By Stormie Laine Knott
I used to look at people who were into murder-y stuff as total lunatics, until I gave into peer pressure from coworkers and delved deep into the realm of true crime podcasts. The journey has strengthened my resolve to stand up for victims, advocate for programs to help those showing early signs of criminal behavior, and even helped my depression and anxiety (crazy, I know). These true crime podcasts have made me more aware of my surroundings and given me, in many ways, tools that may help me survive should I ever be in a dire situation. So, without further ado, I present to you 5 true crime podcasts that just might save your life:
If humor helps you cope with stressful topics, this podcast is for you. “My Favorite Murder” is the retelling of horrific murders by two female comedians – a winning combination! Not only are Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark hilarious, they are compassionate, intelligent, well-dressed, humble, and huge advocates for mental health. Listening to this podcast from its very first episodes to episodes recorded just this week, you’ll see that these women had no idea that their podcast would be such a hit. With time, they’ve matured their podcasting style by marrying research with witty banter. They also share “Hometown Murders” that their fans send in, which are often un-freaking-believable. What’s more, there’s an adorable cat named Elvis who meows at the end of each episode when offered a cookie. Does it get any better than that?!
2. “Dirty John”
Nothing will replace Karen and Georgia in my heart, but I gotta throw props to this excellent series that I binge-listened to over the course of two days. This podcast, presented by L.A. Times and Wondery, follows the story of one bad man and the way he preys on women. Maybe its because I live within 20 minutes of most of the places mentioned in this podcast, or maybe its because I was raised by a single, kind-hearted Christian mother who braved the online dating world just like Deborah, one of Dirty John’s victims. Either way, I was pretty instantly hooked. If you can get past how O.C. the girls on this podcast sound, then you’ll find a great story with a killer ending.
From Serial and This American Life comes “S-Town,” a binge-able story of murder, treasure, and one quirky genius named John. This beautiful series will scratch that true crime itch and tug on your heart-strings as you uncover the mysteries of a small Alabama town and one man who hated it there. This one‘s a biggie and I hardly know anyone who hasn’t listened to it, but if you haven’t, now is the time.
This documentary/drama, based in Los Angeles in the late 1940’s, investigates the Black Dahlia Murder and several deaths that have chilling similarities to the Black Dahlia Murder. The dramatization took some getting used to for me, but soon I was completely hooked on the story. I love how this podcast weaves together so many murders, showing their similarities and implying the work of a serial killer. Hollywood & Crime and Wondery also just released a teaser for their brand new podcast, “Young Charlie.” “Young Charlie” will follow the life of Charles Manson, and it’s sure to be a doozy.
So, uh, speaking of Charles Manson and culty shiz, this podcast is where you need to be. This pod explores the history and psychology of various cults and cult leaders, and I honestly would probably be in a cult right now without it (I’m very impressionable). If you think murder is creepy, try murder paired with freaky deaky brainwashing and rituals. I’m spooked (and intrigued) just thinking about it.
There you have it, honeys. Get to listening!