Maybe you’re one of those
weirdos people who like watching horror movies alone. Perhaps your love for true crime is a product of all the ’90s cult classic Unsolved Mysteries you watched. Or maybe you were obsessed with the bone-chilling true life podcast sensation “Serial” or Netflix’s much-binged Making a Murderer and need to fill the void. Whatever your spooky poison, there’s a podcast out there to terrify you in the chicest way—with words, music and sounds instead of the gore that so many horror films like to assault our eyeballs with. Here, eight v. v. v. creepy podcasts that will scare the daylights out of you.
1. If You’re the Friend in Your Squad With the Darkest Humour: “My Favorite Murder”
When we first heard the podcast’s tagline “Stay sexy, don’t get murdered,” we knew we’d met our dark, twisted, murder-obsessed spirit animals in hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. On each episode, the besties and lifelong true crime lovers swap their fave tales of murder and hear horror stories from friends and fans (a love of gallows humour is mandatory).
2. If You Heart The Walking Dead: “We’re Alive”
“We’re Alive” is a fictional (obv) zombie drama that follows the sole survivors of a deadly viral outbreak that has wiped out most of Earth. The podcast’s popularity seems to be spreading like a zombie brain infection—their episodes have been downloaded more than 50 million times and it’s even spawned its own The Talking Dead-style fancast. And like The Walking Dead, it’s not all rotting flesh and swords in the brain—”We’re Alive” throws a feels-inducing emotional moment the listener’s way as well.
3. If You Live for Shock Value: “True Murder”
Gacy, Bundy, Dahmer, the gang’s all here. With more than 300 episodes in its catalog, “True Murder” invites authors who have written about the most notorious serial killers ever—including some absolute badasses who survived almost being offed and lived to write about it—to discuss their famous subjects.
4. If You’re Basically an Amateur Criminal Psychologist: “The Mind of a Murderer”
*Actual* criminal psychologist Dr. Michelle Ward interviews a death row inmate who slashed a prison supervisor’s throat and a man who “strangled and stomped” someone to death, among other charming characters, to try to get to the root of why they killed. There are only six episodes in the podcast extension of the popular Investigation Discovery TV show by the same name, but there’s enough disturbing IRL horror—think seemingly normal people just snapping one day as opposed to lifelong lunatics—to have you barricading your bedroom door.
5. If You Don’t Want to Sleep Again: “Sword and Scale”
If you can get past the intro describing the podcast as “a show that reveals that the worst monsters are real” (*shudder*), congratulations, you’re truly twisted (jk). Horror fiends are rewarded with episodes discussing real-life cases that range from the bizarre to the truly heinous, with real police recordings spliced into several of the episodes to add a little authentic terror.
6. If You’re Still Theorizing About Making a Murder: “The Generation Why”
If you have a thing for complex conspiracy theories, this podcast is for you. Pals Aaron and Justin share theories and opinions—sometimes with the help of forensic experts and true crime writers—on real unsolved mysteries, controversies and conspiracies, and with nearly 200 episodes (and new ones added weekly) in the bank, you can binge-listen to your sick little heart’s content.
7. If You’re an X-Files Fiend: “The Black Tapes“
This bi-weekly podcast hosted by Alex Reagan is a fictional serial about a public radio journalist who gets caught up in some heavy paranormal shit, like exorcism and unexplained disappearances. It has a very passionate sub-Reddit, so you know it’s good.
8. If You’re a History Buff With a Penchant for the Macabre: “Sawbones”
If you know anything about the early days of modern medicine, you know there was a lot of trial and error (and a lack of anesthesia) involved. Every Friday, the husband-and-wife spotlight on all the weirdest, grossest ways we’ve tried to heal people over the years.
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