Following up on our story about how true crime helps you develop sharper instincts, we’ve got some podcasts to get you started. Scared? Don’t be. It’s not just about plain fear for entertainment, but also a studied approach to darker realities.
These podcasts look past just the plain profile of the killer or the suspect, it also puts into focus the victims. Most female victims become part of lists or passing facts in the stories of these killers. This is where their stories are elaborated on. It puts to focus the extremes of strained gender relations, misogyny, and the cultural climate that brings about these criminals. Told you, it’s more about learning than plain getting creeped out. That just comes part of the package.
Journalist Portland Helmich explores the case of the Boston Strangler, who had killed 13 women between July of 1962 and January of 1964. Aside from the inconsistencies in the police investigation and the media firestorm created by the series of murders, Stranglers also puts in perspective the lives that the victims had, and how their horrible deaths made an impact on the rest of the women who were living in Boston at the time.
Documentarian David Ridgen investigates cold cases by tracking down every possible lead and witnesses, some of whom may have never even talked to the police. The podcast’s current season is about the case of Sheryl Sheppard, who disappeared on Jan. 2, 1998 after her fiancé had proposed to her on TV just two days prior, on New Year’s Eve.
It’s kind of a tacky title for a podcast about true crime, and hosts/comediennes Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark can get irritating with the side jokes and their sometimes gossipy approach to stories, but listening in to their podcast also feels like listening to friends tell each other horror stories. Outside the puns, vocal fries, and side notes, the hosts speak respectfully of the victims (unlike other podcasts of the same nature), and their insights about women’s constant but low-level existential anxiety can have you nodding in solemn agreement.