Scary stories to listen to in October

October is a boom time for horror stories, and fans are preparing for Halloween by spending the month marveling at the best slasher movies, monster shows, and horror books. And for those who would rather turn off the lights and listen to a spooky story, audiobooks offer plenty of spooky options. Many of the horror classics from writers like Stephen King and Shirley Jackson are available in audio form, while original podcasts and audio stories bring new horrors to seasoned fans of the genre.

Here are 10 of the best horror audiobooks and podcasts available on audiobook.

By Neil Gaiman

One of the most acclaimed comic series of all time, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman tells the story of the embodiment of dreams and his journeys through myth and history. The series mixes a variety of genres from fantasy to historical fiction, but always has an element of horror at its core, especially in the early volumes where the protagonist travels to hell and confronts serial killers and demons who have escaped his realm . Two ambitious audio book adaptations of the comics have been released, covering the first six volumes and replacing the art of the comic with narration by Gaiman himself. An army of A-list stars provide the vocal performances for the characters, with James McAvoy leading a cast that includes Kat Dennings, Michael Sheen, Taron Egerton, Riz Ahmed, Rege Jean-Page, Brian Cox, Jeffrey Wright, Bebe Neuwirth and Emma is owned by Corrin and David Tennet.


By Stephen King

One of the most popular living authors (horror or otherwise), Stephen King has no shortage of audio adaptations of his works available on Audible. While the majority is solid, his first published novel, Carrie, received a plum treatment, with Sissy Spacek serving as the narrator. Spacek, who was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of the novel’s telekinetic outcast in the 1976 film adaptation, knows the story that made her famous inside out, and it’s a thrill for fans to hear her how she tackles the horror icon in her original form.


By Stephen Graham Jones

“The Babysitter Lives,” an audiobook original by horror author Stephen Graham Jones (“The Only Good Indians,” “My Heart is a Chainsaw”), tells the story of Charlotte, an Indigenous high school student who babysits two six-year-old twin boys that night before Halloween. After her last performance nearly ended in the child’s death, Charlotte’s wish for a night without drama is keen, but it soon becomes clear that the twins’ home may be haunted. The story is a nasty thrill with plenty of twists and turns that make it a memorable listening experience.


By Night Vale gifts

A podcast from the creators of the popular Welcome to Night Vale horror comedy podcast, Alice Isn’t Dead is a straight-forward spooky tale about a truck driver who travels across America to find her long-believed wife . Over the course of the series’ three seasons and thirty episodes, all presented as the narrator’s audio diaries, the show weaves together inhuman serial killers, timely vanished cities, and a larger supernatural conspiracy. In addition to the podcast, each episode of which is available on Audible, series creator Joseph Fink adapted the story into a novel, which received an audiobook version narrated by series star Jasika Nicole.


By Shirley Jackson

The definitive haunted house book, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has remained an icon since it was first published in 1959, and with good reason. The tale of four explorers trying to unravel the mysteries of a desolate abandoned mansion is a masterclass in limbo that leaves the nature of what’s going on ambiguous while their stay slowly fractures the psyche of the group. The book has been adapted into two horror films and a 2018 Netflix series loosely based on the material, but the story is worth experiencing in its original form, with narrator Bernadette Dunne providing a suitably chilling narrative.


By Rusty Quill

The Magnus Archives, a long-running anthology podcast that concluded last year, contains 200 episodes of original horror stories. Directed by Alexander J. Newall, the series presents itself as the findings of an archivist (voiced by Jonathan Sims) trawling through the files of the Magnus Institute, an organization that researches bizarre and inexplicable phenomena. With so many episodes, the podcast has a horror story for everyone, whether zombies, vampires, or good old-fashioned murder is more your pace.


By John Darnielle

Released this year, Devil House centers on Gage Chandler, a burnt-out writer who specializes in true crime fare. Desperate for another hiatus, he takes the opportunity to move to the small town of Milpitas, California and live in a home where two murders once occurred during the height of the ’80s Satanic Panic in order to uncover the true nature of the… investigating crimes. While it starts out simple enough, the book becomes increasingly meta as time goes on, delving into the ethics of true crime as a genre and blurring the line between fact and fiction. John Darnielle (best known as The Mountain Goats’ lead singer) wrote the book and tells the twisting story, which features music by Darnielle and Matt Douglas of The Mountain Goats.


By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

A gothic horror story aptly named Mexican Gothic tells the story of Noemí Taboada, a wealthy Mexican socialite who visits her cousin after she sends a letter claiming her English husband is trying to murder her. Isolated in her homeland, a mountain mansion known as the High Place in the Mexican countryside, Noemí is forced to investigate the Doyle family, a controlling clan with a dark history of colonialism and exploitation. The novel is a lush and suspenseful take on the gothic horror tradition, packed with twists and romance to make it an alluring listen.


By SaraGran

“Marigold,” an Audible Original written by writer Sara Gran, is presented as a podcast between an unnamed paranormal investigator and Anna, a young woman who grew up in what appears to be a haunted house – and loved the experience. Over the course of eight episodes, the two explore Anna’s troubled childhood and the history of the house itself, while unraveling the question of whether the house is really haunted. With excellent performances by Zoe Kazan and Jason Culp as the two main characters, Marigold is a short but satisfying horror story.


By Jeff VanderMeer

The incredibly weird “Annihilation” was adapted into an acclaimed 2018 film starring Natalie Portman, but Jeff VanderMeer’s original novel is a delightfully twisted listen. “Annihilation” focuses on the secret agency Southern Reach and follows a group of scientists dispatched by the agency to investigate the mysterious Area X. Cut off from the rest of society and slowly being reclaimed by nature, Area X has caused mental trauma and physical illness to all who have dared set foot there. During their investigation, the four women encounter bizarre creatures and unnatural plants, and are forced to confront both threats to their lives and their own personal secrets. In addition to Annihilation, VanderMeer wrote two sequel books – Authority and Acceptance, which are also available through Audible. Scary stories to listen to in October

Charles Jones

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