5 spine-tingling horror podcasts to get you in the Halloween spirit

Featuring tales of ghosts, serial killers, supernatural strangeness and more.

Photo of Angela Mulka
Pictured is a spooky hooded figure, standing in a winter forest.

Pictured is a spooky hooded figure, standing in a winter forest.

Getty Images

Podcast familiarity continued to grow despite the pandemic. And, the recent rise in podcasting has delivered a wave of quality horror podcasts with the eeriest audio to keep us awake in the dead of night.

Of the total U.S. population 12 years or older, 41% of people can now be considered monthly podcast listeners, up from 37% the year before, according to the 2021 edition of the Infinite Dial study, which is a survey-based study of digital media usage that has been the longest-running measure of podcast audiences.

These findings point out the demand for podcasts isn't going away. In fact, a bigger audience interested in the medium allows for the production of more niche podcast topics, with my favorite being horror.

It's time to reflect on the scariest, spine-tingling, nerve-wracking horror podcasts available to get you in the Halloween spirit, and there's no shortage of material to work with.

Why listen to me? I'm a devoted horror podcast consumer and lover of all things dark and spooky. A day doesn't go by without me listening to a terrifying episode or two of a podcast. The horror film genre has been my number one forever, so when I learned I could be entertained the same, if not better, by horror podcasts, I was hooked. If you've heard something good that I missed, or you want to yell at me respectfully for not including "Alice Isn't Dead" on the list, connect on Twitter @AngelaMulka.

Here are five spine-tingling horror podcasts, both fiction and nonfiction, for those of us who love everything scary.

Knifepoint Horror

Pictured is the cover art for Knifepoint Horror podcast.
Pictured is the cover art for Knifepoint Horror podcast.
Knifepoint Horror podcast/Soren Narnia

Release date: November 2010

Number of episodes: Forty standalone episodes ranging from 40 to 70 minutes in length. New episodes are released whenever Narnia feels like it, with the newest being from July of this year.

Why it’s good: Suspenseful tales of the supernatural led by one narrator, Soren Narnia. The podcast is stripped down to get at the most primal element of storytelling: a single human voice describing events exactly as it experienced them. Though the stories aren’t real, each episode is a slow burn that ends in a complete surprise. For instance, the episode “twelve tiny cabins” starts as a tale about recovering from hidden trauma, and only halfway through the episode do you realize that it also happens to be about terrifying killer dolls. For sheer eeriness, few things are scarier than these episodes, according to Narnia himself: “Staircase”, “sisters”, “landmark”, “sounds” and “school.”

The Black Tapes

Pictured is the cover art for The Black Tapes podcast.
Pictured is the cover art for The Black Tapes podcast.
Pacific Northwest Stories

Release date: May 2015

Number of episodes: There are 30 episodes out so far. Each one ranges from 30 to 45 minutes in length.

Why it's good: It’s hard to imagine the podcast landscape without this classic. It is my entry point into the genre. The podcast features an investigation into paranormal events with an overarching mystery.

A journalist, Alex Reagan, is interviewing a paranormal researcher who does not believe in ghosts. In doing so, Reagan finds a box of tapes the researcher cannot debunk, yet. The pair open an investigation into the tapes and end up falling deep into a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, demons and more. The podcast is addicting and will send shivers down your spine.


Pictured is the cover art for Limetown podcast.
Pictured is the cover art for Limetown podcast.
Two-Up Productions

Release date: July 2015

Number of episodes: 11-episode series, which has spawned a TV show adaptation starring Jessica Biel.

Why it's good: For a blend of paranormal fiction and investigative journalism, look no further than Limetown. Here’s the show’s self-description, from its website, which pretty much gives you the vibe:

“Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again. American Public Radio host Lia Haddock asks the question once more, “What happened to the people of Limetown?”

Throughout the podcast, Haddock reveals one shocking secret after another, including one about herself. This mystery fiction pod has the same eerie docu-drama feel that makes the Black Tapes captivating.

Radio Rental

Pictured is the cover art for Radio Rental podcast.
Pictured is the cover art for Radio Rental podcast.
Tenderfoot TV & Cadence13

Release date: October 2019

Number of episodes: 15 episodes, each close to an hour in length, with a few stories per episode.

Why it's good: Hosted by Rainn Wilson under the name Terry Carnation, this pod is more about bizarre incidents such as a glitch in the matrix, or a close encounter with a serial killer. Each episode features two to three spooky occurrences, and they’re narrated by the people who claim to have experienced them.

Creator Payne Lindsey says, “They are stories that are like real-life Twilight Zone moments, where sometimes they’re explained, sometimes they’re not.”

One or two of these stories fell flat for me. But, most will give you the creepiest tales to share that apparently really happened, as Lindsey went to great pains to verify what he could, traveling across the country to conduct interviews. After listening to this pod, you are sure to be unsettled and intrigued.

Dr. Death

Pictured is the cover art for Dr. Death podcast.
Pictured is the cover art for Dr. Death podcast.

Release date: September 2018

Number of episodes: 28 episodes, spanning across three seasons. Episodes range from 30 to 45 minutes in length.

Why it's good: At times, Dr. Death is almost too difficult to listen to because it is a 100% true story. We’re at our most vulnerable when we go to our doctors, at times trusting them blindly, and that’s what makes this horror podcast so horrific. Season one of the pod looks at a chilling case of medical malpractice.

Called the scariest podcast of the year by GQ, there’s the actual gory surgical horror and the horror of the surgeon’s unbelievable progress through the medical scene when he should’ve been stopped long before. It is so unbelievable and almost made me pass out too many times.