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6 Spooky podcasts for Halloween

Spooky podcasts


6 Spooky podcasts for Halloween

If you’re after an audience with the undead, podcasts are the ideal medium.

Sorry. But puns aside, they really are. The magic of hearing a ghost story isn’t in what’s being said as such, but in the images being conjured up. Your brain is capable of forming terrors far more terrible than anything you could actually see, and around the virtual campfire those images are that much more vivid with artfully deployed sound design.

We’ve been living through a mini-golden age of audio horror lately too. Led by the megahit The Battersea Poltergeist, a strain of podcasts which mix real-life spookiness with dramatic reimaginings has hit a nerve with listeners, and more and more producers and writers are taking advantage of the uniquely chilling atmosphere that they can create in sound.

As well as that, though, there’s long been a vibrant line-up of paranormally inclined shows which follow the My Favourite Murder format of hosts chatting amiably about something horrific. However you want to be chilled this Halloween, there’s a lot out there for you.

The Battersea Poltergeist

It’s not often that a Radio 4 drama-doc becomes so vast that it gets its own live show, but The Battersea Poltergeist is exactly that Radio 4 drama-doc. Part paranormal cold case, part dramatic reconstruction, it follows Danny Robins and his team as they go back to 63 Wycliffe Road in south London to investigate a haunting which gripped the UK in the fifties.

The Harrowing

The frame of this audio drama is a police investigation into a mysterious tragedy on a remote island off the west coast of Scotland called Toll Mòr. A growling stranger walks into a church warning of doomsday and demons, and local police sergeant Jackie O’Hara (Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt) arrives just as a huge storm rolls in.

Welcome to Night Vale

This was one of the very first fiction podcasts to make it really, really big. The hook is that we’re listening to radio broadcasts to a small community somewhere in America – adverts for carnivals, local election reminders, that sort of thing. Except the carnival sounds horrific and the only vote in the election comes from disembodied voices in a hidden gorge. Both funny ha-ha and funny peculiar.

Alice Isn’t Dead

This horror-leaning thriller from Welcome to Night Vale’s co-author Joseph Fink follows a lonely trucker as she traverses America on the search for her wife, who’s gone missing. Their relationship isn’t straightforward, but then neither is this America: it’s full of ghostly no-places lost in time, not-quite-human serial killers and, at its heart, a sprawling conspiracy.


Though the horror pod wave has been driven by mixtures of fact and faction, some of the most spine-tingling are those like Lore, which meticulously research true scary stories which inspire folklore. Each time there’s a different theme – opportunity, confidence, music – which are explored by the tales different cultures tell each other about them. There’s a truly vast back catalogue of nearly 200 episodes here to creep into.


A Podcast to the Curious

This one started out as an exploration of the life and work of MR James, the master of the English ghost story. It’s literary rather than alarming, digging into the context and the story of how each story was written as well as dissecting the tales themselves. They’ve tip-toed into the dimly lit library of other English ghost stories too, from Dickens to writers who followed James’ lead.

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