13 creepy podcasts to get you in the Halloween spirit

12:20 p.m Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 Austin360 Home
Mandee Johnson/Photo by Mandee Johnson Photogra
The "My Favorite Murder" podcast, featuring Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, opened Moontower Comedy Festival 2017. Contributed by Mandee Johnson

Need to get in the Halloween spirit and feel thoroughly creeped out all month long? Download these podcasts, from heart-thumping horror to skin-crawling true crime stories (and try not to listen to them alone in the dark).

“The Black Tapes” may not be a true story, but it sure feels like it is. Produced by Pacific Northwest Stories (sort of a fictional “This American Life” crew), this fictional “Serial”-style podcast deals with paranormal activity, an enigmatic subject and a journalist’s search for proof of the supernatural.

Also from the folks who made “The Black Tapes,” “Tanis” takes a step away from the paranormal and toward science fiction, chronicling the host’s investigation into a mysterious cult and an unknown location hidden in the Puget Sound area where time and space seemingly have no meaning.

Another fictional podcast, part “Serial” and part “The X-Files,” it’s the story of a journalist searching for the true story behind the mysterious disappearance of more than 300 people from a neuroscience research facility in Tennessee. The show only lasted seven episodes, but a prequel in novel form is rumored to be on its way.

Calling all true crime buffs: If you’re fascinated by gruesome true stories and your friends think you’re a little crazy for it, this is the podcast for you. Hosts Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff recap true stories of history’s grisliest murders, with help from listener-submitted stories and dry, dark comedy.

Think “My Favorite Murder,” but with the added benefit of everything else that falls into the “spooky” category -- werewolves and cults and demons and war crimes and everything in between. 

This podcast will turn the biggest skeptics into believers. It tells the true stories of people who have experienced supernatural or paranormal events that will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

This is the O.G. of horror podcasts, y’all. It tells the stories behind some of the scariest legends in modern-day culture. It’s turned into a three-book series, a TV series and a live tour. 

OK, maybe this is the O.G. of horror podcasts. It’s not really “horror,” per se, but it’s creepy as heck. The story is told in the form of news updates from the small fictional desert community of Night Vale, where the unexplained happens almost every day: hooded figures, mysterious lights that appear at night and bizarre weather updates. It’s inspired two novels, as well as two books that serve as collections of the episodes from the first two volumes of the podcast.

Inspired by the r/nosleep subreddit community, which features user-submitted stories that will, of course, keep you up at night, the podcast features some of the top stories from the internet community. The catch? You’re not allowed to ask whether a story is true or fictional. Just let it live in your imagination for a while. 

The name is pretty self-explanatory -- it tells the story of an unsolved criminal case over the entirety of a season. The first season is about the disappearance of Adrien McNaughton, a 5-year-old boy who disappeared during a family fishing trip in Canada in 1972. The second season tells the story of Sheryl Sheppard, who disappeared in 1998, two days after her boyfriend proposed to her on live television. Sometimes the scariest stories are the true ones.

From the crew behind “Night Vale,” the fiction podcast follows a truck driver across America as she searches for her wife, who she assumed was dead. But it’s not that simple.

These stories from the mind of author Soren Narnia. Think R.L. Stine and Stephen King, but with a lack of real episode titles and descriptions so vague you won’t know what you’re listening to until you’re in it -- and you can’t get out.

These two friends talk about unsolved mysteries, conspiracy theories and true crime stories -- everything from serial killers to mysterious deaths and disappearances.  

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