True crime has long been a genre that’s kept us wanting more, and it’s going nowhere any time soon. Since the emergence and boom of podcasting, listeners have been able to gorge themselves on investigative stories from across the globe while grabbing the weekly shop or during leg day at the gym.
But what’s behind our ever-growing itch to uncover unsolved crimes, and why do we continue to lean into some of the most creepy and often heart-breaking stories with a keen ear? From stories as old as Jack the Ripper to Serial — the show that got so many millions hooked on podcasts for the first time — what is it that keeps us thirsting for more?
One reason true crime shows are so popular may be something called ‘emotional capitalism’, where society seeks things that evoke strong emotions and compel us to discuss, debate and gossip. This results in us feeling closer to one another (which is really quite sweet).
Another reason could be that humans are intrigued by evil. True crime stories give people a first-hand look into the minds and motives of people who have committed what forensic psychologist Dr. Paul G. Mattiuzzi calls “a most fundamental taboo”.
It appears that the good-versus-evil dichotomy doesn’t only relate to superhero movies, as the tension it provides the listener is one that both terrifies and enthralls us.
Now, I can’t sit here and discuss true crime podcasts without sharing a few of my favourites
The Witness: In His Own Words
New to the scene — but already proving to have won the hearts and minds of listeners — is The Witness: In His Own Words. Following the publication of Nicola Tallant’s best-selling book of the same name, The Witness is a powerful, 10-part documentary podcast series from the team behind The Stand with Eamon Dunphy. In 2005, Joseph O’Callaghan’s testimony helped convict two drug-dealing gangsters for murder. Now, as the men he put away agitate for release, he tells his extraordinary life story in his own words for the first time. Listen now on Acast >>
Hollywood Crime Scene
We all love hearing about a good old-fashioned celebrity scandal, and Hollywood Crime Scene definitely scratches that itch. Hosts Desi Jedeikin and Rachel Fisher discuss true tales of crime and scandal involving celebrities. This week the pair discuss The Cotton Club Movie Murder. Listen now on Acast >>
Described just days ago as “possibly the best ever true crime podcast” by the inimitable Louis Theroux, West Cork takes listeners on a journey through murder, mystery and devastating loss unlike any other. This series brings together an incredible cast of characters, many of whom had never spoken publicly before. Listen now on Acast >>
Drunk Women Solving Crime
What do you get when you mix comedians, a sprinkle of booze, and a host of unsolved crimes? A cold-case-busting crew stronger than the Scooby-Doo mystery collective. Join hosts Hannah George, Catie Wilkins and Taylor Glenn as they welcome top guests from comedians to crime writers to test out their drunken detective skills. Listen now on Acast >>
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