In case you’ve been living under a rock all summer, you’ve probably heard about a little Netflix series called “Stranger Things.” The show is set in small-town Indiana in 1983 where a young boy named Will goes missing. What happens from there is a series of events and mysteries that mix mystery, murder, science and the supernatural. It’s amazing.
However, if you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve already seen “Stranger Things” and are desperately seeking something to fill that Eggo-shaped hole in your heart. So here you are. Seven delightful podcasts filled with mystery, suspense, ghosts, ghouls, aliens and what have you. You’re welcome.
Limetown is a fictional podcast mimicking the style of investigative radio journalists. It’s hosted by “American Public Radio reporter Lia Haddock” as she strives to uncover the truth of what happened a decade ago in rural Tennessee’s Limetown where over 300 people vanished.
The seven-part series follows Haddock as she investigates the former research facility’s eery hidden past. It’s part developing mystery, part “Holy crap, Limetown is actually Hawkin’s Laboratory. Someone save Eleven.” (I haven’t finished yet though, so don’t spoil it for me.)
While I’ve only listened to the first season of Serial, I can attest that the mystery of 17-year-old Adnan Syed’s murder trial is one that is just a little too…strange. The real-life case begins when high schooler Hae Min Lee, Syed’s ex-girlfriend, goes missing one day after school in Baltimore (sounds like Will, right???) in 1999. A month later, her body is uncovered in a city park and fingers are pointed at Syed.
The podcast is hosted by journalist Sarah Koenig as she attempts to uncover the truth of Lee’s untimely death. While a part of Koenig doubts Syed’s innocence, she refuses to give up on him, uncovering twists and turns of the complicated trial not seen by the public. While it may lack the fear factor some Stranger Things fans crave, it definitely provides listeners an in-depth, investigative piece of prime journalism to enjoy.
I could probably talk about Lore for five days straight, but I’ll save you the time. Aaron Mahnke released the first of his award-winning podcast in March of 2015 and produces a new episode every two weeks. As the name suggests, Lore is a collection of folklore, scary stories, and myths. However, unlike other tale-telling podcasts, Mahnke provides backstory to the legends we’ve heard for centuries.
Thrillers, ghosts and ghouls, vampires, murders, mysteries, witchcraft, etc. You name it, Mahnke provides. The series is so popular that Lore is even being turned into a television show. If Demogorgons and tragedy are your cup of tea, take a listen. Just maybe not before bed.
If you’re looking for something a little different and off the wall, fictional podcast Welcome to Night Vale could be the one. Presented as a daily radio show based in Southwestern United States desert town, the host Cecil Gershwin Palmer delivers the bizarre “news, announcements and advertisements” of Night Vale.
While it doesn’t tell a direct tale, it provides listeners hints and clues to the outlandish events of the town. It’s a podcast that could be any everyday newscast, unless your paying attention. Glowing clouds, UFOs, fugitives dragons, and more. While it’s not exactly a Stranger Things-esque story, it’s definitely strange.
What first appeared as Reddit.com forum “Nosleep,” a place for community users to share original scary stories, quickly took the podcast world by storm. A group of Reddit users proposed the idea of narrating the top stories audiobook style. The first episode was released in June 2011, so you have a bit of catching up to do.
While host and producer David Cummings’s voice may remind you of Will Ferrell’s Zoolander character Jacobim Mugatu, the variety of eery stories told send will chill you to the bone. So if you’re a fan of mystery, terror and jump scares similar to that of Christmas light communication, The NoSleep Podcast just might become your pre-bedtime ritual.
Though Criminal lacks the paranormal draw that Stranger Things fans yearn for, it’s certainly not lacking in mystery. Each episode of Criminal follows a single topic, telling stories of complex crimes. If Serial and Lore were to have a baby, Criminal would be that podcast. With it’s high quality production, stellar storytelling and real-life crime, Criminal sucks listeners in for each 20 minute episode.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that the stories told are real or that most of the stories revolve around average people that get caught in the middle of a mess, but the podcast is mesmerizing.
I’ll be honest. I hadn’t listened to much of The Black Tapes before this, but after two episodes, I was hooked. This paranormal docudrama seems to has rave reviews and I can attest that it sucks you in. With two seasons of 12 episodes each, journalist and host Alex Reagan seeks the truth of whether or not the supernatural ghosts and ghouls that haunt us are real while also battling the figurative ghosts of a debunking Dr. Strand.
It’s an amazing production. Eery, creepy, and mysterious to infinity and beyond. If you’re the type that seeks supernatural, loves ghosts stories and are desperately searching for a Stranger Things surrogate, listen to The Black Tapes. Start with number one and work your way through. You won’t regret it.