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Something about the late 2010s made those of us who grew up entranced by those “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” books finally reveal our inner fascination with all things horribly traumatic and sad. Now, if you clicked on this link I probably don’t have to explain this to you, but if you came here to yell at me, let me explain something to you: Being “into” true crime is NOT NEW. Why are there murder mysteries? Why are campfire stories a thing? Why do people still talk about Jack the Ripper? Did you know that people used to take real souvenirs from murder sites? YEAH, so listening to Podcasts and watching True Crime shows is not a Millennial or Gen Z thing, it’s a people thing, and you’re the weird one for making us feel bad about it!!! Okay, anyway, here’s a list of the best podcasts to get those beginners acquainted with the weird & wonderful world of true crime.


1. My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark​

This is the best, most beginner-friendly True Crime podcast of all time. Two women who are exploring their own interest in true crime together spend each episode exchanging murder stories. Their laid-back manner of research, story-telling, and conversation is easy to listen to, and honestly makes me feel like I’m hanging out with old friends. The best part of this podcast is that each episode stands alone – you get 2 complete true crime stories for every episode, so it doesn’t matter which one you start or end on. Personally, I started listening from the beginning, and listening to every up and down and moment has made me feel like a full-fledged “from the beginning” fan, even though I only started listening in 2018.


2. Cold

Cold is a must-listen for anyone living, from, or interested in Utah. Not only is the podcast from our good friends at KSL, but the case itself takes place primarily in and around Good Ol’ SLC. This podcast tells the story of Susan Powell over 18 episodes, all around an hour in length. With interviews of people directly involved in the case, as well as snippets from Susan and Josh’s own diaries, this podcast is engaging & dynamic and explores issues that everyone (especially those familiar with Utah culture) can identify with.


3. Criminal

A great podcast for People Who Don’t Like Podcasts, this series is focused on True Crime as a larger genre – not every episode is about murder and not every episode is necessarily about one specific event. Rather, each episode explores some kind of crime; from pick-pocketing to mass murder. This is another easy-listening, stand-alone-episode series, which makes it a great pallet cleanser when you finish up one of those other season-long stories.


4. Serial

Okay, you’ve definitely heard of this one. And if you’re anything like me, the fact that it’s such a big deal kind of turns you off (I don’t like fitting in, okay, I’m still an angsty middle schooler on the inside). BUT, this podcast has hype for a reason. Sarah Koenig tells her stories from such a giving and interested place, that you start to care about everything she’s saying almost exclusively because she cares so much. And while this podcast has definitely gotten some slack because of it, as an empath, it makes the experience so emotionally validating. I got to experience this right along with her, and I feel if I met her on the street we would get along really well. Plus, Season 1 spurred a new HBO series based on the case, so there’s even more for you to watch.


5. Someone Knows Something

Okay, I’ll admit it: this podcast showed me just how sexy Canadian accents can be. HOWEVER, that’s not the only reason I like it. This podcast spends 1 season on a cold case, going deep into the facts, faults, and fascinations of each piece of evidence (or lack thereof). The families of the victims are interviewed and feature heavily in each season, and every episode really feels like you are a part of this investigation (right alongside David Ridgen and his hot-ass accent). The only thing I will warn you about this podcast – while you do get updates about the previous season’s case, each one is unsolved. Personally, cold cases make me so sad. I know there isn’t an answer at the end, and that I’m going to be left empty-handed, just like the victim’s family. After listening to them talk about their endless fight for justice, I usually need to take a long break between seasons, if only to recover from the loss the family expressed.


6. The Teacher’s Pet

OKAY, this is, like, the most exciting podcast in this list because THE CASE THAT IS DISCUSSED HAS BEEN RE-OPENED AND AN ARREST HAS BEEN MADE!!!! The Australian (who produced the podcast) actually agreed to prevent Australians from accessing it in order to keep any potential jurors unbiased, so it kind of feels like you’re getting in on some pre-trial secrets while an entire country is left in the dark. The disappearance of Lyn Dawson is tragic and fascinating, and hopefully within the next decade or so she will finally have justice of some kind (or, at least, we’ll know the husband didn’t do it, for once).

Whether you’re a tried-and-true True Crime Junkie, or you’re just starting to explore that weird Can’t-Stop-Looking feeling you get when reading a True Crime article, these podcasts will leave you feeling seen and satisfied. So turn off Forensic Files or Law & Order: SVU, grab your headphones and clean your whole house while occasionally muttering “Ew” or “Oh my God” under your breath. Trust me – you’ll have something really interesting & gross to tell your friends the next day!

Photo Credits: Hero, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Ailish Harris is a Stage Management and Performing Arts Design transfer student at the University of Utah. She's originally from Salt Lake City, UT, but was lucky enough to attend Emerson College in Boston, MA for her first 3 semesters of college. She has written for both Her Campus Emerson and Her Campus Utah, and is the current Editor in Chief for Her Campus Utah! She is a student leader in many capacities, working as the Secretary for Stage Managers at the U and as the Historian for the Department of Theatre's Student Advisory Committee. She loves Halloween, cooking, theatre, documentaries, organization, fashion, her pet hedgehog Chester, true crime, and Her Campus!
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