14 frightening mystery podcasts to scare the crap out of you
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WHAT is it about murder mysteries that for the past hundred years has kept us and our ancestors riveted and coming back for more?
Over the last century, we’ve gone from Edgar Allan Poe to Agatha Christie to the new stable of mystery podcast hosts who’ve further evolved the art of telling seductive crime mysteries and, in the process, have turned it into a worldwide obsession.
In the pursuit of fulfilling the WhatPods’ mission to help others find great podcasts, we’ve found, listened to, and ranked in order the 14 best currently available mystery podcasts.
We’ve focused on multi-part series for this list, where the host tells the story at the heart of their mystery podcast over the course of multiple, connected episodes.
14. What Happened To Vishal?
This short and punchy series (the entire series can be knocked over in under an hour) looks into the disappearance and murder of Vishal Mehrotra from a London street on the day of the Royal Wedding in 1981. His body was found nine months later and there are still no answers to who kidnapped and murdered him. Vishal’s father is convinced that Vishal was the victim of a paedophile ring that had the protection of the police. The presenter, Tom Swarbrick investigates this explosive claim and tries to answer the question that has been torturing his family and those investigating the crime for decades: What Happened To Vishal?
What Happened To Vishal? comes in at number 14 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
13. Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams?
Following a tip-off from a retired detective, reporter Connie Walker of CBC news investigates the unsolved murder of Alberta Williams, an indigenous women from British Columbia, Canada who went missing on 25 August 1989. A month later her body was discovered 37km from Prince Rupert. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death. Her murder has never been solved. Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams?, an eight-part series, tracks Walker’s investigation and uncovers some new leads.
Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams? comes in at number 13 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
12. Gone at 21
The beauty of this raw and gritty podcast is that it is presented by a straight-up private investigator who is interested in the evidence and where it leads, rather than expressing his personal views about the case or the people involved. While presented in a non-traditional format by presenting ‘investigation’ episodes separately to ‘evidentiary’ episodes, Gone at 21 just works.
Gone At 21 comes in at number 12 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
Through investigating the unsolved murder of Maria James a young mother who was found dead in the bookshop she owned in Melbourne, Australia, Trace gives voice to James’ two sons Mark and Adam who have been left with the unanswered question of what happened to their mum, more than 37 years ago. Presenter, Rachel Brown of the ABC, does well to uncover new leads but be prepared, the pod ends abruptly without a resolution or the traditional summation episode that fans of this genre may be accustomed to.
Trace comes in at number 11 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
10. Up and Vanished
In October 2005, Tara Grinstead, a 30 year old high school teacher disappeared after leaving a friend’s BBQ. Since her disappearance was reported, there has never been a confirmed sighting of Tara and no persons of interest were identified until February 2017. In Up and Vanished, the audio, particularly the interviews, can be difficult to hear but the presenter, Payne Lindsay circles back and ensures that the listener catches pertinent details. Getting a fresh take on Grinstead’s disappearance was always going to be tough given the level of press coverage the case has received. But Lindsay achieves it by seeking to crack the tough veneer of small town Ocilla, Georgia and speaking directly to those involved rather than focusing on old case files.
Up and Vanished comes in at number 10 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
If you have been working your way through this ultimate mystery podcast list it’s probably time to get some perspective. Missing will provide you with just that. Crime author, Tim Weaver provides some comfort to listeners by addressing what missing persons stats (albeit in the UK) actually are and looks at missing persons cases from the perspective of people who aim to disappear. Essentially, 250,000 people are reported missing each year in the UK and 97% of those are found within a week. It is only approximately 1% or, 2,500 people who remain missing after a year. Central to the pod’s premise is the fact that it is not a crime to go missing and that some people in that 1% have actually achieved what they set out to. Throughout the 11 episode series, Weaver gathers information on how that 1% of people remain missing and culminates in him putting the information that he has learnt to the test by attempting to go missing without leaving a trace.
Missing comes in at number 9 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
8. Hollywood & Crime
This pod investigates the dramatic cold case of the Black Dahlia Serial Killer thought to be responsible for the brutal murder of more than a dozen women in Los Angeles in the late 1940s. The show launches with the investigation into the murder of Elizabeth Short whose severed body was found in January 1947. In Hollywood & Crime, host Tracy Pattin takes listeners beneath glistening Hollywood glamour, into Los Angeles’ dirty underbelly where this serial killer lurked. If you’re after a mystery pod to sink your teeth into, this is it – with 26, 40-ish minute episodes, it will be sure to quench your thirst.
Hollywood & Crime comes in at number 8 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
7. Thin Air Podcast
All podcasts that are dedicated to publicising missing persons cases fulfil an important public service. But the Thin Air Podcast goes well beyond that. Each well-researched episode is dedicated to a single missing persons case that hosts, Daniel Calderon and Jordan Sims present with equal measures of inquisitiveness and empathy. Every episode is punctuated by interviews with loved ones of the missing, who continue to await their return.
Thin Air Podcast comes in at number 7 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
6. Missing Maura Murray
Crazy theories abound in this epic podcast series, Missing Maura Murray. It all starts with the disappearance of 22 year old Maura Murray from a single vehicle traffic accident in New Hampshire. Only about 10 minutes after the accident, when police arrived at the scene on 9 February 2004, Maura is nowhere to be found. She has never been seen since.
Missing Maura Murray comes in at number 6 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
5. Phoebe’s Fall
Was Phoebe Hansjuk’s death a “tragic accident” as the coroner ruled? Or, was she murdered? On 2 December 2010, Phoebe’s battered body was discovered at the bottom of a garbage chute in a luxury apartment building in Melbourne, Australia where she resided with her boyfriend, Atony Hampel. Hansjuk survived the 40 meter fall but bled out after her foot was severed by the blades meant for compacting garbage. Phoebe’s Fall, the six-part series presented by The Age newspaper, questions key findings made by the Coroner including how Hansjuk could have got into the garbage chute without assistance. Listener’s will be left with a desire to see justice done in a case that has more questions than answers.
Phoebe’s Fall comes in at number 5 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
4. Cold Case Files:The Podcast
If you like the crime genre podcasts but are a little over things being left unresolved, subscribe to Cold Case Files: The Podcast immediately. Each episode tells the story of a brutal murder that becomes a cold case BUT, is ultimately solved after, in most cases, decades. While the outcome for the victim is never good, the host, Brooke Gittings, tells the story of the crime from start to finish including how the crime went down, why it went unsolved for so long and, what ultimately led to the killer’s identity being discovered. This podcast is bound to reinvigorate your love for the mystery podcast genre.
Cold Case Files: The Podcast comes in at number 4 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
Three indigenous children, all living on the same street in the small Australian town of Bowraville were killed within a five month period. Jay Hart was charged and stood trial for two of the murders but was acquitted on each occasion. In Bowraville, Dan Box, a crime reporter from The Australian investigates the crimes and confronts the tormented history of race relations between Australia’s legal system, law enforcement and the media and Australia’s first peoples. A must-listen mystery pod.
Bowraville comes in at number 3 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
2. Finding Tammy Jo
In 1979, the body of a teenage girl was discovered on an upstate New York cornfield. Finding Tammy Jo reports on the investigation into who she was and who murdered her. This short and sharp podcast explores the unbelievable story of how websleuths identified her as Tammy Jo Alexander in 2015 and how far the investigation into her murder has progressed.
Finding Tammy Jo comes in at number 2 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
1. Someone Knows Something
Having released three vastly different who-done-it series, David Ridgen and the team at Someone Knows Something know how to produce and present pods of this genre. In the first series, Ridgen investigates the case of Adrien McNaughton who, in 1972 at the age of five, while on a family fishing trip, vanished without a trace. In season two, Ridgen searches for answers in the case of Sheryl Sheppard who disappeared 4 days after her boyfriend proposed to her on national television, in 1998. The most recent series investigates the murders of Charles Moore and Henry Dee who were found in the Mississippi River in 1964.
Someone Knows Something comes in at number 1 as one of our top mystery podcasts. Heard this podcast before? Leave it a review.
Think this list needs work?
The team at WhatPods is super excited to see this list of great mystery podcasts grow and evolve as writers, journalists and podcast natives uncover, research and report on more untold, unexplained crimes and cold cases.
We want to keep this list fresh and relevant as the years go by, and we need your participation to make sure that happens. So if you have a suggestion for a podcast worth including, search for your selection in the box below and hit submit. We’ll get an email with your tip and may update the list to include it: