20 Creepy Podcasts To Try After The Magnus Archives

Our beloved scary podcast is coming to an end! What's next? How can we possibly fill the void?
entertainment . 14 min read
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The Magnus Archives logo, a fractured tape with a spiderweb crack running across it
The finale is coming 03/25/2021 - image source: rustyquill.com

We're all going to miss that smooth, snarky, Jonny Sims voice ringing in our ears now that TMA is drawing to a close. Some of us have already started re-listening, but I figured it was time to search for something new. After hours of scouring internet forums, I have learned dark secrets and seen horrors, and I've archived the 20 coolest podcasts that fans compared to The Magnus Archives here for your listening pleasure. These are the shows you should listen to next: 

1. Knifepoint Horror

This horror anthology is actually a recommendation from a Rusty Quill forum post by Jonathan Sims himself. There's no overarching plot to the series; Jon says of this podcast: "no mysteries or titles or credits, just fear."

Here's what Knifepoint has to say:

These tales of supernatural suspense by Soren Narnia adhere to the most primal element of storytelling: a single human voice describing events exactly as it experienced them. The stories, stripped of even proper titles, spill forward as taut, uninterrupted confessions. Knifepoint Horror leaves nothing but the story's riveting spine to compel and chill you to the core.

Supplement: If you're looking for where to start, Reddit user JeffreyFMiller, a writer on the r/nosleep Reddit, recommends the episode "Fields." Content warnings for each episode are available on Knifepoint's website.

You can listen to it here:

A drawing of tents and a video camera
An image from Knifepoint's site, by Josh Mckelvey. Image by: @joshmckelvey on Instagram

2. The Black Tapes

I found this podcast last year and it became my go-to for filling the TMA-shaped void in my heart, though the third season has been a bit disappointing.

The Black Tapes has all the realism of The Magnus Archives, with an investigation-style show that follows a reporter trying to answer a burning question: "are ghosts real?" She teams up with a famous ghost-debunker and heads down a rabbit hole of interviews that just keep unearthing more mysteries, slowly revealing a web that connects it all.

Supplement: In my opinion, this is an excellent next podcast if you loved The Magnus Archives seasons one through four, especially if you're a Grifter's Bone fan.

Take a listen to episode one, if you dare: 

The Black Tapes: Do you believe?
Image from The Black Tapes website.

3. Welcome to Night Vale

I know many fans have already listened to this one, but if you somehow haven't heard it, try it out! This fictional horror-comedy from writers Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor will give you a new velvety-smooth voice to lull you into your nightmares. WTNV has gay representation, fun recurring characters, and weird cryptids. In Night Vale, radio host Cecil brings you:

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 with unknowable powers, and cultural events.

Sound good? Visit Night Vale's first episode:

4. Tanis

If you're a fan of The Black Tapes, you'll be happy to know that its fictional producer, Nic Silver (played by Terry Miles), is also the host of Tanis, a creepy investigative show with a similar format. Synopsis from The Observer gives some insight into Nic's search for Tanis:

Nic is aided by a character that goes by her internet handle, Meerkatnip, or MK. She digs up information for him on the deep Web in exchange for bitcoin and provides a great sounding board as he tries to discover just what exactly is the myth of Tanis. Is it a mysterious force? Is it a place? Whatever it is, it’s a playground for sci-fi, fantasy and mystery nerds to geek out on, providing unlimited speculation.

The Tanis website calls it "an exploration of the nature of truth, conspiracy, and information. Tanis is what happens when the lines of science and fiction start to blur..."

Supplement: If you liked The Black Tapes, this is for you; the two podcasts are extremely similar in their modes of exploration. And, if you liked the branching web of mystery The Magnus Archives slowly unveiled, this podcast is also for you.

Start this tale of intrigue here: 

Tanis logo on black background
Source: Tanis

5. The NoSleep Podcast

Featuring a curated set of stories from the r/nosleep Reddit page- a place where anyone can post their own scary stories- this anthology podcast is another one that Sims has cited in interviews as TMA inspiration. Though fans have pointed out it can be hit-or-miss, being all user-submitted, it will still give you the familiar feeling of reading scary stories and Creepypastas all night when you should be sleeping. 

Supplement: According to a user on the Rusty Quill forum, "New Fish," "The Stump," "Penpal," and "Toothache" are some of the better stories to try.

Start your sleepless nights with part one of "Penpal" here:

The NoSleep Podcast
Image source

6. PseudoPod

Another Jonny Sims inspiration, fictional horror anthology PseudoPod has a very similar format to NoSleep, with a new horror story each episode. The biggest difference between NoSleep and PseudoPod is that this podcast pays writers to create original horror content instead of relying on user submissions. Whether the stories are of higher quality is for you to decide.

Supplement: They've even made a list of episodes for new listeners to try! Here's their recommended first episode:

Pseudopod logo, an octopus with a sigil
Image source

7. Alice Isn't Dead

This one just kept popping up in forum recommendations. Written by Night Vale creator Joseph Fink, this fiction podcast gives us more LGBTQ representation and more creepy imagery. Here's the premise from their website:

A truck driver searches across America for the wife she had long assumed was dead. In the course of her search, she will encounter not-quite-human serial murderers, towns literally lost in time, and a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

Supplement: Alice Isn't Dead was possibly the most-suggested show across the forums I visited, and I think I can see why; the voice acting is definitely good, and the sound design is extremely professional, making the show atmospheric and believable. There's something about Welcome to Night Vale that never quite gripped me as TMA did, but the descriptive writing in this particular show really drew me in and it wastes no time getting gory. So far I'm not sure how I feel about the fragmented narrative, but only time will tell.

Start here: 

8. Lore

In forum conversations about TMA, this award-winning non-fiction anthology is brought up frequently. According to its website, "each episode examines a new dark historical tale in a modern campfire experience."

More than any other podcast on this list, Lore examines the real history, so if you're looking for something to sweep you into a fantasy world or supernatural tale, this isn't it. However, if you're looking for great storytelling, interesting facts, and a new perspective on some historical spooky stories, this might be your next favorite show. 

Supplement: Overwhelmed by the vast amount of content? Try starting with one of their most downloaded episodes: "The Beast Within:"

A drawing of a wolf crouching
Image from the Lore wiki.

9. Archive 81

Missing the setting of the archive itself? Check out this podcast! We've got ourselves another young man who gets in way over his head while trying to organize an archive. The series calls itself a "found footage horror podcast about ritual, stories, and sound," and, based on my first listen, definitely brings to mind another archivist's first days at a certain institute... 

Here's a synopsis from the show's wiki:

After Daniel Powell goes missing following employment by the Housing Historical Committee of New York State, his friend Mark Sollinger receives hundreds of hours of audio of his archiving there. The audio, released by Mark in the form of the podcast, documents Dan's listening to an extensive collection of cassette tapes, containing interviews from a high-rise apartment building in 1994.

Supplement: You'll like this podcast if you liked the format of TMA, weaving back and forth between narration and audio drama.

Check it out here:

Archive 81 · Episode 1: A Body In A New Place
Archive 81 is written in glitchy letters
Image source

10. The Bright Sessions

This podcast is told through a series of interviews reminiscent of TMA's statements. The Bright Sessions calls itself:

A science fiction podcast that follows a group of therapy patients. But these are not your typical patients - each has a unique supernatural ability. The show documents their struggles and discoveries as well as the motivations of their mysterious therapist, Dr. Bright. 

Supplement: This podcast may not be as creepy as some of the others, but it deals with mystery, intrigue, and supernatural powers just like TMA. I included this one partly due to the volume of recommendations and partly because the ensemble cast had me reminiscing about the early seasons of TMA, with all those loveable characters. 

Listen here:

The Bright Sessions · 01 - Patient #12-D-10 (Sam)
A lightbulb that says The Bright Sessions
Image source

11. The Alexandria Archives

Now, this fake radio-style show is one that I listened to between TMA seasons and found to be pretty enjoyable for background horror listening. The station host, Morning Wood, is light-hearted and snarky, and the tales at the end of each episode, though of inconsistent quality, have occasionally made it hard to sleep at night. 

Synopsis-wise, TAA is mostly an anthology of stories within the framing device of a radio show at Alexandria University, a fictional college in the southern USA. In the world of TAA, monsters are real and live among humans with varying degrees of success. There are some recurring characters, but in my opinion, the best part is the statement-like stories that end each episode, especially the story from episode one.

Listen here:

The Alexandria Archives logo
This is how I always picture Morning's desk.
Image

13. I am in Eskew

Much like Jon sifting through the archive, I was deep into my research when I discovered a thread where almost everyone was raving about this podcast I'd never heard of. Eskew's website describes it simply as: 

A city of nightmares, horrors and shifting streets.

After doing some listening, it seems the main character is a writer for the titular city's local paper, and, at least in the first episode, the podcast is about him describing the strange events that take place at work. Reddit users claim that the creepiness of this story is the closest thing they could find to the TMA vibe, and I agree. The storytelling is also surprisingly good for it to be so unknown.

Supplement: I seriously can't believe I've never heard of Eskew before. The writer, David Ward, approaches the show's terrifying happenings with the same curiosity and attention of a Magnus Archives statement and does a great job of foreshadowing and keeping listeners in suspense. This podcast is absolutely a hidden gem and, judging by the subject matter, will surely be a favorite of any fan of The Stranger.

Try Eskew's first episode here:

I am in Eskew, with a blood splatter
Image Source

14. Unexplained

The second of two non-fiction entries on this list, Unexplained recounts stories about real unexplained events. If you loved the statements in the first season of TMA, you'll love this podcast's documentation of weird and paranormal tales from the real world as told by the calm voice of Richard MacLean Smith. 

Supplement: Try starting with one of Unexplained's most downloaded episodes, "The Dark Ascending:" 

A shaded drawing of a hill under storm clouds
Lore's accompanying art for The Dark Ascending. 
Image Source

15. The Truth

The Truth is a collection of short stories, many of them horror-themed, many of them surreal. Many of them, from what I can find, written by improvisers from Magnet Theatreand seemingly voiced mostly by the same group. The podcast also occasionally features writers like Casper Kelly, creator of the terrifying Too Many Cooks sketch of Adult Swim fame.

This podcast claims to make "movies for your ears," and each story is produced as an audio drama boasting great sound design, voice acting, and writing, especially this fan-favorite episode about a "Nuclear Winter" and a ghost:

Some intimidating-looking dials
The Truth's accompanying image for "Nuclear Winter"
Image

16. Limetown

This podcast from Two-Up Productions is, like The Black Tapes, one of my favorite podcast sub-genres: realistic investigation. It follows Lia Haddock, a reporter who asks the question: "what happened to Limetown?" Limetown, of course, is a fictional town where 300 people just disappeared one day. 

Limetown is wildly popular, having hit number one on iTunes just months after its release, and for good reason: this show boasts extremely high production value, using "found audio" of police calls and interviews to inject extra realism into its already-eerie atmosphere. The acting, editing, and sound effects are all so great you'll find yourself wondering how much of it is fake, after all. 

If you enjoyed the realism of The Magnus Archives' statements, you're sure to enjoy Limetown.

Here's the first episode, but if you'd prefer something visual, there's also a TV adaptation.

17. Spines

The Spines podcast has a simple premise: a young woman awakens with amnesia after being part of some sort of cult ritual. She then wanders the world looking for answers, documenting her journey in the form of this podcast. Okay, maybe that doesn't sound very simple. To complicate things further, our protagonist has a mysterious series of words that keep repeating in her head.

This podcast is creepy, for sure; the eerie atmosphere alone gives The Magnus Archives a run for its money. After a listen to the first episode, though, it's easy to tell that body horror is where this podcast really shines. 

Supplemental: This was definitely a favorite of mine from this list. Fans of Jared Hopworth's bodybuilding should especially check this one out. Here's the first episode:

Spines Podcast logo
Image

18. King Falls AM

King Falls AM gives us the classic fish-out-of-water vibes that TMA started us with; radio host Sammy Stevens has just moved into King Falls, a small town full of weird happenings, to host the titular King Falls AM radio show. His first night on the job has him slowly fielding weirder and weirder calls while his co-host and producer, Benjamin Arnold, laughs each situation off as though it were all normal. 

If you loved the colorful relationships and characters that blossomed amidst all the crazy supernatural happenings in The Magnus Archives, take a listen to King Falls AM:

19. The White Vault

If you're a fan of John Carpenter's The Thing, The White Vault's premise might sound familiar: a repair team is sent to a remote arctic outpost, where- according to the podcast's website- they "unravel what lies waiting in the ice below."

This podcast is atmospheric and slow, trickling in its dread over several episodes. The show boasts a more diverse cast of characters than most others on this list, featuring a crew with varied language and backgrounds that make the outpost feel like a microcosmic sample of the world at large.

Supplement: fans of The Lonely, this isolation horror podcast is for you.

Let The White Vault's first episode take you into auditory isolation here:

20. Wooden Overcoats

Maybe the horror wasn't quite what did it for you in TMA; maybe you just really miss the snark and banter of British voices talking about dead people. If that's the case, the award-winning audio dramedy Wooden Overcoats is a great next listen. This podcast about competing mortuaries plays out like a sitcom for your ears, full of classic British humor and dry morbidity. Here's the synopsis from their website:

Rudyard Funn and his equally miserable sister Antigone run their family’s failing funeral parlour, where they get the body in the coffin in the ground on time. But one day they find everyone enjoying themselves at the funerals of a new competitor – the impossibly perfect Eric Chapman! With their dogsbody Georgie, and a mouse called Madeleine, the Funns are taking drastic steps to stay in business…

Give a listen here:

Wooden Overcoats logo - two coffins
Image

21. Supplemental Bonus Content

Lights Out

Since it's not technically a podcast I've included this one as a bonus. Lights Out was a popular horror radio show in the 1930s and 40s, and one which Sims has pointed to as further inspiration for his writing. 

In this famous episode, "The Cat Wife," Boris Karloff, famous for his portrayal of Frankenstein's monster, stars alongside a brilliant uncredited actress in a story that will make your hair stand on end: 

M.R. James

Lastly, if you've gone through this whole list and you've heard it all, maybe try an audiobook from M.R. James, the writer of "Count Magnus," from which The Magnus Archives takes its name. 

If you'd like to take a listen, here's Jonathan Sims himself to read it to you: 

I hope this list helps you fuel your nightmares for a few months more. Happy listening!

entertainment . 14 min read
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A graduate from Knox college, Jay is a writer, podcaster, horror nerd, thespian, and a lover of camp and camping.

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