There’s a mutual understanding among everyone, right now, that life could be and has been better. The coronavirus pandemic, and the corresponding stay-at-home order issued by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, have emptied the streets and closed the regular public meeting spaces. Those quiet streets, along with the thunderstorms that have rushed in alongside spring, call for content that matches the eerie feeling outside during the pandemic.
Many people, when looking for that content, turn to true crime to scratch the creepy itch. While much of network television’s true crime — Dateline, The First 48, Forensic Files — can be both hokey and exploitative of murder victims and their families, podcasts tend to be more empathetic to the victims, because they don’t have to fill the visual element with poor reenactments or police B-roll. So, here’s a list of guilt-free true crime podcasts to raise your adrenaline levels:
The Last Podcast on the Left
A true crime podcast staple, this comedy show has chronicles of well-researched, well-produced episodes covering everything from Japanese death cults to aliens to the most famous serial killers of all time. Its goal is to make fun of the most horrific characters in history, and the three hosts, Henry Zebrowski, Marcus Parks and Ben Kissel, make sure to play on their subjects’ biggest weaknesses. The show’s series on Israel Keyes, Ed Gein and the Jonestown Massacre are highlights among its wide collection of cases, which can all be found on Spotify.
True Crime Bullsh*t
This one-man show by Josh Hallmark takes a different route than many others. Its first two seasons are a serialized, investigative look into the horrific crimes committed by American serial killer Israel Keyes. Hallmark’s investigation into Keyes’ crimes include driving the routes Keyes took across the country, scouring police and travel records and listening over and over again to the hours of interviews Keyes did with investigators after he was arrested for the Alaska murder of Samantha Koenig. This deep dive, which has just started a new investigation into Kelly Cochran and her seven possible victims during its third season, is intense, but it is worth it just for Hallmark’s storytelling abilities.
My Favorite Murder
Another comedy show, this long-standing favorite among true crime fans is a laid-back, glass-of-wine-in-the-tub kind of podcast. The hosts, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, have sharp, dry senses of humor that make for a lighthearted show. Their live shows, which are recorded and uploaded as regular episodes, cover cases local to where they’re performing, so they’re covering little-known murders that might otherwise be left as middle-of-the-day episodes of a poorly made Investigation Discovery show. The show’s episode covering murderer Jerry Brudos and the famous Collar Bomb Heist is a particularly poignant episode of the podcast. Stay sexy and don’t get murdered!
Morbid: A True Crime Podcast
A bit more serious than MFM, Morbid’s hosts include an autopsy technician (Alaina) and a hairdresser (Ash) whose bond through the macabre is clear. Although it’s technically not a comedy podcast, it still is possible to laugh at a side comment or enjoy their chatter among cases that are usually smaller than what other podcasts cover. Their retelling of murders tend to look more at the victims and the investigation than the murderer, so it gets sad, but their appreciation of life and the preservation of the victims’ memories makes it stand out among other podcasts. Its episode about the heartbreaking murder of Maddie Clifton is a good starting point with this podcast.
From the Parcast Network, Serial Killers is an academic dive into the lives, murders, deaths and punishments of notorious serial killers. Its two monotonic hosts are stoic in their retelling of these murderers’ stories. But that doesn’t mean they’re uninteresting — there is research used in this podcast that goes deeper into psychological studies and reasonings behind serial killers’ behavior. This podcast’s series on one of the most famous serial killers of all time, Jeffrey Dahmer, is a well-rounded retelling and examination of his life and the circumstances that created him.
Shelby Campbell is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Shelby know by tweeting her @bloodbuzzohioan.