We’re big fans of horror movies and maybe a little too obsessed with true crime documentaries, so what do we do when we’re traveling on the road for hours at a time? Listen to spooky podcasts, of course.
From old favorites to new obsessions, here are thirteen of our favorite podcasts to raise the hairs on the back of your neck and make you wonder why you left the house.
FICTION & AUDIO DRAMA
Debuting in 2015 alongside several other notable horror podcasts, fictional docudrama The Black Tapes has two and a half seasons and a teaser that suggests the story isn’t over. Follow journalist Alex Reagen around the Pacific Northwest and beyond as she tries to make sense of the Black Tapes, a collection of supernatural experiences that Dr. Richard Strand, researcher and skeptic, can’t disprove.
Why listen: High production value, a great cast, and it’s often legitimately unsettling.
Recommended drive: Take it with you on a trip to Vancouver and on to Vancouver Island. If you listen, you’ll know why.
Tanis has the same production team as The Black Tapes, and some overlap in cast and story. More deeply rooted in the PNW, Tanis provides an excellent sense of place. Get ready to feel like you’re right there, lost within the fog, dense forests, and the mystery surrounding the question: what is Tanis?
Why listen: Same great production value as the Black Tapes, and a different but equally eerie vibe.
Recommended drive: Get some coffee to go and turn on Tanis as you take a grand tour of the Pacific Northwest.
At only six episodes, Limetown is a more succinct introduction to podcast audio dramas. Dive into the fictional investigation of the disappearance of over 300 people in Tennessee ten years prior. Once you’re hooked and wanting more, you can pick up the prequel novel (also titled Limetown).
Why listen: Deeply engaging and an easy, finite length.
Recommended drive: Take it on a mini road trip like the roughly 3-hour drive from Nashville to Memphis
If you love “creepypasta,” urban legends, or swapping spooky stories across a campfire that make you second guess everything single sound in the woods, this podcast is right up your alley.
Why listen: You get the best of bite-sized spooky stories without needing to trawl through subreddits.
Recommended drive: On your way to a night in the woods (so you can prepare to retell your favorite and terrify your friends).
Speaking of creepypasta and terrifying tales, you can find a lot more of it from Mr. Creepy Pasta. We like his narration style a little more than Creepy Pod’s because we feel it’s a little more lively and, well, like storytime. The audiobook quality makes it good listening for any time of day.
Why listen: Wide range of stories and great narration.
Recommended drive: With episodes under 5 minutes or a half hour or longer, it’s easy to find the right story to keep you company as you run errands.
Sometimes creepy and always bizarre, Welcome to Night Vale has been on the air since 2012. Formatted as community-based radio reporting for the town of Night Vale, even mundane things like the town’s mayoral election or reports of hoodlums in the dog park take on a surreal and sometimes paranormal twist. The podcast also spawned several books, including the New York Times bestselling Welcome to Night Vale and It Devours!
Why listen: Come for the soothing narration, stay for the weather report.
Recommended drive: On a road trip through the Southwest along the Extra Terrestrial Highway.
NONFICTION & TRUE CRIME
Another award-winning podcast, Lore is an ongoing look at the history behind folklore and various things that go bump in the night. Covering everything from vampires, creepy dolls, and hauntings, to clairvoyants and sea monsters, each episode is essentially a spooky tale with a history lesson attached. It’s also been adapted for television, airing on Amazon video with a second season arriving in 2018—just in time to binge before Halloween.
Why listen: Stock up on random factoids for small talk.
Recommended drive: Most episodes are about a half hour long, so queue a few up for the inevitable long straight stretch of your road trip.
In the first season, documentary filmmaker David Ridgen returns to his home town of Arnprior, Ontario to investigate a cold case: the 1972 disappearance of a young boy, Adrien McNaughton. Ridgen does an excellent job of weaving together interviews with his own childhood memories of Arnprior. Subsequent seasons delve into other cold cases with a similarly thoughtful, journalistic approach.
Why listen: Very well produced and highly compelling.
Recommended drive: Take a road trip from Ontario to the Maritime provinces.
This isn’t a scary podcast, but it is a podcast about horror movies. Hosted by two women who are journalists and “occasional academics,” the Faculty of Horror offers a thoughtful, analytic look at horror films and the genre.
Why listen: Appreciate the genre more with this deep dive into horror films and filmmaking.
Recommended drive: On the road to the nearest film festival or horror convention.
If you want reviews, rundowns, and a more casual critique of horror movies, BGH is a long-running fan favorite. The hosts have great chemistry and cover just about everything horror-related. If you’re new to BGH and want more, their older episodes are available at a reasonable $6/mo tier on their Patreon.
Why listen: You need to figure out what to watch on Shudder.
Recommended drive: Episodes are generally about an hour and half long, perfect for when your commute is murder.
If you’re a fan of paranormal or true crime, you tend to hear the same stories over and over, so half the fun of the genre is finding the right hosts to sweep you away. And That’s Why We Drink will remind you of all the things you find terrifying…with some laughs along the way.
Why listen: Entertaining takes with bonus creepy listener stories once a month.
Recommended drive: A lot of the episodes are an hour and a half, so listen to one or two on your way to a weekend getaway–and then check every lock on that remote cabin twice.
True crime and comedy don’t seem like the best match, but MFM makes it work. Listening to Karen and Georgia tell each other about various murders or attempted murders feels a lot like hanging out with your two vaguely morbid but much-funnier-than-you best friends.
Why listen: It might actually make you feel better about how terrifying the world is.
Recommended drive: Take MFM with you on a California road trip to make the traffic around urban areas less boring (just don’t take any rides from strangers).
Parcast Network hosts a range of podcasts, including Female Criminals, Cults, Unsolved Murders, and Serial Killers. For the purpose of picking one in particular to recommend, we suggest Serial Killers. Weekly episodes offers thorough coverage of facts and theories that are rounded out by research-based armchair psychology.
Why listen: Entertaining without embellishing, and includes more obscure cases.
Recommended drive: With episodes generally around 45 minutes to an hour, use these episodes to stay alert during a cross-country drive on the Loneliest Road in America.
Since 1973, Moon has been guiding travelers to unique, authentic experiences in more than 200 destinations around the world. We believe in the power of travel to connect people and enrich their lives. Our authors are local experts who share our commitment to independent businesses, local culture, and ethical travel. Moon Travel Guides are published by Avalon Travel, an imprint of Perseus Books, a Hachette Book Group company, in Berkeley, California.