Podcasts are RAGINGLY popular nowadays. Based on 2018 statistics gathered by Edison Research, nearly half of all Americans have listened to a podcast at some point, and half of that number listen to podcasts monthly. Female podcast listenership leapt over 14% in just one year! Podcasts are becoming even more popular than blogs, which seems to signal a shift in media preference from long form writing to audio.
I’m definitely a part of this booming podcast fanbase. If I’m working on the computer or cleaning the house, I’m listening to a podcast. I follow more shows than I can even keep up with regularly!
I compiled this short list of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE shows based on two criteria: the first list is based entirely on storytelling talent of the host(s), while the second list is all about humor and making you laugh. But all shows have one thing in common: a penchant for the paranormal.
Note: These are nonfiction podcasts. While many fiction podcasts have popped up in recent years, they’re not really my cup of tea (I’d choose an audiobook over those!) I like to learn things and be shocked and surprised by real facts.
BEST STORYTELLING PODCASTS:
(All are family friendly, though some content is scary.)
1.) Astonishing Legends
Scott Philbrook and Forrest Burgess are the godfathers of podcasting, in my opinion. They are not only extremely well-read, but they have great chemistry on mic. They cover a wide range of “astonishing” content, from UFOs to ghosts to cryptids to strange history. Don’t miss Greyfriars Kirkyard for a shorter taste of their podcast, and if you want a good creep factor for Halloween, listen to the 3-part series on the Black Monk of Pontefract.
2.) Pleasing Terrors
Mike Brown is a writer and storyteller, which is SO obvious in his work. Each episode has a main story, but using his serious talent for storytelling, he weaves in anecdotes from other avenues. His voice makes me utterly spellbound, and the spooky atmosphere he builds with his delivery is top notch. Don’t miss The Dark Path or The Serpent’s Curse.
I almost didn’t include Lore, because in recent years, this podcast has exploded into an empire of media darlings and everyone knows what it is, anyway. Aaron Mahnke is an incredible researcher and storyteller; as a result of his natural talent (and his Hollywood connections), Lore has gone on to become a series of books and an Amazon original show. But I can’t not include Lore – it was one of the originals when I first began listening, and Mahnke helped me fall in love with this type of podcast.
Richard MacLean Smith has the kind of proper British accent that drives us US girls wild. His career with the BBC is obvious in his crisp delivery and penchant for building atmosphere simply with his words. Unexplained is the Pleasing Terrors of British podcasting – gorgeous writing and storytelling by a man who is so talented, it seems unreal. Don’t miss When the Snow Melts, a 3-part series on the Dyatlov Pass incident that will stay with you long after it ends.
5.) Graveyard Tales
Adam and Matt are the Deep South Version of Astonishing Legends. They have the same uncanny chemistry as Scott and Forrest do on AL, with a little more down-home southern charm. Listening to GT is like having a casual sit-down with two of your closest friends to discuss the weird and unexplainable. You can’t go wrong with any of their episodes, but I suggest starting with Reincarnation or Missing 411.
BEST COMEDIC HUMOR & CHEMISTRY:
(Uh. Please note: These are NSFW.)
1.) Last Podcast on the Left
If Astonishing Legends is my favorite for storytelling, LPOL is my favorite for making me laugh so hard I pee myself. Ben, Marcus, and Henry are completely irreverent and raunchy comedians who make fun of everything and everybody with equal care. Their shows are always high energy and funny, even when they’re covering darker topics (and trust me, some of the crap they cover will make you sick to your stomach.) This show is NOT for the sensitive or the faint of heart. You can’t go wrong starting with their series on Heaven’s Gate or Rasputin.
2.) The Unbelievable Podcast
Phoebe and Brian are two comedians with a desire to talk about and make fun of all the weird shit that happens in this world. Phoebe’s amusement for Brian’s wacky behavior is hilarious, and their sometimes co-host Sebastian has the BEST laugh in the world. Many of their episodes stray into alien territory, as well as the what-the-hell-did-I-just-listen-to territory. You can’t go wrong starting with Vampire Bones, Haunted Castles, and Torture, three episodes back to back from a year ago that are three of my favorites.
3.) The Haunted Heart
Kenny and Katie are absolutely adorable together. These two best friends are witchy and dark and funny as hell with their #trashtalent. I love them so much I can’t even decide which episodes to tell you to start with – I started from episode one and binged them all! Their conversations are intimate and fun, and make you feel like you’re a part of their team.
4.) And That’s Why We Drink
This is the newest podcast on my roster of must-listens – so new, in fact, I haven’t even listened to all the episodes yet! Christine and Em have the same kind of chemistry and sense of humor as The Haunted Heart, which is why I’m finding myself falling for their show, too.
There are so many podcasts out there – even more I personally want to explore, too. But this list is a great starting point for someone looking to sink their teeth into the supernatural side of podcasting.