In no particular order…
* Welcome to Night Vale: It’s TheNerdyBlogger’s fault that I’m addicted to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast (and its wonderfully weird related books, as well). This is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, an omnipotent Glow Cloud (All hail!), and cultural events. Think Lake Woebegone meets Stephen King. Just for kicks, I’m decorating this post with quotes from the podcast.
(Note: I also recommend checking out the other podcasts from Night Vale Presents, as well!)
* Astonishing Legends: This podcast’s mission is to take a look at legendary, strange, and unusual events from history and interview people who’ve had close encounters with the unexplained. Hosts Scott and Forrest strive to bring you everything that’s entertaining about those stories and remind you that it’s okay to laugh at scary stories – and, respectfully, even the people that tell them. That said, this is a serious and skeptical podcast. Put your headphones on, settle in for your commute, and get ready to experience a show like nothing you’ve ever heard before. I discovered this podcast while looking for more analyses of the Dyatlov Pass mystery, and I was hooked. My favorite series of episodes thus far focuses on the Somerton Man mystery. If you could have drinks with the Lone Gunmen, I’d expect the discussion would sound a bit like this podcast. (That’s a compliment, if you were wondering.) Right now they’re covering the Bell Witch. (Too cool!) You remember the Bell Witch, right?
* The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast: In each weekly podcast, Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer discuss a specific H.P. Lovecraft story – what it’s about, how it reads, why it may have been written and what other works of art it’s influenced. Since concluding Lovecraft’s stories, they’ve been covering other weird fiction that inspired the author, mostly those referenced in his essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature.” They regularly have talented guest readers and contributing composers for their music sections. The majority of the Lovecraft episodes are free. Three of the four monthly episodes are now subscription-only, but they are well, well worth the modest cost. And October is for werewolves!
* Saturday Frights: TheNerdyBlogger put this on my radar, and I’m grateful! Each week the co-hosts discussed a particular horror movie or horror-themed TV episode from the Retroist Vault for your listening enjoyment. Unfortunately, the show is no longer in production, but there are still 63 episodes in the archive that are well worth your time and guaranteed to put you in the Halloween mood.
* Interference by Eric Luke: Another of my brilliant former graduate students, April, suggested this to me, and it’s sublime. Don’t miss this! The podiobook unfolds in twenty-four episodes, and then it’s done. Described as “an experiment in audio horror” (oh yeah!), here’s the tantalizing blurb: “SOMETHING wants in. To your head. Through this audiobook. Ethan, a digital sound engineer in Los Angeles, becomes aware that his life is unraveling when the audiobook he’s listening to reveals his deepest, darkest secrets, escalating until the narrator addresses him directly, threatening to destroy him from within. Vivian, a single mother running an antique store in San Francisco, listens to her audiobook to distract herself from missing her young daughter, but is shaken when the narrative is interrupted by her daughter’s voice, faintly calling for help. Ethan and Vivian are drawn together as they fight to solve a generation-spanning conspiracy that begins with a boy listening to the Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds in 1938 and evolves through the latest innovations in digital technology…” I love how the individual weird tales link together into a spooky, intense, and deeply humane conclusion.
* Rippercast: The Whitechapel Murders Podcast: This is a treat for those of you who are interested in the history of forensics, true crime, Victorian England/London, etc. A roundtable of author/academic presenters, co-hosts, and special guests discuss topics related to the Whitechapel Murders, Jack the Ripper, Victorian British history, true crime, and whatever else suits their fancy. Lately the podcast has been sharing the monthly scholarly talks recorded at the London meetings of the Whitechapel Society 1888 and at various international conferences focused on related themes, as well as the “10 Weeks in Whitechapel” series. If you want to hear the latest in research from those who literally wrote the books on their respective topics related to Jack the Ripper’s times and context, you’ll want to listen.
* Kat & Curt’s TV Re-View: This podcast began with brilliant bloggers Curtis Weyant and Katherine Sas introducing Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who to each other, watching one episode of each per week, sharing fannish delight and critical analysis. Curt, a long-time Whedon devotee and scholar, introduced the show to Kat, and analytical Whovian Kat acquainted Curt with the Doctor. Now Angel and Battlestar Galactica have been added to the mix. Join Kat and Curt for a journey through time, space, and Sunnydale as they battle demons, aliens, and the inscrutable process of creating quality narrative television.
* Tales to Terrify: This weekly audio magazine is one of StarShipSofa’s siblings in the District of Wonders. I’m terribly saddened to say that we lost our friend and comrade, author and host Larry Santoro (“the Vincent Price of podcasts!”). He is greatly missed. But the podcast continues to soldier (lurch? stagger? insert your scary verb here) on in his memory. It includes the best of contemporary horror fiction and nonfiction. It was my distinct honor to represent TTT last year at the Hugo Awards Ceremony, where it was a finalist for the Best Fancast Award. (In addition, have narrated three haunting stories for this podcast. Follow the links to hear my reading of “After the Ape” by Stephen Volk, my reading of “Jewels in the Dust” by Peter Crowther, and my reading of “Payback” by P.D. Cacek.)
* Lovecraft eZine Podcast: This is the podcast version of the wonderful and weekly live show produced by the incomparable Lovecraft eZine. Listen as stellar guests discuss cosmic horror, weird fiction, Lovecraftian horror, the Cthulhu Mythos, and related topics.
* Pseudopod: One of the oldest horror podcasts and still one of the very best, Pseudopod presents fine short horror in audio form weekly. Do not miss this podcast!
* MonsterTalk: This is the science show about monsters — a free audio podcast that critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and werewolves. Hosted by Blake Smith, Ben Radford, and Dr. Karen Stollznow, MonsterTalk interviews the scientists and investigators who shine a spotlight on the things that go bump in the night. The episode airing dates average out to mean a new show once a month, sometimes more. (Thanks to ankh_hpl for introducing me to this great show.)
* Classic Tales: Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Shelley: what’s not to love? This is a fantastic weekly podcast featuring B.J. Harrison’s unabridged readings of great — and often haunting and Halloween-friendly — fiction.
* Atlanta Radio Theatre Company: Founded in 1984, ARTC is a staple at venues such as Dragon*Con and has a standing program year-round, performing adaptations of works by authors such as H.P. Lovecraft and H.G. Wells live. ARTC podcasts its fantastic productions.
* Skeptoid: This podcast shines the lights of logic and reason into the dark shadows. Each weekly episode focuses on a single phenomenon — an urban legend, a paranormal claim, etc. — that you may have heard of, and it explains the factual scientific reality. To put it another way, we the listeners are Fox Mulder, and Skeptoid kindly serves as our Dana Scully.
And here are some more recent lists for you!