Have you ever found yourself in a spooky mood that makes you want to binge-watch Making a Murderer, go see Hereditary, or possibly even just cuddle up with a copy of The Shining? Only you also need to be doing something else with your hands and eyes, whether that's driving, exercising, cooking, cleaning, scrolling through Instagram or swiping on dating apps? If you're like, Oh yeah, all the time, you're in good company. Enter: the horror podcast.
The horror genre in podcast form is the perfect type of entertainment for multitasking true crime and horror enthusiasts. And even if you do have the time to give your full attention to a scary movie, TV show, or book, this alternative medium might be even freakier thanks to its auditory nature. So we sifted through the many options and found the 20 best horror podcasts to listen to with your night light on. Subscribe at your own discretion.
This podcast has developed a serious cult following, and you're definitely going to want to join in. A perfect blend of dark humor, hilarious rapport, and thoughtful research, My Favorite Murder is hosted by true crime aficionados Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. It's so entertaining and compelling you'll feel like you know the pair and the people in the stories they're telling. I became so obsessed with the episode about the "Los Feliz murder house" that I went to go check it out). The owner of the neighboring Frank Lloyd Wright house saw me walking about and invited me to take a tour. You never know what'll happen when you tune in, but something good will come it for sure.
Up Next: Magnus Archives
With so many great podcasts out there, it helps to have an edge, and the well-researched You Must Remember This definitely does. Focusing on early Hollywood scandals, this podcast is intellectually stimulating and often disturbing. The host, Karina Longworth, invites comedians on each episode to guest-star, too, which makes it even more entertaining. The episodes tell harrowing yet fascinating narratives: There's a deep dive into Charles Manson's infiltration of Hollywood, stories about the rampant sexism and violence the Silent Era, and a tale of the untimely death of Rudolph Valentino. Film buffs will be especially pleased.
Up Next: Horror Movie Podcast
Reported and hosted by Los Angeles Times reporter Christopher Goffard, Dirty John is a nine-episode investigation into one average-seeming man's history of deceit, manipulation, and abuse. It opens innocently enough, describing the early stages of a relationship between John Meehan and Debra Newell, and ends in a much more sinister way, but you'll have to tune in to hear that part. This is some grade-A storytelling.
Next Up: Sword and Scale
The Moonlit Road has a compelling twist, too: Each scary story explores the underbelly of the American South. From spine-chilling ghost stories to curses, legends, and myths, and their even freakier backstories, they're like campfire stories for adults. Some are nostalgic tales while others are rooted in a more recent past, but all of them have one thing in common: They're guaranteed to leave you covered in goosebumps from head to toe. If you love atmospheric period pieces, this is the horror podcast for you.
Next Up: The Wrong Station
There's nothing quite like an unsolved crime or conspiracy to keep you up at night, and we're definitely here for it. Lucky for us, so are Aaron and Justin, our trusty hosts on Generation Why. It sort of feels like you're sitting in your den riffing with your best friends about some of the most notorious unsolved cases, little-known atrocities, and forgotten cold cases. It's also a great option for anyone who'd rather learn about true crime in a less atmospheric, spooky way, as the hosts talk about these cases with a chilled-out, not-at-all scary delivery.
Next Up: Knifepoint Horror
Each week on The Apex and the Abyss, host Erika takes a deep dive into one of the more well-known murder, mystery, and kidnapping cases, seeking to shed new life on the motives behind them. Past episodes cover everything from Aileen Wuornos's murder spree, the Zodiac Killer, and the Columbine massacre, along with stories of survivors like Elizabeth Smart. Each episode is relatively short, which makes them especially great for commuters.
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The No Sleep Podcast veers away from the popular true-crime genre and instead delivers truly terrifying fictional stories. Since they're very much like horror audiobooks, complete with great narrators and sound effects, you probably won't be as into this if you prefer more casual, conversational podcasts. That being said, if you're just in it for the horror aspect, you should give it a shot. They even warn you to brace yourself on the website, warning that their point is to "frighten and disturb." Listen at your own risk.
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Haunted Places suggests that perhaps the scariest thing about these locations isn't the paranormal activity in the present day, but rather the tragic and often violent origin stories. Listen in to learn about the reported legends and the real-life backstory behind each one. They do an especially great job building up the atmosphere. In fact, you'll feel like you've been transported to whichever mist-shrouded doomed destination the episode is focusing on.
Next Up: Return Home
The common thread behind all Point Mystic episodes is the desire to unpack and explore the unknown, the mysterious, the inexplicable. For a few episodes in Season 1, the hosts explore the legend of the white rabbit and what happens when a little boy goes missing and is then found in the woods with no recollection of building a something big. It's sort of like an NPR-produced podcast in terms of structure—think interviews and first-person accounts.
Next Up: Dark Verse
If you fancy yourself a history buff and prefer your scary stories to be true, tune into Lore. This podcast delves into historical periods, events, and places that have a darker past than we could ever imagine. It's exactly what you imagine an NPR horror podcast blend to be life. So in other words, it's perfect. You'll like it a lot if you prefer to hear from those who have experienced it rather than from an objective narrator.
Next Up: The Other Stories