Ever miss being told a bedtime story that ends up freaking you out so much that you have feverish dreams of monstrous creatures? I did. So I figured I would bring you my favorite podcasts that fill my scary stories need.
As a quick side note, I did a top 10 Horror Podcasts of 2014 and I’ve discovered so many more that I’ll be expanding that into a top 20 or 50 list for the end of this year.
On to the stories!
Top 10 Horror Story Podcasts
10: Campfire Radio Theater
Keywords: Radio Theater, short horror stories
This podcast has some incredibly well produced shows, it’s old time radio horror style shows produced in the modern day.
I really enjoy the stories they produce, but why this podcast isn’t higher up on the list is because it posts very erratically. Sometimes three months go by in between each episode. But when a new one pops up in your feed? It’s like inta-horror-Christmas.
Key Words: Old Time Radio, Horror, Audio-drama
You’ll hear me compare a lot of things to classic radio theater because it has informed and inspired many creatives in the horror genre.
But what if you’ve never hear any of them before? Well, then you’re in for a treat because The Horror! podcast shares that with a little bit more.
I love this podcast because they don’t just re-air old (1960’s and earlier) horror radio shows, they tell you a little bit about the show and when it was originally aired. It’s horror stories mixed with history and has me hooked.
Also, unlike other old-time radio podcasts, the quality of their audio says pretty consistent and easy to listen to. The pops, crackles and decay add character, rather than impede listening like other podcasts of this niche fall victim to.
8: WE’RE ALIVE
Keywords: Continuous narrative, zombie, audio-drama
I recently discovered this one and I’m really enjoying the story so far. It’s well produced and feels a lot like the audio-theater version of the Walking Dead, but with it’s own unique flair.
This podcast had its finale episode a while ago, but they’re supposed to be releasing the mini-season “We’re Alive: Lockdown” sometime this year.
7: Jim Harold’s Campfire – True Ghost Stories
Key Words: True Ghost Stories, Global
This podcast, and the one below it pops up in pretty much any list I make. I love hearing people’s personal ghost stories and Jim (the host) has an easy way of bringing caller’s stories out through his conversational interview style.
If your beliefs fall more to the side of skeptic, the storytelling isn’t polished enough for you to distance yourself from it. So it may turn you off.
However, if you do believe in the paranormal, or get inspiration from it, you’ll love this podcast too.
6: Anything Ghost
Key Words: True Ghost Stories, Urban Legends, Global
Yep, another true ghost stories favorite of mine. And for those of you who are too skeptical to enjoy Jim Harold’s Campfire, this is the podcast to listen to.
This podcast is a mix of callers with personal stories, readings of people’s personal experiences, and local legends from around the world. I particularly enjoy the atmospheric music that Lex (the host) composes for the show and I think it adds just the right amount of dramatic flair.
5: Welcome to night vale
Key Words: Comedy, Lovecraftian, Radio Drama
This podcast got bounced around a bunch on this list because I absolutely love it (I rarely miss an episode and even drove 7 hours to see the live performance.) But it’s kind of a unique duck. It’s not scary, but it does play with Lovecraftian horror elements.
Since it’s stories are more fun than terrifying (think Courage the Cowardly Dog or Invader Zim) I put it in the number 5 rank.
What is Welcome to Night Vale anyway?
WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
Basically a little town of Lovecraftian horror and amazing weather (music) updates. Your life will be a better place for listening to this podcast.
4: The No Sleep Podcast
Key Words: Creepy pasta, short horror stories, fully produced audio drama
If you like Creepy Pasta then this is right up your nightmare alley.
This podcast takes the top scary stories and personal experiences shared on the subreddit “NoSleep” and produces them audiobook style. Volunteer redditers voice the stories so it’s a really fun interactive podcast.
The stories vary in quality and performance, but overall it’s a lot of fun and there have been some genuinely disturbing stories shared there.
3:TALES TO TERRIFY
Key Words: Short horror stories, readings
This podcast is the beginning of the cut throat placement of the final three.
I love the stories they pick and the voice actors they bring in to read the stories. This podcast also has some killer artwork for their covers and often load multiple short stories into each of their episodes.
The only thing that detracts from this podcast is that they front load each episode with about 3 minutes of sponsor spots. I’m an impatient person. Sell me things after I enjoy at least some of your content and then I might actually have the attention span to go check out the sponsors. #justsaying
Otherwise, stellar podcast.
Keywords: Short horror stories, readings
This podcast will always hold a place close to my heart. It was the first modern horror storytelling podcast I stumbled upon and it lead me to their sister podcasts, Escape Pod (Science Fiction) and PodCastle (Fantasy). Between the three of them I am entertained for days.
This one picks a variety of horror flavored stories to share and produces them with very professional audio. I am never disappointed by an episode.
This one is right up near the top because of their audience interaction. They have incredibly active Facebook groups and forums and will respond to and share comments from the audience in the episodes.
One little thing that they do that I find incredibly helpful is they start of the show with a “trigger warning section.” That way you get a head’s up on what type of horror is about to come on. Murder, abuse, monsters? It’s a nice buffer for when you’re listening in the open air. Somethings co-workers shouldn’t hear you listening to. lol
1: The Wicked Library
Keywords: Short Horror Stories, reading, indie, author interviews
Ok, I know you’re going to think this is an entirely biased opinion. But it’s only partially biased. (Anyone who lavishes me with compliments about my artwork is amazing as far as I’m concerned.) But I can back-up this decision.
This podcast performs short horror stories, primarily from indie authors, and then interviews the authors afterwards. And I love the atmospheric additions of music they layer into (the otherwise) simple storytelling.
Why this podcast stands at the top of my list comes down to one particular detail.
It emphasizes the work of indie horror authors.
That is something I care deeply about. The more notable authors you can discover with a quick tap tap on google, but it’s finding the new and hidden creators that thrills me.
It’s why I spend so much time sharing awesome artwork and stories on my various social media streams, and what I hope to offer the world. A little attention for my indie brethren, by-the-boot-strap horror creators who have amazing ideas and just need a little help getting out there. That’s what this podcast does best.
It brings you amazing stories with a great narrator and couples that with author interviews. I love seeing “behind the scenes” of each story and I’m always left feeling inspired and driven after listening to this podcast.
Whew! That was a labor-intensive post. I’ve been working on that one for a couple weeks now.
But I’m curious. What horror story podcasts do you listen to that you think should have gotten a mention?
And if you’re looking for some audio fiction that takes horror to the stars, I recommend checking out my Where to Find Stellar free audio Sci-Fi post.