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Arts and Entertainment

8 Creepy Podcasts to Set the Mood for Halloween

Check out the NoSleep Podcast to prep for Halloween if you haven't already. (Image: Courtesy of NoSleep)
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It’s Halloween eve, and it’s primetime for ghosts, goblins and those things that go bump in the night. In other words, it’s time to get scarrrred, y’all. We’ve been listening to a lot of horror and creepy podcasts to get us in the mood for All Hallows’ Eve and wanted to share a few of them with you. Many of these podcasts feature fictional short stories or longer narratives, but a couple of them are nonfiction because—as we know from watching a little too much Investigative Discovery—true crime can just as terrifying and ghoulish as the supernatural.

NoSleep Podcast
The NoSleep Podcastis an anthology of short horror stories that launched in 2011. It began as a collection that was being posted in a subreddit and grew from there. Hosted and produced by David Cummings, the weekly show—now in its eighth season—features several short horror stories by different authors and told by voice actors. It’s definitely spooky and some of the tales will definitely keep you up at night with graphic details and explicit language. Since there are so many episodes, there’s a special section for newbies called New to NoSleep.

Real Ghost Stories Online
This daily podcast by husband and wife team Tony and Jenny Brueski is filled with real-life encounters told by listeners and fans, who call in or email their stories. They describe paranormal experiences or strange things they simply can’t explain—haunted houses, shadow people, possessions and more. Some folks are definitely better storytellers than others, but bear through them to find the real scares. Trust us. We had to shut the podcast off more than once when driving alone at night. Once in awhile, Real Ghost Stories Online has special guests for behind the scenes stories, such as one of the Perron kids who lived in the Rhode Island farmhouse from The Conjuring. If you have your own real ghost story to share, write them through the website or record it at 1-855-853-4802.

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A New Winter
We think we stumbled upon A New Winter last year on Twitter. Its first season tracked a series of murders and disappearances in a small U.K. town in the winter of 2000. It’s told in the first person from the perspective of a young man who’s friends with a family slaughtered in their farmhouse. With minimalist sound design and not a lot of bells-and-whistles, the slasher/supernatural/cult storytelling of its first season kept us engrossed. Sometimes confused, but still wanting more. The first season’s episodes were short and easily digestible, but season two’s are longer, but just as thrilling.

Stoney Creek
Stoney Creek is a new anthology series created by Danielle McKechnie that focuses on the town of Stoney Creek, a small town located in Oregon. Stoney Creek, which could also double as The Twilight Zone, has a serial killer in its midst that may or may not be human. The nine episodes are presented as a podcast-within-a-podcast by high school student Jessica Mauro—a running diary of what’s happened in Stoney Creek since the body of her high school boyfriend Emmett King was found eviscerated in the woods. She uncovers weird mysteries about her town and learns that this monster called “The Endgrave” may be more than just folklore.

The Black Tapes
The Black Tapes launched last year, and if you haven’t jumped on this podcast, do so now. It’s an addictive story about a journalist’s examination of a skeptic paranormal researcher and his unsolved cases, known as The Black Tapes. The show is presented in a Serial format, and the comparison to Serial is undeniable, with Terry Miles’ theme hitting that point home even more.

The longest running short horror fiction, Pseudopod, has been around since 2006, bringing listeners tales of suspense, sci-fi, horror and speculative fiction. It’s been around for quite awhile with different writers contributing short- and long-form fiction and readers/actors bringing the stories to life. If you haven’t checked Pseudopod yet, then start here with the 13 stories that show the diversity of the storytelling on the show.

We found Criminal when Serial took its first season break. A Radiotopia / PRX podcast created in 2013, host Phoebe Judge and producer Lauren Spohrer find and tell interesting stories about the underbelly of crime. Sometimes the stories are black and white with definite winners or losers, but most of the time it’s an exploration in gray. The stories aren’t outright horror, but they can be scary listening to how f-ed up people can be.

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Sword and Scale
Where Criminal might be a bit more cerebral approach to true crime, Sword and Scale is a deep-dive into evil, covering serial killer stories and brutal murder mysteries. The stories are true, though they remind us that they’re told through eye-witness accounts, which is as reliable as a person’s memory and biases.

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