13 Scary Podcasts That Will Keep You Up at Night
Put your headphones on and get ready to experience spine-tingling horror from these scary podcasts that will be sure to keep you up and haunt your dreams.
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If you’re looking for spooky, paranormal, and downright scary stories to get you in the mood for Halloween (or at any time of the year), you’ve come to the right place. From creepy VHS tapes to docudramas with shocking twists, this list of scary podcasts will be sure to keep you up all night—with the lights on. For more spooky events, here are 17 creepy real events that happened on Halloween.
The NoSleep Podcast
If you’re looking to never have a good night’s sleep ever again, this is your go-to scary podcast. Based on the r/nosleep subreddit, The NoSleep Podcast began in 2011 after members started transforming written horror stories to audio experiences complete with a full team of people at the helm. If you’re new to this award-winning podcast, never fear as The NoSleep Podcast has you covered. Of course, while you’re able to start at the beginning with the very first episode, they have a curated list of episodes from each of their seasons so you can get a sampler of the experience. For example, in the first season, they recommend starting with episodes 3, 10, and 12 while in the fourth season they recommend episodes 15 and 25. With a selection of products like mugs, stickers, and sweatshirts, this horror fiction podcast will send you nightmares as you sleep asleep as well as while you’re awake. They say there’s truth in fiction—here are 10 strange urban legends that turned out to be true.
Welcome to Night Vale
Written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, this podcast is about a small fictional desert town called Night Vale, where each episode is created like a community update. If you’re not sure where to begin to this twice-monthly fiction podcast with more than 150 episodes, two novels, and other fun things, Welcome to Night Vale has it sorted with a selection of their favorite episodes, including A Story About You which is, actually, about you, the listener. There’s a fun, comedic element to this podcast so you’ll have a laugh along with being a bit frightened. There’s also Good Morning Night Vale, which explores on a deeper level different episodes of Welcome to Night Vale. If you’re looking for more small-town charm with a few quirks, here are 50 small American towns known for the weirdest things.
Alice Isn’t Dead
With a creepy title like that you know this podcast is going to be good. From the team that created the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, Alice Isn’t Dead is a serial fiction podcast about a truck driver’s search across America for the wife she thought was dead. Alice Isn’t Dead isn’t only a podcast—it’s also a novel of the same name and there’s a TV show adaptation. Alice Isn’t Dead has plenty of stories to keep you up at night wondering what really happened. If you’re looking for more interesting reads, here are 8 famous novels you didn’t know were inspired by true stories.
If you’re looking for good first-person stories that will leave you with chills down your spine and waiting for dawn, this is a scary podcast for you. Created by Soren Narnia, who is also the sole author, Knifepoint Horror is a minimalistic production that leaves room for imagination…or nightmares. Music by Kevin Macleod (unless otherwise noted, as the site notes), weaves narration and sound together into episodes of suspense and waiting. A few of Knifepoint Horror’s most popular episodes are on YouTube, including the popular and terrifying episode, “staircase.” For more spooky stories, here’s the spookiest ghost story from each state.
After five years away, Jonathan Barker hears odd voices telling him to “return home” to his actual home, Melancholy Falls, New Jersey. He heeds the call and finds that weird things have been happening in his absence and continues to happen after his return. With the help of his hometown friends, he begins to unravel why he was called home. Created by Jeff Heimbuch, Return Home is an award-winning serialized audio drama that pulls you into this fictional story with a creative, immersive audio experience full suspense and even some comedic elements.
You might want to take a seat for this one…and turn on the light. Created by friends from NYU film school Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie, Limetown is a fictional podcast about journalist Lia Haddock who’s determined to find out what happened to Limetown, a town constructed around a neuroscience research facility and formerly home to more than 300 people. After a 911 call and three days later when police finally gain entry through the town’s gates, everyone has vanished and Limetown, Tennessee is officially a ghost town. While Limetown is fictional, it’s inspired by true events. However, when listening to the podcast, you might begin to think there’s a real Limetown, Tennessee…If you’re looking for a real ghost town to visit, here are 25 creepy (but real!) ghost towns around the world.
The Black Tapes
Paul Bae and Terry Miles are the creators and writers of the podcast The Black Tapes, a fictional docudrama hosted by Alex Reagan, a Pacific Northwest Stories journalist who looks into the downright spooky Strand Institute. The award-winning podcast is so popular that there are podcast spinoffs and a TV show in development. If you’re looking for more surprise twists, here are the 12 best movies with twist endings you won’t see coming.
After listening to this podcast, you’ll never look at VHS tapes again. From creators Nick Braccia and Michael Monello, Video Palace follows Mark Cambria, a video collector who watches a mysterious white VHS tape newly in his possession. After Mark begins talking in an unknown language in his sleep, he and his girlfriend Tamra find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy and the search of a video store with a chilling past. Check out these 35 scariest films of all time if you’re in for a cinematic and thrilling movie experience.
Nightlight: A Horror Fiction Podcast
Horror writer Tonia Thompson created the Nightlight podcast in June 2018 and brings horror stories written by Black authors and performed by Black actors to life. You can start from the very first episode about the horror novel Dread Nation by Justina Ireland or jump around to various stories on intergeneration trauma, zombies, haunted houses, and more. If you’re looking for more horror novels, Salem’s Lot, Beloved, and The Exorcist are just a few of the scariest books of all time.
Clarion graduate Christopher Reynaga is the creator, writer, and director of Point Mystic, a fictional podcast told in the style of a news program, with a side of in-depth storytelling and eerie horror brought to life by Marguerite Croft, who manages story editing and development. A cast of interesting characters, in-depth discussions, magical realism, and improvised conversations work together to bring a variety of topics, including important topics like racism and colonialism, to life. Here are 12 podcasts about race you need to hear.
Within the Wires
From the creators of Welcome to Night Vale, Within the Wires is another immersive fiction podcast with standalone stories and a different focus for each of the five seasons, the most recent of which being “Voicemail,” which launched on August 25, 2020. The choice is yours on whether to start from the very beginning or perhaps start with season 3. Written by Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson, the first series “Relaxation Cassettes” takes shape as a nameless medical inmate (you) who listens to a relaxation audio course created by The Institute. The soothing yet eerie narration by Janina Matthewson combined with original music from Mary Epworth creates a spine-tingling, unnerving effect for you as the listener. As you progress through the relaxation cassettes—along with the podcast—more is revealed and you’re left wondering what you got yourself into. Do you feel yourself relaxing? Can you truly trust the narrator? Only time will tell. If you’re looking for other ways to relax, here are 25 ways you can relax that don’t cost a cent.
Halloween Unmasked is the podcast for you if looking behind the scenes at a classic horror story is more your cup of tea. Film critic Amy Nicholson reviews everything behind the Halloween movie franchise, covering everything from John Carpenter’s original Halloween from 1978 to four decades later in 2018. Next, here’s the chilling history of 15 Halloween traditions.
- Forbes. How Lore Accidentally Became a Hit Podcast