I learned that today, September 30th, is National Podcast Day. That’s a thing, now. This is the world we live in.
Also, tomorrow is October 1st. We’re heading into October Country.
In celebration of these twin events, I’m going to make a little list for those in search of dreadful podcasts. I would say these are my favorite horror podcasts, but, it turns out, I only have 1 podcast in my entire library that *isn’t* a horror podcast…so these are my top 5 favorite podcasts period.
If you’re an avid podcast listener, you will not find any of these entries surprising. If you aren’t, however, maybe some of these will suck you in. Let’s get started.
This somewhat came out of left-field for me. When I first heard of the podcast, originating from stories posted in reddit’s NoSleep section, I kind of rolled my eyes at the idea. I thought to myself: “I’ve read a bunch of those stories and most of them aren’t very good.” But then, one day, I boredly decided to give it a shot. As it turns out, the NoSleep Podcast is pretty damned good. Talented narrators give well-acted voice to some of the better NoSleep stories ever posted; and the stories aren’t actually limited purely to reddit’s NoSleep section. Of course, not every story is brilliant, but there are some real gems in there, and the skill of the voice-over artists lend credence and quality even to the weaker tales. NoSleep also introduced me to several other podcasts, most notably Pseudopod.
Award-winning, good quality, and run by one of the damned friendliest group of human beings on earth…the NoSleep Podcast is worth a mention on any list.
Myth, mythology, urban legends, folk tales…every horror story we tell is our attempt at explaining what seems, to us, to be inexplicable. Our monsters are secret motifs, totems for the real evil lurking in the world around us and, frighteningly moreso, within us. Lore is a podcast dedicated to exploring the roots of our scary tales. I highly recommend giving it a listen. I’m only seven episodes in, myself, but I’ve been having a great time. If horror theory is of interest to you, or if you just want to hear some terrifying true stories, I highly recommend giving Lore a listen.
What? I’m a fan of one of the most popular Weird podcasts in history? SHOCKING. Who would’ve thought?!?
Welcome to Night Vale, of course, isn’t really dreadful or horrific. It’s, at times, creepy. And sad. And uplifting. But, mostly, it’s bloody funny and extremely weird. Well-written and well-performed, there’s a damned good reason this podcast is as popular as it is. I’d be surprised if anyone reading this hadn’t yet heard it, but if that somehow happens to be the case…change that. Change that, now.
Fun stuff. I blazed through the first season at light speed and have nearly caught up through the second. I ache, waiting for more episodes. I’m putting off listening to the last 3 of them, making them last the way a junkie might: scraping off a line only when needed, hoping to find a powdery surprise at the bottom of a pocket, some forgotten baggie lost in the laundry bin. Like the junkie, I hope against all hope: I know there’s no hidden stash secreted away, but toss my room over searching for it, anyway.
The Black Tapes follows the lives and work of several interesting characters as they argue, fight, and compromise; as they deceive each other and themselves; as they help each other. A paranormal mystery? A story of faith and belief? The application of scientific method to a series of unrelated incidents? These questions clash and conflate throughout each episode, and the darkness eddying around the edges is both real and surreal, both concrete and…maybe not-so-concrete…
Straight up: get on this shit.
Written by part of the same creative team behind Welcome to Night Vale, Alice Isn’t Dead is a brilliant ride through bizarre America, a paranormative road trip through the vast emptiness of our country…and that emptiness has a lot to hide.
Alice Isn’t Dead was, by far, my favorite podcast experience ever. Ever. And, for a third time, for emphasis: ever.
Our narrator leads us on a journey through love and fear, through desolation and determination, through the big empty and the things living within it. Small towns. Bizarre events. A lurking horror wheezing rank breath through a mouth full of twisted teeth. Thrilling, touching, and affecting. Once, while walking along Central Park South, someone ran into me when I froze mid-stride while listening. I stuttered an apology and didn’t hear the man’s response over the more-important sound of my headphones.
If you listen to one podcast ever in your entire life, I would recommend this one.
Obviously, if you listen to multiple podcasts, I would recommend all the other ones, too.
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