10 Scariest Paranormal TV Shows For The Spooky Season

With Halloween on the horizon, movie theaters are brimming with horror movies, Halloween ends at Smile, but some fans of the spooky season prefer something a little more grounded and are looking for the perfect TV series to chill them to the bone. Paranormal shows have always been a good source of scares, and the best ones have even left viewers with a week of nightmares.


Whether it’s long-running ghost-hunting shows like Ghost Adventures or memories of real accounts like Haunted, the realm of the paranormal can be scarier than any horror movie. While television is flooded with countless paranormal programs, only the scariest of the scary is worth watching for a truly spooky experience.

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Portals to Hell (2019–present)

Stream on Discovery+

Of all the people who take viewers on a descent into paranormal phenomena, Jack Osbourne wouldn’t normally be the first person you think of, but nonetheless, he hosts Portals to Hell. The series sees Osbourne team up with paranormal investigator Katrina Weidman to investigate some of the most haunted places in the United States.

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Although the format seems overloaded, Osbourne is a great host and the show really focuses on the story of the places they investigate. In addition to simply investigating hauntings, Osbourne and Weidman are also trying to figure out why the locations appear to be hotbeds of paranormal activity. The show’s title isn’t just a gimmick, and the series is made even scarier due to the concentration of hauntings.

Haunted (2018-2021)

Stream on Netflix

Although the show has sparked speculation as to its veracity, Netflix’s paranormal sensation Haunted left many viewers absolutely chilled. The series interviews real people who tell personal stories of nightmarish horror, many of which deal with the paranormal.

From the ghost of serial killer victims to gruesome cults, the show had a much larger scale than the usual talking head ghost show. The reenactment sequences were also much more well done and they added another layer to the scares. Although not all of them were winners, the scariest stories of Haunted were some of the scariest in television history.

Paranormal Lockdown (2016-2019)

Stream on Discovery+

Even if the viewer does not believe in the paranormal, many scary places featured on paranormal lock enough to give them goosebumps. The show follows a pair of paranormal investigators who locked themselves in extremely haunted locations for 72 hours in an attempt to capture evidence.

Generally considered one of the best ghost hunting reality shows, paranormal lock avoids the pitfalls of his contemporaries by not going too far for the obvious. The locations are scary enough on their own, and there’s very little artificial “evidence” that many other ghost shows present as proof that ghosts exist.

Ghost Adventures (2008–present)

Stream on Discovery+

Although this is not the first ghost hunting show, Ghost Adventures set the standard for what a paranormal TV show could be. A trio of experienced ghost hunters have traveled to some of the most haunted places in the world to obtain evidence of the existence of ghosts and demons.

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Host Zak Bagans’ over-the-top personality might annoy some, but he added a certain flair to the show and made it stand out from the crowd. With years of episodes and a plethora of unique specials, the Ghost Adventures the crew apparently left no stone unturned in the pursuit of goosebumps. Nonetheless, they still manage to sneak up on themselves and audiences year after year.

My Haunted House (2013-2016)

Stream on Fubo

Paranormal spectacles often haunt the halls of old mansions and abandoned asylums, but my haunted house brought terror to the streets of the suburbs for an even more harrowing experience. Done in an interview style with re-enactments, the show tells the stories of average people who find their dream homes turned into a nightmare thanks to ghosts.

The mundane nature of the show’s surroundings only makes it more terrifying, and the apparent prevalence of ghosts is enough to keep viewers awake at night. The biggest takeaway from the show is that hauntings can happen anywhere, even in the home of the average paranormal TV fan.

Monsters and Mysteries in America (2013-2015)

Stream on Discovery+

Ghosts aren’t the only paranormal beings that inhabit the United States, and cryptids have been part of folklore for centuries. Monsters and Mysteries in America aimed to pull back the curtain on some of the weirdest and most terrifying beings lurking in the dark corners of the United States.

Scarier than even the scariest monster movies, the spooky tales of beasts like Mothman and Bigfoot are made even scarier by the real-life memories of those who have seen them. Whether it’s paranormal or simply unfamiliar animals, the show leaves it up to the viewer, but either way, it’s a chilling concept to contemplate.

The Scariest Places on Earth (2000-2006)

Not available for streaming

Not limited to any particular country, The Scariest Places on Earth is a globe-trotting descent in breathtaking places. The documentary-style series shows some of the scariest places in the world and focuses on the people who had the unfortunate honor of experiencing them in person.

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Without an anchor character like in other paranormal shows, the viewer is almost left alone in the nightmarish locations, and there’s an eerie loneliness to the experience. Every aspect of the show was meant to induce fear, and if the spooky visuals weren’t enough to chill, then Zelda Rubinstein’s storytelling is truly nightmare fuel.

Fear (2000-2002)

Not available for streaming

Not generally known as a destination for paranormal content, MTV served up a truly terrorizing program when it aired To fear. The competition’s reality show pitted people against each other as they were locked in haunted places and required to participate in spooky challenges.

While it would have been easy to just shoot the series on a set, To fear instead chose to use real haunted places which were very scary. Highly ranked among MTV’s top reality shows, the series only lasted a few short seasons, but it often managed to scare the viewer almost as much as the contestants.

Paranormal Witness (2011-2016)

Stream on Peacock

Bringing more than just ghost stories to life, paranormal witness featured interviews and re-enactments of harrowing encounters with the unknown.

Ghosts are the bread and butter of the series, but there are also a host of stories involving UFOs and other unexplained phenomena. The interviews are so much more in-depth than other shows, and the passion with which the stories are told really helps add gravity to the personal tales of supernatural terror.

A Haunting (2005–present)

Stream on Discovery+

Talking heads and re-enactments are fairly common in paranormal TV shows, but few have the right formula quite like A haunting. Featuring testimonials from those involved, the show chronicles thrilling encounters with the paranormal and brings them to life with chilling re-enactments.

Recreating someone’s real experience can sometimes lead to unintended humor, but A haunting sticks to the “less is more” approach for maximum terror. The stories are all fairly plausible, and throughout its run the series has stayed true to its format and never opted for anything blatantly wrong.

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