Top 6 Scariest Old Time Radio Shows

I’m a big old time radio nerd, and my favorite tales are the creepy chillers and spook stories about ghosts, killers, and weird supernatural happenings that they’d play late at night as you sat by the radio in your stuffed chair with the lights turned low and the wind rattling the windows. Here are my six favorite shows for sending a chill up your spine, perfect for getting in the Halloween mood!

Night Beat – “The Black Cat”

Here our plucky, intrepid reporter, Randy Stone (played by Frank Lovejoy) finds himself mixed up in a murder plot, with one body on the sidewalk and more to come, and they’re all connected to a mischievous and ever-present black cat that seems to have more than the standard nine lives. A nice mix of Halloween superstitions and crime tropes in this one. Listen or download HERE.

The Mercury Theater on the Air, with Orson Welles – “Dracula”

Welles ran a renowned theater troupe and made the leap from stage to radio with these longer, large-cast productions of famous stories and novels, including this atmospheric rendering of the classic vampire tale. The first half is creepier than the second, and the story is severely truncated, but it was more enjoyable than I initially expected, especially the section about the fate of the poor Demeter. Listen HERE.

Quiet Please – “Don’t Tell Me About Halloween”

This is less spooky and more light-hearted, about a man who meets a witch, marries her, and grows to regret it each Halloween. Until the Halloween he decides he’d rather kill her than remain the target of her affections. But how does one kill a witch? Listen HERE.

Suspense – “The Hitchhiker”

Another Welles’ story here, with a great introduction by the famed actor himself. This tale finds him driving cross country along the back roads of America, except he’s followed by a ghost, or an apparition, or…something worse? Listen HERE.

Suspense – “Ghost Hunt”

A “found tape” from a wireless recorder in an abandoned home reveals a radio show host and a ghost hunter attempted a stakeout for an evening in a cursed house, but as the night progresses, the events grow stranger as bats, noises, bloodstains, and then unseen guests appear. Will either make it out alive? Listen HERE.

Suspense – “Three Skeleton Key”

This is my favorite radio tale, narrated by Vincent Price himself. Three lighthouse workers on a remote island watch helplessly as a ship full of starving rats crashes into their reef, and the rats trap them inside…until they find a way in. Absolutely chilling, with amazing sound effects. Perfect for the Halloween season. Enjoy! Listen HERE.