Worst case scenarios, true crimes, and a psychological thriller: 7 of the most upsetting podcasts that will give you nightmares

round up March 18, 2023

If you’re a true crime podcast fan, you might enjoy streaming these shows all about worst case scenarios and disturbing situations ranging from scary stories to true crimes. On our list, you’ll also find a fictional series about people in a hotel and a psychological thriller.

There are podcasts investigating the darkest parts of the internet, survivor stories from abusive relationships, and what a family found out long after they learned one of their own could have been responsible for the Black Dahlia murder.

This is Actually Happening podcast art

This is Actually Happening

Listen to ‘This is Actually Happening’

Wondery’s “This is Actually Happening” covers a different true crime or unsettling story each episode. Guests share how they survived traumatizing circumstances, overcame adversity, and exited situations ranging from cults to abusive households, addictions to animal hoarding, being attacked by a grizzly bear, and or getting tortured in an Iranian prison. Check out over 290 episodes running less than an hour on average.

Hunting Warhead

Hunting Warhead

Listen to ‘Hunting Warhead’

On CBC True Crime’s “Hunting Warhead” host Daemon Fairless speaks with journalists and law enforcement combing the internet’s darkest corners to find survivors, investigators, and criminals involved in some of the most disturbing cases.

Uncanny podcast art


Listen to ‘Uncanny’

On “Uncanny,” host Danny Robins investigates people’s scariest stories before talking with scientists, paranormal experts, religious figures, and more to see if they can explain. Hear from skeptics and believers in 20+ episodes presented by BBC Radio 4.

The Children in the Pictures

The Children in the Pictures

Listen to ‘The Children in the Pictures’

“The Children in the Pictures” is an 8-part investigative series by Australian documentary-maker Akhim Dev. Dev documented the Queensland Police’s investigation of a child exploitation website, part of the dark web that allowed its members to upload, create, and share media of “unimaginable acts against children.” The team of Australian investigators, Taskforce Argos, used global connections, went undercover to infiltrate the dark web, and found the abusers.

Root of Evil

Root of Evil

Listen to ‘Root of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia’

Elizabeth Short’s gruesome murder in 1947 remains unsolved, but some people believe there’s a suspect: Dr. George Hodel. And his family agrees. Sisters Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile, the great grand daughters of George Hodel, examined the family history to learn if their ancestor is responsible for The Black Dahlia, the coldest case in American history, and if he was responsible for more deaths or other crimes. This podcast is presented by TNT / Cadence13.

Something Was Wrong podcast art

Something Was Wrong

Listen to ‘Something Was Wrong’

Wondery’s “Something Was Wrong” is a true crime docuseries sharing survivors’ accounts of shocking life events, abusive relationships, trauma, recovery, and shocking discoveries. Tiffany Reese hosts over 15 seasons.



Listen to ‘Borrasca’

Cole Sprouse and Sarah Yarkin star in this dark, psychological thriller. Season 1 unearths secrets and follows Sam’s journey as he remembers the summer his sister vanished, his friends, legends learned, and grapples with loss. Season 2 returns to Drisking as Sam’s ghost seeks revenge in a land of unsolved mysteries and nightmares, all the way to Borrasca’s gates. This fictional series is produced by QCODE, created/written by Rebecca Klingel, and directed by Kristin Burke.

The Hotel

Listen to ‘The Hotel’

“The Hotel” never turns anyone away and once checked it, no one leaves. Even the staff are seemingly there forever. The setting changes forms each episode ranging from the sketchiest motels to world-class resorts. An absolutely terrifying sci-fi series presented by Bloody FM.

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