The Most Terrifying Audio Recordings You Can Find on the Internet

Mar | 23K sharesOlivia Morton

What is it about audio that makes it 100 percent spookier than film? I don't know about you, but I think sound is capable of capturing the imagination and leaving us breathless with fear in a way that no other sense can manage. All the best horror films only work because of their peerless sound engineering. Think about it: if you've ever had the unfortunate experience of trying to sleep when you can hear the sounds of vermin like mice scratching at the walls, you'll know how maddeningly creepy simple noises and sounds can be.

So if you're in the mood for a long and lasting scare then look no further than the following list, where we've compiled some of the most frightening audio recordings to be found online. Fair warning; some listeners will find the contents of these recordings extremely distressing, so due caution is advised.

1. Operation Wandering Souls 

Operation Wandering Soul was a propaganda campaign exercised by American forces during the Vietnam War, which exploited the ancient Vietnamese beliefs in the "wandering soul"- a phenomenon in which the spirits of unburied corpses would wander the earth in a state of pain and anguish. Army engineers spent weeks recording creepy sounds and altered voices, which were intended to terrify the Viet Kong, sow fear and confusion, and redirect troops. Helicopters were sometimes employed to broadcast recordings, and in some, the spliced and doctored recordings pleaded for the communist troops to surrender.

2. Ruth Price 911 phone call

Mrs. Ruth Price was an elderly woman who lived alone. When she noticed a prowler outside her home, she dialed 911 and asked for immediate help. Price was known for by dispatchers for calling for innocuous reasons, and was regarded as paranoid by emergency services. Nevertheless, when she made this call to 911, something terrifying happened. Before she could give the police dispatcher her address, an unknown assailant entered her room and surprised her. Price dropped the phone, but her frantic screams were captured on tape while she was beaten to death before law enforcement could arrive.

3. A nuclear attack emergency broadcast

This four-minute warning is one of the emergency announcements that will be broadcast in the event of a nuclear strike. If a nuclear strike is imminent, these public service announcements will play on certain frequencies, urging viewers at home to find shelter and avoid nuclear fallout. Most of these emergency warnings have been discontinued in the 1990s, as tensions from the Cold War have relaxed somewhat.

4. Kevin Cosgrove's 9/11 phone call

These are the final moments of Kevin Cosgrove, an insurance business executive who worked in the World Trade Centre and perished during 9/11. In a phone call made to emergency services, Cosgrove can be heard describing the fire and the chaos in his office, shortly before a rumbling sound can be heard as the building falls apart. Cosgrove had enough time to scream "Oh God! Oh!—" before his line was cut off as the South Tower collapsed into rubble. This recording was used to convict Zacarias Moussaoui, one of the main conspirators in the terrorist attack.

5. The Jonestown suicide tape

In 1978, notorious cult leader Jim Jones ordered all 918 disciples of the radical leftist People's Temple to commit mass suicide by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid in their base in Jonestown, Guyana. This incident occurred after the Port Kaituma Airstrip shootings, in which Jones ordered his followers to snipe at Congressman Leo Ryan, as well as several other public servants and NBC reporters. 

In retaliation, the FBI, which had been investigating Jim Jones on charges of alleged human rights violations, attempted to arrest Jones. The FBI recovered the following audio recording, in which Jones can be heard ordering his followers to preempt an arrest and to take their own lives. What followed would be the greatest loss of American civilian life until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

6. The Voice of the Night Stalker

The Night Stalker (real name Richard Ramirez) was an infamous serial killer and predatory rapist who sexually assaulted and massacred numerous women in their homes throughout the 1980s in Los Angeles. He would often taunt his victims over the phone before brutally murdering them, and in this instance left a chilling voice recording on one unfortunate victim's answering machine. Ramirez murdered at least 10 people and raped approximately 50 women, although investigators believe that he may have claimed even more victims.

7. The Weepy-Voiced Killer

"Don't talk: just listen." These were the chilling words that would introduce Paul Michael Stephani's telephone tirades on emergency service dispatch lines. Stephani was a serial murderer, nicknamed "The Weepy-Voiced Killer" by the press, who would typically phone the police and anonymously confess to his horrific homicides in a tear-stricken falsetto. In these audio recordings, Stephani can be heard hysterically crying that he was unable to help himself from murdering the three women he was later incarcerated for killing. It's unknown whether or not he was suffering from schizophrenia, and was truly unable to stop himself from slaying innocent women, or if his phone calls are characteristic of a histrionic sociopath.

8. The Art Bell Show caller

In 1997, syndicated radio talk show host Art Bell received a phone call from a young man in a state of extreme distress. Art Bell's radio show commonly discussed supernatural or paranormal subjects, and other conspiracy theorists had phoned his station in the past. This time however, Bell was contacted by someone who claimed to be a government employee and had formerly worked at Area 51. The man can be heard becoming progressively more frantic, and the conversation culminates in the show going temporarily off the air due to a satellite failure. The man alleges that extra-dimensional beings "have infiltrated a lot of aspects of the military establishment". Comic book writer Bryan J. L. Glass alleges that he was the caller and that it was a hoax, but many still believe in the legitimacy of the phone call.

9. Tornado siren

The awful dins made by warning sirens are often designed by sound engineers to be as unsettling and discordant as possible, and this Tornado siren sounding off in Miles City, Montana, is no exception. If anyone lives in a state where severe weather is a routine problem, then these wailing sirens will induce immediate anxiety and distress.

10. Aztec death whistle

These frightening skull-shaped whistles were carved from wood by the ancient Aztec people of Mexico. The curious acoustic properties of these instruments produce a noise that sounds eerily like a human screaming, and archeologists and anthropologists have speculated that the sound of these whistles might have accompanied human sacrifices.

11. An audio representation of schizophrenia 

This audio recording is designed to simulate the experience of someone living with auditory hallucinations provoked by schizophrenia. People who suffer from schizophrenia often report hearing malicious voices taunting them, or compelling them to perform actions that feel out of their control. Schizophrenics often fail to realize that the compelling and sometimes derogatory voices are creations of their own mind, and may spend years hearing them without realizing that they are sick.

12. The Enfield Poltergeist

The Enfield Poltergeist was an alleged haunting which took place in a council house in Enfield, England, between the years of 1977 and 1979. Single parent Peggy Hodgson reported a number of inexplicable phenomena in her house, including levitating furniture, knocking noises in the walls, thrown objects, and demonic voices. The following is an audio recording of Maurice Grosse, a member of the Psychical Research Society, speaking to Janet Hodgson, the daughter of Peggy. Janet reported that she had been possessed by an "entity" and can be heard speaking in a deep, gravelly, middle-aged voice, quite unlike that of an 11-year-old girl. Numerous skeptics have since dismissed the case as a hoax or prank played by the Hodgson children, but this recording remains haunting nonetheless.