As Summer draws to a close and the leave vacate their once happy abodes, a stir starts within myself. I, like many others, get that itch for something spooky the closer that October draws near. Sometimes it is books, sometimes movies, and as of late it has been podcasts. A couple years ago I started searching for good frightening fairy tales to subscribe to. I only found them in a trickle, and most of them were garbage. But I have found 7 podcasts that continue to bring the frights on every episode. So pull up a warm blanket, drink some coco, and do not turn off the lights.
The list is in no particular order.
Anything Ghost- This was one of the first spooky podcasts I discovered and it has always stuck around. The host, Lex Wahl, reads off “personal paranormal stories” that are sent in by his listeners. In the background he will add in effects and his own, very good, music. It is a really great podcast if you are a fan of “real” ghost stories. Lex will even let you record your own telling of your paranormal experience and he will put it in the show. The episodes usually run at about 45 minutes but the Halloween Spectacular it almost always over 2 hours.
The Dark Verse- This podcast is very eloquent in its manner, and at first it was a bit off putting; it seemed almost pretentious. But after one episode I was hooked badly. The stories in this podcast are all very “Lovecraftian” in style. They usually, but not always, revolve around someone dealing with something beyond their comprehension or control. Expect to strain your mind as you put ethereal plot points together and comprehend some of the expressive diction. But when you do, you will be exposed to horrors you had not even thought about. One such story, Gift of the Crossroads, gave me the most terrifying nightmare I have had in years, despite its blatant absurdity.
Tales to Terrify- This podcast is a bit strange. Sometimes they focus purely on stories, almost all of them from published novelists, and other times they take an hour to let someone talk about “why” things are scary or humorously review some other horror fiction medium. Every episode I have listened to has been quite a surprise as I am not entirely sure what I am in for. Every tale of terrification is uniquely different from the last as they fly through all sorts of subjects with many different authors. The non-tales are extremely informative and will almost certainly contain something new for your brain to absorb. This strange concoction of a podcast earned a place on the list not only because it is something different, but also because of the excellent level of production within.
We’re Alive- There is a good chance you have already heard of this one, and for good reason. This is the only podcast on the list with a continuative narrative. The story starts off as your basic zombie apocalypse but quickly brings the shows tagline “A Story of Survival” to center stage. This is not just a quick glimpse at people lasting through the initial catastrophe. This is about how those people live, love, hate, and carry on to another day. I, as well as almost every staff member of LevelSave, love We’re Alive and would recommend it to anyone, not just horror fans.
The Monster Club- Kind sir, are you a big fan of old radio drama? The this, my good man, is the podcast to kick your knickers off for. Pull up your rockin’ chair and listen to the delightful fantasies played out in the theater of your own imagination. Dracula, the Wolfman, and Gypsy Magic are the delights of tonight’s entertainment, but first a message from our sponsors. “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”
This podcast is a collection of all sorts of old radio programs from the past 50 or so years. Some of them might not be “scary” but as a historical examination they are intensely fascinating. The only thing that could have made them better is if they left in the old commercials, but that may just be me.
The No Sleep Podcast- Have you ever heard of CreepyPasta? For those uninformed, CreepyPasta is a spooky short story written by someone on the internet. The composer is usually not a published author and a multitude of the stories are splayed with grammatical or spelling errors. However, since these stories are coming from minds all over the world, a few gems stand out. These gems are exactly what The No Sleep Podcast is all about. What originally started out on Reddit as a side forum has grown and developed into an extremely well produced and spooky podcast. The only real issue I have is that after a while, basic themes within all the podcasts start to show; as some of the stories have a few too many things in common. It becomes easy to see what “nerds” find scary. But that is one minor complaint I have for a podcast I have enjoyed majorly.
Knifepoint Horror- Remember when I said that the list was in no particular order? I lied. This podcast was saved for last for a reason. I can not tell you how absolutely terrified I was on almost every episode. There was a point, just after the episode “Possession” ended, where the track changed to the next episode and a different persons voice came through my headset. That voice and volume change sent me jumping as high as I could off the ground in surprise because I was wound so tightly. Knifepoint Horror is very plain in presentation, having very little, if any, background noise or music. It is just a man, telling you a story from his perspective. This approach drew me into every tale and I was hanging off every word. The stories shift around in theme but always stay true to the minimalist approach that makes them so powerful. Do yourself a favor, download a few episodes.
Hopefully by now one of these has caught your eye, or ear, and you are falling down into the abyss of a dark fable. If you have one to suggest then leave a link in the comments. I am always on the lookout for the next petrifying parable. Until then, keep your doors locked, the priest on speed dial, and the light on.