There’s something inherently compelling about mystery. There’s something we, as humans, love about being strung along, seeing small parts of the whole, but knowing that there is a whole that’s hiding out there somewhere just waiting to be discovered.
If you love mysteries, you’ll adore these eight fascinating podcasts. From audio drama supernatural mysteries to true unsolved murders, there’s something here for every mystery fan.
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We previously mentioned The Black Tapes in our article listing the best audio drama podcasts, but it’s so good that we’re mentioning it again. The Black Tapes is a docudrama very much in the vein of Serial. But the subject matter is a bit darker. Disappearances, hauntings, shadowy figures, rituals — The Black Tapes has it all.
What begins as a series of disparate unsolved paranormal cases quickly becomes something much larger. And the story’s mysterious focus, Dr. Richard Strand, becomes more and more enigmatic as the series goes on. What does he know? What is he hiding? Why does he do what he does? The questions come fast and furious, with solid answers shockingly few and far between.
But that makes them so much more gratifying.
The voice acting is good — not great — but the main character, Alex Reagan, is believable and sincere. She actually seems like a real person, which isn’t a given in audio dramas. And the way she relates what grows to be quite a chilling story should draw listeners in. Get ready to binge on this one.
Another mystery podcast from Pacific Northwest Stories, the group behind The Black Tapes, Tanis has a similarly spooky feel. It may be a bit more surrealistic than straight horror, but it’s nothing if not mysterious.
At the beginning of Tanis, it’s not even clear what Tanis is. A place? A person? Something else entirely? Is it biblical? Historical? Somewhere in the middle? Neither? Whatever it is, it quickly becomes clear that Tanis is extremely dangerous. Figuring out what it is and how to find it, however, is much more complicated.
With mentions of Aleister Crowley and Thelema, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Bermuda Triangle and the Super-Sargasso Sea, William Blake, the Freemasons, Xanu, and numbers stations all coming within the first few episodes, there’s a whole lot going on here.
If you’re a fan of movies, video games, or books where someone wakes up with no memory of how they got where they are, what happened, or who was involved, SPINES is the podcast for you. Wren Jones wakes up in the aftermath of some sort of occult ritual, and immediately embarks on a quest for answers.
Mysterious creatures, occult organizations, amnesia, and strange disappearances all show up in the first season. It’s a short one, with only eight episodes, but new episodes of SPINES are currently being released every two weeks.
One cool feature of SPINES is that the episode transcripts are available on the website. So if you’re not a fan of podcasts, you can just read the episodes to get your mystery fix.
Heading away from fictionalized mysteries, Strange Matters explores the the strange, mysterious, and downright weird things that happen in the world. With categories like “Apocalypse,” “Conspiracy,” “Cryptozoology,” “Paranormal,” and “Unsolved Mystery” on the website, it’s clear that Strange Matters has an interest in just about everything.
At the time of writing, the most recent episodes focus on an unsolved axe murder, a mysterious inscription, potentially world-ending events, and a lost heiress. This is a mystery podcast for people who like to hear about a wide variety of weird things.
This podcast has been running for a long time, and has so far released over 60 episodes, so if you like their brand of strangeness, there’s plenty of it for the listening.
Not interested in the chupacabra and potential alien landings? Unsolved Murders focuses on the mysteries behind famous (and not-so-famous) crimes. What makes this podcast stand out, however, is its ensemble of highly talented voice actors. It’s more like listening to an audio movie than a more typical mystery podcast.
It helps that the mysteries are fantastic. One standout is the murder of a chess player’s wife: after receiving a call at his chess club, he goes out to meet a client. When he gets home, he finds his wife dead. Was the call related? Was it bad luck? You’ll have to listen to find out what the hosts think.
With 40 episodes to date and more on the way, Unsolved Murders is perfect for binge-listening.
Much like Strange Matters, this podcast takes on a number of historical mysteries that intrigue the hosts. Ghost ships, murders, disappearances, spaceships, coded messages, Nazi technology, and strange creatures all get the Thinking Sideways treatment over the almost 200 episodes (and counting).
The three hosts aren’t professional investigators or experts on these topics — but they have a passion for what they do, and they love putting in the time to research these questions for the benefit of their listeners. They’re a bit skeptical, which seems like a good idea in these types of cases, but they’re open to the inherent strangeness of our world.
Very relatable and often extremely strange, this is a good one for people who just want to learn more about the world. Don’t miss it.
Very much like Serial, Someone Knows Something takes on a single mystery each season. The first season concerns the disappearance of Adrien McNaughton, a five-year-old boy who wandered into the woods and was never seen again. The second focuses on the search for Sheryl Sheppard, who disappeared two days after attending a televised New Year’s Eve party.
Host David Ridgen performs a deep dive into these stories, searching for answers and giving listeners a compassionate look into the lives affected by these disappearances. Although you may not be satisfied with the answers you receive, you’ll certainly enjoy the storytelling along the way.
It looks like season two is done, so you’ll have a chance to catch up before Ridgen delves deep into a new mystery.
Want something a little lighter and truly different? Missing Richard Simmons chronicles Dan Taberski’s search for the fitness guru after he disappeared from public life in 2013. He talks to friends, acquaintances, and all manner of other people whose lives were affected by Simmons.
Is it a mystery? Kinda. A character study? Yes. Funny and heartwarming? Absolutely. Richard Simmons is a larger-than-life-character, and the investigation of his “disappearance” is perfectly fitting for his pop culture status.
Whether it will appeal to fans of other mystery podcasts is up for debate. But there’s a question at the heart of the podcast that needs answering, and surely that’s what mysteries are all about.
Your Favorite Mystery Podcasts
These eight podcasts represent the best audio mysteries on the internet right now. But as with any genre of podcast, there are plenty of others out there just waiting to be discovered. Help us find them. And don’t forget to rate and review your favorite podcasts, which is believed to help their ranking in iTunes. If you’re looking for more really well made content to listen to, why not start with these podcasts about sound and audio design?
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