It’s that time of year again! Halloween Month (or October, as some call it) is upon us, and with it comes all the joys of autumn, like pumpkin pie, costume parties and ghouls. Lots of ghouls. To hype yourself up for the best October yet, here are some spooky, scary podcasts for Halloween.
“Spooked” started out as a recurring special episode on storytelling podcast “Snap Judgement.” It was so popular that “Snap Judgement’s” host, Glynn Washington, spun “Spooked” off into its very own show. Guests tell stories about their experiences with the paranormal and their encounters with the unexplainable. They’re ostensibly true, but they sound like campfire stories come to life.
“Dr. Death” is the terrifying true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a Dallas neurosurgeon. Bad back? Chronic pain? Don’t go under this doctor’s knife. Dr. Duntsch had a nasty habit of turning spine surgeries into grisly hack jobs (that only some of his patients survived). “Dr. Death” is the story of a dangerous doctor – and the whistleblowers who took him down.
Listen from beginning to end.
Childhood friends Amanda McLoughlin and Julia Schifini get together over cocktails to talk about the history of myths and legends from around the world (get it? Spirits?). As they do, the myths and legends can get pretty creepy at times. Schifini’s meticulous research and McLoughlin’s wide-eyed fascination make “Spirits” a great listen any time of year.
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“Criminal” is unlike other true crime podcasts, because it’s not really interested in gore. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s not terrifying at times. Nothing is more bone-chilling than listening to host Phoebe Judge calmly tell you a story about a stranger living in a woman’s attic.
Host Aaron Mahnke explores the historic origins of humanity’s creepiest folktales and ghost stories. It’s a history podcast and a horror podcast all in one – and Mahnke’s calm, dulcet tones make it seem almost like a campfire story. Tune in for stories of people burying themselves alive, staging pictures with ghosts, accusing one another of being vampires and so much more.
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark love murder – but not in that way. “My Favorite Murder” is a true crime podcast about the joy of telling gruesome stories to your friends. Every week, Kilgariff and Hardstark trade (lightly-researched) stories about murderers. Like “Criminal,” I’ve recommended this show before, but nothing captures the spirit of Halloween quite like joking about serial killers and real-life monsters.
Inspired by the internet-era campfire stories told on Reddit forum r/nosleep, “The NoSleep Podcast” straddles the line between truth and fiction. The stories are all told from the first person, as though it really happened, and given the audio-drama treatment of mood music and sound effects. “The NoSleep Podcast” is hosted by David Cummings, and features a rotating cast of guest narrators and voice actors that bring each story to life.
Recommended episodes: Check out the episodes on their playlist for new listeners.
Podcaster Justin McElroy and Dr. Sydnee McElroy take listeners on a tour of the horrible things people have been doing to their bodies for centuries. “Sawbones” is a podcast about medical history – particularly about the strangest parts of medical history. Due to its proximity to sheer body horror, some of the episodes get especially ghoulish – though the McElroys endeavor to make it as light-hearted as possible.
For most of the year, “Stuff You Missed in History Class” is a calm, well-researched podcast about the forgotten corners of history. But every October, it gets a little more haunted. Hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey tell spooky stories about historical ghosts, haunted houses, colonial vampires and the history of Halloween pop culture.