Halloween is on the horizon, which means it’s time to start getting in the spooky spirit. We all have our favorite scary books, scary movies, and scary TV shows, but not enough attention is paid to scary podcasts. That’s why, this month, Backtracks is taking the time to amplify spooky voices in podcasting. We’re kicking things off with true crime podcasts, which can be truly horrific. Whether you’re commuting to work, getting a workout in, or just relaxing around the house, these spooky voices in true crime podcasts are sure to get you feeling nice and ready for the Halloween season.
Serial Killers (Parcast Network)
There’s nothing like a podcast that gets right to the point. That’s very true of Serial Killers, Parcast Network’s podcast that is exclusively about the most sinister and notorious murderers in history. Profiling a different serial killer every Monday and Thursday (save for the occasional two-parter), Serial Killers aims to dive deep into the psyche of the murderers they profile, utilizing archival audio and the occasional dramatic recreation to immerse the listener into the headspace of the serial killer of the week. That’s what makes this one (and this entire genre of podcasts) so spooky: It’s true. These things actually happened, and they’re terrifying to think about. Plus, with over 200 episodes so far, there’s no shortage of frights to be found.
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Crime Junkie (audiochuck)
One of the longest-running podcasts in true crime, Crime Junkie has gotten the art of telling real stories about real murders down to a science. On the air for over 150 episodes now, Crime Junkie takes the time to flesh out all the details of a crime and really immerse you in the murder of the week. The hosts are so good at utilizing interviews with people who were actually there, sustaining a spooky tone throughout the hour long episodes that’ll have you looking over your shoulder while you listen. As an added bonus, episodes are typically not connected to one another, which means listeners like you can hop in wherever you please and won’t have to worry about getting lost.
A Killing On the Cape (ABC News)
It was only a matter of time before legitimate news outlets started getting into the podcasting game. The same goes for true crime shows like 20/20 and Dateline, which have both gotten into true crime podcasting in recent years. One of 20/20‘s offerings, A Killing On the Cape, stands out as one of the best podcasts they’ve ever done — it’s a horrifying crime, a mysterious case, and an upsetting series of events that culminates in one of the spookiest true crime podcasts out there. (And, at just seven episodes in total, it’s perfect for a quick dose of true crime terror.)
Atlanta Monster (iHeartRadio)
After nearly 40 years, just the mere mention of the Atlanta Child Murders still has the ability to send chills down the spines of anyone who’s heard the stories. Atlanta Monster — iHeartRadio’s foray into true crime podcasts — seeks to cater to listeners of all sorts, whether they’ve heard nothing or everything about the heartbreaking disappearance and murder of 25 innocent Black children in the Atlanta area throughout the late 70s and early 80s. With three seasons of stories so far (and the potential for more, just based on the sheer amount of information there is on this terrible tragedy), Atlanta Monster is the epitome of scary-but-true.
There’s nothing more spooky than a phenomenon that can’t be explained. This, as you might have guessed, is the subject of the podcast Unexplained. There’s a lot we don’t know or can’t logically spell out about the world around us, and this fact often overlaps with unsolvable or unbelievable crimes. Released twice a week, episodes of Unexplained set out to provide an answer to some of the more confounding stories and bring some peace of mind to the people involved. The series sits at over 130 episodes so far, but there’s no doubt they’ll have enough material for hundreds of episodes to come.
To Live and Die in L.A. (Tenderfoot TV)
Everyone knows Los Angeles is also known as the City of Angels, but what many might not know is that Los Angeles is also known for being home to some of the most baffling and absurd murder cases in the country. With millions upon millions of people crammed into just one small slice of California, it’s no surprise that L.A. has housed some truly spooky stories that would make for excellent true crime fodder. To Live and Die in L.A., presented by Tenderfoot TV, is one true crime podcast that recognizes the potential of diving deep into these murder scenes. With just one season of twelve episodes completed so far but the potential for more seasons just waiting to be recorded, To Live and Die in L.A. is a great option for listeners like you who want something spooky but don’t want to be tied to hundreds of episodes to choose from.
From the studio that brought you Serial Killers comes another true crime podcast that cuts straight to the chase: Cults. There’s no question what this one might be about. With fewer episodes than its sister series but containing just as many gripping stories of real crimes that happened to real people, Cults investigates the thinking behind some of the most dangerous, most upsetting, most tragic cults throughout history. The hosts dig deep into the mentality of it all, trying to find the humanity and the thinking behind those who unfortunately lost their lives at the hands of a crazed cult leader they thought they could trust.
Root of Evil (TNT)
If you’re a true crime junkie, then there’s no doubt you’re familiar with the story of the Black Dahlia murder. Known among fans of the genre as one of the most grotesque and perplexing unsolved murders in American history, the Black Dahlia murder could honestly have dozens of podcasts dedicated to investigating all the facts (and lack thereof). Root of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia stands as one of the most comprehensive investigations into the case to date, telling the unfortunate stories of generations of the descendants of the primary suspect, Dr. George Hodel, and the shocking tales of their family’s fallout in the wake of Hodel’s potential involvement in the murder of actress Elizabeth Short — a.k.a. the Black Dahlia.
Up and Vanished (Tenderfoot TV)
You know a crime is truly baffling when there are over 100 episodes dedicated to investigating it and there still aren’t many answers to be found. This describes Up and Vanished to a T, a true crime podcast that seeks to interrogate the friends, family, and townsfolk involved in the disappearance of former beauty queen and high school teacher Tara Grinstead. It’s been over a decade since she up and vanished, as the title suggests, but there’s still nothing to be said about her location. At the same time, Up and Vanished also seeks to solve cases of similar disappearances across the country. It’s a fascinating listen and a truly spooky story in one.
Whether you’re interested in exploring other scary podcasts or you’re in search of a completely different genre of podcast entirely, Backtracks has got you and all your podcast needs covered. No matter if you’re wanting to listen to the latest in pop culture news or you’re looking for something thought provoking, there’s a seemingly endless amount of great podcasts on our site as well as many great curated podcast collections like this one over our blog. Check it out for yourself and be on the lookout for more spooky voices in podcasting coming soon!