I have an unhealthy fascination with all things morbid and gruesome.
True crime podcasts hit just the right spot for me. They are as morbid as they can get, but the gruesome factor is toned down with the fact that it really happened — these are true crimes, after all. I feel sympathy for the victims; there’s no denying that these podcasts are indeed very sobering.
And, okay, I’ll be totally honest and say that I find these really, really entertaining.
If you’re interested in knowing what these true crime podcasts are, I listed down all my favourites! Enjoy!
Most talked about episode: The East Area Rapist (Case 53)
This 5-part episode explores what happened in Rancho Cordova, East Sacramento from 1976 – 1979. Women got hang-up phone calls, heavy breathing calls, strange break-ins where nothing was stolen, violent threats… all the work of the evasive serial rapist.
Most talked about episode: Sweethearts, Silenced (Episode 4)
Most talked about episode: The Editor (Episode 49)
Robin Woods was sentenced to 16 years in the Maryland Correctional Institution in November 1988. He used his time in prison to self-educate, becoming such a voracious reader that he spotted a factual error in Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia.
Most talked about episode: Jennifer Long (Episode 20)
Jennifer Long was 16 when she suddenly disappeared in January 1998. She was last seen at her high school in Kansas City, Missouri, where she skipped classes. She met a local handyman, got into his car, and has never been heard from again.
Most talked about episode: Trump Stories
The 5-part mini-series revolves around the inside, never-been-publicised stories of what US President Donald Trump, as well as some members of his administration, was doing before getting into politics.
Different from most of the other podcasts on this list, the whole podcast focuses on only one person: John B. McLemore
John B. McLemore was an antiquarian horologist who asked the show, This American Life, to investigate a murder in his hometown, Woodstock, Alabama. However, it turns out that no such murder took place and later on, McLemore commits suicide…
Season 2: Bowe Bergdahl
Bow Bergdahl was a Taliban prisoner, and in May 2014, he finally went home to the US. However, the air was not completely celebratory; some of the soldiers from his unit accused Bergdahl of being a traitor, saying that he willingly went to the enemy.
Season 1: Tara Grinstead
Well-liked high school teacher Tara Grinstead disappeared in 2005. According to friends and family, Tara was well-known for her trusting personality and beautiful appearance. Tara was helping young pageant contestants when she went missing.
This podcast also focuses on one topic all throughout: the organised crime in Providence, Rhode Island.
Young prosecutor Buddy Cianci investigates a gruesome murder case, which ends up with him going head to head against one of the most notorious mob boss in the country.
Most talked about episode: Delphi Murders (Episode 111)
Last year, in February 2017, two teen girls, Liberty German and Abigail Williams, were reported missing. Their bodies have since been discovered near a wooded creek, but there are still no clear details as to how the girls died.
Season 4: Wayne Greavette
The case starts with a present and a typewritten letter addressed to Wayne Greavette. The postscript read: “Have a very Merry Christmas and may you never have to buy another flashlight.” He turned it on, and it exploded, killing Greavette instantly.
Most talked about episode: The Axeman (Episode 1)
In New Orleans in 1919, a dozen people were hacked to death in their sleep by an axe. Despite the evidence and the odd “parting present,” forensic technology was still so primitive that it’s hard to find out who was responsible for this gruesome murder.
Most talked about episode: Gertrude Baniszewski (Episode 77)
Considered as one of the most terrible crimes to occur in Indiana, the case is about the abuse, torture, and the eventual death of Sylvia Likens, a 16-year old girl under the care of Gertrude Baniszewski, a 37-year old divorced mother of 7.
Most talked about episode: Tracy’s Story (Episode 13)
The murder of Tracy Muzyk is one of the most horrific crimes to happen in Adelaide. Over a debt of $70, Muzyk was held down by 6 teenagers, beaten, burned with cigarettes, strangled, sprayed with mace, stabbed with a fence post, and bashed with a rock.
Most talked about episode: The Chris Lane Drive-By (Episode 4)
Australian baseball player, Chris Lane, lived a promising life until it came to a screeching halt in August 2013. As he was jogging in Duncan, Oklahoma, where he was studying on a baseball scholarship, he was shot to death by three “bored” teenagers.
Most talked about episode: Anne Redman and Pirjo Kemppainen (Season 3 Episode 1)
Pirjo Kemppainen, a 63-year-old retired nurse who lived alone died of 55 knife wounds and 69 blunt-force injuries. Two months later, 87-year old Anne Redman’s house was burgled and her throat was slashed 7 times with a blunt knife.
Most talked about episode: Lex Talionis (Season 3 Episode 2)
Johny Frank Garrett’s story is a tragic one, sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a nun and executed just before the truth came out about the real murderer. But is it possible for the dead to exact revenge on the living?
18. Court Junkie
Most talked about episode: Who Killed Jessica Chambers? (Episode 41)
It was December of 2014 and 19-year old Jessica Chambers had been set on fire in her car. The firefighters tried to save her to no avail, but it seemed like the young woman left clues as to who had murdered her.
Most talked about episode: Karen Ristevski (Episode 13)
Karen Ristevski’s disappearance was no ordinary missing person’s case. She was reported missing by her husband after the two had a fight over money, which begins the intricate case that involves the controversies within the family.
Most talked about episode: Polly Klaas (Episode 26)
On October 1993, 12-year old Polly Klaas was kidnapped at knife point from her mother’s home. When her decomposing, headless body was discovered, it became clear that the murderer, Richard Allen Davis, committed the crime with on a whim with no motive.
21. 48 Hours
Most talked about episode: The Widow on Solway Road (Episode 40)
Raynella Leath, also called the Black Widow, is the centre of this 7-part episode. The registered nurse with a social work licence was charged with the murder of two of her husbands, whose deaths were initially reported as an accident and a suicide, respectively.
Most talked about episode: Robert Pickton (Episode 15)
Canada’s most prolific serial killer was a pig farmer who lived in a suburb of Vancouver. For over 20 years, he lured vulnerable women and prostitutes into his farm, which became Canada’s biggest murder grounds. But how did he get away with it for so long?
23. Moms and Murder
Most talked about episode: Kelley Clayton (Episode 10)
35-year old Kelley Clayton was found brutally murdered inside her own home in September 2015. The mother of two is said to have been beaten to death with a fibreglass maul handle, resulting to a bloody crime scene. However, there were no signs of forced entry.
Most talked about episode: The Grim Sleeper (Episode 1)
This 3-part episode explores the life and crimes of the alleged “Grim Sleeper,” Lonnie Franklin, Jr. Responsible for at least 10 murders and 1 attempted murder — though it’s possible it could be as high as 25 — he was one of the most prolific American killers.
Most talked about episode: Belle Gibson (Episode 62)
Belle Gibson recently made news when her fraud was discovered. She declared herself to be a cancer patient who effectively managed her disease using alternative therapies. After much publicity, exposures, and donations, her web of lies unravels.
26. The Vanished
Most talked about episode: Christopher and Lisa Mae Zaharias (Episode 85)
In November 1987, Christopher (3 years old) and Lisa (15 months old) were abducted by their mother, Susan Elizabeth Gammill Zaharias. It’s been 30 years since the abduction and the kids haven’t been found, but recently, a lead has surfaced.
Season 2: Golden State Killer
The Golden State Killer terrorised the state of California from 1974 through 1986. It is said that he committed at least 12 murders, more than 50 rapes, and over 100 burglaries. Despite the sheer number of victims, until very recently, this case has remained unsolved.
Season 2: Retha Welch
54-year old Retha Welch was a soft-hearted prison minister. In April 1987, the God-fearing mother of 4 was found dead, soaked in her blood in the bathtub inside her apartment. Aside from the murder, the semen of three men had been found inside of her.
Most talked about episode: Investigateighteen Discovery (Episode 18)
While the episode discusses different cases, the most remembered is Lawrence Singleton’s. His most famous victim, Mary Vincent, was a 15-year old whom he had raped, mutilated, and thrown down a cliff. But Singleton underestimated Vincent’s fighting spirit.
Most talked about episode: Dahmer (Episode 122)
True crime fan or not, it’s hard not to know who Jeffrey Dahmer is. This 3-part episode on Dahmer covers everything about his life, from his “bizarre and lonely” childhood, high school life, until his adulthood when he committed his infamous crimes.
31. Sword and Scale
Most talked about episode: Ronald William Brown (Episode 20)
Ronald William Brown was a ventriloquist puppeteer who also turned out to be part of a huge child pornography ring. What’s worse is that these paedophiles revealed a desire to murder children, mutilate them, and then eat their corpses.