Unlike straight-up horror, paranormal stories do something to a person’s psyche that lingers long after the screen fades to black. The feeling is like no other, and before one knows it, there’s something lurking behind the shower curtain or under the bed. So why do audiences keep coming back for more of the best ghost TV shows? It’s hard to pinpoint, but what is certain is a new means of telling ghost stories seems to pop up every day, and they never lose audiences. On the contrary, with such a rich variety to chill the blood, if anything, paranormal shows are more popular than ever.

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Luckily for fans of the genre who don’t know what to watch next, there is plenty to choose from — these are some of the best paranormal shows that are guaranteed to make the audience’s blood run cold. Whether you’re in the mood for fictional scepters, true stories, or full-on night-vision encounters, there is no shortage of spine-tingling series to trick your mind into thinking that sound wasn’t just the neighbors. Just make sure to lock the doors and windows, first.

15 ’28 Days Haunted’ (2022)

A woman and a man sitting in front of each other in 28 Days Haunted
Image via Netflix

Netflix’s docuseries and one of the more recent ghost shows, 28 Days Haunted centers on four teams of brave paranormal investigators, who travel through some of America’s most haunted locations in order to execute a paranormal experiment based on the theories of Ed and Lorraine Warren.

While the 2022 show doesn’t count on flawless execution (and features mixed reviews), it still manages to send chills down many spines. Though some members of the audience don’t believe that what happens through the episodes is real, it still helps keep boredom at bay.

Watch on Netflix

14 ‘Ghost Wars’ (2017 – 2018)

Created by Simon Barry

Sonja Bennett in Ghost Wars
Image via Syfy

Two seasons in, this Netflix series starring scene-stealers Kim Coates and Vincent D’Onofrio has its pros and cons in terms of providing creepy material. On one hand, the entire show is fiction; on the other, it’s full of ghosts, so if audiences are looking to scratch that paranormal content itch, they’re in the right place. The series is about a small Alaskan town in which all residents are trapped, experiencing non-stop obstacles from evil spirits who wish to do harm – and lots of it.

The dialogue is a little awkward at times, and the pacing can feel stunted, but the ghosts! So many ghosts. For fans of action (as the title clearly states), there will be guns and blood and car crashes, but the show can also be alarmingly frightening at times, so if you’re looking for a good jump scare, you’re in the right place.

Watch on Plex

13 ‘Surviving Death’ (2021)

Directed by Ricki Stern

A man being spiritually treated by a woman in Surviving Death
Image via Netflix

Another Netflix original series, Surviving Death, is different from the others on the list, as it focuses on a variety of topics: mediums, signs from the dead, reincarnation, ghosts, and even interviews with individuals who died yet lived to tell the tale. In short, no two episodes are alike.

Part talking-head documentary, part educational programming (100% creepy as hell), this series, aside from being fascinating, works well in giving goosebumps because of how sincere each person is in recollecting their encounter. Also featuring medical doctors and other learned professionals, the paranormal show provides an iron-clad ethos that is both difficult to argue with and extraordinarily unsettling. Sleep tight.

Watch on Netflix

12 ‘The Secret of Crickley Hall’ (2012)

Directed by Joe Ahearne

Suranne Jones and Tom Ellis in The Secret of Crickley Hall
Image via BBC

The BBC three-part series, also streaming on Amazon, is based on the novel by James Herbert and begins with the screams of a young boy. It’s a tragic tale: a young child goes missing from a playground, and the couple tries to cope with the immeasurable loss. In their grief, they choose to move with their other young children to a sprawling estate in the middle of nowhere. Soon, they realize they’ve moved into a former orphanage, where unspeakable horrors occurred.

Featuring some familiar faces, such as a young Maisie Williams and Lucifer‘s Tom Ellis, the frightening series offers a quick pace and an even quicker heartbeat. Featuring flashbacks of the orphanage’s last days, coupled with suspenseful and frightening happenings within the home, the series is as creepy as it is tense and tragic.

Watch on Prime Video

11 ‘Paranormal Investigators: Phasmophobia’ (2020)

Directed by Atila Kaldy

A woman in Paranormal Investigators_ Phasmophobia
Image via Prime Video

From Australia, this reality series features psychic Andrea Kaldy, who investigates well-known haunted areas to determine if they are, in fact, haunted – be it by ghosts, poltergeists, or even demonic entities.

After investigating, Kaldy invites 3 participants to enter the location alone and complete a challenge before they are able to leave – unless they run scared, first. Perfect for fans of ghost shows, the creepy content doesn’t begin straight away but rest assured, it will. The show is squeal-worthy, mainly because watching people get scared can also be terrifying. The question is, are the participants (and audiences) jumping to conclusions?

Buy on Apple TV+

10 ‘Ghost Hunters’ (2004 – )

Directed by Mark Marinaccio

A crew of ghost hunters in Ghost Hunters
Image via Syfy

A classic in the genre of ghost hunting shows with many still tuning in to watch it, Ghost Hunters features Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, the founding members of The Atlantic Paranormal Society or TAPS, as they search for paranormal activity around the United States. Popular for over a decade, the series has had a dedicated following for being one of the first shows of its kind.

There are some 14 seasons in all, and what makes them so successful is undoubtedly the men’s use of compelling evidence by way of video footage in the show, electromagnetic field (EMF) readers, sound recordings, and eyewitness accounts – many of which terrified audiences get to see themselves (if they haven’t covered their eyes in fear, that is).

Ghost Hunters

Release Date
October 6, 2004

Cast
Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Mike Rowe

Main Genre
Horror

Rating
TV-PG

Seasons
16

Watch on Fubo

9 ‘The Enfield Haunting’ (2015)

Directed by Kristoffer Nyholm

The Enfield Haunting
Image via BSkyB

This three-part limited series wastes no time in creeping out its audience. Set in 1977 and based on a true story, the show surrounds a mother and her three children who are terrorized by an angry poltergeist. When paranormal investigators arrive, played by Timothy Spall and Matthew Macfadyen, things go from bad to worse.

Nominated for 2 BAFTAs, The Enfield Haunting is chock-full of suspense and screams. One could argue that the muted brown and orange tones or the involvement of children is the cause of its fear factor, but it’s more likely the sheer evil of the unwelcoming house guest that causes the lasting chills. It’s telling that the true events also inspired The Conjuring 2.

Watch on Prime Video

8 ‘Paranormal’ (2020)

Directed by Amr Salama and Majid Al Ansari

Ahmed Amin in Paranormal poster
Image via Netflix

Based on the novels by Dr. Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, Netflix’s first Egyptian Arabic original series provides a different tone to the mix: its protagonist, Dr. Ismail (Ahmed Amin), is a mild-mannered and close-lipped man, determined to neglect his past paranormal experiences and instead focus on verifiable causes and effects. An unlikely skeptic, he is unwillingly brought back into the world of his past just as a former love comes back to Cairo.

Set in both 1940 and 1969, the backdrop of the Arab-Israeli war and the upheaval it causes serves to mirror Ismail’s own uncertainty, especially when his nephew begins to experience eerily similar haunting experiences. Beautifully shot and sickening at the same time, this series goes to show why Tawfik sold millions and millions of hair-raising copies.

Watch on Netflix

7 ‘The Holzer Files’ (2019 – )

Produced by Rob Saffi

The Holzer Files
Image via Travel Channel

When it comes to paranormal TV shows, The Holzer Files is definitely worth mentioning. The horror mystery series follows a team of investigators who unearth the terrifying true hauntings from the case files of America’s first parapsychologist best known for his plethora of hundreds of cases dealing with the occult, Dr. Hans Holzer.

The Holzer Files is assuredly an interesting take on Holzer’s files, providing audiences with an intriguingly spooky time in the meantime. Additionally, it is also very refreshing and different from other shows of the genre.

Watch on Prime Video

6 ‘A Haunting’ (2005 – )

Developed by Allison Erkelens

A Haunting
Image via Investigation Discovery

A Haunting is 11 seasons long so far, and understandably so. Its interesting premise revolves around experiences and encounters with the paranormal, which are told by the victims and illustrated to audiences through frightening re-enactments.

The anthology supernatural surely succeeds in showcasing a chilling and haunting depiction of bizarre stories and is guaranteed to terrify audiences. Furthermore, A Haunting is widely considered one of the greatest series of the kind and assuredly makes for a very atmospheric, entertaining, and worthwhile watch.

A Haunting

Release Date
October 28, 2005

Main Genre
Drama

Rating
TV-PG

Seasons
11

Watch on Prime Video

5 ‘Paranormal Nightmare’ (2019)

Hosted by The Fourmen Brothers

A close up of a man's face in Paranormal Nightmare
Image via Youtube

This documentary/reality series stars three humble hosts (the Fourmen brothers) on a mission. Having suffered paranormal trauma as children, the brothers travel through the United States with the hope of helping similar victims. The credible and harrowing accounts from those interviewed by the hosts are enough to give audiences the chills, but it’s when the sun goes down that things get real.

Using their night-vision cameras and EMF readers, the men capture unexplained images and sounds so spooky that it’s difficult to look away or even blink. No doubt, Paranormal Nightmare is one of the creepiest paranormal series on the platform.

Watch on Pluto

4 ‘Paranormal Witness’ (2011 – 2016)

Directed by Neil Rawles

Paranormal Witness
Image via Syfy

In this appalling true horror mystery documentary named Paranormal Witness, which is an incredible addition to the genre, viewers are introduced to several stories of people who have lived through supernatural experiences that left big, unanswerable question marks behind.

Paranormal Witness is one of the best in its category. It is equal parts interesting and horrifying, featuring credible eyewitness accounts of paranormal activity and thus coming across as a very believable TV show. No doubt, these frightening series provide audiences with a thrilling time in front of the screen and will likely keep them up at night.

Paranormal Witness

Release Date
September 9, 2011

Main Genre
Horror

Rating
NR

Seasons
5

Watch on Fubo

3 ‘The X-Files’ (1993 – 2018)

Created by Chris Carter

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson pointing their guns at something in X-Files
Image via Fox Network

The X-Files is one of the most well-regarded and highest-rated paranormal/supernatural series out there and for very good reason. With an enthralling plot and incredible acting performances, this innovative show revolves around two FBI Special Agents (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) as they investigate a series of bizarre phenomena.

Through time, The X-Files remained a classic, capturing the attention of many people all over the globe. In addition to a well-written storyline, it also features a good dose of scary moments involving monsters, disturbing scenarios, and incredibly violent acts.

The X-Files

Release Date
September 10, 1993

Cast
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
11

Watch on Hulu

2 ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ (2018)

Created by Mike Flanagan

Nell in front of a red door looking sad in The Haunting of Hill House
Image via Netflix

Based on the novel of the same name by acclaimed horror writer Shirley Jackson, and directed by Mike Flanagan, The Haunting of Hill House has proven to be one of Netflix’s most popular series. In it, audiences meet the Crain siblings as they gather for the funeral of one of their own. Together for the first time in years, it does not take long before the ghosts of their past come back to haunt them – literally.

Though there are sometimes dramatic stretches between big scares, the story delivers its full-fledged creepiness in its mixture of flashbacks and real-time storylines that both serve to scare and tug at one’s heartstrings. Undeniably, however, it has made worldwide audiences unable to close their eyes when they go to bed for fear of the Bent-Neck Lady.

The Haunting of Hill House

Release Date
October 12, 2018

Cast
Michiel Huisman, Elizabeth Reaser, Kate Siegel, Victoria Pedretti, Timothy Hutton, Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas

Main Genre
Horror

Rating
TV-MA

Seasons
1

Watch on Netflix

1 ‘Haunted’ (2018 -)

Directed by Jan Pavlacky

A dark entity reaching out a hand in Haunted
Image via Netflix

This Netflix show has everything: true ghost stories, creepy imagery, and jump-worthy reenactments. In it, people deeply affected by paranormal trauma participate in a round-table discussion of sorts with their friends and/or family members in between dramatic renditions of their terrifying tales.

At times, families have yet to disclose details to one another, which leads to emotional TV, while friends of the victims are often visibly shaken. What stands out is the production value (especially in Season 3), as it is very high, so the reenactments are often as sinister as they are cinematic.

Watch on Netflix

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