What do you do if you are on the road with no horror books to read, or if you’ve run out of horror books altogether? That’s what horror podcasts are for. A horror podcast is a great way to learn about spine-tingling urban legends, unsolved crimes, or fiction stories that will scare you silly. And because podcasts are serial in nature, once you find one you like, you are almost guaranteed to find a voluminous backlog of episodes to get lost in. That amounts to hours upon hours, if not days, of non-stop terror. If that sounds like your idea of a good time, read on! These are the perfect podcasts to listen to alone on a dark night, stormy or otherwise. But proceed with caution: all of the podcasts listed here, while amazing, are for mature audiences only.
This is your one-stop shop for creepypastas, or internet-based horror legends. A diverse array of voice actors bring these terrifying tales to life. Many episodes have illustrative titles like “I Was Locked in the Bathroom for Four Weeks” and “Zach Had Maggots Coming Out of His Eyes,” so you know exactly what you’re getting into each time. And for the die hard creepypasta aficionado, their website includes themed merchandise you can buy to express your love for the show and support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Who knew that creepypastas could be so wholesome?
This podcast collects all sorts of frightening tales, from creepypastas to true crime stories. Some episodes spotlight real-life murders, like “The Cabin 28 Murders,” which explores the unsolved 1981 deaths of a woman and three children. Others focus on the weirder side of history, like “The Philadelphia Experiment,” about an alleged, government-sponsored attempt at time travel. And still others take a deep dive into urban legends, like “The Scary Truth About Mirrors.” Episode length ranges from about half an hour to over two hours.
It seems people can’t get enough of serial killers, and this podcast is about nothing but. Serial Killers takes you deep into the minds and hearts (such as they are) of relentless, remorseless killers, both past and present. Household names, like Ted Bundy, are of course included, as well as names whose infamy has faded with time, like Marcel Petiot, aka “Doctor Satan.” For your twice-weekly dose of murder and mayhem, tune in to Serial Killers.
Want to visit a haunted house without leaving your couch or risking the wrath of the resident ghosts? Haunted Places has you covered. Hosted by Greg Polcyn, who also co-hosts Serial Killers, this podcast takes you to all manner of creepy locales with terrible, tragic pasts. From a luxurious Canadian hotel haunted by the ghost of its designer to an 18th-century Indian fortress that burned down under mysterious circumstances, you will learn about supernatural occurrences from all over the world. If you get tired of traveling, take a break with one of their “Urban Legends” episodes, which covers folklore like the story of “Bloody Mary.”
Real horror fans know that sleep is overrated. This award-winning horror podcast features original horror stories about every subject imaginable. Bad babysitters, supernatural abominations, frightening forests, terrifying toys: if it scares you, it’s here. To make doubly sure you stay awake all night, purchase a Season Pass to gain access to extra, exclusive content. Writers can even submit their horror stories to be considered for inclusion in a future episode!
Truth is scarier than fiction — and it’s all around us. Aaron Mahnke has devoted his podcast Lore to real-life terrors and the legends they spawned. In this award-winning series, you can hear frightening stories from throughout history, like the tragedies that have plagued America’s mental healthcare system, and humanity’s long history of believing in magic and evil spirits — sometimes to its own detriment. Lore has inspired an Amazon series, a book series, and even themed merchandise, so you can be certain it’s worth your time.
If you prefer your horror with a dose of humor, Attention Horrors is the podcast for you. Hosts Mike Chiari, Brandon Galvin, and Donald Wood bring a fresh, funny perspective to a wide range of popular horror subjects. They will make you laugh at even the most terrifying of topics, from serial killers like Jack the Ripper to legends like the Bermuda Triangle to cryptids like Bigfoot. Whether that makes these stories more or less horrifying is up to you.
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Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars