Ghost stories and tales of terror become incredibly popular each October, for good reason. Halloween seems to put us in the mood to be horrified! Podcasts are the perfect medium to get your horror fix. Some masterfully combine storytelling and creepy atmosphere. Most popular podcasts will take time this month to have a Halloween-themed episode or two, but, for this list, we’re focusing on the pods that do it year-round. This is their bread and butter.
Through researching this list, we tried to limit it to our three favorites. Keep in mind, there are hundreds of spooky podcasts out there. If you want further suggestions or are interested in learning more, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lore is the storytellers’ podcast. One of the simpler podcasts on this list, each episode of Lore focuses on a single theme. Armed with only his voice and a backing track, host Aaron Mahnke shares dark folklore and history from around the world. With more than 70 episodes, Lore received an iTunes “Best of 2015” award and the “Best History Podcast” award by the Academy of Podcasts in 2016. Recently, the podcast was even adapted for television on Amazon Video.
Lore — Episode 7: In the Woods
Mahnke’s approach to the podcast is best defined as minimalistic. He starts by addressing the theme and sharing his tales over a haunting tune. Each episode runs between 20 and 30 minutes and contains two or three stories, with one main story.
The stories are all thoroughly researched, with Mahnke putting about 20 hours of research into each episode. He’s firmly against making up details for a “better story.” Instead, he prefers to show that reality is often more terrifying for fiction. The podcast is a blend of history and horror, without ever feeling hokey. It’s just you, Mahnke’s expert storytelling, and a beautifully melancholy soundtrack. Frankly, it’s all he needs.
One of the most fun parts of scary stories is sharing them with friends. That’s exactly the type of atmosphere that Astonishing Legends creates. Hosted by Scott Philbrook and Forrest Burgess, the podcast dissects the creepy or unexplained, sometimes with guests who had their own encounters. The two make a good team, with Philbrook acting as the open skeptic and Burgess an honest believer.
If you’re interested in the unexplained, and not just ghosts, this podcast is perfect for you. The two hosts discuss everything from the Bermuda Triangle to Bigfoot to conspiracies. Very little is too fringe for their wide-ranging interests. This gives you the chance to go through their considerable backlog of episodes and listen to the episodes that interest you. If you listen to the episodes on their website, you’ll also have access to their sources, notes, and photos.
The episodes are on the longer side, usually over an hour long (with a few multi-episode stories), but they pack their time with details and fun tangents. This only adds to Philbrook and Burgess’s conversational, friendly style. If you’re looking for a laid-back conversation with two friends about the weird and paranormal, give Astonishing Legends a try.
The Black Tapes
Last, but not least, The Black Tapes is one of the best produced, best-written podcasts currently being made. Unlike the previous podcasts on this list, The Black Tapes follows a single story — host Alex Reagan’s investigations of the mysterious Dr. Richard Strand of the Strand Institute. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, The Black Tapes offers listeners interesting characters, enticing mysteries, and a deep, psychological terror.
The Black Tapes — Episode 101: A Tale of Two Tapes Part I
As you delve deeper into Strand’s Black Tapes, you’ll encounter ghosts, psychics, and a cult that may be trying to end the world. As the world around them spirals out of control, Reagan and Strand must come to grips with the terrible secrets they learn. All the while, you wonder, is any of this real? Strand, in his trademark gruff skepticism, tries to explain everything rationally, but often fails to convince. Ultimately, the best way to describe this show is a paranormal Serial.
One of the factors that makes The Black Tapes so scary is the effort the producers go through to make the podcast seem real. The characters all have active social media accounts. The websites in the story all exist, and many of the details in the episodes are based on real beliefs. As you get sucked into the story more and more, you may even find yourself believing the episodes. That’s the power of this show.
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As Halloween nears, you may get the desire to hear some scary stories. If that’s the case, movies aren’t your only option. These spooky podcasts are perfect to leave you feeling a bit of seasonal terror. So, turn the lights down low, cuddle up with a warm blanket and hit play.
Do you have any scary stories? How about some great Halloween memories? Ghosts, monsters, aliens – now’s the time to share them. We’d love to hear them! If you’d like to share with us, send your stories to email@example.com. We may even publish a few of the best! Happy Halloween!