This year I made an amazing discovery. I tried my first podcast, which, naturally, was Winnipeg Public Library’s Time to Read. Through this discovery I realized what all the excitement and fuss about podcasts was about. I can now say that I am a faithful listener to the Time to Read podcast, though I haven’t always read the books discussed, as the easy banter between hosts is excellent and I always learn a few new things every time I listen. After realizing how amazing podcasts are I decided to further explore this sensation that has been around for a while (and which people have been talking about for years, I know, I’m a bit slow on the uptake). As I have mentioned many times before in my blog posts, I am a lover of horror novels and certain horror movies, some are too scary for me to watch, as my sister can attest,* books are okay though. I get goose-bumps, I sometimes am disgusted, but usually, usually, I’m okay sleeping with the lights off after devouring a horror novel. Yet I digress. So I am a fan of horror novels, I bus to work every day, and I am unfortunately prone to car sickness if I attempt to read on a moving vehicle. My solution? Audiobooks or, handy, dandy podcast episodes which are just like audiobooks and offer often short, quick hits that help pass the time on my commute to work. Both are easy enough to download to your phone, MP3 player (I think those still exist?) or iPod and listen to offline throughout the day. The library offers a wonderful selection of eAudiobooks through Overdrive and RBDigital, simply download the app and you can listen to them offline, and best of all, no late fees!
So, for this blog post I will showcase a few horror/thriller podcasts that might be of interest as well as offer some further reading recommendations should you really enjoy these podcasts. And, if you have not done so already, check out our Time to Read podcast, you can even see our wonderful librarians host a live recording at the Goodwill Social Club on Tuesday, March 26 from 7:30-9:00PM where they will be discussing favourite childhood books! (adults only)
This podcast features real-life scary stories taken from the history books. For all the history buffs out there or true crime fans, this would be an excellent podcast for you, if you like a little bit of unease or creepiness alongside those genres. In the creator’s own words: “Lore exposes the darker side of history, exploring the creatures, people, and places of our wildest nightmares.” If that doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will. One of the episodes I listened to discussed the “re-animation” of a corpse, and naturally mentioned Mary Shelley, her husband Percy, and how his study of re-animating a body with electricity brought about her idea for Frankenstein. With this podcast there is no need to listen to the episodes in order, each is a stand-alone. Want more Lore? Creator Aaron Mahnke has written a book, Wicked Mortals which includes illustrations and further information of some of the creatures and people discussed in the podcast.
Alice Isn’t Dead
This podcast thriller/mystery story follows a trucker who is searching for her partner, Alice, whom she is certain is not dead (hence the title!). Through strange towns, meeting serial killers and witnessing devastating events where Alice seems to always show up, we follow her on her search for answers. This podcast has an excellent voice actor, some great sound effects that truly bring you into the story and fills you with suspense. Unlike the others on this list, this podcast must be listened to in order to follow the development of the story and to help unravel some of the mysteries. This podcast is part of Night Vale Presents, which also produces another podcast series on this list. Alice Isn’t Dead is also available as a book, which is described as a complete re-imagining of the podcast, and written by creator Joseph Fink.
These podcasts are fictional short stories written by a variety of writers, including some well-known authors such as Carrie Vaughn, Christopher Golden, Clive Barker, Jonathan Maberry and Kelley Armstrong. With such an A-List of authors as well as some fantastic up-and-comers, many of these episodes are top-notch, some of course may be better than others, or more your cup of tea than others, if that’s the case, simply skip to the next episode as each is a stand-alone. With a variety of narrators you will be sure to find a story that will give you the chills and make your heart race. If you like the stories from this podcast, as many are by well-known authors, simply search our catalogue for further books in their repertoire, we have plenty to keep you reading long into the night.
Welcome to Night Vale
This excellently written and acted podcast takes place in a radio broadcast centre in, you guessed it, a small town called Night Vale. Though characters do reappear in different episodes, it is not required to listen to them in a particular order and, if you’re not enjoying a story, simply skip to the next one. Let me allow the creators to describe this podcast in their own words: “[Welcome to Night Vale] 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 and unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide.” Want to read more Night Vale and delve deeper into the mysteries? Creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have published a couple books about the legends discussed in their podcast titled It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel.
This podcast doesn’t have as many stories as some of the others mentioned here, only a few are released every year, but the stories themselves are truly frightening and bone-chilling. Each episode is narrated by a single person, explaining the event from their point-of-view to offer a creepy first-hand account of a range of different supernatural stories. The stories here are top-notch horror and range in length from just a few minutes to over an hour, which makes for a perfect listening experience on your commute, you can time it to end perfectly! If you’re a fan of The Twilight Zone many of these stories follow similar tropes.
* As a bit of an anecdote, when the first Insidious movie came out in theatres my sister mentioned that she thought it was funny, so I went to watch it with her. It was NOT funny, and I proceeded to sleep with the lights on for many nights afterwards and shied away from even watching trailers of the sequels. What are older sisters for if not to terrify their younger siblings? ;)