If you haven’t listened to podcasts, it’s kind of hard to describe them because they cover such a wide variety of topics — from self-help to horror to politics to news to economics to fiction to comedy to sports and everything in between. If you have something you’re interested in, I guarantee there’s a podcast about it. But, basically, it’s modern-day radio. You subscribe to different shows, and every week or two a new one will show up in your playlist. Best of all, they’re free.

Today we’re going to talk about my favorite types of podcasts: the types that tackle the creepy, weird or unexplainable. Some are fictional. Some talk about “real life” mysteries such as ghosts, cryptids, serial killers, myths and — yes — aliens.

Here are my favorites:

COMEDY PODCASTS

“And That’s Why We Drink”: I discovered this one a couple months ago and binge listened to all of it. The hosts, Em and Christine, are fun and incredibly relatable. For a podcast that’s all about murder and mystery, this podcast has made me laugh out loud more times than I can count. The premise is that, most weeks, Em recounts a ghostly tale — tales of poltergeists, ghosts and other unexplainable things — and Christine tells tales of murder and other grotesque things. It’s fun, funny and, of course, scary.

  • Recommended episodes:
    • Literally any of them, but start from the beginning or you’ll be really confused by Em and Christine’s personal lives.

    “The What if Podcast”: The hosts of this podcast, Spencer and Ryan, talk about an array of just plain weird topics. They’re also hilarious and constantly make me chuckle. They talk about their personal lives enough for me to feel like I actually know them, but not enough that I feel like that’s all they talk about.

    The topics they tackle are interesting and many of them are unique among this type of podcast. Just listen to it. I cannot recommend this podcast enough.

  • Recommended episodes:
    • All of the “What If You Disappeared” episodes (episodes 24, 46, 47, 68 and 69); “What If You Found Something Strange?” (No. 34); “What If Stranger Things Really Happened? (No. 51 and 52)

    “Not Alone”: The hosts talk about all sorts of crazy topics. Sam is more accepting of the supernatural and the weird, and Jason is ever-skeptical. It makes for a fun juxtaposition, and hosts freaking out at things that make no sense is hilarious. They’re also based out of Boise, so go support some fellow Idahoans.

  • Recommended episodes:
    • The Reptilian Conspiracy episodes (episodes 54 and 55); “The Nameless Thing of Berkeley Square” (No. 42); “Idaho — Esto Perpetua Spooktacular” (No. 20); “Skinwalker Ranch: Parts 1, 2 and 3” (No. 31, 32 and 33)

    “Blurry Photos”: This podcast now just has one host, but it still has a huge back catalogue with two hosts — Dave and David. These two dudes consistently crack me up while talking about conspiracies, ghosts, mysteries and other weird stuff.

  • Recommended episodes:
    • “Times Slips” (episode 32); “Mel’s Hole” (episode 134); “Coral Castle” (episode 176); “Mandela Effect” (episode 187)

    SCARY NONFICTION PODCASTS

    “Unexplained”: This podcast is incredibly well done. The host, Richard MacLean Smith, has a great voice for this kind of thing: Explaining unexplained mysteries.

  • Recommended episodes:
    • All of them are worth listening to, but I especially recommend the episodes on the Dyatlov Pass incident: “When the Snow Melts” (season two, episode 4, parts 1-3)

    “Monsters Among Us Podcast”: In this podcast, people call or write in about the scary, supernatural or unexplained things they’ve had happen to them — and the host, Derek hayes, tries his best to come up with a logical explanation for the experiences. But sometimes, even he is at a loss for an explanation.

  • Recommended episodes:
    • “A Mothman in Chicago? Shadowmen, lunar spiders and an insectoid invader” (season 5, episode 8); “Mirrored Men” (season 2, episode 4)

    “Lore”: This show is incredibly popular — it has books and even an Amazon show — but for a good reason: The host, Aaron Mahnke, does great research and he is a great storyteller. I have to listen to this podcast during daytime because it is just that scary. It’s impossible to name a favorite episode because they are all worth listening to.

    “Astonishing Legends”: You’ll love this podcast, headed by Scott and Forrest, if you’re really into diving deep into mysteries. They consistently have multiple-part, multiple-hour episodes going into a variety of topics: giants, yetis, ghosts, possessions and much, much more.

  • Recommended episodes:
    • “Black Eyed Kids Parts 1-3”; “The Nazi Bell Parts 1-2”

    FICTIONAL HORROR PODCASTS

    “The Magnus Archives”: This podcast is probably my favorite podcast of all time. It starts with the head archivalist of the Magnus Institute, Jonathan Simms, reading statements of the unexplained and weird from people who have come to the Institute. As he reads his statements (each one taking place over the course of one episode), you realize he’s not just reading random, unrelated statements — all of them are part of an interconnected, and horrible, mystery.

    “The Box”: The premise is similar to that of the Magnus Archives: Addison finds a box of what seems like short horror stories — but then she realizes that the people in the stories are real and the horrors they witnessed are real as well. (Warning: The creator of this podcast dropped off the face of the Earth, and so this doesn’t have a proper ending, but the 30 episodes that do exist are really fun.)

    “The Black Tapes”: I’m a bit wary in recommending this one because the ending sucks, but the mystery leading up to the ending is binge worthy. Alex finds herself working with an enigmatic Dr. Richard Strand, a man who makes a living proving to people that supernatural are anything but that. But Strand has these Black Tapes — that he insists are solvable, but just not yet — and Alex sets out to investigate them.

    “The Alexandria Archives”: The host of a college radio show takes calls from vampires, college administrators and people with an assortment of supernatural issues. Then she delves into “The Alexandria Archives” — a mishmash of horror short stories all taking place in and around the ever-creepy Alexandria University. Go Wendigos!

    “Spines”: Wren wakes up in an attic covered in blood and with abilities she doesn’t understand and memories that aren’t hers. Follow Wren as she discovers what she is and meets all sorts of weird and interesting and straight up horrible people along the way.

    “Alice Isn’t Dead”: Alice is traveling across the country in a semi, searching for her missing wife. What she discovers is horrific and very, very hard to explain. It’s basically a horror road trip, which combines two of the things I really love.

    Danae Lenz is a copy editor at the business editor at the Idaho State Journal. In her free time, she likes to spend time in the mountains, where she hopes she doesn’t run into a bear — or Bigfoot. Want to recommend a podcast or trash on some of her favorite podcasts? Contact her at dlenz@journalnet.com.