How to find ghosts with Alexa (and other scary skills)

Amazon’s powerful Alexa voice assistant wears many hats in our lives. A knower of all things on the web, a controller of all our smart home devices, a digital Rolodex of contacts, calendars, and lists, and a seeker of disturbed spirits that refuse to rest. Wait, what?

As part of Alexa’s lineup of impressive features, the voice assistant can also be used for scary parlor tricks, grim guessing games, and ghost-hunting expertise. From spooky stories to unsettling audio, there’s plenty of terrifying stuff that Amazon’s right hand can show off at your next ghoulish gathering.

If you’re interested in experiencing some life-beyond-the-grave entertainment with your favorite Alexa devices, we’ve put together this list of our favorite spooky Alexa skills.

Become a paranormal investigator

Rowan the Destructor in Ghostbusters (2016).

Remember Pokémon Go? That mobile interactive adventure that had us all dipping into unfamiliar geography to catch digital critters? Well, there’s a slightly more chilling version of the roam-and-capture game available on compatible Alexa devices called Ghost Detector.

Here’s the setup: Each day, you say, “Alexa, open Ghost Detector,” and your digital pal will launch the skill. Then, Alexa will let you know whether or not there’s a spirit to capture in proximity. If there is, you say, “Alexa, tell Ghost Detector to catch the ghost.”

If Alexa is able to lasso the specter, you’re awarded a certain amount of Ghost Bux, a kind of in-game currency that allows you to expand your ghost-hunting arsenal. You can only look for one spirit per day, though, so if you plan on racking up these phantasmic dollars, you’d better make a point of checking into the spirit realm as many times a week as possible.

Ring in the campfire vibes

For years, mankind has been scaring ourselves silly with terrifying ghost tales, urban legends, and other haunting “you had to be there” orations from friends and family. Now Alexa can join you and yours in the ghoulish tradition of telling scary stories.

One of our favorite ways to get Alexa chiming out a twisted tale is to get meta with it. There’s a fun Alexa skill called Spooky Stories that falls under the Alexa Blueprints umbrella. Spooky Stories is a kid-friendly creator that lets users add names, sound effects, and other narrative elements to a PG-rated Halloween story. The skill is simple to use and provides hours of customizable enjoyment. Once your story is put together, just say, “Alexa, open My Spooky Story,” to have the voice assistant read out the prose.

Alexa has some other great story skills, too. Scare Me tasks Alexa with telling you a two- or three-sentence horror story, and while some users have argued that the tales aren’t chilling enough, the fact that we had to sleep with the lights on may prove otherwise.

And if you want to negate skills altogether, you can always just say, “Alexa, tell me a spooky story.” In seconds flat, the voice assistant will call a guest narrator into action, delivering a short, family-friendly bit of every-day-is-Halloween entertainment.

Summon a chilling soundscape

Hill House from the Netflix original series 'The Haunting of Hill House'

Whether it’s Halloween time or not, Alexa can help you turn your peaceful domicile into an atmospheric tomb with a handful of eerie soundscape skills.

One of the best-reviewed of the bunch is called Halloween Sounds. About as literal as the title would suggest, asking Alexa to launch this skill turns your Echo speaker into a sounding board for all things frightening. Amazon reviewers have noted just how authentic these looped bytes are, providing hours of background noise for any kind of Halloween shindig or other macabre event.

There’s also Haunted House. Once you ask Alexa to open the skill, the voice assistant will dial up a scary bit of random audio that lasts for just about 30 seconds. Be prepared: While some of the curated tones are a bit generic and laughable, there are some selections that are truly hair-raising.

Become an unforgivable monster

Drew Barrymore in Scream.

Has someone in your family been getting under your skin lately? Well, Alexa and her band of howling demonic friends can help you level the playing field with a skill called Spooky Scream.

Once you’ve added the skill to your Alexa device, you can give time-based commands like, “Alexa, ask Spooky Scream to start in 10 minutes.” When 10 minutes is up, your Echo device will emit a soul-shattering scream that is guaranteed to get you even with that one sibling that had it coming.

An excellent pranking skill, do be mindful that some of the screams are certainly on the blood-curdling side, making Spooky Scream not the most suitable skill for the young ones.

Fight to survive in a scary game (or two)

Nothing says “interactive” like a chess game where the preservation of your soul is the ultimate prize. While Alexa may not pit you against the Grim Reaper like Max von Sydow in The Seventh Sealyou can use the Amazon assistant to conjure up some other creepy adventures.

Halloween Feel the Pressure is a spooky iteration of the popular Feel the Pressure letter game, where players are tasked with a series of questions based on the alphabet we all know and love. You need to guess 10 answers correctly in a row to “save your soul,” so start reading up on your ghastly vocabulary.

We also love Monster Madnessa game of chance that can be played with up to six players. In each round, contestants are asked to open a door. Depending upon what’s on the other side, players will either gain or lose points that can be swapped and stolen by fellow competitors throughout the rest of the game.

Whisper like a wraith

More of a common decency feature than a springboard for horrors, Alexa’s whisper mode can be admittedly unnerving to engage.

Designed to allow you to communicate with Alexa while other family members are sleeping, enabling the function within the Alexa app will allow your designated Alexa device to listen for whispered voice commands. Then, instead of responding in the assistant’s default voice, Alexa opts for her own whispering instead.

OK, we know it’s not meant to be scary, but experimenting with this ability at 3 a.m. can be ultra-creepy. Alexa’s hushed voice is all too real and can make it seem like you’re conferring with something from another realm (if you let your post-midnight imagination run wild).

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