Gather around the fire, fetch a cup of something steaming to sip, and steel yourself for a fright—it’s time for ghost stories. Of course, these days you only need a pair of headphones and a phone or computer, but…let’s keep the mood, right? If you fancy sending a delicious chill up your spine and have made it through your scary movies watchlist, these spooky podcasts have you covered.
If you’re into gathering with friends to tell ghostly tales, Spooky Gals is for you. A bit goofy and a bit spine-tingling, this podcast from two British girls covers all things paranormal and generally creepy, from haunted locations to legends, curses, and folklore. There’s a great dynamic between the two hosts: one tells a haunting story in a suitably mystic, eerie voice (she has a perfect ghost story voice)—which her co-host frequently interrupts with irreverent comments that send them onto hilarious tangents. It’s a charming mix of well-researched haunted info, atmospheric chill, comedy, and a convivial mood that makes you feel like you’re cozied up with friends.
I listened to this one while walking alone at night—which let me tell you, was a mistake. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like this show would be all that scary; the premise is journalist/host Alex Reagan launching a podcast about interesting jobs. The first subject: paranormal investigators. Then things get increasingly unsettling. Tumbling down a rabbit hole—and straight into a mystery—Alex launches into an investigation with enigmatic paranormal debunker Richard Strand into a series of chilling encounters. But it turns out Strand has a few secrets of his own. This docudrama from Pacific Northwest Stories and Minnow Beats Whale reads enough like a true documentary that you’ll be sucked into its world—and its alluring terror.
Part haunted history, part ghost story, Haunted Places from the Parcast network tells the tales of real-life spooky places and legends. Each story is dramatized with imagined accounts of people and events linked to haunted places, so that you feel like you’re in the middle of the fright fest, and then the histories and facts (such as they are) are recounted. The result is both informative and enthralling—and quite chilling. (As a note: the sound effects in these stories are spot-on, but the descriptions and effects can get a bit graphic—it certainly sets the mood, but if you’re squeamish, you might want to be aware.)
You might not expect spooky podcasts to be soothing, but that’s exactly the point of Scare You To Sleep. The episodes are eerie and unsettling, of course, but it’s impossible not to be lulled into a dreamy mood by host Shelby Scott’s smooth, dulcet voice. She covers a mix of all things spooky, from classic ghost tales to listener-submitted fiction, true horror and haunting accounts, “guided nightmares,” and even a bit of ASMR. Think of it as akin to the pleasantly cozy chill you get from curling up with a blanket on a blustery, rainy night to read ghostly tales and mysteries.
For the ghost story purists out there, Haunted Places: Ghost Stories evokes the sense of sitting by a flickering fireplace for a little spooky storytelling with an old friend or relative. Simple, but haunting. The show covers eerie tales from around the world by terror icons such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, and Algernon Blackwood as well as more obscure stories and legends woven over time. Many are from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, conjuring that Victorian spiritualism mood, though there’s quite a variety of other options to explore also. And let’s be realistic—ghost stories always sound better with a British accent.
Ghost stories are perfect for sending a delicious tingle up your spine or cozying up on a chilly night. But they’re just stories…right? If you want to dig a little deeper than tales and legends, Haunted Road presents a mix of haunted history and paranormal investigation. Hosted by Kindred Spirits and Ghost Hunters star Amy Bruni, this spooky podcast investigates the backstories and legends of haunted locales, then speaks to people who have spent time there themselves. I’ve never been a watcher of paranormal shows, but the glimpse into the processes and experiences of these investigators was unexpectedly fascinating. Even if you don’t believe in the paranormal aspect, the extensive knowledge of haunted places and insightful interviews will keep you hooked. Though she clearly believes in ghosts, Bruni doesn’t try to make up your mind for you—she just presents the facts as she’s found them and leaves it up to you to decide if you believe.
There are things that lurk in the darkness, and woe betide anyone who disturbs their slumber. When eleven-year-old Tara Hollis and her family move into their recently inherited ancestral home in 1963, it seems like their fortunes are looking up. But Tara and her little sister soon start to sense a sinister presence in the house, watching them. Something is waiting, and it isn’t waiting to welcome them…This nine-part serialized drama jumps around in time, delving into the dark history of Light House from 1938 to 2001. As the story progresses, a creeping sense of dreads builds as you wait to find out what exactly prowls the dark corners of Light House—and whether anyone will make it out alive.