Podcasts That Share Spellbinding Stories

Listening to podcast

Podcasts are a phenomenal way to connect with communities with similar interests, but where does one start when looking for a good podcast? Being such an accessible medium, there are hundreds of casts out there, many of which fall short of captivating audiences. Then, some masterpieces are too finely crafted to walk away from. Those are the podcasts you wait impatiently for, your finger just ready to click that play button once it launches.

1. LeVar Burton Reads

LeVar Burton with a book
Image Credit: LeVar Burton Reads Podcast.

You may remember him from Star Trek, but we’ll never forget the days of listening to LeVar Burton on Reading Rainbow. Though the long-running series ended in 2006, Burton couldn’t leave literature lovers for long, and in 2017, he launched LeVar Burton Reads, a podcast that sees the titular host picking and reading short stories to his listeners. With over 150 episodes, Burton has become a go-to for fiction lovers.

2. The Orpheus Protocol

The Orpheus Protocol logo
Image Credit: The Orpheus Protocol Podcast.

The operatives of ORPHEUS have only one job—investigate and contain occult phenomena unraveling worldwide. Creators Rob, Staci, Dan, and Jhan invite listeners to join the members of ORPHEUS as they uncover curses, explore otherworldly events, and go up against the unholy. The Orpheus Protocol is a beta for a larger project, a roleplaying game from Varcolac Press.

3. The Creep Dive

The Creep Podcast
Image Credit: The Creep Dive Podcast.

For anyone interested in horror, The Creep Dive should satiate that need for late-night frights. Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, The Creep Dive recounts stories of the unusual and bizarre, as reported by hosts Sophie White, Cassie Delaney, and Jen O'Dwyer. The cast covers a broad range of topics, from supernatural horrors to true stories of real people sure to make your hair stand on end.

4. What Was That Like

What Was That Like Podcast
Image Credit: What Was That Like Podcast.

What Was That Like features everyday people who have found themselves in extreme situations. Though not intended to keep you from leaving the house, What Was That Like features stories of trials and tribulations, like a man who faced a grizzly bear or a woman who accidentally killed someone. The podcast sounds grim, and it can be, but some episodes can be very uplifting.

5. Beautiful Anonymous

Beautiful Anonymous Podcast
Image Credit: Beautiful Anonymous Podcast.

The showreel describes the podcast as “Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People.” Chris Gethard of Broad City and This American Life listens to wonderful, authentic, raw stories in a one-on-one phone call with those who lived them. It's a fascinating format that promises a new story and personality in every episode.

6. Hardcore History

Hardcore History Podcast
Image Credit: Hardcore History Podcast.

Who doesn't love an in-depth look into the past? In the Hardcore History podcast, presenter Dan Carlin “brings the listener into the story and explains the people's and events' mindsets and motivations.” Topics range from the Asia-Pacific War to the Achaemenid Persian Empire.

7. West Cork

West Cork Podcast
Image Credit: West Cork Podcast.

The unsolved murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier is the subject of this compelling podcast. Though the show ended in 2021, the mystery surrounding Sophie's death and how the podcast recounts its events are still captivating to listen to. Considering the topic, West Cork can be distressing but will appeal to true crime lovers.

8. The Adventure Zone

The Adventure Zone Podcast
Image Credit: The Adventure Zone Podcast.

In the physical world, the board game Dungeons & Dragons is a great way to lose yourself for hours. In The Adventure Zone, brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy recruit their dad to play the game, and the results are pretty hilarious. The elder McElroy, Clint, has made quite the name for himself since starting the podcast and occasionally appears at conventions. 

9. We're Alive

We're Alive Podcast
Image Credit: We're Alive Podcast.

A desperate struggle for survival is always likely to grip the listener. There's nothing like a zombie apocalypse, so you can understand why We're Alive is a favorite among listeners. The podcast is broken down into self-contained and continuing stories that span almost 20 years of the undead invasion.

10. People Who Knew Me

People Who Knew Me Podcast
Image Credit: People Who Knew Me Podcast.

This fictional podcast follows Connie, a woman who faked her death after 9/11 and is suddenly forced to face the life she so coldly left behind. People Who Knew Me stars Rosamund Pike and Hugh Laurie and spans ten episodes.

11. The White Vault

The White Vault Podcast
Image Credit: The White Vault Podcast.

Traverse the vast white of Outpost Frosted in this spooky glimpse into the horrors of Svalbard, Norway. Though it sounds inspired by John Carpenter's The Thing, The White Vault is its own creation, and a mix of a stellar cast and brilliant writing help bring thrills to each half-hour episode.

12. Odd Trails

Odd Trails Podcast
Image Credit: Odd Trails Podcast.

Paranormal stories are relayed by Odd Trails' presenters Brandon Lanier and Andy Tate. Listeners can submit their encounters with ghosts, ghouls, and poltergeists to be featured on an episode.

13. Casefile

Casefile Podcast
Image Credit: Casefile Podcast.

For those wanting a dose of true crime, Casefiles is highly recommended. It's a straightforward glimpse into real cases without the fluff some similar podcasts rely heavily on.

14. Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald's

Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald's Podcast
Image Credit: Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald's Podcast.

Few of us remember when McDonald's served pizza, but it did happen. In this podcast, presenter Brian Thompson goes to great lengths to discover why pizza is off the menu. It's a rabbit hole you never expected to fall down, but one you won't regret.

15. Old Gods of Appalachia

Old Gods of Appalachia Podcast
Image Credit: Old Gods of Appalachia Podcast.

Back to the horror genre, this gripping podcast is set in the fictional world of Alternate Appalachia. Old Gods of Appalachia takes a little to get into, but once you're in, you'll be tuning in to each new entry into the eldritch horror anthology.

16. The Therapy Crouch

The Therapy Crouch Podcast
Image Credit: The Therapy Crouch Podcast.

As a light relief from all that horror and suspense, The Therapy Crouch is a lighthearted weekly podcast featuring Abbey Clancy and Peter Crouch exploring the complexity of relationships. That sounds like a horror show, but The Therapy Crouch is lighthearted and funny, featuring listener experiences that add to the fun.

17. The Magnus Archives

The Magnus Archives Podcast
Image Credit: The Magnus Archives Podcast.

A weekly horror fiction podcast, The Magnus Archives, fits the brief perfectly. It's easy to escape reality with these chilling tales, each more gripping and disturbing than the last.

Author: Matt Harris

Title: Writer

Expertise: Sports, music, travel, food, trending topics

Bio:

Matt is a journalist who began his career writing for print media in the 1990s. After filing cricket reports for local newspapers, he contributed to many periodicals in the spheres of sport, collecting, and food and drink. Having attended hundreds of concerts and sporting events, he now focuses on music as well as sport, and is happy to have lasted through to the digital age.