Thirteen seriously scary podcasts
Halloween is the perfect time to curl up with some headphones, heat some jiffy pop and scare yourself silly listening to spooky stories. In this week's episode we shared creepy tales that had you accidentally running up the stairs instead of out the front door. Here are 13 more ghoulish podcasts that will make you glad cell phones have made it impossible for the call to be coming from inside the house. The best thing about these podcasts? No disappointing sequels.
1. Black Tapes Podcast
Recommended Episode: Episode 101, "A Tale of Two Tapes: Part 1"
The Black Tapes Podcast has quite a die hard following. Plus, it's been endorsed by the Nerdist team and spawned a very devoted sub-Reddit. The Black Tapes tells the fictionalised story of a public radio journalist who gets mixed up in the world of the paranormal. Expect demons, ghosts, and an unsolved missing persons case that gets more and more complicated as the story goes on. It's best described as Serial meets X-Files.
Make sure you start with the first episode. Some listeners may find it gets off to a bit of a slow start, but stick with it until episode 3 and you'll be hooked.
Recommended Episode: Real Monsters
If you know anything about the early days of modern medicine (blood letting and grave robbing, anyone?) you know it relied a lot on trial and error. Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine is hosted by husband and wife Dr. Sydnee McElroy & Justin McElroy (Justin's also one of the hosts of the podcast My Brother, My Brother & Me). In each episode they dig through old medical journals to find the many weird ways doctors have tried to help people over the years. In this episode, Sydnee and special guest Rileigh Smirl explain the real-life diseases that inspired monster myths such as vampires and werewolves.
3. Judge John Hodgeman
Recommended Episode: Die Flederhaus
Judge John Hodgeman is essentially the Judge Judy of the podcast world. John Hodgeman, who claims to be a certified Judge, adjudicates real-life conundrums for listeners. By his side, is bailiff Jesse Thorn from another Maximum Fun podcast, Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. In this episode, Judge John helps a poor soul dealing with a bat problem in his haunted house. John's advice is tough but fair, and cites some precedents from the lesser known Witch Court legal system.
4. The Truth
Recommended Episode: The Death of Poe
The Truth podcast creates short "movies for your ears." The stories range from quite dark to obtusely funny. But they are always thought provoking and super entertaining.
This episode features an interesting history lesson on Poe's curious death before it dives into an audio-play speculating on the events leading up to his final moments. It's as eerie and sinister enough to do the author of The Tell-Tale Heart proud.
The production value on this show is always incredible, but in this episode they create an environment with sound in a particularly expert way. There's a moment in The Death of Poe where a match is stuck, and you can honestly hear the room light up. Amazing.
5. Stuff You Missed in History Class
Recommended Episode: Six Impossible Episodes
We've previously featured Stuff You Missed in History Class in our history podcast round-up. They have hundreds of skillfully researched shows that cover so many moments in history there's an episode for every occasion.
In this episode, hosts Holly Frey and Tracy V. Wilson cover some "impossible" topics. In most cases, there just wasn't enough information in the record books to be able to feature these historical events and people. But they were so often requested by listeners, they felt they just had to put them in an episode.
The story that most brings out the Halloween spirit is that of Edward Mordrake. A man with a small, duplicate face on the back of his head that whispered to him and eventually drove him mad. Sounds like a horror movie in the making.
6. Faculty of Horror
Recommended Episode: Episode 31. The Power of Christ Compels You: The Exorcist (1973)
If you're a scary movie fanatic, Faculty of Horror has your name on it. Produced independently in Toronto, hosts Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West are the horror movie pedagogues you wish you could have had in film school. In each episode they tackle a film or filmmaker to thoughtfully discuss and offer their dedicated pupils "extra credit" by listing some other horror movie gems, articles and more.
In this installment, Alex and Andrea discuss The Exorcist. But, they go way beyond synopsis and spider-walk deep into the film's themes and historical context.
7. The Moth
Recommended Episode: The Ghost of Rue Jacob
The Moth is one of the best storytelling podcasts out there, featuring people sharing real stories live without notes.
In this segment, former Vogue editor Joan Juliet Buck manages to make a ghost story absolutely charming. Her take on the ghost in her apartment is a really lovely and refreshing angle. This story will scare you, but it will also make you laugh.
8. We're Alive
Recommended Episode: Episode 1, Part 1
We're Alive is a zombie audio drama, that's so popular it has it's own Talking Dead style fancast. This four season epic really captures the heart pounding thrill of a zombie chase. But, it also hits some surprising emotional chords.
Like all serialized audio dramas: You gotta listen from the beginning.
9. Thrilling Adventure Hour
Recommended Episode: A Halloween Beyond Belief
Though Thrilling Adventure Hour is no longer producing new episodes, every episode of the live radio drama is still available and they are SO over the top hilarious. This edition features a story and a creature that's scarier than all the masked slasher villains, vampires, apparitions and mysterious bumps in the night combined. A demonic clown. You're welcome!
Recommended Episode: Haunted
It wouldn't be a Halloween list without paranormal investigators. Radiolab makes unique radio that often delves into the world of science and philosophy. In Haunted paranormal investigators help a man face the grief of losing both of his parents. His story packs an emotional punch, but pragmatic hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich stop the story from getting too schmaltzy, and ask skeptical, tough questions about the experience.
11. The NoSleep Podcast
Recommended Episode: Jack in the Box
The NoSleep Podcast adapts scary stories that users submit to the NoSleep subreddit.There's something about the first person narrative often used in these stories that makes them seem very real and all the more scary.
The story Jack in the Box might change the familiar ritual of going to the drive-through to a daylight-only activity from now on.
Warning: There's some swearing in this episode!
Recommended Episode: Episode 198 – Bram Stoker's Dracula
Rewatchability is a weekly pop-culture nostalgia podcast that decides whether old movies and TV shows are still worth re–watching. Without a doubt, hosts J.M. McNab, Rob Laronde, and Blain Watters will have you laughing before they even intro the film they're discussing. You will, however, want to keep your ear muffs handy if you're sensitive to swears, mature content and serious hate speech towards the movie The Fifth Element.
In this episode, the guys sink their fangs into Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula.
13. Savage Lovecast
Recommended Episode: Episode 314
Looks like we saved the saltiest podcast for last. So, beware! Savage Lovecast contains the maturest of the mature language!
But, if that doesn't scare you off, this special Halloween episode of the Lovecast covers dating horror stories, face-eating zombies, and an interview with Caitlin Doughty of Ask a Mortician.
You can also hear Savage Lovecast in our second episode, Love is a Battlefield.