Since I’ve mentioned my favorite music and videogames, I thought I’d share a list of my favorite podcasts with you all and some thoughts on why I love each of them. I’ll try to figure out some categories as well; this is a work-in-progress as so many of the other features on this site. That’s OK, flux is OK, growth is OK, stasis is death.
Storytelling / Serials
- Knifepoint Horror: One of the finest horror podcasts I think I’ve ever heard. Soren Narnia (unsure if that’s his real name, probably a pseudonym) writes exquisitely-crafted, terrifying, otherworldly horror stories. The first episode paints a picture of a town that’s not quite right. Another early episode discusses strange, tragic occurrences at a school. Narnia’s voice is regular, scarily normal, but also sounds like he as narrator is barely holding it together. The stories are very understated and just wonderful. There’s a masterful “radio play” staging of J. G. Ballard’s “Report on an Unidentified Space Station” which is absolutely eerie. One of my absolute favorites, and he rarely releases episodes, so, as DJ Shadow famously said in the liner notes to Preemptive Strike, “decamp at leisure” and don’t rush through the episodes too quickly.
- Sibling Horror: Another Soren Narnia podcast, but he is only the narrator here. The writers are the Fradd siblings, who have Narnia’s knack for tense, minimalist writing, and their work is perfectly narrated by Narnia. I consider this at least on par with Knifepoint Horror and highly recommend it.
- Narnia does another podcast with his friend Linda Wojtowick called The Ghosts on This Road. Most of the stories are conversations between the two of them and are often just vaguely unsettling. It’s a decent podcast and I’m subscribed to it, but I find the aforementioned two much better.
- Unwell: A “Midwestern Gothic Mystery,” this superb podcast tells the story of protagonist Lily Harper’s homecoming to her ailing mother, Dot Harper, in the small town of Mt. Absalom, Ohio, where something isn’t quite right, and no one’s ever really gone. I really enjoyed it from the start — it has a weird Welcome to Night Vale-adjacent vibe, and was actually created by some of the creators of the Night Vale precursor Our Fair City (which I still need to properly check out!) — but later episodes have involved a ton of ads, which is super offputting. I get that you have to pay your cast and crew, but seriously, ads and a Patreon? Seriously? Pick one or the other.
- I’m still going to finish the narrative as it’s really compelling, and bonus, one of the main characters is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, and there are also LGBTQ characters (!)… but it may be a one-and-done for me ultimately due to the ads.
- Kowabana: “True” Japanese Scary Stories from Around the Internet: One of my dear friends told me about this podcast. The creator, Tara A. Devlin, is Australian, and has studied Japanese for years, and also lived there for a little while. She takes Japanese creepypasta stories and translates them into English. What a delightful rabbit hole to fall down! Some of the stories are sadly uneven, but when the show is firing on all cylinders, it’s chilling. I’ve always enjoyed Japanese horror, so this is a nice treat every week. She releases episodes more frequently for Patreon supporters (my friend is a supporter and loves it), but otherwise releases them every couple of weeks. And no ads!!
- Devlin’s Toshiden: Exploring Japanese Urban Legends podcast is also good, but I don’t like it quite as well as Kowabana.
- Let’s Not Meet: A True Horror Podcast: I found out about Let’s Not Meet while randomly searching for other podcasts. And I’m so glad I found it. This podcast is the narrator, Andrew Tate, reading listener submissions of creepy things that happened to them — encounters on dark roads, weird nights in the city, suburban terrors, you name it. He has a number of guest stars here and there, including Soren Narnia, and it’s just a great podcast. It’s also one of the few podcasts, aside from My Favorite Murder, on which I’ll put up with ads (I usually fast-forward). I look forward to new episodes every Monday — it’s my treat while doing dishes after work. Just a delight.
- Nocturne: A podcast about the night, its wonders and its horrors. Created and narrated by Vanessa Lowe, she created the podcast because of her own relationship with the night, and wanted to explore the depths of the night and its manifold significance to all sorts of people. I love the night myself; I am not as much of a night owl as I used to be, but I generally just listen to this at night in honor of its purpose. It’s absolutely lovely, and occasionally heartbreaking.
- I had a little aside in this entry previously, which was rather melancholy. I’ve saved it for another blog entry and excised it from this one.
- The NoSleep Podcast: One of the first proper podcasts I got into, back ca. 2016. It had been around a little longer than that when I first got into it, and I listened to it almost nonstop. Creator David Cummings started by narrating stories from Reddit’s r/nosleep subreddit himself, very minimally-produced, and it’s blossomed into a full-time job for him now, with original music and a colorful menagerie of narrators. I listened to it for years, and while it can be uneven at times, it can really be quite sublime.
- In recent years, the quality of the stories has become too uneven for me, so I stopped listening awhile ago. However, you may find some treasures here, and may have a different experience than I did, so I wanted to mention it here.
True Crime / Paranormal
I know that sounds like a weird juxtaposition, but there’s actually one podcast on this list that mixes both, so why not??
- My Favorite Murder: The legendary Karen Kilgariff, who is a hilarious comedian (loved her on Mr. Show), and her friend Georgia Hardstark (who became famous on cooking shows) talk about gruesome murders and somehow make it light-hearted with their banter. I’ve learned about a lot of true crime stories I’ve never heard of before from their show, and I feel like I’m never going to get caught up. Their “minisodes” where they read listener submissions are also amazing!
- A Paranormal Chicks Podcast: It took me way too long to figure out the pun in their name! Two women from Mississippi, Kerri and Donna, tell both gruesome true crime stories and amazing ghost stories! Kerri brings the true crime stories and Donna the ghost stories, and they’re hilarious and fun. They are both huge fans of My Favorite Murder, and it shows, but their show is very different at the same time. Their “minisodes,” called “Sinister Sightings,” are some of my favorites, as they just read listener-submitted ghost stories that are often super creepy! I feel like I’ll never get caught up on this one either, haha.
- Meet My Ghost: This is a lovely little podcast, involving both listener submissions, presumably “true,” and some collected from around the Internet. It was exquisite and I really enjoyed it, but it had a very short run. The creator is a practicing therapist and she seemed very kind overall. I hope she eventually releases more episodes, as it was one of my favorites and I’m glad I found it. Please note that the link isn’t the official site; the official site has expired, so this is the next best thing. I found a RSS feed just fine in AntennaPod, my favorite podcast app.
- Ghosting Around with Kathleen DeRose and John Cason: Another delightful ghost story podcast. Hosts Kathleen DeRose and John Cason, both working in Hollywood (Cason worked on the crew of Drunk History and DeRose has/had some sort of studio job, and also does stand-up; she’s hilarious!), tell campfire-style ghost stories keyed to various cities around the US. It’s really fun, and both of them have some really bad, punny “dad jokes,” and they are both goddamn adorable. They did a series of episodes all about haunted places at Disneyland and three episodes on Disney World! Those episodes heavily used research from Keaton Moll’s Death in the Tragic Kingdom (Theme Park Press, 2014), which is a great read (warning: not HTTPS).
- I’m sad this podcast is over, at least for the time being. It’s also short but sweet, and the Disney episodes have really stuck with me.
- Singing Mountain: Podcasts full of videogame music, mostly 8- and 16-bit, my favorite era of videogames in general. Music from SNES games I’ve never played. Music from Game Boy games. It’s a smorgasbord of retro videogame music delights! Drew Mackie, the host, is delightful as well, and I really, really enjoy this podcast. It is so chill. He hasn’t released episodes very often lately, but when it does come out, it’s a treat. I’ve even submitted a few recommendations to him of games to check out, and he’s played some pieces from them on the show! Super, super, super cool.
Well, that’s all I got for now. I may add more to this later, but here are some of my favorite podcasts these days. Thanks for reading!