Our tradition of listening to spooky podcast stories came from our desire to kill time while we roomed together freshman year. Both of us have a love for things morbid and haunting, and while searching the depths of YouTube, we discovered someone who did readings of spooky stories found on the internet. YouTube user Cryaotic primarily makes videos about games but has a small collection of videos in which he voice-acts scary stories he finds on Reddit. His lack of content lead us to the NoSleep podcast. This sparked a ritual that we still enjoy years later. We spent many nights picking stories and then failing to find enough peace to fall asleep afterwards. Based on experience, we can both say that the title of the podcast is very accurate.
The NoSleep podcast is an online series that features original horror stories. This podcast boasts 11 seasons, each season containing upwards of 20 episodes with each episode featuring a handful of similarly-themed stories. The NoSleep podcast is expertly done. There is a talented and experienced cast of voice actors, atmospheric music and immersive sound-effects which bring life to the haunting readings. One of the strengths of this podcasts is that it pulls stories from a diverse batch of authors. Amateurs, published authors, hobbyists and career writers have all been featured on the podcast. Even better is that the NoSleep podcast seems to have no boundaries or limits to its horror content. Each story seems to be more haunting than the last.
The website for the NoSleep podcast is very user-friendly and provides suggestions on where to start if you are new. Many of these stories are great places to begin if you are unsure of your limits or do not have a particular taste or preference for horror. You can start there with any of the episodes they have listed, but if you’re interested in delving deeper, here are our suggestions based on what we have heard so far:
Borrasca was written by published author C.K. Walker and it can be read in its entirety online.
Episode 25 of Season 7 is a special full-length episode clocking in at 2 hours and 17 minutes; this one is a whirlwind. What draws you into this story at first are the characters and the childlike nature of their interactions. This eventually lulls you into a false sense of security as the ending of the story is far from innocent. Main character Sam lives in a small mountain town which exists under the shadow of an urban legend. When Sam’s best friend Kimber goes missing, the legend becomes more of a reality. We found this story to be incredibly memorable due to its intense plot twists and realistic use of horror content.
Soft White Damn:
Season 5, Episode 18 is a shorter listen, but it is no less terrifying. The main character is a disgruntled single man staying in a cabin alone during a snow flurry. As the night progresses, he begins to hear noises outside. These sounds, combined with the amount of alcohol the main character has been consuming, lead for a terrifying and convoluted night during which the main character must confront both the monster outside and the monsters in his past and in his mind. The voices and sounds in this episode are particularly important to the story. Over a year later, we can still recall the chilling noises from this particular story.
The Smiling Man:
This story, featured in Season 2, episode 5, won the NoSleep horror writing contest of 2012 and for good reason. This story centers around someone who, when walking alone at night, encounters a terrifying and intimidating individual. From there, the story only gets more and more disturbing. This one stuck with us because of how simple it is. It’s one of the shorter stories featured on NoSleep, yet it still has a chilling storyline that leaves listeners feeling uneasy.
We found the following three stories featured on the podcast memorable and felt they were too spooky to be left out. Each (for their own reasons) left the two of us unable to sleep, yet again allowing the podcast’s name to ring true.
The Disappearance of Ashley, Kansas (Season 2, Episode 5)
The Penpal (Season 1, Episode 11)
Butcherface (Season 1, Episode 4)
For anyone interested in checking out the NoSleep podcast, all of their stories can be accessed here: https://www.thenosleeppodcast.com/.