener. You draw your own conclusions.
Unexplained was an overnight smash hit in 2016, being called “the world’s spookiest podcast” by The Guardian and “a grisly treat” by The Financial Times.
Unexplained began in 2016 and became a smash hit almost overnight as it was named among iTunes’ Best of 2016 and hit #2 in iTunes podcast charts. It has since been featured in an article by The Guardian where they wondered whether it was the world’s spookiest podcast. It was also called a grisly treat by The Financial Times. If you’re looking for a podcast that’s a well-produced mystery begging listeners to solve, you’ve found it.
If you read last year’s Halloween podcast post, Expanded Perspectives is very similar to Astonishing Legends. “Freethinking for dummies” sums up the attitude of the podcast perfectly. Hosts Kyle Philson and Cam Hale are quick to laugh and never take themselves too seriously. The fact that the two are lifelong friends is clear from their camaraderie and rapport as they discuss weird news from around the country, as well as large subjects like the Winchester Mystery House or the Ghosts Encounters at Gettysburg.
They’ll occasionally have on guests for in-depth interviews about different podcasts, books, or subjects. This makes Expanded Perspectives a good, if informal, introduction to many different topics that fall into this genre. Among the previous guests are author Linda Godrey, geologist and TV host Scott Wolter, and fellow podcaster Jim Harold. Other times, they’ll take a broader subject, like Mysteries of the Appalachian Trail, and explore it for over an hour. As longtime hunters, unverified creatures, or cryptids, are a real interest for them as well.
Expanded Perspectives is a great, if informal, introduction to many different topics that fall into this genre.
One of the real strengths of the show, besides the chemistry of Philson and Hale, is their attitude toward any and all topics. There’s rarely a subject too “out there” for them to explore, living up to the name Expanded Perspectives. Even if they’re slightly skeptical of the topic, they go into each episode with an open mind. Ultimately, the podcast is a conversation between two old friends who are genuinely curious about the strange and paranormal. How could that not be fun?
Bonus Entry — Unobscured and the Cabinet of Curiosities With Aaron Mahnke
Lore’s Aaron Mahnke has two brand-new podcasts, Unobscured and the Cabinet of Curiosities, both made in partnership with the How Stuff Works network. We love Mahnke’s podcasting style, so we’d be remiss to leave either off the list. Both are a similar style to Lore, which is great because the more Lore the better.
Both shows are a similar style to Lore, which is great because the more Lore the better.
Cabinet of Curiosities is a short, 15-ish minute podcast that covers two strange incidents in history. Unobscured is an in-depth look at a misunderstood or shrouded historical event. Currently, he’s two episodes into the story of the Salem Witch Trials, which is perfect for Halloween. If you loved Lore, give these two a listen!
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Ever since the ancient origins of the holiday, telling scary stories has been intrinsically linked to Halloween. In modern times, the tales don’t need to be swapped around a campfire or in a darkened room. Now, the ghost stories can come to you, in the form of a podcast.
Do you have any scary stories? How about some great Halloween memories? Ghosts, monsters, aliens — we’d love for you to share them with us by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We may even publish a few of the best! Happy Halloween!
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