I’M ADDICTED TO TRUE CRIME: PODCAST EDITION

With the surge in popularity for true crime, it can be overwhelming to decide which podcast to tune in to and catch the next murder/crime case. This post will share some of the podcasts I’ve been absolutely consumed by over the last few months and why. Equally important, I’ll mention the podcasts I felt ‘meh’ about and provide reasons for why they didn’t appeal to my true crime tastes.

My last post on the obsession with true crime hopefully paved the way to understanding why we as a society are consumed by the macabre true crime stories made famous by pop culture. If you didn’t catch it, you can read it here to become familiar with my own personal justification for why I love hearing about true crime stories (so that you don’t read this thinking, ‘this girl is an absolute nutter’). I’ve spiralled down into this massive consumption of true crime stories both solved and cold, becoming glued to my headphones and taking advantage of every minute I’m able to listen to a podcast to hear details about yet another murder case and form my own opinions on each story. And I mean it when I say I’ve been glued to it. Every walk to the bus stop, almost every day in the lab, when I’m laying in bed at night, you can bet I have my headphones in listening to true crime podcasts. In fact, my podcast app Stitcher has counted that in the last 3 months I’ve listened to 164 hours of true crime podcasts. That’s 55 hours a month, and about 2 hours a day, every day for 90 days. So you can be sure that I have a fair bit of experience in listening to these podcasts!

SWORD AND SCALE

sword and scale podcast

My number one podcast favourite has to be Sword and Scale, where we learn that ‘the worst monsters are real’. Mike Boudet presents this podcast with impeccable story-telling, yet in such a haunting way that it really sets the mood of impending doom. That’s the only way I can really describe it. Every episode explores a new crime story, or for ones that are terribly complex, he’ll break into parts. He’s also very resourceful in inviting experts, reporters and people involved in the cases, as well using interview and tape recordings to better explain each story. Episode 2 is by far one of my favourites. Not specifically about an actual crime, it explores the psyche of socio- and psychopaths to try and understand how their brains are wired differently to ‘regular’ people. It’s a very intelligent, educational and insightful episode if you’re interested about learning about the minds of some of the worst criminals out there. The main reason I love this podcast though, is because it’s so real. Mike presents each story in a very factual way, giving all the details but going light in discussing his own opinions on some of the concepts and topical issues involved in crime. So if you’re after a podcast that is more of a discussion about crime, Sword and Scale won’t be for you.

Just a note: This is by far the most disturbing and emotional podcast I’ve listened to, because Mike Boudet is no stranger to the grisly details. He shares a lot of horrific details about the crimes and experiences of some of the victims. This is definitely NOT for the faint-hearted or those easily affected by this type of material. One episode affected me so much that I had to stop half way through my lab work to take a break because I was so emotional about what someone had to endure, and I’m usually pretty hardy to this type of information. This series will share some crime stories that will really rock you down to your core, so be warned.

MY FAVOURITE MURDER

my favourite murder podcast

This podcast takes a completely different approach to Sword and Scale. Presented by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, My Favourite Murder always starts and ends with something positive or light-hearted, often describing personal experiences or recapping previous events. Most of the time it’s just them talking random unscripted shit that actually makes you laugh. Being comedians, there is a good mix of both comedy and crime in these episodes, and there is lots of unfiltered swearing and dialogue – love it. Where Sword and Scale had me balling my eyes out, MFM can have me laughing on the bus to work. Each episode Karen and Georgia will present a case separately, and with their sidekick Steven, you can hear stories about true cases in a way that’s not so depressing as Sword and Scale. MFM reminds us to ‘stay sexy and don’t get murdered‘. From my last post, you would have seen that some people are drawn to true crime stories by using them as cautionary tales so they can identify potentially dangerous situations, or ways in which we can prevent crimes from occurring. The ladies at MFM focus on this quite a bit in their podcast.

In an attempt to lighten the mood, sometimes they can say some things that might seem a little insensitive. While they try to correct themselves for doing so, some people may be offended by it. They are also prone to run off on tangents throughout the episode intros but that’s just a result of it being unscripted. These episodes can be upwards of an hour and a half long, so you’ll need to put away quite some time to listen to them.

CASEFILE: TRUE CRIME

casefile true crime podcast

Closer to home, this is a true crime podcast produced in Australia by the narrator who has chosen to remain anonymous (oooo the mystery!). Casefile is presented to emphasise that sometimes ‘fact is scarier than fiction‘. While he does explore crime stories from all over the world, he does focus on a lot of Australian crimes, both high profile and lesser known. It informs the listeners to some crimes we didn’t even know occurred on our home turf and that’s something I really enjoyed from this podcast. You can easily tell it’s scripted, but like Mike Boudet, he does tell a lot of the facts and goes over pieces of evidence really well. He’s another great story-teller. Another reason I could be biased is because I’ve been personally invested in one of these stories, but I’m not allowed to tell you which one! He covers a range of mysteries and crimes from murders, abductions, to shootings and bombings in a very calm, sometimes sleep-inducing manner (I’m not saying it will bore you, just that the way he presents the episodes are so relaxing you could easily drift off). He will also walk you through infamous criminal trials, and present a range of theories that could possibly explain some unsolved mysteries. I also love to support a product of Australia, and I think we need more Aussie crime podcasts!

GENERATION WHY

generation why podcast
This podcast is one of my favourites because it not only covers crime and murder, but mysteries, conspiracies, cults and sometimes the paranormal. Generation Why will really pull at your curiosity strings. It’s presented by Aaron and Justin, and like Sword and Scale invites many experts involved in these stories for more insight. For exploring theories, mysteries and unanswered questions, Aaron and Justin attempt to remain unbiased and objective. Although at times I can detect hints of their own personal opinions coming through, especially in their more recent episodes, which I actually enjoy. They really aim to presents both sides of the story, but stick close to the facts and evidence. This duo do have quite a calming vibe (sometimes monotone) on their podcast too which makes this one of my go-to’s for night time listening. They delve into a lot of discussions about the justice system and motivations behind some of the crimes. They hope to answer the main question of why something occurred, hence their title.

One of their most notable episodes for me was the death of Annalise Michel, a young woman from Germany who in the 70’s was most likely suffering from some form of psychosis or schizophrenia, but her devout Christian parents interpreted this as demonic possession. A truly harrowing and tragic case, they actually play the audio recordings of some of her 67 exorcisms (67!) which are so freaking creepy so if you’re going to be affected by something like that, DO NOT LISTEN.

SOMEONE KNOWS SOMETHING

someone knows something podcast

All podcasts I’ve presented earlier usually cover a different story with each episode. However, Someone Knows Something is episodic. Each season (there are 3 produced to date by CBC Radio, Canada), follows the case of a Canadian unsolved disappearance or murder. This podcast is presented by investigative journalist David Ridgen, and in a fashion you’d expect for a TV docu-series. David makes it his quest to perform his own investigation into the cold cases, fulfilling his need to seek the truth just as much as ours. He will talk with just about anyone he can who was related to the case, often with investigators, family members and even some suspects. Season 1 follows his investigation into the tragic disappearance of 5-year old Adrien McNaughton, who vanished without any trace on a family fishing outing. Season 2 focuses on the disappearance of Sheryl Sheppard, a young woman who previously worked as a stripper and just suddenly vanished shortly after her boyfriend proposed to her, leaving all her possessions and personal effects behind. Season 3 explores the horrific murder of two young coloured men, Charles Moore and Henry Dee found in Mississippi River. David Ridgen goes through his investigation and production of a 2004 documentary in podcast form, and unlike the others, this case does end up having somewhat of a resolution.

The thing I love about this podcast is that David is tenacious in his quest for truth and closure, yet he is so respectful to everyone in the series. At times you can hear his own breathing grow shallower, even his little sniffles as he starts to get emotional when hearing the torture these family members have had to endure for years not knowing what happened. It’s a very relatable series, and I really enjoy hearing how David tries to pull together the facts from the cases. The only thing I have a hard time dealing with in the series, is that no matter how hard he tries in the first two seasons, he is no closer to finding the answer of what really happened. But I guess that’s no fault of the podcast, it’s just the tragic symptom of a cold case.

THE ‘MEH’ CATEGORY

While it’s worth presenting the podcasts I can’t stop listening to, I still feel it’s equally important to share ones I haven’t enjoyed and I’ll give you a bit of rundown why.

Serial podcast

First up is Serial. Yep, and I may get hate mail for saying this since it was a huge success among millions of people and remains one of the most successful podcasts today. I just found it dragged on for so long and after some episodes I would sit and think, ‘that whole hour felt like a waste’. It’s an episodic series, with Season 1 based on the potentially false conviction of Adnan Sayed for murdering his girlfriend Hae Ming Lee, a really perplexing and frustrating case. I felt like the series completely failed to tell Hae’s story, where was her voice in all of it? What it seemed to focus on was their need to clear Adnan and nothing else. I felt like this podcast was disjointed and biased, and just honestly thought this series could have presented a lot better because it’s a really fascinating case. I just wanted MORE.

True Crime Garage podcast

True Crime Garage is also another murder podcast presented by two men (Nic and Captain) who I can only picture as middle-aged and burly by the sounds of their voice and the way they present. I feel like this would be a ‘tough’ man’s answer to True Crime podcasts. I just feel that the way they present is very ‘detached’, and I am left feeling totally unengaged. I just can’t get into this one.

S-Town podcast

The last one I’ll give is S-Town, and I don’t like it for the same reasons as Serial. Funny that, considering they are made by the same people as Serial (in conjunction with This American Life). I just can’t get hooked into this one either and find I am easily bored with it. I don’t find the protagonist particularly relatable or captivating. Although it starts off exploring a murder in Alabama, it morphs into something that seems to focus on everything but that. To me, it wasn’t a true ‘True Crime’ podcast. But on the other hand, some people say “The problem is, is that you EXPECTED a true crime podcast”. Well, if that’s what it’s advertised as, that’s what I’ll expect. I didn’t finish this one.

To be fair, it really depends on what you look for in a true crime podcast. Are you after story-telling, investigative journalism, or more a discussion of the concepts, motivations and ideas behind some criminal cases? For me, I’m after good story-telling. I want a beginning, a middle, a climax and an end. I want to hear about the ways an investigation was performed, and how pieces of evidence came together to reveal the truth about what happened. In saying that, it doesn’t make sense for me to love ‘Someone Knows Something’, because there is never is a real answer. I just love the way it’s executed.

Do you listen to true crime podcasts? Let me know which ones you can’t stop listening to! Or, if you want to get started, I hope I’ve given you some ideas about what you might love. Give me your thoughts in the comments below.

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24 Comments

    1. Haha I know, I’m a little obsessed but it does help me to get through the day. (How messed up does that sound LOL). The fiance can’t even listen to one, so he is completely lost as to why I can listen to so many of them. I have about 12 different podcasts in my list that I listen to regularly, but these ones are the most notable! And yes, MFM does make listening to murder stories a little more bearable!

    1. It’s definitely easier on the ear than some of the other podcasts, mainly because the first two seasons don’t go over any grisly details due to no body ever being found. I love the way it’s presented, a really beautiful but tragic podcast to listen to.

  1. Oh my god I love that you have a whole category just for ‘meh.’ I love true crime as well, I find it all really fascinating. My favourite true crime podcast is My Fav Murder, I just love listening to Karen and Georgia and their humour. For a true crime podcast they make me laugh so much!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    1. Haha I didn’t know what else to call them! It’s a weird but oddly satisfying mix of comedy and crime isn’t it? I just discovered it recently but binge-listened to all of them in about a week! LOL!

    1. Good stuff! Sam can’t stand to listen to them, so you’re lucky you have a buddy! I loooove Sword and Scale so much, definitely my favourite out there.

  2. Ooooh okay gurl! Definitely going to take down these recs haha. Sword and Scale sounds intense but sometimes I like a good gory one – I’ll see how I go with it haha. I do see what you mean in your criticisms of Serial and S-town! I was quite bored in the beginning episodes of S-town so I ended up stopping for a while and coming back to it. The second half got me a bit more intrigued so I kept on with it!

    Tasha // shiwashiful.

    1. If you like gory, you must listen to episode 48. Good lord that episode was disturbing, perhaps the most graphic and gruesome case I’ve heard of. You won’t be able to ride another bus in your life after that one haha. I gave up on S Town and quit half way through. I don’t know what it ended up like because I just wasn’t interested in going back to it! Maybe I should give it another chance but I’m not that keen on it haha

  3. Podcasts are such an incredible thing aren’t they, and there are sooo many to choose from with a variety of topics. I find that I gravitate more towards them whenever I go driving to work or uni, due to the long travel. ButI haven’t yet delved into crime podcasts. I’ll have to check out your faves!

    Rochelle || http://www.simplesocialsister.com

    1. A lot of my friends listen to podcasts this way for convenience. I feel like your such a gentle soul and might not like the crime podcasts though haha! What do you usually listen to?

  4. I loved this post because I too am so obsessed with true crime! I found Serial to drag on as well – but I did listen to most of it because of the hype! I COULD NOT get into S-Town, it was super zzz.
    But I am so excited Sword and Scale and Generation Why! Thanks so much for the recommendations girl.
    I’ve been half-assed listening to Dirty John (not sure if I would recommend it though) but mostly am listening to other genres haha.

    1. I heard about Dirty John but I am not sure I will love it, which is why I haven’t listened yet bit I probably will get onto it soon, seeing as I’ve exhausted all the episodes for my fave podcasts already haha. I’d love to hear what you think of S & S, and Gen Why. For all podcasts I recommend starting from the start, some of the best material is at the start! What other genres do you listen to?

    1. I will admit it makes me look twice in all directions when I’m walking home from work or something haha. But I just can’t get enough of them!

  5. Another fantastic true crime post felicia. As I said last time, I listen to a lot of podcasts as well so I saw some favourites in here (Sword + Scale and My Favorite Murder). I wasn’t aware of the Australian Casefile podcast, but it sounds like I’d love it too! Also fantastic that it’s Australian, I was always wanting to listen to a podcast that was based more on Australian crimes. With your background, maybe you should start one up! It’d be interesting to have a podcast that focuses on the forensic evidence more and what you can/can’t say about a crime based on evidence (I’m thinking of Making A Murderer here). I’d love to listen to a podcast made by a forensic scientist! And I get what you mean with Serial and S-Town, I think our flavours are the same because I didn’t really enjoy these either. Serial was much better than S-Town though (I thought it was crap!).

    Do you have any other plans with more True Crime posts? I love these posts from you.

    1. You can’t go wrong with Sword and Scale and MFM! Casefile is an awesome podcast, I didn’t like it at first but as he developed his style more I ended up loving it and now I can’t wait until the next episode comes out each week! Haha I’ve honestly thought about doing that, I think it would be such a cool thing to do but the time, effort, research, writing, editing and not to mention the technology I’d need for it would be such a burden on me at the moment with my studies. Maybe once I get a proper job I might have the time to do a podcast, because I really love forming my own opinions on cases (and looking critically at each piece of forensic evidence too). At the moment I don’t have any plans to write more posts on True Crime, but I was thinking maybe I’d do a Netflix recommendations post. Not sure though, because I really only had these two posts in mind. Thank you so much for your lovely words and support, I really loved writing these posts too. And also, thanks for stopping by again!

    1. It’s done beautifully, I think you’d really enjoy it. A new season has just been rolled out which I’m up to date with. It explores the cold case of a man who was murdered by a bomb in the mail, concealed in a flash light. It has similarities to the Unabomber story as well, I am not sure if you’ve seen that, but it’s another great watch!

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