My New Podcast Obsession

I'm not sure what happened or even when it happened but...I am obsessed with podcasts.  

I can't stop listening to them. 

I don't know what I like best about them really. There's just something so great about doing whatever I want while learning about something new or listening to aimless chatter. I can't stop listening. 

My podcast obsession started about a year ago when I discovered My Favorite Murder. Karen and Georgia tell their "favorite murders" in this true-crime comedy podcast that makes me laugh with every episode. I wrote another article about some of my favorite episodes for Halloween a couple of weeks back. (I'll link it below.) But I decided (for whatever reason) to branch out and listen to something new. I started a journey I didn't even know I was on...the journey to find a podcast that truly defines me.

5 Spooky "My Favorite Murder" Episodes for Halloween

So what defines me, you ask? Well, your guess is as good as mine. I'm obviously all about comedy and true-crime but I love the history and connections behind things just as much as the story at large. So I guess I'm defined by true crime podcasts that dive deep into historical context and the connections behind the story? I'm not even surprised.

But I think I did just lie to you. 

My podcast obsession started back in high school with what I like to consider the gateway true-crime podcast, Serial. Sarah Koenig (and This American Life) was my first true connection to podcasting. Serial season one told the story of Adnan Syed who was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, back in 1999. What follows is a gripping story of character and never truly knowing a person. I listened to Serial in the kitchen while I cooked with my mom but I wouldn​'t necessarily call it light listening. While I loved the first season, and the updates that have followed (the latest one was this year), I didn't love the second and third seasons. So regretfully, I moved on.

I can't remember when (or how) I discovered S-Town, but I'm so thankful I did. This was the first time I ever heard a story presented in such a way that terrified me and made me want to hear more. I didn't fully understand S-Town when I started listening to it. I genuinely thought it wasn't real. I thought these were hired actors that were telling a bizarre story (that couldn't possibly be real) in a place that felt so familiar to me. This was the kind of journalism I realized I really enjoyed. I can't do the description justice so here you go.

"JOHN DESPISES HIS ALABAMA TOWN AND DECIDES TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. HE ASKS a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life." 

But again, it felt like something was missing.

My old high school English teacher introduced me to Up and Vanished, which told the story of the disappearance of Tara Grinstead. I didn't care for this one as much as the others, but it did introduce me to someone important: Payne Lindsey, who I am absolutely in love with (but that's a story for another day.)

So now flash forward. We're caught up to MFM and I'm searching for something new when one of my professors decides to show us a podcast that is so descriptive in their stories, it feels like you're there with them.

the memory palace is a podcast I never expected to like. Created by Nate DiMeo in 2008, the podcast tells stories about anything and everything with incredible detail. In class, we listened to the episode appropriately called "Numbers." It's episode 94 for reference. "Numbers" is a graphic, dramatic, and stunning story of the 1969 Vietnam draft lottery. DiMeo tells the story as you and your family would have seen/heard it. Featuring audio clips from the actual lottery and first-hand accounts, this had me in tears within the first two minutes. I decided then and there that I needed a podcast that combined the storytelling and historical background of the memory palace, the insane depth of research Payne Lindsey can do, and the excitement I got from S-Town. Good luck, sis.

I should start this last piece with a revelation...I love (what I call) "ghost killers." I wrote an essay back in high school, one that I would LOVE to revisit, about "ghost killers." What's a ghost killer? It's what I refer to as someone who (obviously) kills and is never truly seen, like a ghost. In other words, a killer that's never been caught. I detailed three different people/cases: Jack the Ripper, the Black Dahlia, and my personal favorite, the Zodiac Killer. Why am I so hooked on Zodiac? I don't know. I've never been able to explain it. I've spent years reading and researching all I can about Zodiac (not nearly as extensive as those who have dedicated themselves to it, obviously) and never being satisfied with what I would read. (This is probably an article for another day if we're up for it.)

I woke up last Friday knowing I wasn't about to listen to the same music I always did on my drive home and didn't really feel like MFM was going to cut it. Scrolling through Spotify, I noticed a podcast was recommended for me that stopped me in my tracks. It's been a while since I have even thought of Zodiac, but there it was. There was a podcast that without even researching, I knew I had to listen to.  Monster: The Zodiac Killer. And to my surprise who was the host? My favorite man, Payne Lindsey. 

This was evidently the second season of a popular podcast called Monster in which each season tells the story of a monster. Monster: The Zodiac Killer is the second season and wants to answer the hottest question: who is the Zodiac killer? I can't explain to you how incredible this podcast is. With exclusive audio clips from the original case, to exclusive interviews, to Zodiac experts and family/friends who surrounded the case, this feels like the best investigation yet. But more importantly...I found the podcast that defined me. THIS was the podcast I had been missing. True-crime (Zodiac) with deep historical accuracy (all of the incredible historians) and connections across the board? AND PAYNE LINDSEY??? I can't even begin to describe how intriguing this podcast is but please take my word for it. If you love true-crime and the 70s...get on this. Investigative journalism is still on the rise and podcasts aren't going anywhere. Maybe one day I'll take the leap into podcasting, who knows? 

And with that, all the boxes have been checked and this is where I leave you.

My Favorite Murder, Serial, S-Town, Up and Vanished, the memory palaceand Monster can be streamed where podcasts are available.