If you’re anything like me Halloween is your favorite time of year. It’s not just the masks, the costumes, or the seasonal attractions that get you excited; it’s something darker. Some of us love the thrills and chills year-round. I decided to round up a few of my favorite podcasts for those of you that share a love of the strange. The list contains some of the best podcasts specializing in serialized docu-dramas, explorations of the strange, and true crime coverage around.
Limetown follows the story of American Public Radio Reporter Lia Haddock. Ten years ago, over 300 people in a small Tennessee town disappeared from the face of the planet without a trace. Lia wants needs to discover what happened in Limetown, although it may prove more difficult than she thought. There are some very powerful people that would do anything to keep those secrets just that. If you love serialized docudramas this is a must hear.
Why I love it: As a fan of true crime and investigative journalism it is a must listen. The mystery is packaged neatly into 6 half hour episodes making perfect for binging. It rides the line between horror and conspiracy perfectly.
Lore explores the darker side of history. It explores mysterious creatures of urban legend, terrifying people, and horrifying places. Something that really sets this award-winning, critically-acclaimed podcast apart is its focus on true-life scary stories.Why I love it: Aaron Mahnke does a wonderful job researching his topics and delivering an intriguing intro each episode. There is something for everyone as the episodes range from the supernatural to dark patches of history.
8. KING FALLS AM
King Falls AM is one of my favorite audio-dramas. If you enjoy Welcome to Nightvale you will enjoy this podcast. King Falls AM is set in a small mountain town and it’s two host late-night radio talk show as they meet the strange people that live there, and experience the paranormal activity running rampant. Whether it’s the ghost of Abe Lincoln setting up residence in the local library or UFO’s abducting motorists, there’s always a new adventure around the corner.
Why I love it: I love it because it’s provides all the small touches that I wanted in a show like this. We have a town full of mysterious occurrences, multiple voice actors giving life to hilarious and sometimes enigmatic characters, and a short bingeable episode format.
Casefile is a true crime podcast that focuses on fact, and how much more terrifying the truth is than fiction. Each episode explores another new case
Why I love it: As a fan of true crime, I can attest firsthand how too much of a “good” thing can be bad. Sometimes the cases this podcast tackles can take its toll on your emotional well-being. The fact that the show gives warnings about disturbing content as well as links to support resources in the show notes makes Casefile a standout. It is another well researched show, providing show notes with appropriate credits and links to all the articles and documentaries referenced throughout.
6. ARCHIVE 81
Archive 81 follows Daniel Powell’s companion. Three months ago, Daniel Powell vanished without a trace. The podcast covers the tapes he sent them. If you know anything, please contact them at email@example.com
Why I love it: The way the whole podcast is treated. By that I mean the weird episode titles, the short but distinct intro “song’, and how descriptive the episode notes are while not being more than 2-3 short sentences. You’re given just enough information to keep coming back. The fact that this is a found footage podcast interests me greatly. It allows the show to maneuver without the use of dramatic irony. You never quite have all the pieces of the puzzle until the end.
5. SWORD & SCALE
The Sword and Scale Podcast covers True Crime. “We cover high-profile trials, unsolved murders, serial killers, weird news and missing person cases.” They do dark. From the criminal underworld to “the demented minds that perform the most despicable and unthinkable actions”, nothing is off topic
Why I love it: The fact that nothing is off limits as the explore the dark side of humanity and its behavior. That includes murder, sexual assault, dismemberment, and cannibalism. What stands out the most is that while they claim, “no crime is too brutal, and no victim is too pure”, they still handle each episode with care and compassion. Sword and Scale is yet another well researched podcast, including sources in the show notes and audio for every episode.
4. THE BLACK TAPES
The Black Tapes is another bi-weekly podcast from Pacific Northwest Stories. TBTP is hosted by Alex Reagan with guidance from Nic Silver of TANIS. The Black Tapes focuses on Alex’s search for truth beyond Dr. Strand’s “Black Tapes, his mysterious past, and the impending danger that threatens them both.
Why I love it: It’s a mix of found footage and mockumentary. It doesn’t itself too seriously which allows for a certain suspension of disbelief. The fact that nothing is quite what it seems, and everything is connected interests me greatly and makes for a show that has some replay value.
3. LAST PODCAST ON THE LEFT
Ben Kissel, Henry Zebrowski, and Marcus Parks are the hosts of Last Podcast on the Left. Every week they explore both real and imagined horrors of the world. This podcast has absorbed most of my free time lately and is a new favorite. If you are a fan of serial killers, the paranormal, comedy, and urban legends, this show is for you.
Why I love it: For what the podcast is, it’s a lot more researched than you’d like to admit. The Last Podcast on the Left crew tackles the macabre with inappropriate humor and a deep understanding of their chosen topics. A fair warning is that they aren’t politically correct by any means which can be problematic.
2. THE NOSLEEP PODCAST
The NoSleep Podcast is a multi-award-winning anthology series. What makes this series unique is that not only are these original horror stories, but the voices actors behind these stories are big names in their fields as well. It features a cast of talented voice actors, an amazing collection of moody music and fitting sound effects to get right under your skin.
Why I love it: Every partnership is crafted to work alongside the podcast. In the later season the show starts with a creepy scene that introduces a sponsor before heading into the show. I also love David Cummings Tales from The Crypt like introductions to each story, the plethora of amazing voice actors, and the fact that to this day there is at least one story from every episode I can’t listen to in the dark.
1. FRUITLOOPS: SERIAL KILLERS OF COLOR
“Fruitloops is a weekly podcast where two true crime enthusiasts bring you stories about people of color who rarely get media coverage – bringing diversity to the true crime conversation.”
Why I love it: This podcast isn’t a favorite of mine just because they focus on people of color, but because of care in which it handles people of color. The media has a pretty bad track record of paying attention to victims and killers of color which is why I care so much. The show is well researched and handled in a way that will keep audiences attention for seasons to come.